I have a full time job, two wonderful but crazy kids, a husband, a house to keep up with, friends to be friends with and I’m sure a million other things I’ve forgotten. (It’s been a long cold medicine and coffee filled day. I’m feeling very floaty right now!) Something I have gotten quite a bit in the last few months in differing forms is “it’s amazing how you have time to create with everything going on in your life! It is so inspiring!” I don’t want anyone to think I don’t appreciate the appreciation I am receiving from those statements. I am beyond happy and humbled to be inspiration for others. But these sentiments got me thinking: how do I stay creatively active with an already full and active life?
So I’ve pondered and what I hope to present is a list of tips/thoughts/motivations and other random stuff that helps keep me moving forward on projects.
First and foremost I am creative and active in those pursuits because I have to be to feel fulfilled. If you want to be creative you will find time just like with any hobby. I think when we are in school we have a drive instilled in us to finish projects because of grades. As adults working on our own projects their is nothing pushing us to finish something except ourselves. This leads me to my next point.
Reward yourself. The key to this is planning the project out and planning me the reward as well so you can use it as motivation to keep working. It doesn’t have to be big and fancy. It could be an evening of ice cream and Great British Baking Show! A new pen. A Ferrari.
Planning. It often seems like creativity and planning/organization are at opposite ends of the spectrum. However, the only way I get to work on my projects is by looking carefully at my week and my projects and writing down when I’m going to work on it. It is also extremely satisfying to cross things off a list.
Be kind to yourself. These habits take time to build, like anything else worth doing, so be kind to yourself if you fail. It is alright! Also be kind to yourself by breaking projects down into small achievable goals that way you can make forward progress even if it’s super small.
I hope these ideas help. It’s not a perfect plan and it may not work for everyone! Just keep trying! The arts help make life human and in these times we desperately need that!
Here are some quick little collages of two scripts I am working for—what I hope to be—the final edits so that I can send them out into the world to possibly be produced!
La Petite Poisson is a brief fairy tale set in the world of Le Grande Jardin and revolves around Bijou and Pierre and their path to true love. I cannot remember what initially inspired this idea other than I wanted to write something with French names that had dancing, music, sword fighting, and a happy ending. I suspect it came as a direct result of the much darker story of Henry and his airship shenanigans!
It shouldn’t require too much rewriting other than taking out the frame story that just doesn’t work like I wanted it to—ah, well!
Speaking of Henry and his airship shenanigans, here is my collage for “the story I can’t just let go” as some call it. I like to think of it more that I haven’t gotten it right yet. While eleven years does seem like a long haul to work on a project I still love these characters and their stories fiercely enough to keep coming back to it until I get it finished the way it needs to be told. The third act needs some major work and trimming! I hope to shorten it by ten to fifteen pages overall and tighten up scenes in acts one and two to keep the story zipping along.
My deadline is March 31st. Can I do it? I think so! My wonderful, awesome, amazingly talented friend Serena is keeping me motivated! It will be nice to spend the rest of the year sending these out and getting feedback.
Being a fan of steampunk it goes without saying that I love airships—I’ve even created my own alternate-history steam/clockpunk world complete with airships and the people who fly them. What I am about to address is the attire those responsible for the flight and maintenance of such airships might wear. In addition to steampunk, I love fashion and costuming, and feel that it is an important world-building aspect to know what people in very specific fields wear so they can carry out their jobs. So, what follows is a breakdown of the challenges faced by airship crews, how I decided to solve those problems for my world, and how this all works in the context of real-history/alternate-history timelines.
A ship on the sea faces certain environmental challenges: beating sun, crashing waves, and ripping winds; and it is no different for airships. To me, wind is the biggest factor for airships, that and the atmosphere is quite cold and damp. Another challenge is the nature of the work that must be done while flying an airship. It is just as physically demanding as sailing on the seas, if not more. I have, I think, figured out a way to address both challenges in a way that works for the world I have created.
To be comfortable while working on airships, crew members will wear close-fitting breeches of a heavy cloth (like corduroy or denim), tall boots, and thick socks. The breeches may be held up by a leather belt across the waist or stays over a lightweight undershirt.Shirts would consist of layers—layers are a must multiple layers of lightweight cotton or linen shirts worn under a vest, sweater, or both is the key to warmth and maneuverability. This leaves us with the last major part of the ensemble: the coat. My story, The Grand Adventure of Henry Rayne and the Airship Pirates—the one that started all of this world building in the first place—is set in an alternate 1790s and while I love a good billowing frock coat and tricorn they just aren’t feasible on an airship.
The jackets of my world are more like medieval doublets with sleeves (if that makes sense). Gussets at the elbows and shoulders allow for the wide range of motion required in dealing with sails and rigging. The jackets can vary in length from waist length to mid knee depending on taste and would be made of leather or waterproofed denim. Sleeves would be close fitting with small cuffs for decoration and room for fingerless gloves, because given how cold I think it would be flying over the British Isles you would definitely need them! Hats would likewise be close fitting or affixed by straps to stay on during flight. Perhaps an aviator cap of sorts with, of course, goggles.
All of the above described attire is for working above decks but what of belowdecks? Should there be a difference? In my world of Clockwork London, airships are made buoyant by aether. It is magic that is drawn from the very air itself. The ships absorb the magic through runes and spells carved into the ships—I will try not to digress into general airship notes, as that could be an entire post unto itself! But forward momentum is created by large steam engines located belowdecks. The same aether used for buoyancy also helps power the mighty boiler. One of the benefits of steam power is the obvious warmth it gives off. This makes belowdecks warm almost to the degree of unbearable. Remember when I said layers were a must? This would be why! In order to move and work comfortably belowdecks a crew member must be able to remove heavier jackets and shirts so as to not faint immediately.
Obviously, there is no single style for airship crewmen—the people are as varied and unusual as the clouds they fly among but I do like to have a basic look for them based on their occupations. I will say that as far as historical accuracy I am about as close as I am to flying to the moon but since I am working within an alternate reality, I feel like this is an area I can safely expand outside of actual history. One day, I’ll bury myself in fabric research to properly describe Henry’s breeches and vest but for now we will just say ‘of a sturdy cloth’ and let the reader’s imagination do the rest.
Oh, and just to be clear; the ladies of my world know better than to try to run an airship in a corset!
I finally got some words on paper in regards to my outline for Achelon City. I don’t know what specifically has been holding me back but it’s annoying! Nice to break that! I am participating in Camp NanoWrimo as much as I have set a bit of a goal for myself to work towards. I wish I had time to join a cabin and be all social but alas, too many plates to juggle!
As you can see things are handwritten–that is just how it works for me. Once I get going on the actual writing I’ll switch to Typity Typing but for now Scribbling is how it gets done! I also like to start with what I call “broad strokes” and with each go through add more details–like a painting almost.
Do you have any “quirks” as part of your creative process? I’d love to hear! Learning about how others create is one of my favorite things!
In my travels among Twitter and it’s writers I’ve heard the word aesthetic pop up to describe collages of pictures used to set the…well, aesthetics of the work in progress. It usually sets the mood, may involve symbols important to the story and character portraits. Not to be left out, I HAD to find a program to do this!
Canva, has been pretty easy to use and thankfully I’ve had my Pinterest boards to pull from wich makes gathering the images a lot easier. So without further adieu, here are the two aesthetic boards I’ve made for Achelon City!
What do you think? I’m trying to give a hint of the story and characters without giving tooooo much away.
I’m finally starting to get REALLY excited about this new story!
I know I’ve posted before about how I don’t like to do NanoWrimo anymore but I do like April’s Camp NanoWrimo. You set the goal and the pace.
With that being said here are my writing goals for April:
Finish fleshing out all major characters (and write stuff down!)
Start outlining the major arcs of the story (murder case, Spencer and Luna’s relationship, Xir’s prophecy). I see a lot of color coding in my outlining future!
Small list I know but it will more than keep me busy! I also hold no illusions that I will actually finish either of these things but I am just looking for a good start really. This story has been in my head for too long! Time to let it out!
Here is a bit of character inspiration for Detective Wells!
Busy week over here–work wise, anyways, hence the radio silence but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been ruminating on Achelon City or working on some small pieces of artwork. This makes me feel so accomplished. I’ve totally neglected my bullet journal but that’s another story!
So I’ve hit the point in my Ruminations that I am starting to feel the itch, the urge, the tickle to start putting words on paper. I love that feeling but have to be careful. I need to outline a little before I dive into the storytelling. I don’t do well as a Pantser. That being said, I know that this feeling means I am ready to start outlining on paper! So I’ll probably start on that next week!
For outlining I like to start with the major plot points and work down to the small details filling in the blanks as I go. I don’t know if anyone else works that way but it works for me! And to each their own!
I haven’t gotten as much down with my stationary ideas as I’d like but I’ll keep plugging away at that and let you know once I have some real progress!