My own gargoyle is still looking a little spiky in places where the pins still lurk, but those places do dwindle. Just the other night, when tempted to blob in a chair and watch a DVD with nothing for my hands to do, I thought of this very report and chipped away a little more.
So thank you for the encouragement.
How are things with your gargoyles? It’s a tricky time of year, when people start doing all the social things they know they won’t be able to fit in come December, but keep chipping away, no matter how small your chips. You’ll get there.
Looking forward to the new year, but also looking back over the year just passed. Coincidentally, it has been exactly a year since I started this blog.
During that time I have written all of eighty-eight posts (although about 25 are simple quote-and-picture posts). Over the course of the year I have gone through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, reviewed various books on writing, and asked for advice on a myriad of subjects (moving house, staying sane…) which I mostly didn’t get.
I also set goals for myself (see here and here) which I mostly failed to meet, in that I did not finish my WIP by December 31st. But I did make some strides in taking myself more seriously as a writer and doing a bit of would-like-to-be-professional development. As with so many things, Work In Progress.
Among the questions which I have mulled over during the year are whether to keep using my nom de plume (my parents, by some oversight, failed to name me Sinistra at birth) and what precisely it is I am trying to achieve here.
This blog was originally intended as a form of accountability against procrastination, but since no-one is actually holding me accountable but me anyway, that purpose has taken a bit of a back seat.
Procrastination is apparently one of the mysteries of the human condition, as articulated by Paul back in the 50s AD: “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it.” (Romans 7:15, New Living Translation).
Motivation is perhaps key, but I struggle to find a motivation strong enough to overcome tiredness and self-doubt. Duty doesn’t cut it (unlike Frederic, I am not the Slave of Duty); ambition is by no means my strong suit – perhaps I just need to develop more character. Or a means of reminding myself of what it is I stand to lose.
In any case, over the coming year I hope to look more at subjects of interest to more than myself – that is to say, less of the writing, and more of the whatever-I-happen-to-be-obsessed-with-at-the-moment – steampunk, knitting, millinery, sustainability, odd bits of history, or any combination of the above.
Looking back, my most popular post by far (inasmuch as I can tell, since the majority of views are recorded as “homepage/archive”) is Great Wizards of Literature. I blush a little every time I see another hit on it, as it was originally titled Favourite Wizards of Literature, only some were more great than favourite. It wasn’t until after I had clicked ‘publish’ that I realised I had listed one of my own creations as a Great Wizard of Literature.
He isn’t great, really, but he’s doing his best. (If he’s very lucky, he may one day be published.) An excellent example of how not to blow your own trumpet.
The gong for Most Under-Appreciated Post (from my point of view, anyway) goes to Mid-Week Quote: Reading, for the play on word(s) if nothing else.
On an entirely unrelated tangent, if your New Year’s Resolution includes being more generous, giving to charity, doing something good for someone else or even (aim high!) saving someone’s life, consider this from Throwim Way Leg, one of the blogs I follow.
Getting an ultrasound machine really will make a life-or-death difference to people in Papua New Guinea. Imagine if your local hospital had no ultrasound, no x-ray, no lab for tests… you get the idea.
And do please feel free to pass the link on to anyone you think might be interested.
Thanking you all for your company in 2013, and looking forward to your company in 2014, I remain, Sinistra Inksteyne
As I’ve mentioned before, I started this blog largely to have some accountability about whether I wrote or simply procrastinated.
Recently, I was happy to discover another writer using her blog for the same thing, although in her case she’s pulling out the big guns and doing NaNoWriMo. (I shall take on the role of the elegant lady in the back, watching with her hands over her ears.)
I would like to do NaNoWriMo someday, but not this year, I think. This year has been quite eventful enough as it is, what with moving house, changing job (though not employer), bouts of ill health and so forth.
Of course, as with so many things in life, there will never be a perfect time, but some times are better than others, and the time for which you have prepared is better than the time for which you have not.
As I was mulling over the slowness of my progress this week (while I did some more character work last Monday, I didn’t add a word to the MS) I decided that in a non-NaNo scenario, the important thing is not so much how fast you go, but that you do not backtrack, go in circles, or stop.
Or as Tolkien more poetically put it: O! Wanderers in the shadowed land
despair not! For though dark they stand,
all woods there be must end at last,
and see the open sun go past:
the setting sun, the rising sun,
the day’s end, or the day begun.
For east or west all woods must fail …
However slowly you trudge, as long as you keep going forward you will eventually get to the end of your book. Unless you’re writing War and Peace: The Extended Edition, in which case you may well die of old age first.
This Monday my goal is to get my main character out of her comfort zone and then knock away all the supports and protections she has had so far. As they say, get your character up a tree and throw stones at them. Or if you’re Tolkien, get them up a tree with slavering beasts beneath and then set fire to the tree.
I like to think I’m comparatively merciful.
So, in the great Internet Accountability, what are your goals (writing or otherwise)? And do you have any handy tips on how to keep motivated while wandering in shadowed lands?
As always, happy to hear from you! Sinistra Inksteyne