Progress – November 12, 2018

I can’t believe we’re almost halfway through November now. When did that happen?

I’ve been reviewing where I’m at and all I accomplished (or didn’t) this year. It feels strange to not have my next publication date at least in mind — the calendar right now is barren, at least in that aspect. I do know what’s coming, I just don’t know how long it will take to get there; more on that in a moment. Right now, I’m about 10,000 words away from hitting my yearly word goal that I’d wanted to accomplish. I figure I’ll be there by the end of November. There is a part of me that’s tempted to take a month off. Don’t worry, I won’t — I fully plan on breaking the tape and continuing beyond, mostly because I’m curious how far I can go. Last year was too much of a push, so I had backed off some this year and still wanted to make it a challenge. I think that challenge has pretty much become norm for me, but I might want to shift my goals a little next year, so I need to take good stock of what I can do.

Next up on what I plan to publish is Tangled Magic. I’ve been working that over this week and am finally getting to a place where I’m satisfied with it. If you read the whole thing here on my blog, you are in for some wonderful changes. I hope you will be as delighted by the arrangement of scenes (it was getting a bit fragmented there at the end) and new scenes that have been added as I am. I do still have a lot of work to do on Walk the Path, but I hope it comes together just as quickly. Obviously there is also Dragons of Wellsdeep which is getting close to… well, I feel as if I should be three quarters of the way through, but I don’t think I am. But I know the direction I’m heading. I don’t know if I’ve ripped out a scene that will be coming up in the next couple of weeks or not — in trying to structure as I go, I can clearly see that this scene doesn’t fit, at least now where it’s at. I really liked the scene too. But maybe another book. Maybe it’ll be a book where I write the story around the scene just so I can have it (then I’d probably end up tearing the scene out of there too because it wouldn’t fit –writers are weird creatures).

That’s three books I plan on having out next year.

I know, I know. I hear you! There’s no Loki or Sacred Knight in that list. I know already!

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Painting Update

I’ve been so bad lately!

I’ve been busy editing my Sacred Knight manuscript (it comes out one month from today, you know!) and getting things up and running (okay, well how about a couple baby steps?) that I haven’t been painting too much lately. Well, even that’s not too true. I’ve just been doing ACEO’s and 8×10 pieces lately. Oh, and my cover for Sacred Knight: The Three Books. You can check out the progression of the painting here. I’ve also posted another video and a blog post or two.

But painting, no, don’t feel like I’ve done any real painting lately. So, if I’ve been doing smaller pieces and I don’t consider that “real painting,” then what is real painting. Do you do “real painting”? How about “real sculpture”? Or “real writing”? Am I even doing “real writing” right now as I’m working on the second story arc of Sacred Knight? Nope, there I’m pretty sure I’m just messing around!

Why do artists put themselves through these kind of frustrations? Why do we feel we’ll be a real artist when we get to this level of sales or into this gallery or that? Or when the book hits the best-seller list? Or we’ve won this award or even the little golden Oscar man? A Tony perhaps?

I actually ask myself these questions often. I wonder why accountants don’t stress like artist do (mostly because that’s the other profession I have real insider knowledge of I guess). Seriously, I don’t think accountants say, “After I’ve gone through 5 tax seasons, I’ll be a real accountant.” Okay, yes they do have the stress of taking the CPA exam and I’ve seen worry about that. Doctors have a medical licensing exam and attorneys have the bar exam. But even artists who get certified or have a degree still fight with themselves about when they will be a real artist. I know I’d probably freak if I went into my doctor’s office and he said, “Yes, score! After I’ve treated your illness I’ll be a real doctor.” Ah, Pinocchio you too can be a real boy someday if you try real hard.

For a millisecond there, I thought I might actually have new insight into that story. Then I realized it was just my nose growing and changing the light.

I can tell this is a question that’s really bugging me – I’m making really bad jokes. Perhaps it’s been on my mind for too long. It’s not like I don’t feel like a real artist — I use to feel that way. Then one day I stood in my booth at a fair and looked around, suddenly realizing that everything within my 10×10 space was all mine. I’d done it all — the paintings, the ACEO’s, the books. After that, nearly everyone who came in mentioned how prolific I was in doing so many things. I hope I inspired them!

But now, to think that I might not be doing “real painting” or “real work” bothers me. It’s not like an ACEO is easy to paint (not hard either, but then neither is sitting down and “puking out” a first draft of a manuscript – yep, pretty much the same level there), especially considering the detail I like to put into ACEO’s. It’s a challenge. Even 8×10’s, I see those as a study for a possible larger painting. So I might just be throwing paint at a canvas to see what comes out. Sometimes something comes and sometimes I just paint over it. Even the canvas for the Sacred Knight cover was a throwback — I didn’t even bother slapping a layer of gesso over the bad painting; just had to get rid of it and quick!

So, what about you? Do you ever feel like you’re just piddling around playing to see if something develops in smaller ideas before you go get productive. Or is everything you do something you consider real art at the moment? Do you have a secret for keeping your thoughts on the right artistic track? Please do share!