Nanowrimo Again

It’s the most wonderful time of the year?

Nanowrimo came into my life for the first time when I was a freshman in college. I still remember the plot of that very first attempt, even though I didn’t even come close to finishing the story. It was about about a college freshman who felt very dissatisfied and through some plot-convenient bit of magic was offered the chance to wish herself into various futures by changing various choices she had made in her past.

I only made it about 5,000 words in, but I will never forget the part of that story where my main character (whose name now escapes me but I’d wager it started with an A) awoke to find herself as an obnoxious diva Broadway star who was deeply disliked and her husband and best friend (also based on people I knew) were having an affair. She was desperate to find out how she could have let her life get like this and immediately went looking for her journals to find a record of her choices up to this point, only to find, horror of horrors, she had ceased journaling many years ago.

Thinking about what I was going through emotionally doing that year, my story doesn’t surprise me. But that first nanowrimo didn’t change my life.

Or did it?

I changed a lot that first year of college and I faced a lot of my own emotional turmoils. There were plenty to come, but that second true attempt at writing a novel (My 1st had been based on Sailor Moon fanfiction and that’s another story for another day), solidified in me that I dreamed of one day writing a book or two or three or even four.

The most awful choice I could imagine myself making so many years ago was to stop writing.

It’s a choice I’ve almost slipped into a number of times over the years.

I am not an obnoxious diva hated by everyone forced to deal with me on a daily basis, but there are large gaps in my journals and lots of days (weeks, oh let’s face it, months) over the past few years when I got no writing done. I won’t delve into the reasons for that here for the time being, but I want to bring it up because this year I am once again attempting a true nanowrimo because…I need to.

I need to get myself into a habit again. A habit I once considered an utter sin to for me to give up.

At the end of this month I will emerge, hopefully with a novel about the 1981 longest professional baseball game, but definitely with the knowledge that I can return to myself, the one part of myself that no matter what else changes I always want to be able to lay claim to. Writing is not what I do. It is part of who I am.

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Time flies when the earth goes around the sun

I know. I’m lazy. But I made myself a New Years resolution that I would write myself something really special. Which means I have ’til December, right? – Catherine O’Hara

Maybe it’s a casualty of having a January birthday, but I’ve always found myself a little bit delayed when it came to reviewing my past year and thinking about the next one. I can never seem to get up the energy to do that on January first. I always think to myself, “That’s a birthday thing anyway.” This year especially, because, despite my best efforts to think of new years and birthdays as nothing more than ephemera, it’s hard for me not to acknowledge that I’ve got a whole decade to look back on. Not just a year.

2015 was a weird year for me. There were moments of sorrow and joy, just like any year, but I think this was the first year that I truly began to consider myself “an adult” (sort of). Several events stand out as the reason why, but I think I’m going to highlight one in particular.

In February, my beloved grandfather passed away at the age of 93. He had lived a long and loved filled life and looking back on this has caused me to reevaluate a lot of my priorities. For a long time, at the top of my life goals list, were fame and admiration of others. I wanted to be liked, but not because of who I was, but for what I had accomplished. I thought that the only way to get people to like me was to be the 100% absolute best at what I did; to have a high profile career, etc. My grandfather worked in a dairy. None of you know his name. But there’s nothing wrong with that. His life was still a beautiful story of love, struggle, and triumph. From this I have two new goals for 2016 and the next decade of my life:

1. Better cultivate and care for my relationships with my family and current friend groups and be more open to making of more friends and joining of communities. 

Even if that means I have to start using facebook again.

2. Do the things that make me happy. Live life with joy and be less concerned about the perceptions of others.

I realize that both of these things sound tremendous wishy-washy, and believe me I do have a large set of more specific and concrete goals taped above my desk. I just want to highlight that January is a lovely month. It comes with its own refresh button.

Also, sometimes, it snows.

I really don’t mean to fall off the grid; I’m just clumsy

It’s October! When did that happen?

I suppose you lot might be wondering where I ran off to.  Wouldn’t you like to know? I’m still not sure. I certainly wasn’t in the Alps trying to find the mystical Tatzelwurm. Though what a boon for Season of the Witch if I had been. You’d all forgive me the then, right?

What I do know is: I’m still alive, still kicking words around. It’s just been one crazy summer on this end, let me tell you. And, things are not about to calm down any time soon. In fact, this month is probably going to be the craziest. I’m down to the final draft wire on -secret project- and also in the midst of a big move because timing has never been my strong suit.

That being said, let’s get to the updates, shall we?

So, about that, uh, early August release for Season of the Witch #9. In case you haven’t noticed, that didn’t happen. I wanted it to, but I also want the work that I deliver to all of you to be of the highest possible quality and, to be blunt, it wasn’t there. That’s left me with a lot of important decisions mainly because of the experimental nature of Season of the Witch.

I don’t know if anyone other than me really noticed this, but each issue of Season of the Witch so far has been set exactly a year prior to its release date. It’s part of this whole grand vision of an experiment in distribution as well as form (blah, blah, blah). Yeah, I’m willing to admit that sometimes my ideas not only outstrip my time and abilities, but also what really is necessary. While I’ve always found the dating system “clever,” it’s not important to the story and it’s incredibly limiting to let so much time pass between events. Plotlines that I want to develop end up by the wayside. I find it difficult to introduce new characters because their introduction would have taken place in the intervening time, etc. I suppose that if I were releasing an installment weekly or even monthly, that wouldn’t be as much of an issue, but, see the above mention of wanting to make certain I release a quality product that I feel good about and can stand behind.

I suppose this is a long, roundabout way of saying that the action of Season of the Witch #9 will take place only a few days after Season of the Witch #8, but it probably will not be released until January. I will have more details soon. I hope this doesn’t disappoint you all too terribly. I am considering beginning work on the graphic novel editions (whether we reach the Patreon goal or not) over the winter *crosses fingers* and for these editions to fill in story gaps, so don’t worry, the wait is going to be worth it. I hope.

(This is why I ultimately choose Patreon rather than kickstarter, fyi. I -knew- that the posting schedule might end up getting a little, flux, if you will.)

The rest of the updates are way more amorphous, but they include good projects and loads of edits and rewrites of older projects that all may come to life/light some day in the future. I will do better about keeping you updated. In fact (though, oh how many times have I said this), I hope that I will be updating this blog a lot more in the future (as soon as I figure out what to do here other than keeping up updated on my writing  – or a way to translate that into a more regular posting schedule).

Oh! and, Patreon subscribers!, if you haven’t received the email yet, I recommend reading this blog post.

 

 

Goal Lists are Goal Lists, Belated or Not

Okay, so it’s a almost two weeks late at this point, but here we go! It’s a post that will probably be of no interest to the majority of you, but will hold me accountable to my goals (and who knows maybe you all will hold me accountable too): Housekeeping, [Writing] Resolutions and Goals for 2015!

Every so often I make about a million new years resolutions or write up a 101 in 1001 (which I’m actually considering doing again this year because I made a -few- too many new years resolutions), but then I forget to stick with them. Whoops. Then for a few years I don’t make any because “haha! Look at us fools and our arbitrary concept of time!” *shrugs* Anyway, I feel like this year you get the best of both worlds. I made a ton of resolutions and I’m writing them out two weeks late because…well… we’ll blame the arbitrary concept of time. I won’t bore you with all of them (at least not until I get the latest 101 in 1001 sorted out), but I figure this is as good a place as any to be accountable to writing goals.

  1. Submit and display more of my work publicly. 2014 ended on a bit of a high note for me. One of my short stories was accepted by Interlude Press for their Summer Love anthology. This was big news; partially because they’re a lovely bunch of people and they accepted my work, but also because it was the first thing I had submitted to a journal or anthology call since 2008. Yep… Rejection scares terrifies leaves me cowering in the corner of my room weeping before I’ve even submitted anything. It’s a tough world out there. This year, I’m going to try to choke down the fear and put more out there. Maybe There will be rejections. That’s a given in the creative world where everything one does is so utterly subjective. Still, if I don’t put myself out there, there’s also 0% chance that I will get to hear the worlds “Congratulations!”
  2. Speaking of rejections…last year I got a lot of “this isn’t for me”s in regard to The Black Guard Chronicles, which is unfortunate, but with the help of some lovely editors and workshoppers, I think I’ve got a plan of rewrite action, so I will be putting a lot of energy this year into getting those rewrites done and maybe someday Dosia and her crew will see the light of day.
  3. Season of the Witch seems to be moving along nicely, which I am definitely proud of. The seventh installment is on tap for my birthday (!) and the eighth (which features Clarissa – I bet you all thought I forgot about her, didn’t you?) should be available in mid April. I hope to release two, if not three, additional volumes this year, as well as begin work on a print edition. Now, of course, I shall shamelessly plug the patreon. I will continue Season of the Witch through to its natural end and all ebook versions will be free no matter what, but your support means the world to me and allows me to do more with the world.
  4. I will learn more about marketing this year…and actually implement what I learn. In the past, my marketing of my own work hasn’t been great. I tend to rely heavily on passive discovery, which I don’t really think works as well as I would like. Actually, I think this accounts for the lags in some areas (*cough*WDYSSAY?*cough*). This year, I want to try more active marketing, but don’t worry, I’m not going to be spamming you with “support my patreon!” “buy my book!” everyday. Anxiety gnaws at me even thinking about it.
  5. Finally, behind the scenes-wise, I’m playing around with a few new ideas, but nothing’s concrete enough yet to make a definite decisions. Just keep your eyes peeled.
  6. Oh! Also! I will update here more often. Maybe some stories. Maybe some poems. Maybe just some musings from yours truly. I promise this is actually going to happen this time.
stay tuned for the 101 in 1001

Making My Way Back to Cleveland…

The other night, I watched my beloved baseball team play another away game here in my new home. I have done this twice and have been lucky enough to see them win both times. It always makes me very nostalgic for Cleveland to see them play. I know that’s something you don’t read often: Nostalgic for Cleveland.

Honestly though, I think both my old and new homes just have tiny (and by tiny I mean small giant sized) self-esteem problems.

As a young girl I always dreamed of living in New York. As an adult, while I still love the vibranacy that I feel when I visit the Big Apple, I feel my talents are more suited to the Midwestern metropoli that I’ve grown up among. It suprises me, actually, to see how regionalist my writing truly is. Personally, I don’t see this as a bad thing. Ohio and Michigan are both much more than the media represents them to be (a.k.a. boring brain-traps from which there is no return) and they both deserve good literature written about them. These areas are most certainly -not- culturally dead.

It makes me feel like a true artist to be here. Because true artists get in on the ground floor.

If only I could separate my poetry about the locales from baseball metaphor. There’s only so many times you can reference League Park and keep it fresh.

The plight of the researcher, pt. 1

I will never adjust to the dramatic temperature shifts that summer work in an office requires, methinks. It is currently almost 90 degrees out there (I don’t even want to imagine what the humidity levels are; but it’s certainly oppressive. This is the Midwest, after all.). In here, it’s somewhere around 50. I realize we have to preserve the media. The Preservation Specialist trapped in my brain goes, “yay – low humidity and slightly chilled” but my poor goosebump covered legs are proclaiming otherwise.

I finally got around to reserving some pictoral works of Detroit history for some background research in Sebastian’s story. I should be able to pick them up this afternoon and I am quite excited. Unfortunately, finding this information was significantly more difficult than the notes on Polish culture for Dosia’s chapter. I find that a little odd, but I imagine the issue could be settled if I could find the time to get myself to the Bentley during research hours. They seem to have everything I need, but don’t want to share any of it. *grumbles something about archivists*

Sometimes I wish that I was the type of author who could go to wikipedia for this sort of thing. Do a quick google search. Not find the answer. Make something up. But -no-…

Because that, my friends, is the way of the weak and lazy. Mine is the way of more work than strictly necessary.