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End of the month update: What I have in store for July

Summer for me, thus far, has been fairly productive in the writing front – I’ve finally completed my first draft, I’ve been updating the blog fairly frequently, and at least trying a little bit to get involved with the community of writers on twitter. Now that I’ve finished up that first draft and Camp NaNoWriMo is coming to a close, though, I’m not too sure if I’ll be keeping up with productivity. While my novel is going to be a bit on the back-burner aside from a little bit of outlining every day or so during July, I have other projects that I do want to keep up with, some work, drawing and painting, and I’d like to at least keep myself writing -something- regularly (aside from this blog, of course).

In terms of keeping up with writing, I’ll probably stick mainly to writing things for the blog and doing some daily writing on oneword so I can focus primarily on outlining the novel when it comes to writing. I’m planning to try to update the blog weekly on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays and do a little writing at oneword on Mondays through Fridays, which may or may not be posted here, considering they’re practically just free writing from what comes to mind first for a minute for me (although maybe a weekly post of my oneword writings on Saturday or Sunday would be nice, or maybe just one at the end of the month of the best things I came up with? We’ll see, I guess). I’m thinking I’ll try to mainly stick to posts about writing, from my tips and opinions to posts on resources I use for writing and why/how. I also have some reading updates in mind, if I’m able to keep up with my reading like I really want to.

That’s another thing I’m going to try to keep up on this Summer – I love reading and I’m actually a fairly fast reader when I work at reading frequently, but I’ve been getting too caught up in other things to keep reading on a regular basis. I think to keep up with this I’ll try to do a post at the beginning and end of the month reporting how I’ve been doing with my reading and what I’ve been reading in general. Since I’m reading multiple books at once, I’ll try to get about 50 pages in each of the fiction ones read a week, minimum, until I finish one of them. I’ll probably go at a more leisurely pace with the non-fiction, since most of the non-fiction I read are books intended to help with the process of making comics, so I’ll be reading it along with working on things of that vein.

In terms of things of that vein, I’m also going to be trying to work on a collaborative comic my lovie and I have been working on throughout this month regularly on at the very least weekdays. I’m hoping to at least get a rough sketch for a frame (it’s going to be a single-frame-a-page web comic rather than a multiple-panels-per-page one – sort of an experiment on our part) done per day during the week. I’m hoping to finish up at least the first chapter before we launch it so I won’t have to rush to finish pages to update on a regular schedule – however, if I do seem to slack from the blog every now and then throughout July, it may be because I’m working on trying to get significant work on this done, since it’ll probably be my biggest focus of the month.

While working on the comic counts as working on art, I also want to keep up with doodling and digital painting, so I’m going to be trying to work on those more during the weekends and free time, which is why a lot of what I’ve said above seems to be focused on during weekdays. Weekends will be reserved to relax and work on various digital paintings and concept sketches for them. Doodling is something I’ll probably do during both the weekdays and weekends to just be silly and avoid getting burnt out.

I’m going to try to update my other blogs, which are all more focused on my art and inspiration for that rather than writing, at least once every week or two, as well, so when I get around to regularly updating those, I’ll probably put up a page on here that can redirect people to those if anyone’s interested. Over all, I have a lot in store for July to keep me productive and busy, which is something  I need to keep up with to keep my mood from taking a turn for the worse too often and is essential to my recovery. I’m not planning on overloading myself or taking it all too seriously – breaks will be there when necessary, and I’ll be keeping in touch with ways to relax, be it talking to my buddies or watching things.

What do you have in store for July?

‘Camping’ out

I’ve made it pretty apparent that I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this summer. I’ve been writing up a storm, making new discoveries about my story and it’s characters, having a blast. But aside from this, I am, very loosely, sort of camping out a little bit during the event. Starting this week, I’ve been spending nights out on our car port, staying until a little while after sunrise, getting a good deal of my ‘daily’ writing in during the dead of the night while I’m outside, along with catching up on reading a bit, drawing a little here and there, and just messing around.

It’s ridiculous, I know, but it’s fun.

My lovie has also been on camera with me nearly the entire time I’ve been spending outside, which helps me keep distracted from any spooky noises or the fact that it’s the dead of the night quite a lot more than I’d expected it to. Writing outside – and writing with him – has been so fun, it’s definitely a lot more enjoyable than my last attempt at participating in NaNoWriMo and going by smoother than Script Frenzy, as I’ve been able to evade the inner editor and just have fun with it. Sharing my writing escapades with others – usually during wordsprints – has helped tremendously. Of course, there’s usually not much to report, but yesterday morning, I found myself tweeting again and again about the interruptions to my wordsprinting while outdoors.

Firstly, at the beginning of a sprint, I heard a loud, screeching noise from the nearby road. I looked, and saw a deer flash by and, about half a minute later, a car. I was shocked by this event, happy that the deer apparently survived, and just a little bit horrified by the loud noise of the car. Later on during that sprint, a cat wandered through my yard, catching my attention for a good bit, and I was then left to carry on with my sprinting.

Or so I thought.

As I was writing a fairly intense, emotional scene for my narrator and main character, I took a quick look to the side, to see a deer just strutting on through the yard. For some reason, this excited me – seeing a deer was awesome, even though they’re practically everywhere here. It stopped and locked eyes with me, just staring at me for a minute, so naturally, I started talking to the deer as if it were going to respond (of course, it didn’t – but it’d be awesome if it did). When it started to walk away, it looked back at me, and I realized, a bit too late, having already referred to it as Mr. Deer, that it was female.

I was interrupted once more by a pair of birds in the driveway just derping around, making a fairly odd noise at one another, but other than that, I was left to be at peace with my writing and sprinting, but this is exactly why I love spending my nights and mornings outside to write lately (aside from the fresh air and the beautiful show of fireflies if I come out early enough to catch it) – the way the animals come out and show themselves so much more in the morning. I don’t know why, but it’s always really exciting to see these animals – be it a deer, a cat, a pair of birds being silly in the driveway, or a little bird fairly close to me tweeting away.

Despite getting interrupted so often, I’ve been able to get a lot of my writing for Camp NaNoWriMo done quicker during the night/morning outside, and often, it’s felt a lot more exciting and fun than it has been when not outdoors lately.

In other words, I’m enjoying Camp NaNoWriMo even more now that I’ve been spending late-nights messing around on the carport.

It’s pretty awesome.

Shake It Out: An Epiphany

Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a slum. I haven’t really felt like ACTUALLY getting things done – I wanted to, but I just didn’t feel like it. I couldn’t find motivation. I felt lost, like nothing would ever turn out right, like I’d tried so long but nothing made trying worth it. I haven’t been doing my work, I haven’t been writing, I haven’t really been doing anything except eating hash browns, watching How I Met Your Mother, and wishing I could get it in me to actually do something productive.

But then something happened this morning.

I was catching up on HIMYM’s 7th season, and a song played at the end of the episode. I didn’t recognize the song, but I did recognize the voice, it gave me chills. I looked it up and lo and behold, it was who I thought it was – the song was none other than Florence + The Machine’s “Shake It Out”. I listened closely to the song and it’s lyrics once or twice, and I truly believe the epiphany I had at that moment was one that may just have saved my life.

I can’t deal with waiting for everything to sort itself out anymore. As frustrating and stressful as life can be, I won’t let myself give up like this. I’m not going to wait for motivation and progress, I will make my own progress. I’m going to start doing what I know I need to do – even if I don’t see immediate results, I will make progress. I can and will make this work. I just have to keep trying. Not only will it more than likely improve my emotional state, it will ultimately make my life better. How am I going to do it?

Baby steps – I’m getting back into the groove of doing my work, writing and researching, etc. When I finish writing this, I’m going to grab the book I’ve been on the same page of for five weeks despite my urge to get back into it, and make as much progress as my mind is up to. When I’m done, I’m going to finish some work, and maybe do a bit of research on the Regency Era for a writing project. I’m going to start crossing things off of my to-do list and stick to my schedule a bit closer, and I may start doing some warm-up writing exercises to get my mind working when I don’t quite feel the motivation to work on one of my projects, and I’ve got a few blog posts planned for the future.

Along with this, it’s been a hard decision, but I’ve moved the previous Camp NaNoWriMo project I was talking about to the August Camp NaNoWriMo. This June, I’m going to be working on a different story, a quick break to relax my current project while I pan out details and do more research. The story I’m working on will be a continuation of a short story I posted a while ago, which is using the project I’ve been working on for a few years as a basic outline with several drastic changes for the better. It’ll be a way to escape for a bit, while still getting work done and sinking my toes into my schedule.

Starting today, things will change. I will make progress, and so will my writing – if all goes well, you guys will be along for the ride.

And if anyone reading this whenever they do is having a hard time?

You can make it. It’s hard, I know it is, with personal stress piled on top of everything… but push through, shake it out and remember that it’s always darkest before dawn.

How are you guys doing?

The personal side of my writing

This is going to be a really short post, and a bit personal, so if you don’t like that kind of thing I’d suggest not reading this. It’s short, unedited, more than likely all over the place and bad with explanations, but I’m having a lot of trouble today (especially with writing) and I really want to at least post something if I’m not going to get anything else done.

Writing is a very personal thing to me sometimes.

It’s more than “just a hobby” as people I know personally seem to claim it to merely be, it’s a passion – it’s something that’s very emotional for me, and looking back at old drafts, I can see the mentality I had when I wrote them. I can see my fears and hopes and dreams shining through them, no matter how they’re laced into the stories. Writing unlocks several different facets of me that I may not have even noticed until writing a certain story or rereading draft of one. Drawing and writing are things that I have always loved to do, and are also ways of expressing myself.

Sometimes, they’re even a means to keeping myself happy, although that’s tied into that writing and drawing are things that I really enjoy, and some of the only things that I have to enjoy as of now. Sure, there are other things, but most of the time, what I’m proud of tends to be my writing or my drawing. Without them,  I’d probably drive myself mad with my own boredom.

But that also means that having problems with my work can cause some pretty bad effects on me in general. A lack of motivation to work on editing and revising my script is currently making me feel lost and hopeless in the process, where even forcing myself to do it ends up getting no where and helping with nothing, and trying to take a break just stresses me out even more. Problems with this end up unlocking problems with other things, and everything just grows and gets worse.

I just don’t know how to motivate myself to finish this chapter of the project. I really want to, but at the same time, I just feel like I can’t.

I’m relapsing, and it’s a horrifying experience. I feel helpless in terms of some of the only things that make me happy, and finding inspiration and motivation is one of the hardest things for me to do.

I really need some help here – how do you find motivation to write? How about inspiration?

Update, Productivity, and Camp NaNoWriMo!

I’ve been slacking a little.

But, at the very least, I have enough of an update to report to make what’ll probably be a decent-sized post!

After a recent epiphany, I’ve decided to make sure I don’t slack off and improve significantly at getting the things I want to done and living the life I want to live – thus, I’ve set the goal to complete at least one thing per day, no matter how small, something productive, and to keep myself on this track, I’m designating a loose schedule for myself. When I say loose schedule, I mean I’m going to give myself time to move things around and do things when I want to in a day and still have enough free-time to do whatever I want, but I will have guidelines on what I need to get done that day. Incentives to get this done being 1) My lovie will be seeing my goals in the morning and my completed list before I go to bed, to assure that I got things done, 2) Some sort of reward for myself depending on what I get done.

To help organize what I need to work on first per day, I’ve set some more loose guidelines on what I need to get done in terms of my writing, schoolwork, and visual art first during my week, these being:

Monday – Friday

  • Writing, be it work on my script’s re-writing and revision, outlining for one of my writing projects, a blog post, research notes, or any sort of work on my writing projects.
  • Schoolwork, need to get a significant amount of studying and work done. The amount done during the week depends on Holidays and grades.

Weekends

  • Art, be it working on drawing my project’s art (such as character and scene designs, pictures related to the series), working on colouring and finalizing sketches, or drawing something unrelated to any of my projects.
  • Personal work – this being work on charities and towards things such as answering compassion alerts.

Basically, what I’m doing here is setting what comes first during these brackets – by no means am I making it where I can’t work on one of these things during the other bracket, I’m just giving myself guidelines of what I need to sit down and get done before I move on to doing one of those other things. I’m not big on tight schedules, but I do need to get in the hang of getting things done and being more productive, living my life to the fullest, at least a little bit every day, so a loose schedule/set of guidelines that will fit with other things (social life, sleep, hobbies that I don’t intend to make a living off of, emergencies, reading, etc) and give me as much flexibility as possible. I’m hoping I’ll be able to come up with more things to add to my guidelines over time, but we’ll see. For now, I’m going to keep pretty loose with it and give myself lots of freedom.

This month, in terms of writing, I’ll be working mainly on getting research done for my project for NaNo Camp and re-writing/revising/polishing my Script Frenzy project while hopefully getting plenty of updates and hopefully some more content for the tips, tricks, and opinions category on here, trying to get some good content in before Camp NaNoWriMo June comes around. Come June, my posts will most likely be chronicling my journey through my first participation in Camp NaNoWriMo and I may not have much time to do posting about my writing process and tips during the month. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get more content for the category done than needed for this month to keep it updated throughout June. It all depends, so we’ll cross that bridge when we must.

My lovie and I have decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo together this June, as stated above, and I’ve decided that my novel this go-around will be something a bit new for me. It will be a sort of “guidebook” style novel about the fantasy world my main project is taking place in, going through every factor of it and it’s civilizations, written in a more informative manner, almost as if it were a sort of textbook or nonfiction novel within the world. I’ve not written in that style for my own projects, as far as my memory serves, and it will definitely be a challenge, but hopefully, it’ll be fun and help me get to know my world and, by extension, the people in it, a little bit better.

Now, I’ve got a bit more time to stay up, and everything I’ve got to cover is just about done here, I’ll be closing the post up and (probably) popping back into Netflix to watch even more of the original Dark Shadows tonight, as 4 AM is quickly approaching and I had a goal to finish this mess of an update by then.

What have you guys been up to? Do you use schedules, or prefer to just work with whatever time and inspiration gives you? If so, how tight of a schedule, and if not, why? And of course – is anyone participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this June?

Script Frenzy 2012: Finish lines, editing, and things I’m doing instead of working on that

Page count: 90 pages

It’s been two weeks since my last post already? I was planning on doing an update at the end of each week for Screnzy, but I got a bit sick around posting time and wasn’t able to muster up the inspiration to update. Honestly, I’m still not feeling my best right now, but I’m here, so why not try to get the ball rolling and start a post? I suppose, first thing’s first, it’s time for an update on my Script Frenzy project.

For the most part, my first rough draft for my script is complete. It’s a mass of scribbles, side-notes, and often, very misread-able chicken scratch (even misread-able by the person who wrote it – I misread someone laughing at someone’s action as someone laughing at someone’s erection). I finished it up around the late 50’s-early 60’s in terms of page count, and since a majority of it is being completely re-written as I re-type it, I decided to be a bit of a cheater and count it in my screnzy page count. While this does count as editing, it’s also re-writing a lot and typing it all out, adding and taking scenes away, and the counter going up can sometimes keep me motivated to keep going. I won’t be an official winner, but I got my goal of writing a script done, and I’m keeping motivated for the final drafting stages.

Of course, I’ve been having a little bit of trouble keeping to working on it a little bit every day. I’ve been keeping myself entertained productively with a lot of other things – in terms of this project, settling on character designs, messing with the designs in different poses to see if they fit the character and I like working with them, practicing my digital painting skills, and namely a lot of things involving my little project-devoted sketchbook and my tablet.

On the other hand, I’ve also been devoting a little bit of time every few days to a mini-comic I’ve been doing to relax and have fun, for the entertainment of my friend’s and I, rather than sitting down and forcing my hands to the keyboard when I don’t feel up to it. It’s definitely not something I’m pouring as much devotion as my main project into, and I’m going for a sloppy, fun look to it, something obviously quick but still with a lot of work into it, something that I’m doing quick and for fun but still making sure I’m satisfied with for the style before I consider it finished. I think this is essential to my improvement as well – learning to make things quick and keep things fun every now and then, and trying not to lose sight in that working on these things are what I’m supposed to enjoy, not force myself to do 24/7.

And then there are other things I should be doing – work, reading Dracula, and posting on this blog. I’m fairly sure I can put those things into my weeks at least a little bit without messing anything up too bad, but I’ve also been staying up quite late these days and adjusting to that sleep schedule when I should really try to be fixing it to something more up-in-the-mornings-and-days focused until I’m done with my work. I’m really trying to settle into being more productive, but I’m slipping up a lot, especially with holidays and sickness. My recovery from other things, however, relies a lot on productivity and satisfaction with the amount of things I get done, so I’m going to have to try a bit harder.

If that means forcing myself to start a scene or two in editing and to plan a brief idea for another script, trying to watch a little less of the original Dark Shadows and get things done instead, and trying to fit all of this into an odd sleep schedule or fixing my sleep schedule to something different, so be it.

Expect some posts on editing, rewriting, and the like in the coming months, probably, since that’s what I’m currently doing with my writing, myself. I’d prefer to focus on things that I’m currently working on to keep myself in that mindset when it comes to writing these posts. Hopefully, there’ll be some more posts about my project in particular, inspiration, and eventually some to finish up my posts on character creation. We’ll see, though. As I said – I’m still adjusting.

If you’re participating in Script Frenzy, are you going to be hitting 100 pages this month or not, and how has your experience been? If you’re not in the Frenzy this year, what types of things have you been working on and how is that going? And for all of you – what types of things do you end up doing instead of working on your ‘projects’?

Script Frenzy 2012, week two: The inner editor, nightmares, and exploring the project

Page count: 50 pages and counting

I’ve seen a lot of talk about week two, what it seems to do to people. A slow of inspiration, loss of confidence in their skills to see it through to the end… but this past week, for me, it’s still been flowing finely. I’ve been able to get quite a few pages more than usual in per day on the good ones, and I’ve gotten myself a bit ahead. My work has gone to a sort of slow, however, and I’ve been putting myself on 3 pages per day, usually right around night time. My inner editor has started trying to force it’s way through, and there’s that little barrier I broke down at the beginning building itself up again, a little barrier in my head that gives me doubts. One that fights the risks of taking on a project and leaves the door unlocked for the inner editor to come around a little too early for my tastes.

I had a nightmare last night, something horrible and terrifying. I spent a good deal of the morning looking up almost everything I could remember about it in a dream dictionary, each and every little detail I could find, and while I’m not one for dream analyzing, the terror from it was enough to get me to. I found that most of the details were involved with a positive change in life, a fear of not being good enough, things that seem to line up with an amazing change in my life that has come with Script Frenzy: writing more and writing regularly, which has inspired a lot of positive change. Recovery from something I’ve been experiencing for years, long enough for me to wonder how I’ll live when it’s gone, and I guess it is kind of scary thinking about it, although it feels marvelous. Most of the meanings I found lined up with how I’m feeling, the way life has been going, and some of the other things are quite personal, so while I won’t detail them here, they did line up correctly as well, which may have just been an odd coincidence.

The dream resembled nightmares I had often when I was very young, the main difference being my age in it and the fact that it ended with the words “32 PAGES UNTIL DEATH” on my computer screen. I’ve always had a fear of never finishing projects, and since I was little, I’ve had a bad habit of abandoning them. I’m thinking my subconscious is a little wary of my love for the project I’ve been working on this month, something I’ve been trying to build up in my head since around Thanksgiving. I’m balancing my life with it well, and while I do run into little bumps of stress on this road, I’m very confident in this project and I know I will finish it. I have a lot of faith in it, but I’m becoming doubtful of it as always, and this doubt was fairly specifically last night before I went to bed. Hopefully, Script Frenzy 2012 will help me through these problems I have and help me become a better writer, script or not.

While I’ll have to get to work and prove to myself that I can do this, the script has been going well. I’m getting to know my characters and the way they act more, experimenting with how they react to different things, basically learning more and more about them each page and (hopefully) breathing more life into them as I go. They’re each developing their own senses of humor, their own ways of responding to stress and irritation, some even gaining their own ways of wording things before the process of going back and re-wording their dialogue to fit their speaking styles. I’ve found that one of them used to write what they refer to as marvelous stories, and another has it in their nature to worry and dote over others. My antagonist’s plans are being set into motion, and the main characters are learning more about what other things that aren’t quite natural could be lurking in the forests around them.

I’m having a blast exploring my world, getting to know my characters, figuring out the little details of the story as I go. Winging it comes with a lot of doubt sometimes, but it brings freedom, too. I’m definitely going to try to do more of this, maybe combined with a wee bit more planning on what the actual stories will be about next time, and I’ll hopefully be trying more and more new techniques to see how things work out. Soon, I’m going to be buying something to keep all of my visual records for the story in – character and setting designs, drawings that will create the foundings of this world I’m creating, the visuals that will hopefully help me bring my story to something more than a writer and artist’s distant dream.

I’m absolutely loving Script Frenzy 2012, my first participation in the event, despite the bumps in the road! How is everyone else participating holding up? If you’re not participating in Script Frenzy, are you working on something else – if so, what is it?