Weekly Blog 10/23/19: Semi-End of a Semi-Hiatus, “Speed Inktober,” and NaNoWriMo Prep

Hi all! Taylor here with a few updates and some thoughts on participating in monthly challenges (like Inktober and National Novel Writing Month).

First of all, my YouTube hiatus seems to be coming to a close. I’m settled enough in my new job that I feel like I can go back to doing maybe one or two videos a week. It started with “well, maybe I can do Inktober and film it,” and then extended to “maybe I can do some other videos too,” and it’s just grown from there. I plan to officially end my semi-hiatus in November, and come back to one or two videos a week.

So, yay.

As for Inktober itself: I feel a little bad in that I’m doing sort of a “speed run” of this challenge. A speed run, for those not in the know, is when a player plays through a video game with no goal other than to finish the game and beat the final boss in as little tim as possible. For me, I’m not TRYING to do an “Inktober speed run,” but that’s how it’s ending up: My first three”weeks” of Inktober inking have actually done in three single afternoons. The past three Tuesday nights have been spent inking madly, and so I’m not really doing 31 drawings in 31 days; I’m doing 31 drawings in, like, 5 afternoons.

Which seems, to me, to defeat some of the purpose of Inktober. I think that, at their heart, a lot of these “monthly challenges” really challenge us to develop a regular, if not daily, artistic practice. But unfortunately, for me, the only way I’ve been able to do this Inktober has been to only technically create 31 drawings in 31 days.

Still, I’m enjoying it, I’m creating a lot of new art, and I’ll have content for an Inktober 2019 zine. Looking forward to publishing that for you all.

Finally, I am doing a lot of prep work for my next monthly challenge – National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo. NaNo has been around since 1999, so this its 20th year. It will also be (hopefully) my first year successfully participating. I have attempted NaNo in several past years, but have never accomplished the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. This year it will be my main November project – no other personal projects are scheduled for that month – so I’m hopeful.

I’m quite excited to be getting back to YouTube, and I look forward to bringing you more content there. And as always, thank you so much to everyone liking, commenting, subscribing, following, and generally engaging with my work – and a special thanks to everyone shopping at my Etsy shop. I’ve stocked it with a few new items, so check it out.

And with that being said…I hope that you are having a truly excellent day, and I’ll talk to you again very, very soon.

Bye!

-Taylor

Weekly Blog 11/19/18 | Fountain Pen Collections, Notebook Management, and My Thoughts on “Noveling”

Hey everyone!

It’s Thanksgiving week here in America, so to anyone involved in this holiday, I hope your Thanksgiving week is going very well. Whether you are engaging in a huge Thanksgiving meal, warming up your credit card for Black Friday, or fasting in protest of the entire holiday’s bloody, genocidal history, I wish you the best in you ventures.

If you are in the rest of the world, I hope you benefit from Cyber Monday.

I have spent the past few days writing, writing, and writing more. I have been a novelist far longer than I have been an artist or blogger or painter; my novel-writing actually goes back to age eleven, if you can count a 12,000 word document as a “novel.” (Hey, it was a children’s chapter book! I was aiming for a realistic goal for the time.)

I wish i could say I never stopped or looked back, but I did falter, in 2010 or so, when my health was getting bad. I just couldn’t write, for years, even after getting into recovery. I had written off writing (no pun intended) as something lost to the Crazy Years, something that wasn’t ever coming back. I made my peace and started drawing more instead.

And then, very recently, I just picked up a notebook and a fountain pen and started writing a novella based on an old idea I’d had as a teenager. A story of love, losing touch, and letting go; a story about risking reality for something better; a story about a girl who existed only in a reflection, and the boy who knew she was no mere mirage.

The result so far? 30 pages and about 2ml of fountain pen ink used up in two days. I’m so excited to see how this develops.

I’ve changed my notebook system. For a year, I was doing all of my journaling, to-do’s, and planning in one place – a Traveler’s Notebook. It worked great for the past year, but I’ve gotten so damn busy that I can’t really fit it all in a standard TN. So I’ve switched into…a bullet journal!

Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. I never saw myself as a bujo person, but here we are. I don’t do the super fancy style that a lot of people do, but I do use some of the standard features, mixed with my own planning systems, and it’s in what many people refer to as a bullet journal – a hardcover, dot-gridded, A5 notebook with a vertical elastic closure.

It’s helped me a ton, especially the habit tracking. I use a “Calendex” style habit tracker, and it has helped me a lot in the effort to track both my work and my self-care, because it lets me see at a glance how I’m doing in a certain day/week, and also lets me see which habits seem to be falling by the wayside more often than they should.

As for my other writing, I’m mostly using the same notebook in different copies/versions: my diary is housed in an A5 lined notebook with a soft cover, and my novella – the one I’m currently working on, anyway – lives in a bullet-journal style A5 hardback lined notebook.

My creative writing has always been on the computer, typed, but honestly, I think that the sheer novelty of hand-writing a story is challenging my mind to be more creative. I’m writing in fountain pen, and the romance of that alone helps me to get into a daring mood. Some people, when writing in pen, think “It’s ink, I can’t erase it…I can’t write at all.” Me, I think more along the lines of “It’s ink, I can’t erase it…might as well just go for it!”

It’s November, which means NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo, if you didn’t know, is National Novel Writing Month, a project intended to challenge people to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. It (or its surrounding community) is also pretty much, as far as I can tell, the source of the term “noveling,” a much-reviled word meaning, in rough terms, “to write a novel without really being a novelist.”

Now, I’m the first to admit that I used to hate the term “noveling.” I thought it implied that literally anyone could scribble down any 50,000 words and call it a novel and call themself a novelist. I still don’t agree with that ideology – but I don’t hate “noveling” anymore.

Honestly, my feeling is that any creative effort, however half-assed, is valid and valuable. So if someone wants to casually pen a 50,000-word YA romance, not let anyone else proof or edit it, publish it on Wattpad with poor formatting, and call it a day, that’s their right. In fact, I applaud it. Because the next novel – or the fifth one, or the tenth, or the twentieth – after their debut might be amazing. And if the pressure of being a “proper novelist” would otherwise keep them from writing at all, then maybe “noveling” is a saving grace, not an atrocity against the art of the novel.

So there are my thoughts on my latest novella, notebooks, and noveling. I’m going to close out and get writing. 🙂

~Taylor