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March Wrap-up

Ah, March. You’re so much like your brother February. My productivity was shit this month. March 14th, I woke up with a terrible headache I’d rate 9 out of 10 on the scale of doesn’t hurt, to feel like dying. I’ve had it before and barely slept back then. I couldn’t read, watch a screen, or do anything basically. I went to the doctor, practically begging him to give me something to help me sleep because I was exhausted, and not just because of the major headache.

And now it’s back. It’s the same headache and the same cause. I don’t need an MRI to tell me there’s nothing wrong with my brain even though it feels like it’s set on fire. Every day. The joints in my neck are unstable (just like the joints everywhere else in my body) and my muscles have a hard time correcting it. Now they’ve had enough and tensed up so much they’re causing a major headache. I skipped going to the doctor (they’re busy enough as it is) and talked directly with my physiotherapist. He was busy, but still managed to find me a spot. Someone had cancelled due to concerns about the virus.

That’s been my luck because I could still see him for a few times before everything was shut down. One and a half week later, I still had a headache but he assured me it would get better now as my muscles loosened up and I do my exercises. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Working my health issues which are very different from the health issues many, many other people are dealing with at the moment. I can’t even imagine what it would do to me if I caught the virus with my neck injury acting up.

What I did do

I managed to play some more Stardew Valley, finally doing some of the new patch stuff. On PC I made a new farm while I continue with my old for on my Switch. I don’t think I’ll do a weekly Stardew update as I considered before. It’ll take up too much time and turns playing the game into a chore, which I definitely do not want. Maybe I’ll do more small updates as something significant happens.

So far I’ve edited six chapters of my WIP while planning out book 3. My head didn’t want to do creative work, but rearranging scenes was okay. So now my whiteboard is covered in post-its with half an outline. I’ll try to finish it soon so I can focus on my first draft while editing the rest of book 2.

Books read has been minimal since my head didn’t want to do words at all. I think I finished 1,5 book. So not much. I hope to finish a few more next month though. Not watching Netflix after dinner had helped me improve my reading time but it was so slooooow. My average pages read an hour is fifty. Now it was half of that. And it’s not like I’m reading the most complex novels either. So it’s all in the processing speed of my brain.

Looking toward April

What is happening in April is the community event Blapril (Blay-pril), hosted by Belghast. It’s basically the same as Blaugust but in April. Since the world is in a weird spot we wanted to do something for the community. Coming together when we’re all forced to stay apart is the best thing you can do. So we invite you to join us in this blogging event. Share your stories, your passions, your distractions, with others who might need it.

This year, I finally had the courage to sign up as a mentor. I’ve had the role on the discord for a while now, but never participated as one. But here it is. I’m a blogging mentor. Most of my advice will be given through discord so poke me there if you need help.

For advice on writing I suggest checking out my other blog Narratess, the NaNoWriMo tag specifically. Or my post on writer’s block. And maybe my post on productivity and how to maintain it during more taxing times.

There’s no minimum requirement except for a (blogging) platform of your choice. Others have done daily vlogs, or micro content on Tumblr or Twitter. Do a Blapril challenge on Instagram. Share a piece of your world with the rest of the Blapril community. Check out Belghast’s post on how to enter and where to find the community. I hope to see you in the Discord!

February Wrap-up

Ah, February. How I loathe thee. Winters are always dangerous for me because of all my health issues, but this year I found out my wind resistance is either zero or negative. It’s been a stormy month but not very cold. I always thought I was bad at handling the cold. Turns out I was wrong. It’s the cold wind that makes it painful to breathe, that sets my throat on fire, and makes my lungs feel like they’re made of metal.

So I spent most of the month in recovery mode which means my productivity tanked. I wrote two book reviews and four Friday posts for Narratess and only posted here once. I’m still on track for those goals, and I’m even a little ahead because I already have six (including this one) posts for my twenty post goal for Princess.

I finished four more books, two for book tours and two for Netgalley. Netgalley is a service that connects book reviewers, librarians and other professionals with publishers/authors. We get a free book in exchange for a review. This is usually to get reviews ahead of release and create hype. Goodreads says I’m four books ahead of schedule, but I know that once I start reading the real chonks (which is my goal this year) I’ll only finish one or maybe two books a month. Even when I’m actively working on my ‘reading once a day’ habit, a book with over 600 pages (and maybe even 800 pages) will take up significantly more time than a 230-page young adult romance.

Look, I’m an idiot. I said I wouldn’t do book tours a few years ago when I started adding more book-related posts to Narratess. Then I said I wouldn’t request more books from Netgalley because of the added pressure through reading deadlines. But I’ve done four book tours so far and I have a few more coming up. I also request four more titles on Netgalley last weekend. Sigh.

For games, there was only one: Wolcen. I already talked about it in a previous post and I’ll talk more about it in the future, but the bad weather also affected my hands. I wanted to play more Pokemon, more Stardew Valley, maybe even get back into Guild Wars, but none of that happened. And that’s okay.

Instead of gaming, I dived back into non-fiction. I started watching more videos on writing and personal development. Even on Netflix, I felt like I wanted to watch more documentaries or reality tv than sitcoms or fantasy series. It’s unusual for me to have this kind of clarity when my body is feeling like crap. Brain fog is real. So it’s a strange experience when my brain acts like a sponge and just wants to soak up everything. My headache isn’t gone (heck, it might be worse than other days) but I can think! I can process information! I draw conclusions based on the information I have! I can apply theory to practice! Seriously, it’s been years since I’ve experienced this.

It made me want to be more productive. So even though I didn’t post more or play more, I did write more. I finished a piece of flash fiction and submitted it (no word back yet), and my short story (granted, written in December) was selected as a finalist. The finalists were selected by industry professionals out of at least a hundred submissions. Knowing that these people loved my story enough to pick it as a finalist is huge and a great motivator to keep writing. I know some of you have voted, so thank you! 29th of March I know if I’ve won or not.

So I’m working hard on my writing career. I made a rough publishing outline for this year and a wishlist of books I want to write. For now, I’m still focusing on finishing the Infernal Contracts trilogy. Book 2 is getting a second draft with more words, better scenes and character growth. It hurt initially when I missed the December deadline, but I truly believe it’ll be a much better book now. I’m going to write the outline for book 3 when it’s with beta readers, so I can jump right in when the final draft is done.

March will be busy with nearly all of my weekends filled up with exhausting events. So I hope I can get my writing and editing done. I’ll do my best to post here more frequently (I still have so many drafts I want to finish), but Narratess comes first.

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