Holy crap it worked: Tallulah’s Progress P4/My 401st Post

I’ve made 400 posts on this blog – and now, 401. Hard to believe. There’s a part of me that really hopes I can finish this blog with 500 posts exactly, and part of me that thus worries I’ll somehow sabotage my writing process in order to make it fit that quota. I doubt very much that it will happen. But it would be a nice coincidence. Once again, thanks for reading guys.

I went back and re-wrote that chapter, up to the point I’d rewritten the other night, and it felt so much better. It felt at least close to the way I wanted it to feel, a bit snarkier, a bit more self-deprecating, but also a bit more robust and energised. And I think the dark parts (you bet my book starts off with the dark stuff) are more … pointy. Prickly. Kinda like when you accidentally stab yourself on a thorn while picking a rose. Rose-picking is something people do nowadays, right? That metaphor has relevance?

The dark parts have more of an effect, is what I mean. And it’s not all dark, some of it is just awkward or confrontational, but it all benefits in the same way. My one worry is that I glossed over a dark part instead of approaching it head-on, but I also really didn’t know what I was going to write so, all things considered, I’m very pleased with this first attempt to re-imagine Tallulah.

Now to write the rest of the book, haaa …

But I’m getting a bit excited again. This new tone opens up certain possibilities that I hadn’t considered until now; some of them go against my mission statement of pursuing the original version of Tallulah that I felt I copped out of exploring in my first draft, but being excited about something doesn’t mean you have to act on it. It can just serve as a source of excitement to be used for something else. Autonomy is a wonderful thing.

And also, my “mission statement” wasn’t to literally go back and try to turn the very first formulation of Tallulah as a story into a fully-fledged story, because it’d be a pretty shit story. It was to do away with the “superhero origin story” vibe that was starting to dominate the manuscript, while at the same time not being implemented well enough to make for a well-told superhero origin story. And I’m confident that I’m going to accomplish that. Things feel more solid and consolidated with this story than they have in a long time, maybe ever.

This is a completely new stage in my writing process with Tallulah, not just extending the stuff I’ve been doing and trying to do up to this point. This feels like the start of something good. I’m looking forward to the rest of it.

Old Habits: Tallulah’s Progress P3

It has been a long time, like 2 years long, since I wrote an iteration of a chapter of Tallulah instead of forging ahead with what I had and crossing my fingers, hoping that it would turn out for the best.

I’m going to do that tonight for two reasons: 1) it’s a good attitude to adopt, I’ve found, getting used to the idea of treating your drafting process as a chance to, y’know, draft; and 2) starting off the way you intend to finish is also a good habit to get into.

Despite it not being the new, more light-hearted, humourous version of Tallulah I got excited over at the start of the year, I like what I wrote a few nights ago. It’s introspective, it’s angsty, it tries to articulate deeply intimate and convoluted emotions, and I want to have it available to me in case I want it again in the future. But it’s also not part of the story that I want to tell right now. That story is more light-hearted and humourous, and I owe it to myself to give it a shot and see if I can make it work. That, after all, was the entire premise behind my even attempting to write Tallulah to begin with: it was a story that I didn’t know if I could tell faithfully, an idea that seemed like it was supposed to have come out of somebody else’s imagination, an idea that I thought could easily end up being “ruined” if I tried to tell it for the fact that it was totally unlike any idea I’d ever had before, totally alien to my sensibilities at the time. That fact alone was enough of a reason for me to try, to test the limits of my imagination – and confidence. And the experiment was successful in that I do feel much more confident to try out ideas that I’m uncertain about, ideas that don’t feel like they’re mine, like they should have come out of somebody else’s imagination – because they didn’t. They came out of my imagination, and there must be a reason for that.

The same principle, I think, can apply to this new version of Tallulah that I want to try out. It’s kind of the opposite, taking this idea that wasn’t at all “like me” and making it more like me – an older version of me, a younger me who was very much about humour and dynamism rather than introspective philosophising, but tempered with experience of how darkness and humour mix together in real life, the kinds of reactions that come about as a consequence of their combination. Tallulah has been a very introspective story right from the start, and while I don’t want to lose that, I do think it needs lightening – not because it’s “too dark”, but because that darkness risks losing its meaning if there’s nothing to contrast it with. I guess I’m afraid that it doesn’t have an “edge”, and what sharper edge could there be for a body of darkness than something that traditionally serves as an opposite – in this case, humour?

There’s always the risk that it’ll backfire and come off as really inappropriate. There is some very dark stuff in Tallulah, and the last thing I want is to turn that dark stuff into humour. That’s not the intention. The intention – and the hope – is that I can use humour to give that darkness more of an edge, and a very particular edge: the edge of self-deprecation. Because self-deprecation is a survival mechanism, and among other things, Tallulah is a story about survival, about coping. Hopefully it comes out that way when I write it.

I still want to know if I can tell the story of Tallulah that came to me several years ago, the idea that I never thought I was even capable of having. But I now also think that the way I tell that story is through embracing my own way of telling stories, rather than trying to turn myself into a different storyteller for the sake of an existential experiment. I love imitation; I am still trying to get comfortable with doing that in my own work, because the most fun I’ve ever had in creating – and telling – stories always came with a lot of carefree copying. In that sense, the challenge of adopting a totally alien voice to tell a story with is still an appealing one, just to prove that I can do it. But while appealing, it’s not important to me. Tallulah is. Telling my story is, even if, to begin with, it didn’t feel like my story at all.

So I guess I’ll try it and see what the end result is. Having said all of this I really haven’t given much thought to how I’d write this new light-hearted, humourous version of Tallulah; as per usual all of my preliminary planning is mapped out in cinematic sequences, images and sound and camera angles rather than words. I have rather put myself on the spot with this decision. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Nothing like being put on the spot for creativity.

That’s a saying, right?

Too much (or too little) of a good thing

Tallulah revision is – well, it’s going about as well as it’s ever gone, honestly, I just haven’t been thinking about it as much as I usually have so it feels like I’m slipping. I’ll do some more of it tonight. I have resigned myself, at this exact moment because of the particular mood I’m in, that I won’t be in a place to judge whether I’ve succeeded with this revision or not until it’s actually finished. I would say that this is a very good way to look at things. I also think I’ve already started off on the wrong foot and deviated from my plan to inject more humour into some of the darker parts of the story, but I’m only up to chapter 2 as it is. I also have to admit, I don’t like the start of Tallulah, how it opens – it feels very un-story-like. It certainly doesn’t fit the mold of a more humorous story, so is my idea to make it funnier a good one, or is it dismantling its integrity and muddying its identity for the sake of freshness? I dunno. I just know I don’t like it right now. And I feel it could be better regardless of whether it’s humourous or not, and that therefore it should be better. I just don’t know if that’s something I should be worrying about now. But I am, and that’s the way it generally goes.

There are other things I’m worrying about as well, though perhaps “worry” is the wrong word. “Worry” suggests that there’s something in motion, something happening to elicit said worry, like a storm warning, or a friend telling you about some impulsive online purchase they’ve made, or hearing that a Republican presidential candidate is getting a lot of support. What I’m feeling is not so much worry as … indecision.

Hello darkness my old friend …

The Nanowrimo project I started and have yet to finish is the subject of this afternoon’s angst. This project arose out of another project, the 13-year procrastination-fest that I called Realm of the Myth because I was 14 and needed a fantasy-sounding title for my epic fantasy saga, and the words “realm” and “myth” seemed pretty appropriate for my purposes so I just dumped them in there. Once it got Nanowrimofied I changed the title to Main Character Syndrome and have been having fun times plotting out a trajectory for it, while also feeling apprehensive about actually trying to write it because of all the narrative conventions, tropes and cliches I’m using the story to deconstruct, critique and, in a lot of cases, celebrate. It’s a lot to bear in mind.

The main difference between the two actually wasn’t the change in title and the specifics of the plot: it was changing the main character. Said main character, Sajen, was originally a blatant author self-insert character, because the original premise of Realm of the Myth was imagining what it would be like if myself and my at-the-time-best-friend Wickham happened to be wizards, wizards who also commanded powerful spirit beasts (read: Pokemon/Final Fantasy summons), did martial arts (read: Dragon Ball Z) and went to a magic school (read: I don’t really have to explain that one do I). As time went on and I became more and more withdrawn and self-loathing, Sajen became a more hysterical – in the pejorative sense of the word – character to match my inner turmoil. Once I hit 20-ish and ejected from the me-Wickham cohort, Sajen’s mood cleared up a bit in-sync with my own, but as a result ROTM lost a lot of its identity (which had already been turned into a postmodern nightmare landscape by that point as more and more new creative influences were inconsiderately dumped into it). And, as I’ve mentioned before, in 2012 I officially “killed” ROTM, and immediately experienced a significant boost in creativity that lasted for a good few months. Then Nanowrimo 2014 rolled around, I felt that since I already had all of these ideas it would be a shame not to use them, and MCS was born, taking the fragments of ROTM that I still liked – loved in some cases – and repurposing them, spearheaded by one crucial yet, in a lot of ways, quite shallow decision: I made Sajen a girl.

I stand by this decision, because Sajen as a boy is fucking insufferable, mostly because I have yet to find a way to extract myself from his personality, possibly because I’m really shallow (or just human) in finding that it really is just easier to relate to characters who share my gender identity. It’s easier with girl-Sajen because, well, she’s a girl, and there is the barrier of lived experience of gender (which I totally know all about and am able to portray credibly in my writing you guys don’t even worry about it) to prevent me from self-inserting to the same degree – or, at least, it forces me to be more creative about it, and creativity is good. The end result is more of a character who parallels my emotional history rather than re-lives a fictionalised account of it, and that is what I wish I could have had with boy-Sajen.

However, and perhaps as a result of reaching this point in my journey with girl-Sajen, the idea of revisiting boy-Sajen and applying what I’ve learnt has started to pull at me. While I really do adore the concept of Main Character Syndrome (which you can probably guess at from the title), I also really like the ideas that I came up with in the months that followed my execution of ROTM in 2012, the energy that was released when the bubble burst and the ideas that formed in that glorious imaginative malestrom. I even had a name for this project: Magician Boogaloo, which is a slightly more grammatically sound name than Realm of the Myth but equally amorphous, not to mention a blatant ripoff of Cowboy Bebop, which was a big inspiration for the new project, specifically the idea of making it a collection of connected yet self-contained episodes with an overarching plot linking them together, even if only tangentially. While at first it starred a different character from a D&D campaign setting that I never got around to using, a lot of ROTM’s supporting cast found their way into it as well, and eventually even Sajen returned to hog the spotlight. He had changed, mercifully, but while I liked the new episodic setup, freedom from the toxic, historically clouded and vestigial restrictions that had plagued my creative process with ROTM and was genuinely excited to see it through to fruition, there was still something missing. At least until last night, when I started thinking about it again and got excited about it and, if you’ve been following this blog for long enough, that’s at least enough impetus for me to write a huge rambling blog post about, if not necessarily enough to also actually follow through with in practice. I really do love the creative process, but I can’t deny it’s a bit, y’know, fucking stupid.

Which brings me to my dilemma: on the one hand, I love the ideas of both Main Character Syndrome and Magician Boogaloo, and they are each projects that I would like to work on. On the other hand, they share so many of the same ideas – and when I say “ideas”, I mean “characters and world-building”, which is a very specific and also huge problem – that it kind of entirely, completely ruins any chance of my actually writing both of them. Basically, I like both of these stories, but they’re just iterations on the same bundle of ideas, and I’m worried that the only way I could tell both stories would result in stretching those ideas too thin (and seeming ridiculous to anybody who read both stories, due to the huge amount of repeated characters, plots, world-building, etc).

And before you ask: yes, I have in fact thought about the possibility of letting them share the same universe, setting one of them after the other – and changing one of the Sajen’s names – and the fact of the matter is that I just do not want to do that. Like, at all. It would be ambitious as fuck, but it would also dilute certain aspects of the plot – the significance of Main Character Syndrome, for instance – to the point of irrelevance. So the alternatives I’ve left for myself is to either designate certain characters and sub-plots to one story or the other and live with the consequence of not being able to do exactly what I want – or to move all of my characters and sub-plots to one story or the other, etc.

The thing is, I’m sure that I could come up with some way to do the “shared universe” thing in a way that I was happy with, if I took the time to do so. And these days I’m feeling more creatively-inclined than usual, so I may in fact do just that. Equally, because I’m feeling more creative these days I also feel that I could find a happy compromise in splitting my intellectual property between these two projects. MCS started off as an attempt to reconnect with the zaniness that I liked in ROTM (not the original ROTM, but the first time I rebooted it – ROTM is like my own personal Spider-Man film franchise), but it fairly swiftly became quite dark. Perhaps the simple act of denying that – at least more than I have – and instead being insistent on retaining the madcap, vibrant, irreverent and self-reflexive energy that inspired me to revisit that material in the first place will be enough to alleviate my doubts. Not to the point where there’s no darkness, just to the point where it’s not entirely overwhelming. And by the same token, Magician Boogaloo was an experiment in serial, episodic storytelling, something I have only rarely tried. Perhaps following through with that, detaching from the Cowboy Bebop homage and finding my own spin to put on it will give it the vigour it needs to get started.

I do still feel torn; I still want to find some way to make it work, to have my cake and eat it too. The problem is that I don’t think I have enough ingredients to make two, but enough to make one bloated super-cake. But perhaps I have enough for two after all.

And if not, I’m sure I can find some lying around somewhere. I mean hey, I destroyed and resurrected/recycled one long-standing creative project of mine, I’m sure I have a few more lying around that want a crack at reincarnation …

The next step: Tallulah’s Progress P2

I wrote 1407 new words of Tallulah because the words that were already there just kinda bored me. I am saying that this is fine, and so it is.

I wonder if my planning is a little too detailed. I’ve lamented the way planning can kill spontaneity numerous times on this blog, particularly in the early days, but I got over that, more or less. What I’m worried about currently is that, emboldened by the way “planning” leads to a lot of summarising, I use it as an excuse to overload on information and end up putting in too many things, just because I “can”. I say “can” in quotation marks because there’s nothing actually stopping me from overloading on ideas in long-form, but my point is that the summary form of planning may be too deceptive for me, and that I need to adapt my planning habits accordingly.

Regardless: I did shit today, and not only that but I did it in addition to topping yesterday’s impressive bout of study (read: skim-reading with no concern for actually remembering anything), and going for a bike ride for the first time in 3 weeks, so today has been a victory all around. I’m liking this new trend. I would love to be able to write about it more articulately and explore its significance in the wider context of my biography up to this point, but I think when you’re going through it there’s just not much to examine. You’re just living it – and really, given my toxic habit of journaling my entire life as a teenager to the point where I’d think about doing things with my life just so that I could write about them, spending so much energy trying to articulate the signficance of my life that I stopped living it, that’s probably no bad thing. There’s a lot I’ll probably never get to write about – like the seconds leading up to death – but life is not for chronicling. It’s for living. And if those are my choices, I’m fine with the latter.

A good workspace

I spent somewhere between 2 and 3 hours today rearranging my bedroom. This counted as my “workout” for the day, and I am similarly pleased with the results.

Okay, that’s an understatement. I literally feel like I’m in an entirely new house just from shifting things around. I can look out the windows now instead of having my back to the outside world while I’m on the computer (which is most of the time); the light on the wall is now slightly behind me and off to the side as opposed to being almost directly shining in my face; because my desk and my bed take up either side of the room I end up sitting basically in the exact centre of the room instead of being huddled in a corner … it just feels good.

As a bonus result of this alchemical renovation, I also felt like I was in an entirely different world, one where I was free to have ideas with my time instead of siphoning it off to feed my vampiric obligation to study (which I did a lot of today, and it was great and very non-vampiric). It was like something from my life ten years ago, one of the good parts, where I’d be carried along by some inspiring idea and end up making moves to share it with the world. Today became a fantastic Writing Day.

The fact that I instead spend my day watching YouTube and doing uni readings (yay productivity) is irrelevant. The fact that I spoiled my chance to drift off to sleep by getting up and writing this post – water under the bridge. All day I had this overwhelming craving for story, for engagement, just by being in my room. Because it’s more open now when I’m in it, because I have light and air coming at me from three directions (assuming I leave the door open for airflow). Because now I’m in the middle of the room and can roam around freely and quickly. Because the entire room has basically become a combination desk and chair, given how things are laid out. Because I’m not locked in to any one specific area in the room when I want to do something in it. It felt like the day would go on forever; for the first time in years I genuinely felt like staying up and working on my stuff, be it Tallulah or something else, or drawing, or reading – I had a really strong urge to continue the Sweep series for some reason – or nothing. I wanted to sit on the floor and look up and out of both of my windows as much as I wanted to progress some story of mine. I felt like the “shackling” feeling of my room being designated as an area for procrastination, work or sleep just sort of peel off, to be replaced with a boundless, timeless motivation to use the world, and be used by it in return. In a good way. The word “use” has bad connotations. I feel like this is finally my space, that not only is it “working for me” now, in a way that my room back at the old house never did, but that we are working for each other.

That realisation that I had about not being a writer – if this were a movie and I were looking for a sign to tell me that I was on the right track, today would have been the sign. It wasn’t just that I felt freed from stifling obligations; I felt freed from my own restrictive regimenting of my time and how it should be spent, which ambitions I was allowed to have given the time allotted to me and what the most pragmatic life choices I could make seemed to be. It’s like by moving things around in my room I accidentally brushed open a latch, and now a flood of energy and potential has washed through me, knocking down my self-erected barriers and opening me up to my own possibilities, the exact possibilities I’ve been struggling to re-discover ever since my “I’m not a writer anymore” epiphany at the start of the year.

I never realised housekeeping could be so profound.

So, much as I was relishing how tired I was feeling before I made myself write this post because in the end I couldn’t get to sleep – and wanted to test if this feeling was still here – I think I might actually do a little bit of work instead. Just start up some momentum. Nothing huge. I do still want to sleep.

But this finally feels like a place where not only do I want to work, but where work will happen if I use this space in the ways that I feel moved to use it. Like if I follow my intuition, things will work out the way I want them to. And I think that’s progress worth documenting. I haven’t felt this way in … shit, almost 15 years. I’m going to be 28 in a couple of weeks.

Oh god. I’m going to be 28 in a couple of weeks. Definitely not getting to sleep now …

For starters: Tallulah’s progress P1

Well, I said I’d write something today, and that I’d write about what I’d written today … today – so, here it is:

I copy-pasted the current Chapter 1 from one folder to another one – and then, because I felt like switching it up, found an alternate Chapter 1 that I wrote near the end of last year and used that one instead. Now I have set myself up to use certain material from the “real” Chapter 1 in what will now be Chapter 2.

I think this is … good.

For one thing, the reason I wrote that alternate Ch1 was because it was a bit too busy for what it needed to be. This one is perhaps too sparse, but at least the stuff that happens – in particular the introduction of the two central characters – is what needs to be focused on from the very beginning of the story. I know I can write it better, and I will, but for now it’s enough that it’s there, ready to be worked on at a later date.

For another, the stuff that I cut out works better as content for a follow-up chapter, introducing supporting characters and getting things rolling after the momentum generated by the first chapter. The deluge of characters makes sense in a Chapter 2 – or at least more sense than it does in a Chapter 1 – for this sort of story. At least that’s how I’m justifying it to myself; I think I’m right. Only time will tell.

So basically my “writing” today consisted of copy-and-pasting, but you know what? That requires real brainpower. You have to be sure that what you’ve copy-and-pasted is appropriate, which I totally am. Not. Oh god what have I done I need to go back and fix it why did I leave it so late why did tonight have to be Easter Family Dinner Night this means I can’t do my workout either because I’m so fucking full why why whyyyyyyyyyyyy

Also I spent money on digital trading cards today whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

But fuck it, because I’ve got momentum now. I made the first move, and the game is afoot. There’s no turning back from here. This is the beginning. Again. I’ve been here before; it’s familiar territory. And I remember that the last revision I did took way longer than I hoped, but was also over and done with way quicker than I expected. I have two weeks “free” from uni, and if I can get even half the stuff done that I expect I can get done in 2 weeks, I will be a delighted writer indeed.

All right. A start. That’s all I need.

Now for all the rest of it.

Until the very end

Writing. Keep saying it’s gonna happen. Other things keep happening instead. That’s kinda just how it is.

It is very untrue that I have not been writing; it’s just that what I’ve been writing is not my novel. I’m thinking of doing something to motivate myself, however, and while obviously anything can change …

I am planning on shutting down this blog once I finish Tallulah.

I’m not going to delete it; it will remain here for anybody to read, if they feel so compelled. I want to do this because it’s a way to focus myself, first and foremost. This blog was created so that I could write about the process of writing Tallulah. I’ve done a few reviews/critiques/rants about books I’ve read and offered opinions about writing and storytelling in general, but honestly I don’t think this is the place for that anymore. This is a blog for one book, the book I’m writing, and after it’s done I feel the right decision is to move on. It also means that not only am I focused on writing about Tallulah here, but that I’m giving myself a sense of closure, a finish-point that I can work towards. I guess you could call it a “reward”, though it’s more just like a way to make the “ending” official.

I don’t know if that means starting a new blog every time I start a new book – that sounds rather counter-productive in terms of getting my name out there, for one thing, and like a hell of a lot of unnecessary work for another – or just starting a new writing blog altogether and carrying on from there. I’d probably transfer everything from this one to the hypothetical new one and try to organise it more to my liking than I’ve done with this one.

Then again, knowing myself, maybe I’ll just “rebrand” this blog and continue on with it, streamlining it and refining it as I go … but part of the reason that I want to shut it down is because I don’t really feel that’s what this blog is for. It’s not meant to be My Writing Blog, where I turn it into some kind of publicity platform. And if I’m going to do this whole Being A Writer thing – and yes, I know I’ve said about a thousand times this year that it was the most wonderful thing in the world to discover that I am not A Writer, and that’s still true – then in terms of pragmatism, I do need some kind of publicity. I need something a bit more, for lack of a better word, professional than this blog. This blog is a mess.

And it’s meant to be a mess. I like it being a mess. Scratch that; I love that it’s a mess, that it’s not “consolidated” or “professional” or “consistent” or anything else. I need it to be like this. And I need it to keep me focused. That was the main, unspoken reason why I started writing here to begin with; I needed some kind of external motivation to keep me on-task with Tallulah. And it did work, for a while. It takes more than a blog to keep you on-track, of course, but it certainly did help. And I think it can help again – if I narrow its focus instead of trying to broaden it, like I’ve thought about doing and occasionally half-heartedly tried to. But it’s too much effort. I can’t Run A Blog and write and study and deal with all my Real Life Shit all at once. Not right now anyway. Part of that is because I don’t have the time or the focus. But the other part is that I simply can’t be fucked. I don’t want to Run A Blog. I want to write my book, and I want a place to write about me writing my book. And that’s enough.

I created some new folders to get the second revision of Tallulah settled in. Now I just gotta get to the actual revision part. I have two weeks free from class; I have no assignments due for another three, and while I’ll definitely be studying, these two weeks I want to use to revise. I want that, a lot. My unclear plan needs a bit of clarifying before I feel confident that it’s going to work, but I also just have to do it. I’ve learnt the hard way that I only seem to get motivation for doing things after I start doing them, so I need to be responsible for making myself do them.

The first thing I’m going to do is go over Chapter 1 and see if there’s anything I want to change. That is pretty much exactly how I wrote the plan for revising Chapter 1: if there’s stuff I want to change, then I’ll change it. No big deal either way. I need to play with this manuscript, but I need to play constructively. The game needs rules. And those rules are the same things I’ve been rabbiting on about throughout this year: taking risks; writing the things I have in my head instead of how I think they should come out onto the page so that they don’t offend anybody; making myself do the actual work; doing other things besides writing so that I don’t feel stifled by it and start to resent it; keeping track of my progress – I’ve been rabbiting on about that for as long as this blog has been around, to be fair – and most importantly: to be able to fully commit, and to be able to completely change my mind. You can’t write well, can’t create healthily, without that vital paradox at the crux of your creative philosophy. Or that’s what I’ve found at least. Because at the end of the day, art comes from us, and we are always changing. And that’s how it should be.

will have an update tomorrow. Even if it’s just to say that I’ve done basically nothing except copy and paste a Word document into a new folder. I’m sure I can find a way to drag it out into a thousand-word-plus post when the time comes. But maybe I’ll do something else, make some changes that I want to share – without spoiling anything – and write about that instead, and feel that I could have put it better, like always.

In any case, even if I do decide to shut vevacha down after Tallulah has been sent off for submission, that almost certainly won’t be for at least another year. Just going by my historical rate of progess. But who knows? Maybe this year is not only going to be everything I want it to be; maybe it’ll be more than that, things I didn’t expect and couldn’t have planned for. I think I need that out of this year. I’ve got more of a sense of control than I’ve felt in a long time. Now I need something to balance it out.

Just not too much. If you’re listening, universe. Just enough. I’d really appreciate it.

Let’s write.

I just wanna draw bears

I mean have you seen bears? They’re just so interesting. They’re kind of composite animals, when you think about the “basic” animals that we all kind of gravitate to as kids: they have snouts like pigs; they have a long muzzle and fangs like a wolf; they have sharp claws and roar like a lion; they’re chunky and fuzzy like gorillas – they’re like a real-life Chimera if you ignore the existence of monotremes.

Why do I want to draw bears? Because it’s 1) something I can’t do to my liking and 2) is not all the other stuff I’ve made plans to do, failed to follow through with and am now wallowing in guilt for being so slack about.

I said that I’d be updating regularly about my writing, because I was going to force myself to work on my novel and finally get it finished this year. Neither of those things have happened since I made that commitment, and wanting to draw bears may just become my new euphemism for “I should be doing something else, but I don’t wanna”.

Wanting to draw bears also has another motive, however: recently I’ve come to accept that so many of my really vivid, gripping ideas just don’t sit well in written language alone. They need illustrations – or, more accurately, they are illustrations. And I’ve just been so down on myself and my drawing ability (among ten zillion other things) for so long that the idea of even trying to draw these ideas that are, in fact, drawings has only been something I’ve dabbled with, tentatively and with predictable results – I don’t feel like I can draw, so I don’t try, so I don’t get practice, so I don’t think I can draw, so I don’t try, so I don’t get practice, repeat ad nauseam.

Well, both my writing “hiatus” and self-loathing of my drawing capabilities are going to stop tonight. I am currently at university, waiting for 4:25 so that I can head to my supervisor’s office and get some feedback on my research proposal draft. And once that’s done I’m going to go home, not play videogames, and 1) make a start on putting the plan of attack I have for Tallulah into action, and 2) draw a fucking bear.

And here’s the thing: I have drawn bears before. One of them was very cartoony, which was what I wanted and that went well. The other one was actually pretty realistic and impressive, the result of my copying from stock images I found on Google. I was pretty damn happy with the result, and I think that’s what I’ll do again tonight. I also have a couple of books on drawing which I think it’s high time I cracked into.

So, some goals: by the end of this year, I want at least a third edition of Tallulah in my hands, preferably with notes and feedback, but at least ready to be sent out to test readers for said feedback. By the end of this year, I want to be able to play a fucking F-chord on my guitar. By the end of this year, I want to have been working out consistently every week for the remainder of the year. By the end of the year, I want to be able to ride my bike around the block at least three times without getting winded. (It’s not a big block.) And by the end of the year, I want to draw something very specific, a drawing that I’ve wanted to draw for a couple of years now. It’s not even a difficult drawing; it’s Disney characters, and you’d think those would be easy, because they’re already designed to be easy for any artist to copy and then draw seven trillion times, because that’s how animation studios work. I want to be able to draw this thing, and I want to be able to draw it without a reference.

And finally, I want to draw a lineup of characters from my various stories and other projects that have characters in them, find some way to scan it if I can’t make it a digital drawing, and make it my new banner. As proof. Hell, maybe I’ll actually start using my Deviantart account (or, more likely, make a new one).

It’s the same old story: I haven’t been writing because I’ve been stuck with literally every goddamn thing in my life. But every time that happens, and every time I take the time to write it out and process it, I find a more effective way of moving past it. In the end, all that matters is that you learn something. And today I’ve learnt that I want to draw bears. So I guess I’ll go do that.