The next chapter: March 2022 update

Egad! Where does the time go? I know it’s a thing—that time seems to past faster the older you get—but, come on.

Before we get into the writerly update, my monthly PSAs:

I stand with Ukraine and condemn Putin’s unprovoked war.

All lives cannot matter until BIPOC lives matter.

Though restrictions have eased, case counts and hospitalisations are again on the rise. They’re talking about a sixth wave here in Canada. Wash your hands, maintain physical distance, mask when you can’t. Get vaccinated if you haven’t. Get boosted if you haven’t. Sign up for the next booster when it’s available.

The month in writing

March was a good month, I think.

I only have two projects to report on (that I recorded on my Excel tracker).

I set what I though was a reasonable revision goal for Reality Bomb of 20,000 words. And I revised 18,277 words, or 91%. I only have eight chapters left to go. Then I’ll take a short break to work through some revision notes in my map, consolidate the cause and effect between scenes and ensure that every scene has a proper structure. I’m in a good place, though there’s still work to be done. There always will be.

I blogged 5,982 words of my 6,000-word goal. Essentially 100%.

In terms of projects I’m not tracking, I worked on my Ascension series master document and have gotten to the point where I have to reread the existing material before I proceed.

I also submitted a piece of short fiction to an open submission period.

I forgot to mention last month that the story I submitted to an anthology in January was rejected. It’s the life of a professional writer, submission and rejection. It’s an entirely negative-sounding process. Submission—to put yourself, or your work, at someone else’s mercy—and rejection—to be turned away. No wonder most people think writers are crazy 🙂

Filling the well

I attended two writerly events in March. The first was a workshop on planning and outlining your novel with Kate Heartfield, offered through the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers. The second was a demonstration on how to use tarot cards to develop a character arc from Margaret McNellis.

I also watched the replay of Finding and Working with the Right Literary Agent with Howard Yoon offered through Jane Friedman.

In the self-care department, I had an appointment with my RMT, my therapist, and my support group. I’m working on identifying thought distortions in the moment. Self-awareness is hard work.

I made a discovery. I don’t need a duty to accommodate. I’ve managed 21 years in the public service without. I just have to monitor my mental health a little more closely and take my sick leave as I need it. In my autistic way, I was so focused on the DTA process and “doing things right” that I completely missed the obvious. I do get hyper-focused from time to time. Fortunately, I caught myself, with the help of my therapist, before I committed to a 30-hour work week and the accompanying cut in pay.

Financial wellbeing supports mental health. As the sole support for my household, a one-fifth cut in my income would have been a blow. And the uncertainty about whether I could pay down our remaining debts before I retire would have weighed heavily. The cut to my pension would not have been welcome, either.

I’m going to see through my “trial period”—just three more weeks—supported by the use of my sick leave. I just have to get a doctor’s note to say that I am capable of working full time, without restrictions, and I won’t pursue a DTA further. It’s a relief, really.

What I’m watching and reading

In terms of viewing, I have a gap to fill from January (!) At the time, I had watched the last episode of the most recent season of Nancy Drew, but the network broadcasting it was advertising its return in March, so I was unaware that it was the last episode.

I’ll fill that gap now by saying that the season was its usual highly supernatural, highly sexually charged stories that I’ve come to expect from Nancy and the Drew Crew. Though she finally has the chance to hook up with Ace, Temperance curses her so that if she ever confesses her love for Ace, he’ll die. Dun, dun, dun!

Back in the March viewing department, Phil and I watched the new Vikings: Valhalla. In tone, it strikes somewhere between the original Vikings and The Last Kingdom. One of the new cast is Leif Erikson (son of Erik the Red). I’m willing to see where it leads, though they do make liberal reference to the original Vikings and the historical inaccuracies therein.

The rest of what I watched was personal viewing. Three series and two movies.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow finished its season in early March. I could just say that the usual wackiness ensued, but there was a little more meat to this season. Gideon becomes human but an uncorrupted version of the Gideon AI exists and creates robot versions of the legends to hunt them down and kill them.

Batwoman ended around the same time and the angst of the season was resolved, Ryan’s back in charge of Wayne Enterprises, her brother is “cured,” and Alice is committed to doing the work of healing.

Discovery was good, but sappy. A first contact situation with traditional Starfleet values all over the place.

I watched Turning Red. I think it was awesome.

And, finally, I watched the new Dune. I appreciated the choices Villeneuve made, but there are still some issues.

I read four books in March.

The first was this has nothing to do with you by Lauren Carter. It was a story about healing from trauma, and very good, but I found it a difficult read because the protagonist’s name was Mel and the fictional city of Norbury is a stand-in for Sudbury. Though the trauma—how to deal when your mother kills your father for having an affair—was nothing I personally relate to, it was nonetheless an uncomfortable read. But Grommet was wonderful.

Then I read Matthew Saleses Craft in the Real World, in which the author makes the case for an alternate version of workshopping/critique within the MFA frame of reference, so that it’s more inclusive of craft from other cultures. Thought provoking. Excellent.

I followed that up with Intuitive Editing by Tiffany Yates Martin. OMG, so amazing. I have a feeling I’m going to return to it repeatedly.

Finally, I read Jael Richardson’s Gutter Child. Incredible. I’ll leave it there and encourage you all to read it.

And that was the month in this writer’s life.

Until tipsday, be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!