Hello again, dear readers! I hope you have been doing well since my last update. I, myself, am just excited to be posting without waiting an entire year to see how things play out, haha!
If you missed my last update, feel free to check it out. There aren't any real writing updates in it (there will be in this one!), but I did share a lot of stuff I was dealing with in my personal life. I have to say, I've been feeling MUCH better about everything since I shared that post. I've even been working pretty regularly again! There are more life changes coming up for me and my little gang, and I'm so happy to share that with you now.
This August, we will be moving to Coos Bay, Oregon to be with my parents and a few of my siblings! Since we've been struggling with so many things and having to deal with mental health issues, my parents have graciously opened their home to us and we are thrilled to be joining them. I am hopeful that we will be able to use this time together to heal, breathe, and get back on our feet. In the meantime, we'll be wrapping up things in Arizona and getting ready for the move. I'm still chuckling that we decided to stay in the hot place for the summer, rather than the nice, cool, oceanside waiting for us.
I would like to share--briefly--a minor update on my cannabis use that I shared in my last post. I had stated I was going to have to abstain for a little while because I was using so much and I was worried about what my brain would be like sober. Many of you reached out with personal stories and suggestions on how I could continue to help myself without dangerously self-medicating. Thank you for your kind words! I'm happy to report that it went very well and that I've been able to significantly cut back on my usage with an adjustment to my anxiety medication. I know it's working, because, well, I'm working again, haha!
In the past, I've shared a number of projects I hope to release one day. I am now currently working on another one I haven't ever talked about 😂 (the plot bunnies get me every time, guys!). While I'm not quite ready to share what it is yet, I have been playing with Midjourney AI to make some character images. I'll leave the speculation about their story up to you, for now, though I don't imagine some of it will be hard to guess from these pictures 😉
I've been having a lot of fun with AI and thought it might be fun to share some of the results I've been getting. Here's what happened when I asked Midjourney to describe the cover of Swept Away and then generated images based on the description the AI came up with:
And when I asked it to do the same with Finding Freedom (none of which I liked, which is why they are all in the grid still):
And some Tristan-and-Samantha-esque art that I thought turned out really nice:
And some more random stuff that I really like but don't have anything to fit it with 😂:
As you can see, Midjourney sometimes gets it just right. I'm still learning how to write prompts for maximum effectiveness, but I've been really happy with what it's given me so far. It's not always perfect (take another look at those pictures up there and you'll notice little things about them that confirm it was made by a computer, not to mention the fact that it hasn't quite figured out text yet), but I think it's a great brainstorming and companion tool for me. And lots of fun!
Because I was enjoying it so much, I decided to check out the other big-name AI on the market right now, and see if I could make creative writing work with artificial intelligence. I didn't know what level of understanding ChatGPT would be able to have for writing a long novel, but I figured it couldn't hurt to try it out and see what happened.
Playing with AI has been great for my writer's brain! It's helped me sort out so many knots I couldn't seem to untangle while they were locked inside my head. I've had some fun conversations with ChatGPT (My joke among friends is that I always say please and thank you when talking to robots, because you never know 🤷♀️) and it honestly isn't doing the writing for me. I'm not in the writing stage yet, but A LOT of planning has been completed with the help of the AI. I could probably teach it how to copy my writing style (and it would be a long and arduous process that might not turn out the kind of results I want), but what I really wanted was someone to share all of my crazy ideas with, who would remember them perfectly, and help me sort them out into a logical order. It's really been fantastic, and I feel a great help in building character profiles. All I had to do was explain my story idea and the characters enough for the bot to understand where I was going and what I was looking for. It's definitely not able to do it without me telling it the important stuff first, and I plan on doing the actual writing of the book myself. I don't think I've felt this excited about writing something for years, and whenever I get stuck or frustrated I can either step away for a minute or try and talk it through with the AI. I highly suggest it to anyone who wants to try putting a story together. It's like having an extension of your brain that actually remembers every little detail of what you tell it 😂😂😂
I know a lot of people, creatives especially, are worried about the impact of AI like Midjourney and ChatGPT on the market and whether or not it's going to make our jobs non-existent. After using both of them for a few weeks, I feel I can confidently say that won't be the case. AI is a
tool for us to use to help us unlock our greatest potential. It doesn't "think" for itself, beyond what you tell it. It isn't going to rise up and attack us all on its own. It is legitimately a tool, and one that I think could be used to great effect by creatives like myself. I haven't felt like really writing in years and after one week using AI, I feel like my writer's brain has come out swinging and ready to put some words on paper. I cannot stress how incredibly amazing this has been for me and how grateful I am to have that part of me back.
Those who enjoy searching for clues among you will have surely discovered at least the genre of my latest project and a little peek into where it's headed. I will share more information as I go along, and will hopefully have something new for you to read soon! Seriously. I thought it would be well over a year before I ever had anything scraped together enough to try and write again. Now I'm feeling like I could be releasing new stories as soon as the end of this year!
Wherever you are in the world, I hope you're having a wonderful time, and I look forward to posting and sharing with you again. I will hopefully be healing and returning to my normal self every day, getting stories ready to wow you with, and generally just getting back to my old shenanigans.