Me 2012

Georgette Heyer, The Convenient Marriage

This might be my least favorite of the Heyer books I've read so far. The male protagonist is twice the age of the female protagonist and I didn't like either of them. Some of the supporting cast was entertaining.  There are the usual hijinks, some of which were amusing, but for the most part without protagonists that I could actually like it just was not a fun experience.  I skimmed my way to the end just to see if the characters would redeem themselves, but meh. This was like a 5, I guess.

I put another Heyer book on reserve, one that was specifically recommended, because I am still in the mood to read one but I want it to be good this time. c_c Wish me luck!

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Me 2012

New Book Release! The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince!

A standalone polyamorous fantasy romance.

After Mereni is conquered by a vicious dragon, Mereni's king-in-exile is willing to do anything to save his kingdom. Including promising half of it and the hand of his daughter, Princess Cherish, to whomsoever stops the cruel beast. With luck, he reasons, one or more of the neighboring kingdoms will come to their aid, and some eligible prince will claim his daughter as bride. Perhaps even some palatable individual, like the handsome Prince Eclipse, who is already on friendly terms with Cherish.

It does not occur to Cherish's father that she might have her own ideas about whom she should marry --

-- Or that the best individual to stop a dragon is, of course, another dragon.

Author Comments
Yes, after talking about this book for over a year, it's finally really completely done! And available for purchase! *\o/*

In February 2017, one of my Twitter friends, @muppetK, tagged me into a thread with @MicroSFF to suggest that I write a book expanding on one of Micro SF/F's tweetfics: I demurred on the grounds that I would not want to rip off another author's ideas. Micro SF/F replied to the the thread to offer blanket permission to use their microfics as inspiration. (You can scroll up from this link to read the original conversation.)

And that was how The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince was born. I added the prince's role because I've not written a polyamorous story since Further Arrangements in 2015, and I wanted to. When I started working on the outline, I wrote in a part where one of the characters goes to faerie-like people for assistance. Then I remembered that I'd already written about a faerie-like race in the Etherium books, which is how this novel came to be set in the Etherium multiverse. You need not have read any of the Etherium novels to enjoy Princess, however, and because it takes place in a mortal world, most of the setting is new.

Content Notes/Spoilers
Unlike the Etherium books, The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince takes place in nations that are hostile to transgender people (this is mitigated as the events of the book unfold). There is some misgendering of a trans character in the early part of the book.

Also contains explicit sex: lesbian, straight, and a triad.

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Me 2012

June in Review

Health/Fitness
Pokemon Go had an event in June where they gave out a bunch of bonus rare candy if you walked 50km in one week. So I walked 50km in one week. That's a little under 30 miles. It was enough extra walking that my average activity for the month was 72 minutes, up from an average of 57 minutes in May. Even though I went to visit Terry at the end of the month and did not make a point of exercising daily during the trip. (Although, in fairness, Terry and I did go for a walk on most of the days of my visit.)

I have also lost 10 lbs since the beginning of the year, so that's nice.

Writing
Spark of Desire was up to 43,000 words as of month-end. I've been thinking about switching projects, since the reason to write Spark was "I am motivated so it will go quickly", but it's not going particularly quickly. I poked at the outline for Raindrop's novel a little more, but Spark remains the path of least resistance. I mean, there's still a lot of resistance and it's hard to even get started writing most days, much less to make appreciable progress. But everything else is even more resistance.

The Business of Writing
Poked at Eclipse's novelette again, but no real progress.

Art/Other
Oh hey I actually did stuff in this category. All fan art for quests on Sufficient Velocity, and mostly simple portraits This one is my favorite:
Morgan
You can click on it and browse forward to see the other four pieces I did in June. (And a sixth one finished in July).

Portraits are pretty fun to draw.

Happiness
I got to see Terry finally! ❤️ That was good.

The rest of June, not so much. -_-

Goals for coming month
Keep up with general adulting & helping Lut
Do the book launch for The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince
Be less depressed than in June

There's other stuff I hope to do -- the usual editing and writing -- but I failed my creative goals for June and I don't feel like setting ones to fail in July. So I'll just keep it easy. I've already done some writing in July, so that means I'm already ahead! \o/ This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/640700.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2012

Love Nikki: Dress UP Queen

Love Nikki is a phone app game, for iPhone and Android. It's made by a Chinese company, released in China in 2015, and released in the US in 2017. It's a wacky mix of elements: anime-style art, RPG quest lines, tons of crafting (so much crafting), and a combat system based on FASHION.

This is the game of FASHION WAR, y'all.

I have a lot to say, so I'll hide it behind cut tags.
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studious

Shadows of Self, by Brandon Sanderson

I finished reading a book! Shadows of Self, by Brandon Sanderson, is the sequel to The Alloy of Law and part of the new Mistborn series. I should read summaries of the earlier Mistborn books, because I only half-remember a lot of stuff. Having the characters from the original trilogy be mythological figures that occasionally show up in the current trilogy is fun, though. I read too slowly to re-read the actual books.

I did not love Shadows of Self; it actually took me something like two months to finish it, and I ended up reading most of it on the plane to and from Seattle. There is nothing especially wrong with the book, but the only character I love is Steris, who (a) has a tiny part and (b) nobody else loves. I've mentioned this before, but Alloy of Law was the book at inspired A Rational Arrangement, and in particular Steris inspired Wisteria. I wrote ARA specifically because I was like "Steris is great! Why can no one around her see how great she is? Okay, fine, I'm writing my own book and I'm gonna have a neurodiverse woman in it and she will have people who understand how wonderful she is." All the other characters were just kind of there. They have personalities but not ones that I care about.

Anyway, I stuck it out on the strength of "the plot will be cool even if it is wasted on me" and "maybe there will be more Steris." I just want someone to appreciate Steris as much as I do. 

I thought I was okay with the resolution but the more I think about it, the more I am annoyed by it. Like some of the antagonist's actions make sense in retrospect but I am seriously side-eyeing other aspects and BLAH. Also, I don't love the way everything in this setting revolves around the one male protagonist. Like there are other viewpoint characters but you feel like they only exist in relation to the protagonist. This is particularly irritating with the female characters whose most important emotion is "how do they feel about male protagonist?" This is not usually a problem that I have in Sanderson's work; it's specific to these two books.

To be clear: I don't think Shadows of Self was objectively bad; it's mostly just ... not for me. Sanderson's choice to make Steris both great and underappreciated is perfectly valid. He's allowed. I'm allowed to whinge about it. That's how these things go. n_n

Anyway, I didn't enjoy it very much. A 7, I guess, mostly rescued from a 6 by the small bits of Steris here and there.
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Me 2012

May in Review

Health/Fitness
I exported my data from Google Fit in an effort to crunch it. According to Google Fit, my daily activity has been between 69 and 58 minutes a month for the seven months that I've been using the app. May was actually the low, at 58 minutes, but 58 minutes a day still strikes me as plenty.

It turns out that Google has a calories-used estimator that's supposed to include your base metabolic rate, which is kind of cool. Google thinks I have been burning an average of 1837 calories per day for the last seven months, with a monthly high of 1893 in March and a low of 1796 in February. My average for May was 1837. I suspect this number is higher than the "minutes of exercise" would suggest because Google factors in things like step-counting that happen outside of formal exercise. I did start making a point of using the downstairs bathroom at work, and keeping my drinks in the downstairs fridge, so that I'd have a reason to get up and walk around a little more when at work.

I suspect Google is undercounting my calorie usage rate. I track calories consumed in RealAppeal, and that has generally averaged a little under 1800 calories per day for the last four-five months. (RealAppeal doesn't have an export function, so this is an estimate based on eyeballing their weekly summaries.) By Google's metrics, I should've lost maybe 2-3 pounds during a period where I've lost 9. RealAppeal thinks my metabolic rate before exercise is higher than Google thinks it is including exercise.

Based on the rate at which I've been losing weight, I'd guess my actual average usage is around 2000.

Anyway, numbers are fun. Exercise is going fine. Eating food that isn't mostly sugar remains a work in progress, but I am doing better than usual.

Writing
I wrote 20,600 words of Spark of Desire in May. I am a third of the way through my outline now. My initial estimate of the draft's length at the this point was 33,500 words, and the actual length is 33,600, so the by-bullet-point estimates remain spookily accurate. I was running long for a while, but then got to a collection of three points and realized I'd already covered most of them. So right on track again.
Writing is a bit of a slog; it's been especially difficult to motivate myself to write on the days where I work or take Lut to appointments. But I am over my goal for the month, so good enough.

I also started work on an outline for a standalone sequel in the setting of The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince. The idea is for a mock-Gothic novel and omigosh, it's adorable. I am absolutely writing it if Princess does well. I might write it even if Princess doesn't, we'll see. Outline still needs significant work first. I do like the idea of having multiple outlines that are already completed for future books; makes the transition between projects easier and gives me more options.

The Business of Writing
I finished proofreading The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince, and sent corrections to Alinsa. I also completed the front and back matter for the book and sent those. Alinsa made the corrections, and added the new stuff. I have checked the new copy over and sent back a much smaller round of corrections today. So it's getting closer! There are still a bunch of fiddly layout things left for Alinsa to do, however.

I poked at edits for the Eclipse novelette, which needs a title beyond "Eclipse novelette". I did not really get anywhere on editing it.

Art/Other
Put a smidge more work into the Frost/Thistle picture I started ages ago, but not much.

Gaming
For various reasons/excuses, Lut and I did not go to the game store for gaming night again until last Thursday. But we did finally make it out again! We met a man named Rick and played WarhammerQuest with him. It's a co-op game a little like Thunderstone, or like using cards to generate the dungeon for a D&D game. The rules were not well-written, but we had a good time.

I remain cheerfully addicted to Love Nikki.

I started playing Pokemon Go more again, from a combination of "improving weather" plus "in-game events that I wanted to do" plus "I exchanged trainer codes with a new handful of online acquaintances so now I have motivation to get gifts again."

Happiness
Been feeling pretty good. Still so glad that I only work 20 hours a week now.

Report Card for May Goals
* Proofread The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince: Done!
* Complete front/back matter for same: Also done!
* Write 15,000 words of fiction or make a dent on initial edits for the Eclipse novelette and The Twilight Etherium: I did the "write fiction" part of this and overachieved. Have not made a dent in edits.

Goals for coming month
* Keep up with general adulting and helping Lut
* Visit Terry! (I am going to be in the Seattle area from June 21-24, if anyone wants to meet up.)
* Do anything else necessary on my end to get Princess ready for publication.
* Write 15,000 words of fiction.
* Start editing the Eclipse novelette.

That looks like enough

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Me 2012

April in Review

Health/Fitness
I think I exercised a little less than in March, but neither of the apps I am tracking with are good at comparing month-over-month data. So annoying. Google Fit will track walking and biking automatically but its manual options to track other kinds of workouts are bad, when not outright nonfunctional. I track everything in RealAppeal but it has no export function and it won't spit the data back out in any useful fashion. Honestly, I find this incredibly annoying. What is the point to making apps that are good at recording data if they aren't going to GIVE ME THE DATA BACK? x_x

RealAppeal's site actually does something worse: it offers charts that claim to go back for, eg, 60 days, but instead of showing 60 days worth of data, it takes 12 data points on days 5 days apart and assumes your exercise/consumption on the days in between falls on a straight line between those points. That's ... not how anything works, RA. That is TERRIBLE.

At some point, I should either contact them to see if they can get me an extract, or look for a new tracking app. Meh.

Anyway, I know I spent a lot more time cleaning in April than in March, and counting cleaning in lieu of other exercise. And I think I skipped days more days entirely.

But I've been eating some fruits and vegetables and my weight hasn't gone up, so good enough.

Writing
I finished the outline for Spark of Desire, the gratuitous polyamorous sequel to Frost and Desire, and started writing it. I got about 13,000 words written in April. Guess I'm doing this.

Oh! And I also have Fun Writing Process News about this! I spent a lot more time on the outline than usual, trying to work out all the bugs beforehand instead of expecting to solve them on the fly. Once I had a complete outline, I dumped it into a spreadsheet and estimated the word count for each bullet point on the outline. To my astonishment, so far my per-point word count estimates have been mostly accurate or on the high side. I have added one scene that wasn't on the outline, which took 2000 words. Including that scene, the manuscript is at 16,800 words (3,800 of which was written so far in May). My estimate for my wordcount by this stage of the draft: 17,000. Woo! The estimated total length is 99,500 (someday I will write an outline for a book that's 50-60,000 words, but Today Is Not That Day). Anyway, I was at the 13% mark at the end of April, and for once I feel like that is a reasonable estimate and not just a wild guess.

The Business of Writing
I finished final edits on The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince, adding another 4000 words or so. Alinsa has sent me back an early e-pub for proofreading. I have not started the final proofread yet. I should really start that. And also do all the back/front matter stuff that I've skipped so far.

Art/Other
I thought about drawing a few times but nope.

I did drag out all of my physical art supplies and threw away a lot of old dead paint and paintbrushes. I could not bring myself to get rid of most of the art supplies that are still good but that I have not actually used in the last few years. Which would be, basically, all physical art supplies. I rarely have the urge to do illustrations and when I do, I use the Surface. I am not a good illustrator but when I consider how little I practice this skill, it's a miracle I'm not much, much worse.

The art supplies culling also led to the discovery of some more unframed artwork that I've bought over the years from other artists. (I have exactly one piece of my own art hanging on my walls, and I'm probably going to take it down and replace it with something else soon. I went on a framing spree. I need to put some more nails in the walls so I can hang things. Also look for unused wall space. We're kind of low on that. Lut doesn't think there's enough room for all the newly framed art, and I'm pretty sure he's right.

Gaming
Lut and I made it to a game night at Tabletop! We even played a game! It was a fun one, Space Base. Hopefully we'll remember to go again this week.

I also have a new addiction: "Love Nikki, Dress UP Queen", a phone app game. I am not going to talk about Love Nikki here because there is too much to say.

I still check in on PonyIsland.net periodically but since the game never really grabbed me, I dunno how long I will continue to do so.

4thewords.com, the gamification-of-writing site I've been using for three years, ran a CampNano event so terrible that they extended it for 12 days to make up for the fact that much of the playerbase was confused and upset by it. April wasn't a big writing month for me, so I was going to just go back to the regular sidequests I'd been working on before the event started. But with the extension, I may finish it after all. We'll see. If I do finish it, the odds that I will write a long post about Love Nikki dramatically increase. c_c

Happiness
Oh hey I am no longer grimly depressed. It's weird how sometimes I don't really notice the variance in my mood until previous updates remind me. Anyway, April was a pretty good month, all in all.

Goals for coming month
  • Proofread The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince
  • Complete front/back matter for same.
  • Write 15,000 words of fiction or make a dent on initial edits for the Eclipse novelette and The Twilight Etherium. (Decisions made for the novelette will affect The Twilight Etherium, so these two tasks go together to a certain degree.) Or some combination of writing and initial edits. The big goal is to wrap up everything I need to do on Princess, but since that shouldn't take a whole month, I do want to get something else done as well.
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studious

March in Review

Health/Fitness
I should download my Google Fit data and look at it but meh. I forgot to add a few workouts into it until just now, which means they won't be in the export. I'll do that later. I was pretty good about doing some form of activity on almost every day this month. Mostly walking. Walking is low-effort. Not just low physical effort, but low mental effort. I don't have to psych myself up to doing it, I can just go "well, I'm already wearing clothes, I might as well go for a walk."

RealAppeal sent me a blender in March. It's this adorable 24 ounce tumbler with the blender blades in the top of the vessel instead of on the bottom. I bet all blenders do that now, it's a good design choice. Anyway, I dug up some smoothie recipes online and bought some fruits and vegetables, mostly frozen, to put into smoothies. And then I actually made some. The only one I like so far is blueberry/banana/spinach. I cut up a little of a yellow bell pepper to add in and that worked all right. It mostly tastes like banana and yogurt rather than spinach or pepper, which is all to the good. The biggest downside of the recipe is that it uses a whole banana and the resulting smoothie is ginormous and effectively a meal, so I have to pick a meal to replace with it. At some point, I need to try sticking half of it in the fridge and drinking the rest of it the next day. Anyway, this is a good strategy for sneaking some Actual Fruits and Vegetables into my other produce-free diet. The nice thing about smoothies is that I can use frozen stuff for it and it doesn't matter because I was going to drink it cold anyway.

I'm down to 178 pounds now, so since I started RealAppeal about 10-11 weeks ago, I've lost six pounds. The RealAppeal thing is no trouble to maintain and I plan to stick with it. This has been an interesting contrast with my last attempt at tracking diet & exercise, in 2014. In 2014, I lasted through about 10-11 weeks of tracking app before I found it too annoying to keep doing. During that time, I lost a total of two pounds.

The most fascinating thing about this to me is that in 2014, I was eating significantly less than I am now. It's one of the reasons I gave up; it took willpower to stick with it and I ran out of willpower.

The differences that I think matter:

~ I am not trying to lose weight. So if I weigh in at the end of a week and I've gained two pounds, I don't go "WHY AM I EVEN BOTHERING???" I go "meh. Didn't care anyway."
~ I refused to let the program set a calorie goal for me. Like the fitness app I used in 2014, the RealAppeal diet program thinks my calorie goal should be between 1200 and 1550 calories. To which I say NOPE. I tried that goal in 2014 and I hated it and burned out after less than three months. I set my calorie goal in RA at 2000.
~ The RealAppeal tracking app is much easier to use than the last one I tried. It has a huge database of existing foods, including most items from chain restaurants. I can start to type and then pick from the list of matches. It remembers the things I've eaten before and offers those matches first. I can add new recipes to the database. I can use the app on my phone or open it in a web browser. I have done daily quests for games that were more inconvenient than this. It's not a hassle.
~ RealAppeal has coaches: actual human beings. I liked my coach, Cass, immediately. Having an Actual Human Coach that I can email or talk to is of both practical and psychological value. I scheduled a one-on-one with my coach (you can do this! As often as you like! Because fortunately not everyone wants to) to talk to her about sneaking veggies into my diet (yeah, I'm basically a toddler, I have to trick myself into eating them.) This was not just so I could get suggestions (which she provided, and some of them were helpful) but to give me MOTIVATION. I told myself three weeks in a row that I would find a way to eat more veggies THIS WEEK FOR SURE but it wasn't until I had to talk to an actual person about it that I persuaded myself to DO IT. I am sure the coaches are the most expensive part of the program, and I don't know that they're the most effective. But they are certainly add considerable value. And the fact that I know how expensive this is makes me value it more, I think, than I would if I treated it as if it had no cost. Even though I have no out-of-pocket costs for the program.
~ The coach and the class doesn't push the nutritional guide. The class is structured around the idea of gradual improvement and giving you a few new things to consider each week. Cass emphasizes the importance of tracking much more than the idea of avoiding specific unhealthy foods or eating healthy ones.

Things that do not make difference:

~ The instructional videos. Every week, there's a thirty-minute class, of which 10-20 minutes is instructional video. They do their best with these, but I find them tedious and mostly uninformative. The rest of the class is discussion between the coach and students, and that part is more engaging. I don't mind the class; I exercise through it and I don't generally do anything very interesting while I'm exercising, so it's no worse than usual.
~ The nutritional guide. RealAppeal has astonishingly inconsistent messaging. Its app tells me that my baseline calories used (assuming no exercise) is 1935. To lose ten pounds in a year, you only need to eat, I don't know, 70 calories fewer than you burn per day. Given that I usually get some exercise in a day, 2000 calories is a perfectly reasonable target for me. But despite this, the nutrition guide programs top out at 1800 and those are supposed to be for large active men. So it's like the app was set up with the idea of "we want you to do this for the rest of your life so you can make your goals ones you can easily maintain" and the nutrition guide is "we think you will quit unless you see instant results so here's some super-stringent requirements that will require all of your willpower." The RealAppeal nutrition guide also wants me to pick one of its meal plans and eat only its recipes and I'm like ARE YOU KIDDING ME. I am not going to prepare 21 new and unfamiliar meals in a single week. Why would you even think that was reasonable. It's so far out there that I haven't even tried to incorporate anything from it into my diet. I don't even use its smoothie recipes because I wanted recipes with veggies and it doesn't have any.
~ The commitment contract: they want you to sign a contract every week that says you will stick with your chosen plan from the nutritional guide. NOPETOPUS ON OUTTA HERE.
~ I want to re-emphasize that point about the nutritional guide, because the last time I tried a diet plan of 1800 calories or less I DIDN'T LOSE WEIGHT. So not only is it a sacrifice, but it's a sacrifice that doesn't even work.

The failure of the nutritional guide to offer any guidance on "ways to gradually improve your diet" is probably my biggest disappointment in the plan. But I am taking a mix-and-match approach and just ignoring anything that doesn't work for me, so it's in the category of "missed opportunity" rather than something that's actively making the service less useful. Overall, I am pleased with the experience.

Writing
I worked on outlines for two new books in March:
The Twin Etheriums: set two hundred years before The Moon Etherium, this novel is a polyamorous romance between three fey who seek the key to immortality: an asexual/alloromantic trans man from the Sun Etherium, a demigirl barbarian, and a cis woman from the Moon Etherium. The outline for this book is complete and in pretty good shape.
Untitled sequel to Frost and Desire: a four-person polyamorous romance. From a marketing perspective, this is a mistake (Frost is my worst-selling series.) I don't particularly want to write this and consider it vaporware. On the other hand, I do want to read it. So it might happen. I have about 2/3rds of an outline for it, so it'll need more work before I can start.

>The Business of Writing
I also outlined the most significant changes I want to make to the final version of Princess. I wrote another eight thousand words or so to add to the novel.

Art/Other
I started work on an illustration of Frost and Thistle, but it's unfinished.

Gaming
I had some drama on Flight Rising. In an effort to make the recap less tedious, the following is not actual quotes. It's pretty similar to the events, though.

Flight Rising moderators: "We deleted a bunch of the bios in your lair for obscenity and we are giving you a warning for having posted obscenity."
Me: "But ... there wasn't anything explicit or pornographic or obscene in any of the bios you deleted. Can you give me copies of the material you deleted?"
FR Mods: "No, we don't keep copies. Or have site backups, apparently. But that stuff was all porn."
Me: "Then how do you know it was obscene?"
FR mods: "Because we deleted it!"
Me: "... so ... do you mean that you consider saying 'some dragons enjoy consensual BDSM activities' to be obscene, even if there is no depiction of sex, sexual activity, or BDSM scenes?"
FR Mods: "Yes."
Me: "The actual site lore is that dragons are sapient beings. Lairs buy and sell them. On an auction house. To breed."
FR Mods: "Yes, well, slavery and forced breeding is fine, obviously, but dragons who enjoy the role of a slave? Having discussions about consent? HOW DARE."
Me: "This bio you deleted was about the rescue of a lost dragon. What was obscene about it?"
FR Mods: "That one is fine."
Me: "... then why did you delete it?"
FR Mods: "Because."

I am vaguely annoyed about their decision that "saying consensual BDSM exists is obscene", given the site lore. But I would have shrugged it off if they hadn't been completely ham-handed and arbitrary in their enforcement of it. This wasn't material on the front page of their site; these were bios buried in my lair. You had to dig to find them. The mods could've told me "Please remove any bios that reference BDSM within X days or we will delete them" and I would have deleted the actual material they cared about and not, like, random bios of the dragons sitting next to them.

Anyway, I have not been much involved with Flight Rising for the last couple of years, and this kerfluffle killed what interest remained. I decided to take an indefinite hiatus from the site. Maybe someday I will want to go back, although it seems unlikely.

After this, a couple of people suggested trying PonyIsland.net.

On the plus side, I love the art for the ponies. There's like 15 different breeds and I like almost all of them.

However, there isn't a whole lot of game to the site. You get enough in-game currency to buy a few ponies. After that, you go to the site now and then, click around a bit to take care of the ponies and do the things that cost money but will eventually make, hopefully, more money. Then you leave the site and do something else until your next window in which to click around a bit opens. After you make more money, you can buy more ponies and dress them up. And use them to make more money. That's pretty much the whole site. Probably the worst thing about it is that your ponies eventually die if you don't take care of them, so taking a few months off would mean your herd would be dead when you got back.

Despite my ambivalence about the gameplay or lack thereof, I bought a year's subscription and have dutifully been building up my herd and trying to make enough money that I can eventually dress them up. They are pretty cute. We'll see if I find this worth it long-term. I do not expect to get involved in the community on PonyIsland, because by the sound of it their moderation system is even more ham-handed and arbitrary than FR's.

One of the things that had kept me coming back to FR for so long was the monthly writers' chat Maggie and I hosted on their forums. I decided to make a writers' chat community on Dreamwidth to see if I could lure some of the FR folks away from the site. And also in case any of my writer friends off-site were interested. It's not a feedback group: it's just a chat group for talking to other writers about writer stuff. Check it out if you're interested: https://dragonwriters.dreamwidth.org/

Happiness
I felt pretty beat up at the end of February, and honestly, March was worse. (Not because of the FR kerfluffle. Or cancer. Stuff I don't want to talk about.) But I got some stuff done that I wanted to do, so that's good. It'll be all right.

But I do want to take a moment here to thank Past Rowyn for her rabid determination to save money for an early retirement. She could've gotten a car fifteen years earlier, or a bigger house, or traveled more lavishly, or eaten restaurant food for lunch every workday instead of bringing food from home, or spent her money on any number of other things that she wanted at the time. But she saved it all instead, so that Present Rowyn wouldn't have to worry as much about money as Past Rowyn did. Thank you, past me. That was kind of you, and I appreciate it.

Goals for coming month
~ Finish the final version of The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince and send it to Alinsa for layout.
~ Stretch goal: start work on my next draft
~ Other stretch goal: start edits on the Etherium novelette that I inadvertently wrote while drafting Princess, or on editing The Twilight Etherium

I do want to get The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince wrapped up this month, and that may take all month but seems pretty doable. I feel pretty flexible about what I do apart from that. This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/638968.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
just me

Mental Hygiene

It's been a week, and I promised myself that I would consider whether or not I want to set any creative goals for March.

I don't. I really don't.

The week has been, overall, fine. I have made more notes for The Twin Etheriums, which is the working title for the Extremely Gay Prequel to The Moon Etherium. The Twin Etheriums now has protagonists and an outline, although I am not exactly happy with the outline. I am going to work on it some more and then try to cadge some friends into telling me if they think it'll make a good book. At present, the outline has an A plot and a B plot, and the B plot resolves waaaaay after the A plot, which does not strike me as optimal. So I'm going to try to beat the two plots into resolving closer together.

I have been working on mental hygiene, I guess you could call it? Specifically, I have been trying to dismantle the mental process that tells me "you NEED to be writing/editing/PRODUCING STUFF!" On the one hand, this feels like a dangerous choice: how will I keep making stuff if I don't set goals and expectations for myself? What happens if I start thinking that I have value outside of my ability to make things?

And on the other hand WOW UNHEALTHY MUCH GIRL??? Have I seriously designed an entire mental process around telling myself that I suck unless I'm churning out material? Yes. Yes I have. Why did this seem like a good idea. I don't know.

Ursula Vernon makes jokes about her anxiety kicking in if she's not working: "I gotta go write another book or I'll die in a ditch next to Wal-Mart." This is a great joke, but ... uh ... I do not want this as my role model. I do not suffer from anxiety, as a rule. My brain dysfunction of choice is depression. "I gotta write another book or I'll fall into the Pit of Eternal Despair." I don't want THAT as a role model, either. I want "I gotta write another book so I'll be able to read it." My next book's purposes is not to save me from poverty or death or despair. Its purpose is to be a fun thing to read. That should be enough.

That needs to be enough.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote a blog post on productivity this week. One thing she wrote in it struck me:
"1,000 words of new material five days per week is 5,000 words per week, or 260,000 words of new material per year. That’s about three 90,000 word novels. Three novels is prolific by traditional publishing standards—hell, by any standards."

I wrote 330,000 words last year. I published three books last year and I expect to publish three books this year as well.

I do not feel prolific. I feel like I'm blundering along at the same sluggish pace that I took to write Prophecy, to be honest. But there is Kristine Rusch -- a blogger who has high expectations of writers, who believes in producing a high volume of work at a consistent, focused pace -- writing that three novels is prolific by any standards.

Huh.

I kind of want to frame that and put it on my wall or my desktop or something. Perspective. I need it.

But to get back to my earlier point: tying my self-worth to my productivity is Not Good. First, it's just wrong. If I told someone else "you're worthless if you're not making anything", I would slap myself. More importantly, it's counterproductive. Being miserable doesn't make me more creative! It just makes me miserable! My first rule of depression is "do not beat yourself up for being depressed." The corollary of that is "don't beat yourself up about the things you aren't doing because you're depressed." Maybe just "don't beat yourself up at all." Save guilt for the prevention of immoral and unethical acts. Girl, writing 1000 words a day is not a moral imperative.

So I am tuning the mental process of "you NEED to do author stuff" to "oh hey, you could be doing author stuff, no pressure though." When I'm bored or have some idle time, I'll think "I could use this time to write/edit/etc." But I am pruning away the part that continues "and if you DON'T that's because you're USELESS and BAD and you'll never finish another book EVER AGAIN."

I'm astonished that consciously deciding not to fall into a particular thought pattern has actually been working, but it has so far. o_o Might just be coincidence.

Anyway, I don't want goals right now. At the end of March, I will write up my usual "this is what I accomplished" post, and whatever it is, it will be enough.

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