I’ve been meaning to blog about this since last month and I even started working on a draft weeks ago (a sort of May Life Update post) but then something terrible happened. My dog, Lily, died. I was devastated. I knew that I couldn’t write a life update post without talking about my poor baby Lily. Lily was such a huge part of my life for nearly a year and I couldn’t gloss over her like that just because I wasn’t emotionally ready for the task. So I scrapped that idea.
Now, though I still miss my Lily like crazy, I feel it’s time to write about what’s been going on in my life. It’s as dull and uneventful as always (even more so with my puppy, my little slice of heaven, gone) but I believe that I can only move on when I accept things as they are and proceed as planned.
With all that said, here’s an update blog that absolutely no one asked for.
Practically half a year since I botched NaNoWriMo ’17, I finally managed to hit that 50k word mark on my novel. Woohoo! This happened early last May and since then I’ve written 5k more which, considering that more than a month has passed, really isn’t all that impressive. But still.
I’m not even halfway through my novel but I’m rather hopeful about finishing it now since I’ve essentially proven to myself that I love this story enough to make it this far. I mean, 55k words is the most I’ve ever written on a story. 13 chapters!
This WIP of mine is honestly the longest running writing project I’ve ever stuck to. I started playing around with the story concept early in 2017 while I was still a graduating student and got to officially writing it late in the year, on NaNoWriMo month. The evolution from my original idea to what I’m working with so far is actually quite incredible. I never expected it to be this… complicated? It was supposed to be a fun little romp that I fantasized to calm myself down when I was freaking out during my awful, anxiety-inducing radio broadcast internship. Now I’m experimenting with topics and themes that I did not sign up for. But I guess my original feel-good fantasy didn’t have much structure or conflict to be a novel so it’s good that it’s changed this much…? I did realize that I had to make a lot of drastic changes early on when I was struggling to come up with the antagonist.
Anyway. I’m already on chapter 13 and, other than the typical writer’s fatigue and anxiety, I’m pumped to keep going. There is a lot to fix in this first draft – when I do somehow manage to finish it – but I’m still rather proud of it. I’m excited about it, actually. Honestly, this is the most invested I’ve ever been on a story of mine. In my previous novel attempts, I’d slowly lose momentum by chapter 2 or 3, then realize that the plot is dull as heck, dropping the novel altogether. It’s incredibly fulfilling to see this much progress on my novel. Yes, even if no one besides me will ever read it (or want to read it). I want to know how it ends and that’s enough motivation for me.
You might think that’s a little odd, not knowing how my own story ends, and, granted, I have a general idea of what I want to happen but, as it often happens with my rough outlines, when I do start writing the scenes, things rarely go as planned. So I’m not really sure how this story could end. It could go in the opposite direction of what I intend for all I know. I guess I’ll have to wait and see. Oh, and actually write my novel on a regular basis.
With all that said, I’ve come up with a new writing goal recently. Since I seem to write better, well, faster when I have a deadline to dread, I’m going to challenge myself to finish my first draft before NaNoWriMo ’18. That’s less than six months from now. Considering how it took me around that same amount of time to reach the pivotal 50k words, if I kept up the pace (and maybe even kick it up a notch), finishing it by November isn’t too impossible.
I considered setting my NaNoWriMo ’18 goal as editing that first draft (god willing) but then I realized that maybe I ought to let my novel sit for a while. Take a step back so I can edit it with fresh eyes or something.
That is, of course, if I finish my novel before my self-imposed deadline. Fingers crossed.
Actual Writing Job (where I get paid!)
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine sent me a private message, asking if I was interested in doing some freelance writing for the company she works for. It’s been years since my brief stint as a freelance writer and I wasn’t exactly a huge fan of SEO writing (who is, really?) but I like money and wouldn’t mind getting a little bit of extra income so I said yes. After being informed of what I had to write and negotiating my rates (which was so awkward because I have no idea how to rate myself), I got myself a sideline job.
I’ve gotten paid thrice now and my boss hasn’t really complained about me… yet. In fact, she seems rather happy with my output. Of course, I’ve only communicated with her online so the emotionless vacuum of the internet might be concealing her disgust and contempt for me. Who knows? I mean, this week’s set of articles is especially dull and painful to write and the article that I submitted the other day was just total bs so…
I don’t know, I keep expecting to get fired even though my boss is a genuinely nice lady and would probably tell me if she had a problem with me before she’d tell me to get lost. It’s the anxiety talking, I know, but I just can’t seem to ignore it.
Anyway, it’s nice to have a little, teeny-tiny extra cash every week. I try to finish all three articles (as per our agreement) before or on Sunday so I can get paid every week but this set is just… It’s testing me. Freelance writing isn’t nearly as bad or as painful as I remember (eighteen-year-old me clearly had no idea what pain was) but it’s still work. Shocker, right?
Slowly Learning Japanese
Ever since I graduated (and maybe even before that, let’s be real), I’ve been meaning to learn a foreign language properly. It just so happened that I was able to take Nihonggo 1 on my last semester of college so I had a fairly decent introduction to the language. It’s a really interesting language and Japan has a fascinating and admirable culture. And okay, yeah, maybe I do wanna watch anime without subtitles (like a true bamf) someday but that’s neither here nor there.
Now, I graduated last year so you’d think that I’d at least have made some considerable progress with my Japanese but because I’m a trash human being that keeps neglecting my promises for self-improvement, I’ve only just recently moved on from hiragana to katakana. I got most of the hiragana characters familiarized from my college class but I still kind of struggle with it. Katakana, on the other hand, is another story. I don’t know why but I can’t seem to remember the katakana characters as well as the hiragana characters. Maybe it’s because I don’t have certain memories associated with katakana (our sensei used to show us videos of how to properly write hiragana). I’m just so bad at it, y’know? And considering the fact that katakana is (typically) for spelling out foreign words, I really need to learn it.
But it really doesn’t help that certain characters are almost identical from one another. Hello シ and ツ.
I bought myself a stupidly expensive beginner’s Japanese textbook (with a CD-ROM that has audio files for correct pronunciation, bless) and although I’m still not studying it as regularly as I intended, it’s been rather helpful. I now know how to read and write one kanji word (Japan). There’s like more than two thousand standard kanji for regular use but… you know, baby steps.
Remember that post I wrote not too long ago, about how I’m miraculously keeping up with my Reading Challenge this year? Yeah, I was spot on when I said that by talking about my RC progress, I’d jinx myself for the rest of the year. It really didn’t take long for me to completely ruin my momentum and I’m pissed.
It is halfway through the year and I’m still not halfway done with my Reading Challenge. I guess I just haven’t been able to spend that much time reading because of my freelance work. Before my sideline job, I dedicate my mornings reading so I could have time in the afternoon to write. Now I’ve all but relegated reading to a few minutes before I head off to work. I’d read at night but I kind of fall asleep the moment I hit my bed like the old lady that I’ve truly become.
It’s so frustrating too because I have a lot of books I want to read and my TBR shelf is overflowing and begging for attention. Plus, if all goes well, I might be getting an e-reader soon which means I’ll have even more books calling after me. Bookworm problems, am I right?
I really need to learn how to manage my time properly.