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.

On repetitive thoughts…

If I ever figure out the human brain, my first act will be to install accurate error messages.

My stint with depression ended eight years ago and I still have to deal with intrusive and repetitive thoughts regularly. Maybe I am just more aware of them than I used to be, self-awareness is self-defence after all. But I know that people who lucked out in the brain department get them too: Have you ever dieted? Suddenly you think of all the things you want to eat and where to get them and how well you they’ll taste. And eventually willpower will run out and you give in. That’s a prime example of repetitive thoughts, here caused by the intentional self-starvation.

But here’s a neat trick I learned: Repetitive thoughts go away if you remove their cause,* even if it sometimes takes a while for them to peter out – thinking certain things can become a habit, too. But you CAN starve them out: I’ve beat most of the depression specific ones long time ago.

Carina learned to deal! +1 mental health!

And so my intrusive thoughts became particular specific and highly focused on my art. I kept having the same repetitive thought to restart ToC – something I really, really do not want to do. And after a month or two struggling with it, I learned that my desire is not to restart ToC, but to actually spent more time drawing, writing and developing the story itself and maybe do some world building. That’s it. I desire to write and draw more, because I did too little because of the new work.

Seriously. Brain. What the hell?

I almost toppled everything I reached so far, because I didn’t spent enough time on ToC and as opposed to a „draw and write more, plox, time’s been tight…“ I got a „ABORT, ABORT, RESTART, RESTART AND ALL WILL BE BETTER!“

I knew before that intrusive thoughts are a marker something is off, but would it kill my brain to actually report the underlying problem accurately instead of barking „You need to do this! You need to do this!“ at me?  It’s annoying to be always vigilant so I can figure out what I really want.

 

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* Which really, really sucks if root-cause of those intrusive thoughts is not something that can be dealt with straight away.