I wiped out hard this holiday season.
This time, at least, I don’t regret it. Yes, it means that the first draft I was hoping could be finished this December will have to be finished next year (delayed again!). And yes, it means I became quite slovenly.
But I have to remember that my deadline here was self-imposed, and that is a luxury. From a certain point of view, I was dragged away from that December 31st deadline. Family members were just about begging me to set writing and other work aside, not to infect me with demon Sloth, but to ensure that I gave myself a chance to relax. Not just for a weekend, but for, like, three weekends, and also all the days in between.
While I didn’t give up the work I did for other people, I did give up the work I did for myself. And yet, thankfully, when I returned to writing Catgirl System later on in the month, it all came easily.
Now I’m ratcheting up the time I spend writing Catgirl System daily. The first day, my morning target was 30 minutes; the next, 45—and I ended up writing for a full hour. And I’ll go on and on for as long as I can stand.
Does Anyone Really Write Every Day?
It’s an enviable goal.
An author once told me, “I don’t trust anyone who says they write every day.” I’m sure you’ve heard many many people suggest that you should write every day—make it a habit and you’ll be stronger for it. It’s the same principle that applies to fortifying any habit: exercise, studying, getting to sleep and waking up at a regular time.
But maybe it’s also healthy to make a habit of skipping days.
…Okay, let me rephrase that.
What I really mean is that we should come to terms with the idea that we might skip days, and that we might fail—in fact, maybe we shouldn’t call it a “failure.” Because if you’re caught in an emergency, or you undergo a tragedy, or even if you just overestimated how taxing a train ride was going to be…will you really want to call your use of time a “failure” for that? And do you want to head toward the trap of calling yourself a “failure” in turn?
You “failed” in terms of productivity. That’s clearly not the same as failing at life.
My spreadsheet full of writing times and wordcounts sees the past three weeks as a total wash. But now that I’ve jumped back into writing feeling no worse for wear, and now that I look ahead at my postponed deadline with a distinct lack of anxiety, I do not feel those three weeks been a failure. And I do not feel like a failure.
I don’t see the time in between as a squandered vacuum, because in that interim, I was still living and gathering experiences. I knew full well that I hadn’t abandoned Catgirl System and I had the confidence to know the story wasn’t about to slip away.
Now, what I do admit is that I overprioritized to other projects. Let me talk more about that.
My Other Rambunctious Projects
Well, compared to what I was doing around this time a year ago, my affairs are actually looking pretty tame. I’m not browsing game jams hoping to crash one, I’m not reeling from an impulsive jump onto the NaNoWriMo train, and I’m not soliciting friends for spontaneous zine ideas. But a friend did encourage me, in full righteousness of heart, to watch some Christmas movies, which gave me the idea (which I latched onto hard) to blog about it.
The results were very fun and they had nothing to do with Catgirl System whatsoever.
Did I have to experiment all of a sudden?
Worse, because I’d overcommitted in my personal life too, I didn’t have as much time to devote to writing these posts (let alone my novel) as I’d thought. So blog posts that I’d been wanting to write and schedule early in December were instead written the night before, the night of. And this left precious little time for Catgirl System. In fact, the first day of the month I wrote any Catgirl was December 7th. And then…never again until this final week.
Insert a famous saying about best-laid plans.
Suffice it to say that I’m not going to do any blog posts besides writing-related tips and updates for as long as I can help it (or stand it). I’ve gotta recover from this…
So What’s My Progress?
It has barely changed since last time. In fact, I won’t even bother updating my progress bar this time, so paltry is the progress.
But what I did make interesting and surprising moves with is Catgirl System art.
This is legitimately important because I want to draw the cover myself and I want it not to suck. Art also helps me to stretch creative muscles in a way that feels inherently different from writing, and it’s really helped me relax in this season of relaxing.
I’ve experimented with digital watercolor before, but this time…this time I’ve got more techniques. And while they’re all kind of sloppy and touch-and-go, the results end up looking cool, which is the most important part.
What’s next? Uh, since New Year’s is about to come and go, I foresee…more writing. But also more reading, more keenly observing, more failed baked goods, more meetings with friends, and more living.
Here’s hoping for a semi-pleasant 2024!
Thank you for reading, and Patrons, thank you for Patreonning.
I talk a lot about my creative inspirations on this blog, from video game and gamebook maps to fantasy fiction, with all its ups and downs (hint: this one links to Harry Potter). But also just about my life! Why don’t you kick back, get some hot chocolate, and stay a while?