art, personal, quarterly, writing

Quarterly Check-in (January-March 2021)

Well, hello! Fancy seeing you here! I decided to write something like this today, because reasons.

I started this year with a whole lot of energy and lots of plans, which was kind of a cool feeling, even if part of it was just me overcompensating for the sh*tshow that 2020 was. I launched this website, commanced final edits on Skylark, I had plans to write blogposts frequently, and reviews and whatnot… and you know, some of these things I’m doing pretty well on! So, let’s see what creative and enjoyable endeavors I managed to get into during these three months and how they turned out! There will be talk of writing, painting, embroidery, and all kinds of neat stuff.

Writings

1. Skylark

– I finished rewriting/revising/shortening the text during January and February. It is looking better now, in all its 176k glory (I trimmed almost 14k, come on!) and I don’t think I can or want to cut more for now. There are a few little things/parts of character arcs/more involved reactions or connections that I could still add, and I might, before I send it off for editing. Because…

– I agreed with a professional editor that they will be working with me on it during the summer! I’m very excited, but it’s still months away! I wonder what and how the story will change. I’m sort of set in my ways with it after all these years, so I don’t expect a major overhaul, but it’s possible I could allow for some changes… Eh, like I said, I’m a bit set in my ways. And to be fair, if I don’t intend to traditionally publish it (which is sort of my mindset right now) then I feel like I’m a bit more free with this (just like with the word-count). Even if…

– I did try to pitch the book to agents and editors during two Twitter pitch events (#SFFpit and #PitMad) as well. I wanted to see how these things play out, and I wanted to connect with the writing community there, find a few critique partners, follow some cool people, read some tips and tricks and advices. I even compiled a query and a synopsis, and submitted to an editor who liked one of my pitches. Just to see what happens, I guess. I mean, of course, I dream about what it would be like to get horribly successful with this book and be discovered — it’s only a dream after all, and I figured putting out some feelers at least is useful experience.

– I’m even considering submitting my query for #RevPit next week, which is a contest where you can get editor feedback and even win a free several-week-session with an editor to work on your novel. I seriously doubt I have a chance but you know. Just to see what happens. :)

– As for the sequel, I haven’t had time to sit down and think about it properly yet. A few ideas and characters and possible conflicts are floating around in my head, but nothing coherent yet. The two oneshots I’ve started writing (one with Kliks on Talala and one with the Mighty Adventures of my Absolutely Not-Married Lanehunter Bastards) are in the time-span between the two novels (or at least that’s the intention) so maybe something could sprout forth from those. I’m keeping it cool for now. If it comes to me, then it comes to me.

2. Inima Mea

– It was a really out-of-frikkin-nowhere idea to participate in the Open Novella Contest on Wattpad. I haven’t written a novella before; I never had good ideas that could be wrapped up in a short little thing. So I was the most surprised when one of the prompts grabbed me by the ear and shouted at me to try my luck with it. And after, the story sort of just fell out of the sky and into my head, with almost finished characters and all that too! Well, writing it, of course, I noticed several things that needed to be brainstormed and I still need to straighten out the ending but I think I might do this! I got into Round Two also, which is awesome, but even if I don’t qualify for the last round, I will finish this story! <– you can read it there

3. Remains

Y’all, I just don’t know what to do with this story. I have to sit down with it and start again, from scratch, I think. Well, some of the ideas are good and some characters too, but I think I need another plot frame to it, something that resembles a proper story arc. I need to figure out what I want to do with it. Like what’s the point, yaknow. So it’s all up in the air now, but I’m not giving up on it!

4. Authorly things

Keeping up with the blog and writing reviews and whatnot has been hard. I don’t have a lot of time during the week to write these, if I want to write my books too. But I’m not forgetting about it at least. There’s a few reviews in the drafts, and I will be coming back with news and random stuff occasionally. I’m always doing daily challenges on Twitter, which is cool and keeps me thinking about writing even if I don’t actively have the time for it. Although, Twitter can be also a lot, so I’m treading carefully there.

Readings

Well. That’s an area I still have to improve on. I have two beta reads going on and I did progress with those a bit. I have two normal (like, published) books I’m reading (The Day of Time Travel by Brandon Hackett, a Hungarian author, and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers because 1. I was curious and 2. people kept comping Skylark to it) but not daily. It’s getting really hard to schedule all these things I want to do daily. I’m trying. :)

Arts

1. Back in December, I subscribed to an artsy box from Artful; they send you art supplies every three months and a book that teaches you to use them and there are also online tutorials you can use to Make Things. I’m really loving it and even though (again) I have very little time to sit with it and do things, I try and learn some of the techniques and just draw and paint for fun whenever possible. I drew a lot when I was younger, mostly nonfigurative, pattern-like stuff; never really had the patience to learn anything else and it’s not like I have a style, but it’s cool to experiment. And it’s also sort of calming.

2. Another calming thing that I started is embroidery, which came from the fact that I made a cross-stich gift to my partner in March and then I was like, hey, I used to cross-stich and needlepoint when I was younger and I liked it (I even tried weaving but we’re not going to talk about that)! So I bought a few kits and supplies and now I’m doing Stuff! I love it a lot, because it’s relaxing and pretty and I can listen to podcasts while doing it, or half-watch some video and still feel good about it. :D I still need to practice a lot but I will stick with it if I can. It’s nice to do something with my hands that’s not clicking the mouse and typing things, heh.

All in all, the first three months have been ups and lows. Sometimes I feel like I could change the world, other times I’m scrambling to find time to even write a daily to-do list and do my day job. It’s all pretty exhausting to be honest. But we’re trudging on! I’m excited to do all these things, even if my body and my mind can’t keep up 90% of the time.

Well, let me know what you’re all doing, if you’re trying out something new, returning to some old hobby, or just use your time to rest and relax because holy moly, that’s also very important. And until the next time,

Love,
Helyna

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