Daily Update, or Unproductive Day In Some Ways

Unproductive Day
Unproductive Day

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Today

I got up this morning and went out on a run, 3.56 miles, which included a trip across the monkey bars. I’m trying to get in shape for the Spartan Race later this year. It’s really hard. It used to be so much easier when I was younger. That said, it was a fun run. Cool, not raining. Celebratory burpees afterwards.

The running took time and then it was off to the Day Job. There, it was a busy day. I took a shorter than normal lunch break, very short other breaks. I mostly read when I was at lunch and only managed to get in some writing.

I also didn’t manage to carve out much time this evening either. Good day for exercise, very productive at the Day Job, just not as great as I’d like with the rest. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Always Creating Stuff

Practice
Practice

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Today

A couple things happened this morning as a result of checking out Twitter feed. One, was a nice comment in a tweet about these updates.

It’s always nice to get feedback like that, so thank you Deborah! I appreciate it.

Also, while I was scanning quickly through there I saw this tweet from Bobby Chiu:

I’m a big fan of his work, I’ve watched a bunch of videos he posts and jumped at the chance to watch the Livestream and check that out. One of these days I’d like to jump into one of the Schoolism classes. I couldn’t stay online the whole time because I had to head out for the Day Job, but I discovered tonight that there are archived sessions two from previous weeks, so I’ve been listening to and watching that as well.

This morning he said something that I agreed with so much:

Every time you put an illustration up on the internet it’s a chance…The best use is to learn, practice, get better, create stuff. You have to make things to get better. Those things you make, put them out so everyone can see them.

I think this is so true. It’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do. Study, learn and practice by writing new stories and novels. Eventually I reached a point where things started to sell, and realized that I was only just beginning. There’s so much more to explore and learn and try to accomplish. When I decided I also wanted to pursue illustration I realized immediately that I could pair both of these things. By creating illustrations for my stories, I have the opportunity to share my progress in both forms.

The key, of course, is to do what Bobby Chiu says and create stuff. Always be creating stuff. One of the reasons I started doing these daily updates was to create new drawings and share them.

I have an inventory list of stories and novels to work through and get out. I’ve been working on retiring my old pen names and getting these projects out but it does take time. Along the way I’m also learning. Trying to learn. Practice.

The story is going well, I did change the title on it today, but it’s going well. I’m not sure yet where it’s going. I guess I’ll find out over the next few days.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Short Works

2014-05-14_bak

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[postsessions]

Today

Tough day today. When I don’t have a current novel to work on that means I’m picking up and trying new things. The Day Job today meant very little time, no breaks really. I finally did sit down and start a new story, plunging into the opening without a clue where it was going. It’s fun, it’s moving along, we’ll see where it goes.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Refining Creative Focus and The End

The End
The End

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Today

This morning I went out and worked in the woods raking our path. I want to alternate days between running and other activities. I also spent a little time watching some videos put out by the Writers of the Future about the contest. Mostly because I wanted to see my friend Paul receive his award.

He’s an excellent writer. I had the opportunity to read his winning story at a workshop we were attending. We both also have a stories in the Fantastic Detectives Fiction River anthology in mid-August.

I mentioned yesterday that I want to work on more stories. I wrote three in between novel projects before I started Sea Legs, and I’ll probably plan to work on more in between each novel, but I want to get more stories written and sent out. As I mentioned yesterday, I only have a couple more opportunities to enter the Writers of the Future contest. I plan to take advantage of that opportunity and see if I can do  better than honorable mentions.

On the other hand, I have lots of chances to enter the Illustrators of the Future contest. It’s probably unnecessary to say that I’m still learning (I hope to be learning my writing and illustration craft the rest of my life), but I haven’t been paid professionally for my artwork at all. That gives me lots of chances to enter.

And lots of opportunities to practice and improve.

The End

Today I finished Sea Legs, book two of the Land Lubbers series. The book surprised me because I’m also caught up in what happens next, in the next book, and then I realized today that this was it and the end was today. I know the heading for the next book but I’m not jumping right into writing it. I’m going to work on short fiction for a bit before I start the next novel.

It’s a time for new beginnings.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Feeling Creatively Unfocused

Cloudy Days
Cloudy Days

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Today

It’s been a busy day. I went back out and ran this morning. My leg had been sore, so I took some days off, but I want to get back into training for the Spartan Race. I worked on other things after that this morning. I did some cleaning. I messed around some more with the plugins I use to track projects and submissions. I watched TV for a while, read for a while, and checked out the Writers of the Future page. I received my fourth honorable mention in the contest. I have a couple more quarters to enter before I can’t any longer. I’ve got a story coming out in August in Fiction River: Fantastic Detectives and after that I’ll have too many pro sales to qualify for the WoTF contest.

I also spent time getting stories ready and sent out to various markets. It’s something that I need to do more. I spent time online. I wrote in fits and starts today.

Even in the best books, on the best days, there are times like this when things don’t seem to come together. In the end it all worked out fine. I finished my words on the book. I made some very good chocolate pecan bars.

I also realized that I want to spend more time reading and writing short fiction. I’d like to get at least one new story done each month. More would be great, but I have a ton of other tasks to do already. There are illustrations that need drawing, novels to write, stories and books to see published. It’s a lot, but I can manage as long as I stay focused.

Tomorrow

Back to work at the Day Job tomorrow. Ironically, the time pressures of the Day Job are great at making me focus. There isn’t time for anything else.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day
Happy Mother’s Day

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Today

Today is Mother’s Day, so a Happy Mother’s Day shout out to my mom, wife, sister, mother-in-law and grandmother. You’re all terrific.

My mother is an inspiring athlete and very artistic. She creates beautiful quilts and has been known to paint. She’s been a big influence and supporter of all of my creative work. I’ve also been extremely fortunate to have the love and support of my creative and amazing wife. The amount of imagination and time she puts into planning and creating activities for our son is incredible. Plus she’s a gamer and my best friend, which is wonderful. I’ve been very lucky.

Even though it was Mother’s Day, I still spent some time working. I don’t really ever take a day off. This morning I worked a bit on the plugin I use to track word counts.

I’ve changed the coding behind my word count displays to use the shortcode API introduced in WordPress 2.5. It won’t be an obvious change in the display, but it does make creating and maintaining those functions much easier. I don’t have to write my own handler to process the content and replace the shortcodes with the word count. I’ve done the ones necessary to display my summary above, and added the section that posts the writing sessions, title and word count, as well. It just provides a bit more detail on what I worked on each day.

Programming is fun, but it isn’t my primary focus. I spent quite a bit of time working on today’s drawing. I wanted to focus more on this one, plus the hat took time to do.

After Skyping with my mother and father we headed out to run some errands. That took time. Afterward it took time to get back and actually sit down to work.

I did end up making time to write and once I got into it then it went well. I finished up my count and then worked on various chores.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Under the Rainy Weather

Figure Study
Figure Study

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Today

I woke today feeling stuffy and achy, got up and went ahead to work. I couldn’t decide if I’ve been fighting a cold or if I have developed allergies. Looking it up, the achy feeling and the lack of eye irritation suggests a cold instead of allergies. I guess that makes sense. I’ve never been allergic before, not that it makes much of a difference.

On breaks I managed to get words written, but had to fight to stay awake. I just felt worn out. Sitting down from working, it was hard to stay awake.

The day passed.

Tomorrow

Off work, lots of things to do. Errands and the rest. Plus it’s Mother’s Day. That’ll be nice.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Come As You Are

Listen
Listen

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Today

I was out in Aberdeen today, home of Kurt Cobain, for my Day Job.

I woke later today, still not feeling great, but I got up and ready for work. There wasn’t really time to get any writing done or anything else this morning. I did find time to take breaks and write at least.

It’s been a full week. I haven’t worked on my publishing tasks this week, I’m going to have to finish up the story release over the next few days and get it out. I want to spend some time working on the sketch for the cover if I can make the time.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Dragging Today

Self Portrait
Self Portrait

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Today

Last night was a difficult. More so for my son than me. He was the one fighting growing pains all night. I just didn’t  get sleep. That, and it felt like I’ve been coming down with something.

After I finally dragged myself up this morning and tried to get some work done. I spent a little time messing around with my plugin for tracking word counts. I originally created it back before the shortcode API was introduced and I thought I would switch over to using the API instead of my own handler.

I didn’t have much time to work on the plugin, a few minutes, before I switched to write a little of my word count for the day.

At work I tried to stay focused on the job. That usually helps. At lunch though I sat down and had to fight sleep when I tried to write.

After work I mostly relaxed. We’ve been saving up episodes of Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so we watched “Providence” and “The Only Light in the Darkness”. I’ve been enjoying the show, and trying to stay away from spoilers, but I was glad to see today that the series has been renewed for another season.

Tomorrow

Hopefully tonight will go better and I’ll feel better tomorrow. I don’t want to get sick.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Time on the Road

South Bend Timberland Library
South Bend Timberland Library

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Today

I knew coming into today that it would be a tough day. I needed to go out to the coast to do training at our library in South Bend. That meant several hours driving to get there and back. Add to that meetings later meant no time for breaks. I didn’t even stop for a lunch break, just ate in the car.

Knowing that I wouldn’t get much time today, I made a point of getting started on my creative efforts this morning. I worked on the story for this week, finishing the interior for the paperback. Then I sat down and started writing, working on my novel. I like starting the day with more words added to the book, to a story, something. The hardest thing getting started early is having to stop.

I’ve started reading Austin Kleon’s new book:
I started down this path a couple years ago. For a year I ran a mostly monthly magazine of my writing and thoughts on writing. It started out much like Dean’s Smith’s Monthly, putting out what I worked on each month. Then it morphed into something similar to this blog.

I’m enjoying the book. It’s giving me some ideas and things to think about.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.