I’ve made October an interesting month so far. Now not only do I have the “get the words done” goal each day, but I also have a picture to draw and ink for Inktober. Hopefully you saw my post last Thursday showing all the one’s I’d completed up to that point. Yes, there will be more this Thursday. But, as I said, now I have two goals to reach per day instead of only one.
See, my life is the same as everyone else’s. I wish I could make a plan to accomplish my daily goals, every day, without fail. My achiever personality really would like it that way. But reality is reality and can’t always be anticipated. So I fear the day where I miss my goals.
I’ve been trying to record, when I’m home, a chapter on Saturday and another on Sunday. For the most part, it works really well. I haven’t even been setting an alarm to get up extra early to do it. I’ve just let it happen.
This weekend, I hadn’t expected on a dog puking in the middle of the night. On my bed.
It’s bad enough to wake up to the sound, but to realize that she is on my bed is even worse.
I had to get up and clean the mess. Not fun. I should have known that since Kreeli had come in to sleep with me when Adrian was home that she wasn’t feeling well. She loves Adrian and sticks with him nearly all the time. She’s a pure breed Shih Tzu and his companion; living true to her breeding. The only time she really stays with me is when Adrian is gone, she wants some quiet time in my writing office away from everything else, or she’s sick. She hadn’t come in to stay with me after I went to bed and Adrian hadn’t come home from work yet, so I should have been suspicious when she came in after he got home. I just felt her move up on the bed and didn’t give it much more thought.
Until that moment I was cleaning up my blankets in the middle of the night.
Needless to say, it disrupted my sleep cycle and I certainly didn’t wake up earlier than usual.
But the morning still worked out so I could jump in the booth and record a chapter while Adrian took Merlin for a walk. Strangely (not really), Kreeli didn’t want to go; she stayed home and slept. I had nearly finished the chapter when Adrian came home, and I did finish while he started getting breakfast together. Worked out perfectly.
So often when I’m writing a blog post meant to inspire, I talk about it being a choice. You can’t help it when life happens to you (a puking dog in the middle of the night), but you can’t let it stop you from choosing your dreams (figuring out how to record a chapter even when everyone in the house is now awake). I even thought about recording the chapter after I’d finished cleaning up and was getting ready to settle back into bed. I didn’t because I knew I was so tired and I wanted to give a good performance, not a mediocre, irritated, tired one.
And so that is how this week had gone. I made the choice to do Inktober, so I need to figure out how to work it into a schedule that already seems too full. I’m hoping that Inktober serves the same purpose that Nanowrimo did nearly 3 years ago when I participated in that; forces me to learn to use my time wisely to achieve my goals. I know a lot of writers who don’t like Nanowrimo for one reason or another. I think it works well for overcoming the mental block of “I don’t have time to write.” Even if the writer tries and fails, they tried and learned what they are capable of doing. I really want to know how to fit drawing into my schedule, even though I have done it long enough to finish Eggs at Play, I also want to find time to practice/learn/experiment, draw my comic, paint, and work on my next children’s book. The only way I will do that is if I make the choice to do something that will push and challenge me so I can prove to myself that I can do it.
It’s not like i write 50,000 words every month as in Nanowrimo. Most months, I only average around 30,000. That’s a comfortable amount for me. Yes, I have proven I can do 50,000, but I now know where a good level is for me. It’s like weight-lifting where you see how much you can lift, then you adjust down to a lower weight in order to do the reps. I want Inktober to show me that I can draw every day, how that flow feels, and helps me get back to a schedule where I have drawing incorporated into my week.
I’ll tell you, it has already proven enlightening. I have discovered something about myself that I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t been pushing myself to get Inktober drawings done. I learned that I can’t see lines. I am finally understanding what artists mean by figuring out the shapes, and I understand the concept of negative space, but I haven’t figured out how to simplify something like a photograph down to its simplest lines. This shouldn’t really surprise me. When I listen to music, I hear everything at once, merges, blended. It takes a lot of concentration that I can’t maintain for long if I want to pull one part out, like bass, drums, or a trumpet. I certainly can’t tell what notes they are playing or even attempt to recreate it. When I learned that people could actually follow each individual part and play it, I was astounded.
So what lead me to the realization about the lines? Well, when I was working on Inktober drawings, I would find something simple as a reference drawing. I should have taken a picture of the under-drawing for the “chicken” prompt — I had the cutest little chicken under the cow suit. All but his face was closed off by the time I finished, and the eyes on the face weren’t cute, little, round buttons any more, but sharp eagle eyes. Now mind you, the chicken reference picture was that of a plush. The cow outfit on the chicken I modified from a couple different cartoon references. The “exhausted” prompt where I drew a dead horse, I found a cartoon of a horse with its legs up in the air. It had a saddle on, which I removed in drawing. Then I added all the scenery around it. Yes, it seemed like I was taking simple drawings for reference, then adding my own details to it.
Then, on Sunday, I sat down at Barnes & Noble with some magazines and found a picture I wanted to sketch. It was of a simple cottage with a thatched roof. I’d really like to be able to paint cottages like this. It’s one of my goals. So, I thought sketching this one would help improve my skills. I realized I was seeing everything, at once. I could pull out the lines of perspective because I’ve had enough practice doing that now, but the chimney, the lines of the bricks on the roof, the bricks around the doorway and on the landscaping, the thatching, the forest, the car, it all overwhelmed me. I got frustrated with the sketch. I gave up.
Once I had that failure, I analyzed why I’d had it when I’d been doing so well with Inktober. The answer was clear. Then I was to start taking a marker and going over the picture to simplify it. That’s what I need to do.
Leave it to me to jump in and start learning, then once I reach a certain level I have to go back and figure out all the beginning material. I’ve always been like that. (grin) Blame it on my astrological sign.
For me, learning this makes Inktober already a success. It probably explains where I have plateaued and why. If I can get beyond my frustration and get back to art, it’ll be worth it.
Also this week, I finished and uploaded the audio on For Sale, Call Loki. It’ll probably be released in about two weeks. That means that next week I get to start to work on editing the audio on For a Good Time, Call Loki. I’ve got 4 chapters recorded so far.
I started working on a new logo for my newsletter, but I think that was just a distraction on which I shouldn’t have wasted my time. I need to send my welcome email for readers who have recently joined my list; instead, I delayed it and I should have. I should have sent it, then gone to working on the logo for the next newsletter. Now I need to go send it anyway after delaying it several more days. And I still have no logo. Bad me!
I also started a chapter outline of Tangled Magic. I was working on Walk the Path, but so much had changed and I couldn’t remember the order of scenes that I was frustrating myself. That’s the sign for me to stop and line out the scenes.
It seems like a lot, but to me it doesn’t feel like a productive week. Just a time of trying to keep my head above water. On the other hand, I did a lot of personal projects that needed to get done. I also made applesauce with a bunch of apples that I received. Oh, and I tried to make hamburgers in my Instant Pot — I had to cook them longer than the recipe said, but I was happy with the taste. Have I mentioned that I love my Instant Pot?
Daily word goal reached for 58 days. Weekly word goal reached for 11 weeks.
Writing month to date total: 7,487 words
Writing year to date total: 255,292 words
Drawing/painting last week: No painting this week, but I drew a lot for Inktober. I did take the time to get ahead on my pencil sketches, but I will ink them on the appropriate day. I don’t want pressure that will make me not do this.
Audio: I spent 4 hours recording and editing audio. I uploaded 1 hour 31 minutes of audio for distribution.
Adventuring in time and space has been a week of dodging laser bullets and maintaining radio silence. What a week.
Oh yes, I have many great notes on it.
This week’s adventures have included hanging out with a ninja-to-be. Shhh! He doesn’t know he’s on the path to becoming a ninja, but it is the third origin story. When I hang out with Alex Dent, I must be super quiet. The world they are on have an unknown, but very deadly entity on it. All the soldiers on this planet they hope to colonize are scared.
I do have the other platforms (mainly Kobo, Nook, and iBooks) as well as print coming soon.
This is a new process for me – not something I have down as slick as publishing normal books. The epub version (which is why none of the other platforms are ready) has all sorts of coding issues to it. I’ve decided to resize the print book since I really had nothing working on it (yeah, that’s a mess of I-don’t-even-know-where-to-begin).
I’m glad for the struggle. I’m forced to think outside the box and learn something new, even as frustrating as it is. Yes, the eggs are definitely amuck and reeking havoc on this book. When I’m done, I will truly feel as if I’ve conquered.
Last year, I really began to see how discipline (yes, I know I used a bad word) and routing could keep someone on track to at least continue doing a little bit every day. Those habits are once again serving me well as my non-artistic life kicks into overdrive. I’ve had so much going on this week, yet I’ve also gotten a lot done. I admit, I’ve kind of amazed myself.
I finished my children’s story — more on that later in the week. I even made several corrections to things I didn’t like, as well as some color changes. Now that I’m done with that, I’m going to turn my attention to my next children’s book, though I haven’t made a commitment yet. Part of me thinks I should do this one story involving a dragon because I have so many young kids who see the Stardust cover shout at me that they love dragons. They are disappointed when they find out that Stardust doesn’t have pictures. It makes me sad. But, I really want to do a story about a wizard and his dog. It’s just flat out cute and I’ve lived with this story for so long that I want to get it done. Both stories are written, and I’d need to do page breakdowns on both of them. So, it’s not like either of them have an advantage right now.
I did also spend some time working on the next page of my Weblinks comic. Now I begin my rotation of working on different illustration projects. This should be interesting. I’m excited to see what happens.
Onesong is growing. OMG, it is so developing and at the moment I’m wondering if I’m reaching for three books. A trilogy wouldn’t be too bad, I suppose. Okay, I can’t even go there right now because that though scares me. Any yet…
Yeah, more on this later too.
I am now halfway done editing the audio for Quest for the Three Books. I also have only 6 more chapters to record. Yes, this project is coming along nicely too.
Speaking of Sacred Knight, I have a big announcement. Yes, you guessed it: later this week. Sorry. I feel like such a tease today, but I just don’t want to give it all up at once. (grin)
Well, let’s get to the numbers.
Fiction words written last week: 5.217 words
Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written: 3.857 words
Writing month to date total: 20,690 words – my writing streak for hitting my daily word goal is now at 47 days and hitting the weekly goal for the last 7 weeks.
Writing year to date total: 56,984 words
Drawing/painting last week: I spent about 5 hours working on my kids’ book and Weblinks. No painting this week.
Audio: I spent 5 hours recording and editing audio.
This is actually the end page of the book, though I am not to the end. Please don’t take that as me having finished. (grin) I merely had finished inking it and jumped right into coloring it.
It looks kind of weird in my thumbnail panel because I have all these colored pages, a few inked pages, and then the one final colored page. Makes me laugh to myself. And I think back to when I started this and only had a few pages inked and those last few pages were blank. It felt like forever away. But just working on it steadily, I can’t believe I’m now nearing the end and I’m starting to wonder how the process to getting it published is going to work. Novels, short stories, no problem, but I’ve never done a book with pictures before.
I am looking forward to learning though. It will be a process and I’m sure I’ll get frustrated in it, but I will figure it out. The obstacle before me is not that big; I just have to keep walking through it. Quite frankly, it, like all other “obstacles” people think are huge insurmountable things that one has to climb over, is really a tunnel that just must be tread. You can either go through it and enjoy the journey, or you can stand outside wondering how you will ever get to the other side. Too many people turn back. (I’m thinking this needs to be a Rockin’ Life post — grin!).
I just noticed that the branches of my tree are missing. Hmmm, I wonder what layer they are hiding on.
Also, as I was coloring these pages, I had the thought that I always imagined this story to be taking place in the middle of the night. But if that’s a window above the sink (I suppose it could be a picture), then it’s clearly daytime.