New names

I’ve already decided on new pen names. Well, one is new, and the other is one I’ve been using for a while.

From now on, Lee Lacaille-Xing is the name I will be using for my science-fiction writing, and Li Zhilong is the name I will be using for fantasy writing.

With that has come a bunch of username changes! My Twitter is now @selenicseas instead of JayArgall, and most account names that were jayargall have been changed to selenicseas as well.

This website will stay jayargall.com for the time being. When it’s time to renew the domain, I will probably change it to something like paperdragonthoughts; I haven’t quite decided yet.

State of the Blog: February 2022

You may notice that there haven’t been any blog posts for the past two weeks. I have genuinely been too busy to write – not just blog posts, but anything. I’ve barely even had time to engage with any hobby. Not only has my day job been on mandatory overtime since the beginning of the year, but I’ve also started the house-hunting process! While I’m happy to have extra money and look for a permanent place to live, it’s genuinely taking up a lot of my time. All I want to do in my free time now is vegetate.

Now on to the actual blog-related stuff.

Let’s Make a Conlang is on hold for now. I genuinely don’t know what I want to do with Soleisu. I’m not too happy with the conlang as it is right now and I think I want to revamp it, but like I mentioned above, free time is a luxury I don’t have much of.

I have notes on blog posts I want to write. Those notes have been sitting in a Google doc for over a year now and I need to do something with them. There’s no reason (aside from the aforementioned lack of free time) that I can’t write them up. Some of these posts are about writing, and some are about various other topics.

Blog posts will be on Fridays from now on. The only reason a Monday/Wednesday/Friday post schedule worked last year was because I had a huge backlog of posts. Now I don’t. One post every Friday is something I’m sure I can handle, at least until I run out of things to write about.┬áThis doesn’t include the Recommendations and Writing Update posts. Those are staying at the end of the month.

Drawing as a kid and as an adult

I did so much drawing as a kid. If I wasn’t reading, I was drawing. Most of what I drew wasn’t “finished” in any sense of the words – they were drawings of animals and characters I made up, all done in pencil on cheap printer paper or in notebooks. I only started doing “finished” work when I started drawing on the computer – and really only after I got my first tablet.

I produced hundreds of “doodles” from the ages of 3-11. This only happened because I was a kid; I had zero responsibilities and endless free time. There was no reason I couldn’t draw to my heart’s content.

Now, as an adult, I have all sorts of things at my attention and very little free time, so making time for drawing is a bit of a luxury. And I often want to spend the free time I have on other things – writing, reading, playing video games. If I choose to do one of those, then I don’t have time to draw.

Additionally, most of what I draw now are “finished” pieces. I don’t do much doodling/sketching anymore unless I’m figuring out character designs or doing concept art. There’s an actual reason for this: in my late teens, I decided that I drew too much of one thing (people standing around) and not others – backgrounds, landscapes, etc. I decided to work on drawing other things so I could improve at them. It worked, but with the result of my art taking longer than it used to since I was adding more to each piece.

I think what I need to do to get out of my drawing slump is go back to “simpler” art. As much as I really want to draw elaborate things, I simply don’t have the patience for it – and such things are often easier to paint instead of draw.

Here’s hoping I seriously get back into drawing this year.

2022 Goals

I’ve had some time to think about what I want to accomplish in 2022 and…this is the only concrete thing I’ve managed to come up with that’s related to writing:

Finish writing Samael. I am about one-third to halfway finished with outlining the story right now. If I focus on outlining for the next few months – until April, at least – I should be able to finish the outline and focus solely on writing Samael for the rest of the year.

Here are some of my other goals:

Create 1 piece of art per week (or 52 total). This is something I failed at completely in 2021. I like art, and I want to post art regularly on this blog. This is off to a decent start, as I have an art post coming up this Friday.

Get through my reading backlog. I’ve been slowly accumulating ebooks (there are around 40 at the moment) through Tor.com’s ebook club and buying StoryBundles. I also have a stack of at least 7 paper books on my bookshelf. Have I had time to read any of these books? No. I need to set aside some time each day and actually read a few chapters.

Get through my video game backlog. In 2021, I set a goal of playing 6 new video games. I played one new game: Cat Quest. Then I replayed KoTOR and the Mass Effect Trilogy. While I’m probably going to replay Mass Effect again this year, it’s not going to be my focus. That will be the unplayed games in my Steam library. An the GOG library. And the Epic Games library.

Get through my watchlist. Since I’m now subscribed to a few streaming services, I have a lot to watch…which I haven’t really been making any progress with. Unlike the reading and video games, this stuff costs me money every month, so I thought I wouldn’t be procrastinating…but I am. I want everything cleared out by the end of the year except for ongoing series.

And in things more related to my personal life:

Try 6 new restaurants. This was also a goal I had last year; I actually tried 8 new places. Some were pretty good, and some weren’t. I want to continue this. There are still a ton of places I want to check out and haven’t had the chance to.

Finish buying new clothes. I started the process of replacing my old clothes last year when I had to throw out most of my socks. The bulk of that is done, but I still need a few more things.

Buy a house? This is something that may or may not happen. I have a good credit score and a lot of money saved up so I doubt getting a mortgage will be a problem, but actually finding a place to buy is going to be difficult.

2021 in Review

What did I manage to accomplish in 2021?

Finished writing The Land of Two Moons. This happened in February, and is one of the only “actual” resolutions I made at the end of 2020. The story is done! I’ve posted all of it on this website as well as a reflection post and some information about the world.

Started rewriting Samael. Although I didn’t win NaNoWriMo, I got further in the story than I ever have before. I haven’t finished the outline – which was one of my December 2021 goals – but that will be done in 2022. Hopefully I’ll finish writing Samael in 2022 as well.

Wrote 161 blog posts. This is more blog posts than the previous 6 years combined. As it turns out, I have quite a bit to say about various things. I started writing about things other than writing again; I wrote reviews, started a series of posts called “Nostalgia Time”, wrote about my conlangs, started a series of recommendation posts, and started the Let’s Make a Conlang series.

Cleaned up most of my conlangs. This was mostly done by the end of May. I standardized the documentation and dictionaries for my conlangs, as they were a serious mess. This was what allowed me to start writing blog posts about my conlangs in the first place.

Read 1003 individual things. I set out to clear out my reading list, and along with the new stuff that was released each month, I ended up reading A LOT of things. My original goal was only to read 365 things, but I hit that back in May. This is the breakdown per month:

  • January: 52
  • February: 76
  • March: 93
  • April: 94
  • May: 63
  • June: 51
  • July: 71
  • August: 63
  • September: 78
  • October: 120
  • November: 96
  • December: 146

Got a new job and a credit card. After some nonsense with a job that was supposed to start in January but didn’t, I got a new job! Also, I did get a credit card and am using solely to pay for streaming services and online purchases.

There will be a post next Wednesday on what I intend to accomplish in 2022. My goals are still pretty vague at the moment. Hopefully I’ll manage to come up with something concrete by then!