One week until FanX

I’m gearing up already for FanX next week. I half wish it were this week as I’m ready to go. I’m ready to get back out and share my stories with people. I’ve been by some amazing people at cons this year.

One of them was Thomas Estrada, who was one of the animators on several beloved films.


We met at Salt Lake Gaming Con earlier this year. It was fun to watch people’s faces as they realized he’d help to animate one of their favorite films.

We talked about animation for a bit. I was glad that I’d had my little foray into animation so I could actually ask intelligent questions to him. It also made me want to get back to my animation. (Time!) He’s fortunate enough to have someone else set up all the assets with their rigging (basically, that means that someone has already drawn the character and set up how they move), and Thomas makes that “asset” act in the scene. It’s probably a way oversimplification of what he does (you know, it sounds easier than it is), but I think he’s got the fun part.

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Progress – 12/26/16

Fiction words written last week: 2,637 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles written:  585 words

Writing month to date total: 18,571 words.

Writing year to date total: 253,333 words I’d really like to see myself reach 260,000 by the end of the year. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted – one of my presents to me was a chair that I could put by the heater. I have plans to paint now. I know that this probably doesn’t make sense to anyone (how does a chair in front of a heater equal more painting?), but trust me, it does. If I can keep my feet warm while I work, my artistic life will be so much better. Believe me, when I get cold, all I can do is focus on getting warm. Too many times that means me hibernating under blankets (a.k.a going to sleep) or just sitting in front of the heater until my back and legs go numb and I am just too old to be sitting on the floor for that long anymore. Of course, time will tell how this really works out.

Illustration month to date total: 841 square inches

Week’s happenings: The weather certainly didn’t help me get my words in last week. I spent more time driving (slowly through the snow and ice) than I usually do. Therefore, I had less time to spend at the keyboard. Holiday shopping (yeah, I’m one of those last minute shoppers, though I am improving and did do quite a bit of it in October this year — not that it helped me any, but that’s another story) also ate into my time. I hung some lights this year inside the house. Then I spent Christmas Day with my kids. We played video games, board games, watched Sherlock, etc. I did get a little bit of audio work done in the morning before everyone was awake, but I didn’t get to writing — bad me, I slept in.

Speaking of audiobooks, I put in just over 4 hours recording and editing.

I have also been trying to work on my January story release. I realized while re-reading it that I was actually trying to tell two stories instead of one. I had to take out all the parts that belonged to the second story. I was really glad that I heard the change in the voice, subtle as it was. Repairs have been made to the first, so I hope it flows well. I haven’t had a chance to do a second read through to find out.

Also, I had two magazine rejections this week. Really? One magazine had the story for five months (when they typically respond in three). Merry Christmas to you too! I’m sure the editors just wanted to be through their piles before the holidays. It’s just a good thing I don’t take rejections harshly anymore. It’s a no to the work, not to me. Besides, in this day and age, it’s so easy to put the story out yourself and give it directly to the readers. But there are still reasons to go for publishing in a magazine. So, the one story that was out for five months will go back out into the circuit this week (only because I didn’t have time to get it done last week). The other story was a children’s story and I think I might just try to do it myself. For those of you waiting for my egg story, you’re probably laughing at me saying this. Yeah, yeah… so many books, so little time. But with my new chair and the heater to keep my feet warm, watch me go.

Welcome 2015

I know I’m a few days late and I still want to wish you a Happy New Year. This is my first animation built from the ground up, except for the chair, which I imported from the library. I enjoyed putting it together and hope you enjoy watching.

How easy it is to get stuck

I won’t lie. I get stuck often. When people see how much I’ve created over the last 7 years, they can get overwhelmed. What they don’t see are all my stuck projects.

How does a creative person get stuck? All too easily!

It usually starts with thinking about the overwhelming tasks involved with a project. On my last blog post, I showed a picture of my animation character. I mentioned I’d been working on it for some time. Yeah, I thought about it (read that as: “I was stuck on it”) all last year. I kept thinking, “I need to do a script. I need to the character. I need to do the background. I need to think about voice actors — Ack! where I am going to find those (even though I already know how, it was still a thought)? I’ll need to get everything animated. Don’t forget intro and credit screens. Music? And don’t forget voice actors!”

Stuck, stuck, stuck! Like a car rammed into a ditch, a muddy one filled with water! Being a farm girl, I know that one. I’ve seen tractors stuck in the mud up to their axles. Oh yeah, I know about stuck.

So what can you do about it?

First off, stop thinking about it. Easier said than done, but stop. It does help if you can remember what first inspired you to work on a project. For me, I got an email that made me laugh and I remembered why I wanted to do this project (more on that as the animation develops). Now, here’s where most people will tell you to schedule time to work on the project. Let me tell you how well that worked for me: I spent 3 months with “Design character” sitting on my to do list. Have I even written the first script yet? No. I have designed an intro though. Unfortunately, I was inspired to do all those, even when I got the idea for the character, it came in a flash of brilliance.

So does that mean that you should just sit back and wait for inspiration?

No. All this time I was collecting ideas. I have an extensive note file because there’s going to be more than one animation. I did the intro, as I mentioned. I did try to block time and I did keep those appointments, even though they were unproductive for this project at that time. When I had a better grip on it by knowing what my character was going to look like, that’s when I got down to work. I did reach the tipping point. Now is when I need to be scheduling my time — before this, I really was better knowing it was a sideline project and letting flashes come to me as they did to build material while working on other things. So, don’t force yourself to think and work on a project until it’s truly time, especially if you’ve got other irons in the fire. Just keep gathering ideas as they come. When the time is right to begin, you will know.

I sit here now, unstuck, with a bare character designed, several ideas, an intro sequence I still have to animate, no first script, and no idea what I’m going to do for voices. Does that bug me? No. I’m working on it. It’s a process, a journey. It’ll come together piece by piece now. I know what needs to be done. I know what I want to do. The project is still in the wings, but isn’t completely off the stage anymore. Soon it’ll be front and center in the spotlight. I’m not ready for it to be there yet.

Getting unstuck with a project means growing with it. It grows and you grow.

Do I have other projects that I’m stuck on? A ton of them! I can’t even begin to count how many other things I’d love to be moving forward with at this moment. All of them! It’s hard for me to be stuck — I don’t deal with it very well. In fact, I have a tendency to fight it. I know this about myself. There are so many things I want to do. I know I’ll never get them all done.

If this hasn’t been enough to get you unstuck, you can always remember that if you don’t get moving, you may not have a chance to.

My final motivation (and usually the thought that spurs me into action on a project that’s been hanging around my head too long): you will be dead longer than you are alive. How would you really feel about never completing this project?

Animation Project

Animation Character Dawn Blair ©2014
Animation Character
Dawn Blair ©2014

I have an animation project I’ve been thinking about for quite some time now and I’ve decided that I’m going to put focus on it this year. After all, you have to Show Up! right? There will be lots more coming on this project, but I thought I’d show off what I have started. Designing a character from scratch is a lot more difficult than it looks. Fortunately, the animation is easier. 🙂