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: (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)
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.)
peartreealley: (Default)
Good almost-not morning,

At the moment I have physical therapy (or "physio" as they call it here) on Thursday mornings to deal with a long-term pain issue. This schedule throws my routine off, but I suppose it's mini-lessons in resilience. It's a half hour walk each way--so hey, at least I get my daily walks in and I'm home, all beat up and exercised. Now after a brunch, I'm beginning to transition to the story.

I'm still working on my ritual of approach, but at the moment I'm trying out tidying the studio (in my case, that involves cleaning the litter box, sweeping scatter, and often a quick dust). I make tea in a special little pot and cup I've designated for the job--and I'm using my nice teas. I'd gotten into a laziness of just drinking any old bagged tea, so I've been making sure to use my nice loose leaf teas for writing time. (I'm realizing as I write this that this tea set-up is reminiscent of my Yumchaa writing dates with [personal profile] alobear, which might be why it's helpful.)

The music is on, I'm writing my morning letter....

Thinking about the old days of social journaling, I went to look for a word meter. It appears the one me and the gang used to use all the time has gone down, but I found this one that I think is close enough.

PS 1 First Draft


PS is a YA/NA story I've been plotting on for quite a while. It's fantasy, set in the future on a necropolis moon. I'm very much enjoying finally getting to dive into it--although there is that nagging feeling that the last FN story still needs revising and the deadline is creeping up.
peartreealley: (travel)
Good morning darlings,

Although I'm a creature who craves routine, I'm no stranger to disruption. I've been aiming to get more resilient, to not let my creative life (or just my life in general) go off the rails when I hit a bump. But like the first snow after a year or years; the first disruption after a long while is unpracticed. I forget what to do, how not to slip, how to return to business as usual.

April is a month full of disruptions. They're all the lovely sort--a long weekend for a games convention in Edinburgh, this coming week we have a beloved American friend coming to stay with us for a few days and an event in Oxford, and after that another event in the Peaks District.

And yet. And yet.

When I built my ambitious April writing calendar (it's Camp NaNoWriMo, so I was being extra ambitious) I marked out all of the days. I knew which days would not be writing days. I knew there'd be a lot more of them than usual.

I didn't take into account the recovery days. The time to pull myself back into the story, to regain my stillness to bring the narrative voice back in my head. How on Monday I was home, yes, but shattered, and although I did force myself to the keyboard, I didn't keep any of it.

Tuesday went slightly better, as I put my toe into the water. I wrote story beats, and prepared myself for the days ahead.

Today--well, today I'm hoping to make up for lost time. And I'm also thinking about the rest of this month (and all of the disruptions that come after that). I'm trying to accept I'm not a failure because I'm not a word factory that can crank out on demand (this is hard, very hard). But I'm also trying to be more resilient, to recover more quickly because while I may not be a factory, I am most happy when I am prolific and immersed.

Well, I suppose we're forever works in progress....

x
peartreealley: (Default)
Good morning,

I'm still thinking about rituals of approach.

On the Sunday evening train ride home, I reread sections from Deep Work by Cal Newport. I read this last summer, and have found it extraordinarily helpful in my journey to regain focus. But like many other commitments we make in which the world seems stacked against our best interests (exercising, eating healthy, etc.), I find I have to frequently recommit to focus and going deep. I'd noticed a sense of sliding of late, so I wanted to read the relevant passages.

As it turns out, Newport also talks about the importance of rituals:

“[Rituals minimize] the friction in this transition to depth, allowing [us] to go deep more easily and stay in the state longer.”

He goes on to point out there is no one-size-fits-all set of rituals, but by reading the routines and habits of deep workers through history, he surmises we should address:

1. Where you’ll work and how long;
Ideally, one has a place dedicated only for focus and deep work--but it is, of course, an ideal. Even if it's not space dedicated only to deep work, he recommends a regular place or set of places in which you "go deep."

2. How you’ll work once you start to work;
These are rules and processes to structure your efforts. For example: using Pomodoro or requiring a certain measurement of work achieved in a specific time window, having the Internet blocked, etc. Basically, how you will do what you’re going to do; how you measure that you’re working deep.

3. How you’ll support your work;
How to ensure your brain gets the support it needs to keep operating at a high level of depth. (Eating healthy snacks, drinks, exercise/stretching, etc.)

Newport notes that all of these things will take experimentation--and you must be willing to work at it. Having a ritual cribbed from another creator because it works for them, or using the same ritual long after you have outgrown it does you no favors, no matter how much an inconvenience experimentation and change is. (I imagine one could also use "finding your ritual" as a vehicle for procrastination, but that's another topic.)

I'm not entirely sure of where my own rituals stand today (although a cup of tea is certainly involved), but today I'm going to spring clean my studio--which has left to dust and the collections of junk that abandoned rooms often grow. I found it a bit chilly and dark to work in during the winter, and I've gotten comfortable working instead of my couch or at the dining room table. But the sun has returned to London, and I have this room dedicated for going deep, and I can't help but wonder if a new consecration of the studio might help with my recommitment to ritual and depth.

I guess I'll find out.

Have a lovely day X
peartreealley: (writing)
My darlings,

I've been reading Terri Windling's blog for a while now, and with her recent site overhaul, I've been combing the newly organized archives with enthusiasm. So you're likely to see it referenced a lot. (I don't think you'll mind.)

In her essay, "The Rituals of Approach" she talks about those who can dive right into their creating each day, and those who inch themselves into the mindset. She says,

"For me, the slow circling of my writing desk in the morning isn't one of avoidance (though it can be, on a bad day, if I'm not careful), it's simply part of my transition from the everyday world into the cold, clear pool of my imagination."

She details how she starts with a walk with the dog, then puts on the music, cleans the studio, reads a few pages of something off her shelves, pours herself some coffee, writes a post for her blog to warm up her writing muscles... and then, finally, she gets to her writing or drawing or whatever her major project is for the day.

I used to be someone who could dive right in--who tumbled from the bed to the desk and get straight to it. I used to be baffled by other creators' long lists of tasks before they finally got to the work, and thought if only they just dove straight into the cold water of creation, it would be easier and more efficient. It looked too much like procrastination.

But then, I suppose I changed. I didn't notice it for a long time. Maybe it's because there is more crowding my mind. Maybe it's because it's less easy to ignore the bellows of rest of the world. But that transition period from the real world to the world of my imagination does take longer for me, and I think it may be time to try to work with the change, rather than against it.

And, I think for the moment, I will try to do "morning letters" as warm ups to limber up my fingers and brain, because it feels right. And the time or times when it stops feeling right, I won't.

Have a beautiful day X

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Profile

peartreealley: (Default)
Peartree Alley Studio

August 2017

S M T W T F S
  12345
678910 1112
131415 16171819
202122 23 242526
2728293031  

Most Popular Tags

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Style Credit

Page generated Sep. 25th, 2017 04:25 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios