Sunday, 31 March 2019

Lately [Bypassing The Frets]

   It's been quiet on the blog this year. As always with me, I try to do too much, and something always goes on the backburner. It's usually the blog.
   January was spent finishing the second book of The Devoted trilogy, February was spent editing it, writing the short stories for Project Tarot and following The Art of Storytelling course, and March has been split in many directions: completing the course, planning out the third book, planning out the story I intend to write for Camp NaNoWriMo (which begins tomorrow), injecting life into my Instagram account and trying to make it work for my writing, trying so hard to bring my Etsy shop back from its own ashes after a disastrous Christmas and a first quarter so dead that I considered packing it in all together if not for the fact that it is my sole income, pouring a lot of hope and dedication into my current workout plan and final stages of my calorie experiment, and fretting over Brexit and what it will mean for my Dutch husband and I.
   So, though a lot has been going on, I've had nothing to say. It's been the busiest and, so far, most emotional month, and while I used to blog about every single little thing on my mind, I didn't want to waste a post talking about my feelings when they all stem merely from hopes and worries, with little solid foundation. If I was worried about something inevitable, something actually happening, fine. But it's all based on nothing but conjecture. I'm an unreasonably pessimistic person for someone chasing a life-long dream of a creative career.

   And, given that I no longer switch my workout up every single month, there's not much to check in with on that front, either. Especially right now, because I really want to get a well-rounded picture before I present anything.

   I'm not really sure why I'm writing this post, to be honest, but I'll focus on the positives.

Author Instagram Adventures
   Disregrading the approval of Article 15 & 17, I've got a lot of hope for my Instagram account. After stumbling across Wildmind Creative while setting up my author website (which still feels so ridiculous to have), I read up on their free advice for optimising an Instagram account to promote your book. I doubted it would work, since Instagram's audience have the shortest attention span, but actually, it's a lot easier and more enjoyable than I'd thought. Reviewing books relevant to your own work, posting pictures of inspirational people or places, text images of writer or book quotes, with every 4th image related to your own work. Taking good photos is the tricky thing, but I'm muddling through, and having found #FantasyWIP[Month] has also given me daily prompts. I'm not posting daily, of course - I've got too much on my plate right now to come up with pleasing pictures every single day - I'm aiming for every 3-4, but it's helping to fill the gaps when it's time to post and I have nothing to say. I'm hoping to do it a little more often in the near future, but all my pictures are from adventures in forests and my feed would look rather green and rather forestry-commissiony. So I'm spreading them out and holding them back.
   I also read about optimising my twitter and how to use hashtags.
   Alllll of this has resulted in a huge boost for my social media. I'm not spamming "bye my buk lol" but rather actually posting content, and I'm getting likes, follows, retweets and even interactions from other writers and book lovers. I'm so excited! I feel like there are actually people listening to me now!
   I've also learned that your follow count on Instagram is extremely fickle; I can gain 5 followers in a day and then lose 4 of them two days later. So I'm not taking that to heart. As long as I post content that is relevant and enjoyable, that's fine with me. If people come and go, they come and go. Numbers mean nothing if only 20% of them are actually listening, and I never follow someone to get a follow back.

Camp NaNoWriMo
   I'm also feeling really positive about Camp NaNoWriMo. I have given myself a 15,000 word count goal. I don't know how doable that is - I have never kept track of my word count, and I guess that shows - but it boils down to 500 words a day, which is about a page. In which case I ought to be able to manage that, because I average 11 pages a week when I'm being lazy, distracted or struggling. We will see.
   The story is actually a window into the wildlings between books 2 and 3. There's an event in the second book and I wanted to see how the wildlings would handle it, and as those wildlings are made up of a combination of my own creatures and creatures from Scandinavian folklore, I wanted to look closer at them in general. They have a much bigger part in the third book, so if I have a better idea of them, they will get their chance to shine.
   I've no idea what I'm going to do with the story. I like to think I could self-publish it if it's any good, and I'm trying to write it as a stand-alone, but I don't know how well that will work. I'd have to give it to someone who hasn't read The Zi'veyn and find out from them if it seems confusing at all. If it does, publishing isn't an option.
   But the point of my writing it is twofold: establish the wildlings in my own mind in preparation for the final book of the trilogy, and to put into action the things I learned from Neil Gaiman's 'The Art of Storytelling' - which I do intend to review, now that I've finished it.
   Also, how's that for a place-holder cover image? It's made up of a photograph I took in Sonsbeek in 2012, and another I took in the dark ages of the mid 00's. It's awful. But better that than a blank space. If I were to publish it, the cover, and the title, would improve, I promise.

Better late than never

   Though Etsy is flopping severely and we are incredibly skint, we have paid off the honeymoon and we're all set to go in May. I'm so excited. It's a year after the wedding, so it's more like a 1 year wedding anniversary, but we don't really mind at all. The place should be worth it - I would hope so, at least, having saved up for a year! It's cost three times as much as the wedding! Though, granted, the wedding cost £500...and we loved it.

   I also blame my friend Rini for this, but I've developed a rapid obsession with the Moomins. I didn't realise how little I'd seen when I was young, but I bought the first season on DVD and watched it cover to cover in one day. I actually planned to work on my book plan while watching it, but that didn't happen. I was riveted. Snufkin is my favourite <3 which is ironic, given how down to earth he is. I'm in the clouds all the time. But, perhaps I'm just seeing similarities between him and my own husband. Except my husband doesn't have a green hat, live in a tent or play the harmonica.
   I should get him a harmonica.
Side note: there's a man that walks his dog in the field behind our house, and he bought a harmonica just over a year ago. He plays it while he walks. He was not good initially, but we've heard him improve. He's enviable now, it's genuinely a pleasure to hear him out there.
   Especially when compared to the idiot man who stands outside our house at 6-7am every day, shouting at the top of his lungs and clapping as loud as he can to get his dog's attention. If he doesn't trust his dog, he should get an extendable leash. I am this close *pinches fingers* to calling him out on it. He's oblivious to his surroundings. It's a residential area. Taking three steps over the threshold into the park doesn't suddenly muffle voices!!

   The weather has been rather nice lately, too...


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