G'day, True Believers!
I'll admit it, I have felt a bit like human spam lately. It's my sincere hope that I'm not getting on your nerves with all that sharing that's been going on this week. I work with the understanding that by being part of the True Believer network, you're all in as far as updates and checking out the new work. If not, well, there's a spam filter on your server for a reason.
Before I get to this week's resource, the bullet journal, I thought I'd just share some reflections. This is a pretty exciting time for me creatively. It's a time of year when work is a little less intense, though there still is a ton to do, but my after hours time is still very much my own. Thus, I'm able to put a lot of energy into some creative projects. Right now, it's all about getting stuff done. For the last year or so, I've been able to just follow the collective energy of ideas, writing down what I was int he mood to write down, letting this disciplined daydreaming go where it liked. This has left me with a pretty good problem for a writer to have - a dearth of ideas to work on.
This is however, a double edged sword in some ways. Let's be honest, a work doesn't get published if it's not finished. It also can be quite maddening to have so much incomplete work out there. You see, writing is obsessive work. You get an idea, you see where its going and then it gets rolling and suddenly it all becomes an chore of energy and time management to get it done. It took me a while to figure this out as a writer, mostly back when the Ivan stories were flying out of my head like crazy. I'd get an idea, I'd outline it, I'd roll with it and sometimes work for six hours straight, ignoring family and sometimes work because it almost hurt to have this idea in my head. Yes, this meant a nice creative output, but there were some obvious downsides to it. Also, this is what let to the creative crash where the Ivan stories really stopped coming for a couple years. All for no freaking money whatsoever.
Since then, I think I've struck a nice balance of finding efficient ways to get work done, feed the muse, follow all these irrational tricks that keep me creative but still invested in my family and my profession. I'll admit, this is much more rewarding. Right now I have to tools and processes in place to ensure a decent creative output without sacrificing any of those essential elements of my life.
Part of that balance is getting this stuff done. At this time, counting all novels, novellas, short stories, fictionalized memoirs on my docket, I have about fourteen separate projects going on. Yep. That's a lot to organize, prioritize and finish. And the ideas keep coming.
As much as I enjoy the rush that comes with exploring these new ideas and writing the comic book in my head, things were getting a little crazy-making, which led to my realization that my creative discipline needs to be more disciplined. I need to get this stuff finished. Summer's a good time to do that. For me, there are a few short weeks where the workload is less intense, there's a chunk of vacation time in there. However, without focus and a more disciplined plan to get things done, well... it's easy to spin my creative wheels.
Which brings me to this months creative resource. The bullet journal. I stumbled upon this thing earlier in the week, and the timing could not have been better. Right now at work, I'm preparing for a new role that while it has the same title, has a series of tasks that are totally different. I was really getting keyed up thinking about how to wrap my head around everything. When I found this information about the bullet journal, well, it just started to click for me. This tool is elegant, cost effective and hands on. All things I really, really like.
We live in a great age where there are so many productivity tools and apps out there. Everything from Google Calendar to Trello to others too numerous to mention. The bullet journal is a really elegant system to plan out and deal with your daily punch list in a really efficient way. It's been around for a while. I'll be honest, most of the YouTube videos you see out there seem to be guided toward twentysomething hipsters trying to keep track of when to meet Marie for hot chocolate. However, the links I sent are more workplace based. I'm going to give this a go mostly because at work I use Outlook and its quickly becoming a monster where I still don't feel like I have a good grasp on my role in a holistic sense like I used to.
Before adapting it for work, I decided to beta-test it on my creative and home life. So far the early results are encouraging. Setting up the journal took less than an hour, then once I had the structure, I spent a good two hours of complete flow where I set a calendar for all the projects, balancing the grunt work of typing in drafts with the driven work of structured effort on the novel projects as well as banking time for the free flow of new ideas.
The nice thing about the bullet journal I'm finding is that is provides a good tool taking things from the macro-level to the micro level without losing essential focus on either.
And, hey, in a world dominated by electronics and connectivity, how cool is it to run around with a high quality notebook and a pen?
Okay, True Believers, that's it for this week. Here's a tip of the coffee mug to say summer is here, enjoy it. Get outside, even if its just being in the yard with your sketch pad. Make, make, make. If you don't, there's no guarantee that anyone else will.
'Greetings, True Believers!
Sorry I missed last week's posting. I know your long weekend wasn't complete without it. Last weekend, I really wanted to take advantage of the extra free day to get some serious writer work done. It was a very productive weekend.
I have been keeping to my "keep writing the fun stuff" plan. I finally finished "Ivan v. Zyd: the 50-foot Chicken" and will be serializing it once the people at Clarkesworld, a science fiction magazine, reject it. That statement doesn't come from any sort of self-pity or pessimism. It's more about the mature of mainstream science fiction right now. The Ivan Chronicles don't really fit in with the kind of stuff that's out there. Not that what's out there is bad, it's just that it doesn't invest in stories like this. Nonetheless, Clarkesworld is a nice little rag that just might take a chance on a work like this. So we'll see.
Soooooo, I wrapped that up. I looked over some of the as of yet unwritten steampunk adventures of the crew of the USAS Mullen. I've put some stories on hold for quite some time. I mean, really, how do I not write things with titles like "The Wolves of Edinburgh" and "Revenge of the Squid Queen"? Right? Yeah, those are coming, eventually.
Of course, there's The Assassin's Table, which I'm still plugging away on. More to come next week.
And then it happened. I was just sitting there, listening to some music. Contemplating this that and the other. Jet bikes and rockets, rock n' roll and volcanoes, sunsets and surfing. Next thing I knew, I had spent two days of brain work on some notions and ideas, then something like a plot came together and... well... I may or may not have started another series of young adult adventure stories.
Yeah, I know, what the heck am I thinking? Am I even thinking? With the backlog of material I have, maybe I should focus on finishing a few more things. (Like a story with a kick ass title like "Revenge of the Squid Queen")
What can I say? I writer, especially one who isn't making a freaking living at it, needs to follow the excitement and the energy of the story. Yes, the old credo of finish what you start is important. But like I said, I've got a day job and writing is at its best when I feel that joy of making.
Not to worry, true believers, I'm still going to keep you knee deep in dieselpunk, because I'm not abandoning The Assassin's Table. This one's getting done. But don't be surprised if something all new shows up before the end of summer. Something totally different from anything I've done.
Something with jetbikes...