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!

**

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.

Highlights 2018. (19.1.17)

I want to take a second to revel in the small victories. 2018 had several awesome writing moments for me, which was quite affirming. Whether by coincidence or reward, I’ll take it.

Early in the year I was a “slushpile” reader for the WRITE CLUB Contest, and I got to read through all the fantastic 500 word submissions. I was really intrigued to see how the audience interacted with the stories once they were posted. It was a good experience, and a lot of fun.

In April, an excerpt from my 2017 Nanowrimo project was published in the Seattle Erotic Art Festival’s Literary Anthology. I attended the festival and participated in their Wanderlust Poetry tour, where accepted authors were able to see the accepted artwork and write poetry to read during the tour. My poem Confidence Talks, a response to the piece Flauntleroi, was featured on the artist Hooligan Lili’s website.

I made a wholly under-prepared presentation, Talk Sex Positively Now, at Olympic College’s Diversity Conference in June and talked about consent and sex positivity basics. I would love to improve my skills in presentations and preparations, as I enjoyed the opportunity it gave me, but I struggled to pull everything together and make it a worth while conversation.

I participated in the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Contest for the second year. I’ve not made it past the second round, but I’m proud of the stories and ideas I’ve come up with through their prompts. Keep My Memories and Me Too were my 2017 entries.

I attended Willamette Writers Conference in August, did a few pitches, a manuscript critique, and went to as many sessions as I could. As always, it was a wonderful experience. Ijeoma Oluo, Vivek Shraya, and Charlie Jane Anders were amongst the fantastic keynotes, and I was delighted to see more queer authors and diversity topics in the session line ups. I learned a lot from my pitches, and the critique was awesome. I came away with more knowledge and ideas on how to further my writing and my current work in progress.

I got to read Sensational Ailey at Salon of SEAF: Explore Written Erotica. It was a ton of fun visiting their new gallery space and listening to the other author’s readings.

In October, my short story Guard Crow was featured on Not A Pipe Publishing’s website as part of their #TheYearOfPublishingWomen’s short story series. It was an honor to be featured as part of their series, and I encourage you to check out their anthology “Strongly Worded Women: The Best Of the Year Of Publishing Women” which features other’s contributions to the series.

I wrote for NaNoWriMo in November, meeting 50K for the seventh year. (Out of eight but who’s counting 2016?) More on that here.

My year wrapped up with my family buying a house and moving through December, which is unquestionably awesome and lucky.

I’m excited to put more energy toward my writing, and see what I can do in 2019.

Nano 2018. (18.12.3)

NaNoWriMo 2018 ended a week ago, and I’m still tired.

The previous years I’ve written for Nano, I’ve held myself to a very high standard as to how I would count my words. It was all toward one, newly started project, and only words in the manuscript draft itself were counted. All the writing I was doing for school, for other projects, even for the info and notes on the Nano projects weren’t to be included.

This year I was a little more desperate creative with where I counted words.

I didn’t start actually writing until the seventeenth. At that point, I hadn’t even written one full day’s count. Usually when I’m that far behind, I at least had a foundation of words. Not this year.

This year I counted all the words I created in November on my project, one that I’ve now worked on for three years (part of it’s published in This Anthology, which was super exciting!). Notes, editing, internal screaming. Actual drafted materials. The pep talk I wrote myself about making mistakes and giving myself a plan for fixing them later, once the project has actually been created. I counted all those words, all the words I could, and it was still a hellacious slog.

After a few days of catch up, I was overwhelmed and bored and frustrated. I ended up trying to figure out if I could murder a character without drastically changing the actual plot of the project, which did not call for a murder.

It turns out I could figure it out. And that it solved a couple of problems I’d been having with plot holes, motivations, and backstories. I only had to go back fifteen years, invent twelve new characters, take them across the country, and casually change tone from lighthearted danger rebellion to dark, murderous, with extra tasty trauma emotions.

This sideways mutation of my project has been lovingly dubbed Plot Bunny Noir, and made up a majority of the words collected for the month.

I made 50K words on the last day, between all of the pieces related to my project. I took approximately five minutes to feel elated, and then I took a nap while my brain melted.

I’m proud of the writing I did this month. A lot of it will be useful, even and especially some of the plot notes, editing theories, and world building blocks. I ended up solving a lot of issues I’d been having, I managed to survive the word count, and an exhausting time was had by all.

To everyone who participated, you accomplished something awesome*. You have all the permission to be proud of yourselves.

To everyone else, wow what a normal month you must have had. I hope it was a good one.

Everyone should be proud they survived another month, words or no words.

I wish you several good sleeps.

 

Bonus Cool  Shit:

National Novel Writing Month

1,667 Words

*See? Awesome!NaNo-2018-Winner-Badge

Error, Life Space Not Found. (18.6.23)

This week has been incredibly long and tiring. Some awesome things have happened, as well as the simply exhausting things.

Primarily, I attended Olympic College’s 5th Annual Diversity Conference, this year as a presenter myself. It was a great experience, though incredibly nerve wracking and highlighting my incredible skill in procrastination. I promised attendees that I would post slides from my presentation. Yesterday.

So, in keeping with the rest of my current schedule, let’s aim for a nice little reflection and information post next week.

Consider this your teaser post. (I’m considering it hanging onto my weekly post promise to myself a little bit longer.)

Awesome things in the works: (Theoretically, anyway.)

Presentation Reflections,

A few more previously published pieces,

Some awesome short pieces,

and for me, actually working on my novel.

 

From somewhere under the pile of things, Happy Pride!

Warped and lengthened timelines are fine. We can always celebrate cool things.