Progress – February 5, 2018

February 5, 2018

I survived last week.

That is amazing on so many levels that it’s not even funny.

My brain just kept wanting to work on stories and jumped around like a monkey. Every time I would start to pin it down to work on Prince of the Ruined Land or Onesong, it would remind me that I had other things I needed to be taking care of before I could continue. It was right. I really needed to start to make a list of all the leaps in time. There’s a lot of them and I have them all in my head, which is getting to be a bad place for them. So I started a list. I was surprised at how many their were already, not to mention the ones that I know that have to happen. Good grief! Kids, don’t write time travel; it just messes everything up. (grin)

Then there was Stonecharmer. For as fast as that story had been going, the scene I’m working on now feels like it is taking forever. I swear I’ve dedicated three different writing sessions to it and I’m still not getting my main character any further along. She’s developing her abilities, so I realize it’s going to take awhile.

Then, Loki. I had one evening where I needed to get my words done fast in a short amount of time. I hear him tell me, “Yeah, you only work on me when you need to get your writing done fast. What do I look like to you?” The rest of what he added is not fit for blogging. I just told him to shut up and start telling me the story. (grin) I’m sure I’ll pay for that soon. We pumped out over 900 words in 45 minutes. That’s really the top of my time to word production. Yes, Loki, I do write fast when I’m working on your stories. They just roll. Thank you!

I also got so much done on Onesong this week that I really think I’m going to have to divide it into two books. More to come on that later.

On to the numbers:

Fiction words written last week: 6.530 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,219 words

Writing month to date total:  36,294 words for January and February is currently at  4.181 words – I currently have a writing streak of hitting my daily word goal for 33 days and hitting the weekly goal for the last 5 weeks.

Writing year to date total: 40,475 words

Drawing/painting last week: I spent about 3 hours working on my kids’ book.  It is now completely sketched out. I only spent 1 hour painting last week, which is less than I wanted to do, but my Saturday got weird on me. The weather was nice, so I took the paintings I brought back from Nevada outside to really give them a good cleaning and after that my throat started to get sore again. Dang dust. I didn’t think I was allergic to it, but I must be. It just made me feel not quite right all day and I couldn’t bring myself to get to painting after that.

Audio: I spent 4 and a half hours recording and editing audio. I am nearly to the halfway point in Quest for the Three Books.

It feels like “slow but steady” is my motto for right now.

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Sketchbook pages

January 26, 2018

While I was going back through my sketchbooks looking for an egg picture I drew some time ago, I started thinking that it’s been awhile since I showed a sketchbook page. I never did find the egg I was looking for (though I did find several others which I’d completely forgotten about – talk about a surprise).

I’ll share some of my egg sketches later. This page, however, I wanted to post. I found a lot of horses in my journal. I can’t say I’m surprised that I have a lot of horses, but I just didn’t remember drawing so many. I know I have a habit of drawing Steigan, the main character from my Sacred Knight series, but I obviously have been feeling a need to draw horses so I can draw the unicorns in the series when I finally get there.

Here’s the full page:

sketchbook page1

Below is a closeup of the upper section of the page. I don’t know what inspired the drawing, but I do enjoy it.

sketchbook closeup

It was fun going through the sketchbooks, even though I was flipping through pages quickly looking for an egg. Not only does it show how much I’ve grown, but also how I’ve developed as an artist. It’s silly, but when I started with my sketches, I would only draw on one side of the page — the right hand side. And I left a lot of white space around each drawing. Then, I started paying attention to the sketchbooks of other artists and saw how interwoven a lot of drawings were. I began to fill up the pages more. Then I saw an artist who was drawing on both front and back sides of each page in their sketchbooks. You can see from the top picture that this is actually the back side of the previous page as its on the left. I’ve even added some things I’ve cut out from junk mail or advertisements. I like to find phrases within junk mail and figure out how to make something new out of it. That’s the writer part of my, I’m sure. The sketchbook that had this page in it is stuffed to the brim with all sorts of goodies. I have little taped flaps, phrases, thoughts, ideas, journaling about what I’m thinking on a certain day, life sketches, folded pictures I thought were interesting. It’s fun to look back at all these treasures.

Yet, I couldn’t let it delay me right now. I would be too easy to go through every picture and waste all evening in nostalgia. So I kept my visit short and sweet.

But in flipping through them all, I found it interesting that I had needed permission to open up. I started off all closed up, tight, keeping things separated. But as I saw what more and more artists were doing, I loosened up and started to let things flow more and more. It seemed like a track that I needed to walk. It was a good reminder to keep trusting the process with the art in my life too.


Children’s Book Progress – January 25, 2018

January 25, 2018

eggs

I’ve had a two page spread to work on this last week and I still need to find a reference sketch I did in a sketchbook several years ago before I can finish that spread. So I’ve been inking the next few pages until I finally have a moment to go digging through sketchbooks. I still have my final four pages to do the rough sketch on too. I’m trying not to have creative procrastination on this book too. (grin) I’m not sure if that can be helped or not. Keep prodding me along!


Progress – 2017 official report

January 4, 2018

I have finally gotten caught up on sleep and my word count for the last two weeks of 2017. As promised, I’m ready to give my official wrap-up of 2017.

Fiction words written in the last week of December: 1,747 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  175 words

Writing month to date total:  18,228 words – this does have some words scattered through the middle of December that I had written but not logged (or those ones I’d referenced that I’d dictated but not transcribed — I went back and placed them on the actual day for a more accurate count.

Drawing/painting last week: I spent 4 hours working on my kids’ book.

Audio: I spent 4 hours recording and editing audio.

So how did the year turn out overall?

Writing year to date total: 373,833 words. I don’t know if I mentioned it anywhere along the way, but my writing goal for 2017 had been to do 500,000 words. I knew that writing half a million words would be a stretch when I started, but I wanted something that would push me. By October, I was hoping to get to 400,000 words at least. I fell short of that too, but I still averaged over 31,000 each month so I think that’s pretty spectacular, especially all considering what happened in 2017. Talk about failing forward. I honestly think that having this huge goal kept me focused and in my habit of writing when my dad died. Without it, I would have stopped writing any probably wouldn’t have gotten back to it yet. It would be the middle of 2018 probably before I thought about writing again.

Read the rest of this entry »


Progress – October 30, 2017

October 31, 2017

I hope you all enjoyed your little detour to the beach yesterday.

I’m home now and running at full (mindless) speed. I haven’t even had a chance to unpack yet, but my day has been busy.

Since I’m so tired and only wanting to get to bed right now as I’m typing this, I’m going to make this quick. Obviously I didn’t get as many words done last week as I had been doing, nor did I meet the goal I had for the week, but I didn’t do too terrible either. I got words done. And something is better than nothing. (As long as I’m not trying to compare myself to Kevin J. Anderson who finished a novel before even coming to the workshop and was out on the beach dictating several times. But who’s comparing, right?)

Fiction words written last week: 2,370 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  989 words

Writing month to date total:  29,221 words

Writing year to date total: 312,623 words

Drawing/painting last week: No painting, but I did sketch nearly every day, even some days when I didn’t feel like drawing and it just frustrated me to have to do it. That’s not a story worthy of telling.

Audio: Even thought I took my headphones with me and I felt like I was working on audio quite a bit (more than writing actually), I only have an hour recorded for time. I think something’s missing, but I’ll go back and check my log later. With what I learned in my workshop, I hope can start speeding up this time.

I wish you all a happy and safe Halloween. Don’t let any of the spooks scare you. They probably just need a day at the beach too.


Progress – 06/05/17

June 5, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 7.865 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,290 words

Writing month to date total: May finished out with 29,064 words and June to date is at 7,252

Writing year to date total: 140,470 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted. I did get my Cintiq set up so that I can draw on it again and I spent some time last week working on Weblinks. I have a new page which I haven’t yet posted because I’m tempted to give Lucky a couple extra lines of dialog on the page and I haven’t looked at it to decide if I want to do that or not. I also spent some time inking and coloring the page for one of my children’s stories. More on that below.

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches. I don’t have my digital work included in this count since that’s kind of hard to do.

Audio: I spent 4.5 hours on recording and editing  audio. More on this below too.

Week’s happenings:  Like I said above,  I set my Cintiq back up in my office. It’s been sheltered away for far too long and I was getting such an urge to get back to drawing that I could no longer take it. Then, while I was watching the videos for the writing class as well as another webinar video this week, I was working on my webcomic and children’s book. Let’s just say that my webinar video wasn’t very good, but I realized why I haven’t been drawing. Okay, it wasn’t really a new discovery. It was more of me finally admitting it to myself. I often realize something then spend another six to eight months of pounding my head against the wall to really get the lesson before it sinks into my hard head.

Last October when I was sitting in the writing masterclass, Dean Wesley Smith was talking about how he would quit if writing wasn’t fun any more. I made notes in my journal about the fun. My writing had definitely taken a turn away from that many years before, but I remembered when it had been fun and I’d just been writing for joy. I admit that I’m still trying to get that back and only recently have I really let that lesson sink in; it’s my own damn imagination and I’m telling stories to entertain me. If someone doesn’t like my stories, well, they can go find whatever best-seller they want to worship this week. I want to write for me and no one else. I write because I enjoy my worlds better than this one. But I’m wandering away from my point.

As I sat there trying to color my kids’ book, I was trying to think of realistic colors and what overall color scheme I wanted to have for the book. I sat back and looked at it and asked myself when I had decided to pick “Martha Stewart colors.” A couple hours later, the answer hit me. I had forgotten to play. In all the art studying I’ve been doing over the last decade, I forgot to have fun with it.

I was making it work.

I had totally lost the play. Worse, I had let someone else into my head to control my art, more than just Martha Stewart. I had let everyone who has ever made me conform to the standards of this world into my room. Pick a color scheme. You have to have a plan. Color inside the lines. Be smooth. Don’t clash. Don’t do something someone will hate. Do these jeans make my character look fat?

Argh!

So now I have to go back and fix the pages, pretend I have no clue what I’m doing (not hard since I usually don’t) and make them my own. I need to go have fun with them.

In other news, I didn’t spend a lot of time recording and editing audio this week mostly because I was busy listening to The Doorway Prince. I probably should have been recording my time, but since I was doing it here and there, I didn’t capture time.  I also spent several hours this last weekend resetting my microphone. I’m still trying to find that sweet spot for it. I’m hoping I’m there.  That was another 2.5-3.5 hours that I didn’t record time for.

By the way, I went back to take a look at my time from when I uploaded The Last Ant until when I uploaded The Doorway Prince and saw that I have spent nearly 100 hours working on the audio The Doorway Prince. Yep, that’s a 100 hours of recording and editing for a audiobook that came in at just over 2 hours in length. Yes, that is a bit high, but probably not too much. That is why I reset my microphone and I keep hoping to learn to get cleaner and clearer audio. I am still learning.

I also finished a short story this week. I had a bit of trouble with the ending. I kept thinking to myself that I write about outcast heroes and this character was more of a villain than a hero. Crazy to boot. I could accept the crazy, but I didn’t like the things that he had done, even though they took place in the story’s past. I kept feeling like it wasn’t complete. Good hadn’t triumphed. My brain attacked it with a vengeance.  I feared that I was going to have to do something more with it, maybe make this story part of a frame for a larger story. I really didn’t know what was going to happen. I just had to sit down and fill in some parts, then poof, it was done and I felt good about it.

I sent it off before I could stop to think any more about it.

I also have a feeling from things I’ve been writing this week, that I’m going to get back to writing some fantasy romances. Shhh!!!  Don’t say that too loudly. Yes, romances. I’m just not sure I have it in me. But, the writing may take me back to that play land once more.

As for Loki, I have about 7,000 more words that I want to write in the story. That’s just my guess at how long I’d like to make it. He always has other plans.

Onesong is making me want to beat my head against a wall. I keep trying to look at it, but I have so much to fill in and my list keeps growing. At least since I’ve been focused on that, I haven’t been killing off any more characters in my Sacred Knight series. I haven’t brought Aeribela back to life yet either. I did find a scene that I wanted to incorporate into the story, and to do that I really need Aeribela alive (unless I’ve already added the scene and just don’t remember it. Yeah, don’t ask me how many projects I have going right now and how I keep them all straight — my answer is “Don’t know.”).

As you can see, it’s been crazy busy. It needs to stay this way because I’m so far behind on my word count to my yearly goal that I’m just stupid enough to think that I can catch up if I focus and work really hard. Then I have a case of “Oh shiny” and move off to something else. Thanks for listening.

Until next week!

 


Freehand Friday – 12/23/16

December 23, 2016

A drawing from my sketchbook:

sentinels-and-ruins

Idea for a painting
pencil and paper
©2016 Dawn Blair

This started out as architecture practice and grew. Of course, I had to add trees. I wonder what stories these trees would tell about the ruins?