Broken Streak

I did not post yesterday. I had a daily streak from July 2nd to July 30th. Today is a new day, I’m starting over. This is day one.

Additionally, the last few days I didn’t write anything. At all. No daily poems either. That streak ran from July 18th to July 27th. Today will be day one. I haven’t written the poem yet, but I will write one.

Despite breaking my streaks, I still feel that building the habit was valuable. If I can blog 29 days straight on my first try, how many days can I go on my second? I’ve done it once, I can do it again. If I can write a poem every day for 10 days, how many more days can I write a poem every day for?

This is a renewal, a new beginning.

Improving Productivity

First, this is simply what I am trying to increase my productivity and get more done, specifically for my writing.

Between working two jobs, writing for Over the Invisible Wall, and keeping this blog posting every day, I feel really busy. At the same time, I don’t think I’m spending enough time writing or generally working on my creative projects. A lot of my free time is whiled away on the internet, especially Discord. Chatting with my friends is great, but I want to direct more of my time to good use.

Recently, I was late for work for the second time in almost a year. I forgot when I worked and left home when I was supposed to be signed in. I have my schedule in my phone with calendar alerts so I can’t forget. But I still forgot. So I bought a large journal from Walmart for about $5 and I’ve been writing down when I work the current day, when I work tomorrow, and a to-do list. Anything I don’t finish goes to the next day’s list.

I also started getting up an hour and a half earlier every day. I was staying up late and getting up at about 10 am. I decided to change that so I’d have more time before I left for work to write or get other things done. Now I’m getting up closer to 8:30 and I hope to change that to 8 once I adjust better.

Even with this, I still feel unsatisfied with my creative output, but I’m only just establishing a habit of it. I’m forcing myself to write a poem every day. Some of them have been unsatisfactory because I didn’t have an idea for a poem but I wrote one anyway. At some point it will be better and I’ll get ideas when I go to write because I’m programming myself to be that way.

I’ve only just started, but I think this, making a list, checking things off, getting up earlier, etc. will help me be more productive and finish more in shorter amounts of time.

My Trip to Millstadt

Last week I used my day off to take a trip to Millstadt, IL. If you didn’t know, I’m writing for the Millstadt News magazine once a month. This month I was researching the old drug store. The problem: I couldn’t find the information I needed online. So I drove about forty minutes one way to go to the Millstadt Library and interview two of the pharmacy’s former owner’s children.

I learned a few things:

  1. Know ahead of time if a certain library has the necessary resources available by calling them or looking it up online. I wasted a good deal of my day sitting in the Millstadt Library, unable to get any further in my research. A different library had the old newspapers I wanted to look at, but I didn’t have time to go there.
  2. Plan for an interview by having questions you think you want to ask. Some of these may not need asking during the interview, depending on what you learn and what you already know about who you’re interviewing or the topic you’re trying to learn about. Going into my interview, I had questions based on misinformation because my research didn’t give me a clear picture of things. This is okay. Ask new questions that you think of based on what you learn.
  3. Be sure to ask if you can record the interview so you can double check details and will not miss anything. I forgot to ask about recording my interview. I know I lost some interesting details that were shared because I was in the middle of writing down the previous thought.

It was a good trip, worthwhile overall. For the amount of time I spent, though, I would have liked it to be a bit more productive. If I take writing-related trips in the future, to Millstadt or elsewhere, I will be better prepared as best I can. As this was my first, I went in rather blind.

My Birthday: A Reflection

Some of you reading have never met me, but over the next year and beyond you will probably come to know me better, even if it is in a limited sense. Since I only now started blogging, I cannot point you to any posts with more details about the events and progress I am referencing in the body of this post. I plan to do this again next year, however, and there should be a plethora of blog posts about the events I mention in my reflection.

Today I am eighteen. Legally an adult. Wow. I still can’t believe it. It sure doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.

I could take this reflection in a direction similar to Life Is What You Make It, but that’s not what I plan to do. I want to look over the past year and how I’ve grown and some of the big things that happened. It’s really too bad I didn’t start blogging a year ago instead of only a week ago.

Last year about this time I was a recent high school graduate. I had procrastinated calling the local high school about my failed driver’s ed behind the wheel and so did not yet have my license. Once I did meet with the person in charge of the program, I found out I didn’t have to do anything and could go get my license.

I was hired at Panera Bread in late May shortly after graduating, but couldn’t take myself to work until after I got my license in July. Then in August I was hired at Walmart.

For a while I was a bit lacking in direction. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I was not taking active steps toward it for the most part. At some point in the fall my friend Justine reached out to me about writing for a blog she wanted to start. Initially we had four people, two of them unfortunately had to leave the project for the time being. Justine and I were still committed to starting the blog, and we launched in February. That gave me some focus and it felt like I was taking real steps toward my goal of someday making money writing. Additionally, I applied to Praxis in October for the second time and was accepted. Between Over the Invisible Wall and my acceptance into Praxis, I felt like I had a clearer picture of the near future and that I was taking real steps toward my goals.

Around the same time that I was accepted into Praxis, I noticed that I had a crush on one of my co-workers at Walmart. We had orientation on the same day and were forced to hang out because of it. We’re both very introverted, but we were forced out of our shells in order to complete the various tasks/activities we were given. Over time, we interacted at work and became friends, though we only saw each other occasionally because we worked in different departments. After I became aware of my crush, I thought about whether I was interested in dating as a general. I did want to date him, but I was open to the possibility that he wouldn’t want to date me. We were merely friends and co-workers and didn’t know each other very well. Leading up to the night when I asked him to hang out in the breakroom for lunch and he later asked for my phone number, I noticed that he seemed to like me too. I’m not sure when we shifted from just dating to really being a couple, but we’ve been dating for seven months now. (I omitted his name at his request. He did not want his name included so I wanted to be sure to respect that.)

Less than a month ago I decided to commit to my decision to start a personal blog and launch in July. I knew that if I waited til I felt fully prepared I would never start, so I needed to jump in as soon as possible. At first I was only going to post at least once a week, probably twice, in order to have more time and be “comfortable.” I quickly changed my mind and have been posting every day instead.

So that’s about what my past year has looked like. I’ve taken some big steps forward from unfocused general goals of making money writing to actually working towards that. I can’t wait to see what the next year holds and how much things change between now and then. To everyone who is part of my journey now and to those who will join me in the coming year: Thank you. It’s been a wild ride and I’m sure it will continue to be.

Current Projects (as of 7 July 2018)

I have quite the list of projects I am currently working on. Blog posts on these various topics will come as progress is made or using material already produced for or related to them. In no particular order:

 

  • Mystical Warriors, my novel in progress, started July 2015. I’m currently at about 30k words and still in the early part of the first half. I have the second half generally plotted and know a few things that happen in the near future.
  • This blog. I’m posting every day, with help from the scheduling feature on WordPress. I’m trying to have content ready in advance in case I need to take a break. If that becomes impossible, I will still post at least once a week.
  • Over the Invisible Wall. I’m working with my friend Justine to post to the blog Facebook page once a week and to the blog twice a month.
  • Millstadt News Magazine. I wrote for the July issue and I’m working on a piece for the August issue. I’m hoping to continue writing for the publication, but it depends if space is available.
  • A flag blanket. I’m crocheting a blanket made up of 36 flags from different countries. Right now I have about 12 finished.
  • Inside a Writer’s Head, my poetry collection. All of the poems are collected, they just need reorganized, formatted, edited, etc. before the collection can be published.
  • N’Zembe, the star system I’m building. This has a lot packed into it. I’m building a whole star system from scratch with ten inhabited planets and potentially some inhabited moons.
  • Various short stories.
  • Adventures in Meldrick, a card game. The game is good conceptually, but needs more beta testing to work out some of the problem areas in gameplay. I need to finish making the card database so I can keep track of what cards I have made, how many, etc. The plan is for it to have some trading aspects, but that would be an optional feature.
  • Illustrating Mystical Warriors. I only have one completed illustration and have yet to start the next. Some of the characters need reference drawings before I can do this.

 

 

 

The N’Zembe System

Some time ago, I read a tutorial of sorts with tips for creating a realistic world, for a story, that is. I fell in love with the idea, and created a planet called Arshilkrin. It has since expanded to an entire star system rather than a single planet. I named it N’Zembe. There are eighteen planets called Dizlohke, Mavidian, Lekreanfyr, Romnylfyx, Fohrtiil, Craoxien, Qarlilian, Arshilkrin, Krekkqar, Ortenfeil, Zalgrythfin, Slirpfyrn, Xhorgliff, Ugflurrn, Bienghyrd, Yrfsholgh, Erxflynx, Irqulnirn. Ten of those are inhabitable.

Currently I have several species developed for the system, the sizes and details about each planet’s rotation and revolution, and a language in progress. Over time I’ll share what I have ready and progress that has been made concerning these various aspects of worldbuilding. All of it will be under the category N’Zembe System on the blog if you want to look back at other material.

If you have any questions about the system, let me know and I will be sure to answer them. I plan on making a FAQ about the system, either as a separate page on my website or as a blog post.