Daily Thoughts 85: When Things Don’t Go As Planned

Author's selfieI had a plan today. I wanted to fine-tune the sequencing of my morning routines. I pictured a priority-based approach that started with getting up and going for a walk, followed by meditation, drawing, breakfast, and then getting ready for work. I’m not sure what happened, but I ran out of time along the way and didn’t eat breakfast or get anything together for lunch.

Never mind. I adapted. I stopped at the QFC on my way to work and grabbed some fruit, veggie wraps, and a snack. I stopped at the office to pick up a few things and then went on to the library in Lacey where I planned to spend the day working. After about an hour or so I got a phone call. We had folks out sick and our library in Belfair needed help. Lacking other options, I headed up there, about an hour away. The library wouldn’t close until 5:00 PM, though, so that meant adding an extra hour onto my day.

Things don’t go as planned. Make new plans. Since I had taken care of several key important things this morning (including finishing a short story during my initial morning commute), I felt better about my progress today. I still have studying and assignments to complete tonight, so I won’t be getting in bed early!

I’ll adapt.

Daily Sketch Challenge

Daily Sketch Challenge image This morning I worked on shapes again. I played around with brushes from Matt Dixon. I haven’t loaded the patterns yet. I need to go back and watch the video that accompanied the brushes again. It’s fun trying out the different brushes. In addition to simply practicing my drawing/painting techniques, I’m also working on continuing to development my understanding of, and use of, Photoshop and the other digital painting applications that I have available.

Daily Thoughts 44: Executing Plans

Author's Selfie I’ve been enjoying my day off. I made a point of not getting up early this morning. I had decided to sleep in today. I almost made it to 6 a.m.! Late, for me. I’ve started incorporating some running into my morning trek. I turned on the chases in Zombies, Run! and break into a run when chased. Right now I have it set on easy! Eventually, I plan to increase the frequency and the difficulty of the chases. I just don’t want to push too fast so I’m easing into it.

Executing Plans

Screenshot of the Just Writing Plugin in action

I’m working with the Just Writing Plugin. It adds some functionality that the distraction-free environment in WordPress lacks by default. One of the chief things missing in the default environment is a way to center the editor and set the width. Just Writing does center the editor and sets a decent width by default. The main thing lacking, that I’ve noticed so far, is that the writing ends up at the bottom of the screen as the post gets longer. I’d really rather have some sort of typewriter scrolling. There are a few other things that I’d do differently with the editor if I were creating the plugin, but I’ll leave that to another day. I have ideas about what I’d like to do.

Screenshot of the Trello Coding Board

As usual, I have Trello boards set up for various projects. This one is my coding board, currently with a focus on JavaScript and Python. These are two languages that I haven’t mastered yet. I need to develop my skills with these languages in order to execute all of my plans. I have a stack of books that I’m working through, along with courses at Lynda.com.

I scheduled the rest of the short stories I plan to post on Mondays. I’ve missed some weeks, but for this next semester, I plan to post a story each week until I have them all posted in June. I’ll be done with the semester by then. I’m also planning to start writing more stories, so if I can get some written and start producing a new story each week, I won’t stop. I’ll keep posting stories.

Of course, I also want to start submitting new stories to a few of the magazine markets. I’d like to break into Analog and Asimov’s, possibly a few others. After a story has a chance to make the rounds to those markets, I’ll post it on the site. I’ve already released one collection Collected Stories of 2009 (which I plan to include in my reboot plans). I want to release annual collections for the years that have followed. I didn’t write many stories in the last three years, so I plan to combine those into a single volume, 2014-2016. I’ll have a lot more stories to write in 2017, and going forward, though I may not get many new stories written until after the semester ends.

Once I’m finished with classes, I’ll still have my e-portfolio to write in the fall, but I plan to continue working on other projects as I execute my reboot plans.

Executing Learning

Between 2009-2014, I spent a great deal of time writing, studying, and being coached by professional writers. I’m picking that back up this year on my own, and with the plan to attend a couple workshops in 2018. There will be reading and writing to do this fall in preparation for those workshops. One offers a chance to write for several professional anthologies (should be lots of fun), and the other is a craft-focused workshop taught by the incredible Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Learning from Kris is always a workout for my brain.

Executing the Reboot

I’m also taking steps to execute the reboot. Practicing drawing and painting, with the goal of creating quality illustrations for my books. I want to do cover art, certainly, but also some interior artwork as well. I plan to publish new editions of the novels, as I’ve mentioned, in hardcover editions with dust jackets. I’m aiming for high-quality print editions that someone might like to collect. Besides working on improving my illustration skills, I’m also working on typography, graphic design, and layout skills.

When I look at the numerous art books I’ve collected, I see so many terrific artists! I want to create artwork like that of Michael Whelan, John Harris, or so many others. I also want to write as well as (or better) than my favorite writers. I’m not suggesting that I’m as good as they are now (I may never get there), but I plan to continue learning, practicing, and trying to improve my skills in every aspect.

Executing Code

I mentioned my coding board earlier and plans to learn new programming languages. I have other plans in mind for learning the code. From websites to apps, there are many creative things I want to do with coding as well. Like everything else, I’m always working to improve.