Coming near the end of another year brings many people to reflect back on what they've done since the prior holiday season. I had plenty of goals that I wanted to accomplish in 2018, but few of them materialized. Last December, I was already a month into having mono without knowing it.
Despite having a long weekend to go with the Thanksgiving holiday, I have gotten very little done in the past few days, at least in the way of writing or photo-editing. Early in the week, the cooling fan for my laptop decided to go on the fritz, and I'm afraid to do too much work on any of my files due to the warning messages I keep getting about the fan. I often run through hardware before my software becomes obsolete, but each time it happens, I always wonder if it's worth getting repairs done or if I would be better served buying a new computer.
There is a lot of advice floating around out there concerning growing your social media followers and how to promote yourself (something every writer wanting an audience needs to do), but the marketing gurus I watch don't seem to receive much interaction from their tens or hundreds of thousands of followers. Maybe their analytics show that their posts are getting a lot of views, but I can't help but notice that they aren't getting very many likes or retweets... So how effective is their advice if their followers don't seem to believe it's worth sharing?
One of the things that I've found helps me in my editing (particularly dialogue) is when I assign a specific voice to my characters. This may be a celebrity or a person I know from life, but no matter where the voice comes from, it's always distinctive to me. Someone I've heard talk a lot. Someone who I've seen and heard express a wide range of emotions.
I'm betting it's safe to assume that the average American is looking forward to Tuesday night/Wednesday morning when the midterm elections will finally be over and political advertisements will cease for a while. I certainly won't miss the influx of junk mail and robo-calls. However, I doubt that things will calm down once the results are in and the winners announced. A month ago I posted an entry entitled “Us Versus Them” Helps No One. The feelings behind that post are still strong, but the results of these elections I feel will continue to divide us.
So with the start of November on Thursday, we will once again see the start of NaNoWriMo. I have yet to decide if I'm participating formally or not, but I do see a number of writers on social media gearing up for their projects. I love the encouragement and community that NaNoWriMo and its additional camps creates for writers both new and old, but the writing process itself, pushing to hit daily word count goals, doesn't work well for me.
I think all of us who write fiction will agree that most of us have things we will not write into stories. The obvious topics or scenes would be things we find to be boring or tedious to read, those things that make us skip ahead in books or put them down altogether. No one wants to find their own works boring, correct? Other omitted items may include those things we find fascinating but don't lend themselves to our preferred writing genres...
I spent most of last week feeling pretty lousy. Between humid nights, stressful days, and a stomach bug that left me unable to finish my meals, I had a hard time sleeping at night. Work kicked my butt in ways I didn't even notice; I started training a new employee, making my office hours fly by, and I clearly was not drinking enough to stay properly hydrated. Then on Thursday evening, I drove to Cleveland straight from work. I had spent most of the day feeling half-sick, but once I got to my hotel room, I finally started to relax and unwind. I knew it would be a great weekend, because I was attending my third Supernatural convention.
So for anyone who frequents social media, the past few weeks have probably been rough. Now, I will not downplay the trauma any person has felt as a result of assaults or honest discrimination, but there is a major problem if someone decides to demonize half the human race due to the actions of one or several individual(s). Not only is it unjust to hold someone accountable for something that they did not even bare witness to, but you will exhaust yourself doing it.
This past week, I began editing the abandoned novel manuscript I mentioned in last Monday's post, and for the first time in several months, I feel like I am making progress on a worthwhile project. While this feels amazing after so many weeks of struggle and frustration, I also want to keep in mind the other goals I set while on vacation. It's easy to get distracted by my old habits and to fall back into my routines, but these won't allow me to move forward.