Planning for 2019

Creative Commons via catchingcourage.com

It seems strange to think that there are only two weeks left in this year. I actually had to check the calendar after I typed that. Yes. Two weeks.

The other day, I was thinking that it was early to be planning for next year. When I look at the calendar and realize that, though? It’s not too early at all. In fact, I kind of feel some pressure being applied.

But… I’m good.

I don’t have everything in place that I want for 2019, but who does? Not only am I not that organized, I don’t want to be that rigid.

My planner setup for the year is in a purple Carpe Diem A5 6-ring binder. I’m doing a hybrid method using a traditional calendar (week on two pages layout) and Bullet Journal methods. I’ve been giving it a trial run for the past couple months and it’s working out great.

I already have my goals lined up. I will be tracking them per quarter so I’ll better know where I stand with what I’m wanting to do. I won’t share them here just yet. I will let you know some of them as they come along because it involves new books, courses, and reviving my podcast.

It’s more than keeping on keeping on. It’s growing and improving and loving what I do so that I will have more things to share with you, too.

Have you started planning for 2019 yet? What kinds of content do you want to see here (or hear on the podcast) that would help you reach your goals?

My Writing Process

ecrireA couple days ago, I told you a bit about my editing process, so now I guess I should tell you about my writing process.

This is a more difficult post to write because the process is more involved. I’m going to try to summarize it, though.

I tend to go through five steps, though I don’t think of them like this at the time.

  1. Idea Generation
  2. Stewing
  3. Prepping
  4. Writing
  5. Editing

What happens in each step of the process?

Idea Generation
I keep a notebook with lists of ideas or summaries of something I want to do. Some of these “notebooks” are files in my computer, though I am a huge fan of keeping a notebook nearby as often as possible.

Stewing
When I find an idea that I want to work on, I walk around with it my head for a while. How long varies. For one story, I walked around with the main character telling me all about herself for two weeks before she finally told me her name. That story was started, but it hasn’t ever been finished. It will be in the not-too-distant future.

Prepping
Otherwise known as planning and research. This is where I figure out if it’s nonfiction or fiction, poetry or prose, long or short. And I do some preliminary research if it’s something I don’t know much about. I limit my research time, though, because I could easily spend too much time doing that and very little writing.

Writing
This step is pretty self-explanatory. I will do extra research from time to time if it’s needed. This step also generally takes the longest.

Editing
We already talked about this on Tuesday, but it’s worth including here, too. I view editing as part of the creative process as well. In my writing phase, I get the bones of the story/article/post down. Then in editing, I often add new content, so it’s a mashup of editing and writing. In general, it’s shaping.

Sometimes I will listen to music as I do this. Again, it’s something with little or no lyrics and often the same type of music I listen to while editing.

What does your process look like?

Selecting Yarn for a Pattern

I have a lot of patterns. I have a lot of yarn. I don’t necessarily buy yarn for every pattern I have that I want to make. That would be a bit much, even for me. So what do I do?

First, I go through the yarn I already have (and can access because some of it is in storage in the garage). Honestly, I usually find something to use in that. If I don’t, then I go yarn shopping.

It’s such a hardship.

I couldn’t even type that with a straight face.

But seriously, what do you do if you have a pattern you want but you don’t have the yarn that goes with it? Read the pattern and find the recommended yarn. Then check the labels on the yarn you have. Is any of it comparable?

Check the fiber. If it’s a wool blend, do you have a similar yarn? What weight does the pattern call for? If it’s chunky and you only have worsted, can you hold two strands together and make it work?

I do this often enough that I honestly don’t really think about it. I’ve even substituted different weights of yarn. I have one pattern that calls for DK or sport yarn. I don’t have any. Instead, I’m using worsted weight yarn (probably what you think of when you think of yarn) and went up to a larger crochet hook to accommodate it.

The only advice I have for selecting yarn for a pattern or for substituting yarn is this: If you like it, use it. You might need to experiment to get the right hook or needle for the look you want, but it will (usually) work out.

Why usually?

It doesn’t work so well if you’re making garments. Then you do want to use as similar a yarn as possible to what the pattern calls for.

 

 

My Editing Process

redpenWhen you think about editing, I’m sure you imagine the proverbial red pen, bleeding all over the page. Right?

Although the red pen still, undoubtedly, has its place, things have changed quite a bit. I would say 99% of my editing is done on the computer.

I use a PC, so I use Microsoft Word. When I finish the draft of a manuscript, I let it sit for up to a week. (Honestly, usually it doesn’t sit that long, just a few days.) When I open the file to edit, I use the Track Changes feature.

For fiction and nonfiction, I start with the little things: spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Then I move on to continuity. I look at things like flow and transitions. For fiction, I look at character development, dialog, and story progression. I look for plot holes. (Sometimes I don’t see them, so I use beta readers to help me find those.)

I go over it more than once before I send it to either an editor if I’m self-publishing or an agent/publisher if I want to go a different route. Typically, I go over it at least four rounds. Each round consists of multiple passes checking everything I mentioned above. On my current novel that I’m working on with The Wild Rose Press, I have about five passes for each round. I’m on the second round with them, which is really about the sixth round for me.

If you want to count each pass as its own editing round, then you could say RealmWalker: New Beginnings is undergoing its 30th editing pass. Is this too much?

No.

Each pass, each round is making the story better and the characters more developed and stronger. This is particularly important where BethAnne is concerned. She’s my primary point-of-view character. I don’t want her to come across as someone who needs to be saved by a hero.

When it’s time to get to work, I sit down at the computer, turn on some music, and open the file of the moment. It can’t be just any music, though. I get too caught up in the lyrics of contemporary music and traditional classical music doesn’t help. I listen to electronic music that specifically says it’s good for studying or concentrating. It has a good beat, good tempo, and very little or no lyrics.

It keeps me on track and I get into a good work flow with that kind of music playing in my headphones. (Earbuds. Whatever.)

Here’s my question for you: What does your editing process look like? Do you listen to any music or do you work in silence?

CreativeLive

CreativeLive_Logo_2014
Logo (c) CreativeLive

Have you heard of CreativeLive? It’s a website with live and recorded classes on a very wide variety of subjects of interest to creatives. They also have an interesting blog.

I don’t talk about it near often enough.

Next year, CreativeLive turns 10! It was started in 2009 by Chase Jarvis and Craig Swanson. Part of their central philosophy is that there is a creator in everyone. Essentially agreeing with my primary key to creativity: Everyone is creative.

They’ve been highlighted in Entrepreneur Magazine, ABC News, GeekWire, Inc., and Mashable, just to name a few.

Categories for their courses include:

  • Photo & Video
  • Craft & Maker
  • Money & Life
  • Art & Design
  • Music & Audio

Upcoming classes this week include:

  • Introduction to Paper Marbling
  • Posing 101: Essentials
  • How to Make Money
  • Craft Photography Fundamentals
  • Introduction to Adobe Stock

And many more.

Some of their instructors include:

  • Mel Robbins
  • Tara Swiger
  • Lindsay Adler
  • Mike Johnson

I could keep going.

I really don’t know how to tell you how valuable a resource Creative Live is. All I can really do is to encourage you to go and check it out, if you haven’t already.

There’s a reason I’m telling you about this right now. Close to Christmas.

Give yourself, or someone you love, the gift of creativity for Christmas. Gift yourself/them a class from CreativeLive.

Note: The above link is an affiliate link. If your purchase a CreativeLive course through this link, I will receive a percentage of it as an affiliate.

Take a Breath

It’s been a busy week. Take a breath. Enjoy the scenery around you.

whiteriveresar

This is taken from a bridge overlooking White River near Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Other Creative Work

I talk about writing often enough here that you might wonder if I do any other creative work. I do.

I knit, crochet, make jewelry, do handlettering, and make greeting cards. I primarily crochet, though.

I love shawls and scarves. I’ve recently made an infinity scarf and a cowl for Christmas gifts. I’m working on one that’s called a “Dragon Belly Shawl.” It’s gorgeous! After it’s done, I’m going to make a pair of dragon-scale fingerless gloves/mitts.

I do offer things for sale, but most of what I make is gifted to different people for different reasons.

Recently, I’ve had to slow down. I’ve developed tendonitis and it’s taking forever to get well, even with a brace and exercises. (Yes, I even type with the brace on.)