peartreealley: (journal)
I've been having a dawning reality check the last couple of weeks, which finally crested over the horizon yesterday. I did the FateNet series (five novellas, total of 190k words) in 14-15 months from planning to publishing the last installment.

And I've been flogging myself with the Persephone Station series (three novels, estimated total of 180k) feeling like a total slacker because I'm not meeting my goals, with the delusion that I should be able to have it all out in... six months?

I mean, I understand somewhat where that delusion came from. It's only three books, my brain said. And you've gotten through some of the learning faff from the last series! But I didn't seem to taking into account that those three books were twice as long as the ones that came before them and so they might take... twice as long? I'm not actually sure if that's a straight multiple or if it's longer (more narrative complexities) or shorter (less shifting between activities). Twice as long is at least a somewhat realistic estimate that I can adjust from.

So I was talking to G the Project Manager about this yesterday, and he said, "While I do believe you can increase efficiency from the last series you did, perhaps you should consider a 10-20% increase in efficiency? Not... 60-70%?"

A long story short, I'm now aiming for twelve months from planning to final installment publication. (For my editors reading, don't worry--I still plan on having the first book to you in the timeframes agreed on. I'm just not also planning on having the first drafts of the second and third books also done by October.) If you're wondering, I'm counting twelve months from June to June. I technically started PS in April for a couple of weeks, but then shelved it until July to finish off FN, so I think that splits the difference.

Well, you learn. Eventually.

And twelve months is a lot friendlier for being derailed by relocation than six months.

***

G has three job interviews next week, only one of which is in London. I'm making peace with potentially relocating this autumn.
peartreealley: (Default)
Sharing to share. And because I want to keep this one. (Yes, the image seems broken, but it's the text I wanted.)

A reader named Molly asked me "you seem so confident in your 'you-ness" - how do you get to know yourself so well? I feel like I don't know who I am." Here's what I said: Dear Molly, If I tell you something like "your sense of self is entirely in your own hands," would you consider that good news or bad news? Hopefully it's the first, because it's true. In the 1960s, this dude named Daryl Bem came up with the theory of self perception, a theory of attitude formation. The theory says our sense of self is formed by our actions, not the other way around. I know that seems counter intuitive. We think that if you're an inherently brave person, you do brave things. But Bem's theory says it's the other way around. If you do a brave thing, you think of yourself as a brave person. I can hear your eyes rolling, but wait up, listen, it holds water as a theory. Let's imagine you're afraid to hang glide because you think of yourself as a coward. Now imagine your friends badger you into it anyway. You do it, and you're successful, even though you didn't choose it for yourself. Now you've done this brave thing, and you decide maybe you were wrong, you actually are a brave person. Subsequently you begin to think of yourself as someone brave. Later you tell the story of hang gliding to a stranger and they gasp—"you're so fearless," they say. Yes, you think to yourself, I guess I am! The story is confirmed. But IT'S NOT WRONG. You are what you do. Tell a story about yourself, you become that story. Good or bad. What does this have to do with your question? Maybe you've already figured it out. If you decide to go digging to find out who your are, all you'll find is an empty hole waiting to be filled. Who you are isn't a concrete entity waiting to be uncovered. You don't have to wistfully think, I wish I was a gentler person, but I'm just not: you can decide to be a gentler person. You don't have to sigh and wish you were braver: you can do brave things & grow into them. You don't have to say, I wish I was bad ass: buy a set of good sunglasses and live it until you are it. Is it easy? No. But I guess that's why they call it character-building. urs, Stiefvater

A post shared by Maggie Stiefvater (@maggie_stiefvater) on

peartreealley: (Default)
Well. I wrote down a list of projects to work on, and promptly fell off the face of the Internet to work on them.

What's been happening since?


  • The Gryffindor and I went to a LARP-writing weekend at an isolated farmhouse in the Midlands. The 30 or so of us assembled tossed around ideas on Friday night, broke into groups of 5-ish, and then spent Saturday writing the LARPs. On Sunday, all six LARPs were playtested. We wrote one that smashed Torchwood/Warehouse 13/Laundry Files together (with the serials numbers rubbed off, of course), with office politics and disastrous team-building exercises. It was good times--we hope to run an improved version at the LARP con we're going to in November.

  • Over the May Day bank holiday weekend there was D&D, a geeky picnic, and a wander to Kew Gardens to observe the bluebells before they faded away.

  • G ran his first table top session since we moved to London, in a sort of shared 'verse with the LARP that he and I have been developing.

  • This last weekend, we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We decided to spend it, as we often spend time together, with a mix of hiking, good food, and games--with upgrades. On Saturday morning, we drove deep into the Chilterns, and parked our car at a lovely inn that we had booked for a night. Shortly after, a taxi arrived and took us about 10 miles away from the inn, via the Ridgeway National Trail, which we've been working on in bits and pieces, usually on 5 mile there-and-back walks. We walked only forward, and we talked. We stopped at a pub on the trail for lunch. We walked, and we talked more. Upon our return to the inn, we changed into evening clothing, and returned downstairs where a bespoke tasting menu of food and wine waited to delight us. And it did.

    We're now halfway done with the 87 mile trail.

  • The next morning, we were off to a village north of Oxford, in which we played an epic time-travel RPG session that ties into the Oxford LARP we've been playing. My character was sufficiently traumatized by the event that I get to look at some interesting new costuming options for the LARP component....

  • Oh, and I've been writing and revising and editing and all of that in between. Progress is coming along on my Four Week Plan. I think I'll end up getting about 2.5 of the 3 items done on it by the time we leave for holiday, and given how much I stacked on, I'd still call that a success.

  • I've also been reading--books on nature, on spirituality, on fairy tales and folklore... thoughts about those are still forming. Another time.


  • And all the while, I've been slightly drunk and stunned by and grateful for this amazing life I'm living.

    Cheers,

    PTA
peartreealley: (Default)
I fell ill at the start of the holiday weekend, of which I'm now beginning to recover. This meant I missed out on a lot of the weekend's events--going to Oxford, and more time hanging out with our houseguest, AB, but on the other hand I read books and rested and marathoned through most of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended edition), and those things are great in their ways, too.

Yesterday evening, AB left on her way to further adventures (she's in the UK and France for the next ten weeks, spending the first and last few days with us, and possibly an interlude in between). The Gryffindor returned to work this morning, and I'm better but not yet quite well.

This morning, I've worked on brainstorming some disparate thoughts, writing extensive story beats for PS, and misc. other writing tasks that didn't feel too intimidating, and I don't feel that I've wasted the day away, even if I don't have a lot of novel pages to show for it.

I have myriad thoughts to journal, but they're still marinating. I think a common theme has showed up amongst them, though: my deep desire to have a personal user manual or guide for being me. A written guide in which I can reference. "I need troubleshooting. What do I do?" "I'm now in this situation. How do I deal with it?" "Which of these foods do I eat to be at my best?" Explorations of rituals and routines are all part of that user manual. I have attempted to write them down, and there is of course the one in my head, and it's gone through at least as many editions as years I lived, and has an addendum a thousand pages long. But wouldn't it be so nice to have one I could download and reference from my head in the clouds?

x
peartreealley: (Default)
Good morning,

A short letter this morning. It's the beginning of the Easter holiday here in the UK (which is a four day weekend affair--it's a lot like Thanksgiving in the States). The Gryffindor is out at the farmer's market stocking up, I've just taken the grocery delivery (for things that cannot be acquired at the farmer's market), and our American friend arrives early this evening.

There's a thousand to-do's that still need their boxes ticked off, but before I get any further, I'm going to get some writing in.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend--whether it's Norwescon or Easter or even just laying around and vegging it out.

X

PS 1 First Draft
25364 / 65000
(39.02%)


ETA: G brought me back an Easter present.

(There are fancy creme eggs from the artisan chocolate stall inside.)
peartreealley: (travel)
Good morning darlings,

Although I'm a creature who craves routine, I'm no stranger to disruption. I've been aiming to get more resilient, to not let my creative life (or just my life in general) go off the rails when I hit a bump. But like the first snow after a year or years; the first disruption after a long while is unpracticed. I forget what to do, how not to slip, how to return to business as usual.

April is a month full of disruptions. They're all the lovely sort--a long weekend for a games convention in Edinburgh, this coming week we have a beloved American friend coming to stay with us for a few days and an event in Oxford, and after that another event in the Peaks District.

And yet. And yet.

When I built my ambitious April writing calendar (it's Camp NaNoWriMo, so I was being extra ambitious) I marked out all of the days. I knew which days would not be writing days. I knew there'd be a lot more of them than usual.

I didn't take into account the recovery days. The time to pull myself back into the story, to regain my stillness to bring the narrative voice back in my head. How on Monday I was home, yes, but shattered, and although I did force myself to the keyboard, I didn't keep any of it.

Tuesday went slightly better, as I put my toe into the water. I wrote story beats, and prepared myself for the days ahead.

Today--well, today I'm hoping to make up for lost time. And I'm also thinking about the rest of this month (and all of the disruptions that come after that). I'm trying to accept I'm not a failure because I'm not a word factory that can crank out on demand (this is hard, very hard). But I'm also trying to be more resilient, to recover more quickly because while I may not be a factory, I am most happy when I am prolific and immersed.

Well, I suppose we're forever works in progress....

x
peartreealley: (Default)

It began over the course of last year, but at the beginning of the year, I began in mass to reduce my social media (and Internet in general) usage. I deleted some accounts. I have kept others, but don't check or interact with them.

I did this to increase what I call my "psychic space." I found myself spending too much time being neurotic about what comes across my various feeds. I spent too much time worried about how people would respond to whatever I put out there. This was time I was not spending in my psychic landscape thinking about my stories. It wasn't time, really, that was the issue. (Time is something I'm lucky to have in abundance--at least in the short term.) It was the space in my head to connect the dots and to expand on my thoughts and get below the surface of my stories.

If someone gives you a hammer, everything is a nail....

And that's largely been going fine. My writing productivity has increased dramatically. I've only had a handful of panic attacks and lost a few days about things people said online.

Then came the decampment, and suddenly I had a shiny new online journal to follow my friends, and of course the thoughts creep into my head--how will I use this thing?

I have written five posts, and not submitted any of them, because I'm too neurotic. This is not healthy.

So I have to consider--what is it that I'm so worried about?

Those worries )

In (a distinct lack of) conclusion....

How do I connect while keeping hold of my psychic space? I suppose the answer is "care less," but I'm clearly not doing a good job at that.
peartreealley: (Default)
I always said I would be where my friends were. Although there has been a trickle down for many years, most of my close friends had stayed elsewhere. (Last year when I was housekeeping, I even deleted my early adopter account here. An optimist, I guess.)

Then in light of recent events, most of them have now moved here in in part or whole.

So here I am.

I don't know how often I'll be using it. (Or if I'll import, delete, or just leave the old one alone.) But I'm here now, and I'm reading.

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