Finishing Touches and New Beginnings. (19.12.29)

Timelines for me as a writer are a funny thing. I can say that I will finish something, or post something at a certain time. But whether it’ll actually happen how I want it to, even how I predict it to, seems to be entirely up to the wind.

I’m live with a mind that can’t think of a single thing to do at one moment, and have a staggering number of things to do Right Now at the next. Then of course the next step is picking which thing, which usually involves several hours of contemplation and finally going to bed, having done none of the things.

In my making and projects, I can be stumped with a problem that ends up having a simple solution. But that simple solution takes a couple weeks of dreading having to make a decision, having to go on with a less than optimal solution, or having to carry out the original solution (which is usually not the way it should be done.)

The way I plot my stories is generally an act of zooming in on the story and loading more and more detail as I go. Sometimes the idea stays fuzzy for weeks before clearing up.

In the meantime, time passes, chores and work have to be done, appointments, exhaustion, and taking in others’ stories.

The time I spend on each project sitting down and actually getting it done is probably average. But the time between each session of sitting down is days, weeks, or months. Some of that between time is also working on the project in the background. Watching how other people problem solve, finding new ways to research my project, even remembering at odd moments that I haven’t gotten to a solution and wincing for a moment that it still hasn’t arrived.

It’s never as hard as it seems to sit down and finally do it, once the gestating time, and the must-be-dedicated-to-other-things time is done. But trying to start at any point before that seems impossible.

These aren’t things that are mine alone, or of any special flavor, or unique anti-talent.

Writing involves incredibly long timelines, before and after the adventure of publishing starts (so I hear). There are many strings of life that demand to be followed all at once and some skip around or get hung up in a tree like a doomed kite. Projects too, and they take longer when learning how to do them.

But I’m hoping that learning to recognize, to understand, and notice that, will make it easier to bear the immense scale and long timelines that go into my creations. To build reserves in my perseverance and resilience.

Especially around the time when it’s all about finishing touches and new beginnings.

#GayApparelStories (19.12.16)

I have an exciting announcement!

My piece Festive Flannel has been included in an anthology of queer holiday flash fiction called Gay Apparel!

It’s a baby of Twitter verse and “hey what if?” There’s a bunch of lovely diverse stories, and I’m delighted to be included, and for you all to meet Ella and Zion, as they unpack their own holiday traditions and be adorably gay.

Each contributing author is in charge of distribution based on their own requirements, usually donations to themselves or charities.

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To get a copy from me:

Select a tier including Gay Apparel reward on my Patreon

Or donate at to RAICES and send proof to me at zoebrook.writer @ gmail.com

To get a copy from another contributor, check out this Twitter Thread. (Follow the other authors, and myself, when you get there!)

Add it on Goodreads!

Tell Everyone about how awesome it is!

Books, Shelves, Maybe Some Writing. (19.11.1)

The number of pieces I had prepared has dwindled just in time for Nanowrimo season, when I’m definitely supposed to be writing longer things.

So here’s a quick check in, maybe some goals, maybe some progresses.

Haven’t written today for Nanowrimo. Spent a lot of time procrastinating and eating chocolate. Some of the procrastination was productive, such as working on my shelf build, reading a comic.

Considering how long the shelf build has taken, I’ve figured out and learned a bunch of things working on it, and I feel like I’m a lot better able to approach and continue on with various projects now. I planned this shelf shortly after I moved to the new house in December last year, and I’ve been chipping away at it since then. Trying to put in the effort to make it as good as I can, learning to tune in to when my instincts are telling me to take a break, wait, or to keep working to solve problems rather than settling for less than workarounds. I’m proud that I’m getting better at anticipating and thinking through problems without ignoring them and blazing ahead, or putting the whole project off indefinitely. I’m building up perseverance.

There’s already a lot of thought, character, and stories connected to this shelf, and it’s not even standing yet.

I’ve also been making good progress with my ‘get back into reading for me after college’ goal. Last year I read a bunch, far more than I had since mid high school, and this year I’ve kept that up. The library system I’m in right now is fabulous in terms of books and comics. I’ve had a steady supply of books since the beginning of the year. One of the first things in my room when we were moving was a stack of books.

I’ve just finished reading two nonfiction books, within their first set of checkout dates, which is honestly unheard of for me. Usually it takes me three times longer than that to read nonfiction.

One of them was Every Tool’s A Hammer by Adam Savage, and reading that during my slow process on my shelf, and all the other projects I have on hold, was extremely comforting. It made me feel like I’m going in the right direction to follow my interests, build skills, and improve my methods.

In addition to the awesomeness of the library, one of my goals is to read at least one book I already own by the end of the year. I have so many cool books that bring me joy, and I want to enjoy them, not just anticipate them.

A lot of my writing goals aren’t fit for outside eyes until they’re completed, (the brain somehow thinks that telling them is the same as completing them, it’s weird.) but I think I can get away with a couple of these writing ones.

I want to finish a draft of my main WIP by the end of the year. Does that still count as #FinishUrBookFall? I’ve decided that finished means that I have a draft that has all the main elements I need in it. Not necessarily in order. That ship sailed long ago. Not necessarily everything present. But, the main story completed. The end of the book has been a telescoping tunnel from a horror movie since making this goal, and it’s almost at the point where it’s starting to get shorter. I hope.

I have two or three short projects that I’ve been making progress on over the last few weeks, and I want to finish the drafts of those.

For nano, I want to work on something new. Justifying that with all the other projects in progress is a fun experiment in surrealism. But part of that justification is wanting to take something, do some actual outlining/prep work, and then throwing myself at it, to see what I learn about plotting and outlining. See if I can find some bits that I can use for the next projects, for streamlining, faster development of the stories I love and want to tell.

However, I didn’t do any of that plotting before nano started, and I don’t want to completely drop the other projects, so we’ll see what happens next. Maybe I’ll finish a shelf.

Some project one liners, for practice and anticipation:

A tiny dragon surrounded by queer love, sexiness, and rebellion, featuring the occasional dildo.

Kinky lesbian ghost erotica parts 1&2.

April: Camp Nano and SEAF Wrap Up. (19.5.5)

For this year’s April Nano I decided on a low, maintaining habits type goal. I put in 10K as my goal, and managed to keep my stats decently ahead of their targets most of the month, even while I wasn’t writing every day.

Camp Nano stats screenshot showing steady progress upwards.

The last week and a half or so was more of a struggle as other life things seemed to drain most of my energy and brain power.

I am happy to report that I managed, on the 29th, to make my goal! I now have 10K words more of draft, notes, and additional story work than I had previously. I’m really happy with the progress I’ve been making on the novel so far.

Camp Nanowrimo 2019 Winner badge, featuring cartoon tent and trees.

It feels a lot more ambitious than my other long projects, possibly because this is the farthest stage I’ve gotten to as of yet, and because I can feel my skills and thought processes leveling up. I can start to picture how this work is going to turn out, and I’m impatient and excited to see it done. By the time I finish with this draft, I’m feeling the confidence that I’ll have the skills I need to edit it. That confidence is new, and I’m really hoping it’ll stick around through the rest of this project.

Zoe Brook stands in front of a mural of six green, black, and white stylized wings and a flaming green, black, and white crown.

At the end of April I also have the privilege of attending Seattle Erotic Art Festival as a contributor to their anthology for the second time. I enjoyed getting to look at the artwork and see the performances. There was a lot of incredible work there. I’m honored that my work was selected for the anthology.

I hope I have the opportunity to attend again in the future.

Overall April has been a chaotic and trying month, but it’s had some lovely gems, and good progress hidden amongst the rubble.

See you at the next bump in the ride!

Progress and Goals. (19.3.23)

In August of 2017, I decided to actually do something with this website that had sat dormant for a year and a half. I was going to post something every week. Maybe even try and get some people to read it. At the time, the challenge was to keep that up for a year, to see if anything interesting would happen, to see if I could do it for a whole year.

While there are a few gaps over the time since then, I’ve kept it up pretty well. I had some pretty awesome things happen during this time as well, as I mentioned back in January when I looked back on 2018’s highlights.

But now I have to figure out how to reboot into a new challenge. I’ve kept this place for a year, for more than a year.

So, now what?

It’s getting more difficult to post every week. I’m having trouble dedicating enough time to do very much to promote this website. I have less writing I can fall back that doesn’t require major edits before it’s posted, so my posts are getting generally shorter, and it’s distracting from the writing I need to do be doing on my novel.

I’m proud of the progress I’ve made and the pieces I’ve posted here.

I didn’t want to give this up, so I took time to think about where I want to progress.

So, now what?

Now what is new challenges.

I want to see real, continual progress on a novel length piece for the first time since I was fourteen.

I enjoy the short pieces I’ve been posting. They’re fun and challenging and much less stressful than striving to finish or edit longer stories. They allow me to experiment with different styles, characters, and stories besides the main project.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, because they’re here to stay as I give my book higher priority.

I want to see my writing reaching a wider audience. I want to find more opportunities to share my work with people. (This is a fantastic time to share a favorite piece of mine with someone you know, in case you were waiting for a perfect moment,) I want to push myself a little more to be present in writing communities. Though, not at the expense of my novel writing time.

My goals laid out, I’m excited for the next steps! I have pieces coming up that I’m excited about, I’ll have a poem in Seattle Erotic Art Festival’s Anthology in April, and I have new awesome things to look forward to. Thanks for being part of the awesome!

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Follow me on Twitter! I’m tiny and I know nothing, it’ll be a fun train wreck, I promise. @ZoeBrook7

Pockets. (19.3.8)

If there are infinite universes, with infinite combinations of physics and laws of nature, then surely there is one universe improved that there are not only proper pockets in women’s clothing, but also pockets in time where rest can happen without existential dread, missed deadlines, or time passed.

Unfortunately traveling to such a marvelous place is impossible as of yet.

Perhaps, by the time our personal rest pockets arrive, some of this world’s injustices will be no longer.

Brought to you by International Women’s Day, exhausted optimism, and accidentally being on time for a moment.

There are many more serious things wrong in the world than missing pockets. There is more time for seriousness tomorrow.

To all who whose energy is spent surviving, I love you.