New Beginnings


New beginnings

I’ve been neglecting this blog an awful lot. Not only that, but I feel like what I’ve posted, have been things that I have posted in order to post something, or because I felt like complaining, not because I’ve had something useful or even entertaining to share. I know I am far too self-critical here, it’s kind of my thing – but still, that’s not why I wanted to start a blog in the first place, nor the kind of blog I want to have.

Now, to be fair, I have had my fair share of work- and money-related issues, stress and burnout, which was far worse than I thought and which has ultimately lead to my being on my third month of sick leave. No wonder I couldn’t find the energy to write what felt like “proper” blog posts, or even post more often.

There, now all the complaining is out of the way. The point of this post is that while my life is getting a proper overhaul (looking for a new job, working out…), so will the blog. I haven’t gotten very far, I have basically just come up with the new colour scheme (the title image contains a tiny hint of what the new blog will be like), but it’s on its way.

The blog contents will also change. At this point I cannot say exactly how, but fewer status updates and more actual useful content, in the first place. A more coherent visual expression and a colour scheme that actually suits me. More graphics. More like the blog/website I actually wanted to have, not the one I ended up with.

What to do with what I already have is a question that’s still up in the air. There’s a lot of old stuff. Lots of plugins and widgets, some active and some not, and I’m no longer sure which does what. Lots of workarounds that are no longer necessary, but which I don’t really know how to undo. I don’t really care to show new readers much of the old content, and let’s face it… I don’t have many readers here at all. It seems like a good opportunity for a brand new start, so I’m leaning towards moving this blog to a subdomain (I don’t have the heart to delete it, and I have enough space), and starting a brand new blog here. Or, alternatively, buy a new domain. I’m really not sure. I’m never sure to be honest…

 

And then there’s the question of the name. I ditched The Dragon and the Vagabond, it became too… stiff. Then it became just ciuva.com – but I’ve never really liked that; it doesn’t say much. It’s my nickname most places online, but still… I could of course separate the art blog (using my username here) and the writing blog, but that would also feel wrong. I do want a blog title that says something about who I am and what I do. As far as I can see, these are my alternatives:

  1. Keep Ciuva.com as both the address and the blog name
  2. Keep ciuva.com as the address, but rename the blog to reflect what it’s about. Let’s face it, few people google my name… 😛
  3. Keep ciuva.com as the address, but use my real name. I don’t think it’s hard to find out what my real name is, but I might actually write under another name, and that might make it weird.
  4. Keep the domain ciuva.com,  but use a name that reflects the topic and purchase a domain to go with it.
  5. Use my real name and purchase a domain to go with it.
  6. Do either number 3 or 5, but with whatever I decide upon as my pen name, not my real name.

If I decide to go with option 4-6, I might use ciuva.com as more of a portfolio site. The blog will of course be updated when I post something new, but perhaps it’s better with a more static site. Kind of like this:

Overview new system

The writing blog, whatever it will end up being called, will be the thing that links it together. I’m not sure if I’ll actually have an author website, perhaps I’ll just have a domain for my pen name and redirect it to the writing blog, who knows.

Aaah, decisions. I hate them. I always change my mind and agonize over everything.

Not the new colour scheme, though. I like the colour scheme. Once I’ve fine-tuned it.

A teeny tiny little update

I finally found back to this blog after my unplanned three-month hiatus. Some things have changed – for the better or for the worse – and instead of writing paragraph after paragraph, I decided to go for a simple list of news, resolutions and other updates:

  1. I won NaNoWriMo 2016 as well, with barely more than 50k. I had very little energy and focused on the class challenge at my gym (which I nailed, btw, I even won a backpack and some other stuff). But I won, and I’m happy.
  2. Rogue Sorcery is just as unfinished as it was when the autumn began.
  3. But I have fixed some fairly important plot issues. And made some more work for myself, but that’s to be expected. I really like the changes. Should also be mentioned:
  4. Without my writer friends I would… well, I might have gotten the same ideas, but it would have taken much longer. They are awesome people, all of them.
  5. Mental health took a nosedive and is now on its way back up.
  6. I finished the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2016, but not without drastically reducing my goal. Still had to read a lot for the last two days of the year to make it, so I’m happy.
  7. Stuck in a job I had high hopes for but which is less rewarding and more stressful than I thought, becoming a writer – an actual, nearly full time writer – has become more important than ever.
  8. As being a writer has gone from something I want to do to something I desperately need to do (not because I think it’s particularly lucrative, but because it’s what I want), I’ve realised that I really, really, really need to make time for writing, and get the ball rolling again.
  9. I would really like to make the literary version of a webcomic (literary as in “just words and no pictures”, not because a webcomic by default isn’t literary – I’ve seen several examples on the contrary). At least something ongoing that I can keep adding to and which I can share online with minimal fuss.
  10. Aiming to start setting aside more time to write during the week. Surely I can cut down on some of my “watch pointless stuff on Youtube” time.
  11. Also aiming to blog more. Granted it doesn’t take much to blog more than once every three months, buuuut still. I’m hoping to be able to blog once a week or so. I have missed blogging. And writing. Frankly, I’ve missed lots of stuff.

I don’t remember if this was all I had intended to say, but here it is. What have you guys been up to? (If anyone is reading, still)

Life choices, editing schedule and this blog

It’s Sunday and I’m trying to muster the initiative to get up and make some dinner. So far it’s not going particularly well, so I thought I’d procrastinate by writing a blog post instead. Because my head works so well when I’m hungry…

Life choices

Two days ago I finished my last translation gig on Fiverr. After doing far too much for far too long and ending up in a place where it’s not healthy to be, mentally, I paused my gig and decided that enough was enough. For one thing, it’s hard to be a writer without any time for writing. My life for the past 6 months have been the following: Get up. Get early to work. Translate a bit before work starts. Work. Go home, eat quick dinner (maaybe exercise first). Translate until brain stops working/you see double/you’re falling asleep at the keyboard. Fall asleep, repeat the next day.

I love languages, and I used to love translation, and it’s been a lifesaver, but when you sit down to work and feel physically ill just from opening the document… it’s not good. So now it’s DONE. I have time to write. I have time to do nothing without feeling bad about it. I can go to bed when I feel tired without pushing myself to just do another page first. I can go work out without feeling bad about the time I spend doing it. Do I need to go on? That first day, I rejected four jobs. Normally I’d feel bad after the first one, and do the remaining three. But now? Nope, I was polite but firm. Victoryyy!!! (aaaand that’s the cue for the song from Lord of the Dance to become stuck in my brain. Again.)

Editing schedule

It should not be a surprise to anyone that with a life like what I described above, I certainly did not make the editing deadline that Cicilie and I had set. By a long shot. Luckily (for me), she didn’t either, and so we postponed it. Again.

This time will be the last, however. I have made a plan over how much I need to write for the next month, and I am only a little bit behind. I have some days off now, so I’m actually confident that I’ll be able to catch up very soon. My ambitious goal is 15k today, which is doable for me, but I want at least 10k.

Our new deadline is October 1st. That’s the goal we are working towards, and which I’ve written in my new plan. We also have another deadline, October 16th, which is the absolute deadline. No matter what the draft is like and how much we have edited, it is to be handed over at that point, sort of like we did back in December. That will allow us some planning time before NaNoWriMo as well.

The actual schedule I’ve made for myself has me finishing the draft on September 24th, except if it turns out to be very much longer than anticipated. Then I will have one week, perhaps plus two more, to fix the new sections I’ve had to write. Time will tell if this is actually realistic this time.

This blog

…will not change all that much yet, though I’ve looked at new themes. However, I have a dancing/training blog that I hardly ever use, and I’ve also felt like three blogs is a bit much. I do write about dancing and health and exercise and whatever else is going on in my life here anyway, so it’s not like the change will be all that great. Any thoughts? Would you hate to see that kind of content here?

It should be said that if I do it, I’ll figure out a way to let you choose to see only blog posts from a certain category/topic. Besides, I feel like I cannot devote enough time and attention to maintain all my blogs properly, and perhaps it will be best to have one main blog in English where I do all my stuff. Seeing that it now has both writing and painting and drawing and language and photography (soon) and all that stuff anyway.

I really do wonder if I will ever be able to write more than one or two entries in a row without discussing something or other I want to change with one of my blogs…

Grumpy post: 4 things I hate online

Generally I try to keep this blog on topic, or it easily descends into a “woe is me” chaos. But occasionally I need to rant, and particularly after researching website stuff (how to move an entire website and all those fun fiddly things) I really need to get it out. There are some things I absolutely loathe online, and some that I just generally dislike. The funny (read: enfuriating) thing is that many of these things are done by those who teach other people how to make good blogs and websites… So to everyone out there making author websites or writing blogs or whatnot – please don’t do these things?

1. “Subscribe to me!!111!” popup boxes

Here’s a tip: Popups aren’t any less annoying when they appear in the same window, or contain an e-mail subscription box instead of ads for dubious pills or even more dubious dating sites. As far as I understand getting as many people on your mailing list as possible is a thing. I’ve seen people recommend using these popups even if they dislike those abominations themselves. Because, well, subscribers. Why??? (You even made me bring out the extra question marks!)

Subscription popups make me seethe with internal rage every time I come across them, and it’s actually not an exaggeration. Throw a huge subscription box at my face and prevent me from seeing the content I came there for, and I will click the tiny, hardly visible X, and then I will click that slightly more visible X in my browser, not seeing any of the content you’ve worked so hard to make. I don’t like being nagged, and I have only ever continued to read a blog that had those once. No, that’s not an exaggeration either, and I only did it because the content was so fantastically useful to me. It’s not like subscribing will make the popups stop appearing either! They just come back over and over and over and over again until you feel like gouging your eyes out with a spoon.

Told you it was a grumpy post.

What happened to having a visible but relatively unobtrusive subscription box in your sidebar, so that people can subscribe without being forced to or nagged every time they visit, and focusing on writing content that people will want to read? Everyone has at least one needy friend who constantly needs to validate your friendship. Is that the person you prefer to spend time with? Nope. Nothing makes me more annoyed than being disturbed in my reading by a jiggly, brightly coloured box that obscures the whole text. Seriously, I would not be surprised if they started playing music soon.

Which brings us over to my next hate object:

2. Websites with auto-playing music or ads

Oh no, the travesty.

Honestly most websites I visit are not stuck in the nineties/early 2000s and know that websites with music that play automatically are annoying. But apparently not all. As someone who almost always listens to music while browsing, it is really annoying to have your favourite song interrupted by some bad tune with bad quality playing at top volume.

In reality most of these are auto-playing ads. It does not make things better at all. As I often listen to music, I have sometimes had a moment of paranoia when trying to figure out where the talking comes from. Is someone outside my window? Has someone walked into my apartment (even though the door is always locked)? Has it become haunted? Am I hearing voices?

In fact yes, it usually turns out that I am hearing voices. The voices of annoying salesmen in even more annoying ads, as it turns out after a bit of digging. Very fun if you have gone through your bookmarks and have open perhaps twenty tabs. (Which little, easily ignored ad box in one of these thirty tabs that I am reluctant to close is the one that is playing, and how can I make it shut up? Can I really do it in time before I throw the monitor out the window of sheer annoyance?)

I guess it should be a lesson that having twenty tabs open simultaneously is a bad idea. But sometimes you need it. Research, people, research! (And news about the latest k-pop scandal *ehem*)

3. it’s a seeecret

You promised to teach me to do <thing>, damnit! And only now, when I’ve read past countless reviews and you telling me how fantastic this thing is, you say that I can’t learn it unless I pay you or subscribe to you or something like that? Ugh, no thanks. I’ve just spent ten minutes or more reading all about why I should learn it, the benefits of learning it, who else is learning it, what people say about learning it, the history of teaching this thing, shameless praise of yourself disguised as objective facts, and so much rubbish fluff writing that my brain feels like dying. You think I want to give you money in addition to that? Yeah, I get it, you are selling a thing (or the knowledge of how to do a thing) and you want to make sure that people think they need it and that people want to buy. But could you do it in less words?

The same goes for blog posts or websites that go on forever before they even get close to the point. Seriously, why should I care? I don’t want to know why, I want to know what.

Tiny little tip: Personally I subscribe to other people because I like their content (shock!) and would hate to miss any. Not because I want free gifts, or something the non-subscribers cannot get. If you write good content, I will subscribe. If you try to bribe or confuse me into subscribing? Nooooo. I refuse to believe I’m the only one who thinks like this.

Seriously, some of those blogs feel like telemarketers in blog form.

4. You have to promote yourself!

This one is partially inspired by this blog entry on the blog whimsydark. It writes about the particular kind of “shouty” promotion, where authors promote and promote and promote online, trying desperately to build a fanbase and a social media platform, and it doesn’t help. Because they come off as desperate and annoying, and the potential reader still has no valid reason why they should read the person’s book.

The same problem goes for some art blogs and photo blogs and whatnot. Yes, I’ve bought the books of people because of their social media presence (though I hate that expression). But do you know what? None of them shoved their books down my throat, none of them talked relentlessly about why I should like their book, none of them kept trying to sell things to me. Informing me about their books or art and where I can buy them? Fine, absolutely fine. Constantly shoving this information in my face whenever I even consider visiting their website or blog or twitter or facebook site? Oh hell no. (So what did these authors whose books I bought do right? Well, they were generally awesome people. They gave advice, for free, they talked about their interests and their writing process and their life and their pets and their pet peeves and whatnot, and while they also talked about their books, they were real people. Don’t be pushy cardboard cutouts, people. Be a real and non-annoying person.)

The bottom line is this: I want to decide for myself whether or not I will buy something, or what I like. You wrote/made/invented the thing, of course you like it. You have no way of knowing if I will like it, so stop pushing. Yes, I will buy your book, thank you for telling me about it. IF it looks like a book I would like. But not if you keep shoving it in my face. That’s in fact the best way to ensure that I will neither by that book nor future books by you. Petty? Perhaps.

Summary!

Here are some short guidelines to stop being intensely annoying online:

  1. Don’t nag me more than my mother does. Seriously.
  2. Don’t be pushy. Let me decide for myself whether or not I like your book/website/whatever the heck you sell.
  3. Don’t interfere with my browsing experience. Don’t make me hunt for a tiny little ad with plenty of sound. Don’t throw huge popups in my face that prevent me from seeing the content I came for. Don’t make me waste my precious time hunting for a tiny, little, near-invisible X to read your article.
  4. Don’t be a tease. If you promise to teach me about doing X or Y, then do it, instead of throwing a “oh wait, haha, you have to pay for it” at me aaaaall the way at the bottom of a far-too-long page. Especially after forcing me to read all those empty fluff sentences.
  5. Don’t be desperate. Nobody likes to buy stuff/spend time on stuff/read stuff out of pity. Show me why I will like it. No, no, don’t tell me, show me. I’m not a difficult person, except if people try to guilt trip me into something. Then you’ll see difficult.
  6. Don’t follow advice blindly. Even mine. If someone tells you that you need to have subscription popups, but you actually hate them, why would you still have them? It genuinely baffles me.

Ah, it feels good to vent, even if the people who need to see these italics-riddled complaints probably never will. Do you have something to add to the list?

 

Changes!

Some days ago I made the abrupt decision to switch webhosts. It wasn’t a new idea, since I used several different webhosts and registrars and whatnot, but I couldn’t really be bothered before. I had also thought about moving my photography over to this site, but I never got around to it. So now I’ve made quite a few changes:

  • Made a hosting account with Bluehost instead of JaguarPC – I wasn’t necessarily unhappy with JaguarPC, but had heard good things about Bluehost. There was a Memorial Day sale with a really good price for the first year, so I just did it.
  • I’ve pointed my ciuva.com website to that domain, and let me tell you, I had some nerve-wracking hours when I tried to upload the website contents to the new host via ftp and couldn’t get it to log me on. Turns out I had been too impatient and the changes had not properly propagated yet. If you visited my website and saw that it was down yesterday, that was the reason.
  • I have cancelled the hosting for my csandal.com website, as well as cancelled the domain renewal. No point in paying for something I don’t use, and if I’m moving my photography to this site anyway…
  • I have also cancelled the renewal for my first domain, which for some reason has kept going even if I thought I cancelled it years ago. The most clunky URL ever – tales-of-charbakin.com. I chose it because Tales of Charbakin was, at the time, the name of my series, but I didn’t really think it through. I am thinking of using Tales of the North for something though…

So now, or at least as soon as all the changes go through, I have everything in one place. Just one single cpanel/hosting account to log into. It’s great! All the verification and security and information that Bluehost provides is a bit overwhelming and feels a bit too much, but I guess I shouldn’t complain.

I have some more visible changes in mind, but I am not sure when I will implement them. I will have to decide what to do first. I think I have decided on a theme, but I want to make sure it looks good first, and that the way I have organised things is good enough.

I’m sure none of you are really interested in this, but somehow I apparently had to write it, so… Well.

Tomorrow I’ll finally start editing Rogue Sorcery again. I could have started today, of course, but I have had five and a half hours of dance practice today, plus two yesterday and three the day before, so I feel too sorry for myself. Really painful feet are quite distracting… As is the Irish dance music that is stuck in my brain. I’ve tried listening to metal and disco (of all things) (not at once of course) to drown it out, but it still sticks. Perhaps k-pop works. 😛

Ready for Camp?

Since it so happens that my deadline for writing the next draft of Rogue Sorcery coincides completely with the deadline for Camp NaNoWriMo, I have decided to officially participate in it, even if it’s not a full rewrite and definitely not a first draft. To compensate, my goal is 80k, not 50k. In order to prove that I am sometimes a responsible adult I won’t even make any super-ambitious goals this time around. Mostly because I cannot bend the laws of time to my will yet. (I wish!)

Perhaps participating in Camp will help me stick to my deadlines. Because so far this deadline thing isn’t going very well. (I’ve only committed myself to following the main deadlines of my plan, right? Right?) I am supposed to have revised the ending of Rogue Sorcery fully by April 1st, but considering I also have two translations due before the weekend… Yeah. No.

I can plot an ending by then, no problem, but a good one? That’s a bit more problematic. Same goes for figuring out the problems with the old one. Currently it’s a bit too “whoops, look who happened to be in the right place at the right time!”. I feel a bit hesitant to change things around too much at this point, especially since the rather vague changes I have in mind will add a lot more words, but I might have to. The main question is: Will they all end up in the same place in the end as I had planned (which is a bit too convenient, really), or will they actually do stuff separately? But then what will Group B do (the ones who are not fighting the main baddie)? Are they even travelling? Perhaps something happens in Village A that means they will go back there? But then who does that? Does it have something to do with the plot in Forgotten Sorcery? Or perhaps C’s background, which has been sort of an unresolved issue? Do they even go to Fortress A? Isn’t it a bit too convenient that they reach the city where Group A is exactly at the right time?

Clearly there are some issues going on here. I could of course just say that it’s my good old perfectionism that rears its head again, but it’s better to tackle potential ending issues now rather than later. My gut feeling isn’t happy about it anyway. Besides, I have a couple of ideas. Some are rather easy to implement, others are more extensive and require changes to be made almost throughout the book. And some carry more weight, plot-wise, than I would really like. Still, everything’s up in the air right now. I haven’t found any one idea that really work, that ties everything up nicely while leading into book two, that is sufficiently dire and not too conveniently neat… Why are endings so difficult?


 

I am also working on my website nowadays. I have an unused photoblog and I’m not too happy about the layout of everything, so I’ve been thinking heavily about it. My current idea is to have one subdomain for my art and one for my photos, with separate wordpress installations (so that they can have themes customised for the content (For example a photo header for the photo section, while the art will have a painted one) and can be reached neatly and easily), but I haven’t completely decided yet.

I could of course put everything inside my current WP installation, but I don’t want it to become too cluttered, and then I would have to find a layout that works equally well for my photos and art and writing and blog and everything. In other words, I would never actually get it done. I just discovered that there is a plugin that allows you to have a completely different theme for certain pages, but I expect there will be a significant amount of tweaking there too. For example, the gallery pages will probably not have a sidebar or many widgets at all, or they might have a featured image section and so on.

Also, wouldn’t it be easier to direct people to art.ciuva.com than to a page address? If I link from my deviantART account it would be more sensible to link directly to the art section rather than the front page of everything. I can link to the gallery pages in the menu anyway, and there will still be only one blog (this one).

Or would it be confusing with three different themes? I cannot decide! The art and photo sections will most likely have the same theme, only with different graphics, in order to look similar, but they will all look different from the main site. Unless I change that too… Ideally I would find a theme or a design that works for all three sections, but I somehow doubt it.

Of course, to add to the problem, there are no themes I am 100% happy with. Either they don’t have the right fonts, or the right colour options, or they don’t work completely right, or I get frustrated because I cannot tweak that tiny little thing I apparently really, really need. Typical.

Anyway I think I have decided to stick to the subdomain idea, now if I can only decide on a theme…

Shameless Self-Promotion Saturday!

Today I met up with Cicilie at Starbucks for a write-in of sorts – it’s becoming quite the tradition – and I got absolutely nothing useful done. Well, I got some work-related business done (some e-mails that needed to be dealt with), but apart from that… I’ve had problems sleeping for the past week, so I wasn’t exactly focused or able to do anything that involved much thinking. But the coffee was good, at least 😉

The Saturday Snippet will start again in two weeks (next weekend is the Sketchbook Saturday, and yes, I do like alliteration, how did you guess?), but I wanted to post here anyway. I am redoing the galleries on the site (my photoblog is officially dead, long ago, and so I’m adding the photo galleries here), but I’ve talked about redesign and organisation and such so many times that I don’t want to inflict that on you guys again. And yet I found a way to talk about it…!

Instead, I decided that a little self-promotion is in order. I am normally hilariously bad at it, since I feel I’d be putting myself far too much forward. On the other hand, if you want to sell something, you can’t exactly hide it, so I thought I’d just mention that you can actually buy my art and services. I will freely admit that my art has certain room for improvement, but that improvement is happening (I hope), and I’ve seen far worse for sale.

Free at last - new

Fiverr services

Fiverr is a website where people offer their services for 5 dollars. That is, 5 dollars is the base price, and then you can select add-ons or get custom offers. I have two gigs currently active:

Translation between Norwegian and English: This is my most-selling gig, where I translate between the two languages. It has somehow also become what people order when (by agreement in advance, of course) they need something else done that is too specific to make a gig for. In other words, you may not need translation, but there is a whole lot of other things you may need done.

Portrait of your character: This is a newer gig, where you can request a portrait of your character. If you can write but cannot paint, this is your solution! The header was a bit rushed, but I haven’t had the time to redo it.

Green

The deviantart prints shop

 

I may have talked about my account at deviantART (or I may not), but I also have a print account there. Yes, that’s right, you can buy my art! People have actually bought my art, as a matter of fact, and I only know one of them. No threats or bribery here, in other words 😉

You can find the shop here.

I have not put all my deviations (art uploaded to dA) up for sale, but that’s merely a matter of coincidence. If it isn’t already too full of awesomeness, you can also take a look at my regular deviantART gallery. You can request a print to be made of any picture not already available as a print (it will be stated underneath the thumbnail). I thought there was an actual button for that, but it seems as if they removed it in the last redesign. But just send me a note, comment or e-mail and I will fix it.

I also have a separate account for my photography on dA, but it’s mostly old stuff now. I will update it as soon as I’m finished redoing the galleries here on my own site.

Commissions

If you cannot find anything you like in my shop, I am open for commissions! You can request one through my Fiverr gig above, for example, through e-mail or via deviantArt. I do require that you contact me first, however, just in case I have my hands full with other work at the moment. In addition to portraits I also do things like custom fantasy maps and similar.

Well, that’s it! Go and check it out!

 

 

 

The magnificent list of 2016 goals!

As promised, here is my list of 2016 goals. But I also remembered that I forgot to mention whether or not I reached my writing goals (or writing wishes, as I called them) for 2015. I forgot everything about them, actually, as soon as everyday life began again…

  1. Do something writing-related at least three days a week. I forgot to keep track, and I don’t think I managed it in the first half of the year, but since the summer I think I did it more often than that.
  2. Win NaNoWriMo. Which I did, with a new personal best and three stories.
  3. Win and overachieve at least one Camp NaNoWriMo. Yeah… no. I don’t think I even tried.
  4. Write at least one second draft for a story, preferrably Rogue Sorcery or the Madness. I actually did this for Rogue Sorcery! Granted it’s more like a second first draft, but still.
  5. Finish Ancient Elvish. No, I didn’t do this, but it was a conscious choice since I did a LOT of worldbuilding instead.
  6. Update blog at least once per week. I didn’t do this, but I came close in periods.

Now for this year’s goals!

Not all of these are purely blog- or writing-related, but as they are related to my creative pursuits, I’ll include them all. Most of them, if not all, should be very measurable, and while some of them are optimistic, I look forward to going through them again next year.

  1. Write 2000 words per week. Perhaps this is ambitious, but I also think that it is necessary. Not only will I have to write considerably more than this if I want to be a published author, but also I have several first and second drafts I really need to work on. Besides, it’s less than an hour’s worth of work at my writing speed.
  2. Read Cicilie‘s manuscript. I cannot remember the deadline we set, but this is in the “very soon” and “absolutely non-negotiable” category.
  3. Update the blog once per week, in addition to the Saturday Snippets. Yep, new year, new attempt. Time will tell if it goes better this year.
  4. Work on painting and/or drawing at least once per week. Because I am done with using all my (admittedly rather scarce) painting time getting back whatever skills I lost during the last break. During 2005 and 2006 my painting skills improved by leaps and bounds, but the last five years they’ve felt stagnant. I’ve thought a lot about it for the past week, and have come to the conclusion that, while I have prioritised writing in the past few years, painting is a just as important part of me, and thus this year will be an experiment in doing both.
  5. Comment on at least two other writing blogs per week. Because a writer should not exist in a bubble.
  6. Comment on at least five pictures on deviantART and/or Epilogue per week. See the previous point – you don’t get feedback if you don’t give it, and I think it’s important to be aware of it. I’ve missed my little corner of the deviantART community, whatever else you may say about that website (for good or bad). There’s a lot of good stuff there if you know where to look.
  7. Get a picture accepted onto Epilogue in 2016. This was my number one painting goal for many years, and I think it’s time to dust it off and start working on it again. You see, Epilogue has quality requirements which I haven’t been able to meet, at least not when I so rarely paint backgrounds.
  8. Post at least one new picture at deviantART per month. If I manage point 4, this will follow quite naturally as there’s no point in not posting what I’ve painted, but again, useful to have a definitive goal.
  9. Figure out what to do with my photography website. Keep the gallery? Keep the blog? Scrap it all and move my photos here? It’s time to figure it out and stick to that decision.

So! Quite optimistic goals this year, but after this autumn I feel like I can accomplish anything, and I really don’t want to waste another year when I know what I really want. In other words, this is the year to pursue my dreams and to do my very best at making them come true.

I’m not dead

Well, here we are, around three months after my last update. I never intended to be absent for quite so long, but I never really did anything worth mentioning here. I did do some editing during March (thanks to Cicilie, mostly), but it was mostly trying to pick up where I left off and realising that huge things needed to change. I also had big plans of doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April. I think I wrote around 1.5k in total, soooo… Nope. Didn’t happen.

I have done plenty of other things, but they didn’t feel natural to write about here. With four blogs it doesn’t take long before you feel like you’re constantly repeating yourself, which unfortunately have led to my not really updating any of them. Since last time I’ve focused on getting my health back on track, more seriously (and successfully) in the past week or so. I’ve run my very first half marathon (after three weeks of absolutely no training – how much worse could it really get), and even if I walked a lot of the distance, yes, I did cross that finish line and have the medal to prove it (but on another computer, so I can’t upload it now). I did a showcase with my dancing group on Saturday 2nd, which went okay. I’ve finally started reading again, at least a little bit, and once I’ve read two more books plus the one I’m reading now, I’ll finally allow myself to buy books again. I’ve had a rule to finish all the books I own before I can buy new ones. It’s worked really well – some books ended up at the used bookstore because I didn’t really want to read them, but that’s fine. I’ve taken up running again. I’ve applied for a two-year course (part-time) in business economics, which I think will be interesting. I’ve spent quite a lot of time at work or in meetings (sort of related to work). I’ve cleaned my apartment from ceiling to floor, getting rid of quite a bit of unnecessary stuff.

But. There are also quite a few things I haven’t done.

I haven’t continued working on my conlangs, even if I do need quite a few more words before I write the second draft of Rogue Sorcery (for the place names). I did some work on them in March, but there is still a LOT to do. In that vein, I haven’t continued my worldbuilding either. I haven’t written anything new, apart from the one chapter for Camp NaNoWriMo, and I haven’t edited anything old. I haven’t painted (apart from, I think, a quick sketch a month or so ago) or drawn, I haven’t made any of the maps I wanted, nor have I played any of my instruments or written any songs or done anything remotely creative that I might write about here.

Perhaps I needed some time off from my creative pursuits (which felt more and more like chores) in order to get other things back on track. I needed to get back into dancing, to work out more, to clean and tidy my apartment, to get all those boring little things off my mind. I needed to allow myself some time to do nothing or watch trashy TV series (I have now watched more World’s Strictest Parents and Toddlers and Tiaras than I ever want to watch again), time to spend with my friends, to go for walks, and to spend enough time randomly browsing the internet to realise that yeah, might be fun to do something productive again. I think that’s been really necessary for me now – to move painting, writing, editing, conlanging, conworlding etc. from the “should/must do” category to the “want to do”. At one point I simply had too many things on my mind, fighting for attention.

So what now?

First I’m going to finish those two books that I have left to read, plus the one I’m nearly finished reading now. Then I’m going to take a week or two (or three) before I buy new books, to simply re-read old ones. And perhaps do some conlanging. Then I’m going to finish the maps, and work some more on the culture and history of the country in which Rogue Sorcery takes place. And then I’m going to re-plot the whole thing. Again. But it’s necessary.

That’s the plan, anyway, but you never know what will happen, so we’ll see. I’ll try to update this more often too!

Oooh, and by the way, today it’s exactly four years since I submitted my Master’s thesis. How time flies! I remember how happy and exhausted I was that day, when I finally could hand in the thing that had caused me so much frustration, after two years of extensions and delays and mental illness and whatnot. I never expected that I would work in an office, happily doing accounts and sending invoices and answering the phone and so on. Things don’t always go according to plan, and I will perhaps never know whether I made the right choice. The road to a PhD is still open, though, at least once I get a paper or two published (who knows when that will happen), but I still debate with myself whether or not I should continue with linguistics or keep working with economics and finance. Guess I should just get that paper written, and then we’ll see. There’s no point in worrying about it, anyway.

Yet a redesign (sort of) + new sketches

Hi all!

It’s a long time since I’ve written here last. I am on day four of my big Editing Month, which so far is going… eeeh. Let’s not talk about it. (I haven’t even edited a single chapter yet)

Of other news, I redesigned the blog again, sort of. It’s the same header and background, only with a light theme this time. I’ve never really been fond of dark themes, and while it looks good in the galleries, I find it quite tiresome on the eyes when I read a lot of text. Besides, I thought it would be a good thing to get it closer to my Norwegian blog, since they’re about much the same thing. Besides, I like the design, and I think it looks neater. I wish you could adjust the fonts a bit more – I have Easy Google Fonts installed, but no matter what I do, I cannot change the blog entry titles on the front page. I do like the intricate font that I use in the header and the widget titles…

Slightly more importantly, I have begun drawing again. I had intended to draw a new header for the Norwegian blog, but of course that didn’t happen. Instead I finished two sketches – the first one based on an old, old picture, and the other just a sketch.

The first one is of a character named Itheluna. I used a lot of soft brushes for this piece, so it looks a bit vague and dreamy. The original sketch was intended to look dreamy because the character was dead, but alas, she is not. She might wish she was – but in any case, she is not anywhere near the main character at the moment, and thus she merely remains in his dreams. While painting I suddenly realised that this is the same character as the also-absent lover of another character of mine. It seems like that has happened quite a lot lately. I had the idea of a military man whose wife was kidnapped, and he spent years longing after her. And then I realised… that’s exactly what happened here, too, except that the character in the sketch is an elf. When I realised that, suddenly important parts of her backstory clicked into place. Why was there such opposition towards him marrying her? Well, because she (perhaps) belonged to a different tribe, and she wasn’t the pretty little wife his family wanted for him, but a stubborn, independent woman who had happened to be on the wrong side in a war.

Possibly.

Itheluna3

sketch3