Sunday, November 18, 2012

Week in Review-Preview - Decompressing

This week on the blog we saw: 
A reminder to folks, if you want to get a free copy of Wife of Freedom, do it now!  On Thanksgiving evening, I will set it back to full price on Smashwords, and the rest of the vendors will start raising the price soon after.  Wife of Freedom is the first book in the series, and it could be helpful in providing context for Test of Freedom. (You can find purchase/download links on the ToF intro page, or at the bottom of any episode.)

In the meantime, I'm getting ready for Cozy Mystery Week, which is the first week of December. I'll have a couple of nice posts on misdirection and clues, and maybe something about what a cozy mystery is to me (which is slightly different from what it is to a lot of people).

Coming This Week on the Blog:

Monday - Test of Freedom Episode 9 "Like a Line of Horses"
Jackie arrives on Sabatine, and finds himself fretting at the bit like a nervous horse again.

Wednesday - The Essence of Genre, Part 1
The 1000th post on this blog!!  We'll mark the occasion with a look at the problems with genre, and how genre is like a fake cat.

Thursday - Test of Freedom Episode 10 "Clement Farm"
Rocken, the overseer, isn't at all sure about this new man on the farm.

Friday - A Look at My New Short Story Covers
I've got most of the new covers done.  On Friday I'll give you a look and talk about them.

A Round of Words in 80 Days Update

Wednesday Day 45 - 778 words.
Thursday Day 46 - Utterly Screwed up by Health stuff
Friday Day 47 - Utterly Screwed up by Health stuff
Saturday Day 48 - Saturday is now Blog Day.

(See the list of other folks who checked in today here.)

Not-Ready-For-Fulltime Diary

Okay, a full month since layoff.

I don't have good new habits formed yet. It doesn't matter how well prepared you are, transition still takes time.  There are way more tasks buried in your life than you think there are.  For instance, right now, while I have insurance, I'm dealing with every health-related thing I've put off -- even the things that aren't insured but could have insured consequences.

On the Writing Front, it seems like I'm not getting anywhere, at least on the micro-level.

Or so it seems... but when I step back and look at it from the macro-level, I am.  I'm doing the writing snowball thing -- I'm getting stuff off my plate. I'm just not always working on the things I intended to be working on.

While I was working on ToF, I realize I was really working on my blog; getting the very large task of running this blog off my dinner plate and onto it's own side plate. I've needed to get to a place where I wasn't backed up on it, but also had room for spontaneity.  I seem to have found that.  I can now, most likely, manage it by devoting Saturdays to the blog.

Which is important, as I discovered this week. I had a "sleep study," and being able to have two posts, complete with art, in the can and set to auto-publish really helped a lot. I only had to scramble to do the sketch of Judi Dench, when I realized the Bond post was about the pairing of Craig and Dench, and not really about Bond.  That sketch went quick, because I'd already made all the technique and style decisions on the sketch for Daniel Craig.

Which brings me to something I've done that I didn't even realize I was doing:

I'm establishing a production workflow that goes a lot deeper than just sitting down and drawing something.

With Test of Freedom, for instance; all the episodes are in the can. That doesn't mean they are in their very final form, or that I don't have other work to do. (The first 8 episodes required a lot more last minute work than I expected, and will undoubtedly be rewritten once more for the book version.)

What it does mean is that I am not, at the last minute, trying to figure out what kind of illustration to do, and what to title the dang episode.  When I sit down to do a title, now, I can go over multiple episodes at a time, and really get my "titling" hat on.  And at the same time, I can think about images, and put notes in with the titles. And having done that, I naturally can start doodling and looking for references long before I have to draw.

Combine that with the nice template I've developed for the series, and drawing an episode now is mostly a matter of just sitting down and drawing.

But it took a whole month to decompress that process, because it involved writing and publishing too. This decompression is beginning to happen all over my life.

It's like getting a bigger, better toolbox that has room for all your tools.

Right now, I'm shifting how I'm looking at my goals again.  I've got a few more things to get off my plate, but I hope to get back to how I was thinking in March about productivity and high word counts.  I want my writing to start going more like my art, with a more decompressed prep cycle leading to more productive writing time. I want to go reread those blog posts about 10k words a day.

I'll be treating December more like NaNo, with moderately ambitious goals, but not with a single project in mind.  I will keep my priorities -- Devil in a Blue Bustle next, then The Man Who Stepped Up -- but I just don't know when one will be done and the other ready.  The real key is to get this process going like my art has been going.

See you in the funny papers.


Anonymous said...

Don't feel bad about the habits. Habits take a while to form. I totally agree about the tasks buried in life. There's a LOT. But at least you're getting things off your plate. Just keep at it.

Kate Copeseeley said...

Hey, you know what? Planning and organizing is a GOOD thing. We writers don't always appreciate it, or seem to count it as "REAL" work, but the fact is, it is real and HARD. So kudos to you for taking extra time on TOF. Also, thanks for the heads up about your book. My plate is full, but my mom is a huge indie supporter, so she'll probably want a copy.

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks, Ryan and Kate!

It's really good to be able to give every task its due. That's what it comes down to.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I think taking care of your health *is* taking care of your writing. Have to be healthy, right?

Sleep study...ugh. Did that a little over a year ago. Took them forever to hook me up to that stuff and it was creepy to sleep while others evaluated.

I think you were smart to address health first.

The Daring Novelist said...

Yeah, the longer you live, the more you can write!