Injection of life

Hi, all, posting on a Saturday after weeks of silence because time is a construct and the world is on fire and who needs schedules anyway, ha ha ha ha ha…

I’m attending (virtually, obviously) Flights of Foundry this weekend and holy bazoly are conventions necessary for me to exist as a writer. Norwescon is a huge burst of motivation at the beginning of the year, usually followed by StokerCon, and I have been feeling that loss. Sitting in panels again feels like some small part of my off kilter universe just realigned itself.

Also, I took a class a bit ago with Cat Rambo and Jenn Brozek (love them both and yes, I have mentioned the class before), and one thing that came out of it is that you should reward yourself for hitting writing milestones.

I’ve never been good at this. Main problem? No impulse control. If I want something badly enough that it would count as a reward, and it’s in my budget, I usually just by it. Good job, Alison. You woke up today. This is for you, from me, Alison.

So finding something special enough that I want to work for it has been a challenge. Then I realized I needed to replace my gaming headset (old one died, bought a new one, hate it so much I could throw it and I’m surprised I haven’t already). Headset I settled on had matching mouse and keyboard. And mic. Oh, and I’ve been wanting to redo my desk top for a while, and—how convenient! This contact paper matches the headset and mouse and keyboard and mic. And if I got a complementary gaming mousepad, my work (and gaming) station would look BOSS.

Long story short, I’m completely re-accessorizing my computer. I bought all the components; next step, I’m wrapping them up in mermaid wrapping paper, addressing them to myself, and I’ll open one for each milestone I hit. To: Alison. Love, Alison.

Wish me luck!

P.S. Gave myself mermaid hair for quarantine:

Also featured: my quarantine hoodie, adding to the illusion that I’m a teenager, not a full-functioning adult in my thirties with a job and a husband and a baby (just kidding, it’s a cat).

Writing: New horror WIP

Let me introduce my new WIP, working title “Snakeskin Pilgrims.”

This is a working cover for my own personal use and not intended to be final. However, all fonts and images are licensed for commercial use. With thanks to Donald Gianna and John Gibbons on Unsplash for the photos and paintresseye on DeviantArt for the snake skin texture.

Welcome to Snakeskin, Arizona, a town of magic, obsession, and sacrifice. Don’t get bit.

Side note: During the current pandemic, I will not be adhering to my usual posting schedule. I’ve adjusted my priorities to account for current responsibilities, energy levels, and mental health. Until things normalize, whatever that means, my presence will be sporadic. Thanks for your patience!

Marching forward

…because it’s March.

Yep.

Here’s what’s going on for me at the midway mark of this month:

  • Finished freelance editing project that has been looming over me like a really tall guy with no sense of personal space (it wasn’t that bad, but I had crisis after crisis the moment it hit my plate—remember to communicate with your clients!)
  • Decided to shelve current novel for mental health reasons (the topic is way too close to world events right now, and I’m trying not to be overwhelmed by dread as it is)
  • Gearing up to outline my next project, which should be a lot of fun
  • Took another Rambo Academy class, this one called Plotting Your Trajectory: How to Plan an Unplannable Writing Career with Jennifer Brozek, who is a lovely person. Also, she knows what she’s talking about, which helps
  • Trying to figure out if I want to switch from Milanote to Airtable (thoughts? opinions? random compliments about my fashion sense?)
  • Mourning the (wise, expected, and yet still disappointing) cancellation of Norwescon
  • Trying to figure out if our 3-person end-of-April writing retreat in the wilds of Arizona is still feasible
  • Trying to figure out how to work short fiction back into my writing schedule
  • Trying to learn Swedish

Let me know what you’re up to, even if it’s just watching Netflix in your pajamas and waiting for the apocalypse.

Weekend writing: getting away

Yesterday, I checked in at a local hotel for some focused writing time.

Hotel room

That desk by the window is where I’ve been sitting since, plugging away at the book with no distractions beyond food and sleep.

I try to do this at least once for each large project, for two reasons:

  • It can be hard to balance working full time, contributing to a creative indie company, writing, and taking care of things in my life.
  • The number one way to avoid burnout is to keep your plate only as full as you can manage, but the number two way is to keep what you’re working on fresh, interesting, and exciting.

A change of environment is a way to escape, to focus on only what I need to focus on my writing: being productive and resting. When I do these little writing excursions, I never punish myself for going to bed earlier than planned or sleeping in. I let myself have a nice, expensive dinner. It’s less about getting the word out and more about narrowing my focus, realigning myself, and reminding myself of my own priorities.

A side note: It’s tradition, when I’m away from home for even a single night, for my husband to send me pictures of our cat, so this is what I woke up to this morning:

Cat