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…

Wherein plans are changed

Cicilie and I have been reasonable for once – more incredible for me than for her, frankly – and adjusted the original deadlines for our spring projects. Not only does it allow us to have a finished story to post on Wattpad sooner, but it will give us more time to edit our novels (RS in my case) before exchanging manuscripts again. That last point is particularly important since I am a part-time student now, and have to study for exams in the first half of May. I can’t use my regular strategy of bullshitting my way through it either, since it’s business finance and I have to know stuff. Anyway, the new and updated plan (let’s all just pretend that I don’t actually love revising plans just as much as I love making them, which is a lot) is below:

April

  • Write the short Wattpad story, somewhere around 5k. (It’s fully plotted though! Yay!)
  • Edit the short Wattpad story, and actually post it (deadline 30th of April)
  • Enter the new ending for RS into the timeline in Aeon
  • Edit at least 10 chapters of RS

May

  • Edit the rest of RS (deadline 29th of May)
  • Re-read again
  • Finish the plot of the Wattpad novel

June

  • Write the Wattpad novel
  • Revise/edit the Wattpad novel (deadline 30th of June)

In the original plan I had some painting goals as well – they remain the same, so I won’t repeat them here. Except with the caveat that I’m not allowed to, you know, overwork myself, so I’m only going to do two of the six goals. One of them must be the goal of making a map of Wirun, since I need that for RS, but apart from that, as long as I finish one other painting goal, I’m happy.

So there it is!

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…

Deadlines galore

Sorry for the lack of updates here in what seems like forever. I’ve been completely buried in work and have hardly had any time off whatsoever, neither for blogging nor writing. Cicilie and I had two write-ins, I believe, but neither of us was able to write anything at any of them. On the positive side: Extra money.

Lots of work or not, 2016 is the year I’ll do things with my writing. As such Cicilie and I (well, mostly Cicilie, to be honest) have come up with some deadlines to help us reach our goals. I also made some sub-deadlines for myself:

  • Goal: Finish second draft of Rogue Sorcery. This time Cicilie will be able to read a fully finished draft. I hope…
    • Revise the ending. Something feels off, and I don’t know what it is. Finish by 1st of April
    • Write the entire draft from start to finish. Finish by 25th of April
    • Double-check the new scenes and hand the draft to Cicilie. Finish by 30th of April.
  • Goal: Publish a short story on WattPad. I’ve had an account since sometime last year, but I’ve never posted anything. Mostly because I’ve been writing Rogue Sorcery, which I’ll try to get published, and because I haven’t finished much else and suck at writing short fiction. I also suck at actually uploading my writing. Time to do something about all those things!
    • Plot the story. Finish by 15th of May. Wanted it to be on the 10th, but considering I have an exam on the 9th… Not gonna happen. (Look, I can be realistic!)
    • Write the first draft of the story. Finish by 23rd of May.
    • Revise and publish the story on Wattpad. Finish by 29th of May.
  • Write a novel to be published on WattPad. This has quite tight deadline, but the idea is to plot it so carefully that the actual editing process will be relatively short and sweet. In addition I have already started the plotting, so I might just have the first draft done well before June starts. Famous last words, I guess, but at least the actual deadline isn’t overly optimistic… I hope.
    • Plot the novel completely. Finish by 15th of May, but preferably in April.
    • Write the first draft of the novel. Finish by 10th of June.
    • Revise the novel fully. Finish by 30th of June.
  • Aaand what would this blog be without overly ambitious painting/drawing/misc. goals? They’re all related to my stories anyway. I’ll not write individual deadlines for these, but a collective one of 30th of June:
    • Finish the new version of Queen of Sorcery
    • Paint illustration of Shanni’s cottage
    • Make an artsy map of Ayamar
    • Paint Arodhi’s fortress OR Wirun OR Whitebridge OR the village in the forest.
    • Use up my sketchbook (mostly because I want a new one :P)
    • Make a city map of Wirun and/or the village. Doesn’t need to be fancy, but I certainly need to know what’s where.
  • And finally… DON’T accept so much translation work that I don’t have time for any of this, and/or work myself into another breakdown. In other words, the most important goal of them all. 

I know this amount of goals seem overly ambitious and probably are. But most of the things need to be done anyway in order to meet the three actual deadlines (30th of April, 29th of May and 30th of June). I work far better under pressure, and the specific deadlines are the tools I need to ensure that I spread the work over a reasonable period of time instead of just the week before the main deadlines, as well as to make sure that I actually get the work done AND prepare properly. I won’t have time for endless rounds of editing for the Wattpad projects. Besides, I really like detailed lists (who hadn’t guessed by now…?)

To be honest I don’t intend to be too firm on the painting goals. I would like to get everything done, and these deadlines make sure that I actually work for it, but I’m not going to panic if I’m unable to paint/draw everything on the list. I do need the city maps, though.

 

Game plan, part… uh… a lot.

So! The grand manuscript exchange went mostly according to plan – it was handed over on the correct date, but alas not quite as edited as I would have liked. Poor Cicilie who had to juggle two different storylines in her head while reading – I don’t envy her that. On Sunday we met and gave each other feedback on the other’s story, also according to plan, so now I’m kind of afraid of breaking the streak. Our new goal is an edited draft by the 1st of May, which means I have some work to do.

In order to procrastinate and feel like I am doing something useful without actually doing what I’m supposed to, I’ve come up with a plan. Frankly I’m all about planning nowadays, since it has worked wonders for my work and studies, and well, if I want to avoid spending every waking moment editing before the deadline (which I don’t have the time for), I need to do this properly.

So I have created a list of what I need to do on Rogue Sorcery before handing the manuscript over again, or before I consider it to be done(at this stage, of course there are several rounds of editing left):

  1. Write down every scene in the current draft. Things always change from the plot to the actual draft, and I need to make changes to certain things anyway – but the details are kind of fuzzy. Also, note down time of year, characters involved and where they are. Deadline: 14th of February
  2. Make a new timeline from scratch, including the info above. Deadline: 21st of February
  3. Adjust the timeline according to things that came up during the rewrite and feedback. Note and implement the changes from Cicilie’s feedback. Deadline: 28th of February
  4. Note down in which scenes there are plot changes or new scenes, i.e. where the new timeline and old draft diverges. Deadline: 2oth of March
  5. Go through and write down where information or additional worldbuilding is needed. Deadline: 27th of March.
  6. Do a last check of the timeline, characters, plot, tension and so on again. Deadline: 10th of April
  7. Write a proper second draft, filling out all the missing details. Deadline: 1st of May.

No work at all, in other words… And in between this I have another story to work on.

The plan may be overly optimistic (when are my plans not?) but as long as I manage to stop procrastinating I think it’s completely doable. I have a feeling that I have said the exact same thing before, but there’s a time to stop dawdling and just get the thing done, and I believe that time is now.