Last week while I waited at Starbucks for breakfast, I happened to glance at the Starbucks Card rack as I waited. One card design caught my attention.
A stenciled outline of a pig’s face against a yellow background, white daisies dotted a few places, and statement in front spelled “2019 – Year of the Pig”.
I went alright, nice touch, and got my meal. But back in my car, a thought hit me: when was the last Year of the Pig?
There are twelve years in the Chinese Zodiac cycle. Counting back twelve years, I fell on 2007. Wow, I thought, that was it. Twelve years ago, I stepped into that creative writing class at Crafton Hills in Yucaipa. I entered for ways to combat my research paper issues but left with the backbone notes for Mana Pool.
Twelve years. Time flies, right? But enough reminiscing the beginnings. Let me backtrack what I’ve done to stave off cabin fever since the last I talked.
I went to Santa Barbara by train for a day trip. Spent time at a brewery downtown, visited a museum on the pier, and then understood why the coastline is well known for their sea urchin during lunch. Yum.
There were mental hurdles I had to overcome late summer as I felt angry how Ghost Factor was turning out. I had to do something, so I went to a float tank center or a sensory deprivation tank filled with pounds of Epsom salts for a unique hour-long meditation experience. Did it four times a week for a month to get my brain straight. Then I realized the mistake on the draft and what my next steps are as a freelance editor, which I’ll get to in a moment.
Fall came and SiglerFest in Las Vegas approached. It was great seeing old folks again as I laughed with them. One I wanted to meet so bad (looking at you Scott Pond) that almost made me cry on his lap. He survived colon cancer surgery; it was quite personal to me if you know me. Also met an old boss face to face finally from a previous online job. Good times with those guys.
Nothing else to say except having my first roasted duck for Christmas dinner with Mom and watching my brother’s dog over the holidays. Now the writing issue I mentioned.
For a while, like through the summer, I was working on a process of combining a few old chapter and scene drafts into the main draft by clipping and pulling and rewriting sentences that fit the plot to an exact point. Like a newspaper or magazine editor before computers, stitching paper clippings to a board before printing. Stupid, just stupid. Took me a few months to realize the unworkable method and why: my brain wanted perfection, to feel content with the choices, without caring about the flow state for the first draft.
Get this stitched together before the real fun begins, man, this beginning hangs on everything, said the brain with a YouTube addiction scratching itself.
I can’t write in separate places in a large project. I’m linear. Always has been, always will be, and it took a salt tank to realize the truth. I then started this approach: copywrite word for word scenes that matched the new plot, review them, and continue without the other draft notes, now burned in the virtual trash bin. The scenes are still shitty, but at least the feeling of flow writing returned.
Writing fiction after my day job? Still a problem, even in 2019. So this year, I want to shift some habits to the front.
I want to post once a month on the blog. Once a week is too much for me to handle as many bloggers do, not right now at least. Anything outside of a life update doesn’t count, such as the What Do We Know posts. Yes, I’m still working on one for the fun of it.
Freelance spots are still open for editor work. This year I’ll be joining more editor clubs and associations for better exposure. On top of the EFA, I joined the ACES (American Copy Editors Society) for their mentor program. I also opened my services for comic book dev editing, a long-holding interest for me I’ll dive into this year.
Last year I attended more memorable events (visiting JPL in Pasadena as one of them), but not a whole lot of possibilities for my editor side hustle. This year, WonderCon will happen again, but San Diego Comic-Con isn’t, as the tickets went sold out in twelve minutes. I’ll up that chance to attend a few more conventions in LA, Palm Springs, and Long Beach, as well as more local writer meetups.
A new yoga studio opened up near me that I’ve frequented recently. I may not have the mental drive to exercise between Monday and Thursday, but I can go to a yoga studio at eight at night knowing I can sleep in Saturday morning. Chances to get back down to my 233lb state a few years ago is becoming more and more prevalent.
And of course… finish Ghost Factor. Wish I could share more about the progress, or the story itself, but I’m still not ready to share anything. When I know it’s ready, it’s ready, and the announcements will come.
Here’s to hoping 2019 will be the year for me.