Friday, June 29, 2012

Good Fridays: Day Off and Writing

I have a day off, yaaaaaay! I've been enjoying my library job like a beaver enjoys gnawing through a very thick cedar. It's a lot of work, but it utilizes my natural skills and it's well worth the effort. I've also found that this new job makes me completely exhausted physically, but is so good for my soul that I get a mysterious energy from it. It's the joy of finding purpose, and making a difference to others.

That said, I'm more than ready for a day off. My day off tasks include catching up with all the social media I missed or neglected during the workweek, doing any chores or shopping, making time for pc games I don't usually get to play, and (of course) writing. That seems like the hardest to get done.

I don't know about you, but I let myself get daunted by my own grand ideas. I have envisioned a scene so well sometimes that I worry I won't do it justice when I try to put it to words. This makes me afraid to even start writing. Fear of failure, I guess.

I've heard that the best remedy for fear of failure is to just do it. Whatever it is you're so afraid to do. Being a card-carrying procrastinator, I need to hammer that point home harder than most people. (I will do it today, or die trying!)

What do you struggle with before writing? And how do you finally win?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Raptor Poop

Got your attention didn't I? I've just come off a long week (8 hours on my feet for five days) in my new library job. It's good to blog and it's good to see that the blogosphere hasn't changed. Everything's just where I left it. I even had a couple query rejections in my email when I checked. (yay!)
Since starting this job, I've been struggling with the 'branding' of it. Everyone associates librarians with sour old ladies, their hair pulled into tight buns, reading glasses perched halfway down their noses (the better to glower at you over them). I do have the glasses and I look smashing in a bun, but as for the other stuff, I just don't fit the bill.

This got me to thinking about writers and the stereotype they're supposed to fit. Not to mention illustrators, gamers, comic book readers, anime fans, etc. I fit into all of these categories.

Miss Cole recently posted about pacing herself as a writer while gaming on the side and it struck a chord with me. We all become haunted by what we're supposed to do to live up to the career we've chosen. Every life path is rocky at the start. You're not going to feel completely comfortable. The trick is to do it your way.

Unless you're a full-time writer, you don't have to write on your manuscript every day (barring deadlines). If you're an illustrator, you don't have to draw all the time. Librarians leave their job at work, so why don't writers and illustrators give themselves a break once in awhile? Arrange time for it and write during that time, jot down ideas when they come to you away from the desk, and don't feel guilty. Don't try to squeeze creativity out of a brain that's exhausted. Give it time to recharge.

This new job has me thinking "Am I turning away from my path of freelance illustration?" "Am I giving up my dreams for something I never planned to make a career in the first place?" But, the truth is, I like this job and I really need the money. Those should be good enough reasons.

There will be time for writing and illustration. And when there is time, I shouldn't feel guilty over choosing one over the other. I should never feel guilty. I am an illustrator. I am a writer. Sure, I don't do it all of the time, but it doesn't mean I don't do it.

My, what a lovely BMW you have there!
And what about the raptor poop? We had a bird guy come into the library, bringing with him two hawks and an owl (raptors) to show the children. As soon as he took them out of their cages, they pooped. All three of them. This was very entertaining to the kids. And if you've never seen a large bird-of-prey relieve itself, let me just say, you'd be glad it wasn't flying over your car at the time.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Good Fridays - New Dayjob

For my Good Fridays post today I'm celebrating my new job! I'll be working at two libraries in my area and being around books even more than I am now! Yaaaaaaay!

My blogging schedule will have to be adjusted to fit my working schedule, but I won't stop posting.

Do you have any good news to share today?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Still Levelling

Inspiration for today's post is from the wonderful Jen Daiker at her blog Unedited. Her Marketing Monday post, comparing a writer's journey with Alice in Wonderland really got me to thinking. About Alice, yes, but also about what I do when I don't feel like writing, or querying, or facing the blogosphere. I game.

The publishing world is big and scary, and good news can seem so far away. It's a 1up on a platform high above where you currently are in the game. Now you just have to figure out how to reach it. Every path seems to be filled with monsters and treacherous places.

Sometimes you just don't have enough armor, or your weapon isn't very powerful. Or you fall off and die - several times. When that happens you have two choices. You can keep trying until you figure out how to reach the platform on your own or you can go online and look up a game guide (also called a walkthrough). This lets you know what obstacles and opponents are waiting for you ahead in the game and how best to defeat them. Some people consider it cheating, but it's really all in the way you use it.

Comparing gaming to publishing makes a lot of sense to me. The bosses are agents, editors and publishers, and your weapons are your Manuscript and query letter. Don't underestimate the value of advice characters, which in our case are creative partners, friendly agents, and editors who offer advice for free.These characters turn up every once in awhile in third-person games to point you in the right direction. But in the world of publishing, you have to hunt them down yourself.

Speaking of one who has been killed by bosses many times, I try and try until I finally have to break down and look up a game guide. I go in as prepared as I can, but sometimes there is a strategy I forgot to employ or a specific weapon I need to use. Game guides help with this.

It's the same with writers trying to publish. You go in as prepared as you can, but sometimes you're not quite as ready as you thought you were. That's when you pause the game and go look up a strategy guide on a writer's forum, a blog, or in a magazine.

No matter what level you are in the game, we can all agree it's not as easy as we might've thought when we first started. Whether you're a single player or part of a group, you can't do it by yourself. You need the right gear and the right advice. As a gamer, I can say the best advice always comes from other gamers.

So, what helped you reach the level you're at now, and what advice, weapons and armor will you use to get to the next one?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Good Fridays: Library Interview

I've been having some computer trouble lately so if I disappear from the blogosphere (or twitter, or chat or anywhere else) that's why. I just had to post about my good news for the week. Monday, I have an interview for the library job! Yay!

Just a little over two weeks ago I went in to take a test to see if I had the stuff to work at my local library. This test took an hour and a half to take, but I believe I nailed it. I've been drawn to library work for awhile. Not as a career, but as an interest. I mean books, computers, helping people, kids, books! Did I mention books?

If I don't get this job, I'll try not to dampen this blog much. But I'm keeping optimistic that I'll get it.

What about you? Do you have any Good Fridays news?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Advice for Writers Who Hate Writing Advice

This is an advice post in the same vein as my Rules for Writers Who Hate Writing Rules. And I'm pretty sure this is advice you'll be able to take.

There are many methods and techniques to craft a story (like this one about the Snowflake method). There are outline methods and plotting methods. There are even character development methods, but no method can replace actually writing the story. Your characters will develop as you go, and if they show inconsistencies you can always go back and fix them.

Some people get bogged down in all the planning and use it to procrastinate, so don't over-prepare. Once you've got as much as you need to work from, start writing. Let the story lead you. Don't be afraid to stray from the outline. (Sometimes it's more fun not to know what's going to happen next!)

Remember why you started writing in the first place - because it's fun! Because you love it! You love playing with words, exploring your worlds, developing your characters and working up an awesome plot.

People can tell you many things about writing, but no one can teach you how to be creative. If you're a writer, you're already creative. Don't doubt yourself.

Now go play and have fun! (and turn this song up)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Do You Have a Creative Bucket List?

Well, you should! While I really dislike the connotation of 'bucket list' because I don't want to think about kicking the bucket anytime soon, it gets the point across. Most bucket lists involve huge life adventures or accomplishments that make living more fun for the person involved.

I've had a creative goal list since I was young enough to start dreaming big. And dream big I did. My family encouraged it. They pushed me to do whatever my young mind could dream up. I've actually accomplished a lot on my phantom list. The trouble is that life has slowed me down and when life slows me down and keeps me stationary I get depressed. I lose sight of my goals and start going in circles. Hopefully this list will help me get back on track and push forward even if I'm not physically going anywhere.

Just to let you know what I've already accomplished on my junior high/high school goal list, here it is:

- Finish a long story (it was a fanfic, but it still counts)
- Learn to drive (freeing, believe me)
- Get my own car (check, love my little Saturn!)
- Go to college (on scholarship!)
- Attend a great art school (graduate school. SCAD was amazing!)
- Become an artist (check, next step get regularly paid for it!)
- Visit Disneyworld (check, I worked there for three months)
- See Cirque Du Soleil perform live (check, while I was in Florida)
- Go to a live music concert (Need to do this one again)
- Go to a big anime/comic convention (Dragoncon in Atlanta, GA)
- Teach kids (preschool and now Sunday School, possibly college next?)

And now here's my creative bucket list: 

- Write a novel
- Illustrate it (still working on this)
- Write and illustrate my own book series
- Find a literary agent
- Find a publisher
- Get book series published
- Find an online creative outlet that reaches a lot of people like a webcomic or a blog (check!)
Some people have said I should try my hand at a webcomic too. I'm on the fence because I don't know if I'm that organized or disciplined yet.
- Win an art contest or get prize money for my work (high school, college and grad school)
- Learn how to play piano well (still learning)
- Learn a second language (tried Spanish, got distracted by Japanese, then Korean. I really need to commit to just one)
- Become a successful freelance illustrator
- Design characters for an animated movie or a videogame
- Illustrate book covers that get published
- Create fanvids for a show or movie I like (Doctor Who!)

I'll probably end up adding to this list, but for now there it is. I'd love to do a list like this for other areas of my life too. If you would, here's a blog on how to create a useful bucket list.

So, do you have a creative bucket list?

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