Is anyone else shocked (SHOCKED I tell you!) that it’s already December? As much as I love autumn smells and colors, I cannot say I love the cold or dark that comes with it. At home I’d at least have the stars and wildlife to keep me company through the winter nights but here in the city it’s dreary and makes me want to curl up in bed with a book and hot chocolate. Alas, that’s not an option with midterms, and the seasonal exhaustion hit me hard. I knew I needed a lighter load this month to recover from the whirlwind that was October and the Thanksgiving travels, and my plans this month reflected that. I completed most of the goals, so I’ll take the small wins where I can get them, and keep the gloom at bay.

Before we get onto the goals, I’m gathering some feedback for how this website should work in the new year! I talk about my thought process in the 2nd to last point if you want to read more, but I’m curious to see what you all think of the site! I’ve got a google form linked here with some general questions and a designated space for you to leave recommendations, so please fill it out if you want to contribute to this blog! Thank you so much! 🙂

Won by 4 points – 9/11

Creative Free Space – Art, Embroidery: Normally I have a goal of “Draw # things” but I wanted to leave my options open for this month, hence the free space option. I drew a bunch of character sketches and started on holiday gifts for my college friends! I got a 12 pack of four-inch embroidery rings and started stitching personalized designs. It’s a nice relaxing thing to do during study sessions. It’s satisfying to see the physical progress, and quickly finish a small project which gives me motivation to do the next one. The designs are also fun, a bunch of them are fandom and dnd themed, and I can see myself improving as I draw up patterns. Who knows? Maybe my next magic system will be string-centric!

Creative “Free Space” – Laoche Development: Another fill in block because I cannot control when or why the inspiration comes for certain projects – I developed more of Madelyn and Seth’s character arcs, as well as elaborating on the mechanics of the magic system! I’m quite pleased with the simple but elegant set of rules I’ve put together.

Make edit spreadsheet for Storge and finish chapter 11: I explained my edit spreadsheet in this post, but I’m quite pleased with the developmental changes I’ve made. I only filled the sheet through chapter 9 because I ran out of time to finish, but there was quite a lot of character development work done. I’m trying very hard not to be intimidated by the scope of this story, and I’m afraid my skills aren’t quite up to par, but this exercise has helped put the work into perspective. The plan is to finish the read through for the end of the book, then keep editing from where I left off, taking into consideration the more detailed notes I’ve made. Then I’ll take a 3rd pass on it to focus on fixing anything that might have slipped through the cracks and do a simple style edit. After I’ve got the content in shape, and the prose in a passable state, I’ll send it off to beta readers to see if it makes any sense, and see what happens from there! It’s slow going, but I’m learning a lot.

Research how WordPress tags work and fix: This was a goal last month I didn’t mark off and carried over to this month, but it just didn’t happen with all the other obligations. It would be an afternoon, or 2-day project, so maybe I’ll finish over winter break. Maybe.

Back up computer: This barely counts as a creative goal but I’m adding it anyhow because it took literally eight hours for my poor laptop to process all of my files from 2016, make copies to an external hard drive, and transfer them to Google drive. Don’t lose your work!

Catch up on Something Worth Winning and Inklings Challenge Stories: If you remember the OCAuthtober challenge I did in October, my wonderful friend Jean put together the prompts! SWW is her incredible story, and she posts about once a week. The Inklings Challenge was another October event, in which Christian writers on Tumblr were sorted into three teams, assigned prompts based on the writing styles of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and G.K. Chesterton, and wrote short stories fitting the Christian philosophy. I had fallen behind on reading both of these, and my goal for this month was to catch up, which I did! You can read Jean’s work here and find an index of all the Inklings stories here.

Finish reading RoW: Binging this 400+K book in less than a week during midterms season was probably not my brightest idea but I have no regrets.

Instagram & website scheduling: Cutting it close this month but I didn’t miss a day!

Finish reading Order Of The Sun: This is a draft my friend Lila gave me, and I’m enjoying the story so far! I’m about halfway through but just ran out of time to finish it this month.

Refine plans for the new year: So, back in September, when there was still daylight and motivation galore, I had lofty plans of finishing two drafts of Runaways, going through the beta reading process, line editing, redesigning my website, branding a new pen name to publish my MG and Catholic fiction, setting up new social media accounts, creating a stack of promotional designs, and releasing the book as a serial novel on this site in the new year. This was a gross underestimation of how much time holiday prep, travelling, midterms, and finals would consume. I realized that if I don’t want to burn myself out, and still create a quality story that I’m happy with publishing, I would have to take my time.

In the new year, I’ll keep posting as usual with the name Etta Grace, and keep working on all these grand schemes in the background. There are so many logistics and uncertainties associated with publishing that I don’t want to mess up. I love writing but this isn’t my full-time job yet, and I need to focus on not failing all my ChemE classes. Perhaps you’ll see the announcements in a couple months, as opposed to next month. In the meantime, thank you for your patience! I hope you’ll enjoy the story when it’s ready to share. If you missed it at the top of the post, here’s the link for my feedback form again.

Collect beta feedback and make Runaways edit plan: Because of the changes mentioned in the last point, this goals had to slightly change, as I’m also giving my beta readers more time to finish the story. I have a file system set up to bring together all my feedback and I’m very thankful for the lovely people taking the time to help me with this. 🙂

Thank you for reading! I hope you all have a wonderful winter and holiday season. Happy writing! 🙂

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