Progress Journal 2021

Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by SNJade96, Dec 31, 2020.

  1. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    It's done! Finally. I forgot how depressing the last few chapters were, and also how long and detailed the later chapter summaries were. You can really tell I was way more inspired to write this part than the earlier ones, and also there's just a lot more plot beats that I have to get down, so that adds to it. As far as part three...I won't have to worry about that for a while, but I have no idea how I'm going to pull that off yet and still maintain the same tone, since that might turn into a bit of an...action-adventure? Not really, since the only action will be running, but there'll be an adventure aspect to it, at least. I guess that's good, as I see this as more of a developmental book that may get published years in the future after edits, since I'll be able to practice with that sort of genre, which is probably something I'll incorporate into future works. I've been getting a bug up my ass to do a story that doesn't aspire to much, and is sort of just a fun action-adventure romp with some good characters and friendships. And then I got the very shadow of an idea after watching Days of Future Past, so that was fun. But it's not like I'll be working on that - when I say a shadow of an idea, I mean an idea for a single scene and one piece of dialogue.

    But anyway, I didn't actually write anything, but at least I got something done. Granted, part of that was because I wasn't sure whether to include a few scenes or whether to get rid of that plotline, but it makes sense as a set-up for the third part.
     
  2. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    I think the pacing of this next part will be a little messed up, considering chapters 1-10 and 11-20 were both about 40k, and this next bit is looking to be 20k at most, but I can't really judge pacing fully until the book is done and it should be speeding up around now anyway, so I can't deal with it yet.

    Other than that realization, nothing done. I've decided to just take a bit of a break for myself, because I've been struggling a bit mental health-wise lately and this week is going to be...probably the most stressful week I've had in months, so compound that with the lack of inspiration and motivation I've been having to write, or really do anything lately, and I've come to a decision. I have entered a creative writing club that meets once a week, so I at least won't be stagnating entirely. Knowing my track record with breaks, I probably won't even last the entire week I've allotted myself, but that's the amount of time I'm giving myself off anyways. I should come back reinvigorated, or at least with a determination to get something done after an entire unproductive week. And this stagnation isn't just from what I mentioned earlier about breaking up the groove, it feels different.

    Anyway. I'll be around on here, just not on this thread until max Friday. It's very possible you'll still see me here tomorrow, having gotten down 1000 words or something.
     
  3. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Well, shit. I've got another idea, and even worse, I think it's one of the best ideas I've ever had - though honestly, that's not saying much. I'll probably stop for a few days to get the inspirataion out of my system, and since I probably would've worked on something else anyway, as the inspiration for TitN still hasn't recovered, neither has my mental health, and this week is also going to be stressful. Everything is turned down a notch from last week, so I'll probably just stay away from TitN for long enough to get down all my ideas and maybe flesh out a little more this new idea I have, which will henceforth be known as Escape Death, or ED. Dramatic title, I know, but it doesn't actually give a lot away. After all, isn't that what the majority of fantasy protagonists are trying to do, or all of speculative fiction?

    I have been thinking about dipping my toe into science fiction lately, or maybe even dystopian, since I've been focusing mainly on fantasy because I enjoy the worldbuilding. Either way, that won't be relevant until I finish TitN, which at the rate of about ten chapters a month should be...around May? I have decided to fully cut the fourth part I was planning on of the MC's recovery, since I can always write it later if I feel the need to. That'll just be the first draft, and I probably won't go back to working on it immediately. I'll probably send it out for beta reads and work on something else in the meantime, and then once all those are back to me in full begin edits. I doubt I'll be only editing TitN at the time, and I'll probably be working on something new at the same time, since it'll get pretty dull just going over words I've already written instead of writing new ones if that's all I'm doing. Edits will probably begin late May to early June, and from there, it depends on how much I have to edit. The timeline has been pushed back a bit because of a few things that I've been informed will be happening in those months that will disrupt my writing. It is very possible I'll finish before then, of course.

    I've also decided to really double down on trying to read more again, since I want this new book to have better prose, and my prose is very much based on the prose I read - and I'm not very picky with prose, so the majority of the books I've read have prose that's only passable. I do know enough to know that saying prose that many times in one sentence would not sound very good in a book, at least.

    So anyway, I do have a relatively solid timeline now:
    Around Wednesday - go back to TitN
    Early April - Finish part two
    Mid May - Finish part three
    Late May-Early June - Begin edits, and other new project
     
  4. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Halfway through February. Crazy, isn't it? Sometimes the days fly by in quarantine, and sometimes they crawl. Thankfully, they've been doing the former recently.

    I've rediscovered an RPG that I loved a few years ago, which gave me the idea for ED, by the way. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten any further ideas for ED nor have I managed to refine the current ones any further, so I'm thinking of phasing myself back into writing TitN earlier than planned. I've decided to skip the scene I'm having issues with writing, because I'm still conflicted about whether I should keep it in or not and I think I can make a better decision with the context of the later scenes already being written.

    I keep having to remind myself that I'm allowed to be bad, since this is only my second MS, and everyone has to start somewhere, but it's still hard. Oh, well. I'll just keep trucking on and ignoring it and hopefully it'll eventually disappear.
     
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  5. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    I'm never going to take a break this long again. I guess it's not even that long by most standards, just a week, but it sucks. I didn't realize how integral writing had become to my daily life until I stopped doing it, and it doesn't feel good to not do something so normal. And it's so hard to get back into it. Maybe it's just because I'm going through a weird phase right now, my mental health is still on the decline, as it does periodically, and everything just feels unreal. I'll figure it out eventually. I keep getting excited to have a full uninterrupted month of writing, and then something like this happens and screws it all up.

    Despite that, still nothing written today, and no new ideas for ED. It's a fairly straightforward plot and I got most important plot beats in taking down the first ideas, so that makes sense. Or maybe it's the opposite of straightforward? I'm not a good enough writer for a weird story-of-a-life plotless novel like this. Would it be literary fiction? Possibly. It's hard to tell.
     
  6. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Well, turns out that existential crisis was a precursor to a depressive episode, and though I tried to write, it was shit and I was bored, and if I'm bored the reader's going to be bored, so I decided it was better to waste my time doing something I felt like doing and might help to pull me out of this. It's been a while since I've had one this bad. But anyway. I'm getting back to myself. I'll give myself the time I need to not feel like I'm drowning anymore, which might coincide with my finishing a series that's fairly bad, but I'm enjoying it in an ironic way, and I'm recognizing a lot of the flaws with my own writing in it. So at least I'm practicing recognizing those issues, at least. I might learn a few lessons from it.

    So I've really just been listening to music and lazing around in my free time. On the bright side, I'm still in that creative writing club, and there's talk of doing a long-term project, so that might finally kick me back into motion when that all gets sorted out if I don't get myself back into it. And I've been writing a few short stories in it, and they've been good, so at least I've been writing a little.

    I'll start writing again eventually, but this isn't what I'm relying on for cash, and my mental health comes first.
     
  7. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    I tested positive for Covid. In my mind, there's two ways this could go: Self-isolation could make my mental health worse and thus my creativity will tank even farther, or I could find inspiration in isolation and have more time to write. I'll try for the second one, but I expect the first is what will happen, because it's already starting. Also, for anyone who's concerned: I'm fine, I just had a runny/stuffy nose for a couple days, and that was it. I'm now in self-isolation until next Thursday, which means locking myself in my room all day, because I live in a small house with five other people, so that should be fun.

    Again, I'm not going to push myself to do anything, but I think there's a relatively high chance that the boredom will push me to try and write something just for something to do. Although, I have been thinking about writing a lot, and I think that I should start making my novels more like my short stories - because I love writing those short stories, and the majority of my short stories sound like the jumping off point for novels anyway, because that's really what I see them as. My short stories tend to be a little weird, where it's unclear as to what exactly is happening, there's a few details thrown in, and the prose tends to be a lot better. However, I'm a little concerned that a lot of the things that do work for short stories won't work in full novels. I think part of the reason I like my short stories so much is because there's no dialogue, and I'm fairly bad at dialogue - maybe not as bad as I think, but I'm definitely not good. The main reason I got on this track of thinking is that I've been getting ideas that fit with that sort of style more, including ED and another one I got a few days ago that I haven't mentioned that I'll call Destiny Lesson. That name doesn't even make that much sense even taking the story into account, but it just needs to be identifiable.

    But anyway, that doesn't matter until I finish TitN. We'll see how I feel then, I suppose. Was it really only December that I finished part one? It feels like it's been so long since then, but it's only been three months. Time passes so slow in quarantine. So that's just what's been happening, thoughts on the future, etc. I need to start taking short breaks every now and then, maybe a few days a month, just so that this doesn't happen again, though I suppose it wasn't entirely because of burnout - it had to do with mental deterioration, too. Which, by the way, is getting better, slowly but steadily. Hopefully, that doesn't reverse now that I'm isolating.
     
  8. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    Glad to hear you're not suffering a more severe case, Jade. I know 2 people that have been hospitalized with it, and a friend of a friend who died. One of the ones hospitalized said they felt mild symptoms and then it just nosedived insanely quickly. So make sure to not take any chances. Stay safe!
     
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  9. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Yes, I'm very lucky that I got basically the mildest case possible without being asymptomatic. It's disrupted my life for sure, but I can't really complain about it, especially considering some of the people I live with are most at risk, so we all have to be very careful. I think all the symptoms are gone now, but I'll definitely pay attention to make sure they keep on the incline.
     
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  10. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Well, I haven't been here in a long time.

    The past few weeks have been incredibly stressful for a myriad of reasons, most of which I can't share on here, but I can say that I'm going back to semi-normal - basically, my schedule will be the same as it was before the pandemic, I'll just be wearing a mask and taking all the other precautions. If you ask me, it's far too early to do that, and though I suppose I don't have to worry about catching covid now that I've had it, I could very well spread it to someone else. I guess I'll at least be forced into a normal sleeping schedule again.

    So that stress has exhausted me since I last posted, meaning the time I do have to write, which will be much less once the changes mentioned above happen, I've spent doing other things that alleviate that stress. Which was good for my mental health, but not exactly good for my novel-writing efforts.

    Despite that, that's all winding down now. I wasn't going to write as much as I did before, anyway, since clearly that's not a good idea. I've been thinking writing every other day, or having a limit on the amount of time I can spend writing daily so I don't exhaust myself again. I'll have to move that window of allotted time later because of the schedule change, meaning I'll probably now be doing the bulk of my work from 8 p.m./9 p.m.-11 p.m./12 a.m. Having to go to bed, especially since I'll now be waking up earlier than normal, will probably be a good way to limit the time I spend writing. I think this limited amount of time might suit me better, anyway; I tend to get the most work done in a window of a few hours, and then I just spend the rest of the time staring at a blinking cursor. My productivity tends to be at its best when it's later, too, so having the time pushed back will work well for that.

    I'm not going to push myself to write every day again, though, especially while I'm acclimating to the changes happening in my life outside of writing. I won't be getting as much work done, but I'd say getting words down matters a hell of a lot more than how fast they're written, especially after a severe period of burnout.
     
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  11. alw86

    alw86 Active Member

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    Welcome back! I'm another one who needs to be careful about not burning myself out. I find 2500 words four days a week is about right for me. Hope you can find a workable balance!
     
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  12. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Some work done. Got down the basics for a new idea and...I wrote! That took me long enough, huh? There'll be a few inconsistencies I'll have to work out in editing as a result of how long it's been, but I'll handle it then. For now, I just want to keep up the momentum. For an exact number: 308 words. Not much, but exponentially more than I've gotten down in almost two months.

    I've also got a sort of plan worked out for now. I think part of my problems with burnout before was feeling like I had to meet a specific word count to feel productive, and my prose suffered as a result. Instead, I'm going to allot two hours to writing, starting around nine every other night, and focus more on quality of prose instead of how much prose there is. As long as the work is good, it doesn't matter how long it takes, and being a bit of a slow writer doesn't make me any less of a writer, it just makes me a specific kind. So I'll be trying that out for a while. Maybe I won't need as much free time and I can write for longer without burning myself out, but I'm also coming back in after a long break, so I'm not going to immediately pressure myself to write any more than that anyway. And I do have other things I'm working on that also need time.

    For future projects, I've also decided to write a semi-autobiography in the MC's own words to understand the character better - and yes, this is a blatant ripoff of someone else's idea, but considering it's not anything that would ever be published and is a character development technique, I'm pretty sure that's fine.
     
  13. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Well, it's been a while. I haven't really gotten much done since my last post, so I didn't see much point in posting and repeating the same things over and over. Basically, for the first time since I was around five, I just...didn't want to write. Normally, even if I don't have the motivation to write I still want to do it, but I didn't. So I figured I'd just try something else for a while. For example, I've picked up guitar again, which I've barely played in three years.

    Not that I've been doing absolutely nothing - I've been getting a few ideas, but I haven't really been excited about any of them. I've also been working on a fantasy religion for the past few weeks, though I'm not sure if I'll ever use it for anything. I just really enjoy making religions, or any worldbuilding for that matter.

    But now, there is a reason I'm posting again! Probably not regularly for a while, but now that it's summer I might be here a bit more. I tend to be in a lot better of a mood during the summer, because it's warm and sunny and I have more time to spend with family, so they've always been my most productive months. It's not just the changing of the seasons, I do have a concept that I've been slowly trying out different plot ideas for - basically, I was struck by the idea of being alone at a crossroads, with no one to consult, no one to talk to, no one to help or consider in this big, life-changing decision you're about to make. I was kind of considering a boarding school setting for a while because boarding school stories were some of my favourite ones when I was a kid (yes, including the cultural juggernaut you're thinking of), but I thought it through a bit and it doesn't really work with what else I have figured out.

    And I'm on a bit of a hiatus from the book I was working on before, because every time I even think about trying to start writing it again or go back to the program I used, it feels like all the creativity and drive I've regained are being sucked out of me. I'm not happy about it, but I feel like if I start trying to write again with that I'll quickly fall back into that spiral I was in a few months ago, including all the mental problems and stress. At least I wouldn't have to deal with everything else that happened there.

    Actually, I did write something, I just forgot about it. There was this story I got really excited for, it was going to be a little more dreamlike and conceptual than my usual fare, and I was really psyched about it for a couple days until I tried to actually write the prologue, at which point I was hit with a massive wave of self-doubt and imposter syndrome and that whole "my writing sucks and will always suck." So yeah. That's fun. Obviously that's something I have to work through now, though I do miss the days when I was able to just shove that aside. I think I could if it wasn't for the imposter syndrome, but there's no point in wondering about dwelling on hypotheticals.

    Anyway. I'll end this before it becomes an essay. I now have about seventy notifications to go through, so I suppose I'll be here again for a few hours.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
  14. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Okay, so now that I'm trying to get back in the saddle, I've really got to figure out: What the hell went wrong?
    1. I've said this before, but devoting pretty much all my free time to writing was a bad idea. I got really burnt out, obviously.
    2. To be fair, it wasn't just writing-related things. There was also the deterioration of my mental health and a lot of real-world events converging and shaking up my life.
    3. I think I was writing it for too long. I don't mean a repeat of the first point, as in I got burnt out because I was writing too much, but as in I have trouble focusing on the same thing for longer than a few months without getting bored and needing to do something else.
    4. This ties into the third one. I didn't really care about the book I was writing. There was a period at the beginning where I did, but eventually I was writing it more because I wanted to finish a book, and less because I wanted to finish this book. Does that make sense? I think so. Obviously this sort of thing is going to ebb eventually as writing becomes more routine, but I should still get excited when I really think about it, and I didn't.
    5. Imposter syndrome/self-doubt. The culprit at the end of many writers' breakdowns. I started getting way too into my head and caring about the quality near the end there, and I basically thought everything was terrible, and telling myself that all first drafts are going to suck didn't help because I didn't really absorb it.

    So - I can't really report anything until I come up with more ideas for the concept I mentioned earlier, so I might be gone for a while again, but I'm just going to keep that there as a warning to myself and others of what not to do. I'm probably not going to come here to say anything daily, but I'll probably keep a daily journal for myself that I might share here occasionally. And maybe I'll eventually be doing this daily again. We'll see what works.
     
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  15. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Been relatively busy for the past few days, including getting my first filling ever (I am absolutely shocked it took this long). I got down a few ideas, though.
     
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  16. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    I still have no inspiration/motivation/want to write anything. My muse just wants to work on this fantasy religion. Why? Why does it refuse to do literally anything else that's actually productive? I'm not sure personifying this "muse" to blame it for my lack of productivity is a good idea at all. It's me that doesn't want to do anything else. But that's just as weird.

    Whatever. At least I'm doing something. Still working on that guitar, though. I'm getting my calluses back. I forgot how much I enjoyed it.
     
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