Progress Journal for Aramis Gothboi: Book One
Mog’s ongoing account of completing the first draft.
Total word count: 10,636
It’s Saturday night as I write this, and the first one in three weeks that I haven’t felt the need to stay up until 2am to chip away on the manuscript. Mostly because it’s also the first week since beginning the project that I’ve written a new chapter without a previous draft to work from. I had my three sentence summary of what should happen, but that’s it. As a result, I didn’t feel the need to spend a lot of time editing – which means that what I put down is rough as guts. Regardless, I’m taking this sense of accomplishment and running with it. I feel very much on schedule with reaching my first milestone.
As for editing as I go, I picked up a few pro-tips from Meg LaTorre through her Youtube channel. Full of insight for authors and newbies looking to break into the industry, iWriterly is a great resource for someone like me. Meg is a smart cookie with experience from both sides of the fence as both writer and editor, and these 14 tricks to write a book faster are right on the money for where I’m at presently, and if I wasn’t already applying any of these tricks, I certainly am now (trick 7: Avoid editing as you write is my new mantra!).
As much as I’m making progress and kicking personal goals, I’m also just like everyone else in that I’m trying to get through this trial of a time and learning to live with the reality of a global pandemic crisis. My last entry made light of the quarantining, but the fact of the matter is that this is a serious situation and my primary concern is that we all do our part to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our community.
Although my own adjustment to the ongoing restrictions has been relatively minimal, self-isolating has forced me to rethink a few of my daily routines. For example, something as simple as going to the shop is now more challenging than ever. Where previously I would go as I pleased whenever I needed something (including the excuse to just get out of the house). Doing so now requires a strategy that minimises the number of trips, but is also timed to avoid large groups of people (pretty much had this down to an art form anyway).
Making online purchases, as I had frequently done before this mess began, seems like a viable option to keep in line with social distancing, but should I be ordering parcels that might be aiding the spread of contamination as they are shipped all around the country? Am I a part of the problem?
What am I buying online that’s such a worry, you ask?
Anyone that knows me well will probably guess it’s Lego. Yep, nothing important, just little plastic bricks that snap together in an extremely satisfying way. The same little plastic bricks that got me through childhood that have played a very necessary part in helping me with my mental well-being. The meditative aspect of building with these bricks, along with immersing myself in researching the history of this elegantly designed children’s toy gave me something to focus on as I worked my way through what can simply be described as a shortlist of mental health issues.
Earlier this week I made the decision to put the acquisition element of my hobby on hold to minimise contamination risks. But then I read this Lifehacker article, which essentially told me I have nothing to worry about.
And yet, I’ve still decided to pump the brakes. If you saw my office, you’d get the impression that maybe the hobby is getting a little out of hand. As much as theses bricks have had a positive impact on my well-being, when interest becomes obsession, the positive can quickly become a negative. Finding balance is key and to do this, setting goals and limits will help maintain that equilibrium. The topic of how much is too much when it comes to maximising productivity came up in a class I attended last year and the teacher had a simple answer: knowing when to stop. He was talking about writing and projects, but I think there is a more universal application to those words.
Hobbies are good when they’re just that. Interests are good and fascination is fine, but when what should be a secondary side-project becomes the motivating factor in your life, it’s probably time to take a moment to look at what you’re doing, and maybe find out why.
When obsession and fixation take over, perhaps it’s simply time to take a breather. Think about maybe eating a sandwich, staying hydrated, and doing what you can to remain human. You don’t need to become Gollum. If not for yourself, then maybe consider your loved ones and those that get a kick out of having you around.
This week’s bonus content is a handful of preliminary sketches featuring children from Parochia. The chapters I’ve been writing all take place at the school, and if this became a graphic novel as planned, I was going to need a whole lot of background characters to fill out the pages. None of these characters are named, but I remember having fun with the designs.
Below is a ‘finished’ image of the kids, which shows that I was either happy with the original drawings, or I was starting to get lazy as I can see no major changes from preliminary to finished. Pretty disappointed in myself for the lack of gender diversity here, but we live and (hopefully) learn. And is that a pint-sized Philip J. Fry on the end there?
What’s your biggest hurdle in trying to achieve your creative goals? Are you easily distracted? Maybe you run out of steam when it feels like the project’s taking too long to finish, or maybe you become overwhelmed by choice paralysis when making decisions?
I’d love to hear about what works for you in overcoming these kinds of challenges. Let me know in the comments!