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Postcards

Jun. 28th, 2017 03:24 pm
peartreealley: (tea)
It's not all tea shop glamour... Journaling at a kitchen sideboard while making chicken soup for my sick household. (Me included.)
http://ift.tt/2s1RK5z

Postcards

Jun. 26th, 2017 09:12 am
peartreealley: (tea)
Monday morning at the office. #amwriting #writersofinstagram #thepoweroftea #matcha #tea #fountainpen #travelersnotebook #handwriting
http://ift.tt/2rSCNTg

Postcards

Jun. 24th, 2017 08:43 pm
peartreealley: (tea)
Just a flaming tuba. Nothing to see here. #thamespath #southbank #london
http://ift.tt/2s8hJYf
peartreealley: (tea)
In Beynac, we camped for a few days... with toilets, showers, and a bar with Wi-Fi underneath the shadow of Chateau du Beynac, I can't exactly call it the "roughing it" of my American youth. #camping #france #beynac #travel #writersofinstagram
http://ift.tt/2sKDAa7
peartreealley: (tea)
Writing alfresco with a friend on this hot London day. #howiwork #fantasy #fountainpen #writersofinstagram #moleskine #amwriting #notebook
http://ift.tt/2ttmhu3
peartreealley: (tea)
This story is starting to span across many notebooks.... #notebooks #travelersnotebook #moleskine #leuchtturm1917 #writersofinstagram #amwriting #fountainpen #fantasy #howiwork
http://ift.tt/2suWsKc
peartreealley: (tea)
Up, up, up a steep alleyway on a cliffside village. Believe me, it's worth it.⠀ ⠀ (View from Beynac, the Dordogne River)⠀ ⠀ #travel #france #dordogne #beynac
http://ift.tt/2rw73mE
peartreealley: (tea)
It feels like a strange magic when you step into a place that looks a lot like the one you had been imagining in your stories...⠀ ⠀ (Tower Hamlets Cemetery)⠀ ⠀ #amwriting #taphophile #cemeteries #magnificentseven #graves #tombs #travel #london #writersofinstagram⠀
http://ift.tt/2sB8Qeb
peartreealley: (tea)
This week, I'm excited to finally be returning to my necropolis moon story that has been haunting my mind for years...⠀ ⠀ #amwriting #taphophile #cemeteries #magnificentseven #graves #tombs #travel #london⠀#writersofinstagram
http://ift.tt/2t2bMxG
peartreealley: (tea)
Life finds a way.⠀ ⠀ (from Tower Hamlets Cemetery)⠀ ⠀ #taphophile #cemeteries #magnificentseven #graves #tombs #travel #london
http://ift.tt/2rnv5PT
peartreealley: (tea)
Book, journal, tea. Daily essentials. #bookworm #bookstagram #amwriting #tea #journaling #journal #bujo
http://ift.tt/2r8qGVP
peartreealley: (tea)
For the last two weeks, I've been in the Dordodgne region of France. I'll have more about to say about that over time.

At the moment, though, my thoughts are on another place. The day after I moved to the UK, still jet-lagged and in shock at my life change, the Gryffindor took me to one of his favorite places. A place that even after five years away, people remembered him. A place he goes to almost every Saturday morning. A place I can go to in his stead, and say "Hi, I'm G's wife and he couldn't make it today--can you help me find what he usually buys?" and they'll laugh and know who I'm talking about.



It's the lane where G, [personal profile] sigelphoenix, and [personal profile] ratzeo went to get delicious food for our wedding. Where our wedding cake was made last year.



I get upset whenever there is an attack, of course, but I have to admit this last one hit "close to home" in a way I've never quite experienced before. G is a stoic Londoner ("I was here through the IRA bombings"), but I guess I'm just a bit more excitable and I'm still learning how to live in a city that is no stranger to being attacked and carrying on.

peartreealley: (travel)
From [community profile] thefridayfive

1. How did you name your pets?
I got Sheba from a cat rescue, and she already had the name. By the time I finished the adoption process, I'd gotten used to the name and kept it.

2. Poirot or Miss Marpel?
I grew up with Jessica Fletcher and Nancy Drew as my meddlesome detectives.

3. Do you have a FB account too?
Yes, although I hardly touch it these days.

4. Books - hardcover or paperback
I read almost exclusively in ebook on Kindle these days--it's convenient and easier on my eyes. But when not, I prefer paperbacks.

5. Mobile: Windows, Android or Apple?
I was a (late) first gen iPhone user, and they've owned my soul since. (Seriously, though, I like iOS and I own a lot of Apple apps and I just haven't seen any good reason to change. I'm not really into this vs. that wars.)
peartreealley: (writing)
I adore getting a peek behind the curtain on how creative projects are made, so after a bout of illness a few weeks ago that resulted in re-watching the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, I’ve been re-watching the Appendices in bits and pieces, too.

Here are some bits that resonated with me today as a writer/creator:


  • I’m fascinated with the amount of storyboarding they did—from synopsises to story beats to sketched story boards, to animated versions of the story, to digital models of what the scenes would look like. I love it. It reminds me of a painter starting with loose sketches and eventually building toward the actual painting. It’s a process I’ve been trying to build into my own storytelling—one that works very well, at least, until I get caught in deadline panic.


  • At the moment, I “build up” with free-writing, sample outlines, and story beats. I want to keep expanding on that process, trying out different versions of the story before I piece together what I think might be the actual story. Speaking of….

  • And despite all of that planning ahead they did, the actors were getting revised scripts on a daily basis. And the changes by no means stopped once the shooting was done--there was recutting in edits, and eventually doing pick-up shots.

  • They were moving around scenes, cutting sections, and adding new scenes, all into post-production. This is so much harder and more expensive to do for a film! I must remember this when I am in the angsty throes of revising a novel. No, revising isn’t easy, but compared to revising a film in post-production? What on earth do I have to moan about?

  • The sections in which they talk about gathering at Peter Jackson’s house to talk about characters, over scripts; where the artists would bunch together, on site or in the office and just draw and sketch… it increased an existing yearning and longing for a local creative community. (Although, at this stage of things, I’d be happy with an online one, too. I’ve been feeling very lonely lately, in my writing.)

  • I also liked the commentary about Tolkien and how he was not training as a 20th novel-writer, and because of that, he broke all sorts of rules. That makes the ~artiste~ in me squee—but pragmatic me also remembers that he was a professor by trade. This stories were an expression of his obsession with creating languages and world-building. They were not to pay the bills.

    Although I’m enjoying (and grateful to be) writing as a full-time endeavor, I have to admit sometimes I wonder if getting an appropriate job to support my writing would take pressure off. It would decrease my time freedom, but might increase my creative freedom. That’s a long term thought, though, and not one I plan to seriously investigate in the near future. But it’s something I may be keeping in mind more than I did before.

peartreealley: (Default)
Well. I wrote down a list of projects to work on, and promptly fell off the face of the Internet to work on them.

What's been happening since?


  • The Gryffindor and I went to a LARP-writing weekend at an isolated farmhouse in the Midlands. The 30 or so of us assembled tossed around ideas on Friday night, broke into groups of 5-ish, and then spent Saturday writing the LARPs. On Sunday, all six LARPs were playtested. We wrote one that smashed Torchwood/Warehouse 13/Laundry Files together (with the serials numbers rubbed off, of course), with office politics and disastrous team-building exercises. It was good times--we hope to run an improved version at the LARP con we're going to in November.

  • Over the May Day bank holiday weekend there was D&D, a geeky picnic, and a wander to Kew Gardens to observe the bluebells before they faded away.

  • G ran his first table top session since we moved to London, in a sort of shared 'verse with the LARP that he and I have been developing.

  • This last weekend, we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We decided to spend it, as we often spend time together, with a mix of hiking, good food, and games--with upgrades. On Saturday morning, we drove deep into the Chilterns, and parked our car at a lovely inn that we had booked for a night. Shortly after, a taxi arrived and took us about 10 miles away from the inn, via the Ridgeway National Trail, which we've been working on in bits and pieces, usually on 5 mile there-and-back walks. We walked only forward, and we talked. We stopped at a pub on the trail for lunch. We walked, and we talked more. Upon our return to the inn, we changed into evening clothing, and returned downstairs where a bespoke tasting menu of food and wine waited to delight us. And it did.

    We're now halfway done with the 87 mile trail.

  • The next morning, we were off to a village north of Oxford, in which we played an epic time-travel RPG session that ties into the Oxford LARP we've been playing. My character was sufficiently traumatized by the event that I get to look at some interesting new costuming options for the LARP component....

  • Oh, and I've been writing and revising and editing and all of that in between. Progress is coming along on my Four Week Plan. I think I'll end up getting about 2.5 of the 3 items done on it by the time we leave for holiday, and given how much I stacked on, I'd still call that a success.

  • I've also been reading--books on nature, on spirituality, on fairy tales and folklore... thoughts about those are still forming. Another time.


  • And all the while, I've been slightly drunk and stunned by and grateful for this amazing life I'm living.

    Cheers,

    PTA
peartreealley: (time motion manager)
Good morning,

I've been pondering and noting down changes to the 12 Year Week, and (on [personal profile] ironymaiden's helpful suggestion) talking to the Gryffindor about Agile and the single user.

The end result is a plan that goes into motion today, and runs the next four weeks. Working out the plan also revealed that I need a change of focus. I realize these are probably not exciting for most of my readers, but since I don't have a team to Stand Up and Retrospective with... well, I'll give this a shot for now.

So my high level four week plan looks a this:

Sprint 1: FN5 revision (up to 3 weeks/15 working days)
Sprint 2: FN4 ships. (3 working days, needs to overlap with Sprint 1, unfortunately.)
Sprint 3: Finish PS1 draft. (1-2 weeks/5-10 working days)

The math isn't perfect there because I have 4 weeks to do this all in, but it's an experiment... and I always did aspire to become a Time-Motion Manager.

(I'd better getting working, then....)

x

FN 5 Revision/Rewrite
0 / 30000
(0%)
peartreealley: (Default)
Following on my comments about the 12 Week Year yesterday, my brain has been humming:

One of the things that I realized is that even though a 12 week window is indeed shorter and more urgent than 12 months, it’s still too long of a window for me. I run best on intense intervals, and 12 weeks is plenty of time for me to drift off course.

With that in mind, I started playing with ideas on how to scale down the goal/tactics window to create more urgency and better fit into my processes. I also took another look at my vision statements.

Long term plans are not my forte, so 3 year, 5 year and 15 year (!) visions just don’t work for me. I can totally write them, but they’re too vague and too far out there. I know enough of my life patterns to know that something (probably me) is going to explode and my life is going to spin out in some mad way that invalidates every plan I had in the wings. Knowing that reality undermines the clarity and motivation the long term vision is meant to give me.

So I’m scaling that down, too. 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years is as far as I’m taking my visions. (Even 3 years feels dangerous.) I’m also adding a present vision--how are these goals I'm striving for right now going to give me the life I want right now?

Of course, the test is in the execution.

As it turns out, I have two projects I need to finish in the next 4 weeks, plus one that I'd really like to finish--and at the end of those 4 weeks I have a 2 week holiday planned which makes for a fairly immutable deadline. I don’t really want to leave anything hanging so here is my window and my urgency. It's not a perfect test because I can't replicate "4 weeks and then a 2 week holiday" every 6 weeks (if only!), but it should let me get through a scaled down cycle from beginning to end and evaluate it.

So, I guess I'd better get on with that....

x

PS 1 First Draft
35064 / 60000
(58.44%)

On Systems

Apr. 19th, 2017 02:03 pm
peartreealley: (Default)
I love productivity systems. It's awesome when getting things done is just a matter of plug-and-play.

(Of course, it's never that simple.)

But like most things, I need to adapt and customize it to fit my life. (Because I'm special and unique? Because I'm incapable of doing anything "out of the box" without fussing with it? Ha!)

Anyway, two of my favorite systems right now are:

1) Bullet Journal
2) The 12 Week Year

I've always preferred analog for organization, and so I've been playing with Bullet Journal for a couple of years. Initially I liked it because it let me keep everything in one place. Later on, I hated it because it kept everything in one place.

Last year, I bought myself a "wedding present" in the form of a (faux) Travelers Notebook with my married name stamped on it. It's been a good purchase, and it continues to get regular use, despite that I've changed how it gets used frequently. Because it's basically just a leather folder that holds a few notebook inserts a time, it's really perfect for someone who is constantly tailoring their system. (Assuming their system, like mine, tends to involve use of notebooks.)

Anyway, right now, my "bujo" system is as such:
Disposable notebook for to-dos, rapidlogging, and braindumps. At the moment this is an entirely separate item (cheap spiral-bound notebook) from my Travelers Notebook, although I think when I finish this one I'll switch to adding a notebook into my TN to keep everything in the same folder. The reason I keep this one part from other stuff is because I realized that having my to-do lists and random notes in with my more reflective journaling entries led to my journal being overwhelmed by "clean cat box x2" and "do laundry" and "check energy tariffs" and "see if library has this book" and I didn't like that, so I changed it.

Journaling. This notebook has been for reflection, occasional freewriting, and records I want to look back on. Flat things, like event ticket stubs, often end up taped in as well.

Life in Lists. An ongoing collection of bullet points. Places visited, books read, notable experiences, stories written, etc. This is, in a way, my answer to bujo migration.

My calendar is online because it's easier to coordinate with the Gryffindor. Despite having tried a lot of ways, I haven't found a satisfying answer to how to integrate my fiction into the system yet.

The 12 Week Year:
The basis of the system is that a year is a very long time. A lot of organizations create lofty annual goals without much of a plan on how to get there, which mean people procrastinate and faff around aimlessly for the first three quarters of the year, and then suddenly light a fire under their bums and are productive the last quarter when they're under pressure to achieve and make the goal. The idea behind the system is to get people working like that last quarter all the time.

To do this, you are asked to create a strong, emotionally-evoking vision of what you want your life to be (in one year, three years, and five years). From there, you ignore annual goals and instead set a small number (3-5) twelve week goals (personal and professional) that require a lot of focus and dedication, create tactics to achieve them, do weekly plans and reviews, and work diligently to achieve those goals each quarter. (The vision is to guide you and your goals and keep you motivated.)

To be honest, I'm still wrestling with this one, which means it may not be the right system. But I love the philosophy behind it and I think it has potential, and despite that they want you to subscribe wholly to it as written... I will play around with it for my second attempt. It's my nature. (Perhaps I should figure out how to integrate it into my bujo system, too! I did the tracking digitally last go-round.)

ETA: Here is a decent summary of what the book covers.

Anyway! What systems do you love?

Obligatory Writing Update:
PS 1st Draft
31014 / 60000
(51.69%)
peartreealley: (Default)
I fell ill at the start of the holiday weekend, of which I'm now beginning to recover. This meant I missed out on a lot of the weekend's events--going to Oxford, and more time hanging out with our houseguest, AB, but on the other hand I read books and rested and marathoned through most of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended edition), and those things are great in their ways, too.

Yesterday evening, AB left on her way to further adventures (she's in the UK and France for the next ten weeks, spending the first and last few days with us, and possibly an interlude in between). The Gryffindor returned to work this morning, and I'm better but not yet quite well.

This morning, I've worked on brainstorming some disparate thoughts, writing extensive story beats for PS, and misc. other writing tasks that didn't feel too intimidating, and I don't feel that I've wasted the day away, even if I don't have a lot of novel pages to show for it.

I have myriad thoughts to journal, but they're still marinating. I think a common theme has showed up amongst them, though: my deep desire to have a personal user manual or guide for being me. A written guide in which I can reference. "I need troubleshooting. What do I do?" "I'm now in this situation. How do I deal with it?" "Which of these foods do I eat to be at my best?" Explorations of rituals and routines are all part of that user manual. I have attempted to write them down, and there is of course the one in my head, and it's gone through at least as many editions as years I lived, and has an addendum a thousand pages long. But wouldn't it be so nice to have one I could download and reference from my head in the clouds?

x
peartreealley: (Default)
Good morning,

A short letter this morning. It's the beginning of the Easter holiday here in the UK (which is a four day weekend affair--it's a lot like Thanksgiving in the States). The Gryffindor is out at the farmer's market stocking up, I've just taken the grocery delivery (for things that cannot be acquired at the farmer's market), and our American friend arrives early this evening.

There's a thousand to-do's that still need their boxes ticked off, but before I get any further, I'm going to get some writing in.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend--whether it's Norwescon or Easter or even just laying around and vegging it out.

X

PS 1 First Draft
25364 / 65000
(39.02%)


ETA: G brought me back an Easter present.

(There are fancy creme eggs from the artisan chocolate stall inside.)

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