calissa: (Autumn)
The sun has just set, leaving the sky looking pale and washed out. A little over twelve hours ago I was watching the full moon set while the sky turned the most glorious shades of pink and purple. The Autumn Equinox is in just a couple of days.

I've been feeling myself drifting a bit since quitting my last job. I suppose I have needed it to some extent but it has also been frustrating. I feel like there is so much to do--reviews and stories to write, books and blog posts to read, chores to catch up on and projects to move forward with. I know that I am probably being too hard on myself by expecting myself to move on quickly after such an extended period of stress and that just makes me more frustrated.

Perhaps it is just the way I'm feeling at the moment. A good night's sleep may have me feeling differently.

And truthfully, things are moving on at their own pace. I have now managed to dump all of Wolfwinter into Scrivener and am working on transferring the story bible into it as well. I am starting to get a feel for what the ending might look like but remain daunted by the extent of work to be done.

I mentioned back at the beginning of the month that I had been brainstorming ideas for the CSFG's new anthology. I had originally intended to spend a week working each one up and then decide which I liked best. However, my very first idea actually seemed to fit another market. The deadline for that market is April 14 and so I am concentrating on it for now. I have a vague outline which I am working on turning into a more detailed outline--my way of tricking myself into a first draft. I was supposed to be working on it tonight but just couldn't settle.

Blah, just going to go to bed now and be done with it. Before I go, I shall leave you with some seasonal colour.

Pin oak leaves )
calissa: (Default)
There has hardly been a cloud in the sky for days, even though the temperature has dropped back from the scorching summer heat to something a little more comfortable. The claret ash trees are heavy with seed and the oaks have the first beginnings of acorns. As I write this, the sun is slowly setting and the evening is full of the long shadows and golden light that speak so eloquently of the season. The western horizon will still be a paler shade of blue when 9:30 PM rolls around.

Today was my first day fully back to my normal routine. Work--on the Gold Coast anthology, on Wolfwinter, on all the usual things--resumed in earnest. And yet, I still found myself spending the latter half of last week trying to conquer my To Do list. Much like my To Read list, it never seems to grow smaller but only longer, no matter how hard I work at it. In the back of my mind, I know this is the height of foolishness. Everyone dies with something left undone--I've seen the truth of this with my own eyes in recent years. Nevertheless, I find myself anxiously battling to get through everything, trying to "catch up"--to what, I don't know.

What I would like, instead, is to slow down. I'd like to pause, to breathe, to savour the cool breeze coming in through my study window. I'd like to appreciate the life that is passing me by while I worry about my To Do list. This isn't a New Year's resolution, but more a vague hope for the year.

My actual goals for the year are something quite different. Mostly they involve finishing things.

I have approximately ten weeks until my candidate year with the AODA is meant to be completed. I aim to have finished the requirements by then, though I anticipate it may actually take me a little longer (which is fine--a year is the minimum time in which to complete the requirements, not the maximum). Once that is completed, I will be taking some time to consider if I want to complete the next degree.

The Gold Coast anthology is due to be launched in early May. The edits need to be completed by the end of the month. This is my biggest focus at the moment.

My writing goal for the year is to straighten out Wolfwinter. This chiefly involves working out what happens in the second book to a reasonable level of detail and fixing up the pacing issue in the first.

And lastly, I will be participating in a self portrait course called Be Your Own Beloved. I have a few body image issues and so I expect this is going to be a huge challenge for me. I still don't know whether I'm going to be brave enough to share my photos.

Trying to strike a balance between these projects and the stillness I'm craving is going to be yet another challenge... though perhaps one that relates to those self esteem issues.
calissa: Photo of Swarovski crystal & gold figurine of inkpot and quill sitting on a page that says 'create every day' (Writing)
December starts on Sunday. Which means that 2014 is just around the corner. I find myself contemplating what projects I want to focus on next year. This is probably not the wisest thing, considering I've been feeling overwhelmed by everything I already having going, but I'm a sucker for the possibilities inherent in a new year.

I do this to myself every year. It is hard to resist the urge to do All The Things.

I've been kicking around a number of possibilities. Some are very easy to identify. I'll be continuing to complete my AODA Candidate year. By my current estimates, I should be wrapping up with that mid-to-late March--around the time of the Autumn Equinox.

Work on the Gold Coast Anthology will also continue. I am just now entering the phase where the work really and truly begins. The first round of edits are underway and will be heading out to authors soon. A tentative launch date has been scheduled for early May.

Things become slightly more nebulous after that. Currently on top of my priorities list is Wolfwinter and I strongly feel that this needs to be my creative focus for next year. This will mean that I will be unable to participate in the quarterly short story challenges run by one of my writing groups. I am really disappointed to miss out but I know myself too well to think that I can juggle both. I am a slow writer at the best of times and don't deal well with splitting my focus--one story or another suffers. Lately, it has been Wolfwinter that has suffered and I feel that I owe it to myself and others not to keep doing that.

Which makes my next potential project possibly problematic. I have been considering starting a blog on my editing website. This is partly in the hope that it will generate more traffic to the site and thus net me more work. But also, I'd like a place where I can dialogue with a wider community than that at DW. I suppose social media offers that to a degree, depending on the platform, but nothing I'm entirely happy with. Of course, this would mean I'll need to work on generating content and I refer you to the paragraph above. I'd be interested in some perspectives from people who maintain a professional blog.

Good thing I've got another month to iron everything out.
calissa: (Default)
I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed and out of sorts over the last week and a half. Editing has picked up and I haven't had as much time for my November Project efforts as I'd like. I'm hanging in there, but I feel like I've not been giving it my best.

Day 18: photo )

Day 19 involved an attempt at repurposing an old birthday card as a "thinking of you" note for a friend who has been going through a tough time (in fact, that has been true of a number of friends recently *sends hugs*). I'm still not quite finished with that yet--there was a small hiccup and I haven't finished gathering the materials I need to complete it.

Day 20 was How Are You haiku over on [personal profile] jjhunter's journal.

Thunderstorms rolled on on Day 21, sending my pain levels soaring. I retreated to the couch and spent the day reading. It has so far been the only day I have missed on my November Project.

Day 22: photo )

Day 23: photos )

By Day 24 I was feeling particularly discouraged with my November Project efforts. Realising I had fallen into a pattern of thinking that I had to do either photography or poetry, I unearthed the list of ideas I had made at the beginning of the month. I spent the evening working on a Zentangle, helped along by a demo video on YouTube. It wasn't anything fancy, but it helped relax me and break me out of the rut I was in.

I spent some time on Day 25 working on the story bible for Wolfwinter. I have a little bit left to go and then it will be on to sorting out the mess that is the plot.

Day 26: photo )
calissa: Photo of Swarovski crystal & gold figurine of inkpot and quill sitting on a page that says 'create every day' (Writing)
Editing has been picking up lately. I have managed to acquire a couple of new jobs that are keeping me busy and it is taking a little bit to adjust. I am somewhat amused by the fact that, even though I am a person who highly values stability and routine, I have ended up in a role characterised by deadlines and uncertainty.

There are definitely parts I'm enjoying. The sheer variety in what I've been editing has been awesome. It has also been nice to feel like I'm doing something useful with my time (though I wasn't exactly feeling useless before). However, the change in schedule to incorporate more editing time takes a bit of getting used to and my To Do list just seems to get longer by the day.

This afternoon I spent some time having tea and chatting with [personal profile] sidheblessed. I may have mentioned before that we try to get together once a fortnight or so to talk writing and keep each other accountable. Today as we talked I realised how tired I was. I've been chasing one deadline or another for a few months now.

One of the things we discussed was a November Project. Managing injury makes NaNoWriMo difficult, if not physically impossible, for me. So, I have taken to designing my own challenge. This year I have been tossing up between two possibilities. One was completing the story bible for Wolfwinter--something I had very much hoped to do by the end of this year. However, given how tired and over deadlines I am, I am rather regretfully putting this aside.

Instead, I'm going to do much the same thing as I did last year. My current writing journal is an A6 size. Every day for November I am going to fill one page with something creative. This could be a poem (or several), the draft of a story, a photograph, a painting... whatever I feel moved to include. I enjoyed the results from last year and hope it will be low-key enough not to stress me out this year.

Do you have a November Project you'll be working on? I'd love to hear :)

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Calissa

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