April 2017 in Review

Well, this April had some serious ups and downs. Since I am clampering out of the down right now, I am not very happy with it. But objectively seen, it was a decent month with some very great weeks. I’ll feel better about it with a bit of distance.

Art

Four new sketches and five republished images  – Roughly the same as last month.

I do worry that I am running out of things to re-run soon. The trick to Instagram seems to be a combination of posting frequency with the right hashtags, at least in my case. Posting quality does not seem to matter much, although I know artists notoriously bad at assessing their own work.  So make more, publish more, see what sticks.

Well, maybe that’s the trick to build an audience in general, I know all my favourite artists and authors are the highly productive ones. I tend to forget those who are better but only put out stuff once in a while.

Writing

I actually posted a non-review blog post, so this new blog thing is working out! Still need a decent skin for it, though.

Wordcount: 66.376 – only roughly 4k more than last month.

Time I spent writing: 9:08h

Time I spent editing: 3:31h

I reached the end of my free writing on Nyx and Nyssa; I’ve seen the whole arc of the story and so I started editing it. Story-brain got impatient with it, and now I know enough about the characters that I can bring, you know, character to them.

But maybe editing is not the right word? I’m turning Draft Zero into Draft One; I sort through that word vomit to sort out what’s usable, what’s not and adding character telling moments and story meat here and there.

Draft Zero isn’t a story yet, I am making it one now.

Health & Happiness

Much of this month has been taken up by visiting my family over Easter and oh, I loved it. Hadn’t had so much fun and joy in ages.

I crashed hard afterwards, though. Staying in a different place with different habits always messes with my habits, and I need my habits to stay mentally healthy. So I started binging again, both on food and on video games – Rimworld’s good, but that’s not the main reason I play it all the damn time. Nope, that’s my brain being off-kilter.

On the upside: I started running again, redoing my trainings program from the beginning. It works; I need my runs.  I expect things to get better soon.

March 2017 in Review

Yikes. March just flew by.

It was a tough month for me, both emotionally and health-wise, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle and so I still got a good amount of stuff done.

I am glad I am feeling better though. Curating my internet consumption  definitely helped.  So no more twitter,  I trimmed down my webcomic feed and avoid  reading Warcraft related whining. Sometimes I still slip up – there are a few artists I like that are only on twitter and checking their feeds is tempting – but I usually get  quickly reminded why it’s a bad idea.

Seems like I lost my patience for bullshit lately – and it’s such a relief.

Health

Been sickly most of the month, one cold after the other. Come to think, I’ve been ill a lot lately; probably because my daily commute through Waterloo Station gives me lots of oppertunity to pick up new and exiting bugs.

Anyway, long story short, I didn’t do much running and no weigthlifting this month. Gotta do better in April.

Art

The instagram experiment continues. I  posted six pictures in March and four of them were completely new – I started doing character design for Nyx & Nyssa in earnest, and it shows.

One of them is a rather involved inked piece I am quite proud of, even though I already know what to do better next time.

Also set up my scanner for quick scans of my inked work.  The iPhone camera works fine for sketches, but it cannot compare to a good scan.

Writing

15,852 words and 24 hours and 41 minutes of pure writing. This was a good month for me. Of these results I am rightly proud.

Nyx and Nyssa is coming along well. I abandoned my “write from start to end” for a “jump around for whatever scene I am thinking of” approach and am desperately hoping that I will not regret that approach in future.  Love to see how the ending is shaping up, though.

Social

Guild killed Guldan normal. Guldan Heroic will fall soon. Mwahahaha.

 

February 2017 in Review

February was a mixed bag, but it contained far more good than bad. All in all I am happy with how the month went.

Health

I over-trained. I must’ve been slightly sickly most of February, and so I missed the warning signs, and suddenly I couldn’t keep up with my old running routine anymore.

*sigh*

So, gotta step back from my old fifteen-minute-run-in-three-chunks run, and do a few shorter runs. March will be mainly about rebuilding.

But you know, it’s merely a setback.

Weightlifting’s fun though, even if I do it less than I’d like. Need a better routine for that.

Art and Writing

Got a lot of things done writing wise this month. Some statistics:

  • spent 21:15 writing on Nyx and Nyssa, aiming for 500 words a day. I do not always hit it or write everyday, but I often  overshoot my 500 words, so i averages it out.
  • Figured out how to pull word counts out of Scrivener iOS! on 7th February I was at 40.433 words, today I was at 47.106. Wordcount in itself doesn’t matter much for what I do – especially not when it comes to the raw draft that needs a ton of editing – but it is motivating!
  • I finished six scenes. Just put the last few words on “the burial and the staff” yesterday. I am think I am around two thirds done with this particular story. It’s going towards the climax very quickly.
  • Spent half an hour putting words on ToC. Hey, it counts!

Art wise, I found that tracking time like I do for writing does no help me (yet). Right now I don’t have a dedicated drawing time, instead I have a sketch book I scribble in whenever I am on a loading screen, flight path or otherwise waiting on something/someone. Found out that this happens more often than I’d like in the kind of games I enjoy.

But this, together with Instagram, worked out very well for me. Because:

  • I got seven (7!) new pieces done; four of them are already on Instagram, three are still waiting for uploads. They’re all simple, but its NEW ART, and that hasn’t happened in ages.

I stalled on my website rebuild, but that’s okay. It’s important, but not urgent, and I had stuff to do that matters more.  Instagram is truly enjoyable and most importantly, uploading is NOT a chore, and so I went and closed down a few other social network/gallery accounts I am barely using anymore. Instead I will focus on a few spaces and learn how to use them well.

Social

Still raiding, still a hermit otherwise. But I think my friends in Germany want me to spent more time in WoW together with them. 🙂

January 2017 in Review

2017 is off to a good start so far.

Things are moving – It could still be faster, but having this sense of progress is a HUGE relief. I’m quite thankful for this, too.

Health & Fitness

I caught a cold and could not go running in the last week. Bleh. But it’s almost over and reduced itself to occasional sniffles, so I’ll hit the pavement on Sunday again. I am REALLY looking forward to that.

Doing push ups after running worked out great, so I am thinking about adding weightlifting to my routine – just a few dumbbell exercises. I enjoy working with weights as much as I enjoy running. There’s something pleasurable about finding the limits of myself and stepping up to extend them, you know?

Honestly, half the reason I am thinking about weightlifting is because my weight loss has stalled. It makes sense, though. My resting heart rate went down, so did my weight which means day to day, and I got used to my current exercise routine. I just hit a spot where calorie intake and burn are in the balance again.

A limit, to extend.

I know, I know, the usual approach is to lower calorie INTAKE, but that, with my medical history, is a very hard NO. My current way of eating works for me and I mustn’t mess with that. That way be dragons.

Art & Writing

With ToC on break, Nyx+Nyssa is blooming. Lots of writing getting done, mainly on the phone during my commute. And since washy accounting doesn’t help anyone improve, some exact numbers.

  • I added 3 new scenes to Nyx and Nyssa, one of them a rather big and complicated fight scene. I wish I could give exact an exact word count, but the iOS version of Scrivener doesn’t do that right now.
  • I wrote 2 scenes I pulled from the main script, because they were explanatory. They were still important to write, because it helped me assess characters and especially Theodora’s movement until she met our heroes.

Together that’s 18 hours of pure writing time, most of in on my commute. I may not have word counts, but I have toggle statistics. HAH!

  • 4:45h writing time: wrote the beginning of what will become Traces of Chaos’ new framing story – it introduces that world so much better.
  • 2:50h writing time: Typed out the script first seven pages of Thunder Cliff Falls, a Sci-Fi superhero one I might eventually do after ToC and N+N. It was mainly describing some rough sketches I found while cleaning my folders. The idea for ASCII is great and worth following up eventually.
  • 40 mins: Writing specs for a game I’d one day like to do.

Otherwise, I spent 4:55h reworking my online presence: I’m nearly ready to move imaginaryskies.net back to a self-hosted wordpress install; everything is set up hardware and content-wise, the issue is the design. Time for me to teach myself sketch and fix that, so I can write the February review in wordpress.

Untracked and more of a time saver: I pretty much stopped using twitter and am building an Instagram presence instead.

Social

The new guild is working out great so far! I am raiding two till three times a week and it’s nice to speak German regularly again – and to talk to old friends, too. Running out of pixel-money in WoW though, tanking is EXPENSIVE.

Otherwise I’ve been making a point of doing things together with James, because, well, I enjoy spending time with him; and just sitting in the same room together playing different games really does not count. But, you know, two introverts, so go figure.

Happiness

I’ve been BUSY and productive – which translated into a very happy Carina. There were two or three hick-ups, but they got handled well.

I really hope I can continue this momentum through February into March.

2016; a personal perspective

So. There were a lot of public big things that were quite sucky in 2016, and I would quite appreciate it if 2017 would suck a bit less in that regard. Eitherway, I will not go over them here, even though I sure was fuming at the time.

So, an account of things good and bad I had impact on personally.

Bad things:

  1. I did not get married 2016 despite wanting too. Boo. Gotta fix it this year. My fiancé is willing; it’s the bureaucracy necessary due us being different nationalities that is a pain.
  2. The current re-incarnation of Traces of Chaos got killed by inches and I had to make the tough to decision to let it go for now. It was mainly the long months of living in a hotel I had to do due work – had to take too many breaks, proper drawing time was counted by minutes and so I eventually I lost the thread and all motivation. It’s kinda sucky.
  3. The living in hotel for months a piece nearly broke me. I’d like to avoid doing that again.
  4. Still have some bureaucratic stuff regarding my move to England to deal with – less bad, but a real annoyance.
  5. My WoW guild basically died and that cut me off from a lot of fun and social connections I used to have in that game, leaving me alone and uninterested for quite a while.

Good things:

  1. The kitties are healthy and happy and so are James and I, at least on average. The shy kitten is slowly coming out of its shell and seems to be very fond of sitting on James’ lap these days.
  2. My little brother got himself married and I am about to become an aunt!
  3. I started running. In June I went and bought myself an Apple Watch and a pair of good running shoes and since then I am going running twice or thrice a week, provided I am not ill. It makes such a difference in happiness and fitness, I get downright grumpy when I cannot run.
  4. Additionally I’m in treatment for the chronic hormone issue which impacted my weight so much. I’ve been slowly working against my overweight before – the running you know – but I am now losing fat at a steady clip. I do not expect that to continue, but for the first time in my life I get full from eating. I used to be nearly always hungry, no matter how much I ate.
  5. ToC’s current re-incarnation may have slowly died; but the web-development work I did for it did land me a project I do not have to travel for – at least for a while. I am quite happy about that. I feel like ToC took care of me despite everything.
  6. I won NaNoWriMo! Nyx+Nyssa has shaped up really, really nicely. I love the story and the characters and since the scope of that story is much smaller, it is easier to handle, too.
  7. Additional bonus of stopping the current version of ToC: I can take my time to straighten out all the small annoyances in story and character design I had. It may take some time and most likely won’t be in 2017, but with Nyx+Nyssa under my belt I will be much more able to do Siendes’ and Chalcara’s story justice.

All in all 2016 was a mix of good and bad for me, but I am honestly much better of now than I was a year ago.

That’s what counts, doesn’t it?

December 2016 in Review!

New year! Lets do this!

I’ll probably post a full year review later (want to reread my other monthly reviews for that!), but for now lets focus on December.

Health

I’ve become that person that happily runs in the rain. James says good. I say my poor fingers are getting cold.

This month’s lesson: My cheap-ish running pants and shirt aren’t really cutting it anymore. I can make it work, but I’d really would love a nice water tight set. And maybe some thin gloves. Need to do some research into winter running, because not being able to go out turns me into a huge grump.

Related lesson: I made sure to buy well-fitting shoes and running bra. I am really glad I did.

Related lesson the second: Losing weight makes the sports-bra lose. (File that under “Well, duh”) It was to tight when I bought it, now it’s a bit lose and I will need another one of those soon-ish, too. Just like with the pants and shirt, I hope I can make that one last another few months so that I can replace it with something neat when I drop into the clothing sizes that actually get to have the nice stuff.

Art & Writing

 

Done some writing I love. Made a hard decision regarding goals and hopes. Will talk about that in a separate post – maybe in the yearly review one.

Social

Visiting my parents was better than I can explain. I love them. I love the food my mom makes. I love Rostock and the rest of my family, too. Miss them dearly right now.

Happiness

I’ve been fine. Visiting Rostock was the highlight of the month for me and I spent more time laughing in that week than I did in the whole rest of the month.

November 2016 in Review

Ugh, I am sick right now. Do not like.

Health

See above: I’ve been sick since last Friday, and on Tuesday it knocked my flat on my butt. I am on the mend now, but still sucks.

Before this little distraction, I’ve been pretty good health-wise, although my running had dropped down to twice a week as opposed to three times a week.

I am looking forward to go running again.

Art & Writing

No art this month: I focused on writing. Won this year’s NaNowriMo with my Nyx+Nyssa script – YAY. The script itself is looking pretty good so far, but it’s not done yet. I think I got maybe to the half-way point: From here on the story goes faster and careens towards the climax, but I cannot tell yet how much there is left.

I am looking forward to editing it. And hoh boy, there is a LOT to edit.

Social

Been a bit of a hermit this month, which, once in a while, is fine. Lots of stuff coming up, so it was nice to research.

Happiness

Yup. Happy. It’s nice to make things.

NaNoWriMo 2016, Day 30

50116 words. I won.

I put those last few words on a scene of Nyssa collapsing from overuse of her power. Fitting. Script itself is halfway to two-thirds done; all the setting up for the climax has happened at least. Worked out nicer and tighter than I expected. Neat.

I shall celebrate later, when I am not as sick as a dog. 

For now, I’ll play Pokemon Sun in the bath now.

NaNoWriMo 2016, Day 24

So, yesterday the NaNoWriMo goal was 40000 words.

I am at 21081.

Trying hard not to panic.

I KNOW myself. If I have a deadline, most of the work will be done in the last 20% of the allotted time – everything before is just preparation to make this rush as easy as possible. It’s what I do with nearly everything, from art to learning, to cooking and cleaning.

And it sucks.

Incidentally, this is why I tend to delay thing without deadlines  infinitely – No “do it now!” rush. Part of it is that I naturally work in bursts. I tend gorge on an activity – writing, drawing, certain videogames – and then set it aside for some time. It’s just how my mind works.

But in the end it is because the “MUST FINISH NOW NOW NOW NOW!” panic overrides all my anxieties and fears around creating stuff. Who cares if its not perfect or people won’t like it? Gotta finish now! Video game calling? Nope, gotta finish this, and THEN play. (That’s a discipline that’s not easy to come by for me, much to my dismay). I got the Sads? Fuck them, stuff needs to be done.

I am not in the final rush yet, but I definitely can see it looming at the horizon. So right now I am preparing for it – a little mini-deadline before the big one hits.

NaNoWriMo: Where I (re-)learn how my brain works.

P.S.:

The story comes along well. Right now there is far less connective tissue necessary than I feared: The scenes that were just random moments in my head slot so neatly together that I do not even have a clue where I’d put chapter breaks if I’d need them. Luckily I don’t think this books likes chapters – it wants to be smooth and go from one scene to the next as fluid as possible.

Right now I am at the very first major turning point in the story and I already can tell that I’ll need to do some intense editing.  The plot and important moments are all  there, but the pacing is a little bit off. Some things need to be expanded, other shortened; and I need to plunk down some world building which I didn’t yet knew when I wrote the beginning. But I think the first third is more or less down.

It’s neat how different it N+N is from ToC, which comes in neatly spiced story chunks of 8 – 20 pages – including complimentary cliff hangers.

NaNoWriMo 2016, Day 10

So. 8,423 words so far.

The goal word count for today is 16667 words.

Whoops.

Well, it’s nearly 8,5k words that didn’t exist before. I covered three scenes, of which one is great and the other already needs extensive rewrites. I had to employ the “note to myself about what to change and then soldier on as if the change already had happened technique to that one. 

Three scenes of maybe five to ten pages each. My outline has around 20 scenes right now. Yep. Unlike my initial prediction, I won’t have any trouble with hitting the 50000 words – apparently I am quite wordy when it comes to describing all those important small details I need to draw for the story to work.  That genuinely came as a surprise to me, since ToC’s scripts have been far more simple so far. I tend to draw them have been drawn straight away, so I remember what I wanted. But I won’t start drawing Nyx+Nyssa for at least half a year, so I need to get those detail down.

Another thing I learned…

With writing I need warm up time. Art’s different. I sit down for ten minutes, and then, I got some art done. But for writing I need to get into the groove, which easily takes me half an hour of undistracted writing time. Undistracted is hard to come by. Even someone talking to me or the cat meowing is enough to kick me out of my concentration, not to get started on the constant distraction that is the internet.

The groove is pretty easy to maintain, provided I don’t have something vying for my attention, but getting there is… well. Pretty sure it’s just inexperience. I was similar with art when I started out, and it went away somewhere around page 20 of ToC. I still do my best work with uninterrupted time, but at least I get to work straight away.

There are a few tips and tricks to cut the warm up time down – pre-plot in you head, think about writing while walking and etc – and I’ll start consciously applying them.

And I hope to hit the 10k today. That would be neat. I would still be behind, but I would be "capable of catching up” behind.