Playing around with design

So lately, I’ve been trying to learn a bit about design.

Turns out there is a lot to learn. But I have learned a few little tricks.

Last week I did a little series of creepy/scary/mystery-ish type images which I’ll post over the next few days.

Here’s the first one.

Feel free to share your thoughts, offer advise or to criticize them – feedback is super cool and I love it.

Something beautiful for you

Life has been so stressful lately and I’m sure we’re all feeling it. So instead of trying to stuff your brain with more words and thoughts, I wanted to just give you something truly beautiful to listen to. Magnificent! Enjoy!

 

If you are interested in learning about Cal Morris’s amazing music here are his links:

Cal Morris Website

Cal Morris Youtube channel

Cal Morris Facebook Page

Cal Morris Instagram

Cal Moris Twitter

And no, I have no personal connection to Cal Morris whatsoever – just heard his beautiful music at a time when I needed something beautiful in my life. And I thank him.

With your whole heart – Are you all in or all out?

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I’m one of those people who does things with their whole heart. I can’t be halfway. I’m either all in or all out. It’s just how I’m wired. Some see it as a character flaw because you know, I take things to heart. I take things personally. Because to me, it is personal. I mean anything that is part of my life is personal, isn’t it?

Sure I’ve tried to develop a thick skin and act like things don’t matter. It’s just a job or a crappy review, or some guy I didn’t want to date anyway – whatever it doesn’t matter. But doesn’t it? If it’s part of your life, it is personal. Doesn’t it have to be? I think so.

I once had a friend who told me she puts things in boxes. In her head. Must be a pretty organized head, right. You know? This argument goes in this box. This catastrophe goes in this box. My grocery list goes in another box. Wow, I sit back in wonder of people who can do this. I can’t.

But the truth is, I don’t want to live in a box. I want to live in the waves that threaten to drown me and tap dance in  thunder storms wearing my tin foil hat. Wail like a banshee when something hurts. Laugh like an idiot when something tickles me. I want all the colors in the crayon box. And I don’t want to color inside the lines either. Vivid, bright colors that make you shield your eyes. I want to talk loud when I’m excited, wear red lipstick just because, and paint my nails purple because it’s pretty. Eat the whole loaf of bread I just pulled out of the oven and slather it in butter.

Life is there to live, to experience, to try, to fail, to sometimes succeed. Maybe even to fly. So…with my whole heart I choose to aim for the skies. I’m all in.Always. Come what may.

What about you? Are you all in? All out? Do you feel with your whole heart? Do you hold back because you’re worried what people will think? Do you take one cookie when you want 10?

Speak with your whole heart (or whatever part you care to share) in the comments.

Writer Chick

Do you seek perfection in your words?

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Not long ago I read an article that discussed writers’ incessant need for perfection. And the subsequent disappointment we feel when we finally see what ends up on the page. Somehow that pure concept doesn’t translate. Doesn’t get from the special lofty real estate in your head where all things perfect live to this clunky, messy, noisy dusty rock we all live on.

True enough.

The trip from concept to language is definitely imperfect and probably includes lots of fender benders, side trips and a flat tire or two.

But so is the human experience. Imperfection is the essence of human nature, isn’t it?

And I’m thinking that even if we managed to get that perfection on paper, or in a book or a story or some nifty commentary it might not land anyway.

It might be that perfection is something that can’t be appreciated or even understood in this human universe.

So writers curse and bang on the keyboard and spit out some herky-jerky version of that perfection in hopes that there will be some kind of connection. Because that’s the thing isn’t it? The connection from writer to reader. That says, ‘hey I’ve been in your shoes,’ or ‘I’ve seen that, I’ve felt that, I’ve tasted that – sucks don’t it?’ or “Damn, is this awesome or what?’

I don’t know this for a fact but I think we humans are pretty perceptive and those who love to read are well-versed in reading between the lines. And believe me, there is plenty there.

And when it comes down to it, maybe that’s all writers are meant to do – to keep trying – to keep spitting out that perfection inside us in whatever way we can.

I read somewhere that Michelangelo thought the Sistine Chapel was crap. So do I have a chance of perfection? Doubtful.

So how about it folks, do you try to be perfect? Are you forever seeking the perfect sentence, paragraph, phrase or description? Did you get there? How’d you do it? Is perfection over-rated?

Writer Chick

It’s Easy to get Discouraged

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It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re pursuing a creative goal. Life in general is hard enough—getting to work on time, feeding the kids, paying the bills. That alone can exhaust you and leave little time and energy for other loftier goals.

I suppose I’m one of the ‘lucky ones’ because to a degree I’m living my dream. I make my living as a freelance writer and when I’m not doing that I work on my mystery series. So I’m living the charmed life, right? Not so much. I still have to pay rent, pay bills, pay for taxes, healthcare – the same costs you have. And when unexpected costs arise those have to be covered too.

And then life happened – again

For example, a couple of weeks ago my car started leaking oil. Was it is just a minor irritation that was easy and inexpensive to fix? Nope. It was a seal or two or maybe three. And apparently that’s a big deal because they need to drop the engine and do major surgery. So…the money I’d carefully set aside for piddly things like editing and cover design got reassigned. Sigh. Back to the drawing board and time to get more work in the door. And so it goes.

In an earlier time I might’ve just stuck my head in the oven and wailed. I might’ve thrown up my hands and proclaimed it was just too hard. That no matter what I did, it was always one step forward and two steps back. Then given up. Because, you know – I’m one of those temperamental and over-dramatizing creatives.

This time I decided to forego that particular dramatization and just shrug, pull the money together and keep focusing on the goal. And interestingly enough I only felt bad for a few hours, instead of the usual two weeks of woe and worry. And that felt kind of great in a way. I didn’t let life victimize me. I just gave it a, ‘Meh,’ and kept going.

If you focus it will come

A little over a year ago, I came up with an idea for a mystery series and decided to go for it. Initially I was only going to write the first book, publish it, and take it from there. But somewhere during the process I decided I might as well write all the books in the series and publish them in rapid succession. I knew exactly what the next two books were about, so why wait? If readers liked the first book they’d want to read the second and the third, why not have them ready and available. Granted it was a lot to bite off and chew and there have been times when I’ve called myself names for going this route. But something kind of magical happened during the process (and continues to happen because the process is still ongoing) I became fully committed to the project. I simply decided that my priority was the series and that everything else would have to support it, rather than the other way around. No matter what, I was going for it and wouldn’t let anything stop me.

Kind of amazing what a decision like that can bring about. Instead of making things more difficult, suddenly things just sort of happened. Work appeared out of nowhere. A little networking enabled me to line up a cover designer and proofreader. Doors opened in the weirdest most unexpected ways. Go figure. All because I finally decided that this writing thing was my priority. Duh, took long enough, eh?

But it’s not a piece of cake

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not easy. Given my particular goal I have little time to socialize and generally sit at my computer 14-16 hours a day, every day, every week. I often forget to eat and sometimes don’t manage to get out of my pajamas. My friends have sent out search parties looking for me. But I’m happy. I’m doing what I was meant to do. I’m being who I am. Sounds simple but you’d be amazed at how hard those two little things can be to accomplish. And in this crazy journey I’ve learned a few things:

  • You must analyze what went right as well as what went wrong. Otherwise you’ll never get anywhere.
  • Will your heart always be in it? Hello no. But do it anyway.
  • Sometimes the dark places are where we find our best work.
  • Giving up is not an option.
  • Life is a bully – it can beat you down. It won’t stop just because you surrendered. On the contrary, now it knows you’re a willing victim and it will really let loose.
  • Creating anything beautiful in this world is hard as hell and downright dangerous.
  • Having an original thought and uttering it is also dangerous.
  • Everybody’s a critic – accept that and move on.
  • Some people will love your work, others will hate it. Accept it and move on.
  • Baby steps.

Art is hard but what else do you have to do?

Speaking your mind and saying (or painting, or drawing, or singing, or dancing) what you really think? Blasphemy. But do it anyway. Because you’re an artist. Because you’re an innovator. Because you’re an entrepreneur. Unlike most ordinary humans, you create stuff. Usually out of thin air. That’s your superpower, so use it baby. Revel in that. Understand that. Be that.
Stay committed and the rest will follow.

What discourages you about being a creative? How have you handled it? Share your thoughts and experiences with the rest of us.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015