New Year, Same Look

Hey Blogland.

It’s been a minute. As I mentioned last week, I faced some major burnout last fall and really the last half of the year was just me, derailed. Getting laid-off from a job you love sucks the big one. But, I’m feeling much more settled in the new job, and turns out, I super love it too. A nice lesson to learn, nothing is the end-all-be-all of your existence. We grow, adapt, change, and come to find fulfillment and success in a multitude of ways.

But, that lesson had a steep price, namely my discipline and work ethic when it came to my more creative endeavors. I simply didn’t have the bandwidth to attend to all my writing routines, so, in the interest of mental wellbeing, I didn’t attend to any of them. I allowed myself to take several steps back and only do what felt right or good. I think that helped me recover and get my head on straight once again.

So, three months late, let’s talk about 2019.

In 2019 I said I wanted to:

  • Finish the Tavi rough draft.
  • Finish Santa Sarita. 
  • Revise Cards.
  • Publish something!
  • Publish two blog posts a week.
  • Read 70 titles.

How’d I do?

  • Finish the Tavi rough draft.
    • YES! I finished the rough draft back in May and it was a huge, wonderful, exhausting accomplishment.
  • Finish Santa Sarita.
    • Nope. Not even a little bit. I don’t even think I wrote anything on this fic last year.
  • Revise Cards.
    • Nope. And, actually, I think I’ve finally accepted that this might be a trunk novel. Not that I think it’s bad, but it needs a lot of revision and basically an entire rewrite, and when I have time, energy and drive, I’ll come back to it. Until then, I’m taking it off the plate of possible projects.
  • Publish something!
    • Yes? I sold something, but it won’t be published until June 2020. It’s exciting and a big win for me, so I’m counting it as accomplished.
  • Publish two blog posts a week.
    • Nope. I published 90 posts, which honestly isn’t too shabby. It’s the second most I’ve ever posted on the blog since 2011, so I don’t feel as bad about this as I did earlier today.
  • Read 70 titles.
    • Nope. I reached 60 and pretty much ran out of gas. I couldn’t focus, couldn’t get anything to really grip me. I was in full on burnout mode by then and basically just gave up.

2019 Total Word Count: 122,187

Honorable Mentions

Even though there were several months in the summer and early fall where it just felt like I couldn’t get any writing done, I actually wrote a fair amount last year. Two flash pieces (under 500 words) and two longer short stories (both over 4k words), the last half of Tavi, and a ton of fanfic in November and December. In the moment it felt like nothing, but there was a lot of work happening in between all that nothing.

I went to a write-in thing hosted by Willamette Writers… I think it was in May. Anyway, that was fun and cool and I hope to go to more writerly events, once all this Covid stuff gets sorted.

I hiked a bunch last year which is always a good thing, and really found my *thing* outside of reading and writing books.

I read 15,104 pages across 60 books!Img bookstack 72

 

I’m trying not to feel so down about missing my reading goal last year. It’s the first year since 2015 that I haven’t reached my goal. Which felt like a big fat failure on my part. And yet… 60 titles is nothing to sneeze at. That number amazes a lot of people, even if it feels a little short to me. But, I read a lot last year and I shouldn’t feel bad just because it wasn’t as much as I’d hoped. I’m working on it.

Um… I think that’s it. You know, aside from that whole, got a new crazy job that absorbed my whole soul for awhile but turns out I super-duper love. So that’s cool too, I guess.

2019’s word was INTENT. I wanted to be purposeful in my actions and choices when it came to writing and reading. I don’t know how well it worked, but I do recall thinking of it a lot and letting it be the word that grounded me in moments of indecision. So, better than not having a word I suppose. Choosing a word for 2020 was one of the only New Year’s routines I didn’t ignore/avoid. The word for this year is…

REPLENISH.

Makes sense when you consider that I was recovering from the world’s worst case of burnout around the New Year. So, how will “Replenish” guide me in 2020? Well, I’ve decided to only do things that feel right, restorative in some way. For instance, my reading goal this year started at just 1 book. Once I read a few over that, I bumped it to 10. Now that I’m at ten, I bumped it to 20. I’m letting the year dictate the goals and learning to let go a little bit.

What does that mean for my writing? I’m not entirely sure. I think the idea is to stop feeling guilty for any perceived lack of progress. Letting my interests and energy take me where I need to go. Basically, relinquishing some of that all-important control. So far, I think it’s working.

So, if I’m not setting active, ambitious goals, what the heck will I do in 2020?

  • Revise Tavi
    • I think this is one that I absolutely have to do. I can’t let this novel sit for much longer, and honestly I don’t want to. I want to get back in this world I made and really make it shine.
  • Read!
    • That’s it. I just want to read whatever sounds interesting. I have a fat stack of fat books I’d been lusting over, but avoiding because of how long they would take me to read. This is the year I finally get to them.
  • Submit Two New Short Stories
    • I already have one that’s just about ready to go out. Maybe a few more rounds of editing to perfect it, and then it’s good. I’m working on a new short story now, but it feels pretty far from submission level. Good thing it’s only March!
  • Write Book Reviews
    • This is one thing that bummed me out about last year. I read a lot of good books at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, but I didn’t write reviews for them. And now it’s been too long for me to do them justice. I don’t want to do that anymore, so I’ll be trying to write reviews again!

I’ll be honest. I expect Tavi revisions to take up the majority of my year. All of my writing time will be on short stories or fanfic while I edit my novel. I want to get this right, because I really believe in this story and the world I’ve built. I want to get the first book right so I can jump into the second book for NaNoWriMo this year. So I need to get to work.

So, yeah. A different approach to 2020. A less regimented approach. I don’t know what the blog will look like this year. I might stick to my weekly format, I might not. I haven’t decided yet. I’ll do whatever feels good and useful without stressing me out. That’s the plan.

Talk at you soon, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

 

So… it’s 2020.

Here’s the deal:

I was so. fucking. burned. out. at the end of last year. This new job has been the steepest learning curve ever, and not because I’m responsible for running a 10k+ material library, but because teenagers are beings of pure emotion. I was not prepared nor equipped for the emotional labor this job would require.

That said, I’m feeling much more balanced this semester. I’m working out again, eating better, drinking lots of water. I’m even reading again! And there’s been lots of fanfic writing and even a little work on a new short story.

I feel like a budding flower, poking my head out of the dirt and wondering if there’s enough sunshine to make the work worthwhile. But, I’ve worked on the new short story twice in the last week. I reread and started contemplating editing the last short story I wrote. I’ve read 10 books this year already. I don’t want to say I’m back, because we all know that doesn’t mean shit.

But I’m here right now. I’ve thought about the blog and the routines I used to have. And the novel that’s waiting for me to revise it and make it the best thing I’ve ever written. I don’t know if it was a bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder, legit depression, or just a case of this introvert being utterly sapped of all energy, but I’m feeling better now. I even went on a hike on Saturday!

So yeah. I’m around, I guess. Maybe tomorrow I’ll finally do the 2019 recap. I kept all the stats, I just haven’t talked about them yet. I haven’t been tracking any goals or stats for 2020, because I literally haven’t thought about what I want to accomplish this year. It seems… unfathomable. Or, at least, it did. Right now I have a couple ideas of things I’d like to do and I do have an intention for the year, so I guess I didn’t *completely* ignore my routines.

Maybe, if I’m feeling similarly motivated tomorrow night, I’ll finally write that recap. There’s also a bunch of book reviews I could write. Maybe you’ll see more of me in the coming weeks.

Maybe.

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk# 48

Bloggos! Happy Thanksgiving! I know I’m a day early but I’m excited about it and this is my blog so I’m going to scream about the holiday. I have family in town from AZ, our house is super-duper clean, and I’m off work until Monday. So, you see, lots of reasons to be obnoxiously upbeat about the season.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish Gideon the Ninthgideon the ninth
  • Write 3000 words

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish Gideon the Ninth
    • Yes! That book was difficult to put down, I tell ya what.
  • Write 3000 words
    • YES! I finally just went where my interest was and wrote some Solavellan fanfic. Dragon 4ge day is December 4th (my birthday!) and there was a list of prompts for fanworks. I’ve been writing to a few of those prompts, with plans to share the oneshots throughout the day on Wednesday.

Weekly Word Count: 3,199

This week went by SO fast. I spent the majority of my time cleaning and mentally preparing for having visitors over. Plus a bit of writing and reading. So, a good week. I went to a party hosted by the Editor of The Audient Void which was specifically for creatives. I got to listen to some amazing poetry, see a woman play her custom harp (which was probably one of the most beautiful, bewitching things I have ever seen in my life), and even read my short story, The Cost of Rain. It was a fun night full of support and good vibes. Hopefully they’ll do it again sometime.

There was a Friendsgiving over the weekend, which was a blast as usual. So basically, lots of housework, reading, writing, and social activities.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Read 2 titles
  • Write 3,000 words

Keeping things simple this week. It’s the holiday, we’re hosting, and we have family from out of town. This is not the week to set lofty goals. I do plan to post the book review for Gideon the Ninth over the weekend, and I just finished reading a graphic novel last night. The big question mark for the week is the writing. I won’t have much time, just late friday and all day Saturday. But, I’ll be recovering from the holidays, so who knows what that time will actually look like.

So yeah, easy peasy lemon squeezy. Hopefully. I’ll be back later this week to talk about Gideon the Ninth.

Until then, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #47

The end of the year is creeping up. Does anyone else feel like they’re running out of time?

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read Gideon the Ninthgideon the ninth
  • Write 5000 words

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read Gideon the Ninth
    • No. But, I read two graphic novels and finished an audiobook, so I’m not sad about it.
  • Write 5000 words
    • Hahahaha… No.

Weekly Word Count: 649

I hit a major inspiration block in writing this week. I don’t know if I’m just burned out, if work is too stressful, or if this just isn’t the right project for Nanowrimo, but I’m not being very productive this month. I keep bouncing between the novella and fanfic, and then bouncing between fanfic projects. Then, when I feel totally uninspired, I play video games instead.

I like the idea of writing, I feel that familiar mental swirl of a story taking form, but I lack the motivation to actually put ass to chair and make it happen. I’d rather read, play video games, or watch Disney+. It doesn’t help that my family will be here in a week and there’s still a lot of chorin’ to be done.

Let’s just blame it on stress and move on.

I finished playing Uncharted 4 and Beyond: Two Souls. I liked them both, a lot, and am glad to have played them. They were both right up my alley and long overdue.

I decided to withdraw Lifelike from a market that had it for over six months. The website hadn’t been updated since April and the email for the editor was no longer valid. I think it’s safe to say that wasn’t going to get picked up. Exodus: Descent was rejected today, but it was a personal rejection, which is always nice. Both stories will be submitted somewhere else by the end of the week.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish Gideon the Ninth
  • Write 3000 words

Keeping it pretty straightforward again. I have no idea what writing project I’ll work on, and honestly, I don’t much care. I just want to write before the holiday sneaks up and steals all my time. We’ll see if anything demands my attention.

I’m just over halfway through with Gideon the Ninth now. I expect to have it done in the next couple of days. I finished listening to City of Ghosts and will have the book review up before the end of the work week. I want to start listening to the sequel, Tunnel of Bones sometime this week too.

So, yeah. Lots of reading, writing, cleaning, and working. We’ll see where that takes us before the holiday season swallows me whole.

Talk at you soon, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #24

This week felt really long, Bloggos. And not in the best way. I got some pretty bad (and unexpected) news on Friday, and while I spent the weekend recuperating (I replayed Detroit Become Human ALL DAY Saturday) it’s safe to stay I’m still reeling a bit.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Polish In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Work on something fun!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yarp. You can read my review of Knight’s Shadow now!
  • Polish In Great Need of Ghosts
    • Nope. Still waiting on some feedback and giving the story some distance.
  • Work on something fun!
    • Yes! I wrote some tumblr prompts and worked a tiny bit on my giant fanfic series. It felt really good to come back to it after all this time.

Weekly Word Count: 1,178

I’m a little distracted today. I have a phone interview for a job I really want, and I’m trying to distract myself with writing this post. It isn’t really working. I read things, wrote some things, and played video games. That’s it.

Next.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Work on something fun!

I think a week off is enough for me to return to this story with fresh eyes and try to iron out what the hell is wrong with it. The problem is that I like a lot of the story, so the problem areas aren’t super clear. That’s why I’ve been waiting for feedback. Maybe new eyes can enlighten me.

Sorry for the brief post. It’s really all I can manage at the moment. I’ll be back later this week, one way or another.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #7

Hey Blogland,

Yet another week has passed us by, with absolutely no regard for my feelings on the matter. As usual. Damn inconsiderate of it, really.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 3k on Tavi
  • Work on something Santa Sarita related

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 3k on Tavi
    • Nope.
  • Work on something Santa Sarita related
    • Nope.

Weekly Word Count: 4,492

That’s an awful lot of words for no progress on either of my projects, so what gives? Well, back in December I signed up for a Valentine’s exchange in my Writer’s Discord, where we would basically be a secret admirer for another writer the week of Valentine’s Day and celebrate by creating content for them and generally making them feel loved. I ended up writing a Mass Effect oneshot (fandom speak for short story) in two days. I’m actually pretty proud of how it turned out.

Honestly, I think I needed the break. I’ve been pretty stuck with Tavi this month, and feeling pretty down due to the lack of writing. Busting out this story in such a short time and liking it as much as I did was a big ego boost. I needed it.

Between that, a bit of reading, and lots of working hours, that was my week in a nutshell.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish Tavi chapter 12
  • Write one tumblr prompt

Given my rocky, stumbling steps this month, keeping things simple and straightforward is really all I can do. As of this moment I’m feeling upbeat and hopeful. I’m reading, I wrote a bit last week, and I finally have some clue where the heck this scene of the novel is headed. Add some caffeine and sprinkle in a playlist or two and that should be a recipe for success.

But, Anthem releases on Friday. I have zero expectations after that. This is the first new IP from Bioware since… Dragon Age? That was 2009 y’all. It’s been TEN YEARS since Bioware made something completely brand new. And it’s beautiful, and the hype is so so so real. I’m warning you now, I am going to go silent for a while and that’s okay. I’ve planned for this.

plan gif

So. Yeah. Reading, writing, and video games. That’s the week ahead. Hopefully in that order. If so, I’ll be back later this week with a review of Lies Sleeping.

Until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #6

Blogland,

As much as I like to complain about math, for once it just made me really happy.

Remember a few posts ago when I realized I had seven rejections in the month of January? That number hit me hard. I’m still not entirely sure why, but man, it hurt. Like… Seven? In one month? Yikes.

But then, I did some more math. *GASP*

Image result for the horror gif
Me whenever someone suggests I do math.

Guys. Thirty percent of my rejections in 2018 were personal. 30 PERCENT! That feels amazing! I did that math and I was over the moon.

But, do you know what doesn’t feel so amazing? Another fucking migraine.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 2k words on Tavi
  • Write something Santa Sarita related

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope. I started to draft a second post for Saturday, but that obviously didn’t happen.
  • Write 2k words on Tavi
    • Nope. More on this in a second.
  • Write something Santa Sarita related
    • Nope. Not even a little bit.

Weekly Word Count: 980

So, this week was rolling along just fine until Friday night. I didn’t feel well the further into my shift at the library, but I went out to celebrate the one year anniversary of a local business anyway. My first clues should have been the smell sensitivity and the hot and cold flashes. But with the weather so out of control here, I didn’t think anything of it.

By the time I went to bed Friday night, I knew there was a migraine incoming. I took a dose of advil migraine and went to bed. I had Saturday off and could spend the day nursing the headache if need be.

Except this was the worst migraine of my life. I didn’t leave my bed for two whole days unless I was puking. I tried to eat easy things, ramen. Crackers. Water. Nothing stayed. So I just lay there listening to I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and wishing I could sleep or eat or something. i'll be gone in the dark

So, yeah. That’s why nothing happened over the weekend. I’d planned on writing another blog post, writing more on Tavi, and maybe even working on Santa Sarita a little.  I couldn’t even keep my eyes open, let alone look at a computer screen. But, I did have a little breakthrough on the chapter I’m working on, so at least I know where I’m headed for now.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 3k on Tavi
  • Work on something Santa Sarita related

I have to try and make up for lost time. We all know that as soon as I get my hands on Anthem next week it’s all over for me. I’m going to fall off the radar for awhile. That means this week will have to carry the bulk of my word count for the month. I’ll admit, I’m not feeling particularly optimistic about my odds right now.

But, I’ll do my best, like I always do, and hopefully that will see me through.

Until later, Bloggos.

 

BZ