Progress – 08/07/17

August 8, 2017

Okay, I’m actually a day behind here. More below.

Fiction words written last week: 4,431 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,054 words

Writing month to date total: July finished with 39,212 words, August is currently at 4,018 words

Writing year to date total: 230,447 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches and no sketching either

Audio: I spent 5 hours recording and editing audio.

Week’s happenings: It’s 2 a.m. and I’m getting caught up on my blog because I can’t sleep and this is nagging me to get it done. I was driving home on Sunday from another Read the rest of this entry »


The Art of Making Hay – Raking

May 7, 2015
Me (in the red hat) and a friend sitting in the hay. I told you in the last blog that I really did that. DId you believe me? Look at all the rows of hay.

Me (in the red hat) and a friend sitting in the hay. I told you in the last blog that I really did that. Did you believe me?
Look at all the rows of hay.

A couple of days after cutting the hay into neat rows comes the process of raking the hay. This basically means that you turn the hay over so that it can dry on the underside.

For this process, you start by going around the whole field to get those outer edge rows. Then you start on the nearest section and, dividing the number of rows the swather cut into two, begin in the middle row and work your way out. Once you’ve done one section, you move over to the next. The process continues all the way across the field, then move onto another field. To top it all off, you have to start early in the morning, usually before sunrise just as the light is starting to come into the sky, and you can only work until 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. before you start losing too many leaves. You need the morning dew on the hay to keep it flexible while you rake because the more leaves on the alfalfa the better the quality. Once it gets too hot and the morning dew has burned off, you’re done for the day. If you’re lucky, you won’t have afternoon rain. Rain is horrible for the downed hay because it causes the hay to mold. Too much rain, and you have to rake it again. Rake it again and you lose more leaves. Not good.

I can’t believe I missed Saturday morning cartoons for this!

I do wish I’d taken this job a bit more seriously, hustled a bit more than I did. Not only was my time short for raking, but I also ditched the job for about an hour each morning to go participate on the swimming team. I do have fond memories of early breakfast with my dad at Sturgeons and driving the tractor through town.

On to why it compares to writing…

As I mentioned in my Twitter reply, I said that raking was like the actual process of writing and turning the ideas over. Once I have my Hero’s Journey outline I mentioned in my last post, I begin to write. I’m taking the ideas I had and I’m turning them over. This is why I don’t build anything too structured. I need some room to work and to turn. I never know what’s lying beneath the initial idea. I let my characters run and hope they surprise me. I let myself get off course. As long as it feels right, I keep going. If it doesn’t I go back to when it did last feel right and start again.

When you’re raking, you start to see the moisture beneath the hay from the dew and the cut alfalfa as gravity pulls it down. It’s always so green. It looks just slightly different than the cut alfalfa that’s been growing in the sun for two days. I remember thinking back then about how a little bit of protection can help renew life.

Let’s just hope we don’t have an afternoon rain. It’s dreadful to watch the sky turn gray and the thunder roll in. In writers, it’s called depression. We all know the stories of talented writers who kill themselves all because they can’t cope in the world. Let me say that if you are depressed and you know it, get help. You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it. And your brain is awash in chemicals that you can’t fight. Not if you are depressed. Now everyone has mood swings, everyone gets down every now and then. The weather, an inciting incident, a snappy word, stubbing your toe, etc., each can put you in a bad mood where you then start to feel down. Don’t let the rain day stay because it will mold your ideas if you do. You won’t write; you’ll just think about it. You’ll start a cycle you can’t break out of. I have learned that one thing that picks me up is to go for a walk. Not just any walk, but one where I let hold my head high and I walk just a little bit faster than normal. It’s usually not long then before my characters start talking to me — they like it when I’m feeling confident, especially Loki.

This series will continue on Monday, so get back to writing. The time while you’re waiting for the hay to dry (again) after it rains is a waste; in short, don’t let the rain come. Your time is already too short and you don’t have long to work. Keep the sun shining and making hay.


Judge

March 12, 2012

Each time you judge yourself, you break your heart. — Kirpal Venanji

While there are times I do believe you need to keep a critical eye with your art (which in a sense is making a judgement about yourself, or rather the work you have done), I can also relate to this quote.

Please note how I phrased that in the parenthesis. When you are creating, it is very easy to think at first that you are judging yourself when you are checking over your art. but you aren’t. It is something you created. It is now separate from you. If a piece isn’t turning out as well as you hoped, it’s not that you are a bad artist. In fact, this is a good thing. It actually means you are growing as an artist and seek a higher level of craftsmanship. So don’t get all depressed (and break your heart) believing you’re no good. Rather, remember that it’s a sign of your learning. Go back and keep working on that piece until it is better. Keep the judgement on the work instead of yourself. That’s where it belongs.

As long as you can keep the separation between you and your work, you’ll keep pushing yourself to get better and better.


Loving the technology of a delayed RSS feed

December 16, 2011

Everyone has highs and lows in their moods. Good day and welcome to being human.

Artists are no exception and may have even more valleys and peaks than others. But sometimes, you just have to wonder if some power in the universe is conspiring with the artist to help out. Let me tell you what happened last week.

I was in one of the valleys, not all the way down the hill, but probably, definitely needing more sleep. Sacred Knight was feeling impossibly huge, I wanted to paint more than I was, and I wanted to get going on Weblinks but was having issues that had me at a stand-still. Nothing was coming together.

Then I sat down and read my emails. I saw an RSS feed from my blog – not a big surprise since I’ve been blogging lately — at that point it felt like the only thing I’d gotten done. Then I realized that the title was wrong. I hadn’t written that!

A million things zapped through my head. I previewed the email and saw an article I hadn’t written. Oh crap! I’m really imagining the worst now, except that the post was about passion in art. If I’d been hacked, shouldn’t it have been pornographic or something? Why art and passion? Guest blog? When had I allowed that? Hmmmm.

Then I looked at the date. It was from July 2011. Isn’t it December now? Why? What? I’m confused!

So I read the post. There was so much energy and passion I couldn’t believe it. I sat there thinking that there was no way I had written that, but I had no other explanation. None. It took me a couple times in reading to realize that I had written it and boy I had been on some peak that day, one above the clouds.

I then realized I had been in a funk, or sliding into one at least. This post with the delayed RSS feed couldn’t have come at a better time. It made me refocus and regroup. Technology is great, even when you think it might not be working so well. It might just be that higher power looking out for your artistic soul.