Inktober and Energy

And who also looked kind of like a bumblebee.

And who also looked kind of like a bumblebee.

So this weekend I finally found out about Inktober. I feel like I’ve been seeing hashtags about it for a while, but it sort of slipped past me, like visual background noise. My first response, on realizing what it was: “How did I not know about this before?”

I did a whole post last year (the month before Inktober–seriously, how did I miss this?) about how uneasy I was with ink, and how I should probably be more comfortable with it. But somehow Inktober still didn’t register.

And now that I do know about it, I’m not sure I’m going to jump on board. At least not full throttle. Partly because it’s so late in the game, and partly because as much as I’d like to participate, I just don’t know that I have the energy.

That sounds a lot sadder than it is. Actually, the fact that I want to participate is (I think) a good sign. I mentioned before that I’d been pretty depressed recently. It was actually one of the worst bouts of depression I’ve ever had. So after that, it feels really good to care about things again.

I’ve burned out before, though–smothered the spark of energy by putting too many tasks on it. So this time, I’m trying to be more careful. Taking it slow, and not overburdening myself. It seems to be working, so far. Not to say there aren’t bad days, because of course there are, but in general, I feel good enough to say that I’m coming out of the fog.

And good enough to do some Inktober doodles. But I’m not going to hold myself to doing one a day, or posting them all here. Trust me. You don’t want to see the ones I choose not to post. Remember my old profile picture?

No? I can't imagine why not. It's incredibly memorable.

No? I can’t imagine why not. It’s incredibly memorable.

I’m posting this one, though, because I (mostly) like it. Sure, it’s simple and unfinished–the light rays are still in pencil–but something about it speaks to me. Maybe it’s the idea of turning wind into energy. Maybe it’s the idea of weathering any storm. Maybe it’s looking like a bumblebee. (Probably not that one.) Maybe I just like drawing lighthouses.

Well, there are worse things than drawing what you like, and having fun doing it. In fact, there’s an energy booster right there.

So to those of you who are doing Inktober: I wish you energy and fun. And really good pens.



Know your motivation.

I really am quite tired this week, though, hence the simplified doodle-comic. I set the two-posts-per-week goal before I knew how much I would like putting pictures into blog posts. And how much work fancier pictures would entail. Perhaps I’ll revisit things at my two-month blogiversary.

I love celebrating.

Unrealistic Goals: The Fallout

I feel like I should write some kind of update following my last post. So here are the goals I set last weekend, and how they panned out:

  1. Finish novel draft. Didn’t finish by Sunday night. Did finish a few hours into Monday morning. This was before my self-imposed deadline, so I call it a win. Also I’m an owl, so it felt like part of the same day.
  2. Write blog post. Obviously check.
  3. Tumblr post. Totally did not do this. The perfectionist part of my brain hates that, but I’ll live.
  4. Actually leave the house. Yes!

Predictably, the biggest time drain was #3 #1. (Though it does sometimes seem that the thing you don’t finish takes the longest. In this case, I chose my battles and jettisoned the Tumblr post pretty early.) If you’re curious about what I learned, here are some things that worked for me (or didn’t):

  1. No: I lost a lot of sleep, pushing past the point where I would usually have been happy to turn in, because I was determined to write as much as I could before my brain turned to oatmeal. This probably influenced my productivity on subsequent days.
  2. Yes: I had an outline. I’m not always an outliner, but the outline was tremendously useful for this draft; being able to see where I was going helped me avoid getting stuck.
  3. Yes: I revised my outline as I worked, to reflect changes/surprises. That meant my outline was a pretty accurate summary of what I had as well as what came next.
  4. Yes: I took breaks when I needed them. I wasn’t about to kill myself for this. On a similar note, I didn’t set a lot of rules for myself. As I said in my other post, I had some material to pull in from previous (incomplete) drafts; I sometimes read through that and edited it, sometimes not so much. I didn’t bother tallying up how many new words I typed each day, though I know it was a lot. Basically I did what I could to keep my stress levels low.

I can’t guarantee that any of this will work for you. Patricia C. Wrede has a great post about different kinds of writers; we all thrive on different methods. All I can say is that this got me what I wanted: my first complete draft, over 50,000 words, with no scenes to fill in later. (Scenes to flesh out: definitely. But no blanks.)

Despite my love of ripping through drafts at high speeds, I didn’t find this the most enjoyable way to write a novel. Typing until you fall asleep at the keyboard is fun when you’re doing it on pure inspiration. It’s less fun when you refuse to let yourself sleep because dang it, you’re determined. But on the plus side, at the end of three days, you have a novel. If you’re lucky, you’re pleased with the draft, proud of yourself, and for once in your life, actually ready to rest for a while before jumping into revisions. Which brings us to a last note.

5. Yes: I knew I had a low-key week coming up. Was thus able to spend it recovering.

Note to self: As much as you may think otherwise, sleep is not optional. If you’re going to demand a truckload of work from yourself, your body is going to demand rest. Grant this demand. Just do.

I'd like to do some fancy hand lettering with this, but it makes me sleepy.

I’d like to do some fancy hand lettering with this, but it makes me sleepy.