Recap: My 30 Day Art Challenge

I posted about this challenge at the half-way point already (read more about it here), but now the challenge is done and I just wanted to recap what all went down and share some more of my art!

STATS

I am happy to announce that I have managed to write more than 13K words this past month. I know that it’s not nearly as much as many reach during their NaNoWriMo challenge or camp sessions, but it catapults me to over 35K words for my current WIP (a YA contemporary), which means I am more than halfway through what I want the first draft to be in terms of length.
I will admit that I skipped out on writing during a couple of the last days of the challenge. I was just so stuck with where I wanted to go and wanted to do some plotting. I really wasn’t sure what to do in the last third of the story, to make sure it actually had tension and wasn’t just trickling along. Therefore, I plotted, which is writing-related, but had no word count to speak of.

I drew a total of 14 more drawings since the last update. I followed my own advice and didn’t overdo it by trying to complete a drawing per day. Sometimes I would do the line work on one day and then the colors on the next. It definitely helped me feel less stressed about it, while I was still doing something daily.

REALIZATIONS

I think I already covered quite a lot of the realizations last time and they still sound true to me. Doing everything all the time is impossible, external validation helps and so on, but I will try and tell you a bit more anyway.

  • Forcing yourself to do something every day will yield results, but not necessarily good ones. I am happy I did the challenge and it really got my creative juices flowing again, but there are days where you just don’t have it in you. I still ended up doing my writing (or writing related activity) and drawing every single day, but the results weren’t always something I was happy with. Accepting that not everything will be perfect is another thing you need to learn as an artist, but it’s still frustrating when things don’t work. Just make sure that doesn’t deter you.
  • It’s perfectly okay to draw something because you know it has an audience. While I didn’t stick to just Stargirl portraits in the end, the cast and characters still made up the majority of what I drew. I just knew, and clearly saw in my stats, that these posts worked a lot better and make up the posts that perform the best. The fact that the cast likes to interact with that stuff helps too, of course. So, I don’t see why I shouldn’t lean into doing something, even if it seems repetitive in terms of motif, knowing that there’s a group of people who will hype it up.
  • Try to make yourself do something new and get out of your comfort zone! It’s obvious that I only did portraits, however, I leaned more into doing pencil instead of watercolor work again, which wasn’t something I felt too comfortable with earlier. And I also started experimenting again with gold/silver foil and am really happy with the results.

DRAWINGS

This time it’s really a mix of things! There’s Jeanine Mason from Roswell, New Mexico, cast and characters from Stargirl (where I often made sure to focus on characters/scenes that were important for the airing episode) as well as Bess from Little Voice, the weeping monk from Cursed and two self-portraits (one experimental and one more traditional).


I hope you enjoyed this look into my challenge! Feel free to ask me anything about it! In hindsight, I think it was more about being consistent than making progress with my skill set, although I think I came into my style some more as well.

Half-Time Check In: My 30 Day Art Challenge

For those of you who missed the announcement, I have been challenging myself to draw and write every single day starting July 1st. It was very important to me to lean more into my creative side and to push myself even when I wasn’t feeling it all the time. Having now surpassed the half-way mark, I thought it was time to check in on the progress etc.

STATS

I have decided to keep writing my Football WIP! Coincidentally, July 1st was also the start of Camp NaNoWriMo, which meant that I had the perfect tool to track my writing with their website. Honestly, my motivation for drawing was much higher than for writing, because I stopped at a tough chapter back in May. But I still wrote every single day and made a whooping progress of 7,364 words in total so far!

As intended with this challenge, I have also managed to draw every single day. I completed 12 drawings (most of them full watercolor portraits) and sketched with pencil but not in way I would like to showcase the other days.

REALIZATIONS

There’s a couple things I learned from this so far and I really would like to share as well! It will also be fun to see if I still think the same once I have completed the 30 days.

  • I can’t do everything all the time! This was probably the hardest one to come to terms with. If I draw every single day and if I write too, that amounts to the time a regular person would spend at a full time job. As much as I wanted to read all the books, write all the blog posts and watch all the movies and TV shows, it’s impossible to do it all. There’s not enough time and quite frankly also not brain power/creative energy to get to every single thing.
  • While I am fairly self-motivated, external validation helps! I would definitely be lying if I said that validation from others doesn’t help. I really do appreciate every single like and comment, because it has helped me so much in keeping up with this challenge. Also, I went from 160 followers to 200+ in two weeks even though I have had my account for years, so this is just mind-boggling to me (click here if you want to follow my art insta too).
    I will post my drawings at the end of this post, but you will see that they are mostly exclusively about the cast from Stargirl. This is not just because I adore the show (which I do), but because the cast is incredibly friendly and appreciative of fan work. It’s so lovely to do this and get the recognition from the people you drew.
  • Some things won’t ever look the way I want them to, and that’s okay! Having done this challenge, it has helped me so much with accepting that not everything I put out into the world needs to be perfect or flawless. Some things don’t work out the way I want them to, that’s fine and I just need to let it go. So often, people still appreciated my work, even when I didn’t love it. (I’m being serious here, I maybe really really like three of the drawings from the past two weeks …….)
  • Writing is hard (duh!), but editing exists for a reason. I was always someone who was very focused on working on a single project, until things got hard and I dropped it. I also always wrote very linearly, but not this time. I was really super stuck, but I didn’t confine myself to just keep writing a chapter I disliked, but rather wrote other scenes I was looking forward to. The chapter I finally managed to conclude and still don’t like won’t deter me any more either, because that is what editing is for. Just because I don’t currently know how to fix things doesn’t mean that I won’t ever know.

DRAWINGS

As I’ve already mentioned, all of these drawings are from the show Stargirl or its cast. (I am pretty sure I will do a full currently watching post about the show once I am done with the entire season, because I really do love everything about it.) There is only one more drawing that I didn’t include, because it was a private one I drew for a family member and don’t think it should be online.


What do you think about my challenge and my progress? Do you like my art? I am happy to chat about it here!

The Quarantine Write Tag

As I mentioned last week, I kind of want Friday to be the designated day for tags. However, I never said it had to be a book tag, so, I am introducing to you the Quarantine Write Tag! (How terribly timely, right?)

In the past, I have created several posts of this sort, such as the Winter Is HereValentine’s Day, Life Choices and Milestones Write Tag. Basically, I wanted to provide a fun exercise for fellow writers to explore their characters some more, even if it meant placing them in an entirely unrelated setting to their story. I always quite enjoyed them and if you think this could be something for your project, please feel free to do this as well! This time, I wanted to place our characters in the middle of this terrible pandemic. How would they act and who is most likely to do XY – that’s what the questions below are for!

Now, you may wonder why I am doing this, especially since I haven’t done a write tag on this blog in years. Oh well, I decided to join Camp NaNoWriMo on a whim to continue working on my #witchyWIP. A couple of people already know the story, but it has been put on hold for over a year. Right now, I am posting the chapters I have worked on, on this site! It’s a “secret” WordPress blog that I have created to work on my writing and still share it with people. The posts are currently password protected, but if you are curious about it, just let me know and I will find a way to get you that password! (I swear, I am not super selective about who gets one or not, I just want to have some overview over who accesses the posts for now!)

RULES

  • Thank the person who tagged you but also link back to the original post(I want to see all your lovely answers, people!)
  • Provide a short description of your WIP/story!
    I still struggle with having a polished version of the blurb for this #witchyWIP. I mean, I don’t even have a title yet … but let’s try:When 6-year-old August enters Rosalie’s life, she has no idea just how much the girl will change her entire family’s fate. Being the last one of a powerful but destructive magical lineage, she links herself to Rosa’s youngest son, binding them even beyond this life. A scandal for the entire community! But what really happened to August and will they ever uncover all the mysteries surrounding her without getting destroyed themselves? Only a tale that spans decades will tell.

  • This is pretty focused on main characters but don’t hesitate to use several characters for the answers if you want to! (We want to get to know as many of your characters as possible)

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Which character is most likely to help out their elderly and vulnerable neighbors during the crisis? OR which of your characters has an essential job (or would have if they didn’t live in a fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi/whatever different world) and brave the outside on the daily?

August and Josh are sort of a package deal on this one, which makes it hard, because you need to keep a secure distance from one another in public. But August would probably take care of the neighbors, while Josh would work as a nurse or in a care facility. I could totally see that being a profession he’d be interested in.

Who is your go to character for TV and movie recommendations? (As they most likely spend all their time binge-watching shows already!)

A character that may seem out of left field, but Cole. He’s Mirabella’s husband and they both take August into their home and eventually become her parents. Cole is a quiet soul as well as a homebody and would enjoy talking about nothing but TV.

Tell us about the first character who would go slightly mad staying inside for too long?

Again, I have to mention two people here. Willow and Wren, the twins, are a force of nature and not to be tamed. Having to stay inside sounds like torture to them.

How does your most extrovert and your most introvert character handle the crisis?

Who IS my most extrovert character? Maybe Rosalie? She’d hate this altogether, because she needs to stay busy like her twin girls. Usually she jets from one appointment to the next and would therefore have a hard time coming to terms with this. All other possibly ambivert to introvert characters would be fine … unless they live with Rosalie and the twins. That just sounds stressful to me.

Which of your characters is a prepper and would have been ready if this had been a zombie apocalypse?

Mirabella likes to have things planned in life, so I presume she’d have a plan for this as well. You know, just in case!

Who got panicked and bought everything in bulks (despite reassurances that markets would not run out)?

I actually can’t see anyone panicking like that. They are all witches, they’d handle this somehow else … right?

If there is a character who might be hard to convince that the virus and its dangers are real, who would it be? Why?

I think Rosalie is stubborn and as a witch she’d probably think that they’d be immune or find some workaround. BUT caution is always better and I’d like to think she wouldn’t endanger anyone, she’s not a villain after all.

Who would organise all the zoom-group chats to make sure their friends and family stayed connected? 

My pure puppy boy Josh would be in charge of that! Not only is he good with human gadgets, but he just likes it when everyone gets along and stays in touch.

BONUS: Make an aesthetic of your main character bundling up at home!

I would read this as Josh and August doing the things we all do these days. Binge TV, read books, cook more at home and try to come up with silly things that make us laugh. Plus, appreciating the people we have with us and that make us happy.

I TAG THEE

Please, do NOT feel obliged to do this!! I just thought I’d get the ball rolling my tagging a couple folks:

I hope you enjoyed this tag and that it offered some sort of brief entertainment. If you liked it, please don’t hesitate to share it, so that a lot of people will discover it and let us in on their own stories to tell!

Writing Life: Sharing Your Work in Progress

I’ve hinted at maybe doing a post about the ups and downs of sharing your work in progress in my NaNoWriMo update from last week, so I hope you are up for some insights on this topic! First off, I want to start by pointing out that I don’t mean to say that everyone should share their WIPs, whether it be in public or in private. I understand that not every writer feels comfortable, ready or willing to share their story in the early stages and that is perfectly alright! You do you and always follow your gut! This is just my personal experience.

              

Writing was always a lonely task to me. Of course, I got to meet all these wonderful characters for the first time and they miraculously somehow came from my brain, which was always incredibly hard to believe. I feel pure excitement whenever I dive into a new story, but at the same time I just want to share that with SOMEONE out there. Every time, I kept a story to myself, I started to procrastinate hard at some point until I was lacking motivation to continue at all. This is clearly an issue concerning lack of discipline on my part, but I found a way to counteract that by sharing my work as I go along with friends, family and sometimes even strangers. And when I say I share my work, I am not talking official beta readers or critique partners, but just people who may or may not comment on what they just read. Obviously, as I mentioned in my opening statement, this is not for everyone so here are a couple pros and cons of the experience:

THE PROS

  • The absolute best motivation I have ever found to continue writing is the constant encouragement of strangers as well as friends who have read and loved my words. They want to know how the story continues, so I want to keep providing them with entertainment and answers to questions as well as new mysteries as I go along. I truly adore everyone who has ever taken the time to read what I have written. It’s not perfect and I appreciate that they stuck with me nonetheless.
  • Sometimes it’s hard to stay objective as a writer. I encourage all my readers to give me suggestions if they notice something that isn’t quite right and I have realised that my first instinct is to get defensive (but that’s the beauty of being online, you don’t have to respond asap and that feeling can go away), but then I can see the value in having a fresh set of eyes on my writing. You don’t HAVE to take all their suggestions into account, that’s not the point of it all, but it’s good to hear different opinions.

THE CONS

  • Sharing your work publicly involves a lot of trust, so you have to find a way that makes you feel safe in the process. There are various platforms that allow you to share your stories to a broader audience, like wattpad, where I uploaded all my current chapters for Arcadia and Dreamer (click on the titles to read the stories). There are guidelines among the community members that forbid copying content, but obviously nothing is ever foolproof. My current #witchyWIP isn’t on there, not because I have made bad experiences, but simply because I didn’t want to share it with all the world for now, but rather an exclusive circle of friends. I chose Google Docs for that, as it still allows people to comment and has great options for security purposes. It’s just a matter of finding the right platform that works for YOU!
  • Waiting for someone to read your work and actually react to it can be torture! People have lives and they don’t just wait in front of a screen to read my very random story updates. However, the longer the wait to hear from just about anyone is, the more the questions start to plague my mind – What if no one likes it? What if they don’t feel like they can tell me if they don’t like it? What if I shouldn’t have written that part? What if … None of that necessarily has to reflect on your story though. Sometimes it’s just a matter of lack of time and it’s also difficult to hold a reader’s interest if you don’t continue the story regularly. Like, I completely understand that some people might not want to wait a month for a new chapter.

In the end it all comes down to what feels right for you as a writer. Maybe you don’t want share your work until you’ve reached draft 15, but maybe you need that encouragement and interest from the outside to get through writing draft 1. Whichever type you are, I just know that I personally love nothing more than getting reactions be it in comments, people screaming at me in my DMs (always welcome by the way) or just sending me gifs and aesthetics for chapters. It’s what keeps me going and that’s why I am so grateful for all the people who take the time to read my work!


This is it from my little writing insight this time! Do you sometimes share your unfinished work? How are you all doing on your WIPs? Who is still going strong on their NaNo project? Let’s chat!

Writing Life: Switching Between Ideas

It has literally been over a year since I’ve last used this feature or the previous version that was Writing Insights on the blog. While I have created a couple of write tags, I’ve given very little insight into my writing process and struggles I am facing lately. So, I am here today to talk about how I cope with several story ideas swarming my head, even when I want to focus on one of them alone. I feel like this topic isn’t just applicable for writers though, but also for bloggers who have a gazillion post ideas.

SHOULD YOU SWITCH BETWEEN IDEAS?

I don’t think there is any one way to answer this question. Some people need structure and focus to work on a single project, others need the rush of multitasking to get things done. Everyone is different and that’s a good thing. However, I can’t help but feel a little guilty for choosing to work on newer and shinier projects once the going gets hard on old favourites. Is it my fault for being so easily distracted or is it healthy to get things out of the way that seem to cloud your judgment and motivation for what you’ve been working on thus far?

Let me give you an example! As many of you know, I have been working on my story Arcadia (details about it here) for several years now. I may not be the fastest writer, I may not even do the best job I could with this first draft, but I am being the most dedicated I could be. At least that’s what I thought. As of late, my thoughts have become increasingly occupied by what I skillfully dubbed the #witchyWIP for now. I didn’t have a plot idea, I barely even had names for the characters, but these random scenes just kept invading my mind over and over until I wrote them down.

Here’s the first chapter/prologue that came as a result from that:

And after that, I just couldn’t really stop? I didn’t have answers to the questions I was asking myself with this story, but I sure as heck wanted to find out where it was all going. While I am usually very much a pantser for all my projects, I found myself outlining what could be (even though I am sure it’s not nearly as detailed or coordinated as other people do their outlines) and making notes in all my notebooks and on my phone whenever inspiration struck. So, while I still love Arcadia, Kasia and Dyson and everyone in the story very much, I just can’t seem to focus on that particular story right now. Does that mean I am going to abandon it altogether? Of course not! It’s a story I very much intend to finish and since I was going at snail-speed anyway, it doesn’t seem like it would make too much of a difference if I jotted down a couple scenes for something new in the meantime. Still, the guilt remains

For now, I have decided to just go with the flow and continue to write for whatever story idea I feel most inspired to work on. With everything that is going on outside of blogging, we will see how much time and energy I will have in the weeks to come anyway. But I would like to hear from you fellow bloggers and writers:

Do you get distracted by newer and shinier ideas as well sometimes? How do you balance wanting to explore something fresh, while continuing to work on your old projects at the same time? Do you get things done or gradually forget about what you previously worked on once a new idea comes to mind? I would love to discuss this topic with you in the comments below!