I’m working on a new writing project and it seems to have taken over a large portion of my brain. In order to free up my brainspace I’ve been trying to write. Not easy with all my other responsibilities but I’ll make it work.
It’s really exciting and a little different then what I normally do, but so far it’s great.
Now I really need to go finish the last hundred or so words of this chapter.
Have this cute picture of Dragon building Maleficent the Snowperson.
Today marks the first day of a whole new year. A made up, arbitrary, unimportant date that nonetheless feels like a renewal and rebirth. The human mind and spirit is a fascinating and messed up thing.
Last year was all over the place. I was on paternity leave, we went to Disney World, and then PANDEMIC. I’m ridiculously privileged that I got to work from home and we didn’t lose much income (Jen’s travel booking did suffer). I got to spend so much more time with my son than I would have and that’s a blessing.
Our schedule and lineup will be changing, but that’s another post. I’m going to hopefully keep up the streak of having at least 5 posts per week.
Editing and Marketing
5. Start Editing Dinosaur Road Trip
I wrote this novel in 2017 and my weditor edited it. I need to go through it and make the recommended changes and edits. Maybe even pass it to the next beta reader… It’s just such a personal book that it’s hard to revisit.
6. Keep Working on FADDS
The system isn’t perfect, but it’s getting better every playtest. I want to keep playtesting and adding on to the powers. Maybe rethink the advanced classes and powers.
7. Read 15 Books
Like writing, I need to carve out time to read. It’s important to both my mental energy and health.
8. Play more games with the kids
I need to play more board games and video games now that the kids are getting older. It’ll be a fun activity.
9. Be More Patient
This is a hard one. I yell a little too much and it’s not good for me or the kids. I need more patience with them, work, and life in general.
10. Keep pressing my doctor to find out what those attacks were in November
In November I had some serious health issues. I had massive cramping in my lower left abdomen, fever, weakness, nausea, and fatigue. It happened twice in November and both times faded away.
It also happened last year and I went to the emergency room, but they couldn’t find anything wrong.
In mid-December, I called and asked the receptionist to get a referral to a specialist. I think this is related to my IBS and other issues, but I’m not a doctor.
I’ll keep pushing.
Those are my resolutions for 2021. Ambitious, but less so than in the past.
In my little part of the world, the weather has turned and for the time being the 30+ Celsius temperatures are over (I live in Ottawa which means there’s a good chance we’ll get another bout of 40 before real Autumn). Pumpkin spice is just around the corner, my squash are growing in the garden (let’s hope some of them survive the cursed squirrels), and my mind turns to Halloween.
I’m looking forward to introducing Dragon to some classic monster movies this year. Maybe the original Mummy or Frankenstein. Hard to go wrong with Karloff.
Inexorably linked to fall in North America; school is starting, or started. It’s a different kind of year with many changes and a lot left up in the air. I don’t envy students and I really don’t envy teachers. We’ve decided that Dragon should be home schooled for her first year of kindergarten. See Jen’s post about that.
Because of the How I Taught my Dragon posts, we’re moving the JenEric Movie Reviews to Saturdays. So you’ll be be getting 6 days of content until I run out of Saturdays, then I’ll have to add some movies to Sundays. (I like only having one thing per day.)
I’m still struggling with my writing, but I’ve managed to write more in the past few weeks than I had in the 6 months before, so that’s a good thing. I wish I could write as fast as I come up with ideas, but unfortunately I’ve slowed down and I’m really happy I’m not a famous author right now. I’d love to be a rich author that people recognize the name, but not famous. (S.M. Carrière has a good post about this.)
I need to stress less about productivity. I constantly feel like I have to be producing for work, writing, FADDS, this blog, and fixing/optimizing things around the house. I need to do what I can, relax and enjoy the time with family.
I’ve been home since June 2019 and the day to day routine of family, house, freelance, etc. haven’t lent themselves to writing much. Now since March I’ve also been working from home for my day job and things haven’t improved on that front. I’ve managed to write the serial stories and a little bit in two novels.
More and more it’s looking like I’m not going to make my self-imposed deadline of September for the next Elizabeth book. This will probably mean I’ll break my yearly publishing streak. I have a contract for 2021 but no book for 2022 and I’m pretty sure if I don’t submit a novel by end of year my publisher will be out of release spots (if they aren’t already).
It feels like failure. I hate how much I’m struggling. I’m not struggling with the story or the writing, but with finding time to write. It takes me a little while to get into the zone and I can’t stand writing for only 15 minutes. I have to find a way to give myself the time. As the pandemic becomes normal and we start homeschooling, I’m hoping I’ll find a spot in my busy schedule.
I’m not looking for advice, just wanted to complain. I know it’s a common problem with us writer types and despite the voice yelling at me to give up and that its proof I suck, I’ll get back to it. I always do. Writing is part of me and I love doing it; I’d do it even if I couldn’t publish. I just have to remember that and find the time to enjoy doing it.
If you’d like to lift my spirits please feel free to order one of my books from the publisher, your favourite ebook store, or my website.
If you want to make me giddy with happiness leave a review on those sites and Goodreads.
Thank you for all your support and I hope your creative juices flow… well that sounded dirty.
4. Ensure there’s content 5 days a week on JenEric Designs (Succeeding)
There was a major change in this year’s lineup but we’re doing well. Hopefully we have enough TARDIS pictures to last until we can get more.
5. Design and Produce 2 new coffee flavours (Succeeding)
We released Crowley’s Temptation and I think we’re going to maybe release something in the Fall, but I’m not sure.
6. Print, Package, and Sell Oneshot – The Simplest RPG (No Movement)
I’m probably going to push this one back. I wanted something for Ottawa Comic Con but I doubt that’s happening and I’m not comfortable investing the time or money into this for this year.
Editing and Marketing
7. Finish Playtesting the higher levels of Fadds (Succeeding )
We finished a high level campaign and I’m pretty happy with how it went. It needs a little more work but we’ll get there. I’m going to continue to beta-test various parts, but for now I’m not rushing anything.
8. Figure out how to market my books better (No Movement)
This is a great goal and a great idea… I put my books up on our coffee site and sold a few but I don’t think I’m going to spend much energy on this one this year.
9. Read 20 books (Failing)
I’m at 4 of twenty and I’m reading slowly. Between Pegasus waking a lot, pandemic stress, and no bus to work I’ve found it hard to find time to read.
10. Don’t Burnout (Succeeding)
I’ll be honest, I constantly feel on the brink of a breakdown. I’m trying really hard to not let that happen. 2020 isn’t an easy time for this resolution.
11. Be More Patient (Trying)
My daughter is in a licking/biting phase (again) and my son is trying really hard to learn how to talk which means he just screams like a horror movie vixen. It’s hard to keep my cool, but other than a few times I’ve used “Angry Dad” voice instead of “Losing Control and Likely to punch a wall” voice so I’ll say that’s a win.
12. Play Some Video games with Dragon (Succeeding)
We’ve played a few times and she’s really improving. Hopefully we’ll do more soon.
13. Play Some Board Games with Dragon (Succeeding)
We’ve had 2 board game nights so far and they went well. She’s not grasping the strategy of the games, but she is getting the mechanics which is good. Our current favourite is The Mysterious Forest. It’s a co-op memory game with a little resource management. She mostly loves being in charge of the stuff.
That’s not as bad as I expected. So far I’m succeeding at 7, Trying with 1, No Movement on 3, and outright Failing on 2. I expected much worse.
I’m not adding or changing anything this year. Who knows what 2020 still has in store for us. Hopefully I can continue at this pace.
When you consume a story and love it, you take from it what you need. Once the story is out there and communities build around them, the entire world of it changes and grows. The fans fundamentally change the story, usually for the better.
That being said, it’s important to listen those who are hurt by the things we consume. To look at the negative aspects and accept that they can be hurtful. If someone says they are hurt by something, we must listen and learn from that.
Harry Potter is filled with racist, homophobic, classist, pro-slavery, colonialist, and antisemitic themes. I’m sure there are other things in there that I haven’t noticed. It’s also filled with messages about the power of love, found family, doing the right thing, and standing up against oppression. Nothing is perfect. It’s your responsibility to decide if the good outweighs the bad.
We plan on keeping our Harry Potter books and making sure we explain the faults to our kids. However, we gave away our Marion Zimmer Bradley books and I refuse to read Lovecraft. You need to decide on your own balance.
If the Harry Potter universe is important to you, if you have fond memories of waiting in line for the books, if you smile when you hear the words Mushroom and Badger close together, or if your life was influenced for the better by these book; those memories and events are still good and valid. As much as the creator influences the work, so do the consumers. Don’t allow the author’s misguided hateful views to dim the positive that the books have done.
If you still love the world and still want to consume things about it, I recommend looking into fan fiction, fan art, and other creators that have played with those worlds.
Some of my favourite creators are doing extra stories, readings, podcasts, and all kinds of awesome stuff. S. M. Carrière is doing live streams of her guitar playing (seriously cool). She’s also reading her works over on youtube.
Seeing as I tend to express my emotions and work thoughts through my writing, you’d expect that I’d be doing something extra… or possible “extra” as the kids say.
Fortunately for me and my little family, I’m an essential worker (from home) with the federal government. That means I’m pretty much working 8:30 to 4:30. Trying to do work with a baby and a child isn’t always easy, but it is doable. Some of the reports and documents I work on are legislated and must come out even this tiny-pocalypse. That means I’ve actually done overtime this week.
Unfortunately for you, that doesn’t give me much time to create or write. Honestly, I’m struggling to get everything I’m doing done, but I’ll get used to it and production will go up. But there won’t be extra awesome content.
However, there are plenty of amazing people doing great things. Those small businesses and creators that are doing these things need your support. Help them out by buying stuff, becoming a patron, buying them a coffee, or donating to their art. They need the money and more than that, it’ll let them know that someone cares enough about their products and art to give them money for it.