After several weeks of high summer temperatures, the weather turned a bit cooler this past week. I'm very appreciative of the drop in temperatures as I prefer autumn and winter over summer. But the change has also put me in a mood to work on other projects, some old and others new. During the past few months, my focus has been on the work required to launch the first novel in my fantasy series which is geared towards a young adult/new adult audience. I have always been a fan of fantasy stories, particularly high fantasy adventures which introduce readers to new worlds and cultures and lore. But I have also been equally a fan of supernatural and horror-based stories and folklore, and I have several projects which lean more towards these darker themes which I want to spend time on this fall.
Many people in my life don't understand why I get so discouraged and frustrated over missing self-imposed deadlines. But nearly everything in our lives is structured around dates and deadlines, whether you're talking work, school, appointments, sales, applications, or even taxes. There are deadlines or cutoff dates for everything! And by setting deadlines, I am trying to elevate my writing and creative pursuits from a hobby to something more serious.
So over the past couple of weeks I've had some setbacks in progress with my creative goals. Unfortunately, one of those setbacks involves the possibility of getting that separate personal workspace away from my family. But I am not letting that stop me from achieving my goals. I am still pressing forward with my projects and am still on target to have my novel manuscript self-published by midsummer. It's a bit of a surreal feeling, being this close to having this particular story out there and available for people (complete strangers as well as friends) to read. But the closer that publishing goal comes to being a reality, the more I feel like it's less of a big deal than I have made it over the years.
So I'm back from vacation and unfortunately, it was not as productive as I had hoped it would be. While I did manage to get out in the woods for several photography sessions early in the week, during the second half of our time away, I ended up sick and didn't venture far from our rental cabin. This isn't the first time I've ended up sick on vacation, but this is the first time where my family has decided to come home early because of it. I spent most of the ride home and the rest of yesterday sleeping while my body recovered, and then I also slept straight through the night and woke up several hours past the usual time when I would get up.
So it has been a strange couple of years. I had not intended or expected to abandon this blog when the Covid pandemic started, but it happened. When the whole world hit pause on life as we knew it, my sense of needing to create things paused as well. I stopped writing. I stopped editing. I stopped taking my camera out on walks for nature photography. (Granted, travel was not advised in the early months of Covid and therefore, day trips were not an option, but I'm still surrounded by a respectable amount of wild property at home. Lack of travel opportunities is not a good excuse for me on the photography front.)
When it comes to setting and tracking writing goals, many of the websites and apps I've come across allow writers to measure their progress only by way of word counts, and while numerical word goals may be useful to many writers, I find it very narrowminded to limit users of these apps and websites to measuring progress via only word count. There are many goals writers may want to set and many types of writing where word counts will not provide an efficient way of tracking progress.
Again, my weekend was not as productive as I had hoped it would be. After fighting with sinus headaches for most of Saturday and Sunday, I ran into a scene during my editing sessions which reads clunky and rough compared to previous scenes. I know this is the type of writing I produce when following the advice of "just get it written and fix it later," and now I am stuck in a position I hate when it comes to writing. I find myself asking if the current text is worth salvaging or if I should simply start over from scratch. Which will be easier? Which will be more time efficient? Which will get me to a point of being happy with the quality of the scene? This dilemma is why I prefer to address quality during my drafting process. Why write something I know will never make the final cut?
It's about one-third of the way through November, and I've already had a busy month thus far. Every year I know once Halloween has passed, my winter holiday preparations will begin and there will never be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I wish to do. This is why I am disappointed in myself today. Instead of working on any of my many projects, I spent a lazy day in front of the TV and laptop and did quite a bit of pleasure reading too.
October is winding down and that means National Novel Writing Month is peeking around the corner. November can be a great month to be a writer, but preparing for the month-long writing marathon can be a bit daunting. Personally, I never attempt to achieve the goal of writing 50,000 words during November, not with Thanksgiving celebrations and prep-work for Christmas shrinking my free time during the month. But I do enjoy being able to connect with other active writers who chase that difficult goal. NaNoWriMo is a great time to discuss writing strategies, conquering writer's block, planning vs pantsing, and a wide range of plotting, setting, and character topics.
I made quite a bit of progress on my working vacation, and now that I'm home again, I want to keep my momentum going. I cut in half the amount of chapters I have left to edit on my current WIP. Once I finish the last few chapters, I plan to do a final read-through before prepping for querying and pitching in December. I still have my doubts about this manuscript's quality, but then I do admit to having a perfectionist streak in me and needing to get over the fact I can't please everyone.