First of October: Writing Goals for a spooky month

With the start of October and rounding out the next couple months of the year, I’m going to change up my blogging topics. Blogging about mental health awareness was cathartic and I was happy that people could relate to me and that I could help some people. But it’s time for something a bit different.

The thing is, when you’re vulnerable publicly with your mental state, you open yourself up to unwanted attention and judgment, too. People assume you’re very sensitive, with the implication of fragility, and struggling all the time. I also hate the assumption that people need to be incandescently happy all the time, but I digress. I think life is a state of suffering, and we can hope for moments of contentment and peace at times.

I’m actually not sensitive, and hate to be called that; I am just open about my feelings, and I think there’s a difference. (Right next to “feminine.” Don’t call me that either, unless you want to get stabbed.) People think being sensitive means you get offended by everything. I would instead describe myself as thoughtful and caring. Passionate, perhaps. I stopped talking about mental health on social media as well, because of the incessant unsolicited advice you get on those platforms. And I hate this moral paradigm of “doing well/better” or “doing worse.” You are not “strong” when you are happy, nor “weak” when you are sad. Take the judgment out. We do this to ourselves all the time. I am not “worse” because I struggle sometimes. Without our struggles we cannot fully appreciate our joys.

Anyway, I find those assumptions annoying, so I’m going to start being a little more private online and talk more about writing and marketing instead.

And I am doing okay, just have good weeks and bad weeks, like most people. I have been more in fiction mode than blogging mode lately. I have settled into a new routine. I am writing more, practicing guitar, exercising, meditating, I am still sober, and I am learning Russian. I do still have anger issues, but I am dealing with it. It strikes me as rather surreal that everyone seems to have given up on fighting the pandemic, and have instead just resigned themselves to doing what they would normally do because this is going to drag on forever. I don’t blame them for thinking that way, but I also blame them for making this drag on forever. That part is very frustrating.

But I can’t focus on things I can’t control, like politics and people’s abominable science literacy; I’m trying to focus on more positive things that I can actually influence. You can’t change anyone else’s behavior but your own. I am actually quite energized now to get out and vote, for one thing.

It feels kind of weird to leave my old blog posts up from the spring and summer that people can still access, and I see the recent hits, because I’m different now, and I have moved on from those feelings; but I’ll leave them up, in case they might help people.

Moving on from that, I have some good publishing news to share. I received my third acceptance of the year last week. My story The Watch was published in the web magazine 365Tomorrows. It is a hard sci-fi flash story speculating about a dark future for wearable technology. This makes my statistical rate for the year 3 acceptances, 25 submissions, 9 pending responses and 13 rejections.

According to Duotrope, this means I have a higher acceptance ratio than members who have submitted to the same markets. In truth, this was better than I could have ever hoped for when I started the Ray Bradbury challenge in January. I expected nothing but rejections and here I am. One sale to the anthology, and two acceptances to for-the-love markets. I am really happy with my progress so far. So if you’re submitting and you keep getting rejections? Don’t lose hope. That’s very normal. Use it as fire to submit more.

This week I have been trying to get up at 5:30 AM to write. I tried writing at night last week and it was okay, but I like the morning, when I can get enough sleep. I like it when it is dark, quiet and cold, and cobwebs still cling to my consciousness. It doesn’t really matter what time of day I write, as long as I can make it a habit. The Muse sings when you listen to her. And I am trying to get into the habit of writing every day for October to steel myself for the demands of National Novel Writing Month.

My October goals are to submit four more stories, to finish a longer short story I started about friendship among clones in space, and to prep for NaNoWriMo in November. I signed into my NaNoWriMo account yesterday and it was from 2008; I have signed up every year since then and never really gotten started. I’m committed to making this year my year to win. 50,000 words is all I need.

To commit to that, I’m devoting October to preparation time. I’m going to try the “Jot, Bin, Pants” style of outlining as described in the resource sheets on the NaNoWriMo website. It looks satisfying in a rather visceral sort of way. Index cards. I can get behind index cards. In the past for my longer short stories, I have used the “snowball” style of outlining, utilizing a spreadsheet, where you start with a synopsis, character profiles and then build from there, like a snowball collecting snow drifts as it rolls down a hill.

So “Untitled Cozy Mystery Project,” I am coming for you this fall. I will write a few installments of Defiant Hemlock and schedule them in advance so I can focus on nothing but the novel in November. I will also put my short story challenge on hold until December.

I haven’t done much photography lately, but I’ve been out of ideas. I’d like to do some more gothic-style spooky fantasy art, and practice drawing and digital illustration. (I’m still not working with people, and I anticipate that’ll be indefinite.) But for the next two months I’ll be pretty focused on my novel instead. Can’t have too many distractions.

Not much else to report. Life is pretty boring lately. Work, write, exercise. Try to ignore the world burning. Rinse repeat.


Ways to support Denise

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