Saturday, 2 December 2017

Monthly Log: Realistic Goals, Dusting off Childhood Relics, and University Ideas

November hasn't been too bad at all this year. Usually November is my unlucky month, probably due to the weather being miserable, the lack of daylight, and the association of bad memories and low-mood that psychologically causes the month to become unfortunate for me, like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
One thing that didn't go as planned, however, was NaNoWriMo. Less than a week before November, I cracked open my "Ready, Set, Novel" book, filled out most of the sheets that I found relevant to my story and creative process, and naively believed "Yeah, I think I can write 50,000 words in a month". Sure, Morris. Sure.
Not only did I find myself slightly unprepared (not majorly though - I just needed to spend more time on research and putting together information sheets on Scrivener that I could easily flip back to, as I found myself annoyed at the lack of everything being in the same place) I forgot to factor in that my productivity is varied at best, unpredictable and sometimes non-existent at worst.

My Great-Grandmother - © Ellie Morris

Some days I can easily hammer out 3,000+ words and feel absolutely great about it. I can also do about two hours sewing and other crafts or hobbies in the same day, when I'm kicking my conditions' butts. But on others, I don't get out of bed at all, either due to all-consuming fatigue and pain, depression/paranoia/anxiety, general malaise, or because I'm overwhelmed with stimulation and looming tasks. Or, even if I do get out of bed, my head is so filled with fog and tiredness that the most I can do is prop myself up in front of the TV or go to my grandparents' house for a cup of tea. Alternatively, even if I am feeling good enough to write lots and lots that day, I have other important things to do that I've been putting off for days, or doctors appointments...
It was kind of unrealistic to expect that much of myself in such a small space of time, when the conditions in my current day-to-day life aren't ideal for a big undertaking like that. I know other people can manage 50,000 words in a month when they have far bigger responsibilities than me, such as a full or part-time job, education and studying, looking after children, spending time with friends, etc - some may even have health conditions at the same time as all that! - and I applaud them for it.
Someday I wish to be like that (to manage lots of things all at once, I mean, not the hectic schedule!), but for now I'm just trying to get through daily life whilst spending time on my favourite activities when I'm able to. I'm on my gap year for a reason, and that is to spend time recovering. I would do well to remember this when I start beating myself up for only achieving x-amount of things in a day!

If you have a physical and/or mental health problem (or even if you don't), you shouldn't feel bad about taking time off or not quite completing tasks either, especially if they are rather unrealistic to start with. As long as you're trying your best and taking care of your needs, whether that's managing pain, taking your medication or eating well, that is the main thing.
Of course, it is always good and very satisfying to get things done - and I find that even just starting the activity helps a lot as I know I've tried, and most of the time I get so involved in it that I end up carrying on regardless of pain or fatigue. It's good to challenge yourself, but make sure that any goals that are set are achievable and realistic. Realistic goals vary from person to person depending on time, means and circumstance, but for example, goals such as "sew five complicated ballgowns before Christmas" or "get fit enough to run a marathon in two weeks" would be very difficult, for me at least! Remember that you're human and not a machine or a miracle-worker, and you shouldn't expect yourself to churn out essays like a laser printer spits out paper, or turn water into wine.
I'll step down off my soap-box now, haha.

So, to put it briefly, I did not succeed in writing 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo this year. But there is always next year, and the next, and the next after that... Not to mention, although I did not reach the target, it did help a lot with my goal of getting back into writing, which was a brilliant motivation!

My next step is to get together all the information on my characters/settings/plot lines that I have, and further research the subjects that I'm not too clear on. Once my info sheets are ready, I'm going to plot every tiny thing out and block in all of the emotions that my characters go through. Also, more planning with my workbook! You can tell I'm a "Planner" and not a "Pantser"!


Aside from writing and other crafty things, I spent a week or two of the month clearing and tidying in preparation for Christmas, and to help "aid creativity" by having a better environment to work in. It's been hard work physically, but mentally I feel great now that I have clear surfaces, a tidy desk, and have sorted out all my old clothes! One thing that I had to do was make space on the shelves above my desk, which included... dusting off and placing all of my old Pokemon toys in a bag in the wardrobe... It was rather saddening, as I could remember all the times I played with them, the happy days that I received each one, my old birthdays, and how I would make little items of clothing for my plushes, such as a satchel or neckerchief in the style of Mystery Dungeon... It was almost like discarding my childhood, to replace it with art materials, jewellery findings and sewing fabrics, but I know that I'll keep them forever as Pokemon was a big part of my childhood. The colours did clash with the wallpaper though, and I needed space for all my craft/art/sewing/writing things, because I have more hobbies that I've picked up than brain cells.

Old Art Journal Page - © Ellie Morris

Another thing that happened this month, was that I went to a nearby University's open day. It is a really good university, both in the national reviews and from what I saw when I went, so I was filled with inspiration! Usually I feel dread with anything to do with school environments, as primary/high school and college were hard for me, even though I did well academically, but it was actually really good. I'm feeling - dare I say it - excited at the thought of joining the Creative Writing course; they do modules on writing fiction, poetry and scripts (all of which I really enjoy), as well as help with publishing, which I really need to learn. I never thought that going to University would be good for me because of my dread, but the facilities and course just looks fantastic!

I also went through very old family photos (I will be adding more pictures like the first one above soon), had a haircut (the straggly ends cut off and a re-style with a fringe) and bought my first ball-jointed doll! She is MYOU Delia, ordered through Angelesque, and will be called Aika after my main character from When the Summer Ends. It will help with some of the art I want to produce for a future re-release of my books, and I can't wait to take photos and show her here on the blog too!

I've been liaising with a friend for an upcoming blog post recently, and it will be an interview of sorts on a subject that proves to be rather unusual from what I've heard.
Stay tuned for that, and I hope you have fun preparing for Christmas or any other holiday this month, if you celebrate!

llie
 
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