Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Tag: Unwritten Letters (page 1 of 3)

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.

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.

4Nov18: By Any Standards

By any standards, Sunday was a wildly productive day. And particularly by my own. I got a lot done, and that’s even with a few hours out of the house at an appointment, having a meal with a friend, and getting groceries in a store whose floor plan has been different every single time I’ve gone in there for the past couple of months. They’re remodeling the grocery section of my Smith’s Marketplace, so it’s all a mess there. I had to go up and down literally every aisle yesterday to find what I needed, because, even if the shelves hadn’t been taken out, nothing I needed was in the place it used to be. It’s going to be fantastic when they’re done, but it’s definitely a madhouse right now.

In addition to getting to my knee appointment, dining with Katie, and going for groceries, I Did my languages, called my sister Erin for a 40 min call and my friend Anita for an hour-and-twenty-minute call, and did a plot card on UL since I finished up the last one the other day. Did some D&D prep too, and a kept up with my Task Journal. Before leaving the house, I sorted my pills for the week, which is pretty important. It’s how I know what meds to take and when to take them. Read a bit too, though only very little. Oh, and I even got my 250 words!

So, a very productive day for me!

2Nov18: More Than I Thought Done

I definitely didn’t hit on everything on Friday, but I got quite a bit done. Languages, posting DH03CH09 to Wattpad, posting the prompt to my MeWe page, working on my journal, going to my therapy appointment. I also took a nap and went out with a couple of friends. And I got my 250 words, which I thought I wouldn’t get to. So a pretty good day at the end of it.

Better Weeks

(This post was moved to this site on 19 November 2018.)

I knew I’d forgotten to do something last Saturday. Just tonight looked to see that I’d missed last week’s post here. My apologies. Here’s a combined report on the last two weeks instead.

Both have been better than the second week of this month. I’ve managed to write most days of both weeks, though it looks like I’ll be taking my second writing break tonight, though we’ll see. Still working on convincing myself it’s going to be a writing night for me. Either way, I did a plot card on UL on the 21st or 22nd this week, and those come out to anywhere about 250-500 words depending on how detailed I get with them, so I generally count plot cards as writing days.

Unwritten Letters is progressing nicely. So far, it’s taken anywhere from 5-8 writing sessions to complete a scene, and I’ve completed two since starting. I’m not stopping right on the 250th word every time. Sometimes I want to complete a thought, so I write until I reach that point. But I always go over my wordcount goal. And I don’t go back to write more until the next day.

Restricting myself to one writing session of a relatively small amount is helping me keep up with the goal. This pleases me, and was what I hoped would happen. Before, I think I burnt myself out on writing gads of words over brief periods of a few days to a week. Also, I was writing mostly due to feeling inspired, and the thought of adding another 1500-2500 words a day got daunting, so I didn’t bother trying. Now I’ve been saying to myself, “It’s only 250 words—10-15 minutes of writing max. I can squeeze that in right now.” Makes it really easy to get my goal in most days.

I spent a few days the past week taking notes on a brand new thing. This too was one of my goals—that I’d take notes and tell the idea to wait its turn in line. It helped, I think, that I also told myself repeatedly that I didn’t know where to begin the story. Not that I didn’t have ideas for the opening, which I did, but I didn’t let myself decide on one. This new thing has 3 MCs, triplet sisters, and no visible ending, so I’ve told it to wait.

Though I’ve got about 5 or 6 or so more notes in Scapple for UL’s plot cards, I’m going to spend next week or so figuring out what I want to work on next. No, I still haven’t finalized that decision. I definitely want to do that before I finish UL though. I may work on 2 projects, one with an outline, and one without.

Oh, I’ve had some important epiphanies about DH04-06 the past couple weeks. Spent about 30-45 mins rambling stuff to one of my long-distance writing friends one morning. I’ve also got more notes to add, once I remember them. Haven’t really forgotten them as much as I’ve just shunted them into a spot in my memory that’s going to require some focused time coaxing to release the ideas again. Years ago, I used to do this all the time, but I’ve fallen out of practice, so it takes a little longer than usual. Reading through the notes I have already should help too. Right now, DH04-06’s playlist has all of one song, and I’m debating adding a couple of those from DH01-03’s playlist. Not sure I’m ready to hear those on a regular basis again though.

So that’s where things stand on my Fool’s Errand. Next week, I’ll try to remember to post on Saturday—November 3rd. After I call and wish my sister a happy birthday, of course.

22Oct18: Movie Night a Day Late

Monday night game was canceled pretty early in the afternoon because Christian and Steffanie, the hosts, were going to a play instead. Over the rest of the afternoon, I chatted with Mom, got my AEP post up here, neatened my living room from Sunday’s grocery trip (picked up all the reusable grocery bags). At some point, Varick contacted me about holding Movie Night that night since we hadn’t been able to meet on Sunday, and I agreed. So Varick came to my place, and I did my languages before we met with Daz, and we all headed up to Smith’s to get the makings for a fancy hearty ramen meal before we settled in for the movie. It was all yummy, and I couldn’t even finish my entire bowl, so Daz and Varick split it between them. After that, we settled in to watch Iron Man, which was an incredibly fun ride. We put the house in order before Daz and Varick left after the movie, and I settled in to meet my writing goal. Instead of 250 words, I did another plot card on Unwritten Letters since I’d finished writing out the last plot card.

10Oct18: Productive Wednesday

Wednesday was wildly productive for a day that I spent most of away from home. Part of it was getting stuff done in the wee hours before going to bed. I actually edited 3 chapters of DH03 and wrote my Fool’s Errand post before going to bed.

After I slept, I wrote yesterday’s AEP post, a plot card for UL, and practiced my languages. Went to play MTG and Pathfinder, but nobody showed up for MTG. Had a good Pathfinder session, though. I think I also chatted with my mom on the phone. All in all, a good day!

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