Landscape painting – WIP?

I’m starting this post for the second time. I went off in one direction and realized that it was a whole separate post. You’ll get it later in the week. You’ll know it when you see it because it’s about playing around. I think that was exactly what I needed to do when I started that post, along with solidifying the lesson in my head.

After all, these aren’t just pep talks for you, though I do hope they help and that you find some value in them. Often, they are present me giving future self advice: hey dummy, you learned this lesson once already; aren’t you ready to move on already?

But that’s not what we’re here for today. Rather, I thought I’d show you a piece I’ve been working on.

I’ve mentioned in a couple prior progress posts that I had been painting, but I never showed any pictures. So here’s one.


It’s a 5″x7″ acrylic on Bristol board (though you can see my margin notes to myself which I haven’t erased yet). It’s also not quite as dark as it looks here. This looks almost like a blocked in painting. Sorry.

I “finished” this piece quite some time ago and I’ve been meaning to varnish it. I’d hoped to have it matted and framed for the last show I did, but I couldn’t get there. I wonder if that’s the process telling me that I’m not done with it yet. It all feels very symmetrical to me. I can’t stop the nagging feeling that it needs something. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to finish it yet. Maybe it truly is a work in process still. Am I learning to trust the process with my painting as well as my writing?

Time to pull out the charcoal and/or the sketchbook and start trying some ideas. Wish me luck.

Head games we play with ourselves

Yesterday on my blog, I mentioned a problem I was having.

Here’s how it started:

I have Mystery of the Stardust Monk completely ready to upload to distributors for both ebook and print. Completely ready. As I said, I don’t want to be unprepared when going to publish something again. So, everything is ready.

Guess what I can’t do.

Yep, you got it. I can’t even click the “Add new book” button on any of the distributors. I’ve tried. I log into my account, then I sit there staring at it.

This is such a dumb problem to have. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

I wrote it all out, but then I decided to make this a separate blog entry. Partially because the progress post was getting long, and second because there’s a lesson in this that I want to share (as well as remember myself when I need a good kick).

Let’s pick up where I left off:

Okay, maybe some backstory is needed here. Mystery of the Stardust Monk was supposed to be my March release. Didn’t happen. I skipped a March release because I had too much else going on. Now that it’s ready, I though, okay, June release. Then I put out Prince of the Ruined Land (as you all know) and I got “challenged” to have the next book in the series out by July 1st. There is no way that’s happening, especially with my current lessons. But, silly me, I thought I could push it for Onesong. Irregardless of how I split it, I could have book 1 out by the last week of June, so that it would be out by July 1st and still fall into my traditional publishing day of Tuesday. I think there’s a part of me that’s trying to see if I can do it. Challenge accepted! Except, I don’t want to be pressured. I don’t want to have two releases that close together. There’s a lot going on in my head about this, both from a writer and a publisher point of view — which, if you’re going to be an indie writer, you must hold onto both hats at once sometimes.

So I sit with this dumb problem.

I thought might get a handle on it when I finally had Onesong written, but there’s still so much to contemplate. Plus, a cover that needs a decision when I have 8 various versions of the mock-up (all of them frustratingly fun!). If it weren’t fun, I’d have to quit doing this because, grrr, at the moment none of this is worth what I’m putting into it. Whenever I once again think about all this, I teeter on that edge of thinking dangerous thoughts which have no good end.

See, it’s a dumb problem. I write for myself, but sometimes I like to challenge myself. I have learned hard lessons and want to learn and grow from them. I think about my readers and I want to make them happy because my job isn’t done until the story is finished and someone reads it. There is so much work to be done (all by myself at the moment) to publish a book and make sure people know about it. I’m invested and so are several loyal readers. I don’t want to disappoint them. I don’t want to disappoint myself. I want to enjoy the ride.

But now, I’ve basically tucked Mystery of the Stardust Monk away under my bed, or in a drawer, or the closet, for publication later. No one gets to read it.

To me, that’s depressing, and if I were a reader, I’d be disappointed knowing the writer was intentionally withholding something from me.

Logic says that I should set it up as a June release or a May release to go along with Eggs at Play, since that’s a children’s picture book. But Logic’s friend, Fear, says I should wait because it might be better to save it for a month I don’t have anything else to release (like in March when I went without a release because I had too much going on). And their arch-rival, Reality, says that no one gives a damn so just put it out there!

Dumb head game.

That’s where I ended the original post, but now I’ve given myself some clearance to think about it and I want to dive deeper.

That’s all it really is. A dumb head game. It’s the publisher hat trying to dominate the writer child-self. After all, the artist-child is wild and irresponsible. The publisher must control and regulate that artistic side because she might throw a temper tantrum and nothing will get done. We have those new lessons for the publisher, remember? I think it’s the publisher getting all steamed up about having regulations placed on it. Now it’s second guessing itself. Wow, it’s not even the publisher trying to focus the artist, but the publisher trying to swim in a brave new world. Now that’s a mind trip! Wow. I don’t think I would have realized that if I hadn’t moved this off onto its own post.

It is the publisher hat fear that demands that I be regular and consistent in putting things out to the world. To look at Reality’s argument that no one really cares when it comes out as long as the reader has the story available when they want it is really the truth. Anticipation is one thing, and it’s a great marketing tool, but should be used appropriately. A novella? Probably not the best thing to get people anticipating (unless it’s Loki, of course, but that would be the exception because he’s already got a fabulous fan base). But right now, no one cares when I put out a novella. And I don’t treat my books the way a traditional publisher would — that it’s fruit that spoils in 2-3 weeks and must be pulled from the shelf. We’re not in that era any more.

I guess I must ask myself the big question:

Am I ready to release Mystery of the Stardust Monk now?

No. Surprisingly, no.

But it’s not longer a dumb head game problem. I literally do not feel like putting it out there yet. I think about it and I feel my energy drain.

Does my publisher hat have a process that it must trust too? It must. Both hats sit on the same head.

Maybe this problem isn’t as dumb as it looked. Maybe it’s not simple either. Maybe it’s not a problem either. Maybe it’s must my inner knowing tuned into something bigger than myself that I will see when the moment is right.

I do feel like I have to trust the emotion running through me. It says, not now, but soon. Soon I will be able to get on all the various sites and upload it. This might be a continuation of the lessons I am learning. Maybe it is about when to let go. It certainly is about letting the publisher hat trust the process too.

What was disguised as a head games ends up being a clever little lesson. Look at that.