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The Beautiful Books #26 – The Author Writing Process Edition

Image Description: The Beautiful People for Writers - Writing Goals

How do you decide which project to work on?
I’m actually pretty terrible at focusing on a singular project and I’m often working on multiple projects at once.

How long does it usually take you to finish a project?
The Pushing Boundaries series is the only project thus far I’ve been able to focus on long-term. I wrote a rough draft for Canis Major – Volume I for NaNoWriMo 2015 (November) and had it edited and self-published by November 2016. I know a year doesn’t sound like a long time, but it felt like a long time because I was focusing on it for a core unit of my degree and needed the eBook published in order to graduate.

Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?
No, unfortunately, although I am trying to organise myself into a get a cup of tea and light some tea-candles and essential oil burner and seeing how that goes.
Image Description: from left to right, a triangle shaped tea-light candle holder with purple flowers painted on the front, a small glass tea-light candle holder, a white oil burner from Dusk with a tea-light candle inside and another small glass tea-light candle holder.

What time of day do you write best?
I generally struggle in the morning and tend to work better in the afternoon and evening

Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?
As I’m an author who is just starting out, I have no idea, personally I think this is something you’d have to ask a reader rather than a writer.

Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?
Looking back, I began fan fiction writing as a coping strategy for dealing with… well, Life in general, I suppose, however, it also allowed me to experiment with writing possible narratives that could occur within that already structured world, most of these narrative possibilities contained the idea that the canon narrative could have gone in a different direction than the one the author chose. It’s a safe way to explore narratives and characters. But, eventually, the novelty of fan fiction (and the lack of quality control) made the cons of fan fiction out-weigh the pros.

I also realised that if I spent all my time playing around with other people’s narratives and characters, I was left with neither the time or mental capacity to work on my own narratives and characters (although characterisation is still an area I need to improve upon). The reason I keep writing, I guess, is because I’m constantly coming up with new ideas, which is kind of frustrating because I’d like to be able to work on the projects I’ve already started, but we all have our own creative processes.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?
During the editing process, I was trying to get my character Beth to convey some plot/character related information to another character Mac, in the original manuscript this took place over three chapters, however, with the assistance of my editor Kim, I managed to transfer this information in three lines of dialogue. It was so frustrating and annoying at the time but it was a good learning experience.

Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?
probably my Lake of Tears project, which is a SFF (Science Fiction Fantasy) Dystopian cross-over involving elves, gods, mages, dragons and time-travel. I am nowhere near the level I need to be (as a writer) to write it, that and I need to do some more research into time-travel and paradoxes.

What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?
I wanted to have written Orion – Volume II written, edited and self-published by the end of the year, but that goal has become laughably out of reach due to personal circumstances and issues with mental health.

Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!
Image Description: a Labrador-dog, wearing a red tie, is sitting at desk with a laptop. It looks as though the dog is typing on the laptop. The picture is captioned with white capital text, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING.

Technical Difficulties – 2nd Edition


Image Description: a “Very Demotivational” meme, which is a picture of a panda trapped on a branch, with a black border around the picture with white-text captioning down the bottom of the picture: “Technical Difficulties: We has them…”

I’ve been thinking of starting up (surprise, surprise!) another writing project, the big problem is that I’m currently torn between what kind of platforms I should use, I don’t know if my intended project is more suitable for Podcasting, a YouTube Channel or perhaps a combination (somehow?). Perhaps I should discuss my new writing project and maybe it’ll help me with he decision process. I want to set up a platform where I talk about Mental Health and ADHD (as well as some related topic things like stim toys). As I’m not a qualified therapist or counsellor, I would only be able to talk from the podium of my own experiences, so the video path would involve journal-like videos talking about my diagnosis, my personal diagnostic process, as well my interconnected mental health problems.

I’m going to be honest, YouTube has a large market on the “journal/confession” style of video, and while that results in great content like Katie Morton’s YouTube Channel and Annie Elainey’s YouTube Channel, it leaves me wondering “What do I bring to the table that is unique and different?” and “how can I possibly stand out?” See, the funny thing is that there is a lot of ADHD journal-style channels already out there, usually they have ten videos and then they haven’t been updated since or they have been updated but there are irregularities in postings or big gaps.

The problem is that I understand only too well why that is the case, I’ve been doing the same thing too pretty much all my life and I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want to embark on yet another project, invest a lot of my time, effort and limited financial resources into a platform only to give up half-way through. And, yeah, I’m perfectly willing to admit that my scatter-gun approach to… pretty much everything might be apart of the problem. My usual method of throwing things at a platform and seeing what sticks isn’t working for me or isn’t working as well as I’d like it to. It’s not that I’m not willing to give both a go, its not that I’m not willing to take risks, what I’d like is some feedback before I make the attempt.

What’s the Project going to be about?
My objective is create channel (regardless of whether its YouTube or Podcast) that covers the following:

  • journal-style content of my personal mental health and Adult ADHD diagnosis process.
  • Facts About ADHD – episodes that focus on the facts and resources regarding ADHD (like books and support groups available). I want these episodes to have a more Australian approach to it and my focus will primarily be Adults with ADHD, because unfortunately the majority of resources currently available tend to be more geared towards children with ADHD and their parents.
  • Interviewing Mental Health professionals or people involved with positive Mental Health support (like social workers or support groups)
  • Mental Health Q&A videos (possibly?) or stuff that’s connected to Mental Health like Stim Toy reviews, Bullet Journal stuff, or Journal exercises

I suppose I should include the possible pros and cons of each platform.

YouTube Channel Pros:

  • Dramatic reenactments with my collection of Weighted Plushies: this is the aspect of making videos that I’m looking forward to the most. I’m already thinking and detailing in my mind the jump-cut sketches I could possibly make.
  • Editing: I enjoy the editing process of film-making, I’m currently using Adobe Premier, which is great if not a little complicated (I’m doing a Skills Share tutorial for it, just to make sure I know exactly what I’m doing). There’s also lots of help and tutorials online.
  • Equipment: I already have all the required equipment to start making videos (I found a tripod at Big W for roughly AU $25), I could literally start tomorrow if that’s what I wanted.
  • Audience Interaction: YouTube is a great method of interaction and for building a community and there’s a proven track-record of people building successful and supportive mental health communities. It’s a big component of why I want to do this.

YouTube Channel Cons:

  • Super Awkward: When it comes to making movies and taking photographs, I’ve spent most of my time behind the camera, and I’m pretty good at directing (aka telling people how to do their jobs). But I don’t have that same sense of confidence when I’m placed in front of a camera. I tried to make a short introduction video for my YouTube Channel, I tried four times to do a short 30 second clip and kept fucking up the short basic script I had devised for myself, eventually I thought “Fuck it!” and decided on doing a voice recording with my phone and pictures instead of video footage (you can view the intro video down below, don’t feel bad for laughing, the video is very much a rush job)
  • Marketing: From the research I’ve doing, a lot of the ADHD journal-style channels are created by people presumably in the USA, now this could give me an edge, an Australian woman talking about her personal experiences would be unique, but there is a risk that this is too unique and that only small percentage of people are going to interested in it. There’s also the problem that there are A LOT of people doing this already, and while I think this is awesome and I’m very much for ending the stigma surrounding ADHD and other Mental Health problems, I still need to ask myself “What am I bringing to the table?” and I’m not entirely certain that I would be adding to the conversation.
  • Interaction: Lets be honest here, YouTube isn’t known for being a safe place, where online harassment is taken seriously. While I know I have reasonably thick skin, the problem is that I don’t know if the possible good I get from this channel is going to out-weight the potential harassment I’m going to receive online. I’m not saying harassment or bullies should hold you back from doing what you want to do, because there are always going to be bullies and nay-sayers out there telling you not to try, this is more from a self-care and time management perspective.
  • Timing: I mean, with regards to filming, it’s lot more work involved in making YouTube videos in comparison to writing blog-posts on WordPress or Tumblr. With videos, you need time to film, organise a guest and/or work around guest’s schedule, edit film, possibly edit audio, publish it on YouTube, and then also make a blog-post about it on WordPress.
  • Length: I’m going to be honest, I talk a lot and at a fast pace, There’s also the problem with YouTube that videos are expected to be short (the implied maximum being 12-15 minutes) and I often feel that this time-constraint isn’t always appropriate for Mental Health discussions, a Mental Health problem can’t always be tackled in a 15 minute video, sometimes it’s more complicated than that. It also doesn’t give much time for me to answer any possible questions people might ask of me.

Podcasting Pros:

  • Comfort: I have no problems with recording myself via audio, I’m also super comfortable with Adobe Auditions (from what I remember, it’s super easy to use, although my memory isn’t the most reliable). In contrast to Adobe Premier, which is a little more difficult (or at least it is for me) and it wasn’t obvious how to use certain features like captioning
  • Experience: I have some limited experience to creating audio files due to taking a University unit Radio Production, I’m also looking into volunteering for a community radio station once a week.
  • Marketing: Mental Health Podcasts, such as The Mental Illness Happy Hour, have a proven track record of success.
  • Accessibility: For transcription, I can use a paid-service such as Trint and I can make my podcasts as long or short as I like.

Podcasting Cons:

  • Equipment: I have yet to obtain the recording equipment I would need to begin podcasting and that’s mostly because of cost, the audio recorder I have in mind (which is the cheaper of the two options) costs AU $180. Unlike the equipment I have for video recording, if I decide I don’t want to make videos, I can still use my camera and tripod for other things, but this isn’t the case with the audio equipment and I don’t want spend money on equipment I’m only going use once or twice.
  • Experience: I’ve been making short films since I was teenager, so I kind of know what to expect when making videos with other people, but I’ve never made a podcast before so I’m not sure what to expect, and that’s a little scary.

Problems that would affect both projects:

  • Effort: Maybe taking on a new writing project isn’t the best idea at this point in time. I’m struggling creatively, everything feels like too much effort and I just can’t, my situation kind of does have a “Going Through The Motions” type of feeling. I’m not doing well with my novel-writing, I had hoped to have a 1st draft of Orion finished by now, maybe I should focus on that instead and figure out why it’s not working for me. There’s a serious concern that I’m just using this idea for a new project as an excuse to procrastinate.
  • Knowledge: Maybe I’m not the best person for this type of project, I have no formal qualifications and I only have subjective experiences to work from,
    I also don’t have the best social skills, a key component required when trying to get people to agree to interviews
  • Interviews: While I would love to do interviews regardless of my platform, getting the right people to agree to interviews will be a challenge.
  • Social Media: I would have to set up some separate elements of Social media for this new project, not a lot but some, possibly a separate Twitter or separate Tumblr page for people to ask questions, and seeing as I’ve just recently had to shut down my Havering blog because I just no longer had the mental capacity to maintain it, I feel a little anxious about the idea. I don’t want to set up social media for this project, only to delete it a few months later.

Maybe this is something I need to think about for a little while longer, however, I’d really appreciate it if readers could let me know what they think. Is this something you’d be interested in? Would you prefer YouTube or would you prefer a podcast? What about a combination of the two? I don’t know, I’m just putting ideas out there. If you’d like to check out my introductory video for my channel, the video is just below:

Stim Toy Review: Smencil Buddies Pencil Case


Image Description: an image of a Smencil Buddies Pencil Case (watermelon flavour), it’s a teal-green pencil case with eight rows across of raised bumps decorating the outside of the pencil case. Attached to the zipper is a small decorate key-ring that resembles a slice of watermelon with a smiley face on it.


Image Description: an image of a Smencil Buddies Pencil Case (rainbow sherbet flavour), a bright-pink pencil-case with eight rows across of raised bumps decorating the outside of the pencil-case. Attached to the zipper is a small decorate key-ring that resembles an ice-cream cone (it has three colours: pink, green and orange) with a smiley face.

Item: Smencil Buddies Pencil Cases

Category: Review/Feedback

Cost: AU $10.00 (Shipping Fees: AU $7.99) per pencil-case

Store: While I bought my pencil cases from eBay, I can’t say I recommend eBay as a reliable option for this item, however, there are other purchasing options:
Scent Co. – $9.99 (Shipping Fees: $5.99) = $15.98 total (not sure if this is in US$ or AU$)
Amazon – $15.49 (Shipping Fees: Free Shipping)
You can also use your Amazon account to purchase items from the Scent Co. website

My Location: Australia

Review:
I was planning on using these items as part of my Diverse Reading Challenge Giveaway, but as they turned out to be scented items, I decided against it. The problem with scented items is that there’s just too much risk and variation (what I find enjoyable may just give someone else a headache), however, I figured I may as well do a review of these anyway.

This is how wide it is:
Image Description: a pale-white hand holding  one end of a bright-pink pencil-case with eight rows across of raised bumps decorating the outside of the pencil-case. The image is showcasing how wide the pencil-case is, which is 10.5 mm wide.

This is what it looks like on the inside:
Image Description: a pale-white hand holding  one end of a bright-pink pencil-case open so that the viewer can see the inside of the pink pencil-case, it has the eight rows of indented bubbles across one side of the pencil-case.

For comparison purposes, this is my Hoopla Ice-cream pencil case:
Image Description: Hoopla Sweet Collection Stationery Pencil-case. The pencil-case is pink and has clip-art pictures of an ice-cream-on-a-stick with a smiley face, a doughnut-with-pink-icing also with a smiley face and an ice-cream-cone with blue-gelato and a smiley face. There are also a single cloud and a rainbow.

The Ice-cream pencil case is reasonably sized (by my standards) and it contains a rainbow collection of pens I bought from Daiso and a collection of glitter pens and metallic gel pens I bought from Aldi.
Image Description: The insides of the Hoopla Sweets Collection pencil-case. It’s pink with a couple of sections of netting to separate the two halves of the pencil-case. Within the netting sections are a rainbow collection of pens, glitter pens, and metallic gel pens.

While I managed to squeeze all those pens into the Rainbow Sherbet pencil case, the result was a little concerning, and it looked like it would explode any minute.
Image Description: an image of a Smencil Buddies Pencil Case (rainbow sherbet flavour), a bright-pink pencil case with with eight rows across of raised bumps decorating the outside of the pencil case. Attached to the zipper is a small decorate key-ring that resembles an ice-cream cone (it has three colours: pink, green and orange) with a smiley face. In this particular image, the pencil case has been filled with the rainbow collection of pens from the previous photo, which is causing the pencil case to bulge in a rather concerning matter

So, as a pencil case, I would probably consider it too small (but it this could just be me), however, it’s size should make it okay to use as a Stim Toy Case, but due to the fact that it’s a scented item and thus not recommended for public use due to chemical sensitivities, I wouldn’t consider it practical.

But it feels so good to touch, the knobbly parts are great to run your fingers over, and I also enjoy the smooth side as well. I really like the Rainbow Sherbet one, and I’m probably going to keep it for myself, despite the fact that I know it’s completely impractical.

If you’re interested in tactile pencil cases or coin purses that aren’t scented, I would be happy to recommend Yoobi Fuzzy Pencil Cases (they come in blue, purple, pink, green, and aqua) and Yoobi Fuzzy Coin Purses (they come in aqua, pink, blue, and green). In Australia, you can buy these items from their website or from Officeworks, although pricing does vary depending on location.

Stim Toy Review: Glow In The Dark Tangle


Image Description: a Glow In The Dark Tangle made of transparent yellow plastic loosely coiled up together on top of a purple sleeping bag.
Image Description: a Glow In The Dark Tangle made of transparent yellow plastic spread out so that it takes the form of a small slightly lopsided circle.

Item: Glow In The Dark Tangle

Category: Review/Feedback

Cost: GBP $1.88 or AU $3.41 (Price includes Shipping Fees)

Date of Purchase: 29/04/2017

Date of Delivery: 23/05/2017

Store: Ebay UK

My Location: Australia

Review – My Problems with the GITD Tangle:
~Problem 1: While I don’t expect the Tangle to glow neon-bright, the Glow In The Dark element (in my opinion) is unacceptably weak, and it only became acceptably bright when I put the Tangle directly on top of a Lamp and left it there for a couple of hours (this is because I forgot about it and, as a safety precaution, I don’t recommend people do this). Due to the weakness of the glow, I was also unable to take photographs of as well, so this could be purely a subjective thing and I’m sorry I can’t provide more information on this.

~Problem 2: As you might be able to guess from the picture up the top, the Tangle links are very loose, in fact, the tangle is so loosey-goosey that the moment I coil it up and put it down, it starts unravelling. As I have a personal preference for stiffer or tighter Tangles, this may just be a problem for me, but I felt I should mention it.

~Problem 3: The tangle itself feels greasy and I find this really off putting. I feel as though I would be willing to tolerate the loose links and sub-par glowing, but I truly dislike the greasy/oily coating on the tangle, which makes me want to wash my hands straight after I handle it or avoid handling it altogether (which sort of defeats the purpose of purchasing the item).

All in all, I honestly can’t recommend this particular Tangle, however, it cost less than AU $5, so I’m guessing that this simply an occupational risk of purchasing from the cheaper end of the Stim Toy Spectrum.

Links:
~Stim Toy Box: Glow In The Dark Tangles by Mod Rainbow
~Stim Toy Box: Glow In The Dark Tangles by Mod K.A.
~Eldritch Esoterica: GITD Tangle Response

Things Kim Has Made: Weighted Plushies and Bean-Bags


Image Description: a title-picture with four black sewing-buttons in each corner, in the centre of the picture is the text “Things Kim Has Made” in rainbow word-art text.

I’m finding that the My Treasure Chest series of blog-posts aren’t working for me, mostly because they end up being super long posts due to all the photos, which results in a huge list of photo items I have to describe. So, I figured if I break the Stim Toys down into smaller categories, that might make it more manageable. I have so many Stim Toys I want to talk about, but one of my favourite types are weighted items, like weighted soft toys or weighted bean-bags.

Image Description: a small bean bag made from grey, white and black tiger-print fur on one side and white-stars-on-purple flannelette on the other. It sits on top of light-grey and dark-grey striped blanket.

This is one is rectangle-shaped and it’s lavender-scented, I love the dual-fabric of this bean-bag, the white and black tiger-print fur is soft and fuzzy to touch, but I also like the feel of the white-stars-on-purple flannelette as well.

Image Description: a triangle-shaped bean-bag with a yellow tag at the end. The fabric is an olive green colour with brown monkeys printed on them.
Image Description: a triangle-shaped bean-bag with a green tag at the end. The fabric is orange with prints of Halloween creatures in numbered race cars. Think along the lines of Hanna Barbera Wacky Races meets The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Both these bean-bags are triangle-shaped and unscented, which is something I was super happy about. While I do enjoy and appreciate how Kim scents most of my items with lavender, the problem is that because those bean-bags are scented, I can’t take them outside the house, this is due to the fact that it could cause problems with people who have chemical sensitivities. While I like both of them, I’ve decided to put the second one in my on-the-go stim-toy-bag, the Halloween-style print is adorable and matches my Nightmare Before Christmas messenger-bag.

Image Description: a picture of Flossy (short for Fairy-Floss). Flossy is a light-pink chenille-duster that has had two black buttons and a red tongue attached, Flossy sits on top of light-grey and dark-grey striped blanket

This is Flossy (short for Fairy-Floss). Flossy is super soft to touch and if it weren’t for the fact I’m afraid of getting cat fur all over both of them, I’d probably carry Flossy and Contessa with me around the house (despite my best efforts, I still need to apply the lint-roller to Contessa on a regular basis). There’s just something incredibly soothing about patting Flossy, the lavender scent combining with the softness to make the process very stimmy and enjoyable.

If you’re looking into weighted plushies, I’d recommend a DIY attempt with a chenille duster or chenille mop-head. You can buy them online from K-Mart for AU $3 and as they’re cheap and easy to find, it doesn’t matter if you mess it up, you can always try again.

Image Description: a picture of Carrie. Carrie is a polar-bear weighted-plushie with a light-blue and pink party hat, pink blush-circles on both cheeks, wearing a stripped pink and green scarf with mulit-coloured triangles on her stomach. Carrie sits on top of a lime-green blanket.

This is Carrie, named in honour of Carrie Fisher. Kim informed me that they found Carrie in the Christmas themed section in K-Mart. I find this marketing campaign rather questionable, I mean, New Years Eve themed I could possibly understand, but Christmas themed? How the fuck is pink and green Christmas-themed? Regardless, this doesn’t make Carrie any less adorable, in fact it’s probably a good thing as I’m not a big fan of Christmas-themed things.

Image Description: a collection of weighted plushies sitting in an upright position on my navy-blue and golden fleur-de-lis patterned couch. From left to right, Daisy (yellow hedgehog sponge from Daiso), Carrie (a questionable Christmas-themed polar-bear), Contessa (pink-cat plushie with a yellow crown), Poppy (pink hedgehog sponge From Daiso) and in the center is Flossy (a light-pink chenille-duster with two black buttons and a red tongue attached)

Links:
~Eldritch Esoterica: Creatures From The Gutter
~Eldritch Esoterica: A pale-pink Creature From The Gutter emerges
~Eldritch Esoterica: DIY Stim Toy Collection
~Stim Toy Box: DIY Stim Toys Master Post One
~Stim Toy Box: DIY Stim Toys Master Post Two
~Stim Toy Box: Three Fat Quarters of Fabric from Lincraft
~The Spruce: How to Make a Bean Bag by Sherri Osborn
~Mama OT: DIY No-sew Bean-Bags

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