A Beast of Inhuman Author Prowess // aeterna + ramblings + writerversary + snippets + art + all the stuffs

Well hello, my minions! It’s been a while since I mentioned my novel in progress, Aeterna, and some people (AKA me) were beginning to wonder if it fell off the face of the earth or was eaten by wargs or came to some other such hideous end.

Folks, I have good news!

Aeterna wasn’t eaten by wargs.

The last three months have been fairly odd, as I watch my friends crush their writings goals and transform into beasts of inhuman authorial prowess. The quarantine is a greenhouse for creative growth, I’m told, as no one has anything better to do anyway.

“What about YOU, Sarah?” Their beady eyes dig into my soul. “What have YOU gotten done???”

Well, if you really want to know…

Silva walked through the door and

When the Sun Goes Down in the South – Zelda & Scout

Yep.

Two months.

And that be it.

Someone locked me out of the greenhouse.

So yeah, creative burnout is a thing. So is physical burnout. I’ve met them both personally. They aren’t nice gentlemen. They have fangs. But I’m also learning – or I should say, God is teaching me – about being gentle with myself and accepting whatever the maximum of my ability is; be that two-thousand words a day, or twelve. As a friend told me recently, we’re all just trying to survive right now.  It’s okay to not be a writing giant.

(I say that now like I’ve totally accepted it and am totally okay with it.)

(Have I totally accepted it and am totally okay with it?)

(HA.)

 r

Fun Fact! I drew this more than a year ago but kept forgetting to put it in art posts.

I took a trip through the archives of my blog and found a post dedicated to my “Writerversary” (I’m dubious about my spelling of that, but whatever), the anniversary of that magical moment in history when I decided to sit down and write an official book.

(Coincidentally, it’s also the anniversary of my brother having his appendix taken out. Yay for non-exploding appendixes.)

The post was dated June 29 (just a couple days from now), and at the time, I’d been writing for two years.

Now it’s been five.

Yikes.

 

Five years seems so important. Half a decade. Wow. But it also seems terribly insignificant (only half a decade? Really?) and I feel like my growth should be more… palpable. More obvious. To me, at least. Often, I feel so trapped in my mind I can’t look at my writing long enough to see the distance I’ve come from the little girl whose opening sentence was “This story is about a fairy.” In many ways, I still feel like that girl. Bumbling my way through a world I don’t understand. Clinging to my stories and places and characters, so inadequate yet so privileged to know them.

And yes, I’m not without those needly little voices tormenting me with “you should’ve” and “why haven’t you” and “everyone else is,” and yes, having an actual finished manuscript after five years would be nice. But that’s not where my path as a writer has taken me (yet), and God knows about the should haves.

 

And hey! I have learned some things! Finally, FINALLY, after months of unproductiveness, I forced myself back into a writing schedule! Two hours every morning. I absolutely hate it. I am a midnight bat. I am a wild banshee. I belong in dark corners and spiders’ webs and nightmares. This thing called ‘sun’, it isn’t needed. I do my best work during the witching hour.

“THE WITCHING HOUR, MY FOOT,” shrieks my mother, determined to make a healthy human being out of me. “TURN THAT LIGHT OFF.”

So yeah, I write in the mornings now.

(Except for this post, which, coincidentally, is currently being typed at 1:06 A.M. How does THAT make you feel, mom?)

Do I spend most of my allotted two hours staring at the ceiling and considering the deep life choices of a sea lion? Probably. Is the bulk of my actual writing done in a frenzied panic during the last fifteen minutes? Definitely.

Does it actually work?

Yes. It does. I am angry that it does, because it’s such a dysfunctional system, but the fact remains: The system works.

(To the few beleaguered souls out there who also write this way, I’d like to say I’m truly sorry. We traverse a weary path.)

 

What I find most interesting about this method is how it’s training my brain to produce creativity again. It’s so easy to get stuck in the “I don’t feel inspired, therefore I shall be a worthless human and not even try” mentality — not to say there isn’t a place for this, because writers’ block must be handled in a case-by-case basis, BUT inspiration isn’t something to be waited for; it’s something we cultivate through pain and effort and two hours of glazed staring and typing “the” in a blank document only to delete it a minute later.

And so, slowly, torturously, my drive to write returns, and a meager amount of creativity burns again. Not a huge lot, but passable. Yesterday I wrote a scene where Emolas punches someone, just to see if he could.

(Hint: He can.)

(He also had an existential crisis of guilt afterward, and I felt like a lousy person for putting him through it.)

Lotch is still Lotch (thank goodness!), and Liriel is still Liriel. (Unfortunately.)

“Liriel! That feller has no eyeballs! Ooh, neat, you should see the sockets, all filled with—”

“SHUT UP.”

“That’s not what it’s filled with!” Lotch sniffed primly, readjusting her position on Liriel’s back. “I was gonna say–”

Liriel dropped her.

And Sley is still… well, murderous, which is to be expected.

Emolas grimaced at the sight of his swollen eye. “My goodness, that looks unpleasant. You should probably get some ice on that.”

“And WHERE in Havoc’s wrath will I get ICE from?”

“Water, probably.”

Ah, yes. My dear, sweet, unhelpful, anti-social, emotionally-traumatized, mentally-ill, mostly-insane children.

I’ve missed them deeply.

 

Anna, when looking at this picture: “You know, if she wasn’t smiling, she’d be really ugly.”

Indianapolis Kobe Bryant Mural Removed Over 'Ugliness'

…wow.

 

Mom, when looking at this picture: “He has a garden party hat!!”

Facepalm Loki GIF - Facepalm Loki Thor - Discover & Share GIFs

Anyway, as I wrap up this long and rambly post, here are a couple things to take away from my spiel:

  1. Five years of writing has turned me into a deep appreciator of blank staring.
  2. My characters are not happy. (Except Lotch.)
  3. Writing schedules are of the devil but do them anyway.
  4. 500 words a day is a perfectly respectable goal.
  5. Don’t show your drawings to my family.

See you next week, humans.

~Sarah

 

30 thoughts on “A Beast of Inhuman Author Prowess // aeterna + ramblings + writerversary + snippets + art + all the stuffs

    1. Writing schedules are lovely. I know they don’t work for everyone, but mine has helped me significantly. *fingerguns*

      Emolas is capable of a great many things, I’m learning. Punching. Philosophizing. Sticking a spoon to his nose.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I LOVE THOSE DRAWINGS SO MUCH
    There’s so much LIFE in all the expressions.

    I’m so glad you’ve eked out a writing schedule and it’s sort of working for you. 😀 Scheduled inspiration does NOT work, I know, but if you start with self-discipline, eventually you’ll get results, and the results will make you motivated, and you’ll want to do more, and you’ll get MORE results, and will feel MORE motivated!!! *gleeful cackling* (I got that from my proofreading course lady.) Nifty lil’ thing, self-discipline.

    (Now can you teach me how? :’D)

    Like

    1. Your proof-reading lady is a wise woman. That is exactly how it happened for me. The first day, I got absolutely nothing done and forcing myself to sit there the whole time was physical torture, but after a week I’m at the point where I can get myself into the zone and churn out a couple hundred words in practically no time at all. Which is nice.

      Like

  2. My happiness has been improved by 50% after reading this, and 20% just by seeing this post in my inbox. Also I was just trying really hard not to literally sound like foghorn every time I started laughing (that is to say, I was trying to hold it in, and if it were to get *out*, it would sound like a foghorn. Not that I normally sound like a foghorn… hopefully). I low key would love to meet your family. 😂😂 Anna is… amazing. XD
    Ummmm yes. We shall have been unproductive quarantined humans together. I did nothing. I repeat, n o t h i n g.
    And I’m definitely feeling the “haven’t finished a manuscript in 5 years” thing. Fun fun.
    I applaud you for making a schedule! I need to make a schedule. I should make a schedule. I haven’t yet. But now you have inspired me to. *cough*
    *slow claps* Niiiice. At least we know Emolas can defend himself. A valuable skill, let me assure you. :DDD
    *takes deep breath* NOW I CAN FINALLY SCREAM OVER YOUR ART. I. am. in. awe. Like, this brings happiness to my eyeballs. And for some weird reason Sley as a bored Australian tour guide is the funniest thing on earth and everything I needed. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, I have no judgment for foghorns. You should hear me when I get bookmail.😝

      EMOLAS CAN DEFENS HIMSELF!! I was getting worried there for a while…

      I am glad to have brought happiness to your eyeballs. They are a worthy entity to have happiness.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I CANNOT STOP STARING. Seriously, Sarah, your art is fantastic. That watercolor one of Liriel…GAAAH so lovely. 😍 And the Hope Makes Hypocrites…my goodness that was so beautifully emotional and portrayed so starkly and it literally evoked tears. I love this, all of this, your characters and Aeterna in general. During your ceiling inspections and musings on sea lions, remember that I’m rooting for you. *pumps fist in air*

    I’ve definitely been feeling that creative burn-out (probably because I was too productive for the first two weeks of quarantine – productivity that has bid me farewell) and I’m so glad to know that self-discipline is shoving you along. *ignores reasonable voice in head that says it might shove me along as well*

    (Also, in the future, it would be STUPENDOUS if you did a post sharing some art tips/advice for flailing beginners like moi. *hint hint* *nudge nudge* )

    Like

  4. “Someone locked me out of the greenhouse.”
    You took the words right out of my mouth (which actually sounds pretty rude…and painful…and like, how does one take WORDS out of someone’s mouth? Ew. I hope you use soap)

    I’m honestly so crazy excited for one day when your book is published, BUT don’t you dare rush it or feel bad for not being finished already. *Jumps onto a moldy box while ferociously waving chocolate* Some books are meant to be finished fast, others need time to grow. Don’t focus on finishing, focus on making the story what it’s meant to be. *falls off of said box with the grace of an elephant*.

    (Also, Sarah, you have given me hope. As here I am…explaining for the MILLIONTH time that no, no I have never finished a novel, I have never even gotten CLOSE to finishing a novel, I dO nOt EvEn hAvE aN oUtLiNe).

    (But I’ve got a zillion something almost-completely-blank documented titled stories all glaring up at me like “???? what are we to you?? baloney???”)

    ~ Julia

    PS. “THE WITCHING HOUR, MY FOOT,” shrieks my mother, determined to make a healthy human being out of me. “TURN THAT LIGHT OFF.”

    X’D I have a feeling your mom and my mom would get along splendidly, lol. Night time is MY time (I mean, lOOk, Brandon Sanderson stays up ALLL NIGHTT W R I T I N G!!! Why can’t I? XP). Instead I need “sleep” and am “disturbing the peace” and “keeping the dogs awake”. Hm. *crosses arms*

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 1) I could never ever be that amazing at drawing, therefore I’m not going to even try. Seriously, wow! The detail is incredible.

    2) argh, I was bit by the same lack-of-inspiration-during-quarantine bug. Seeing everyone else’s productivity is infuriating. Ha

    3) I nominated you for a blogging award! Your blog is fantastic, and even if you never get around to doing it—at least you’ll know your blog is appreciated. 👏🏻

    Like

  6. Yeah…. my writing totally hasn’t suffered over the past year… *cough* I got an internship (which kinda feels like a full time job) and between that and school, I have no time or mental energy for writing…. *sighs*

    Love all your artwork! ‘Tis positively gorgeous.

    Like

  7. “THE WITCHING HOUR, MY FOOT,” shrieks my mother, determined to make a healthy human being out of me. “TURN THAT LIGHT OFF.”

    So yeah, I write in the mornings now.

    (Except for this post, which, coincidentally, is currently being typed at 1:06 A.M. How does THAT make you feel, mom?)”

    i just
    *chef’s kiss*
    poetic cinema.

    also!! that art! how! teach me thy ways!

    Like

  8. Ahhh yes, more art! I love it! But your family’s remarks on it are hilarious. XD

    Also, your characters sound awesome. I like them already. I can’t wait to hear more about this story! That watercolor of the girl and the pink petals (I’m assuming from a cherry tree or something of the kind?) is absolutely GORGEOUS. <33

    Like

  9. I…I completely understand all your friends writing and asking how much you have completed whilst you sit in a pit of blahness and try to think of the next word in your book. And good that Aeterna was not eaten by Wargs. That would not have gone well. And why is it that we write our best scenes at 1:00 in the morning?!? Why can’t a burst of inspiration hit us at five in the afternoon? Also, I absolutely love all the costumes your characters wear. *eyes Liriel’s flowy cape dress thingie enviously* Heehee, Sley the Australian tour guide! I understand missing psychopath characters *aka my lovely awkward fierce child who I have unceremoniously shoved to the back burner for the time being*. And tell Anna that Lotch is not ugly, she is a beautiful sunshiny happy little bean. And…that is not a garden party hat. Not. And yes, never show your drawings to your family.
    (Am I the only one who hides her sketchbooks because her family picks them up when I’m not around and pages through them and discovers all those hideous drawings that should never see the light of day again?)
    Anyway, fantabulous post. As usual. 😀

    Like

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