Sometimes I hate writing. Sometimes writing hates me. Sometimes we just sit in opposite corners and hate everything.

I wrote a chapter last night, ran it past my alpha readers and producer, and posted it today. It was a week late. It was actually over a week late, because it should have been in the queue quite a while back, but I don’t have a buffer, partially because I got sick in the weeks leading up to the Cowkillers’ launch when I was supposed to be building the buffer, and I never caught up. I need a buffer really badly if I’m going to keep trying to do a weekly webnovel.

The thing is, I have times when I’m really productive. That’s where I was a couple of weeks ago. I knocked out two chapters in the course of a few days, did a ton of housework, got some dev work done, ran some gaming sessions, and was generally a rock star. But whenever I’m being really productive like that, my glee is tempered by the fact that I just know there’s a crash coming.

And there was. That was last week. Poking at Cowkillers’ did nothing. I got some housecleaning done, but not enough. Creatively, all I put out was some dev work on Zosias. And the thing about that is, among other things, it’s my fallback. For whatever reason it takes an order of magnitude (or two) fewer spoons to do Zosias dev than pretty much any other creative output.

So, I get to be kinda-sorta productive, but it doesn’t change the fact that there’s other things I need to be productive on, such as Cowkillers’. And I end up feeling guilty for getting work done on Zosias, because I feel like that energy could be better spent trying to get a chapter pushed out. But the thing is if I focus on prose when I’m having a crash, nothing gets done. It sucks.

And I guess the point is, it seems like I’m on the upswing now. At any rate yesterday’s chapter came out fine. It’s frustrating trying to track down best practices for myself because there are a lot of variables, it’s frequently a chicken-and-egg situation, there are feedback loops all over the place, and my sample size is one. Am I on the upswing because I got a chapter written? Did I get a chapter written because I’m on the upswing? Did the fact that I was writing with a (relatively minor) migraine actually help? I mean, I freaking hope not, but sometimes I do seem more creative with a migraine. I usually get more work done late at night, and I was working sorta-late at night, but I stayed up ’til two trying to write the other day and that didn’t work.

After a while I don’t have best practices for writing, I just have a huge bundle of superstitions and no really good method of whittling them down into things that actually work. I’m reasonably sure, for instance, that I write best alone, caffeinated, and listening to music. But being alone, drinking coffee, listening to music, and staring at Scrivener is not always enough to get the words flowing.

Red Bull seems to be particularly good writing juice, but it’s expensive and I’m not actually certain if it’s better than coffee or not. I mean, I like the taste, and it puts me in a good mood ‘cos it’s a treat, so maybe that’s it. I get most of my writing done late at night – but not all of it – and part of that might be because that’s when the world is asleep and leaving me alone. On the other hand night really is the time when I’m most awake; if left to my own devices I drift to a sleep schedule where I go to sleep at dawn, which is great for me and terrible for my ability to interact with other people. Maybe I do write better with a migraine, but while they’re relatively easy to induce – half an hour out in the sun without sunglasses will do the trick, ninety percent of the time – I’m not quite that desperate to increase my word output. Sometimes it feels like I’m examining a fundamentally chaotic result and trying desperately to correlate it with anything, anything at all, because I don’t want it to be chaotic, I want to be able to control it.

And even talking about it, like I’m doing now, is tricky, because I feel like the answer is “just write” and I’m whining about being lazy. It’s what you always hear: you just have to keep writing. Write every day. Sit down and stare at an empty document until you’re too bored to do anything but write. Unplug the internet, close all the other programs, and sooner or later your brain will say, “Well, I have to do something.” And it’s good advice. It does get better. But it doesn’t always work, and it’s emotionally exhausting when it doesn’t. Part of the reason I took on Cowkillers’ was to force myself to commit to an amount of output, to increase the output I could produce reliably. And it’s working, to an extent, but it’s also highlighting the fact that there are times when I am, productively, a complete wreck.

But I have a doctor’s appointment on Monday, and I’m going to be talking about my depression. So we’ll see how this goes.

Daily Report 2014-09-09

No SpeLP today because I was that special kind of lazy where I didn’t play video games but got a ton of writing-related stuff done. Have an absurdly catchy song about dwarves instead.

I’ve done so much work on Zosias in the past couple of days. Like, close to twenty hours in the last couple of days. Most of that went into fixing the spell list (almost no spells above 1st level had summaries) and full skill descriptions (noticeably missing for years). You know. Busywork. It kind of highlights some of the problems with the current state of Zosias, but in a good way. Like, no wonder we haven’t gotten around to doing these seemingly-basic things, they’re twenty-plus hours of busywork. But it’s rewarding busywork that needs to be done in order to have a coherent system. Which is what it’s starting to feel like, at least to me.

As for Cowkillers’, I’m kinda-sorta ahead at the moment, compared to my usual state. I have roughly 500 words on Friday’s chapter, and it’s progressing. Kat and I are going to put aside some writing time tomorrow, which in my case is going to be put entirely toward Cowkillers’. I basically wrote two chapters last week; if I can do that again this week, and next week, and forever, life will be really awesome and I will experience this strange feeling apparently known as happiness.

Current music: My wife singing Milk Inc.’s “For No Reason.”

Daily Report 2014-09-07

Yesterday-ish – actually the day before yesterday – I switched class back to Mage in HabitRPG. There are two main reasons for this: mage murders bosses like . . . um . . . a boss 1 and rogue promotes bad habits for me. See, with a straight-Int rogue I can stealth every single day and get back more mana (at my high level with wizard gear) than I spend. And that is really, really good when we’re doing a lot of boss quests because if I don’t have that capability and I have a bad day, I will singlehandedly murder my entire party by accident. 2 I’ve been doing really well on spoons lately, and we were close to the end of the quest chain we’ve been on, so I went mage and burned the Laundromancer to the ground. 788 damage in one day. That’s the flipside of having so many tasks that a bad day murders your entire party. 3

I suspect that I don’t use HabitRPG quite the same way most people do.


The big news for today, of course, is that I got Friday’s Cowkillers’ chapter up. Two days late instead of one, because it was stuck in the pipeline (in this case awaiting a last bit of pre-publication feedback). But that’s okay, because I have a start on (this coming) Friday’s chapter, which is strictly speaking due Monday. Y’know, tomorrow. And I think I have a fighting chance. I’ve been productive lately. Weirdly so. It’s too early yet to start celebrating a new, more productive me; the more I end up getting done of a day, the more I keep thinking the crash is coming. And, judging from past experience, oh, it’s coming. But not, apparently, yet.

And it feels strange to be saying that today’s big news is the Cowkillers’ chapter, because I’ve put in over ten hours work on writing today, and it’s all been on Zosias. The Cowkillers’ chapter was basically done, I just needed to get the last bit of feedback and post it, which ended up being like a ten minute job. But there you have it; that’s how it works.

Now I’m gonna go do more writing.

Notes:

  1. I did not think that through.
  2. I really dislike this about the boss quest mechanics. Yes, it adds extra incentive to get everything done, but when I don’t have the spoons, mostly it just means that I feel like I’m a horrible person for choosing to be in a party with my friends.
  3. Actually, most of the damage was from repeatedly casting Burst of Flame, which deals a ton of damage because I’m so high level and can be cast a ton of time because I’m so high level. But I’m so high level because I have so many tasks, which is why I just said that in the first place, so I wouldn’t have to give any sort of in-depth explanation. Glad I avoided that.

A Report, Purportedly Occurring In A Regular Fashion

Okay, for starters, allow me to say that the new embed features in WordPress 4.0 actually are very nice. No more do I have to suffer the indignity of copying the embed code from Youtube and switching to the html tab to paste it in. Now I can just drop the video url in and WordPress handles the rest.

Seriously, it is pretty nice.

This has been, creatively speaking, a weird week. Last week’s chapter was late; it went up, I believe, Wednesday. Now, a mere three days later, I have this week’s chapter written, and will probably be posting it only a day late. And I have a start on next week’s chapter which, muses willing, will go up on time.  And then, if I can maintain this pace for an extended period of time, everything will be amazing and nothing will ever be bad again, and I’ll be dozens of chapters ahead by the end of the year and surfing in California by the end of the next.

In other news, this does not seem very likely. It seems like I write best in bursts. No, that’s not fair. I write mostly in bursts. I have days, occasionally weeks, where my output is relatively through the roof (did I ever mention how I wrote almost thirty thousand words in the last two days of NaNoWriMo last year?). And then I have relatively longer periods where my output, in terms of writing and general successful existence as a human being who does things, is effectively nil.

If I can somehow harness this and normalize it so that from the outside it resembles some form of regular output, my life will improve dramatically. Part of the reason I took on this webnovel project in the first place is because it would push me outside my comfort zone and force me to write through the dead periods, in the hopes that being forced to do so would eventually result in an increased ability to do so. So far . . . the jury is still out.

Current music: Kesenai Tsumi, by Nana Kitade. I’ve been digging into my old JPOP archives. The nostalgia is approaching lethal levels and it is wonderful.

Pseudo-Daily Report 2014-08-24

While I *do* have some SpeLPs recorded, I haven’t actually compressed and uploaded them yet ‘cos I’ve been lazy this last few . . . um . . . week. And by “lazy” I mean “writing.” Yup. That’s why the latest Cowkillers’ chapter is totally done and ready for alpha reading. Mhm.

I’m going to go and do . . . final . . . touch up work on it. That completed chapter that I have.