Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Tag: Fool’s Errand (page 1 of 5)

Still Some Depression

So I decided that this week would be the one where I got back on the goals horse. It wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped it would be, but I think I’m still dealing with some depression. Regardless, the week started off fairly strong, which pleased me. Then I had a rough night of sleep Wednesday night, and that threw everything off. I didn’t get much done Thursday, and got even less done Friday as I spent a good portion of the day trying to catch up on the sleep I’d missed both Wednesday and Thursday. Much of the month has been like this, which is part of the reason why I haven’t been posting even my Fool’s Errand updates on Saturday.

I think, however, I’ve finally settled on my next project. Little as I want to do a story I won’t be able to post on Wattpad, I’m going to work on MOTS1. The Masters of the Schism series is one that I’ve wanted to make progress on for a long time. It’s a for-fun series that’s close to my heart. I figured out what I wanted to do with book 1 last year and have been trying to figure out how to handle the rewrite as I wrote past book 1’s natural ending and need to fill in more detail. For the past couple weeks or so, I’ve been reading through the scenes I’m keeping, and writing up notes in Scapple for the future outline. It’s been fun.

My original plan was to increase my wordcount goal from 250 a day to 500 with the new project, but I’m now undecided on that. There are some benefits to increasing the wordcount, but I don’t know if it would be wise to increase the count yet, especially since I’m dealing with depression. Not that I’d beat myself up about not writing or not getting the goal, just that until I’m sure I’m out of the depressive fog, it may be wisest not to do too much for my writing goal. That’s something I’ve got to think some more about, but I’ve got some time.

February and Now

I didn’t update here during February because it was a rough month, starting with the last week of January. I dropped into a depressive phase in January and struggled until I finally gave up keeping up with things. Nothing of my everyday tasks really got done. I was too depressed to care, and I didn’t even bother doing task lists or anything through most of February. This was all complicated by an out of town trip I had to make with my Mom, and, yeah. It was a tough month. I didn’t even write for most of it.

But this past week I managed to get back on the horse, after a fashion. I’d have to say I’m barely back on, but I’m clingint tight. I managed to make some progress on UL, though it wasn’t much. It felt good to write on it though.

Also, I’ve been working on a couple new story ideas. Just taking notes and doing worldbuilding for the most part. Can’t wait to dive into one of them, but I’m waiting to see if that mood passes. I’m liking the return of my discipline that I developed last year, as I’ve not started writing on these projects yet. My main goal, as it has been since October of last year, is to focus on Unwritten Letters.

Not Much of an Update

I’m heading from one busy week into a busier week, so this is going to be quick. This week I managed to make progress on my writing 4 days. Over 250 words each day. I should have done another plot card today, but never got around to it, so that’s for Sunday—I hope.

But I think I have some idea what to do with Masters of the Schism 1. Mind’s been on it the past few days, but I’m taking it easy and not trying to force it. Hoping the epiphany I feel coming on will hit before long.

And that’s it.

Writing Plans and Goals

Aside from telling y’all that things are going well on the writing front, I’m not going to go into detail about the week. Instead, I’m going to list my writing goals, as I promised I would today.

Overall, I’m pleased with my progress since October, and I intend to continue on what I started. So—

Presently I’m writing a minimum goal of 250 words 5 days a week on Unwritten Letters. My first goal is to continue with this process. With every writing session, I get closer to finishing UL, and I’m looking forward to being done with it. I’m not sure how much longer this will take, mostly because I can’t predict how long each of the last few scenes will be until I’ve written them, though I think it’s safe to say I’ll be at this through January at least.

My original intent was to raise my wordcount goal to 500 words 5 days a week with the new year. Ultimately, I decided against that, mainly because I feel like UL is progressing too well at the 250 word level. I often write more than that, and I’m enjoying beating my wordcount goal so regularly. So, even though I often want to continue writing, I stop at some point beyond 250, but usually below 500 words. Wherever it feels natural to do so, or when I can’t figure out how to continue the scene without looking at the plot card again.

As for my goals, here they are:

  • Finish Unwritten Letters at 250 words a day 5 days a week.
  • Spend at least a month’s worth of time reading through incomplete WIPS to determine if I’d like to work on one of them. This is my primary focus. I need to get some more incomplete stories out of the way.
  • Try to make more progress on ideas that I’ve been doing background work on to see if I’ll maybe work on one of them instead, though they are not my primary focus.
  • Do the prep work, background work, and/or reverse outlining that may be needed for making progress on whatever incomplete WIP I choose.
  • Write 500 words 5 days a week on the project I choose.

That’s it for this week!

2018 Overview and 2019 General Goals

2018 was not a good year for me in a number of ways. One thing that really stands out is my embarkation as a DM in the D&D world, and admitting that I’d defeated myself with my leaping feet-first into a homebrew campaign. That was really hard to do, but I wasn’t having fun with it any more, and I knew if I tried to push myself, my friends wouldn’t have fun either due to my lack of preparation. I didn’t give up completely, however. My solution was to get an off the shelf game and speed-prep what I needed for it in a week or two so we could get to gaming as soon as possible. Half those plans fell through—we weren’t actually able to start the new campaign in December due to various people getting sick or not being able to show up. I myself spent a week with some weird illness where I felt physically drained and slept pretty much all day for something like five or six days straight. We are set to game tomorrow, though, which I’m glad about. Nobody’s ill, I think I’m as prepared as I can get, and we’re all desperate to play D&D together.

One thing that did go well, at least toward the last quarter of the year, was my writing. I made I don’t know how many false starts early on in the year, where I’d commit myself to completing something, then pretty much immediately failed to do so. Finally, at the end of August, I was fed up with that crap, and I decided I’d spend September reading through as many incomplete WIPS as I possibly could and then decide which one to work on. I focused more on those I had outlines for and eventually decided to work on Unwritten Letters starting in October. This I’m calling my Fool’s Errand, which I’ve been posting about on Saturdays here on AEP.

Also, I’ve made lots of new friends. So many people in my life now, I can barely name them all. I’ve started learning how to quilt, gotten more regular with crocheting, and have been cooking more. All because I have more friends in my life.

I continued using a Bullet Journal through most of 2018 as well, but to be honest, it was a struggle before the end of 2017 in some respects. Much of the Bullet Journal format is repetitive and labor-intensive, which made it seem like work, and thus not much fun, to work on. So I adjusted it. I don’t do the month overviews or lists of major things I want to get done every month. At about the same time I started reading through my WIPS, I decided to trim my Bullet Journal down to three primary things: Monthly Budget, Weekly Log, and Daily Log. I also obeyed an impulse I had and started listing completed tasks below the Task List, instead of just marking them as done. This proved to be a good instinct, because I find the act of actually writing out the name of the task to be more motivating than just marking the task as complete. I don’t just keep it to tasks I’ve listed as needing done, but also list things that I’ve done that weren’t on the Task List to begin with. And I don’t sweat the stuff I don’t do.

So those are the highlights of 2018. I’ll post more about my writing on Saturday. Until then, here are my general goals for the year, in no particular order:

  • Continue DMing for my Thursday Gaming Group.
  • Cook more frequently.
  • Continue pursuing my claims with the VA.
  • Read 12 books over the course of the year. More if possible, but at least 12.
  • Learn to play the flute. Poor thing’s probably rusted by now, it’s been so long since I used it.
  • Keep up with language practice for Spanish, German, and Norwegian.
  • Take walks more frequently, for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Pick up work on my homebrew D&D campaign again.
  • Draw more often, at least once a week.
  • Continue volunteering at the Utah Pride Center once a week.
  • Get back into my Tarot lessons.

And that’s it!

Another Two Weeks

My apologies for not posting last week. Two major factors prevented me from doing so. The first, and primary, reason why I didn’t post was because my internet was acting up. I’d had issues beginning Friday, and they went all the way through Sunday. Posting anything that required an image or an extensive online presence, as editing italics into my Wattpad posts, either didn’t happen at all or was fraught with unintentional issues due to the computer misinterpreting my keystrokes—for instance, in trying to delete the underscores I mark italics in my Wattpad projects with before pasting them to Wattpad, the computer often simply back-screened instead of just deleting the underscore. Frustrating, to say the least.

The second reason why I didn’t post anything last week was that I was at the tail end of an odd illness that exhausted me. I literally slept most days between the 16th and 22nd. This was so bad that I came out of my bedroom, did kitty care, started my computer so I could have music, and then I went to curl up on the sofa to sleep some more. I was lucky if I could get half an hour vertical. Though we were supposed to start the new D&D campaign I got on the 20th, I had to cancel that ’cause I could barely get 30 minutes upright without falling asleep. So between that illness and the difficulties I was having with my internet, I didn’t actually get a chance to write a post. I was more concerned with trying to get my Friday stuff done first, and I had to give up on that too and finally called my internet provider to see about getting it fixed.

Much to my relief, they had a guy come out Monday. He did some techy stuff, set up a new modem, and got me back on the internet.

And the illness that drained me had another side effect. I didn’t write every day I could have that week. I think I wrote three days, and barely got my minimum word counts before having to crash again. And those three days, I basically forced it out of myself. To the point where I was dozing as I finished up the scenes.

This past week was better. I’ve written four days so far and should be getting my 250 words for today a little later. Also, I’ve done a plot card on Unwritten Letters. One of this week’s writing days got me over 800 words.

I have good news about TBK2 (the sequel to UL). Earlier this week, I looked at the plot cards for it and started work on it in earnest. It’s slow going, but I’m making progress. The first several I already had needed rewriting, which I was happy to do. Having a firmer idea of how things should go helps. I’ve decided to include both Merolén’s and Paroté’s points of view in this book, but honestly, Merolén has more cards at this point. Looking forward to digging into this, but I’m not sure I know enough about the story to make it work. I feel like there’s something missing, and I can’t tell if it’s just doubt speaking or if there really is something missing, so I’ll probably shelve TBK2 if progress doesn’t start happening faster, as I don’t like pushing through when I’m uncertain about something. That usually ends up biting my butt when I start writing, even if I don’t do a full outline.

So that’s where things stand with my Fool’s Errand here at the end of December 2018. I hope y’all have a Happy New Year!

Two Weeks

Sorry I missed last week’s update. It was just not a good weekend for me all around, writing-wise. The fact is, the whole week was a did for writing. I think I wrote 2 days and then spent the rest crocheting with Forensic Files playing. After that, I didn’t feel like doing writing stuff or admitting that I hadn’t written most of the week. It was, I think, a combination of depression and plain and simple need to do something else for a while. And, anyway, I’ve had a week where I wrote little or not at all each month since starting my Fool’s Errand endeavor.

But this week, I’ve written a bunch. Well, within the parameters of my Fool’s Errand. Most days the past week, I wrote between 300-400 words. Did over 500 today ’cause I wanted to complete a thought. Right now, I feel like it’s pathetic, bad writing, but I’m leaving it there. I know better than to kill words right when I first have such negative thoughts. Need to sleep on it a bit.

Also this week, I’ve completed a chapter of Unwritten Letters and written another plot card on it. That was a bit challenging for me. Debated things for it most of yesterday before buckling down and doing enough research to determine just what the Édalain Empire uses as an insignia for their courts of law. Learned in the process that they don’t have jury trials like we do. Édalain trials involve panels of nine judges—three Mages, three Holy Ones, and three members of civilian society who usually receive some sort of training related directly to whatever cases they’ll be making decisions on. For instance, the civilian members of the Board of Grievances, which is what the particular court of law Merolén faced is called, are all landholders—lord or lady holders—who have been trained in the law regarding every aspect of their social station and those they have authority over; if a farmer from such a landholder’s property wished to do so, they too could undergo the same training and sit on the Board of Grievances. There are no restrictions regarding status beyond having some basic knowledge of how such aspects of society are supposed to function before applying for the training to make judgements on it. For his own case, Merolén was able to represent himself when he presented the information he’d collected to the Board, but there are other situations wherein he would have been better advised to hire a lawyer.

My apologies for the digression. But the fact is, worldbuilding never really stops for me.

So that’s where things stand with my Fool’s Errand on this fine Saturday night. I’ll do my best to write future updates whether or not I feel ashamed of my progress—or lack thereof—in future.

A Rough End to the Week

This week started out well, but it had a rocky end. On Thursday and Friday, I did no writing on Unwritten Letters. In fact, I did almost nothing at all on Friday. That day was particularly bad. I awoke depressed and just stayed in bed until after 14:00, getting up only long enough for kitty care around noon before heading back to bed. Yeah. So, Friday was a complete bust.

I should perhaps clarify. While I did do some writing work Thursday, and I did actually get a number of tasks done from my list, I didn’t work on UL at all. Still, it was a productive day. I just wish I’d gotten UL stuff done.

On Sunday, I finished Scene 83 on UL and on Monday I got the next plot card for it—for Scene 85. The days I did write on UL have gone well, which is good, including tonight. I would like to have gotten another day of UL in this week, but I’m still pretty pleased with what I did get.

I’m trying to decide just which project to work on after I’m done UL because I’m creeping toward the end. There are maybe 6 notes left in Scapple for this ending sequence, and I haven’t been making any more adjustments to them the past few times I’ve opened the file. While that’s a good thing, it also indicates that what I’ve got is The Official End of UL. As much as I’m looking forward to that, I also don’t want it to end if I haven’t decided what to work on after UL, but I guess I can’t have everything. It may be that I’ll need to take a week or two to decide when I don’t have anything on my plate.

So that’s where my Fool’s Errand stands this week!

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.

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.

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