DUDE, The Given is back in Amazon’s top 100 Free list (for New Adult & College) ONE MO’ ‘GAIN! This time it’s rocking out at #99, and I’m STILL feeling pretty darned good about it. Dancin’, dancin’, DANCIN’!
So yeah. Lol. This semester has literally DRAGGED me away from the blog kicking and screaming. It’s actually dragged me away from a lot of things kicking and screaming. Many things have been happening, both good and bad, constructive and destructive, in all areas of life. Still, I know that this is all the fire that will forge me into the person, creative, and professional that I need to be.
More below in Thoughts, Ramblings, Whatevs! But let’s get one MAJORLY OBVIOUS THING out of the way:
It’s NaNoWriMo 2016, y’all!
So get your butts in gear and get that novel banged out. No matter how crappy the first draft might be, you can always craft it into the work you want it to be.
So write on, rock on!
THOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS: Weeks #41-44 (10/3/16 – 10/30/16)
I’m not going to lie: October was a struggle. As I sank deeper into my graduate program, I struggled constantly with life-work balance, health (because the little one brings everything home from daycare), and the stress of not getting SUCKED into academia such that my art, and my time to make art, disappeared.
But unfortunately, that’s exactly what started to happen.
So I’ve had to take a step back, stop drinking the academic kool-aid, and reevaluate my priorities. What do I actually want creatively, and how can I go about getting it? How can I make progress towards my degree and fulfill the requirements, but also make room for my art and for growing my business in a physically sustainable way? (Because cutting down on sleep and not showering are not options for me.)
These were all questions I had to start asking myself as the academic agenda of the program began to swallow my life a bit. I had to remind myself that while the workload was heavy and academic perspectives are certainly important, I AM AN ARTIST first and foremost. I had to look in the mirror and remind myself that:
- I possess a creative project slate with over 65 IPs and creative ideas for novels, prose, film, TV, and scripts, and another non-fiction creative project slate with over 100 IPs, courses, and book ideas for helping creatives to make a living with their art.
- I’m an urban fantasy, dystopian, and sci-fi thriller novelist.
- I’m a game writer and game designer.
- I’m a director, film producer, and filmmaker.
- I’m a blogger, course designer, writing coach, and creative entrepreneur.
- I want to build a foundation that will help women and single moms make full-time livings as creatives and artists.
- I am building a five-corner creative f’empire, Rebel Ragdoll, that encapsulates these five areas of deep creative interest and passion life.
- I am building quantifiable creative skills in filmmaking, editing, VFX and CGI artistry, novel writing, screenwriting, and more that will help me to become a creative who may not be able to do it all, but who can do most of it.
I. Am. An. Artist.
These are things I’ve had to remind myself of as my blogging for The Bohemian Badass got behind schedule, as my novel writing fell to the wayside, as my screenplays and filmmaking ideas started to collect dust, as my new podcast still waits to be launched, and as I got dragged further and further away from why I came here in the first place.
I had to literally STOP, kick academia in the face, and say: “Enough is enough. Get the fuck off me. You’re are not ON the way, you are IN the way.”
So I’m currently renegotiating my time, energy, effort, and focus. I am reprioritizing and reviewing the 3-year creative plan that I wrote for myself earlier in the year before I got here. And omg, I am SO glad I did that! It’s totally helping to keep me focused and on track! I’m actually still on schedule to an extent, but it’s time to cut the academic anchor loose and find a way that it can support and propel my artistry forward, rather than stand in its way (as it’s currently doing).
As we close in on the end of the year, I’ve been forced to take a long look behind me: at all the challenges, trials, tribulations, successes, failures, and at my personal and creative journey as a whole. I have strong feelings and signs of progress, and that’s great.
Still, I yearn for more.
I want to leave the year not just with more knowledge and experience, but also with massive deliverables under my belt amongst the smaller ones. I want accomplishments I can hold, treasure, distribute, and monetize, if that makes sense.
I also want to be exactly where I want to be career-wise, money-wise, family-wise by the end of 2019, so all my thoughts are focused on creation, execution, and staying on task.
So I guess that’s my mantra for the end of the year and for 2017: get back to my production schedule, create high-quality novels, scripts, and films, nurture and grow The Bohemian Badass, and start making the Rebel Ragdoll f’empire the badass creative house it’s meant to be.
Move over, academia. Colby the Artist is BACK.
“Always forward. Forward. Always.”
— Luke Cage in Marvel’s Luke Cage
ANYWAYS, yes, lots of stuff going on. Reclamation, and such. But as usualy, this post is getting long so FINALLY here’s the:
LAST 4 WEEKS’ HAUL (10/3/16 – 10/30/16)
What I wrote these past 4 weeks:
I honestly got so lost in the ether that I didn’t keep track of my word count. BUT I did work on The Iron Maiden (Books of Ezekiel #3) and Rose n’ John Does (The Hitmen of Happily Ever After #1).
What I read / watched / listened to these past 4 weeks:
I’ve been staying up on my usual podcasts, but one that has really risen to the top for me is the Indie Film Hustle Podcast with Alex Ferrari. All he does is produce knowledge and content on an insane level, and I’m learning SO much from him and his guests!
- Check out his website here: Indie Film Hustle Website & Blog
- Subscribe to his podcast here: Indie Film Hustle Podcast
I finished The Blacklist (Season 3), Luke Cage (Season 1), and am in the middle of both Jessica Jones (Season 1) and Daredevil (Season 1). I’m LOVING all the Marvel series right now. They are so well done, and they integrate the factual and sociological aspects of the Marvel Universe seamlessly. But what I love and what I find masterful is that while each series is a part of a larger universe, each manages to maintain its own signature brand, style, and palette. The characters are all unique in their histories, struggles, and cultural contexts as well, which is a pretty incredible feat.
Luke Cage in PARTICULAR made me feel so damned Black and that felt so damned good, lol! I also loved its historical and cultural gravity, the beauty of Harlem (where I spent a lot of my childhood), and the all-Black cast (which I actually didn’t even notice until some angry racists net trolls pointed it out). But that was a GREAT series.
Of all of them, though, my fav Marvel series at the moment is Daredevil. Holy hell, is it good. There are still other series I need to finish, though, like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. There are other series airing right now I need to catch up on, like The Walking Dead, Scandal, The Blacklist (AGAIN), and How to Get Away with Murder. And there are other series I need to start like Mr. Robot, Orphan Black, The Americans, Homeland, The Get Down, Atlanta, Queen Sugar, Queen of the South, Fear the Walking Dead, and Shameless (I saw the pilot and LOVED it).
There’s honestly so much good television out right now (and movies), that it’s impossible to keep up with, but I’m trying, lol! As for reading, I’m literally in the midst of reading six books right now:
- The Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn
- Mugging the Muse by Holly Lisle (this is my second time reading it, but it’s changed significantly)
- Author Indie Survival Guide by Susan Kaye Quinn
- Divergent by Veronica Roth
- New Play Development by Lenore Inez Brown
- Police Procedure and Investigation: A Guide for Writers by Lee Lofland
Trying to finish these before the year is out, but we’ll see what happens!
What I’ve developed the past 4 weeks:
I guess despite my displeasure at having most of my time co-opted by academia, I was still on my hustle and flow. Getting it in, where it can fit in, I suppose, lol. So, yeah, I did quite a few awesome things in October, like:
- Art directed and received the first two covers of the new fairy tale retelling series I’m working on: The Hitmen of Happily Ever After. I told you last month that I’d started the commission, but they are now FINISHED. (For the first two books, at least.) The covers and the branding? Fucking AMAZING.
- Like I said last month, the series is basically fairy tales meets crime noir action. Like, happily ever after folks mixed with Sam Spade and Sin City. The first book will be out on February 14, 2017, exclusive to Amazon, so stay tuned!
- Finished my sample production book that I was working on! Of all my classes, I’m taking one that is actively putting “deliverable” portfolio stuff in my hands. It’s called Theatre Management, and it’s divided into two parts: Stage Management and Arts Administration. We finished the Stage Management portion, and I got a full-on production book out of it for my portfolio! The final book included a ground plan, a calling book, a blocking book, a prop list, a production calendar, and lots of templates like daily schedules, info sheets, and more. It was challenging, but I feel really happy about the end results. 🙂
- Finished the first full (BETA) draft of my writing course: Writers UnBlocked: The Pre-Writing Edition! I’ve been working on the Writers’ Unblocked series since mid-July, and once grad school got crankin’, the Pre-Writing Edition of WU got lost in the fray. But I’m SUPER stoked to announce that I’ve officially finished it! I’ve got the worksheets, the graphics, the lesson plans, and everything else, so now it’s time to fine-tune the work, create the powerpoints, record the modules, and then set up the email course. So that’s something I’d love to have finished by the end of the year.
- Changed my Masters Thesis idea into a separate creative project. Last month, I told you guys that my Masters’ Thesis was going to be a graphic novel. I was going to turn Shakespeare’s Macbeth into a modern, noir, pulp (graphic) novel, like Sin City meets Shakespeare. Well, I’m STILL doing that, and yes, I WILL be doing this for all Shakespeare’s works. However, I’ve decided to do this OUTSIDE the auspices of graduate school. I haven’t named the project quite yet, but it’s definitely on my project slate.
- The reason I decided to nix this as a Masters’ Thesis is because the requirements of my graduate program were turning this AMAZING project into something that felt dry, academic, and isolating. I needed to provide theoretical justifications for the work, and I just could NOT. Lol. Y’all know how we writers are, and I’m sorry, but I need my art to just be, and I need it to feel good and be high-quality. As I see it, the only way to do that is to divorce it from academia.
- So! INSTEAD, what I’m going to do is make sure I take the appropriate classes in grad school and get the relevant training that I need in order to do adaptations well. Then I will apply those skills to my Shakespeare-Noir project! Still VERY excited about this, though.
- Chose and starting developing a NEW Masters’ Thesis project: the 2019 Collaborative Festival! Basically, my close compadre and I were getting fed up with academia, and we decided that if we didn’t do something artistic, we were going to lose our minds, lol! I had originally planned to do a small sci-fi play festival, and when I was telling her about it, she invited herself onto our project, and it got a bit bigger. A few conversations later, our team is four badasses strong, and we’re basically putting on a hybrid theatre, film, and TV pilot festival with an Institute component for training non-theatremakers and non-filmmakers from the community. It’s really going to be an amazing project, and I’m SO friggin’ excited that I get to work on it, with my compadres, for my thesis!
- Got a little deeper into my dramaturgical production project and the ball is officially rolling! So the production I’m working on doesn’t debut until next semester, but before then, there is much work to be done! I just had my first few meetings, and there are already a lot of things I have to handle as a dramaturg. It feels very exciting to be a part of this process and to actually be making art in this way. 🙂
- Producing my first movie since 2013! And it feels SO DAMNED GOOD. The movie is a film short called “Home”, written and directed by my main compadre (the same one I’m producing the festival with). And I get to produce it, which is awesome. We’re now in the stages of breaking down the script and hunting down equipment, and principal photography will start mid-December. Yay!
What I learned these past 4 weeks:
It’s been a grad school learning hustle this October, but I DID manage to sneak in some cool classes on the side (because I’m a nerd who eats classes for breakfast):
- 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. I dove into it this month. While I liked it, I have mixed reviews. It was AWESOME seeing a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff and interviews that delved into the moviemaking process of both Alex and his kick ass team. I certainly learned a lot by going along with his journey. Still, I was looking for more of a “how to”, nuts-and-bolts journey, and that was definitely missing from the course. In that capacity, I was disappointed. Still, the info I gleaned was valuable and I feel satisfied with the fact that I only paid $12 for the course!
- Creating a Terrifying Horror Script Masterclass: this class was downright fucking incredible and helped me to see horror from an analytical standpoint. I was honestly just blown away; so much so that I made room in my budget for and then bought the full course from Screenwriting U, which I’m enjoying IMMENSELY. Unfortunately, I don’t have a link to the masterclass for you guys, but I DO have the link to buy the full course. Get it while you can; you won’t be disappointed. 🙂
THIS MONTH’S HUSTLE (10/31/16 – 12/4/16)
What I’m doing in grad school
Basically, giving this semester the goodbye salute. I’m going to try to knock out all my huge projects in the next three weeks, so that by November 21st, I’m 85% free to work on my art. So all the final papers and everything’s gonna get nuked over the next 21 days. Wish me luck!
What I’m writing
Of course, I’m all IN for NaNoWriMo 2016!! ALL MONTH! So amped!
And the novel I’m working on is the first novel in “The Hitmen of Happily Ever After Series”: Rose n’ John Does. I’m also going through and adding meat onto the bones of The Iron Maiden. Every day, I’m trying to make deliberate progress, and I’ll let you know how I did at the end of the month!
In the meantime, though, feel free to buddy me or follow my progress in the side bar on this blog!
What I’m reading / watching / listening to:
Honestly, I’m not sure. For delicious Netflixing, I tend to go with my gut and desire to finish things, so I’ll probably be finishing out a bunch of TV series I started (many of which I listed above).
For reading, more than likely, I’m going to try to finish reading The Successful Author Mindset, New Play Development, and Mugging the Muse.
I’ll be tuning into my usual podcasts and also trying desperately to keep up with the Indie Film Hustle Podcast, which posts an episode literally every 2-3 days, lol. I think I’m also going to try to crack the On the Page podcast back open at some point, because it’s also an AMAZING podcast that I’ve fallen WAY behind on.
What I’m researching and developing:
That research database idea I pitched last month? Well, I tested it, and I realized that there is quite a learning curve for the software I have. So I’ve shelved that database for the moment and have reverted back to using Scrivener as a storage database for all my research materials.
Aside from this one insight, I have NO IDEA what I’ll be researching or developing this month, if anything. I’ll probably get a lot deeper into this Horror Screenwriting class from Screenwriters U, as I can use it for my current scripts and for another novel series that I’m developing right behind BOE and HOHEA.
As for planning? R&D usually tends to sneak up on me. But y’all already knew that, lol. I’ll report on R&D next month for sure!
What I’m learning (outside of grad school):
Not so sure about this either, but at current, this is what my creative course schedule looks like:
- Genre Summit: an online summit that is focusing on Horror Filmmaking. It’s been solid thus far. I’ve found some real gems in the advice of the panelists.
- Creating a Terrifying Horror Script (FULL CLASS): As I mentioned above, the masterclass was amazing, so now I’m doing the full on course.
- Indie Author Fringe 2016: I LOVE this online event, and it’s a shame that this is the last year that ALLi is going to do it. But I’m excited to dive in! Tons of successful independent authors in both fiction and non-fiction dish out their secrets to success and self-sustainability as indie novelists, authors, course creators, and speakers. I draw so much knowledge from this event and from its speakers that this is a must attend. The best part, though, is that you can listen to each panel and masterclass as though it’s a podcast, which is awesome. So this will be easy to attend this month. Super amped!
I have a couple other classes that I have my eye on, but honestly and realistically, these are probably the only two classes I’ll really have time for alongside grad school and the 3-week blitz. Not bad, though, imo! I’m excited to make progress forward, no matter how long it takes!
ZZOOOOMGGG! I really wish I had more time to post more often, because these monster posts are kinda killing me, lol! Anyways, that was my month? How was yours? 🙂 Write any awesome horror this month for Halloween? Having similar struggles with making art? Drop your comments and insight below!
Writing on, rocking on, and forever journeying towards creative badassery,