Stuff To Be Proud Of: Looking Back on August

August was the first month of putting my new work system into action. It began in June when I outlined all the major projects I want to tackle in the next 4-5 years, across a variety of mediums. In July, I mapped out a general timeline for each of these projects and plotted all the little goals I would need to get there (they say that breaking big tasks into smaller ones is a hallmark of productivity.) In August, I abided by a daily schedule, which would accumulate in 8-10 goals I wanted to achieve by the end of the month. So how did I do?

On a task-to-task basis, if you count up all the items on my August calendar, I completed about 75% of my tasks. Not bad for a newb, I think. If you look at my actual goals, I only achieved about 2/10 fully – although many were partially completed. Overall…

Things I Did Great At:

Editing my web series, Dead Air. This web series was originally realized in my sophomore year of high school, and I filmed a lot of my Broadcast Journalism class goofing around in order to create it. Eight years later, Dead Air has remained a dream. I decided to tackle it now in order to give my videography background another credit. I wanted to finish one episode by the end of the month, and I am about 95% of the way there. I really enjoy editing, but I especially enjoy tinkering with this footage. I don’t have any doubts that all five episodes will be complete by January, which is the big picture goal.

– Writing Paradisa. I wanted to finish the entirety of Draft Six, and came about 8000 words short. I did write  13,000 words for Paradisa this month though. Part of the reason I fell short was a purposeful priority shuffle, considering that I’m starting a 9 day vacation at the end of this week ;) I knew I’d have plenty of free time over Labor Day to pump out those last 8k, so I diverted my sputtering August energy to short stories instead.

Outlining my Kindle business. This is also super fun, so I had no problem tackling it. I want to start selling Kindle erotica next year for some extra money, and coming up with all the different pseudonyms, storylines, etc., is oddly enjoyable. Don’t worry – when I start publishing in January, you guys will be with me every step of the way! I will be very open about the financial results of my little Kindle experiment. I will also try publishing some nonfiction next year, but I’ll talk more about that when we get there.

Reading. I finished The Disaster Artist this month, which I will reflect on during my end-of-year book post. I also started J.J. Abram’s S, I read a few stories from a Vladimir Nabokov short story collection, I skimmed through some mythological books…so I’m pretty satisfied! This is way more reading than I’ve accomplished in a while, and I feel like it’s not taking any extra time. I’m mostly replacing “scrolling through Facebook” with reading, and I now read 30 minutes before bed. That’s it. In September, I will continue with S, and will read The Martian and The Maze Runner books.

Things I Did Okay At:

– Short Stories.  I wrote 5500 words of a story called Ambrosia, and about 1000 words on a story about workplace harassment. I also wrote a poem called In The Event of My Death, and I revised an older piece from college. Still, I missed about 4 deadlines that I wanted to hit because I didn’t finish my two main stories. Part of this is because of all the work I did on Paradisa. Part of it was lack of inspiration, as I’m not really a great short author. I’m not going to be too down on myself about August’s progress, but I do hope to improve my short story turnaround times in the future.

– Literary submissions. I wanted to send out 20 stories. I only sent out 8, mostly because I didn’t finish any of my short stories, so I ran out of pieces to submit. Additionally, I’m running out of publications that accept flash fiction and/or simultaneous submissions. Most of what I’m sending out now is flash. *shrug* If I manage to finish Ambrosia in the next week, I’ll be able to catch up a bit. I’m sure I will get much closer to 20 in September.

Animation Tutorials – Planned to do 4, only did 2. I’m remedying this by setting aside an hour a day for animation and modeling practice in 3Ds Max, rather than an hour every Tuesday. I know I have the time, and I do quite enjoy it. It’s just a matter of making sure the timing is manageable.

My Writing Journal – Granted, I didn’t start this til the 16th. I think I’ve written four entries between then and now. I’d like to make this a daily, or at least every-other-day thing.

Things I Sucked At:

– Motion Capture. I pretty much tanked at this. I didn’t work on my motion capture site, I didn’t work on my email list, I didn’t get my Kinect set up. Luckily, none of this was urgent. It needs to get done in September, though. I’m trying to brainstorm and schedule mocap stuff in a way that encourages me to actually do it this month.

– Working on Saturdays. No more of that. I need Saturdays to rest. I assumed all this creative stuff would be fun and wouldn’t feel like work, but it does feel like work sometimes. Especially fiction writing. So if I fully take off Saturdays, I hope I will  have the energy to use Sundays as a truly productive work day.

It’s not perfect, but it’s progress. I think that setting really high goals is a great way to be productive, because even if you fall short, you still end up miles ahead of where you’d be otherwise. Yeah, I was a little short on finishing Paradisa Draft Six, but it looks like I’ll have that 40,000 word rewrite done with only 2.5 months of work. That’s crazy, considering it took me 7 months to do the same amount of work on Draft Five! And the fact that I’ve nearly finished a web series episode, I’ve written 6k+ worth of short story, I’ve put my work out there to 8 places….yeah, I may have fallen short of the goals, but 80% of “awesome” is still “pretty great” ;)

Random Updates + Gamora Cosplay Progress Volume 1

Random project update post! Because I’ve been super slack this week! Really, it’s just been a bizarre week. I can’t wait for next Monday, when I can start from scratch and get stuff going again.

  • The NaNo Outline: Going really well. I’ve done some decent work on my protagonist, getting her personality and past shaped out. I’ve decided on a tone/narration style. I have the first three chapters fully outlined, although I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock. But at this rate, I should definitely have an outline done before November 1st. Outlining this novel from a scene-by-scene perspective goes pretty fast, and I believe my word count will be swift to achieve because of the conversational style. It’s just the “meaning” of it all that will take some refining. Altogether, I feel this is going to be a quick write/revision. Paradisa juggles five main characters, a ton of new settings, world-building mechanics, and just….a lot of exposition plot stuff that requires constant rewrites. Wake is a straightforward book. Perhaps not for the reader, but for me as a writer.
  • Paradisa: I did finish my revision/rewrite of Chapter Nine this week, which puts me almost halfway through the Draft Five revision. I’ve become more ‘used’ to my new work schedule, and I also have a shorter commute because some construction stuff has cleared up. So I’m making more time for writing, and I’m pushing past those roadblocks. Talking to Dad on his birthday (Tuesday) helped inspire me too, because it gave me someone to talk to about the book. Talking about my revisions really excited me about this project again.
  • Gingerbread House: Oy, I am really not sure this is gonna happen this year. Maybe I should alternate cosplay and gingerbread every October. This year is cosplay, next year can be gingerbread, yeah?
  • Speaking of  Cosplay: I have some in-progress pics of my Gamora costume. It’s still in the early stages, but anyone looking for a tutorial might benefit from it. Pics and details are under the cut!

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