Creative Log: 12/23/22 (+Some Announcements)

Hello! It’s been, uh…a little while since I’ve done an update, huh? ;; I actually had one planned earlier this month, but I decided to put it off, and…well, considering almost a month has somehow passed, I think this is long overdue. If you follow my Twitter and have paid enough attention to my posts, you probably already know much of what I have to say here—but, even still, I have an announcement to make.

I announced about a week ago that I was planning on rereleasing String of Stardust: Volume One before the end of this year…and while it’s (probably?) possible to finish by then, it’s certainly not optimal. I’m noticing the burnout setting in: I’ve made some progress nearly every day, but the time I’ve found myself able to do so is shrinking; my mind is starting to wander more, as it’s taking a lot out of me to be so deeply hyperfocused on one project. I’m beginning to notice the pattern I fell into the last time I released SoS, where I threw myself into this delirious crunch. I was, indeed, able to make my deadline…at the cost of various things not being nearly as polished as I’d like, in addition to the inability to work on volume two in almost any capacity for six months. Considering this whole rerelease is about bringing SoS up to a standard I find more agreeable today, doing the same thing as last time and rushing through it seems…stupid, frankly. I want to keep up momentum, and I wish to carry that momentum as I transition back to working on volume two—I’m trying so hard not to just crash and burn like last time.

So when will SoS come out, then? Giving a specific date feels foolish, as I’ve already bungled that up twice; but still, I have enough confidence I can fulfill this that I will give it anyways—February 2nd!

For the record, I’m indeed farther along than that date would imply—I finished the main rewrite of SoS right at the very beginning of December, and I’m 65% through the very final round of edits, listening through text-to-speech to look for typos and such. Illustrations have been, admittedly, taking longer than I was anticipating, but I’m still about halfway through them as well. In addition to these, I’ve even managed to put in the extra content I was wanting—character portraits for the character index, and that small handful of short stories I mentioned the last time. While I question my ability to finish SoS by the end of the year, especially with the holidays and all, I think I can manage early-mid January rather easily.

So why wait until February? Well, part of that is because it’s very likely I’ll be able to open proper preorders through Barnes & Noble this way, as you need to have the finished manuscript in their system ten business days before the product goes live. The other part is, for very personal reasons I won’t divulge here…I can’t publish in January, I utterly refuse; any other month is fine, but January is wholly off-limits. As much as I hate putting this off even further, I hate the idea of publishing in January even more. So February it is!

There’s also some other news that I announced on Twitter and the Beloved Chronicles website that…a week out, now, I’m more conflicted on than when I first announced it. I decided to take my writing off the website, because having it gobbled up by the AI Content Machine is so hateful to me and, at the end of the day, my work isn’t necessarily for the masses…which is all true, and I still feel that way. But whether it’s the whole “autistic resistance to change” thing, or my idealism not wanting to perish that easily, I don’t know—but I am questioning if I want to go through with this decision after all.

As much as I find everything going on with AI right now truly awful, at the end of the day, everything I say on my website—and hell, likely everything I say here—will be gobbled up regardless. Sure, something like a random blog post isn’t as important to me as my life’s work…but my thoughts, my words, are still being used for something I find massively distasteful—and there’s nothing I can do about it except leave the internet, which isn’t a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Sure, I guess I can have the “gotcha” that they can’t easily get what I care about most…but how much does it even matter, at this point?

I am glad to have wisened up a bit, I suppose—because again, it’s still true that I never even thought about all this stuff going on right now as a possibility when I first put my writing online, in early 2019. It’s true that, by making it so easily accessible, I relinquish some of that control over my work which, I’ll be wholly honest, I’d like to have. But why did I ever insist on putting it online in the first place? Is it truly because I felt it needed to try to be everything for everyone, and get as Popular as possible? I don’t know—a little; I’ll admit I’m not the pinnacle of virtue. But…putting up your work for free by default is, in fact, broadly a terrible way to get people interested in it—and it certainly hasn’t made everyone simply go easier on it because they didn’t have to pay money for it.

Creatives deserve compensation for our work—but also, I think, there’s still such importance in art that’s freely available. I don’t blame anyone for not “taking one for the team,” as it were—especially for writers like myself, the amount we make is utterly pitiful (I fairly frequently make more off of single art commissions than I have from the entirety of my writing career), and I can’t blame anyone for taking what they can get. But also…I don’t know how I could ever feel properly compensated with all the work I’ve put in, and the idea of my work being worth a few sodas is…depressing, to say the least.

While it’s not set in stone, maybe—I think you can see where I’m leaning towards, when the hysteria dies down a little and my logic starts setting in. Sharing my work like this has been important to me for a very long time, especially since…to be frank, it really is quite difficult to find good original fiction online. I’ve noticed that webfiction in particular tends to be populated by people who don’t care about prose as an art form, who don’t read books and don’t want to, but rather wish they were making something in a different medium instead. Whether my work is good or not—well, that’s for you to decide. But…I can at least say I try my damnedest to make something of quality, and that I like novels as an art form.

Sorry for the somewhat long and rambly post, but hopefully it expresses everything I wanted to well enough. Clearly, I’ve been having a bit of an odd time creatively—simultaneously I’ve been quite productive, and very proud of my output…but also, I’ve certainly been at a crossroads of sorts. Hopefully things will start stabilizing from here.

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