Back, & Back At It

Back, & Back At It

Back from vacation- I survived! Well, except that I’m sick now, so I suppose I shouldn’t speak so soon. I always get sick when I travel. Air ports are goddamn Petri dishes. And I was so careful! T-T Oh well, it’s just a cold, more annoying than anything else.

Had a lot more fun on the cruise than I was anticipating. I’m not a drinker and my partner is, so I wasn’t sure how that dynamic would play out. Plus travel and crowds hella spike my anxiety, but it was actually a lovely time. I got plenty of sun; the view was always incredible. Did some fun stuff at the various ports and, most importantly, got some reading in!

I sped through Howl’s Moving Castle within the first two days and loved it. Very IMG_5769interesting to see the similarities and differences between the source and the Ghibli adaptation. I really want to read the sequels now. Then I started Truthwitch and MAN what a book. I’m halfway through and I know the whole series is going on the TBR list. When am I going to have time to read all this stuff?! Very exciting, though- I love finding new favorites.  Reading such awesome stories has really got me inspired to write again, too. I bought a lil’ dollar pocket notebook and have been jotting down ideas for a new fantasy. Plotting and world-building again is so enjoyable and a great pallet cleanser after finishing another round of revisions on my manuscript.

Speaking of, I wrapped up revisions just in time to enter Author Mentor Match. I have no idea if anything will come of it as I still have a hard time judging if the book is ready. I certainly feel better prepared than I did for Pitch Wars. I knew that was a shot in the dark- I had barely finished the manuscript when I entered. I’ve done a lot of polishing since then. I think my greatest hope (aside from being selected, obviously) is that I get some sort of defined feedback to better guide me in where to go next. We shall see.

All told, I’m loving where my writing life is right now. I have a finished story I adore and I learned a ton about the craft in the process. I’ve got my toes in a community that seems really supportive and fun and I’m dying to dive deeper. I don’t feel as frustrated or impatient with myself anymore. I write more and feel burned out less. Hopefully the trend only continues to improve.

The only thing that could make me happier is ditching this cough and maybe some warmer weather. (And a request for a full in my inbox, of course)

Countdown to NaNoWriMo (Don’t Panic)

Countdown to NaNoWriMo (Don’t Panic)

Three days till NaNoWriMo. Not gonna lie- I’m not ready!

I was supposed to have my cosplay for Daisho-con wrapped up before NaNo started so I wouldn’t be trying to juggle both, but I haven’t had as much time to craft as I was hoping. I’m building Sesshomaru this year and I’d say I’m about 50% of the way there. I have a kimono, pants, and wig all purchased. I have the tail/pelt thingy half-way done, hoping to finish it tonight. I have fabric for the sash. But I haven’t even started on the big piece I’ve been dreading – the chest armor. Hopefully I can rope my boyfriend into helping me out (he’s great with foam) and chip away at it. If I can get that riddle solved, all I really need to do is pick up some colored eyeliner and thrift a simple pair of black boots. I’m trying not to stress about it. I keep reminding myself that it’s just a fun little hobby and if it doesn’t turn out, no big deal. But I’m a perfectionist in all things, whether they be serious of purely recreational. Someday I’ll figure out how to dial my dang broken brain back.

Beyond Sessho, all I need to do is just a couple (supposedly) quick upgrades to Garfield the Deals Warlock and I should be all set. I’m also bringing Haruko (FLCL) and she doesn’t need any work, thank gawd.

The larger problem is that since I’m behind on crafting, I also haven’t been able to prep and plot as much I would have liked. At least I have the benefit of having already plotted out this project a long time ago. Hopefully as I dig into my old notes I’ll have enough to go off of in the beginning. If I can get a decent momentum going, the blanks should fill themselves in. I already proved to myself with the pitch wars deadline that I can write a ton if I stay focused. 2019 might just be my year.

Once NaNo is over, no matter the outcome, I want to circle back and focus on revising part one. Hopefully with some much needed help from the writing community, I can be in good enough shape to start querying in the New Year. I’ve found a ton of awesome resources through pitch wars that have elevated my writing game to a whole ‘nother level. My understanding of the publishing process has expanded times ten since I entered. (I’ll need to compile a list and post it because these resources need to be shared- wish I had found this stuff a long time ago!)

I’ve been dreaming about writing a book for ages, and it feels like only in these last couple months have I finally buckled down, gotten serious, and made real tangible progress. It’s going to take a little bit of sacrifice to keep this train on the tracks (I’ve already suspended my Warcraft subscription- there’s no time for games!) but it already feels worth it. I’m so excited to see what happens next!

Seeya Summer

Seeya Summer

I guess the summer is already over. These Midwest summers are like phantoms- blink and you miss ’em. Even so, I feel like I was propelled through this one in particular at break neck speeds. I have never been so damned busy. I’ll be switching to 6 day work weeks soon, so it doesn’t seem my situation is likely to improve. Not till after the leaves have fallen, anyway. But I could certainly use the OT right now, so I won’t complain too much. The Etsy shop has been my only source of spending money lately and I don’t make very much. And as much as I enjoy my little arts and crafts, I really need to shift my focus back to writing.

I haven’t written all damn summer. And I get depressed when I don’t write. I should start small- aim to hit a really low daily word count but hit it every day, consistently. Even 200 words a day adds up over time. It’s all about getting back into the rhythm. And I have no rhythm right now. But as summer shifts to fall, I’m feeling inspired again.

I love fall. I want to make sure I enjoy it this year- do some really stereotypically fallish stuffs. I’m talking apple cider, hay rides, pumpkin patches- the whole caboodle. And, of course, I’m stoked for Halloween. I just need to make a couple more Etsy sales and I’ll have enough to buy the last piece of my costume. (Beetlejuice this year!)

Speaking of that- anyone want to buy a lil’ clay dood?? I mean, if you do, they’re right over here. ;)

clay guys

Other time sinks include reading for book club, (good!) playing Warcraft classic, (very bad, shame on me) and hanging out with Kitty! (best use of time, best cat) Got a few cool things on the horizon but I’ll talk about them as they come. For now, I just want to get back on track. Recalibrated. Focused! We’ll see if I succeed.

Life is Weird

Life is Weird

I started the day by waking up at a quarter to four in tears. I had another dream about my Dad. I was speaking to him on some strange little speaker, and the sound kept going in and out, so much so that I wasn’t sure if he was hearing me. But I loved hearing him. He sounded happy. I’m getting teary-eyed just trying to recount it and I’m heartbroken that the finer details of the dream are already fading away, as dreams always do. When the transmission went out, I tried to call him back and got some strange automated message, something about the recipient having moved on.

I’ll probably never move on. Something I’m sure everyone who’s lost a parent can relate to, young or old. I got out of bed and washed the dishes just for something mindless to do, to settle down before I tried to go back to sleep. On the way back to bed, I stopped in the living room and stood beneath the little black chest that holds his ashes. I stared at the ceiling and wished I could tell him how much I missed him. I had the same old wistful thought- that I should have used the time we had better. I went back to my room and crawled back under the covers. Kitty was right on my heels and curled up next to me, purring. We’ve only had Kitty for a week and already I adore her so much. She’s such a good cat. Such a comfort.

So I’m in a weird head-space today. I feel tired and bleary-eyed and heartsick but on the other hand, the rest of my life is so happy. The summer has finally bloomed, rainy and hot with so many fun things in store. Work is going well. I have a costume half-finished for Renn Faire this weekend and the day off tomorrow to wrap up preparations, which is exciting to me. So strange how life can run such a simultaneous spectrum of sorrow and joy. Guess that’s an obvious observation, but I feel it very acutely today.

Sorry this update is a little weird. Just felt good to write it all out.

kitty

Making Time

Making Time

Happy Spring!

If it would only stop raining already it might be half-way decent out. Not that it matters- I’ve been too busy to enjoy the weather yet. Or much of anything else, for that matter. But I think that’s about to change. I have a couple more weeks left of working six days before I get my second day off back. It’s amazing what a critical difference having a second day off makes in my work-life-hobby balancing act. If I’m busy on Saturday, as I have been for the last couple weeks, I fall behind on everything else. My house is an absolute train wreck right now and it really effects my psyche. Going to burn my day off this week on deep cleaning and doing some long overdue organizing/throwing shit out. I like to have a clean slate when I start to get overwhelmed so I know that will help. My other two goals for the week are to get my Etsy shop updated (I have a batch of stuff already made that just needs to get listed- a more time consuming process than you might think) and edit the few pics I managed to get from Acen. (photo drop coming soon!)

I’m happy I made it down for Saturday of the con this year but, as always, I have a couple regrets. Once again, I really wish I got more pictures. I’m not sure how to rectify this without really changing my entire approach to conventions. If I want to get more pictures, and better quality pictures, I probably need to stake out places with better backdrops, away from the crowds, where I can really take my time. This means I need to break away from my friends and do my own thing (at least for part of the time) and I’ve NEVER done that. Cons have always been something I experience with a close friend group first and foremost. But, especially now that I don’t drink anymore, maybe that’s something to consider? I feel like my not drinking does have a noticeable impact on how I meld with my friend group and has changed how I experience conventions. Still, I don’t know. I have some more thinking to do on the whole thing and I know I don’t have to come up with any sort of definitive answer anytime soon. There were always be more cons and I can dabble with how I approach them as I go.

Speaking of changes, I want to switch up my focus going forward. For the past month or two, I’ve been spending all my spare time on crafting. While it’s definitely been fun and rewarding, and I certainly want to do more (especially with clay- I just started getting into making polymer clay charms and I really want to try some more) I think it’s time to shift my energy back to writing and editing instead. I like crafting and it’s a fun way to spend my time but, since I have so little of it to spend, I really need to get back on track if I want to finish anytime soon. And I really really do.

To a lesser degree, I also want to get back to spending time on non-productive hobbies. I haven’t sat down and just binged out on a video game or anything like that in months. Which, if you knew me, you’d know is incredibly strange. I think I have been consumed with this idea that I have to spend every moment of my time creating something. It’s a pitfall I’ve seen echoed amongst many other folks my age- especially (though not always) other creative types. That all our hobbies need to be monetized, that if we don’t have something to show for the time we spend, that time is wasted. It’s an unhealthy mindset, one that my boyfriend noticed I was starting to slip into when he pointed out how stressed I was getting over making stuff for my little shop. The shop is and always will be just for fun. I don’t really make a profit from it- it’s just a way to make back some of the money I have into materials and to find homes for the things I make rather than amassing a hoard of trinkets I don’t need. But it’s not a job- it was never meant to be. And if I start stressing over it like a job, then I’ve really lost the plot. I mean, I’m happy I’m spending my free time productively. There was a time in my earlier twenties where I would play games in excess- they consumed my life and left room for little else. I’m happy to have moved on from that but now the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. I want to find time to enjoy things just for the experience they give- just for how they enrich my life and give me a break from making.  It’s always a struggle to find harmony in my life, something I’m sure I have in common with many others. Yet, even if things are still a little out of balance, I cannot claim to be unhappy. I’m far from that.

Wishing you all luck in overcoming your own struggles, whatever they may be!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2019! We did it; we survived. 2018 was not an especially kind year for me and those close to me, but I’m feeling optimistic about what’s to come.

The worst of my work for the year is already behind me as I’m just coming off the big Chicago Boat Show weekend. (80 hours in seven days!) Work will start to die back down to its normal hum, which means I can reclaim some of my energy and get back to my projects and hobbies.

I’ve already accomplished one of my major goals for the year, which was to get an Etsy shop up and running. It’s only got a small supply of dice bags and potion bottle jewelry right now but as I get back into crafting, I’m hoping to have more stock and options in soon. You can check it out here! And here’s a few examples of current listings.

Beyond that, I’m looking forward to a couple small upcoming trips we have planned. Travelling has been hard to swing in recent years since money’s been so tight, but I’m hoping that starts to reverse in the coming year as well. I’m switching up what I do at work, taking on a new position and new responsibilities and looking forward to it.

Otherwise I’m just hoping to read more (currently reading Tell The Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams- very very good!), learn new crafts (making plushies, watercolor, & resin molds are at the top of the list), play some gosh dang video games and, finally, FINALLY finish my novel. I’ve recently gotten some really nice feedback on parts one through three of my rough draft. Part four is still kind of a mess but I’m anxious to dive back in and untangle it. Then it’s just the fifth and final chunk and it’ll be something resembling finished. Aiming for end of March, realistically.

Beyond that, I’m looking forward to more cons, more cosplay, and learning more about/practicing photography. I’m certainly aiming to keep busy, anyway.

Here’s to hoping that the new year is good us all!

Summer’s End

Summer’s End

How is it even remotely possible that we’re approaching the end of September already? If time keeps scootin’ by this fast, I’ll be sent into an existential crisis where I’m forced to examine the fleeting quality of life itself and stare into the face of my own mortality.

Also, I’ve been really, super busy.

Still makin’ progress on my rough draft! I wanted to be done with part four by month’s end and, while it’s still possible I make that deadline, this piece is also becoming a bit unwieldy. I was aiming for it to be around 45ish pages when finished, and right now it’s sitting in the mid-sixties. I’m not sure if that’s really where it’s going to land since it’s back-loaded with a lot of content that needs to be cut, but I also have some to add so…hard to say.

I’m just getting so itchy to be done and there’s still the final piece ahead. It’s not that I’m not enjoying the editing process- I am, but it’s a grind. I’ve had to bounce back to my finished segments a couple times now, just to remind myself that it really does turn into something not-so-crappy by the end. I’m also jonesin’ for some outside validation. I’m so ready for someone to read this dang thing start to finish and tell me what they think! I’m ready to see it whole. And I’m getting close. I think I can still have this thing finished by year’s end, but I’m getting impatient with myself. Writing is such a lonely hobby. It’s like I spend years and years isolated, with my head buried in a project, and then it can be consumed in a couple days. Pretty bizarre.

In the meantime, I’ve been satiating my need for interaction through cosplay. Cosplay and sewing and photography are such a great way to take a break from writing. It’s nice to work with my hands and let my mind wander. Plus, it’s a lot easier to create content and the community is such fun. So, that’s been keeping me sane.

Otherwise, things have been quiet. We went to a cool out-of-town wedding, I practiced some portraiture on my mom’s puppers, and I tried on a cosplay I might do for Halloween. (Marceline from Adventure Time, whom I’ve always wanted to redo)

Nothing else to report! Hopefully next time I update I’ll have better news on the editing front. Happy Fall everyone!

A little bit of everything: some of it good, some of it… less good

A little bit of everything: some of it good, some of it… less good

I don’t have any real definitive theme for this post, which I typically like to avoid less this become nothing more than a public journal. But it’s been too long since I last updated and if I don’t get something up I run the risk of letting it go dormant again. I want to at least keep the blog alive through the summer. (which I assume will be easier since the warm weather will bring with it interesting activities to write about) So I guess this update will be a bit of a potpourri, slice-of-life style entry.

Things I’m currently excited about:

  • The new seasons of FLCL finally got a trailer and definitive release dates aaaaaaaand Haruko’s English voice actor is back! (I know that was already announced but hearing her voiceover was just, man– I got chills) FLCL is probably my all-time favorite anime so I am beyond excited. I’ll probably have to wear my Haruko cosplay again sometime this year and then maybe after the new seasons I’ll look at building one of her new outfits? Anyway, I haven’t been properly excited about an anime release in a long time so this is really, really cool. (fooly cool you might even say, right? Aaaayyyyy! I’ll…I’ll see myself out)
  • I joined my first proper D&D group! It’s a girls group comprised of close friends so it’s the perfect setting for comfortably getting back into the game. I played a little one-off scenario a few weeks ago to kind of reacquaint myself with the mechanics and I am excited to get into a proper campaign and an invested character. I rolled a Tiefling Cleric who is Neutral Good and I’m making her super nicey-nice (think Starfire from Teen Titans) cause I think that’ll be a fun style of roleplaying. The campaign starts in a couple of weeks so I’m sure I’ll have another post or two coming about that.
  • Related to that- I just started listening to The Adventure Zone podcast and I am kicking myself for not taking people’s recommendations sooner. It is hilarious– I highly recommend it even if you’ve never played D&D and have no interest in roleplaying- It’s that charming.

Thing’s I’m currently frustrated about:

  • There’s that old adage that you either have the time or the money but never both, so I feel like it’s especially unfair that I have neither. Through a combination of some unexpected expenses and my ill-advised purchasing of little odds & ends that I can’t afford, I am cut off from using my credit card until it’s back under control. Not a huge deal as I have plenty to keep me busy in the meantime but it does suck being so SO broke.
  • And then, somehow, I’ve found myself back in that gross purgatory of having so much I want to do and seemingly no time in which to do it. I have a book I need to read for book club that I haven’t even started (the meeting is in a week and a half) called Little Fires Everywhere, still haven’t circled back around to finish reading The Wise Man’s Fear, desperately want to get ahead in Monster Hunter since I am lightyears behind all my friendos, and I haven’t made any progress on my novel in damn near a month now. My days off have been occupied and after work I haven’t had the energy to really get going on anything. Plus I feel bad ignoring the boyfriend when he doesn’t have any projects of his own and wants to hang out- that time is sacred and comes before most other things.

But I know this is a normal part of the weekly/monthly cycle and I’ll be back on track soon enough; this is just the normal ebb and flow of all things and I need to be patient and remain optimistic. Summer will be here soon!

Speaking of summer, I’m dying for it to get warm and for everything to turn green again so I can start practicing with my camera! I want to get a better feel for it so I can decide whether it’s worth investing in a better lenses. (when I have money again) Also I’ve decided I’ll probably go down to Acen this year for Saturday only, and since I won’t be cosplaying (wouldn’t want to try that without a room) I want to focus on taking pictures. So, excited about that! Then, depending on funds, I may build Sesshomaru for Anime Midwest in July or just plan to have it done for Daisho in November. I’m not in any rush since I have plenty to rewear. Cannot wait!

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