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Flowers and Spring and Writing



I've been trying so hard to take positivity from the fresh air and new life - the green leaves and flowers - but warm weather brings on my seasonal depression far more than winter. I think it's because it's so beautiful outside that I feel such a disconnect from everything around me. Just like holidays, I feel the pressure to be happy. And because of that, I actually feel worse. But I am trying.

Writing has also been tough lately. I'm more anxious about how my current WIPs will be received than I was about my first book's release in 2015. Self-doubt is killing my creativity on a regular basis over the last year, and I don't know what to do. I've certainly had writing anxiety before, but it has never happened with such intensity and frequency. It never really got in the way of my work. Until now.

In a way, I think all the interacting I'm trying to do with other writers on Twitter has been draining me and making me doubt myself more. I appreciate the idea of community, but as with a lot of social things - or maybe all social things - I often feel more alone when I try to connect, and fail. My process is so different from most of the other writers. And that's totally fine. But I don't know. Finding a community just never really works for me. I always feel on the outside looking in.

I've learned a lot from listening to other writers talk about issues in writing and publishing. And for that, I'm grateful. But constantly worrying about whether those people would approve of my stories has been making me so sick that I cannot work. And it's not their fault. That's just where my anxiety takes me. The other writers have been kind and supportive. But it's all very casual, and that's not the connection I'm craving. And any socializing is incredibly draining to me, so it has to be worth it.

What's the right amount of casual socializing for me? I don't know. Some of the discussions have been really enjoyable and motivating. But writing, to me, is about feeling immersed in story and characters. I want to discuss story... not writing, if that makes sense. I want to connect with another writer one-on-one. But it has to be the right match. And I don't know where to find that any more than any other deep connection with another human being.

My birthday is coming up in about a month. This tends to trigger emotional crashes. So, maybe I should pull away for a while. Get immersed back into story instead of all the technical examinations of writing. That's what I want to do. But I don't want to lose the little bit of connection I have found, since it's so rare.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
starswan
Apr. 24th, 2017 08:01 am (UTC)
Lovely flowers! :O Bulbs <33
You released Magic Inc! That is such a cool achievement. :) I remember when you were still fleshing it out. (back before I became scarce. Sorry about that, btw. I had a really rough 2016 mentally. :/)

I want to discuss story... not writing, if that makes sense.

This makes sense. Talking about writing to me is like talking about quantum physics. It sort of happens, but you cannot analyze "why" too closely. I know people go on about developing a writing habit, which I have in the past, but I still am not always sure where the words come from. And you can't seem to see them coming beforehand.

Talking about settings can be somewhat inspirational. Close enough to the story to be relevant but just vague enough to not feel too specific? I am not sure if that makes sense. I can never be specific when someone asks what something I am writing is about because it seems very clear and detailed in my head but so vast and nebulous outside of it, like where do you even start?

/babble

I try celebrating my birthday the weekend before or after like I am coming at it sideways, otherwise it tends to attract weird family drama. I don't know how you feel about it, but people can make a big deal about birthdays without necessarily meaning to until it is no longer fun or about you anymore, merely stressful. And bad jokes like "haha! You are a year older! haha!" o_O

*skitters off*

fireflys_locket
Apr. 24th, 2017 03:17 pm (UTC)
Yep. I released Magic Inc. Sometimes I can hardly believe it, myself. I'm actually halfway through writing Magic Inc. Book Two now. And supremely nervous about it. Though not quite as nervous as I am about another book I'm writing, Dreaming in Shadow, which deals with a lot of dark themes.

I'm sorry about your rough 2016. <3 Mine was not great, either, honestly. You don't need to apologize! But I was actually just thinking about the conversation we had about classical music the other day. So, it's sort of synchronistic that you're back now.

My writing "habit" is just waiting for the words to find me. The other writers on Twitter seem to find that baffling. Always saying, "If I waited for inspiration, I would never write." Or something like that. But I wrote, revised, edited, and published a book with that method. Plus, I have two other books in revision and half of Book Two written. So, yeah, I get that not everyone can work like I can because of deadlines or limited writing time or whatever... but stuff like that makes it hard for me to relate to other writers. Not just on Twitter, but everywhere.

I think I've found more kinship in creative people who are not writers (or for whom writing isn't their main thing) than I have with other writers, for the most part. There seems to be this set of "rules" writers always throw around, and it frustrates me. I don't think there's just one right way to write. Or just one right way to do anything.

I get upset on my birthday because it's symbolizing another year that's gone past without finding any real companionship or fulfillment in my life. Each year that goes by leaves me feeling more alone. Losing touch with more old friends. Worrying about someday losing my Mom and being totally helpless. The thought of that is paralyzing. Why even try now, if I know the future is looming like a black hole waiting to swallow me up. I've gone through dark periods before. The darkest you can without ending up in the hospital. But I've only avoided that because I've had my Mom always beside me. I can't even leave the house without her or some other trusted person. I can't drive. I have no way to really take care of myself.

Sorry for getting dark there. But yeah, you can see where birthdays take me very clearly from that. My anxiety can easily become a living nightmare.
starswan
Apr. 26th, 2017 04:40 am (UTC)
Dreaming in Shadow . What a pretty title :D!

I think that 2016 sucked in general, from what I hear from just about everyone.

So, it's sort of synchronistic that you're back now.

Life always eerily seems to work that way.... at least in my experiences. o.o

I think that is the mentality behind NaNo: Just write.I know we have had this conversation before. The whole thing where you write every day no matter how much of a mess it seems and how bizarrely it meanders coming out. I like to write every day, but definitely not story-related things. For me, I find writing about anything but the story can help me find my way back. But I can't seem to shut up even in type. XD ....and be quiet with my thoughts. What am I talking about? I have no quiet thoughts.

I agree that inspiration is important. When I am reading books, I can always tell where the author was particularly inspired or what/who really matters to them within their story because that is always consistently where the writing shines the brightest, where they hit their stride. I am greedy and want it to all be like that.

I don't think there's just one right way to write. Or just one right way to do anything.

Me neither. Apparently, even though people go on about bow hold, there is not just one right way for that either. It depends on your hands and finger length etc. Seems obvious but I never thought about it until I started to (try to) play violin.

I am sorry about your dark thoughts and worries :(. I have similar thoughts. I lost more friends this past year and it was utterly crushing. (And stupid and ridiculous but I won't go into details). I weirdly keep hoping every year even when the past proves to be rather gloomy. I am not sure why. I was in a really dark place about four years ago and I never want to go back. Hmm. And rent is ridiculous.
I joked with some friends (when we were speaking) about getting a house with a bunch of people so it would be affordable but without enough of your own space, other people can drive you bonkers. I know some folks who have a nice place and only one roommate and they are always complaining about something. And I am just like, "Do you even know how lucky you are???" Anyway. Yeah. I can relate a little bit. I hope that your mum is fine for many years to come. :)

Yes, in this society with its issues, a birthday is less a celebration of your being here and more of a "Oh wow, you are older! What are you doing with your life?:P" Like, gee thanks. </3
fireflys_locket
Apr. 26th, 2017 03:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I love the title, too. And if you're interested, I can put you in the Google Doc for it. But if you don't like dark stuff or don't have time, that's okay.

I've always had issues with NaNo. And we probably have talked about it before. I couldn't handle the emotional strain of writing everyday, and I know from experience that my writing isn't very good if I force it out. I think NaNo can help people who struggle to get a whole book finished because they get so caught up in editing as they go along that they don't move forward. I used to be like that when I first started writing and for a handful of years later.

But I've gotten into a pretty comfortable relationship with writing and editing now. I've decided that editing a little as I go is good, but that in general I want to keep my story raw and emotional rather than over-edited. Obviously, I will go over everything when I'm done to check for typos, errors, and messy sentences. But yeah, I find that you can lose some of the emotion if you rework your writing too much. I want a balance between polished and raw.

Inspiration comes into that, too. If I'm inspired, my writing is more likely to come out emotional and with a natural shine. It doesn't need as much polishing to stand out. Then there are sections of the book that need to be there for technical reasons but don't have a lot of emotion backing them. Those are the parts I struggle with the most. Reworking and reworking... and never quite feel happy with it.

Yeah, I imagine living with a bunch of people would be very stressful and full of drama. (And not the fun kind of drama like when I throw of bunch of people together on The Sims!) I just live with my Mom and Step-Dad. But my Step-Dad and I don't get along, and to be honest... he scares me. Even though he's never done anything violent, exactly. He just gets mad and yells. And not as much as he used to. But I don't really want to get into that.

Yep. What are you doing with your life? I mean, I'm writing, and I do get meaning out of that, but... only so much when no one is reading. And without close relationships in my life, nothing really feels like it matters.
starswan
May. 15th, 2017 02:55 am (UTC)
Sorry for the late reply. Life has been ridiculous the past two weeks, mostly just mental health stressful. :S

I love dark stuff actually. .__. <3

I think NaNo can help people who struggle to get a whole book finished because they get so caught up in editing as they go along that they don't move forward.

I agree. It helped me one year to get something started.

but that in general I want to keep my story raw and emotional rather than over-edited.

Yes! It ruins the flow too sometimes if you pick at it.

I am a proponent of catching a wave of inspiration and busting your butt for as long as you can ride it. The difference between inspiration and grinding things out day to day is noticeable. I have a problem with perpetually picking at things afterward.

He just gets mad and yells.
D: Yeah. I am around someone who is always leaking out bits of anger and because they are quiet (and muttering) they do not perceive it as "getting angry" and then accuse me of getting angry muchly when it builds to the point that I just can't really absorb anymore. I try not to be around them too often. Not ideal. I would rather someone confronted me with something then open and close things aggressively and huff and move erratically. o_O I hope I did not babble too much there.

And without close relationships in my life, nothing really feels like it matters.

This. :/ I am trying not to get into a the cycle of Being Inspired, Something Happens, Feeling Down, Feeling Bad because I did not Get More Writing Done. Perhaps meditating would be good. Focusing and forgetting negative things can be tricky.

I hope your week is going alright. :)
fireflys_locket
May. 15th, 2017 03:11 pm (UTC)
I'm with you on the mental health stress. I'm trying to stay away from triggers, but it's hard. Sorry you've had to deal with it, too.

I added you to Dreaming in Shadow. Feel free to read and comment whenever you like. But no pressure!

I will definitely try to get as much out of a big wave of inspiration as I can. I have weeks where I make tons of progress. And other weeks where I can barely get a few paragraphs out. But eventually, it gets done.

Babbling is fine. <3 I do it, too.

Ugh. What you described happens to me all the time. When things go well for a while and then stop, I get frustrated with myself that I didn't get more done. Sometimes the pressure just overwhelms me the more I get done for a while. Like, if I can get this much done, I should be able to do even more. And then I exhaust myself.

The only way I've ever been able to meditate is to do the opposite of what they typically tell you to do. I can't "empty my mind". That just invites anxiety. But if I focus on something positive intensely, I can sometimes get a peaceful feeling. It can even help me to get inspired occasionally. Always have music on, too. Silence scares me.
starswan
May. 21st, 2017 06:14 pm (UTC)
I thought I had replied to this but I had not. That is worrying. XD Well, my head space has been better the last couple of days. I feel like May is slipping away in a weird rush. I saw! I am eager to have a look now that I am slightly more articulate. (I rearranged every pot on the patio and that seemed to help. It feels better out there. I am hoping to perk up my container garden despite the heat.)

Like, if I can get this much done, I should be able to do even more. And then I exhaust myself.

Oh yeah. Those are the times when I barely sleep. .__.

Mhm. "Emptying" the mind is impossible. I know that some folks enter some sort of delta state where there is next to no discernible activity but it is almost like being in a deep sleep whilst still technically conscious and very few people ever make it that far. I think you have to meditate for years and years. >.>
I generally let the "noise" wash over me.

Always have music on, too. Silence scares me.

It bothers me as well. I always have this Harry Potter white noise on in the background on my computer or else sea waves and the like if I do not have music playing. I need *something* or else I can't focus and it is just eerie.
I lived in a house in a quiet neighborhood once and it was so strange. I was so used to pipe noise, the neighbors, music playing in another room on the other side of a wall, traffic. I have mostly lived in flats. I had trouble sleeping in the quiet house.
fireflys_locket
May. 22nd, 2017 04:19 am (UTC)
I feel like the whole year is flying by, even though it's also been so exhausting and dragging on with the same triggers coming up again and again. I feel like I'm making no progress. And not just in a grand sense, which is how I always feel, but even in a smaller sense. I feel so stuck.

I've been going through cabinets and getting rid of old stuff lately. I think organization is a common way of dealing with stress. Trying to gain control of at least some small sliver of your life. I'm sure it feels even better tending to living plants because then there is a healing aspect from nature. I guess I need to get back into gardening again.

I think I've heard the Harry Potter ambient noise before. Ocean waves are nice as well. I had a small thunderstorm playing the other day while I was writing Town of Raindrops because I didn't have music for that scene and it seemed to fit. Ambient noise can be great.

City noise would bother me a lot, though. Just imagining people living on the other side of my wall is scary! But I can imagine it would be weird being away from it if it's what you were used to. If my house is too quiet, I jump at every creak. That's why I need music or the TV in the background.
starswan
Jun. 5th, 2017 04:17 pm (UTC)
I feel like I'm making no progress. And not just in a grand sense, which is how I always feel, but even in a smaller sense. I feel so stuck.

:(

Nature! My patio garden looks really good for the first time in ages. Even when I do not manage other things quite, I am managing to water things.

I hope your birthday was not too bad. <3

This site is really cool too: https://mynoise.net/noiseMachines.php

I sort of liked the city noise because it felt like I was out somewhere which made hanging out at home seem somehow less pointless if I had not really gone anywhere lately except to work or the grocery store. Oh, yeah. When I lived in a house there were always noises and bizarre things I was not easily able to explain considering the next house was not all that close.... did not like it. It was seriously eerie.


I hope things are going well this week :)
It has been very hard to focus. I have not practiced violin this weekend. Writing things down To Do but so far I keep getting distracted by stressful things. Even though I know that there is nothing I can do about certain things and that doing the other things would make me feel better, I am a little stuck. Trying to slowly ameliorate the situation.

I really need to post something.
fireflys_locket
Jun. 5th, 2017 05:29 pm (UTC)
Managing to water things is pretty good in my book. It rained quite a bit here yesterday, so I shouldn't have to water today. But I forget a lot. My Aunt and I planted some seeds outside Thursday. It was nice. I picked out some irises to plant this fall as well.

The birthday was very busy, but that kept me distracted. So, in a way, that was good. But it's a week later, and I'm still tired out from last weekend. I've been trying to get a lot of projects done around the house right now because my Mom is off for a week and a half, so she can help me. But I haven't really gotten to recover from the party, or have a day just to myself. My birthday party is always more for my family than for me. I'd just choose an all day video gaming session if it were up to me. That's what I do on most holidays, anyhow.

But I did treat myself to some Harry Potter digital audio books that I've been listening to on my phone when I'm in the shower and other spare moments. It's been enchanting! I haven't reread the books since the movies ended, so it's been far too long.

Ooh, thank you for the noise machine! I gravitated towards the Healing Water one. Maybe I'll try that next time I want to write. :)

Sorry that you are feeling stressed and stuck, too. I think we need to just give ourselves small assignments to work on, so that we can feel like we're getting something accomplished and don't get too overwhelmed. I'm going to sort through some books today with my Mom.
starswan
Aug. 2nd, 2017 07:58 pm (UTC)
Work et al has been very crazy and stressful this past month. I hope you are doing well!

Is the weather pretty hot where you are in Summer? We are going through another heat wave out here. My birthday is in about a month and I am already planning on avoiding it directly. Figured I would do something *not* on my birthday, try to be sneaky. See if that works.

Audiobooks are lovely! You can just sit and relax and listen. :) I just reread the first two HP books. I'm starting to feel a little less stuck now (now I'm just stuck indoors in the air conditioning when I am not going somewhere. -_-) Do you get rid of books? I used to be very severe about not wanting to let books go so I would stack them in a corner, but I am starting to think that that isn't very reasonable after all. I could give them away.
fireflys_locket
Aug. 3rd, 2017 03:04 pm (UTC)
I'm still not doing great creatively, but I'm starting to see the signs of wanting to go back to it. It's just been really hard to get out of the mindset of writing now being an obligation and the fear of how my new work will be received. I want to go back to writing just because I love it and worrying about the publishing part when I'm done.

It's been hot here a lot, lots of 80-something days, but some places have it way worse. Still, 80 is already way too hot for me, so I don't go out much. I did visit a local Potter Fest last weekend, which was crazy busy and super overwhelming. It took so much out of me that I'm not entirely sure it was worth it. A lot of the HP stuff was already sold out by the time we got there.

Good luck with the birthday! I hope you figure out how to do what you want, not what others want for you!

I basically get rid of any book I can't ever see myself rereading or referring back to. If I'm not sure right after I read something, I'll keep it for a little while. Then I glance through my shelves a few times a year. Anything I get rid of, I donate to the library where my Mom works. It feels good passing books onto people who may enjoy them more than I did. But don't get rid of books just to get rid of them. I did that once, and I regretted it. Had to buy my own book back from the library book sale. Haha.
starswan
Nov. 2nd, 2017 09:47 pm (UTC)
I hope that you are doing better creatively! Sorry for the rather long absence. I had a crazy new job situation and a bit of stress. It is still active-ish though I am not sure where it is going or for how long. Trying to write in between has been a bit challenging also.
Hmm. yes. I can see that. Sometimes I miss writing as an obligation because then you Have to Do It. But it also seems a bit rough because of the worrying and the lack of choice as you said. I cannot imagine having an actual audience. That must be kind of exciting as well as stressful. <3

Is Fall going well? At least the weather is nicer. I am hoping November is less crazy than October. My birthday itself went well! I felt a little wobbly but I got to do nice things and nobody freaked out or tried to drag me off to something. I got some books that I now feel guilty about reading because I ought to be writing more. :)

I am going to take your advice and do a book purge sometime. I am running out of room and lately I have abandoned books that I could not get through for whatever reason. I just did not like the style, was disappointed, and not enjoying them. The library here has a box. Maybe not this weekend as it is supposed to rain, but I should donate some more. Our library is small and things are always out so maybe someone would want these. Maybe to avoid rebuying, I will put certain books on probation and see if I change my mind when I revisit the plot later.

I hope you are taking care and getting some things done but also enjoying the process!

NaNo has started but I am side-eyeing it. Might use it as an excuse to write but not setting crushing word count goals.
fireflys_locket
Nov. 2nd, 2017 11:17 pm (UTC)
I did have a bit of a creative breakthrough this week. Finally started allowing myself to be vulnerable in my work again. It was very scary. But I'm also frightened it will not last and that I'll fall back into self-doubt. I guess we'll see. Autumn does suit me better than summer, so I usually get a bit more energy to work with, and I'm trying to focus and not listen to all the noises around me that I translate into fear of being judged.

I really do not have an audience as of yet. I have family members and friends who've bought the book. (Some of whom haven't actually read it.) And a few people who gave reviews on free copies we sent out. That's about it. I've only sold a couple to total strangers. No idea if they ended up reading or liking the book.

Never feel guilty about reading! Taking in inspiration from other books and art is all part of the process. Reading sometimes puts me in the mood to spin my own words. Maybe you could try a short reading session and then a short writing session right after.

I have long been open about my distaste for NaNo. Haha. But if you can channel it into a way to work without giving yourself anxiety, that's great! I was never able to make it work for me in any way. Too much pressure, and I never liked the whole "shitty first draft" approach. *Shrugs* But it just depends on each writer's process. Some people do better throwing it all together and editing a whole bunch afterward.

If you get some work done on something you're really liking, I'd be happy to read it! <3
starswan
Nov. 28th, 2017 06:54 pm (UTC)
I think we can safely say that I did not finish NaNo this year, considering it is the 28th. :) I was not really aiming to, though I thought that I would write more. Your advice is amazing and I have been taking it: reading a bit, writing, reading. It is working rather well! Thank you! I do not have much, but if I have something a bit more sizable, I will keep your offer to look at it in mind. <3

I did have a bit of a creative breakthrough this week.

I hope that is still going well! I have yet to go read your most recent entry.
I need to read your book. I am going to see if I can get it for Xmas >.> I haven't gotten anything in months out of necessity to save, aside from what I was given for my birthday, but I read a sample online and liked what I was reading. Magic is my jam. Fantasy is quite nice, but I find that I like magic in a more everyday setting/set in the usual-ish world. Depends on my mood. Magic in an everyday setting is rather tantalizing.

Reading sometimes puts me in the mood to spin my own words.

Definitely :).
fireflys_locket
Nov. 28th, 2017 07:57 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad I could help in some way! That method does really work well for me. I also try writing after watching movies sometimes. The visual nature of movies ignites a different part of my creative brain. Reading seems to help with getting descriptive bits right and pushing through parts that need to be written to get to the next "exciting" scene. Movies seem to work well with scenes that need to have a lot of emotional impact. And of course, there's always music! Listening to a story playlist for a while (with little to no distractions) is a great way to get yourself ready for writing. I think of it as almost a form of meditation/visualization, honestly. It helps with my anxiety, too.

I was derailed a little last week because I got so tired from going out. And I didn't even do that much compared to most people during a holiday week. I was mostly just feeding my Aunt's cats while she was away. But I did have a busy errand day on Wednesday as well. So, yeah. I was tired. But I think I'll be able to get back on track this week. I feel like the signs are pointing me toward continuing to plant the seeds and water them. That I am on my right path after all.

Oh, gosh. Well, I hope you like it if you end up getting a copy! I also tend to prefer modern settings for magic instead of being set in a completely different world. I like mixing the magic with everyday life, and in fact, Magic Inc. is way more about real life that just happens to have magic in it. It's about going to school and feeling like an outcast, being desperately in love with someone you can't have, and finding yourself through story. Oh, yeah... and you happen to be taking magic lessons twice a week. Haha. I've actually gotten comments about the story being too slow or having magic in the title as being misleading. But I always say, it's more about the "Inc." than the magic. It's the office building that plays the biggest role in shaping Jane's journey. And the intentions behind Mr. Parker creating Magic Inc. in the first place.
starswan
Dec. 4th, 2017 04:06 am (UTC)
Ah, yes. I do that also, watch films when I am thinking about writing or as a media switch to inspire me. I recently discovered how hard it can be to write without music or even something like rain in the background. Discovering something "new" that you have not heard before is so exciting! I have written up a storm whilst listening to the same few things on repeat. Music brings more images to mind for me and excitement than even films!

I feel like the signs are pointing me toward continuing to plant the seeds and water them. That I am on my right path after all.

Oh good! :D

I like mixing the magic with everyday life, and in fact, Magic Inc. is way more about real life that just happens to have magic in it.

I like this. If a story relies too much on the unusual elements, then that is where I feel like the entire thing suffers because in the end it really is about the characters. I tried reading a popular series with magic , a trilogy, and it just....fell flat for me. One character was utterly robbed imo. Such an interesting backstory and then...nothing. :/ Magic second, characters first XD
Well, characters first. I am certain not everyone agrees there.

"too slow" is usually a good sign for me. I hate how some stories do not even introduce a setting, just blam! you are right in the mess. .... with these random people you do not even know and cannot relate to.

Holidays. Tis the season to have my relatives try to entice me to eat meat and loads of dairy. XD
I read that you are vegetarian. My mother wants a ham for xmas and I do not want to eat it. I might just eat everything else and not that. I am vegetarian but trying to go back to mostly vegan. I can't handle milk and cheese. It weighs me down. I'll eat eggs and I have various other sources of protein and nutrients.

/food babble

Hope your week is going well!
fireflys_locket
Dec. 4th, 2017 02:25 pm (UTC)
A steady stream of new music is very good for my writing. And I enjoy a fairly large range of genres, so it's not hard to find something new. And I'm with you. I have a similar visual impact from music under the right circumstances. When I was a teenager, it was so vivid and unexpected that I would call them visions. Which freaked out my friends. But I sort of liked that. I was already the weird girl. Why not lean in on it? Haha.

It really depends on what the reader is looking for. To one person, a story may be too slow because there's not enough "action". But to another person, an action-filled story might feel meaningless because you don't know the characters well enough to care. I find action scenes tedious to read, boring to watch, and very difficult to write. Give me a scene where characters are having a deep conversation, and I'm enraptured. But it all just depends on what you're looking for. My book won't be the right fit for some readers, and that's totally okay. I just hope it will eventually find the right readers to appreciate it. ^_^;

I've been a vegetarian since I was twelve, so family members are long used to the fact that they will never get me to eat meat. You just have to stand firm in your choice. What you put in your body is your choice, and they have no say in it. What's harder for people with me is that I also try to stay away from rennet in cheese, gelatin in yogurt, and other such meat byproducts in other foods. It's hard enough for me to keep track of all the ingredients to watch out for, especially when some ingredients could be from a plant OR animal source. So, you can't necessarily expect family members to do that. But a simple thing like no meat or dairy is easy to understand. I would try to make or bring something you want to eat to make sure all your needs are met if other people don't respect your choices. Eventually they'll catch on that you're serious.

Holidays are hard. I usually opt out of them as much a possible, honestly. But I have a lot going on this month (for me). Not really looking forward to most of it. I'd rather just go into hibernation. Cut off most of the outside world for awhile and concentrate on writing. And playing lots of Mario Odyssey!
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