Blog #1 — Of Angels: Grace and Work – The Wandering Inn

Blog #1 — Of Angels: Grace and Work

I swore that I would write a blog post despite knowing full well that most readers do not necessarily want to read what is essentially Author’s Notes in a more engaging form.

Some do. What’s my % of people who’d read this instead of my chapters? 10%? 30%?

I doubt the enjoyment is at the level of a chapter, though. And yet, I promised I would. One reason is because my Assistant, who helps me with many things I cannot do, like talk to people, schedule things, and keep track of projects and emails, has a working relationship with me.

Which means they send me things they think I should learn. Like TV shows, movies, good essays on Youtube or…what I sometimes appreciate, and sometimes don’t, but frankly, means I trust their opinion a bit.

Such as Mean Girls. I didn’t really know the movie. They made me watch it. I really liked it. Anyways, the point isn’t about my forced exposure to new media.

They keep sending me authorly essays by their favorite author of all time: Ilona Andrews. So I’ve seen that at least some people do read these things, and there is a part of me that wants to communicate with the world outside of Author’s Notes. At the same time, if every author thinks in the back of their mind their words will be engraved on a mountain and studied by junior authors…bleh. Perhaps that’s self-projection, but that’s what I’ll try to avoid.


Anyways, the main reason I decided to write this is because I realized my Author’s Notes are kind of…a downer. I write them at the tail end of each writing cycle, and from reading them, I have had readers concerned for my health and convinced I am constantly dying.

Which I am, after finishing chapters. I put my all into them. And the Author’s Note comes at the end most of the time, so unless I’m literally polishing up a chapter, I am almost always tired. This is an update from near the end of my break/editing cycle to tell you I’m well and happy and the world is good.


I’m not…burnt out or exhausted. I’m stressed by revising Gravesong 2, now named Huntsong, the 500,000 something book that is becoming a wall of effort. I get closer and closer to finally breaking through it and being able to send it off for publishing—but I might have to take more time on it.


Which brings me to my first realization: I’m not burnt out. I just hate revising, and it’s a huge amount of words to revise.

Let me explain. During the first week of my break, I was tired. I had nightmares. I was burnt out in a very real sense; if you asked me to write, I could, but I’d be unhappy and the quality would be low.

My recent arc about Orjin also made me guilty, even if people liked it, because even if I got what, an 80% if we’re being charitable? I was aiming at 100%, such that everyone would see what I saw that made me so excited to write it and it would be the best arc ever.

I failed. Whether my concept was bad, or my energy wasn’t there, or it just wasn’t possible at the time with the time limit I had, I didn’t manage it. And I felt like going back to work would be painful.

That was the start of my break. Over the course of one week hating a number of mediocre games like Starfield and Cyberpunk’s new DLC, (Lies of P was great), I also began reading some manga.

Especially Flying Witch, a slice-of-life manga about, well, witches in modern Japan. And I got hooked on it. I was reading through other manga, and about seven to eight days after my break began, I had an idea for a chapter.

And I wanted to write again. Now, I wasn’t fully rested; I tend to think the optimal time would be two or even three weeks depending on how tired I was. But I felt the urge to write.


That is grace. I’ve been asked how I write so much and if I’m ready, not stressed or burnt out or the chapter is technically hard like the chemistry chapter—I can hear characters’ voices and understand what they might do. Even if I need to touch up a scene, it doesn’t take long for me to just—go. I do need to outline and think of things like levelups, larger plot points, but I can write dialogue very fast.

That’s grace in writing; what I’m good at. It’s not hard for me to do if I haven’t pushed too hard. I’ll wager that if you gave me a month off, even after my most exhausted state, I could come back and begin writing something new, and I’d find my spark after a few tries.

But revising Huntsong is hellish. I get tired, I procrastinate, and even if I’ve had a week-long break, I have no motivation and there’s an uncertainty in the back of my head. Even if I get better at this process—and I will, and I am learning to revise, which is a weaker area for me—I don’t think I’ll ever feel a passion or the instant ease which comes to me when writing.


The fallacy I see is that sometimes, regardless of job, we chase grace over work. What we’re good at is easy, and if you’re talented, it can be as simple as saying ‘I can make this amazing thing, or do this amazing thing—why would I practice something I suck at?’

The reason, of course, is that the things we don’t like doing and suck at—we should learn to improve the parts we’re good at. A writer who can only write a strong 1st Draft is inferior to one who can edit. Stands to reason.

Similarly, writing is also about marketing, and communication, and yes, signing books and making fans feel appreciated. I don’t have any talents in any field and to some extent—I never want to go to a book-signing or really market myself. But I do need to know how to edit. There will never be a scenario where handing a manuscript off to an editor and saying ‘fix it’ works. For one thing, that’s not how editors work, and for another, even if I hired a ghostwriter, or team, I am sacrificing my story and vision for someone who isn’t as passionate, might not understand my vision or skillset—this revision can only be done by me.


But I’ll never enjoy this. Work sucks. I do it because I want Huntsong to be good, and I may have to play with my writing schedule in October, which affects my regular readers. Still, I do the work because grace is fleeting. I don’t have grace when I’m tired and perhaps—I should rest. Perhaps I should just say ‘hey everyone, I’m tired and I don’t feel like I have my best work ability available. I’ll be back in 6 days’.

And it might work—but I’d never have come to where I am without insisting on a schedule I rarely miss. Even if I delay a chapter, it’s because I’ve worked as hard as I can and I knew I needed another update to fix it up.

Sticking to timelines matters—pushing when you don’t want to work has resulted in some of the best chapters I’ve written. I’ve written chapters like the Chemistry chapter (9.54 C), Interlude — Hectval, and Relc’s arc in Cellidel, all while being tired or not wanting to work.

Sometimes I find the grace while working. And the counterargument is, of course, me learning that taking time off improves my writing. But I need to balance it.

Someone who only relies on that state of grace is, as I think another writer said, a poet. I don’t remember the quote but it was deeply critical about poets as being people who only worked when the stars aligned, and propped up other forms of writers as superior.

I don’t think that’s fair, but the concept behind the quote has always stuck with me. Keep writing, keep working hard—but no overwork, not from me.

‘Hustle culture’ is one of the ideas I hate, as much as the phrase, ‘it is what it is’. Hustling is not working hard. Hustling, to me, sounds like wildly working for some tangible gain. Sometimes you do it for the love of the work itself, and if you forget that, you’ve lost that grace.

Changing my writing style, changing how I work, and everything I do is to not lose that ability to write and find joy in writing and just—know what I want to write. That’s the other part of the title of this blog entry. I almost forgot.

Of Angels, from Mirai, a movie, and indeed, the movie itself, is a moment when I sat forwards, and stopped thinking about anything. It stayed with me, and I have played that song a hundred, hundred times while writing when I need motivation.

Some day, that powerful music will not hit me the same way. I encourage you not to look it up, but to watch Mirai first, because the context of the music matters. It is a spark of fuel that has kept me going…how long since I watched it? At least a year. It is not the only one, but stories and experiences make up grace, too.

Rest, determination. Learning and grace. Seeing new things. A writer is an endless machine you need to do so much for, from having good health and sleep to exercising, to not being sad and seeing another good story regularly. A useless thing, perhaps, in some versions of modern society. Then again, look at all the stories we tell and are implicit in our everyday lives. It’s a valuable output.

For writers, that is. Me, in general, I feel guilty if I don’t feel like I’ve even hit the minimum bar for a chapter for a while. But that’s why I’m doing all of it. Anyways, blog post one done.

…Do I have to do this again? I guess I will if I have a writing idea to spew out; I’ve had a bunch that I never wrote out like this. Or just to tell you I’m not depressed. Except when I play terrible AAA-games. Seriously. They need better writers. Or maybe the companies need to listen to the writers more and let them join the design from the start.



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