Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Month: November 2018 (page 1 of 2)

Up in the Air

This week was a bit challenging. Even on the days when I got a substantial amount of tasks done, and there were one or two such days, it was a struggle. And then there was Wednesday. I got absolutely nothing done that day, because I slept pretty much the entire day. Really. I didn’t get to bed until around 07:00 Wednesday morning. Because of that, I barely made it out of bed long enough to do my daily kitty care tasks at 13:00 before dropping into bed again to sleep a couple more hours. Then, at 15:00, I got up long enough to take my prebreakfast meds, called my mom while waiting for those to do their job, ate, and hung up the phone just before lying down on the sofa for another 2 hours of sleep. Oh, and I don’t know if Mom noticed it, but I was having trouble enunciating during that call, which is a clear sign I need more sleep. Then, I got up for long enough to shut down my computer and went back to bed for more sleep. Yeah, that was a dud day.

But I got five days of 250 words on Unwritten Letters. All five days are on the same one scene, and I stopped it today at a spot where the scene seems done. I may add a few words or so to tie it up neatly, but I think this is one of those scenes that won’t follow the entirety of the plot card. That’s another flexibility thing, and something I’ve always been okay with. Sometimes my creative mind gives me more to plot for a scene than I actually use, or slightly different information as a guide. I’ll look at it tomorrow or Monday and figure things out then.

My next project is still up in the air. I opened up Wevae’s Scrivener file, but have done absolutely nothing with it today. Really, I think my creative mind is backbrWeaining MOTS1 right now. Though I’d like to dig into it again and read through the scenes I’m keeping for ideas on what else to include, I feel an aversion to doing so. Sometimes this means I’m procrastinating and I just need to force myself to do what I want, but not always. Other times, it means things are developing in my subconscious. Unfortunately, I’m not always able to determine just which cause is the root of my aversion. In this instance, I’m disinclined to force the issue right now. But if I open Wevae’s file over the next couple of days, I’ll be giving MOTS1 a good hard look again. If my creative mind urges me to open a different file, well, things can still be considered quite undecided.

One thing, I am thinking about DH04 again. In a somewhat offhand manner—fleeting unfocused considerations. More along the lines of, “I’d like to get back to that project.” This is even less definite than my urge to open Wevae’s file. Since I open Chraest’s file daily to access UL, I’ll probably take a look at DH04 again sometime this next week, just to see if something kicks up in my backbrain. I think I may have an idea for its title, though. Just need to comb through the music terminology page on Wikipedia to figure it out, and that I’m dreading a little.

So that’s where my Fool’s Errand stands this fine Saturday evening.

Thanksgiving 2018

The table at Ross and Justin’s home for Thanksgiving 2018.

This Thanksgiving was unexpectedly enjoyable. Normally, I just hang out at home and fiddle around online and such, chatting with those who happen to find any time to come to chat during this holiday. Since most of the people I know online are in the US, that isn’t very many people once the food is all cooked. As a result, Thanksgiving is typically pretty boring for me as well.

But today was different. Around 13:30 or so, one of my friends who I met through square dancing—and the DM of Sunday’s D&D, Lynn—called me to ask if I had any plans for the day. My response was pretty much, “Just work on my writing.” Then he asked if I’d like to go with him to Ross’s for Thanksgiving supper. Of course I leapt at the opportunity. I mean, sit at home without friends, or go over to see some friends and have good food? No-brainer, right?

So, at about 16:30, Lynn came to fetch me and we went to Ross and Justin’s home. We arrived a good hour or so before supper was scheduled to begin, but that was fine. We hung out in the kitchen chatting and joking, me and my square dancing friends and others whom I’d met maybe once or twice through square dancing, but who were good people.

Ross had set up two tables—their long dining table with all its extension leaves in; and the smaller table, also with its extension leaf, that usually stands out in their library room. That made a total of something like 14 places, and we filled them all. Eleven at us at the long table, and the three late arrivals at the smaller tables.

Because I’d spent most of the previous hour munching tortilla chips with this fantastic sausage and cream cheese dip (there were other ingredients, but I can’t recall what they were) while we chatted and all, I didn’t eat that much of supper. There was tons of food from everyone who’d seen the invite on Facebook, and Ross and Justin made a turkey and pans of two different kinds of dressing as well as ham and cranberry relish. I stuck to the turkey, getting some dark meat (which I have’t had from a turkey for years); cranberry relish, also made with I think oranges and apples; and some dressing from the mushroom-free pan. Also, I made sure to stick to servings I thought I’d be able to eat, and didn’t let my eyes trick me into getting all I thought I wanted. Neither did I get seconds. And, afterward, I had one slice of the mincemeat pie Lynn had made.

I am so glad and thankful I have such good friends that even those I don’t know well welcome me so happily. Lynn could have just gone instead of calling me when his brother bowed out of going, and I’m thankful he thought of me. I’m glad I got to talk and joke with friends I see so rarely—Justin, Rob, Mandi, and Lizz—and I’m thankful for such delicious snacks and a wonderful meal with foods I don’t often get to enjoy. This Thanksgiving couldn’t have been better.

Flexibility is a Necessity

Well, I pretty much crashed and burned this week, in terms of writing. I wrote only two days, though I did get a plot card on another day. This looks like it’s becoming a trend, and I’m now reconsidering what to do to work with/around this issue. One idea is to take a two-week break every three or four months. Another idea I’m entertaining is taking the last week of every month off of writing. Yes, yes, I know that if I want to develop a good habit with my writing, I should write as often as possible, but it won’t do me any good if every streak is interrupted by an unplanned hiatus. I’m trying to bring discipline back into my writing habit, and letting myself continue this pattern is not disciplined. Moreover, it harks back to my previous difficulties, including not writing for sometimes weeks on end.

Above all, I want to be flexible with my writing goals. Trying to stick to firm goals was how I screwed myself over before. My goal was to write one full scene a day, seven days a week. Unfortunately, if I happened to miss a day for whatever reason, I simply didn’t get back to it the next day. So for a few days, a couple weeks, a month or two, I’d simply not write unless I felt inspired, and that’s not the way to build a good writing habit. Even I knew that, which was why I started up this Fool’s Errand.

So now I need to do some thinking and make some decisions about my fiction writing habit. I’ve pretty much proven to myself that I can be disciplined and consistent with my 250 words five days a week writing goal, and I think I can maintain that consistency even if I take regular, I’ll call them extended breaks. A part of me wants to give the two-week break every three or four months a try first, but given my experiences the past couple of months—dropping things the second week of my new habit, and then again in the middle of this month—I’m reluctantly thinking it may be best if I plan for a week off every month. Alternatively, I could assign a week’s break every five weeks—five weeks of writing with the sixth week a break, but I kind of don’t want to do that.

My plan for these breaks is to make them full breaks from active writing and plotting on my main project. I’ll take notes on the project, but I won’t do plot cards or write my word goal. That seems best as that’s what I’ve already been doing for the most part anyway. Honestly, I just haven’t felt motivated, and I forced the words and that plot card on the days I wrote them all. Mostly because I “should,” and I think that’s what’s getting in my way. Instead of going with the flow, or being willing to plan regular extended breaks like this, I instead beat my head against the metaphorical wall and push myself to do something I don’t really want to do, and end up making myself miserable.

Because, you know what? I really didn’t enjoy writing those words or that plot card this past week. Also, I didn’t look forward to writing. No excitement thrilled through me when I finished getting my words for the day, and I didn’t particularly want to continue writing. For perspective, pretty much every other day I’ve written this month—the two previous weeks, and in fact since I dropped it that week in October—I’ve really, really wanted to continue writing and made myself stop because I didn’t want to burn myself out on it, even though writing had been great fun.

So I think taking a regular extended break like this is a good idea. An important thing to do. Moreover, I believe it’s something I should do my best to consciously plan for, so I’m not blindsided by another unexpected hiatus. When I let that happen, I try to force the writing, which is not fun. If writing can’t be fun for me, why should I bother continue doing it? So I’m going to do my best to work with it by actively and consciously putting it in my schedule. This is the best way I can think of to handle it, and I’ll experiment if it doesn’t seem to work. Flexibility in my Fool’s Errand goals is key to making this endeavor a success.

Final Daily Post

I have done my daily posts, to the best of my ability, for a little over five months. When I first started doing them, I thought it would be fun, and it was in some ways. But for the most part, posting daily has been a stress. If I don’t put a post up, I fret over it, even if there was simply no way for me to do it the day before. Though I started out trying to post on the same day the events I wrote about happened, I more often posted on the day after. I’ve discovered I have fun finding things to take pics of for my posts, but can’t keep up with the pics on a daily basis because I simply can’t find anything that relates to my posts most times.

So with this post, I’m ending my run of daily posts. It’s just not me, and I see no reason to keep up with something I don’t find a lot of pleasure in. My plan is to rethink my site—again—and decide what all I want to do with it. I’ll more than likely discontinue my separate Fool’s Errand site and move what posts are there over to this site.

One of the things I missed most about my switch to daily posts about what I’ve done each day were the more personal posts I put on this site. I was trying to run a more professional site, but I’ve since decided that I’d rather be the real me instead of some twit who posts about nonsense crap every day. Honestly, I don’t much care about following people who endlessly list tasks completed, so I figured why bother subjecting my (5) followers to the same? Also, I’d rather space my posts out over the week.

Aside from Fool’s Errand posts here each Saturday, I don’t expect to do much posting until the new year. I want to spend the remaining weeks of 2018 planning what I’ll write about. No, it certainly won’t be daily lists of tasks completed. Depending on how many topics I manage to jot down and what they relate to, I may assign specific topics a specific day.

15Nov18: Slow Day

I didn’t get much done Thursday. Lack of motivation got me. Did go to gaming with my longtime gaming friends, got a plot card on Unwritten Letters, and chatted with Mom. Aside from those things, nothing else.

14Nov18: Good Day with a Rough Start

Book by Lazette Gifford

Zette’s book!

I stayed in bed until noon on Wednesday, then got up only to do kitty care and take my prebreakfast meds. After that, I laid down on the sofa for a bit, then got up to cancel MTG since I’d had only one “I’ll be there” response. Laid down again—in fact, all afternoon, right into the early evening, I only got up for limited amounts of time between longer periods stretched out on the sofa napping. It wasn’t mood, precisely. More a lack of motivation. Days like this are relatively rare, but I’ve had more than one this week. Three as a matter of fact: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.

But things turned around.

I finally settled at my desk and eventually got all my tasks from the day’s list done (aside from the MTG). Got my 250 words, did D&D prep, worked on a tarot card, read, kept up with my journal, and practiced my languages. Can’t really say I felt very motivated, I was just wanting to be able to write a list of tasks completed. Which I guess is motivation of a sort. Usually, though, I’m more interested in my tasks, especially the reading, languages, and writing. But I didn’t even want to read, and that says a lot about my lack of motivation.

As for what I’m reading, it’s my friend Lazette Gifford’s book, the first of her Raventower and Merriweather series, Secrets. It’s a steampunk set on a secondary world. I’ve only just gotten to Chapter 6, but it’s been a great read so far. This post’s header image is the cover of Zette’s book, and the book can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

13Nov18: Happy Birthday to Me

Tuesday was my birthday. I did little beyond going to my volunteer shift, practicing my languages, and chatting on the phone with family who wanted to wish me a happy birthday.

12Nov18: Game Night at Last!

I got maybe half of the things on my Task List done Monday, if that, but I had some fun distractions. Two things that weren’t on my list but which I did were chatting with Mom because she called, and going to Hero Forge to order my Nosedrool mini with the birthday money Mom gave me for my birthday. I also paid Kit to paint the mini.

From my list, I did my languages, sent out the announcement for Kit’s D&D, read, and contacted Ross to coordinate groceries.

And I finally got to attend Game Night at Christian’s. Had a great time. We played three rounds of Boss Monster. One round we learned the game, the second round we played by the rules, and the third round we played by a couple of variant rules. I lost all three rounds, but had a lot of fun, and I actually managed to improve my “score” with each session.

So all in all, a good day!

11Nov18: A Productive Exhaustion Day

Sunday was pretty productive despite me not sleeping the night before. I didn’t get tired, so I didn’t put myself to bed. Over the course of the morning, I read a bit, did my languages, got my 250 words, and sorted my pills. Also sent out the Wednesday MTG announcement and called Mom.

I almost didn’t go to game, but I went anyway. Lynn wasn’t able to do D&D this week ’cause he had something else going on, so Kit ran a one-off game called Honey Heist. In this game, participants play either a bear or a honey badger. The goal is to steal a bunch of honey. It was hilarious. I played an unhinged black bear who was a thief with advantage in climbing named Justin Bearber. All I knew was my bear’s name prior to play, because we players had to come up with that. Everything else was rolled up, from type of bear to role played in the game. My exhaustion actually added to my play in this game, as I played my bear with a bit of flamboyance. We successfully finished the game in about three hours.

Having decided after Honey Heist that we would do movie night, Daz and I went to Smith’s to pick up some food and then came home. Varick joined us and we had sushi before starting up Iron Man 2. After that, they left, and I read an incomplete wip or two and then hit the sack.

10Nov18: A Very Late Start

In-progress afghan with Cat.

Afghan I’ve been working on, with Cat.

On Saturday, I didn’t get out of bed ’til noon, though I woke up a couple times before then. Just wanted to sleep more. After I got up, I didn’t do much. Greg had texted me sometime after 09:00 asking if I was awake, and replied. I performed my usual kitty care routine, then laid down on the sofa hoping for some more sleep. I really didn’t want to be up. Sleep didn’t really come, so I got up and had breakfast, then got on the computer for a short time before trying to nap again. This time worked better, and Hendrix came to join me and curled up behind my bent knees.

After that, I got up and puttered around a bit. Greg got back with me and told me he’d tell me when he started on his way over. I think I tried lying down again, but that didn’t work, so I got up to fritter around on the computer, and Greg texted to say he was on his way. So I waited about 10-15 minutes then went downstairs to let him in.

My Thursday gaming group will be starting a new version of an old game we’ve played for a while. Previously, we played Vampire: The Masquerade. Phil decided to try something new, and we’re now getting into Vampire: The Requiem. He’s mentioned combining the two versions, but I’m not sure exactly what’s going to happen with that. In the interest of familiarizing the two of us who don’t live with him with the new version of Vampire, Phil gave the book for it to Greg to read through, then told Greg to pass it on to me when he finished. That’s why Greg wanted to come over yesterday. And of course I invited him up to my place to hang out, and he had two cups of tea while we chatted about various things. He left after maybe an hour or so.

I tried lying down again, then gave up quickly and decided to crochet with Forensic Files on from Netflix. Did that for about two hours, then put everything away and returned to my computer. By now, it was nearly 21:00, but I did manage to get a number of things done. I called Anita first, and we had an hour-long chat. After that, I did my languages, a tarot card, and wrote up an update for my Fool’s Errand site. Also kept up with my journal.

No, I didn’t get 250 words. I’d already met my goal of five days of writing, so I decided to take the day off from writing. Didn’t edit any chapters of DH03, either, but I got the week’s three done by Friday, so that was really moot. I did do a bit of reading though—online. Posts on MeWe and an online comic I follow.

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