Author Journey (November 2023)

2023 11 The Otaku Author Journey

With just one month left in the year, I’m already starting to think about how I’m going to do things in the New Year. I imagine you’ll be fairly surprised to see that I’m thinking of shuffling some things around again…

Author Journey (November 2023)

I’ve had a month to see how things work out with a monthly Author Journey and while there has been less pressure, it’s almost taken things too far in the other direction. November 2023 has been my least productive month in a long time. I barely watched anything, I’ve hardly read anything, and I’ve written practically nothing despite it being NaNoWriMo. I’ve missed the weekly check-ins and the small wins. It kept me going. Without them, I’ve been floundering. My focus has gone and that’s hampered my ability to get things done. It has been a strangely busy month with real-life family and work events, so there have been some other factors to consider. Anyhow, I think I’m going to finish the year with one more monthly Author Journey and then, I’ll be looking at adjusting things a little. I don’t want to go back to the long weekly posts, but I do need some more accountability.

One thought that has been reappearing in my head throughout November, especially after I wrote three different chapter ones before being unable to continue with my NaNoWriMo attempts, has been my need to get back to basics. So, I’ve been looking back at what I was doing when I was most productive in my various goals. With writing, I was working on a novella series and wrote twenty-six volumes. I’ve been trying to rework these into novels for some time and now I think the problem is that they aren’t novels. They are novellas and trying to make them something they’re not is killing my enthusiasm subconsciously. So, I say to hell with conventional advice. I’m going to let them be what they want to be. I love short-form stories and I love sprawling epics. This way, it can be both.

Record of Grancrest War Episode 11 Unicorn Castle
Epic!

The Monthly Recap

This last month was not one that I will look back on and marvel at how much work I got through. I will, however, think back on it as a turning point… at least, I hope so. Unable to really do much, I did spend a lot of time thinking about the past and the future. One aspect that forced my hand has been that I deactivated a plug-in that shared my posts on Twitter when they were published. Thanks to the changes over the last year, I’ve had to change things to use a single plug-in to talk to Twitter and the one that shares old posts is superior. That does mean, I need to work through all my old posts, changing some things so that they share in the most optimal manner. It’s a long job, but it has given me a chance to reassess things there too.

Writing!

NaNoWriMo did not go how I had planned. I wrote a chapter one. Then, I wrote another one. And finally, another one. Then, life got in the way and by the time I was able to come back to it most of the month had flown by and none of the beginning chapters spoke to me. They were too slow. Too heavy in foreshadowing. They didn’t reflect my views on this story and that stopped me from moving forward.

Anime!

I reduced my commitments the previous month and that did free up some time, which was quickly gobbled up by real-life family and work events. When I did have time, I found there wasn’t the drive to fit things in and I think that’s because I had taken my foot too far off the gas. I kept up with what I needed to but didn’t do anything to push things forward.

Manga!

I mentioned last month that I needed to read three books to finish the posts for the year. Well, that was all I managed. Again, it feels like the monthly goals didn’t inspire me to do more. I’ve also been staring at my personal collection and find myself wondering when I will get around to finishing them. Next year, I may focus more on my books than the library’s.

The Eminence In Shadow Episode 27 Alpha
Rediscovering my Drive!

Aspirations for next month

Another thing that happened last month was that I didn’t even have time to listen to any more of Arnie’s book. Basically, I need to make some changes and that’s coming. I’m going to finish the year with things the way they are as December is always a crazy month.

Writing!

I’ve realised why none of the chapter ones that I wrote worked and I have a good plan on how to move forward, especially as I am going to focus on novellas. I think the shorter length will allow me to complete things before they get daunting. It’s the quick wins that will push me along. It worked before so I’m confident that it will work again. I think I just need to get back to enjoying the process again.

Anime!

From updating some of my old posts, I realised that I need to change things up here too. My post lengths have changed over time with the current word counts averaging around one thousand words per post. Now, that is fine for shows like Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End where I always have lots to say, but it doesn’t work for everything. Once the current seasons have finished, which will be by the end of December, I’m going to dial things back a bit. That way I can cover more without overloading myself again. I will have a mix with some shows getting the full analysis and others receiving a more relaxed approach.

Manga!

I’ve been slowly building up my manga collection over the years. I target the sales and will often quickly collect a series if the price is right. So, I now find myself with a bookcase full of books that I haven’t read. My focus has been on the library books. Well, going forward, I’m going to prioritise my books. They’re all ones that I want to read so, it makes no sense that I leave them sitting there doing nothing.

Goblin Slayer II Episode 3 Heavy Warrior Goblin Slayer and Lancer thinking about their dreams
You never end up where you think you will!

Final Thoughts

I’ve not quite worked out exactly how 2024 will look, but there are going to be some more changes. It turns out I need the accountability that the weekly Author Journey gave me. I do need it to be shorter so that’s something that will change. Over the next month, I’m going to really look at what I used to do and see where I can implement something similar going forward. There’s going to be a fairly big shake-up, but it should still feel the same. I am tired of flip-flopping all over the place, but life doesn’t exactly come with a reliable guidebook. You just have to keep testing things until something works. Hopefully, by taking the best practices from my past and bringing them together, I can have a great 2024.

Anyhow, we’ve got to get through December before we start worrying about 2024 too much. I’ve got three shows to finish and one that will continue into the New Year. I need to rediscover my drive which the real-life family and work events have taken from me of late. Here’s hoping things settle down. Thanks for reading.


4 Comments

  1. It is always amazing to me your ability to come up with a plan! Currently, I am stuck in a rut that I need to find my way out of. I think I bit off more than I could chew trying to keep up with three current season anime. I might try to whittle that down to two next season.

    • Thanks. I can come up with plans all day long. Finding one that I can stick to is a little trickier. That’s why I’ve had to go back to some of the things that worked for me before. I’m hoping this is the one that sticks, but if it doesn’t I’ll keep trying new things.

      Seasonal anime is a big commitment. It’s like committing to do something for twelve to twenty-six weeks. Sometimes it’s hard to predict what I’ll be doing next week let alone that far into the future.

  2. “They are novellas and trying to make them something they’re not is killing my enthusiasm subconsciously. So, I say to hell with conventional advice.”

    I was dead in the water for 30 years before I came to a similar conclusion. So, good on you for doing it a ton less time!

    Stephen King is one of those writers who says the stories are just in us, and we have to excavate them. There’s something to that. In this case, you found some novella fossils. And now you’ve recognized that. Cool!

    “I think the shorter length will allow me to complete things before they get daunting.”

    One thing I noticed when my kids were school age is that the time I had available for writing was wildly unpredictable. Let’s face it: novels take time. You sow a seed and it blooms 15 chapters later.

    If you can remember it.

    Sounds like novellas are a perfect fit for you right now. There’s nothing like the feeling of writing the final line in a work — and it doesn’t matter if it’s a post, short story, novella, novel, or a series of novels. The joy of creation is the joy of creation.

    “My post lengths have changed over time with the current word counts averaging around one thousand words per post. ”

    It’s amazing how that adds up. My posts are around 800 words, and it’s a fast format, but the grind of publishing every day is tough, isn’t it? I’ve realized, like you, that I have zero time. One thing goes wrong, and the schedule collapses. I don’t think that’s sustainable.

    Glad you’re still publishing your journey posts. It helps me think things through, too!

    “It turns out I need the accountability that the weekly Author Journey gave me. ”

    I tell you what, mine has helped me write more consistently than I have in, well, ever. It not only helps me stay accountable; it forces me to take a step back and make sure I’m on the right track.

    “I am tired of flip-flopping all over the place, ”

    This is just my 2/100, but from where I sit, it doesn’t look like flip-flopping. It looks like a healthy process of experimentation. State goals; try stuff; measure against the goals; rinse/repeat. You’re using the scientific method to write better, where “better” = whatever you think is best. I think that’s commendable!

    • Thanks. I’ve read (or listened to) On Writing by Stephen King and recognize exactly what you’re referring to. However, it’s one of those things that I think you have to realise yourself. You can be told it a million times, but until you see it first hand, it doesn’t resonate in the same way. I’m glad I’ve had this breakthrough because it means that I wasn’t doing it wrong back when I started writing it. Now, I can attack it with everything I have and let it be what it is.

      I like to think of it like an episodic series, but each episode has a full story. They just build on one another and come together to make something epic. Before I was writing a first draft a week around 10 to 15 thousand words and that kept me pushing forward. Hopefully, that will come back to me again.

      When I was looking at some of my older posts to bring them up to date, I noticed that I have some that are around 500 words and they perfectly capture the episode. Then, there are some that are 1,000 words and do the same. I have noticed some that go on too long too so it’s going to be interesting coming up with a format that can accommodate both styles. It’s hard when the review takes longer to write than the episode took to watch. I want to get those two more aligned.

      And yeah, without the weekly Author Journey posts I’ve floundered. I need to bring those back and in a way that’s helpful and not adding even more writing time. I’d like to get it to the point where it also doesn’t take longer than twenty-four minutes to write.

      True. It’s kind of like an Agile project where I’m constantly assessing and adapting. It would be nice to get a little consistency but hopefully that’ll come in due time. Thanks for your kind words, as always.

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