writing updates collageTHOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS

DUDE, The Given is back in Amazon’s top 100 Free list (for New Adult & College) AGAIN! This time it’s rocking out at #74, and I’m feeling pretty darned good about it, not gonna lie. Check it out here and see for yourself!

And YES, I’ve been gone here another three weeks, so now I’m back with a big Bertha update! Yup, I did warn you that I probably couldn’t be on here every week from here on in, and it seems I predicted right! Here’s how things’ve been shakin’ out for the past three weeks.

THOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS: Week #37 (9/5/16 – 9/11/16)

Not much to say here. It was pretty much business as usual! Just chugging along, trying to keep up with grad school, teaching / grading, my creative projects, my dramaturgical project for this year, and other professional obligations and opportunities!

THOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS: Week #38 (9/12/16 – 9/18/16)

Again, this was also a pretty “uneventful” week, and I use that loosely. Chock-full of grading, mommying, and grad schooling, but it was pretty calm and everything was relatively under control.

My one major discovery was that my M.O., which is to treat grad school like a 9-5 job, is working out EXTREMELY well. I do have to do work at home on occasion (I consider this overtime, lol), but for the most part, this separation between work and home really helps my mental, emotional, and physical health. It is not a separation or gap that I’d choose to close, like, ever.

THOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS: Week #39 (9/19/16 – 9/25/16)

Lol, boy. Week #5 of school, and this is the week where things start to unravel. At this point, I’ve been chugging along pretty consistently, but with massive overload, a rambunctious toddler, and no real break, wellll… things went off the rails a bit. Not only was I exhausted, but the little one was also sick. So I had to do a lot of shifting around in order to take care of her and my work and myself.

Needless to say, I was only slightly successful as I fell behind for two straight days on work. Which basically is equivalent to falling behind on an entire week of grad school, imo. This week was just a hot ass mess, but I made it through!

I do need to get on that babysitter swag, though.

Aside from this, I did come to an important realization about myself, and that is that I have my priorities fixed pretty firmly in my life. And I’m happy exactly where they are. For me, the number one priority is my daughter, her health, and her safety. Grad school and everything else can just wait, lol.

Ah well! Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep pace next week. I have a fat stack of over 150 mini essays and quizzes to grade, plays to critique and develop, theory to read, a blocking assignment due for theatre management, and a journal presentation due. We shall see what happens! (Though I have high hopes.)

THOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS: Week #40 (10/3/16 – 10/9/16)

Week #6! This was basically about me getting BACK on my feet after the kid’s sickness and my subsequent exhaustion. I was still warming up my engines for full throttle, but I’m back on my flow. I’ve also restructured my schedule and am actively trying to get more sleep, which did me WONDERS.

But most importantly? This past weekend was all about meeeee. Literally. From Friday at 5 PM to Sunday at 6 PM, I was literally chillin’ like a villain. Got a lot of creative work and relaxing done, and ended my week on a high note due to the sweet sight of The Given being BACK in Amazon’s top 100 for New Adult & College fiction!!

BOOM! YESS!!! Perseverance, yo. And sometimes, you really just need to take some time for yourself.

ANYWAYS, yes, lots of stuff going on. But this post is getting long so FINALLY here’s the:

LAST 4 WEEKS’ HAUL (9/5/16 – 9/25/16)

What I wrote these past 4 weeks:

  • worked on the plotting and writing of The Books of Ezekiel as a whole (particularly The Iron Maiden and Blood & Ink). Specifically, I FINISHED developing Micah Burke’s storyline in The Iron Maiden, which felt like a major accomplishment. I’m still working my way through Acts IIB for Cotch and Johnny, and through the end of Acts IIB and III for Caleb, Cotch, and Johnny. Zeika’s ready and rearin’ to go, lol. Lots of words written and lots of story developed for The Iron Maiden and Blood & Ink. I’m really trying my best to stay on top of this massive project!
  • wrote over 5,000 more words (approx) for The Books of Ezekiel
  • also wrote a bit of a fairytale retelling series that I’m debuting next year: The Hitmen of Happily Ever After!
  • wrote FOUR one-minute, three-minute, and five-minute scripts for the Dreamer135 Project: Like a Dalí, Pass, Escape, and Legacy
  • wrote and published three new blog posts for The Bohemian Badass

What I read / watched / listened to these past 4 weeks: The third season of the Blacklist just came out on Netflix, so I’ve been literally eating that alive, lol! It’s one of my favorite shows! I also started / continued reading Divergent. I wish I were more drawn into it than I am, but it’s entertaining enough to continue one with at the moment.

And more recently? LUKE CAGE, SON!!! Literally, he is the man of my dreams. But so is Cottonmouth. I guess that says a lot about me, lol!

What I researched / developed these past 4 weeks: Ah yes, when a girl does not bother to update her blog for over a month, quite a bit gets done! I’ve been working like a mad woman on the edges and fringes of each day to bring my projects and creative training to fruition. In this past month, I:

  • commissioned and received the remaining four covers of the second season of The Books of Ezekiel series! And boy are they looking HOT as hell!! Super excited, y’all! I’ll be doing cover reveals as a part of my marketing campaign.
  • drafted blurbs for the next four Books of Ezekiel novels. The blurbs suck at the moment, but each provides a great jumping off point for the future drafts I’ll have to write.
  • FINALLY set up all the up and coming BOE books for pre-order through Draft2Digital and Smashwords! It looks and feels so cool to have 7 novels under my name, and I can’t wait to start delivering them to readers.
  • commissioned covers for the next series on my release schedule: The Hitmen of Happily Ever After! I’m really psyched about this series because it’s a fairy tale retelling that you’ve never seen before! Basically it’s fairy tales meets crime noir. Like, happily ever after folks mixed with Sam Spade and Sin City. We got mafia dwarves and turf wars and Brooklyn has become Booklyn, y’all. I’m SO excited, and I can’t wait to introduce you to this world in Jan 2017!
  • actually FINISHED my creative cork boards for my campus office and for my home office (which is basically my bedroom with a desk, lol!
  • used the cork board to do some righteous worldbuilding for The Books of Ezekiel series, The Hitmen of Happily Ever After series, the Undaunted series, The Godsman series, and the ForNever Files series
  • mindmapped themes and topics for a trilogy that’s been niggling at me, called the SENTIENT trilogy
  • developed MOST of Act I for the first book in the Undaunted series, and did some character development as well!
  • increased my skills in stage management and added more elements to my sample production book, including a prop list, production schedule, a ground plan
  • started building an in-depth science-fiction and fantasy Worldbuilding course for The Bohemian Badass
  • updated the website for my secret erotic / paranormal fiction pen name. I’ll be ready to start a saucy, sassy blog there in a couple months, though I’m still struggling with what to say, how to say it, and how to brand myself. This identity is still very much under construction!
  • created two “Plot Like a Badass” Scrivener and MS Word templates (only available at The Bohemian Badass) that help me plot my novels. These templates are SO useful, and I’m definitely going to add them to my “Plot Like a Badass” course that I’m putting together. I may also offer these templates as opt-in downloads for others who need help plotting!
  • started developing MY MASTERS’ THESIS! Which was ingeniously brainstormed by a fellow colleague of mine (who is awesome and badass to the max), because they saw two interests that I had and brought them together, like, right before my eyes! I’m so amped about this project! Anyways, ready for it? Ok: I’m going to dramaturg Shakespeare’s Macbeth into a modern, noir, pulp, graphic novel!! Like Sin City meets Shakespeare… and it’s gonna be fucking awesome! I might even make this a series, where I do this for most of his works! Anyways, I’m going to use my final papers in my classes to explore this topic in more depth so that I can get a head start on this project and really make it rock ass!! This project really feels right to me, and I’m so grateful for my amazing colleague who literally saw my interests from an objective perspective and pretty much handed me the project. This is a franchise in the making for sure!
  • started working on my dramaturgy production project for next semester. I’m a little early on this, but I know I’m going to need all the time I can get to work on this theatre production that’s coming up. It’s a really cool production, and I’m in the midst of reading the script and touching base with the director. Very proud to finally call myself a dramaturg, and I can’t wait to jump in feet first!
  • finally did some housekeeping, which included updating my CV with all my current creative projects, service projects, and dramaturgical endeavors, updating my 3-year creative plan (and I’m right on schedule, which is exciting!), and just general housekeeping and adulting stuff that’s important to my creative career.

What I learned these past 4 weeks: I actually made time for two pretty in-depth and awesome courses (outside of grad school) these past three weeks!

  • LIVE Assistant Director Training w/ Charles Huston: this was a free, all-day training offered on-campus by the Film, TV, and Theatre department here at U of A (which is amazing) by a really seasoned Assistant Director. This badass training allowed me to get an in-depth look at how to assistant direct a film! It was amazing, because not only did we get lots of templates, handouts, and in-person demos, but our teacher Huston gave us a LOT of wisdom and gems that it took him decades to learn. Even simple things, such as how to stagger-schedule and direct extras on a set were such nuggets of info. I came away from the training having learned a LOT; I’d typed ten pages of notes, literally. Being an AD looks challenging and hard as hell, but realistically, I’m going to be working on my own small to medium budget films, and I’ll more than likely have to do a LOT of the tasks an AD would.
  • Film Editing Pro Series: this was a three-video mini course designed to teach us some very basic tips and tricks to use in the editing room. I got SO much value out of the course, though, like notes upon notes, that I immediately ended up buying their full course (The Art of Action Editing)!

I also ended up purchasing TWO additional courses (and acquiring one free one) that I will be adding to my personalized 2017 Summer Filmmaking Institute:

  • Filmmaking Hacks: Secrets to Shoot and Market Your Indie Film: a nuts-and-bolts filmmaking course from the Indie Film Hustle Podcast guy, Alex Ferrari. He was giving a discount for all the loyal IF hustlers out there, so I got his filmmaking course for just $12! And the dude does not disappoint. He gives you a really great blueprint for making your film, from development all the way to post production!
  • Skript2Skreen: this website and free course was recommended to me by a great friend of mine who saw it being advertised on No Film School. The site owners are still developing and uploading a lot of their materials, but so far, this site looks really jam-packed with actionable info about making films. They approach the process in five parts: development, pre-production, production, post-production, and marketing. They also have a really PHAT resources page! Right now, only the development and resources portions are accessible, but it’s more than enough to keep you busy until they finish working on the rest of the site!
  • The Art of Action Editing: yet another course from the Film Editing Pro guys! After having taken their mini-course version, I was chomping at the bit for their fully-fledged course. This course teaches you how to edit pretty much on any software platform, and they teach you how to edit in the genre I love and want to direct in: ACTION. Guys: I’ve already looked at the course, and it does NOT disappoint. I cannot WAIT until my holiday / summer breaks roll around wherein I can dive SUPER deeply into this one!!

THIS WEEK’S HUSTLE (10/3/16 – 10/9/16)

What I’m writing: working on The Iron Maiden, both plot AND actual word count. Still moving forward, one step at a time, especially now that I’m getting the other four covers back for the remainder of this arc of the series!!! I’m also trying out a staggered 5,000 words a day plan, wherein I work on four different writing projects at once with the following breakdown: 

  1. Project #1: The Iron Maiden – 2000 words a day
  2. Project #2: Asylum – 1500 words a day
  3. Project #3: Forgotten – 1000 words a day
  4. Project #4: Red n’ Dead – 500 words a day
  5. Project #5: A 1, 3, or 5 minute script per week

Real talk: I have trouble focusing on one project, as my inner editor and butterfly-nature both always catch up to me to ruin my fun. I have to hop from one thing to another in order to satiate (or evade) both.

My mind is also always working on multiple things at once and needs to be able to switch gears from one project to another. SO, I came up with this new plan.

I want to see if this will actually work with regard to getting me to write 5,000 words per day. Can’t make any promises, but I’ll give it a shot! I’ll probably sit down to 500-word sprints at first and then build up from there. This is all a little ambitious, I know, but I’m still trying to develop a process that both ups my word count, keeps me writing consistently on the same projects every day, but that also works for me as a cray-cray creative. We’ll see what happens.

In other news? I’m also getting ready for NaNoWriMo 2016!! So amped! And the novel I’ll be aiming to make progress on is the first novel in “The Hitmen of Happily Ever After Series”: Rose n’ John Does. Literally CAN. NOT. WAIT.

What I’m reading / watching / listening to: Still reading the Divergent trilogy; after wading through some semi-filler in the first book, it’s finally getting good, so that’s pretty awesome. Probably also reading more plays, if I’m going to be really honest. I should also add some scripts in there, but a girl can only do so much!

Podcasts: Honestly, I also listen to BUNCH of podcasts now, so I literally toggle between them whenever I’m walking or doing mindless housework. I’ve added the Indie Film Hustle podcast, the Cinematography podcast, and the Film Thrive podcast to my playlist recently, and so far, I’ve not been disappointed. I’m pretty much becoming a podcast junkie. I should delve back into the On the Page and the Children of Tendu podcasts as well; they’re both amazing shows.

TV / Film: I really need to finish out certain shows (like House of Cards and OITNB), and just sit down and have a movie / tv binge night, but wow. It’s so hard to find time. There’s so much good TV and so many great films out there! How do you eat an elephant, though? One bite at a time.

What I’m researching / developing: I’ve finally gotten my “topic research list” straight for my novel series, so I’m focusing on knocking out those topics with tons of books. To be clearer, I need to do more research on folklore, legends, police procedurals, dreams, the brain and neuroscience, and WAY more. So all that research will be starting very soon! 

I’m also getting more acquainted with database software so that I can start creating comprehensive and accessible databases for all the information I’m collecting!

What I’m learning: I’m still deep in my studies of theatre, performance, and dramaturgy, PLUS I have some school- and pro-related opportunities coming my way soon. So all of that is taking over my life right now. Still, we’ll see if I can’t sneak another creative course in there on the side! If not, there’s always the winter holiday break, spring break, and summer (all of which I’m VERY much looking forward to)!

PHEEEWWW! That was a lot. I talk (write) a lot, lol. But whatevs, I have a lot to say! 😉 What about you? What kind of moves are you making? Drop your comments and experiences below!

Writing on, rocking on, and forever journeying towards creative badassery,
<3 Colby

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