Friday, August 31, 2018

Carving out the time for your art / Happenings In The Outhouse 31-Aug-2018

I've talked about time management before, but let's take a slightly different approach.

Writing, for me, is the best therapy.  Whenever I feel down or need to escape, sure I can easily watch a show on Netflix or listen to my favorite true crime podcast.  But when I work on my writing, I'm accomplishing something.  I'm creating something.

What is your art?  What are you working on?

Even if it's time-consuming, work on it a piece at a time. Think of your time like a pie or a cake.  Start out with a sliver of time (10-15 minutes, maybe) and do nothing but your art.  Consume your art like you would the pie or cake.  When you're done, you're done.  It's okay to be done.

But don't be surprised that you'll want another slice . . .

Friday, August 24, 2018

Dipping my toe in the water / Happenings In The Outhouse 24-Aug-2018

I was going to name this blog post "Writer's block is a myth" but went with the current one instead.

A little over a month ago, I published my first novel under a secret pseudonym.  I am currently writing the second novel under the same name, but somewhere around chapter four I hit a small roadblock.  A bump, so to speak.

Yes, it was the middle of the summer and I have some repairs that need to be done on the house that I just don't want to do--honestly, I want to just hire it done and let them do it, even though it would probably take a good weekend to do it--but it needs to.  We're also in the middle of "looking" for a newer vehicle.  The vehicle I currently drive has over 200K miles on it and last winter was horrible on it.

So, with all that in mind, my mind really wasn't into the new book, even though I've been wanting to write it for a while now.  I call it the "Can't Buy Me Love" movie for adults instead of geared toward teens.

But my mind just wasn't into it.  I binged all eight seasons of Blue Bloods on Netflix as well as a handful of movies.  Then something happened earlier this week.  You see, all along, I've been dipping my toe in the writing waters a bit at a time.  This week, I plunged right in.  I said enough is enough and wrote.  Between one night and morning, I cranked out over a thousand words.  I currently have over 5,000 words written so far, with a plan to have it done by the end of September.

Back to the original title: "Writer's block is a myth."  Being creative can be difficult at times.  I won't fault someone for taking a break when life seems to happen, especially when things are out of your control.

But don't let the block rule your life.  You, and only you, control your life.  Take charge.  Today.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Just because it's August doesn't mean summer is over / Happenings In The Outhouse 17-Aug-2018

I grew up in a small town in northwestern Minnesota.  The county fair was usually around the third week of July.

During those days--and it seems to be just as true now--that the summer felt over once the fair was done.  Especially when the calendar turned from July to August, school was right around the corner.

Never fear.  August has 31 days.  Don't waste it.

As a creative, we suffer from the same sense of dread to the end of the summer months.  Kids will be back in school, and in turn will be going to bed earlier.

For the past few weeks, we have had some days where the heat is high--and so is the humidity.  I would come home from work and want to do . . . nothing.  No writing at all.

Now, did I do no writing?  Nope.  Was my output as high as before?  Nope.

But I still wrote.

I am currently working on the second romance novel under my pseudonym.  Sales on the first one are steady, as well as others.

Speaking of other books, I'm contemplating some price changes.  Meaning, pricing going up.  I'm testing it out in one of the smaller ebook retailers.  If all goes well, I'll go wide with the rest.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Childish antics / Happenings In The Outhouse 10-Aug-2018

I follow a fair amount of writers on social media as well as listen to a select few writing related podcasts (less now than ever before).  I shake my head at times when writers spend more time either blasting their "Buy it!" posts or wasting time on irrelevant issues such as politics.

And lately it's more of the latter.

Instead of commenting on someone's post, I ignore it.

So many people go through life, wanting every NOW!  Have patience.  The outcome will be more rewarding in the end.

Also, how do you invest in your time?  What are your biggest time wasters, and what can be done to minimize them?

Friday, August 3, 2018

Longevity and commitment / Happenings In The Outhouse 03-Aug-2018

It was September 1991 at the Rec Center on the Bemidji State University campus.  My Tae Kwon Do instructors, Masters Spencer and Cindy Brandt, lined us up.  There were roughly 20-30 brand new white belts.

"Statistically, out of all of you," Spencer said, "only one will become a black belt."

My friend, Mike, stood next to me.  We knew this was a challenge for us.  We both wanted to become a black belt.

And we did.

We defeated the odds.

However, it was only the two of us.  The rest had gradually dropped out.

Why is this?  Not everyone will take the commitment and energy to train long-term in the martial arts.  In the end, I achieved a 2nd degree black belt status, but then I moved away and haven't taught anyone since.

This brings to mind a writer's commitment to writing.  In May of this year, the writers group I had been a part of for close to 15 years disbanded with only two of us left.  My friend Evelyn and I were the only constant writers left who were committed to attend . . . until we decided to finally call it quits on the tri-weekly meetings.

This goes with any creative endeavor.  Take music.  I'm a child of the 1980's hair metal era.  I love, and still do, that music.  I can listen to it all day and night.  But how many are still around.  How many died with the emergence of the Seattle music scene (i.e. Nirvana)?

It's difficult to take on something long-term.  Even marriage can be like this--my wife and I have been married for 21 years, and we're both committed to keep it going to the end.

How committed to your art are you?