When I made my unceremonious return to the office for the Day Job, I gave myself a month. I’ve done this in the past; life throws me a curve ball that I can’t avoid no matter how hard I try. I’ll be angry and frustrated and be stuck in that feedback loop. But I’ll give myself a month to Just Get Over It.
Mind you, it’s not the same as giving up. I’m still angry about the situation and I’m still making alternate plans. But I’m not giving in. I am not making do. In fact, I’m making the best of a frustrating situation. To wit:
–I’d forgotten what it felt like to have a car commute. When was the last time I had to drive to my job? That would be the temp jobs back in 2005. (I had office jobs in 2006-2014 or so, but I could get to those via public transit.) This reminded me of a few things: how to head out early so I had a cushion of time before logging in; how to find alternate routes; how to utilize the drive time creatively. I spent most of December relearning a lot of that.
–I might be getting home anywhere between 5pm and 6pm (and believe you me, I hate the latter), but I can still work on the laptop while hanging out with A in the living room after dinner. And I still have the weekends to do things.
–I found ways to best use my time for creative endeavors, even on company time. I can write longhand (journal and poetry), my daily words (as of this moment, I can access 750 Words on my work laptop and this makes me so blissfully happy right now), and considering that I’m stuck in a cubicle without all the distractions of Spare Oom, I’m actually forced to not goof off.
–I have multiple mp3 players to keep me entertained when need be, and a lunch and two breaks if I feel the need to surf social media.
So what does this all mean? This means that I’ve realized that my situation is nowhere as dire as I was making it out to be. I spent that month getting that frustration and flailing out of my system, and spent the entirety of December thinking okay, how can I make the best out of all this?
This means that I’m going to continue with the writing schedule that worked so well for me over the last few years. Walk in Silence will be posting Tuesdays and Thursdays again, and Welcome to Bridgetown will be posting Mondays and Fridays again. I’ll be doing my daily words Monday through Friday.
Do I have any specific projects I’ll be working on? I’ve a few, but I’m holding them close right now. I’ll reveal them when the time is right. I can say that I’ll be submitting Diwa & Kaffi to publishers in the next few weeks, however, and I’m really looking forward to that particular project. It’s been too long and I think it’s time. I’m ready for it.
Between the trips to New York City and London, the weekend plans, multiple work-related issues and everything else, I’ve been so full up that I’d made the decision to clear the whiteboard schedule, temporarily stop work on a lot of creative projects, and focus only on the most important ones. That meant that I focused almost all my creative juices on the new Mendaihu Universe story. Little by little, I let a few things in as time permitted, such as guitar practice and photography.
Now that all the major events are out of the way for the time being, it’s time to get back to the grind and open up the floodgates a bit more. I’ve replanned the whiteboard schedule again; I’m not filling it up too much just yet, but I’ve added art, music and work on the Walk in Silence book back into the mix, and moved the updating of the WtBT blog to Mondays. I may revisit the daily 750 Words if time permits. And musically, I have a few ideas I’d like to record in demo form as part of the Drunken Owl project.
The temporary hiatus did have its positives, as I was able to provide better focus on what needed it, and still have time to relax. I was also able to recalibrate how I viewed my writing — not just the output but the style, and looking at what can be adjusted — to the point that I should also be able to do the same with my other writing projects that I put aside. Long story short, I’ve realized that the best practice (to borrow an annoying work-related phrase) for me is to do most of my writing longhand and use my PC time for revision and rewriting, and that’s how I plan to work from here on in.
These last few months have been a relaxing reprieve, but I’ll say this: it’s great to be back on schedule again.
I’ve been hinting at a new and improved writing process for a while now. Taking a hard left and going in a completely different direction. Looking at my creativity from a vastly different perspective. Working with a new whiteboard schedule. Being more consistent with updating my WordPress blogs. Starting totally new projects, and seeing old ones off.
Well, it’s a little bit of everything, really. Let’s just say I have a very busy 2015 ahead of me, in a positive way.
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Let’s start with the new whiteboard. [For those not too interested, scroll down to the next break for some fun news!] Each day has something to do, as you can see from the picture…but noticeably missing is any mention of a main project. This is a continuation from what I’d been doing with the previous whiteboard the last few months. I know what main project I’m supposed to be working on, so I don’t feel I need to put add it to the board. Also, I’ve decided that this is not going to be a “this is what I’m doing today” to-do schedule but a “this is due by today” deadline schedule. This gives me more freedom to create something when I feel like it, and also gives me the impetus to create a surplus if need be (more on that in a few moments). Here’s what I have set up:
Sunday: Welcome to Bridgetown blog. Even though this blog is dedicated to the stories within the Mendaihu Universe that I’m writing, I will also be featuring more entries about the writing craft. My weekend blog entries (such as on the good old LJ) tend to be longer and more contemplative, and channeling that into writing thoughts and MU extras seems like a good idea.
Monday: Storyboarding. What is this, you say? Am I thinking of going into film or animation? Well, no, not as such, but this is something new I’d like to try out. It’s an exercise in brainstorming. It can be anything from brief outlining of a current work in progress to playing around with new ideas. But yes, it could even include art!
Tuesday: Art. Doing the Inktober meme last year definitely inspired me to start drawing again, so this is a reminder to keep that alive. This will also serve as reminder to post any ongoing or finished artwork up on the Tumblr site.
Wednesday: Poetry. I’m starting to be more consistent about this one lately, as I’ve often been using my daily word run on 750 Words as a playground for poetry ideas. It might be just a few stanzas, or it might be epic in length, depending on the subject and what I want to write about. These will most likely remain offline for now, although if I’m particularly proud of the end result, I may post it somewhere.
Thursday: Walk in Silence blog. This one remains my all-purpose blog to write about music, and I felt that moving this to Thursday would be perfect, for two reasons: One, new releases come out on Tuesdays and it sometimes takes me a day or so to connect with the ones I buy or download. Two, because in my aim to become more consistent in my blogging, I’m going to be posting micro-reviews of new releases, alongside other music-related subjects I may want to talk about. As with this blog, I’m planning on writing more entries than releasing them so I can create a backlog, and therefore have a more consistent release schedule.
Friday: Photos. I’m continuing to get better at my photography, learning more how to tweak pictures using Photoshop, and so on, and I’d like to feature more pictures on my Tumblr. Taking inspiration from a photographer I follow here on WP, I’d like to challenge myself by taking things other than panoramas or architecture; I’d like to try still life and nature, turn it more artistic, even if it’s just for practice.
Saturday: Music. One major project for 2015: start recording! I’ve got feasible software on my computer (Audacity), a small microphone, and a handful of song and melody ideas, so I think it’s high time I reignited the Drunken Owl project by making demos here in Spare Oom Studio. I’m not planning on anything big, so it could be anything from short snippets to revisiting old Flying Bohemians tracks, and playing around with them. I’d also like to do more research into more extensive software that could possibly let me record and mix multiple tracks.
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I should also add that a good portion of this year will also be spent submitting A Division of Souls to agents and publishers. I’m hoping to get the Mendaihu Universe out into the wild within the next year or so.
All this, in conjunction to whatever main writing project I have going on. And my day job. And a personal journal. And my daily words. Did I manage to leave some time for eating and sleeping, and hanging out with Amanda? Let’s hope so.
But wait, there’s more!
I’m proud to announce that I have not one but two self-published projects I’m planning on releasing into the world sometime this year as well! I’m thinking epub at this point, although print could be involved, depending on which self-publishing company I end up working with to produce and release it. These are two projects I’ve been working on over the last few years; one is complete and the other is about three-quarters of the way done.
The first will be a book version of Blogging the Beatles, the series I started over at the WiS blog a few years back, in which I listened and talked about the Beatles’ discography in chronological release order. I had so much fun writing it, and learned so much musically as I studied the songs, that I felt it would be perfect for an ebook. I’ll be revising it and adding new items as I do so, and hope to have this one out at least by midyear.
The second will be Walk in Silence itself. This one’s the biggie. I’m about three quarters of the way done on the more personal side of the story, with revision number two to add in more about the music. This one may roll into 2016 if other issues pop up, but the aim is to get it out into the wild by autumn 2015.
Of course, releasing books about popular music could be tricky considering the rights involved, but since I’m not directly quoting the music but only commenting on it, I think I should be okay. These are both books focusing on my love of music, in particular about a band and a genre that inspired me and shaped who I am.
So yeah…you should be seeing more of me here at Welcome to Bridgetown and elsewhere, so stick around–it’s gonna be a fun ride!