July 2021 Update

One more month is over! And I’ve met the goals I set last month. Basically, I’ve joined the virtual writing camp, which has just ended, and I added my OneNote notes to my projects at the beginning of the month (which means I already have more notes to add).

I’ve been very busy at work and I haven’t had much time for writing, but I started a short story thanks to the writing camp. It’s a spin-off story for my Fireflies project, so it’s not a new project. The idea was to make something quick I could finish by the end of the month, so I chose something that already had some world building, but it’s taking more than I thought because it might end up being longer. I’ve finished the first four chapters of Draft 0, and this time I wrote in Spanish, which was both strange and interesting.

In other news, I’m still adding things to the customized Scrivener template I’m creating for my future projects. I also created some more reference files and now I have reference files for more than half of my projects. Making those meant I had to re-read a couple of old projects and it was a nice surprise. I had left those projects on hold when I was feeling all my ideas were bad and boring, but now I think they are not as bad as I remember. Note to self: it’s always good to leave the projects steeping when you get frustrated.

Another good idea is to rest before you get burnout. As I finished writing my post about burnout, I realized I’ve been feeling that way for a while. I hadn’t recognized it because it wasn’t as bad as before, but I decided to stop and rest before it got worse. Three days later, I started to write the short story for the writing camp, so I’m very glad I noticed on time. By the way, being able to share that post about burnout was an accomplishment in itself, as I’d tried to write about it two months ago, but I wasn’t feeling well enough at the time. So thank you very much for your likes and comments. They meant a lot to me.

I could tell you more about the short story, but I don’t want to bore you with the details, especially since I need to finish the Fireflies project first. And who knows when that’ll be? Not anytime soon, that’s for sure! For now, my goals for August are: to join a different tent at the virtual writing camp (this one will be focused on finishing projects, which I definitely need) and to update all the backups of my projects. May this serve as a reminder for all of you to back up your projects as well.

Enjoy your summer/winter!

Blurry close-up of a Mimosa plant with its small yellow flowers.
Photo by Larysa Charnakal on Pexels.com

June 2021 Update

May’s update was very short, but I wasn’t feeling very well about myself or my writing, so I’m just glad I managed to write an update at all.

I had a couple of bad weeks this month as well, but I’ve been taking care of myself and I’m doing better now. I couldn’t finish the Burnout post, but I did start it. In the end, I did fulfill my monthly goals and I was lucky enough to get another illustration for one of my projects so I could share it this month.

I’m now trying to maintain my 100-words daily average, and it seems to be working. I was worried for a moment, because I didn’t know the “Total” in the new Scrivener Writing History was only the month’s total, but now that I know I have to sum them up, I’ve found out that I’d written more than I thought for certain projects:

  • Heroes: 22100 (It was 22000 back in March.)
  • Fireflies: 21800 (It was 21000 back in March.)
  • Brothers: 43000 (It was 42000 back in March.)
  • Academy: 33800 (It was 33000 back in March.)
  • Feathers: 39000 (It was 20000 back in March.)
  • Sanctuary: 53000 (It was 40000 back in March.)

Did you notice I’ve written a lot in Sanctuary and Feathers? That’s because I’m following a new method (new for me, that is): I’m just writing whatever comes to mind and will fix it later. I take notes about the things I already know I have to fix, but I keep plowing ahead no matter what. The result is more elaborate than an outline, but nothing close to a first draft. Still, I’m writing! As long as it works for me, I’m gonna keep at it.

My plans for July involve joining a virtual writing camp in Spanish and adding my OneNote notes to their respective projects.

Take care and Happy Pride, everyone!

Different layers of paint forming several rainbow flags. It looks pretty shiny.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

May 2021 Update

I’m afraid I don’t have much to tell about this month.

I’ve been sick, which forced me to write only when I felt like it. I know my brain feels better about resting when there’s a physical reason (which is very ableist and I wouldn’t do it to anyone else), but some years ago it would still feel guilty in those cases, so I will take it as a step in the right direction. I just need to convince my brain that anxiety, depression and burnout are also “valid excuses”. I’m working on it.

I managed to finish changing the Section Type and Label Colours on all my Scrivener projects, and now I can make them more visible thanks to the options in View → Use Label Color In. I also remembered to upload backups of my projects to different cloud services, so now everything should be safe.

I’ve been wondering about what else to post on my blog, since I’m not doing much at the moment. I wanted to ask whether a new post on How I Write with Burnout would be interesting for you. I mean, everyone is different, but you never know. It might help someone feel less bad about struggling and taking their time, right? In fact, it was thanks to a similar post that I managed to write at all this month. And I was really stuck on a transition scene from my Sanctuary WIP, so that was a big moment for me.

And that’s all for now. I want to keep working on monitoring my health so I can take breaks when I need them. Next month, my goals will be to drink a lot of water and to start writing that Burnout post if you’re interested. See you next month!

Peacock feathers.
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

PS: You can check my previous update here.

April 2021 Update

This update is gonna be much shorter than my previous one because I haven’t done much this month. My goals were to adapt my projects to Scrivener 3 and to finish the reference files, and I’ve done so… More or less. The reference files are finished, and some WIPs (plus my personal template) have been updated so I can use a few of the new functions, but I haven’t updated those I haven’t used this month. I guess that’s fine since, whenever I open a project, I keep checking whether the Section Types are correct and the Session Target includes text written anywhere in the project.

I’ve also finished the Scrivener 3 tutorial, although it wasn’t one of my goals. I’ve shared one and two amazing illustrations I’d commissioned. And I attended a virtual (and free) series of conferences organized by a young Spanish author to celebrate the International Book Day. It lasted a whole day (15 writers in 10 hours!), but the authors were very interesting and they covered different topics, so it didn’t seem long at all.

I feel like I haven’t done much this month because I haven’t been writing as much as before, but I think that the Scrivener update, tutorial and organization took a long time and a lot of effort, so maybe I shouldn’t have such unachievable expectations. Plus, I haven’t even finished with Scrivener yet. The next step will be to change the colour labels. I’ve already updated a couple of projects in which I’m using the labels to highlight the POVs, so I would like to do the same on my longest project (it will take a while), and I want to find another use for the labels on those projects that don’t have multiple POVs. After that, I’ll save the latest backups on my cloud services. That will be one of my goals for the following month.

My other goal should be to stop feeling guilty about prioritizing my mental health, but that’s probably a lost cause. One of the reasons why I’ve been so blocked during this month, apart from the usual stress, is that my anxiety sometimes makes me have this paralysing fear that tells me that nobody is going to enjoy my work and that all my efforts are useless because people are going to hate what I do. I’ve had some good weeks, so I guess it was due, but I never know how to get out of it. Maybe the only way is to take it easy for a while until the anxiety subsides, so my second goal will be to only write when I feel like it.

Two pink roses on top of two books. In Spain, there's a tradition to gift a book and a rose to your partner on International Book Day.
Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

March 2021 Update

I’m very happy I swapped one of my goals with February, because I had more time to focus on the timelines during this month. I was meant to start working on them and shaping them, but some of them took very long, especially Oracle, Alcalá and Brothers. because they take place during a longer period of time.

You’ve seen I’ve shared a new illustration and a new blog design, but there’s more I’ve done during the month: I’ve finished beta-reading a book, I’ve finished the draft of the second chapter in Feathers (which took a lot of effort, because I’m very bad at second chapters), I’ve added some ideas for a possible Sanctuary sequel, I’ve rearranged the setting of Alcalá and Brothers so they will be closer in time, I’ve contacted my country’s National Library to find a document I was looking for, and, last but not least, I’ve upgraded to Scrivener 3.

And now I guess it’s time for my word-count check, because it’s already been two months since the last one:

  • Heroes: 22000 (It was 20000 two months ago.)
  • Fireflies: 21000 (It was 17000 two months ago.)
  • Brothers: 42000 (It was 24000 two months ago.)
  • Alcalá: 45000 (It was 18000 two months ago.)
  • Oracle: 128000 (It was 120000 two months ago.)
  • Academy: 33000 (It was 30000 two months ago.)
  • Feathers: 20000 (It was 8700 two months ago.)
  • Sanctuary: 40000 (It was 35000 two months ago.)

I can’t quite believe they’re now all over 20000! Allow me to remind you that these numbers include everything I write, not just the draft. In fact, everything I’ve written for Alcalá and Brothers in these two months is related to the timelines and research. But I’ve found it’s better to count everything, because writing is not only making a draft.

By the way, is this update too long? Would it be better if I posted a different update for the word count?

Anyway, to sum up, I’ve managed to fulfil my goals at the very last minute, but that’s more than enough. Next month I want to spend some time adapting my Scrivener 1 projects to Scrivener 3 (including the master template I’m making) and to finish a couple of reference files I’m working on. See you in April!

Lonely tree growing in the center of the horizon surrounded by stars. Everything is reflected on the water
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

February 2021 Update

Turns out that my two “achievable” goals of the month were not as achievable as I’d thought. I’m still too busy at work and I haven’t been able to concentrate on something as complex as a timeline, but I’ve done other stuff instead.

As promised, I’ve shared one of the pieces of art I commissioned, proving that I’d fulfilled my December goals. And I’ll share more of them soon!

I’ve discovered Canva, which I’d heard about but hadn’t tried yet, and made a new header for the blog. And yes, I might have been procrastinating and making fake book covers for my WIPs as well, but some authors recommend to do fake Canva covers (and pinterest boards, but I don’t have pinterest either) for motivation, so I was going to add it as one of my goals for March… I guess I’ve just swapped goals!

I’ve also been writing a lot for my Feathers Project, and I’ve even started writing Chapter Two’s draft. Second chapters are the most difficult to write for me because they’re usually some sort of transition, and I have to fight the urge to infodump. It’s so difficult that, at the beginning of February, I was taking notes for a sequel, even though I haven’t finished the original story yet, because my mind was too cluttered to think about the second chapter.

I finished an outline, realized I now have Chapter One drafts for four stories, which is very encouraging, and tried not to write after working long hours.

To sum up, I fulfilled my two new goals for the month of February: I updated the character templates with the information from the reference files I created for artists an I created a new header and covers on Canva. Next month, I’ll try to implement timelines to all my WIPs and to beta-read a book. I’m looking forward to it already!

Have a nice weekend and enjoy the last days of February, everyone!

Close-up of a pink rose.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

January 2021 Update

Happy New Year!

Or, at least, I hope this new year will prove to be better than the previous one.

Regarding my previous update, I’m happy to tell you that I achieved both goals: I’ve published the list with my 12 favourite books/series of the year 2020 and I’ve commissioned a couple of artists. I hope I can show you their amazing work in the following months!

Working on the reference files during January has been very useful, since I’ve been able to clear my mind and fix some issues. I’ve done a lot of research, and I feel that I’ve overcome some obstacles and moved forward. Some days were a bit frustrating, because I spent hours looking for a document that, in the end, didn’t have the information some historians claimed it had. But I guess discovering what’s a rumour or a fact is also part of the process. I rested a bit after that exhausting experience and then I went back to writing. I even wrote some scenes (completely out of order, as always) and now one of my stories has a beginning and an end.

At the moment, I’m letting the new information and ideas marinate for a while before I continue, so I did some word counting again. The first time I did it was two months ago and I was surprised at the results: I’d written much more than I thought! I usually hate word-counting, but this is a more general approach, and I also include all the notes and research files. I think it’s good to acknowledge that, even if not all our work will be part of the final story, it still counts. So I went and checked Scrivener, and this is how it’s going:

  • Heroes: 20000 (It was 14000 two months ago.)
  • Fireflies: 17000 (It was 8500 two months ago.)
  • Brothers: 24000 (It was 19000 two months ago.)
  • Alcalá: 18000 (It was 5000 two months ago.)
  • Oracle: 120000 (It was 99000 two months ago.)
  • Academy: 30000 (It was 15000 two months ago.)
  • Feathers: 8700
  • Sanctuary: 35000 (It was 6000 two months ago.)

I can’t believe I’ve written so much in such a short period of time! And there was a noticeable increase in all projects but one because, as I said, I can’t follow a chronological order. In any case, I had my holidays during lockdown and did all that research for the reference files, so don’t expect this rhythm from me in the near future. Although I can’t help but notice that I’ve been doing better now that I don’t force myself to complete one single project from beginning to end, so I’m going to follow this chaotic approach until it stops working.

I’ve decided I don’t want New Year resolutions this year either because they only make me anxious and guilty, so I’m still keeping my eternal goal of fulfilling The Pact to Finish Something (with no deadline). Plus, my two Achievable Goals of the month will be to implement timelines in my projects and to update the character templates with the information from the reference files I created for artists.

Do you have any New Year resolutions? Are you recycling last year’s resolutions?

Blue fireworks against a black sky.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

December 2020 Update

I hope you’re all enjoying the holidays despite the pandemic, as well as taking care of yourselves and others. I’m not going back home this year, but I’m spending the holidays with my partner, so I was looking forward to them. We’ve ordered some Spanish food online so we don’t feel that far away and we’re planning to meet our friends online.

As for writing, I’ve been focusing on the Sanctuary project since my last monthly update, and I managed to write quite a bit. The short story is starting to look more like a novella! I now have half a draft, a few outlines and character arcs, and even some reference images and maps.

I downloaded OneNote for my smartphone, and I’m now using it to take track of the research links and to take notes. I’m still using my loyal notebooks, of course, but my insomnia worsened and I needed something I could use in the dark. And the app has been useful, since it synchronizes automatically with my laptop. By the way, I’m using the online version on my laptop because it’s free. Just in case that’s relevant to your interests.

Right now, I’m working on making a timeline for the Sanctuary project (I write my scenes out of order, so I hope this helps to keep track of what happens when) and a post with my favourite books among those I’ve read during 2020.

That reminds me… I also achieved my two goals for this month, as you might have seen thanks to Twitter and my notebook update. My goals for next month will be: to finish the book recs post of 2020 and to get myself some art for my projects as a Christmas present. I’ve always thought my stories were not worthy of art, or that at least I should wait until I finished one of the stories before commissioning anything. But I realized that looking for the barely-related images for my Projects page made me happy, so next year I’m gonna try to do it the other way round and find the motivation to finish a WIP in art.

A winter road crossing a pine forest covered in snow.
Photo by Ruvim Miksanskiy on Pexels.com