Novel · Reflection

Onward and Upward

Hello September?

I usually start posts by lamenting how the time has passed so quickly, or how it’s ‘already x month’ — but not this time!

This time I want to focus on the future, on all the projects and things I’m working on or looking forward to. Even though I’ve accomplished a lot so far in 2016, it still feels like I’m constantly skittering around the ‘gotta-get-my-shit-together’ hamster wheel, where every time I finish one task, three more take its place.

But I’m trying to re-frame this relentless feeling of overwhelm with some positivity. So, instead of looking at my TBR pile as a daunting mountain to climb, I’m thinking of it instead as a privilege. These words, written and pored over by another soul somewhere else in space and time, have somehow ended up in my hands, and I get to see the world through their eyes! (Either fictional or non-fictional…) How cool is that?

Or, another weakness of mine is coming up with new ways to procrastinate exercising consistently. BUT – we’ve booked a vacation for right after my viva, and it will involve beach time, so that’s given me a clear ‘deadline’ to work towards so I can feel a bit more confident in my swim suit. Like tonight, I’m going to do some yoga for the first time in what seems like a millennium. Baby steps!

That calligraphy set I got for Christmas and haven’t used as much as I wanted to? That’s a chance to improve my handwriting, something I’ve always wanted to work on. That silly challenge I set myself, to bake more adventurous things? ON IT.

Exhibit A: layered raspberry-strawberry meringue cake I made last Saturday. (This took all-damn day to make, but it was so worth it…)

Meringue Cake

Hell, even writing more regularly for the little ol’ blog here? Working on it. I’ve got some old drafts lined up that I never posted, so I might finally do that. And I’ve done ok with posting at least once a month. Not great, but ok. (There was a month or two in there when I literally wrote nothing because, well, depression is a bitch.) But at the same time, every month is a new beginning, a new chance to do better. Every day is, in fact.

This probably sounds a bit ridiculous or simplistic, but I’ve been really struggling with the same old negative thinking, so I want to try something different, even if it is silly. And writing this out helps me to process it and commit to doing it.

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Also, my brain has become a strange place after finishing the dissertation. It was such an all-consuming project, and now that I actually have time to do the things I felt I couldn’t (or shouldn’t) before, I want to take full advantage of it. That includes writing, which I’m slowly getting more diligent with.

I’m really jazzed about these new stories I’m writing, although I’ve never worked on three separate novels at the same time. When I was writing HONORS, I was only focusing on that (or my dissertation…), so now it’s becoming a juggling act for my brain/memory. I’ve mentioned my ideas for them briefly before, but I’ll share a wee bit more here, just because I’m excited!

happy-jello

-The first is the sequel to HONORS. I started it last year, when we first moved to London and didn’t yet have internet, and I WROTE SO MUCH and it was magical. But then we got settled in our new place, the internets were connected, and I started a new job, so HONORS 2 got pushed to the wayyy back burner. Then in April-ish, I started a SHINY NEW PROJECT…

-A standalone historical, set in the 18th century this time. Again, those first few weeks I was FLYING through the beginning chapters like an over-enthusiastic puppy, but then it started to fizzle and stall. I was reading a non-fiction account of the exact historical event I’m writing about, and while it was so inspiring and made me want to keep going, it also contradicted most of what I had already written. So I had to back-pedal and do some serious plot/character-untangling, and it was overwhelming. There are also issues involving race in this book that I’m absolutely terrified of screwing up. I stopped writing it altogether right now because I’m very very aware of the fact that I’m a white author writing about people of color. And I know I need to do a metric shit-ton of research before I can even begin to entertain the idea of being able to do this. If I can’t give the characters what they deserve, then I don’t deserve to write their story. So, long-story-long, this one’s……tricky at the moment.

-And finally, in a blaze of boredom one afternoon at work, I envisioned an entirely new book that is *GASP* contemporary! Now, I love me a good contemporary thriller/mystery, but in terms of my own writing, I’ve always wanted to write historicals, because of my biased historian’s brain. BUT, I proved my own brain wrong by concocting a present-day art-historical crime thriller. There will be art! GET EXCITED. (Oy Dan Brown, I’m coming for you!) I’m still working out the main plot points and finale, but it’s coming together. I just need another few boring stretches at work to get it all sorted   😛

That’s it for the new projects. I’m waiting to hear back from a CP about HONORS, and then maaayyyybe after at least one more round (or seven) of revisions I can start querying it.

So I’ve got a lot on my plate right now, not to mention I’m looking for new jobs again since my contract ends soon, and I’ve got my viva defense at the end of this month. But I really want to get a move on with my WIPs, and with all those other hobbies and projects. Onwards and upwards, right?

I used to do bullet journalling to try and keep everything organised, but I gave up on it after a few months (surprise surprise). Maybe I’ll try it again, now that it’s a new ‘school year’   🙂  If anyone has any organisational/planner suggestions for keeping track of, y’know, LIFE, please let me know.

Thanks for reading ya’ll! Hope your projects are going well, and that the season of pumpkin-spice is good to you   🙂

~Meredith

LOTR Leaves

(PS – Unpopular Opinion Alert: I’m not really a fan of pumpkin-spiced things…but I do love me some autumn! There’s nothing more satisfying than stepping on a perfectly crunchy leaf, amirite?)

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