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!

Writing Insights #1: Where Do I Even Start?

wdies

Hello there lovelies! I suppose it is time for a new feature here on Life and Other Disaster and it’s one about writing, my WIP and all the struggles that come with it. A dear friend of mine said she’d be interested in something like this (I love you Marie, you are the best! Thank you for all the support!) and just to confirm you would be on board with this, I also did a Twitter poll and your responses were the best and most welcoming! This is still a topic that makes my heart race and my stomach tie up, simply because I am always nervous to share my stories. However, I am totally getting ahead of myself. This will be a feature in several parts and today is all about:

Where Do I Even Start?

First off, I am Jon-Snowing this thing. I am in no way an authority on writing and there are people out there who are way more organised than me. Truth is, I am a messy writer. I have barely to no plan at all, I just dive into it straight ahead and here are some reasons why that can be an issue:

  • If you don’t outline your story, you will eventually get stuck in the middle of story-nowhere with no idea of how to go on. You don’t have to know all the details of the journey before starting, but you should at least know where you want to end up. I found that out the hard way.
  • Research is NOT one of my favourite past times, but it is very often necessary. If you don’t do that beforehand, you might have to stop right in the middle of a writing spree, simply because you have no idea how many years it takes to get a doctorate in archaeology or something like that. Wouldn’t that be a shame?
  • When you write without a plan, you just go with the flow. There is really no limit as to how rough a rough draft can be, but editing is hard and just floating from scene to scene won’t make it easier in the aftermath. (Also learnt this from experience …)

So, I want to do this right. I still need to do my research, although I doubt that I will do it all before I get into the writing process. However, I do want to outline a timeline, just to make my life a little easier. That won’t stop me from writing random scenes that I’ll add in later anyway. Something I always do though, and it’s something that I simply cannot live without, is figuring out my main characters. They need name, age, quirks, likes and dislikes, because otherwise it doesn’t feel real to me and it probably won’t feel real to you, the readers, either. What I really enjoy doing is casting them, but I haven’t really done so this time around, instead I made character aesthetics. I never thought it would be this difficult to find the right pictures, but at the same time it showed me that I had very specific ideas about who these people were supposed to be and what would properly represent them. To leave everything up for interpretation, I am just going to post them here without further explanation.

Kasia

kasia

Dyson

dyson

So, what do you think about them? Do you want to give any guesses as to what their personality could be like? There’s definitely some magic in this story, but more about that later. I have no idea how often I will post Writing Insights, but next time will include the Prologue of Kasia and Dyson’s story … which still doesn’t have a title. Is there something in particular you would like to know about my writing process? Any and all questions are very welcome!

NaNoWriMo 2015 – Week 2 + Dreamer Chapter 3

So, week 2 of NaNoWriMo is over. I’ve been to two local write-ins so far and they were nice, but I am not sure how much they actually helped me progress with Dreamer. I’ve found out that word sprints and the likes aren’t really for me, I like to write in my own pace and time and not be forced to do so. As I am writing this, my current word count is at 14,215 words and by the end of the day I should be at 25,000 words. I think we all know that’s not going to happen, but you know what? It doesn’t matter. 50,000 words is still a valid goal and I like writing my story, so I’ll get there sooner or later.

I heard that 98% of the NaNoWriMos struggle during week 2 (totally a made up number by the way!), but it is important that you keep going. I wrote something every day during the past weeks, sometimes only 100 words, other times more than 2K. Sometimes your characters just won’t do what you want them to do. They’ll argue and talk back like little children, but if you just keep going, the story will pick up again. Your brain will produce something awesome and new and exciting. Just keep writing! 

So, how are you my fellow WriMos? How is your WIP doing? Is everything going the way you thought it would?

And as promised I will continue to post chapters of Dreamer here. (You can already read Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 by clicking on them!) Please keep in mind that this is a first draft. A lot can change after I go about editing and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are still typos in there. (Last week I wrote “She was scaring the screen” instead of “staring at the screen” …) Enjoy!

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NaNoWriMo 2015 – Progress Week 1

For those of you who are my writing buddies (add me here if you haven’t yet), you know that I am pretty far behind with my NaNo-novel Dreamer (more than 5,000 words to be exact). But for some strange reason I am still not worried. I’ve written something every day so far and I continue to do so. Sometimes I exceed my expectations for the day and other times I am way below it, but the thing is, you want NaNoWriMo to be fun. It shouldn’t be a forced activity and I refuse to let it become any such thing. For now my main focus is to keep writing and keep having a good time while doing it.

A lot of you have asked me to share bits of my story and I thought, why not? So, here you go with my first chapter/prologue/I don’t even know what I’m doing! (Keep in mind that I am mostly sleep deprived while writing and that this is a first draft.) Now enjoy!

Dreamer – Chapter 1

The blinking red lights woke him up. At first, Wick was confused and disoriented. Usually the lights never flashed; they weren’t supposed to. It meant that something was wrong. Now he knew why Aurora had always told him not to sleep on the job. Coming back to his senses, he quickly checked all the dream-stats and it was true, but it couldn’t be. It was just an ordinary dream.
Clara Barrett, 25 years of age and renowned photographer was his current dreamer. He didn’t understand why they resorted to calling the humans that. He was a Dreamer himself, but his life was nothing like the ones he had to watch every night. Wick wasn’t sure whether he had monitored Clara’s dreams before, but if he did, he probably couldn’t remember. There were only very few dreams worth remembering, which was also most likely the reason why humans forgot about them so easily.
This one was a standard model as well. Aurora tried to get him some good cases as often as possible, but she’s been more careful since the Council sent someone to keep a close eye on Wick’s unit of Monitors. Classic Council-move: sending someone to monitor the Monitors. However, now he was stuck with boring dream-landscapes most of the time. Clara’s dream shouldn’t have been any different, just her reliving a stressful day at work or coping with some mean girl problems from the past. But it was different. The stats showed high levels of stress and her anxiety was through the roof. Wick switched screens to look at the image of the current scene that was playing out in Clara’s mind.
“What the …” He mumbled to himself. Clara was frantically running, as if she was being chased by something or someone, but the image got blurry on that part. Another thing that wasn’t supposed to happen. Wick knew that he only had two options. He could go and look for his new supervisor Don, who would subsequently appoint a Field Agent to go into the dream and help this Clara-person. Or, and this option appealed to Wick a lot more, he could go into the dream himself. He eyed the big, blue button on the far left side of his console with longing. He always wanted to go into a dream.
Of course there was the slight problem that he wasn’t supposed to even think about venturing into the dream-landscape, in fact it was highly forbidden for Monitors to do so. Visiting dreams was an honour reserved only for trained Field Agents and Wick was definitely not one of them. No matter how much he studied, six years in total he had failed the necessary tests to switch occupation.
He heard steps from the hallway, probably Don making his rounds and checking on everyone. Wick glanced from the button to the door and knew it was now or never. Just as the door handle was pressed down, Wick disappeared into the dream.

What do you think? How is your NaNo-ing going? I’d love to hear all about your WIP!

NaNoWriMo Challenge Completed!

I did it! NaNoWriMo ends tomorrow, but I’ve reached 50K and simultaneously the end of my story today! I’m now an official NaNoWriMo winner and I have the certificate to prove it.

I wrote a book! Can you believe it? I know some of you doubted it, but … I’m just kidding. You guys have been crazy supportive all through NaNoWriMo and I’m incredibly grateful for that. So, before I continue to talk about the final week of writing I want to thank all of you for being the awesome and supportive people that you are!

Now, how did the writing fare this week? I think I went totally crazy towards the end. You have to know that I write best shortly before going to bed, because I feel the need to reach my daily goal. This has worked just fine most days, but I tend to finish with a scene, turn off my laptop and go to bed and then I would just lie there, not able to sleep whatsoever. My characters kept me awake with all the possibilities of what could happen to them next. I do have a notebook right beside my bed, but I always had the fear that I wouldn’t remember what my notes meant the next day and rather turned on the computer sometime after midnight than forget what I wanted to write about.

Writing the actual ending was the hardest. I’ve made up so much of the story as I went along, that I lost sight of how I wanted it to end. I got closer and closer to my desired word count, but the finish line still wasn’t in clear sight, because I just didn’t know what to write. In the end, I knew that I wanted to have some final reference to the title (which is “Break Up Buddy”, just fyi), but I had no idea how to get there. I’m not a big fan of cliffhangers at the end of books (unless they are a series), so I wanted to tie everything up nicely and in the end I think I did that.

Also, I think I went a little overboard with the final scenes, but that’s okay, because what matters most is that I have a finished first draft! I really wasn’t sure I would make it this far and now I have something to work with, something to revise and edit. To be honest, I already forgot some of the scenes I wrote and it will be one heck of a fun to re-read and re-visit everything I wrote, because I’m sure there are some hilarious typos and plot holes in there.

Now, how did your month go? Did you participate in NaNoWriMo as well? Did you reach your personal goal? I’d love to talk some more in the comments below!

Winner-2014-Twitter-ProfileIf you want to read more about my journey during this month, click on the links below:

Participation Announcement

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

My NaNoWriMo Playlist