What Happened To Beltane?

Those of you who know your pagan calendars will know that by the time this post goes live, we will be closer to Litha than to Beltane, and that I just didn’t post a Beltane update. The reason for this is mainly that from Ostara at the end of March to Beltane at the beginning of May, I didn’t get a whole lot done. This isn’t entirely my fault, because due to certain events I would’ve expected to be less prolific than normal anyway, but it’s still mostly my fault, because what hiccups and interruptions did occur do not really account for nearly the drop in output that occurred. This is ultimately not a huge deal. Creative output waxes and wanes a little sometimes, and April was a bad month for me. It does mean, however, that I didn’t have much to report at Beltane except disappointment. I am behind on my word count, not finishing up Vestitas on schedule, and the only upside is that Petals and Thorns is recycling parts of Project Regina.

One of the rules I established for myself while clearing my backlog is that if a new project has significant enough overlap with the old one that one could plausibly seem like a retread of the other, it’s fine to call them actually the same project. The amount of recycling going on between the original Project Regina and Petals and Thorns is limited enough that it’s a huge stretch to say that Petals and Thorns is just resetting Project Regina to the beginning and starting over rather than its own thing with a couple of elements in common, but Project Regina is also for an audience that turned out to be deeply toxic over the past year and a half, so I don’t care. Even then, though, most of the work on Petals and Thorns happened after Beltane during May.

One thing that happened on the actual day of Beltane, May 1st, is that I started poking around with Habitica. It’s not the first “gamify your life” thing that’s ever been tried, but it’s working better for me than most have. I think a significant part of it is that you have HP to lose if you miss daily habits, which gets incentives working both ways. I’m trying to avoid ever running out of HP (the penalty for doing so is not actually a big deal, I’m just trying to avoid it on the principle of getting as far as I can on Iron Man mode, as it were), which means I get XP and damage on the boss I’m fighting for ticking off a daily habit successfully and lose HP if I miss one. It’s all on the honor system, of course. I can claim to have done something I haven’t, or even cheat more subtly by giving myself vague goals that are easy to check off with five minutes of effort because technically I still tried. Habitica has no way of checking whether your goals are SMART or VAPID. Obviously, the secret to making things like Habitica work is to not cheat, even though it’s easy. So far it’s working for me, but some people might find that a system so easy to fool isn’t a satisfying reward system. My subconscious is wired to recognize ‘cheating to victory’ and ‘doing the normal way’ as separate accomplishments, so the first being dead easy doesn’t cheapen the other, but not everyone’s will be like that.

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