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Aug 31, 2023: the value of a good self-insert

since finally falling off the ffxiv hyperfixation train, my big creative focus has been my self-insert project. it's a story i started writing with no expectations or standards, just a wish fulfilment fantasy where my fursona hangs out with other cool furries and has a good time. i'm not sure how long i've had this project kicking around - the earliest timestamps i can find go back to 2018 or so. like with most of my big projects, i tend to work on this one for a few months at a time, then leave it alone for nearly a year, maybe occasionally picking at it. but in the past two months i've really ramped up on it. scrivener tracks how many words you've written each day and month. in the past, on productive months, i've been able to do 10k-20k words. but this past july i wrote 32k, and in august i've already more than doubled that. that's a whole nanowrimo! i wrote a nano without even trying!

it's really hard to say whether this is an effect of the various medications i've been testing out over the past two months, given that there are a lot of external factors, including ffxiv having taken over the first half of my year as well as the extreme stress i was dealing with in that same timespan. ffxiv was my escape then; this project is what i use now.

i've always been a little reluctant to talk about this project much because it is intrinsically extremely personal. the most i would say is that i'm writing a self-insert and i recommend the practice to anyone who's at all interested. but i'm also incapable of not talking about myself at any given opportunity, and lately i've decided to just embrace it. i'm making dozens of imaginary friends and hanging out with them and you bet i'm having the time of my life. i'm embracing the ability to explore scenarios i can't in real life for one reason or another. i'm taking advantage of the fact that i have created a controlled environment where there are no surprises that throw my plans into disarray. i'm embracing the pure joy of creating for the sake of creating, with no concerns about how it will present to others. and that freedom to work within my own world lets me write without inhibitions.

word count sometimes seems superfluous because whatever, it's just numbers, but it is also true that there's no better way to improve than to just Do. most of the story is made up of little snippets that can stand alone, but as the project grows bigger, i start to find the overarching lines: character development, story arcs, thoughts and feelings that develop over a long period of time. though this is a low-stakes story with very little in the way of true conflict, there's still plenty of places to find interesting liens to follow. and when i do that, i can feel myself getting better at writing. i've never had problems with spelling and grammar, a reasonable amount of vocabulary, describing stuff, simple conflict and resolution... it's the long game where i struggle, and it's much harder to practice that because of the sheer scope. so this project is perfect for doing that.

the project currently sits at just under 260k words. i've never really had a goal for it besides "add more content" and "patch up the dozens of WIP marks i've left everywhere," but now i have set myself a goal: reach or exceed 366k words, the length of my epic serial high school fanfic. there's no timeline set for this. i don't think i'm going to write 60k words every month. but i'll get there just by virtue of having a good time.