Over the weekend, I finally sat down and read the February issue of bUneke Magazine. I try to read it every month so I know what’s going on (and also to find articles to highlight on the Sustainably North Twitter, @SustaintheNorth). In the February issue, Anna East writes about getting things done. You can find her article here:
Anna East’s article hit me pretty hard because I know I am very, very guilty of not finishing projects I am working on. Take right now: I’m part way through the story I’m writing for the Make Your Way Anthology, I wanted to start another short story about aliens in the wild west, I have three RPGs that I’m building on RPG Maker (Tears of the King, Memories, and Soccrpg). And I have various other short stories I have started and failed to finish for one reason or another.
I think Anna East’s problem is my problem, too: I want my work to be perfect. So when a project is failing to live up to my impossibly high standards, I stop working on it. I also have a million ideas and there’s never enough time to get them all written, so that doesn’t help either.
And I’m busy. I know that this is a problem that everyone has: there just never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. But specific to me, I started my other blog, Sustainably North. I started volunteering my time with bUneke Magazine, writing a monthly column. I’m trying to get a bunch of reading done (I did make a goal to read 25 books this year, plus I just really like reading). And then I do a fair amount of writing for my day job too (even more right now because I’m helping out on a few bigger projects that are coming up). All of this has been making me feel fractured and really time-pinched. Plus after a full day at work, I find myself coming home and just not wanting to work on anything else because I’m done for the day – I’ve got nothing left.
And since I have no intention of stopping Sustainably North, volunteering, reading, or working on those projects at my day job, I am going to dial back on projects at home. As much as I would really, really like to work on a story about aliens in the wild west, I honestly do not have the time for it right now (especially since it got stuck in worldbuilding). Plus the plot just isn’t worked out right now anyway, while the story for the Make Your Way anthology is plotted and just needs to be written. So I’m going to stop working on the wild west story, and just focus on getting the Make Your Way story written. And at this point I need to make sure I don’t bog myself down with feeling that it isn’t good enough; this is a first draft right now, so of course it won’t be perfect! It has to be written before I can worry about polishing it.
Happy New Year’s! It’s that time of year again – time to look at the goals I set for myself last year and set new goals for this year. Last year, my goals were:
- Read 25 novels. Success! I read over 50 novel-length books this year! I didn’t read many long ones, but that’s okay. Having no pressure to read made it much more enjoyable over 2018.
- Write two polished short stories. Failure. I wrote one, but didn’t finish the second one. 😦
- Finish a bloody RPG! Failure. I didn’t really work on anything at all. 😦
For 2018 I was hoping to work towards freelancing more. Even though I wasn’t really successful with my goals, I think I was somewhat successful thanks to starting my other blog, Sustainably North. Thanks to Sustainably North, I was asked by bUneke Magazine to write a monthly column, which has been a lot of fun and tremendous experience. For my day job I also wrote 9 articles, 7 book reviews, and interviewed 12 authors for TBPL Off the Shelf, so that’s pretty good, too. Oh and I almost forgot that 2018 saw my first published short story, “A Harmony of Soil and Sand,” which was published in Menagerie de Mythique Anthology back in May. So while I didn’t exactly meet all of my goals, I still think 2018 was a pretty good year of writing for me! 🙂
Oh yeah, and I participated in my very first game jam back in January! That was fun, too! 🙂
For 2019 I’d like to do things a little differently, particularly in regards to my writing goals. This year I’d like to set smaller goals every month rather than big overarching goals. My thought is that way I can use the end of the month as a deadline, plus I’ll have more flexibility in case other unexpected projects come my way (like when that big freelance project came my way back in 2017). Plus if something takes longer than planned (like how the story I’m working on for the Make Your Way anthology got bogged down in worldbuilding), I can adjust my scheduled goals accordingly. So here are my goals for 2019 so far:
- Read 25 novel-length books. 25 books worked really well for me last year and I’d like to keep the same goal. Like I said, this took the pressure off of me and made reading more fun. This goal is the only one I’m naming that’s for the whole year.
- Finish the story for the Make Your Way anthology by January 31st. I think that’s a reasonable amount of time to get this story written (and hopefully submitted!)
I’m not going to talk about Sustainably North goals on here right now. At this point I’m kind of just carrying on, trying to get a weekly blog post written plus an article for bUneke Magazine. If that changes, I’ll let you know. 😉
This will be an interesting year – I really hope that setting smaller monthly goals (with deadlines) will work better for me!
So what about you? Have you set any goals for the upcoming year? 🙂
As promised yesterday, here’s some info on my third RPG Maker game I’m working on: Soccrpg! Soccrpg started when I went for lunch with a couple of friends. One of them complained that there was no soccer game made like an old-school RPG. I have no idea what is out there (the other friend started listing games that combine RPGs with sports), but I started thinking to myself that I could make one. And so Soccrpg was born.
This is literally what I have made so far:
It’s a soccer field with the positions in place. The opposing team chases you when you have the ball and you’re in their zones on the field; your team just stands around and will talk to you if you interact with them.
In some ways, this was a stupid project to start. I don’t really know much about soccer, so I’ve had to research like everything. So bear that in mind when I eventually finish it (my friend really wants me to make it playable for others) – I will probably get things wrong!
So with that caveat, Soccrpg has also been a great learning experience because this is my first time heavily changing things in the database. Because this isn’t remotely a traditional fantasy RPG, I’ve had to redefine terms and rename things. For example, I decided that the only weapon will be “cleats;” currently the database lists all the default weaponry as a type of cleat.
Over the last week, I have created a few new maps for Tears of the King! I’m pretty excited for them – I think they’re the first new maps in a year and a half.
First, here’s a brand new city (the Imperial City):
This map is loosely based off of the Kingdom of Pandora city in Secret of Mana in that it is built on a couple of islands. Plus there will be a castle you can go into (you can see the base of the towers) in the top right of this map, again like the Kingdom of Pandora. That similarity was due to the way I laid everything out (and because I didn’t want the castle to be physically in this map). The castle isn’t built yet, and neither are the insides of the houses.
The Imperial City should be the final city in the game.
Also here’s a dock, complete with a ship! (I had to buy extra tiles to make the ship happen).
You reach the ship through either of the two paths in the right side of the Imperial City.
So what’s next? I have some more maps to build (the castle, the insides of the city houses, and an island where the ship will eventually take you). But I also need to go back over my notes and actually replay the game that I have made so far; it’s been so long that I only vaguely remember what still needs to happen.
There’s still a bunch of work that needs to be done, but I’m rather excited to see that the end (of map building anyway) is in sight! 🙂
I should have written this post a few weeks ago, but I had to put Memories aside for a bit. I’ve thought about it long and hard, but I still don’t know how the game is supposed to end. So on the advice of my brother, I’m putting it aside to work on some other things for a bit. Hopefully with a bit of distance I’ll be able to figure out where the story is supposed to go.
I honestly feel a bit like a failure. I was really hoping to have the game done by now. But that’s not how it’s going, so time to focus on something else!
Life is pretty busy right now (when is it not?) but over the weekend I pulled out a short story I’ve been wanting to edit for quite awhile. The story was written as part of my NaNoWriMo blob. I originally wrote the story for a friend after his dog passed away, but I never felt right giving it to him (and let’s be honest: it was a super rough first draft that was crap – I wouldn’t want anyone to see it until it’s rewritten and edited). I came up with some editing ideas for the story last March, but never got around to implementing them until today. Even if the story doesn’t stay the way it currently is, I’ve added 300 words (it was originally about 600 words and is now over 900), and it is shaping up a bit (it’s definitely stronger than it was!)
I had a pretty fun couple of hours working on it. First I brought a notebook outside with me (it was a beautiful day!) and started writing. But after a page and a bit, I ended up grabbing my laptop and bringing that outside because I needed to be able to move some things around and expand on other things a bit. I took a break to go for a walk, then worked on it a bit more. I’m thinking tomorrow I’m going to print it out so I can do another editing pass on it (I prefer to edit on paper, at least for the first while – it’s satisfying to mark things I need to change up with pen!)