Friday, January 13, 2012

2012: Slow start and expanding focus

I was very ill for most of the first week of the year.  I still got writing done, but it wasn't easy.  The DAZ newsletter took almost all of my attention and energy.  This was, honestly the worst start to a writing year I ever remember, but I did start on Water/Stone/Light.  A slow start, but I kept at it and now I'm finally into the second chapter.

The illness is not all that has slowed me down, though.  It's cold here; my furnace died and cannot be fixed, and my space heaters were doing the best they could -- until one of them died, too.  The second is now making odd sounds and I fear it's going to go soon, but today it is kicking out heat and I'm going to believe it will hold up for a while yet.  Really, all I have to do is make it through February, which is generally our coldest month.  I'm almost half way through January, so that's only about six weeks.  March can be iffy, but generally not as cold.

During these cold days I was reminded of something I had kind of forgotten.  My brain doesn't function well when I feel cold.  And that is the second problem I'm having this year.  I cannot concentrate on writing new material.  Even with the wonderful outline, I'd get maybe a paragraph before I stopped and stared, waiting for my brain to kick in with the next step.  It's even taking me far longer to get newsletters done than it should.

By last night I was starting to get very frustrated, which didn't help at all, of course.  Then I happened upon a sort of odd answer.  I need to keep writing or else I will just get in worse and worse moods.

I had been reading a very old story of mine.  Interesting story -- better, plot wise, than I had expected.  It was the 3rd in a set and I dug out the middle one.  Then I went looking for the first.  After a couple of hours trying to search through files it finally occurred to me that this was a very old story.  I had probably written it on the old Atari computer and never translated it over.  However, I knew I had read it in the last decade.  So that meant only one answer.

I went digging through my two file cabinets and finally found it: an old print out, still with the fan fold paper still attached, page to page.

This, obviously, needs to be retyped into a format I can work with.  And retyping it means rewriting, of course.  Far easier, though, that working from an outline.  The story is there.  I just need to translate it over.

And it will give me the experience of writing without my brain having to work too hard.  I am not going to abandon the other work -- Water/Stone/Light or the rewrite of The Servant Girl.  I have most of the second set of 2YN classes done as well.  What this is going to do is give me something to work on when I'm cold and need the distraction.

There  are, actually, other things in my life.  Photography, for instance.  I have been doing a Picture-a-day blog since January 1,2007 and I have not missed a single day.  That's over 1800 pictures posted in the blog ( ).  Very many cats, some lovely birds at the feeders, pretty sunsets and occasional trip pictures to other places.  My photography occasionally turns up in print, often for nature centers and such.  I give the printing rights for free in those cases.  Taking 40 to 50 pictures a day is not unusual for me (Yay for the age of digital cameras!) and that's just sitting at my desk watching the birds at the feeders.  I'll take several hundred on a ride and sometimes close to a thousand at the zoo or a wildlife refuge.

So photography, like writing, is something I do every day even though I don't talk about it as much. 

In the last seven years I've also taken up the fun of Digital Art.  This is like having a virtual photography studio with all kinds of models, backdrops, props -- and the ability to manipulate all of it in just about any way you like.  Because I work for DAZ 3D ( I have a lot of programs including DAZ Studio, Bryce, Carrarra Pro (my favorite) and even Poser.  For people like me who never learned to draw and really aren't going to take the time to learn now, this provides a wonderful way to visually express myself.  No, it isn't traditional art.  This is something different and requires a different sort of creativity.  I have seen some incredibly lovely work done.

One of my goals this year is to get back to doing one 3D picture a week, if I can -- because, like writing, I can only get better at it if I actually practice.  I've created a set of pictures at Flikr to take care of this so I am accountable for the work.  My first one up was actually a little late (what a surprise this year), but I am still going to hold myself to it.

I also have an odd program called Magix Music Maker.  This allows you to take little snippets of music and create your own songs.  You can also play virtual instruments to create your own pieces or add in to what you have.  Learning to blend in different tracks and building bridges has been fun.  Working with sounds is interesting to me.  It's something entirely outside of my usual range of creativity.  This is good.  No, it's not as creative as playing real instruments or writing songs, but that's not going to happen in my already busy world.  However,  it is an interesting way to get the feel of music styles.  One of the things I decided to do is create theme songs for some of my characters.  This is the one for Devlin:

My other plans this year include studying more of the CS5 programs. I was doing wonderfully learning InDesign, but then too many things hit at the end of the year and I dropped the work.  It's time to go back to it. Oh yes, and reading in general.  I didn't do well when I was ill because of the headaches.  But it's time to start moving ahead on the Cambridge Ancient History and the Durant Story of Civilization again. 

This is the way to spend the winter.  Focusing on creativity of different types and having something I want to do, not just that I need to do.  I believe the word I am looking for is fun.

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