2020 Writing Log, Part Seventeen

– I finished grading, and I submitted the final grades for the semester. After reading through everyone’s work, assigning precise point values, and making exact calculations, I decided to give everyone some version of an “A.” What do I care? No one will challenge me, and I want the students to be happy and successful.

– I replied to all of the comments I received on AO3. This was a lot of fun, but it took all of the time I would normally have devoted to writing Malice. That’s cool, because I needed a break.

– I sat down and made a bunch of edits to my story descriptions and tags on AO3. I tried to strike a good balance between “informative and descriptive” and “overwhelming.” I’ve also been trying to negotiate the tricky space between “what’s unique to my stories” and “what’s popular on the site.”

– I finally posted my review of Chris Kohler’s book on Final Fantasy V. It’s a short review, but it’s also a short book. I wish I could have done a more thorough job, but I needed to get this out there so I can move on.

– I finished a rough draft of “Don’t Eat the Fish,” which ended up being about 2,000 words. It could have been longer, but I think this is a good length for an anthology submission from an unknown writer. I’m going to let it sit for a month and return to it during the first week of June.

– I wrote the first five stories for Haunted Houses. I also got in touch with the artist I’d like to create the cover, who seems to be onboard and enthusiastic about the project.

– I sent out a lot of Etsy orders this week. I’m happy my zines are doing well, but I’m considering raising the price of each zine from $3 to $4 to help cover the cost of shipping, seller fees, taxes, and manufacturing. At first I told myself that putting my work on Etsy was just for fun, but I’m starting to realize that I’m literally running a business.

– I’m totally sold out of stickers, and the manufacturer I usually use, Sticker Mule, seems to have been bought out and furloughed by Amazon. I therefore ordered several new sets of designs through StickerApp. The site is somewhat difficult to use, but I think (I hope?) I figured it out.

– I finished a Moleskine sketchbook I’ve had since last November. This is probably the last one of these I’ll buy, as the paper is thick but doesn’t handle Copic markers well. In addition, I think I’d like to start doing all of my serious sketching digitally from now on. If I want to start drawing comics for The Demon King, I’m going to have to get better at drawing with a stylus.

– I finished my third Fabriano sketchbook in three months. I’ve been doing a lot of anatomy studies lately, and I swear I’m actually getting worse. I wish I could take an actual art class that isn’t online or some sort of anodyne amateur-hour bullshit for “adult learners.”

– I put together a few more pages of a Legend of Zelda fan art zine, which I think I’m going to call “The Legend of Cutie Pies.” Finishing this zine is going to be the end of drawing Zelda fan art for me, at least for a while.

– With that in mind, I’ve been wrapping up all of my Zelda fan art projects. During the past week I posted three pieces: a Breath of the Wild 2 gift comic for a friend, a Wind Waker digital art card for a friend, and a Zelda/Ganondorf drawing that I did for no one but my own ridiculous self. I’ve got two more unfinished Zelda-themed illustrations on deck, and I’d like to go ahead and finish them up so that I can post them during the coming week.

All of this might seem like a lot, but it’s not much more than me gradually picking away at small projects.

I think it’s probably okay to admit that I’ve been severely depressed for more than a month now. I worked really hard on a book that just came out, but the timing of the release couldn’t be worse. All of my talks and panels have been cancelled. I had a handful of articles and reviews returned to me with the explanation that the journals are “on indefinite hiatus.” The semester is over, but I can’t celebrate with my students. The university that recently fired me on the basis of disability keeps spamming me with “self-care” emails. My mother is in an ICU hospital ward, and there’s still no way for me to contact her. Meanwhile, multiple crazy assholes with guns are shooting black men in broad daylight. Oh yes, and tens of thousands of people are dying in a pandemic that could have been prevented, or at least better contained.

It’s hard to get things done when I can’t concentrate on anything for more than fifteen minutes at a time, but I’m doing my best. Good luck to all of us, I guess.