At some point or another, September apparently showed up. Or every single calendar I’ve encountered since Sunday has been telling me horrible, cruel lies. I’m slightly more inclined to believe the former is true, however, because I’m not all that big into outrageous conspiracies on most days. This summer provided many opportunities for hilarious misadventures, but it also somehow managed to be entirely draining. From the work-related madness to the life-related madness (with a friendly reminder there was a goddamn bat in my house not too long ago), this summer has felt less like a season of vacation, rejuvenation, and fun in the sun, and more like a time of frustration, bad news so bad it bordered onto comedy, and both minor and major setbacks. That’s not to say all of the summer was bad, of course. I won a book contract, which I then over-thought to the point of making it a good and a bad thing (if you missed that you should count your blessings and move along). Brianne and I have found a new place to live, which I’m quite excited about (save for now having to cut the grass, which is far from ideal). I could probably go on for a dozen more posts about my trip to Chicago, but it’s probably for the best I don’t. You were all right, Summer of 2014, but you certainly tested me. For that I should probably be thankful.
Did I mention it’s already somehow September? I already see pumpkin spice everything all over the place, which is all well and good. I’m more of a hot apple cider guy, but the pumpkin-with-no-real-pumpkin flavored fall features are still close to my heart. Spoilers: I love the fall season. The trip to Edinboro, when I-79 was framed by miles of trees covered in warm-colored leaves. It’s the transition between the heat of summer, a season of me hoping I used enough sunblock so I don’t end up becoming a lobster, and the bitter cold of winter (I live in Pennsylvania, people, so I accept that it will snow here at the least convenient times possible).
What better time to enact a time of change in my creative routines than such a magnificent season that celebrates change and transition? I’m aware that spring is also a plausible answer, but that would also involve me putting off this business of trying to revamp my creative craziness and that’s not really ideal. How will this fall act as a time of change and transition, though? What will I do? Honestly, I’m still figuring it out, but here’s the initial thoughts.
- Time to start using those notebooks. I’ve got entirely too many blank notebooks, which would probably go really well with the variety of ideas I have. What I really need to focus on is actually using the damn notebooks instead of just buying more. That means pushing past being too picky about what notebooks are used for what ideas and just getting those ideas down on paper. Hopefully this will help me retain ideas for later if I don’t get to them right away, and prove helpful for developing ideas better.
- Putting my ideas to work more often. Writing stories and novels is one thing (a great thing, of course). Actually sending out those ideas for chances at publication is another entirely, however, and it’s something I’ve really slacked on this year. One short story accepted. About a handful rejected. Not nearly enough attempts given the hours upon hours of time I’ve spent writing. In line with this, I also need to get my act together in terms of being smarter with sending my work out. There’s a fairly good chance where I’m sending my work had as much of an effect on the outcome as the quality of the works I sent.
- Creative writing! Essay writing! All the writing! I need to get back to really buckling down and writing, whether it’s personal essays, short stories, novels, or whatever else I find myself working on. I spend plenty of time talking about writing, but it’s time I really start to get that writing done. I don’t plan on being too crazy with this, but I still think my focus on completing projects needs to be sharpened. It’ll help my skills, it’ll help me wind down, and it’ll be a good thing for me overall.
- Setting realistic proofreading goals. I have some of the best beta readers in the world. Other writers may argue their beta readers are the best, and they are for their respective writers. Mine just happen to stand out on a pedestal made of extremely insightful comments, thoughtful criticism, sharp eyes that few errors escape, and a host of other invaluable characteristics. I can’t thank them enough, so I should really make it a point to get the proofreading done that I owe them in a more reasonable time-frame. Life happens, of course, but these critiques are a part of life and they deserve their appropriate time as well.
- Getting some damn sleep. This one stinks of wishful thinking, I fear, but actually making time to sleep is probably a good idea. People who get reasonable amounts of sleep seem to be happier, more fully-functional human beings, and they seem less prone to violent outbursts than I am. That second point is a pretty important one because threatening to beat someone with their own recently-removed spine isn’t socially acceptable. This means getting to bed at a reasonable hour when I work early the next day, getting up early enough to try accomplishing something on days I work later, and not using my days off for naps (which shouldn’t be a problem if I’m letting myself get enough sleep. This conveniently works into the next goal.
- Setting up some semblance of a schedule? Yeah. This one should be interesting. I love looking at the schedules used by highly successful people and thinking “There is no way in hell I could ever make that work”. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to meet this goal somewhere in the middle. I may not be able to set a schedule that works for me daily in terms of specific writing tasks, especially given my ever-changing work schedule. However, I don’t think moving through each day with no real plan seems to be working. This will be a bit tricky.
- Enough with this self-loathing bullshit. Realistically, I this one will not happen overnight. Or over a week. My business of being my own worst enemy is not doing me any favors, and though it sometimes makes me fight to work harder…it’s really just a shitty, self-destructive cycle that I need to kick to the curb. Rejections aren’t indications of some complete failure as a writer. People not being enthusiastic about reading my work don’t equal people who just hate my writing. My focus needs to be on continuously improving my writing, proofreading, and efforts towards getting more things published as well as helping spread awesome by supporting others in their creative endeavors. We’ll see how hilarious a comedy this one turns into.
- [Update/Addition as of 11:30, 9/3] Allowing for down-time that isn’t writing-centric. There needs to be time for video games, TV, reading (which, really, should be part of the writing process anyway as it’s essential to keep reading so as to hopefully become a better writer), and so on. My WoW account isn’t going to create characters with some of the worst DPS ever seen in all of Azeroth on its own. My DVDs get lonely and need attention. And so on. Also I’m pretty sure I’d go completely insane if I didn’t allow myself a little time to decompress and focus on absolutely nothing of merit whatsoever.
These aren’t things I expect to accomplish by, say, the horrible chills of winter (and the shitty, awful Pennsylvania snows that will accompany them). They’ll be efforts I’m working on from now (there are pumpkin spice things on sale already, so I think it’s officially fall…sort of) onward, adjusting as necessary.
Anyone else have big plans to celebrate pumpkin spice and hot apple cider season? On a related note: how wonderful people will be sending me hot apple cider K-Cups so I can resurrect my Keurig for good reasons?
The answer to that question is zero. Forty-four days remaining.