Where To Go Get You Some Inspiration

Inspiration is one of those nebulous forces that many novice writers think is innate. If they don’t have it, they can’t write. That’s their excuse and they’re sticking to it. Anyone who has been at it for a lot longer will tell you: inspiration isn’t always something you’re given, sometimes you have to work for it. So, many writers have their “go-to” sources of inspiration. Here are some that might work for you as well as they work for some others.


Read, read, and read some more

A common issue with newer writers is that they know too well the genre they want to write in. Knowing what you want to write isn’t bad, of course, but sticking exclusively to that genre in your reading is. Vary your reading. If you’re writing a fantasy novel, read history, read romance novels, read thrillers, read classic literature. Otherwise, it’s all easy to ape other authors in the genre you want to be in. While homage and genre conventions aren’t bad, being more well-rounded in your reading can help you gather inspiration for ideas new to the genre, too.

Image by chloestrong


People-watching

When it comes to creating and writing people, then there’s no better inspiration than people themselves. You will often find yourself basing character traits on those you recognize from people around you. But people-watching as highlighted by https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201504/the-experts-guide-people-watching can help you pick on behaviors, quirks, expressions, and other factors that can end up sprouting a whole character in your head or help you better characterize one that needs a little more definition.

Image by Free-Photos


Out in the wild

If you’re writing stories that take place out in the wild, then having a deep sense of what it’s actually like out there is incredibly important. If you want to write a forest well, you need to see it, smell it, breathe it in, and feel it under your feet. A little solitude and a new environment is great for thinking away from your comfort zone, but even better is when you’re not so passive about it. When you’re at the beach, check out https://themarinebattery.com/top-10-isup/, grab a board and get out on the waves. When you’re in the woods or at your nearest mountainside, get on your hiking boots and get walking. Exercise is another great way to get your head ticking in another direction on its own, but in the outdoors, it also helps you get more in touch with the sensation of your environment.

Image by Free-Photos


Outside your wheelhouse

There is plenty of art inspired by other art. Plenty of writers use music to set scenes or grow scenes in their head. Pieces of visual art can be the starting point for a whole narrative. Explore art outside your own pursuits.

Image by TBIT


Talk about it

Finally, don’t neglect to talk to other writers and share their work when you can. You’re going to see narrative devices they use that could inspire some creativity of your own, or you’re going to read scenes that have you thinking “but what if it went this way?” Use https://nybookeditors.com/2015/11/11-top-writing-communities-you-should-join-and-why/ to find some great online writing communities, and get involved in the conversation.

You might find yourself getting inspiration from somewhere completely different than the examples named above. Great, that’s perfect. Just take note of it so you know a source you can tap into in future.

Image by 777546

Creative Goals for 2018!


BRUH! IT’S 2018!
YAAAAASSS!!

So obviously, because my 2017 was a pretty incredible year for me and Rebel Ragdoll, my goals are on fleek for this year. Yes, I’ve traded my small goal list for a massive one, but hear me out!

(But wait, before we get into my new year wish list, if you haven’t checked out my creative achievements for 2017, now’s the time to do it: CREATIVE ACHIEVEMENTS 2017, FTW!)

So now that you’ve gotten one last look at 2017, let’s move forward, shall we? Onward and upward!


2018:

YEAR OF THE DIRECTOR
YEAR OF SCREENWRITER
YEAR OF SHADOW-DEVELOPMENT


THE PREAMBLE, BITCHES!

Yes, you read that absolutely right! This year is actually going to be a year of hardcore behind the scenes development where my writing, world-building, and novels are concerned. I’m also going to focus my creative/professional development more on screenwriting and filmmaking than anything else, which means that I plan on FINISHING (yes, finishing) the Screenwriting & TV Writing tracks I created for my Personal Creative Uni. As my graduate school work load becomes lighter as of May 2018, I’ll be able to dedicate WAY more time to my own personal / creative development + my businesses.

SUMMARY of 2018 Goals & Plans

I realized that I needed to revamp my way of writing and publishing so that I can serve my audience way better, and for me, the best way to do that is to write a bunch of novels ahead of time, polish them, and then just release them in rapid succession in 2019. (I call this shadow-writing.) So that’s what’s happening on front street this year: finishing Hollow Point and releasing two smaller novellas. On back street, I will work on everything else behind the scenes, both in a writing capacity and in a research / worldbuilding capacity. If we get lucky, we might even see the release of THE HAUNT (book #4 in The Books of Ezekiel series) on front street this year, but I’m not making any hard promises.

More on front street: aside from those three smaller publishing projects, I’m going to focus on honing my screenwriting skills, my filmmaking skills, and on running and evolving the current operating companies of Rebel Ragdoll. I’m scaling back on the shotgun reader recruitment approach. Instead, I am focusing more on specific and focused marketing endeavors: mainly my upcoming co-author novel collaboration, the 24-author box set run for the USA Today bestseller list, and of course, scaling up the author promos going on at New Adult Noir(e).

On the reader side, I want to focus less on volume and more on the quality and integrity of my relationship with my readers. Scaling back my shotgun reader recruitment approach (though effective) is a part of that endeavor. This year, I’ll be hosting more intimate giveaways around my own books, worlds, and products that will really start to build a real community around my work. I’ll also be loving hardcore on my Facebook Fan group that I just revamped: OFFWORLD.

With regard to the fiscal and creative growth of my actual businesses, the start of new endeavors, renewed focus, and brand-building around New Adult Noir(e), The Bohemian Badass,  and The Blackheart Boulange will be the biggest challenges to my time and energy this semester. Luckily, though, I already have protocols and systems in place for NA Noir(e), and The Blackheart Boulange will literally be in shadow development until the end of June. Also, while I’m not officially opening the legal non-profit portion of The Dollhouse this year, I will be creating streamable, short-form video content for single mothers on a regular basis. No major pressures here, except to host a few Facebook/Instagram streams per week.

Still, my biggest mistake last year was taking on the growth of Rebel Ragdoll alone. So THIS year, I’m hiring 3-5 virtual assistants to help me run my business on a project-by-project basis. I’ve already set up the Rebel Ragdoll Asana account, and I’m already in love with it. I’ve also started to create online workflows, systems, protocols, and trainings for the various things I need done for Rebel Ragdoll, so that my VAs will know exactly what to do for any project come mid-January.

Finally, I expect graduate school to lighten up SIGNIFICANTLY at the end of May 2018. I deliberately front-loaded my grad school load so that in Year 3 (starting summer of 2018), I only have four classes total to take, plus my Master’s comp (which will take place in December 2018). So I really expect the second half of 2018 to provide a lot of room and opportunity for me to focus on the growth of Rebel Ragdoll, the development and release of creative projects, brand growth, and on planning for what I believe will be the explosion of Rebel Ragdoll in 2019 (in a good way).

Anyways, that’s my executive summary of what I HOPE will be happening in 2018! Check out the sections below for WAAAY more detailed plans for each area of my creative, business, and personal growth in 2018. (If all goes according to plan, that is.)


And of course, I have a VIDEO version and a PODCAST version of this entire post, and you can check them both out here:

CEFJ #53, HAPPY NEW YEAR! + MY CREATIVE GOALS FOR 2018!


my 2018 goals! TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  • Marketing and Social Media Goals
  • Community-building Goals (w/ Readers)
  • Community-building Goals (w/ Authors)
  • Research, World-building, and Shadow-development Goals
  • Writing & Publishing Goals
  • Rebel Ragdoll Goals
  • Rebel Ragdoll Press Goals
  • Rebel Ragdoll Productions Goals
  • New Adult Noir(e) Goals
  • The Bohemian Badass Goals
  • The Blackheart Boulange Goals
  • Professional Development, Part I of II: Personal Creative University Goals
  • Professional Development, Part II of II: Graduate School Goals
  • Personal Goals


Marketing & SOCIAL MEDIA


  1. Optimize my current properties: update book back matter, turn all properties into paperbacks, submit free book lead magnet to all free e-book sites,  etc
  2. Build out the websites and blogs for current businesses and brands: Colby R. Rice, Rebel Ragdoll, Rebel Ragdoll Press, Rebel Ragdoll Productions, New Adult Noir(e), The Bohemian Badass, The Blackheart Boulange, The Blackheart Bakery, The Blackheart Boudoir
  3. Build out the social media outlets for both my author brands and my current businesses
  4. Start sharing content and keeping the social media accounts active and engaged
  5. Successfully execute a 100-review book launch for Hollow Point, as well as trickle down reviews for The Given and The Taken
  6. Work on and FINISH all my marketing funnels
  7. Three major (potential) marketing pushes:
    1. 4-author novel collaboration
    2. USA Today run
    3. Summer Digital Summit


Community-building GOALS (w/ READERS)


  1. Find out who my readers are and what they want from their experience on my list
  2. Develop an even closer, more intimate relationship with my reader base and developed a super fandom
  3. Build up and show mad love to my fan group OFFWORLD and to my Offworlders
  4. Offworld Overlord group*


Community-building GOALS (w/ AUTHORS)


  1. Continue to forge really awesome rships with authors through New Adult Noir(e) and other selective author collaborations


RESEARCH, WORLD-BUILDING, and SHADOW-DEVELOPMENT GOALS


  1. Research and work on the story bible of the ASYLUM trilogy
  2. Research and work on the story bible for THE RIGHT HAND series
  3. Research and work on the story bible for THE WORLD OF NEVER AFTER (includes The Hitmen of Happily Ever After series, The ForNever Files series, and the Godsman series)
  4. Research and work on the story bible for THE BOOKS OF EZEKIEL series
  5. Research and work on the story bible for THE FORGOTTEN trilogy
  6. Research and work on the story bible for the SENTIENT trilogy
  7. Research and work on the story bible for the BILLY N’ BLACK film series (the 6-film, crime noir / urban fantasy adaptation of Shakespeare’s Roman history tetralogy)
  8. Research and work on the story bible for the IMMORTAL TV series


WRITING, SHADOW-WRITING, AND PUBLISHING GOALS


Writing Goals

  1. Hit 1,000 words per day with my writing regimen

Shadow Writing Goals

  1. Shadow-write the manuscripts of the ASYLUM trilogy
  2. Shadow-write the manuscripts of The Hitmen of Happily Ever After series
  3. Shadow-write the manuscripts of The Books of Ezekiel series
  4. Shadow-write the manuscripts of The ForNever Files series
  5. Shadow-write the manuscripts of The Godsman series

Publishing Goals

  1. Polish and publish HOLLOW POINT (BOE #3)
  2. Polish and publish LOOSEY, GOOSEY (HOHEA #0)
  3. Polish and publish PEPLUM (ASYLUM #0)


REBEL RAGDOLL GOALS


  1. Write grants and raise money for Rebel Ragdoll
  2. Make all relevant business purchases
  3. Optimize Patreon page for Rebel Ragdoll
  4. Complete lead magnets for each subsidiary
  5. Hire and lead a team of virtual assistants to help manage the entire Rebel Ragdoll f’empire
  6. Continue to develop and plan for the five latent subsidiaries of Rebel Ragdoll: The Dollhouse Foundation, ChickRogue Studios, Doll Theatre, Subterranime, and Miscellany! by Rebel Ragdoll


REBEL RAGDOLL PRESS GOALS


Colby R. Rice Brand 

  1. Write, polish, and publish Hollow Point (BOE #3)
  2. Write, polish, and publish Loosey, Goosey (HOHEA #0)
  3. Write, polish, and publish Peplum (ASYLUM, #0)
  4. BONUS: Write, polish, and publish The Haunt (BOE #4)
  5. Continue podcasting for “The Epic, Fantastical Journey of a Black Female Sci-fi Writer” podcast
  6. Continue blogging for the Colby R. Rice brand (sporadically)

Secret Romance Pen Name Brand

  1. Continue shadow-developing the secret pen name brand, website, blog, podcast, social media outlets, project slate, and giveaway/promo outlet


REBEL RAGDOLL PRODUCTIONS GOALS


Outlining

  1. Finish season outline for EZEKIEL TV series (Season #1)
  2. Finish season outline for IMMORTAL TV series (Season #1)

Writing / Drafting

  1. Write, finish, and polish SANDMAN feature script
  2. Write, finish, and polish EZEKIEL pilot
  3. Write, finish, and polish IMMORTAL pilot
  4. STRETCH GOALS: Finish drafts for all 10 episodes for EZEKIEL TV series (Season #1)
  5. STRETCH GOALS: Finish drafts for all 13 episodes for IMMORTAL TV series (Season #1)

Film Production

  1. Finish pre-production for SANDMAN film
  2. Finish fundraising plan for SANDMAN film


NEW ADULT NOIR(E) GOALS


  1. Kick off New Year with customer satisfaction survey to see what current authors want re: services
  2. Continue to manage and evolve the NA NOIR(E), its current giveaways, and book blog
  3. Host our 11 Monthly Free Book promos
  4. Host our 6 Mega Giveaways
  5. Host 2 major audiobook giveaways


THE BOHEMIAN BADASS GOALS


  1. Overhaul and flesh out the website and blog for The Bohemian Badass
  2. Overhaul The Bohemian Badass School for Creatives

Weekly Blogs, Vlogs, and Podcasts

  1. Blog at least 1x a week at The Bohemian Badass
  2. Podcast at least 1x a week at The Bohemian Badass for “The B-Badass Podcast”
  3. Send 2-4 newsletters per month to our Creative Badass community

Creative Course Development

  1. Finish and release the “Metaphor Maven” brand, which includes:
    1. the signature course
    2. the masterclass
    3. the workbook
  2. Finish and release the “Plot like a Badass” brand, which includes:
    1. the signature course
    2. the masterclass
    3. the e-book
    4. the workbook
  3. Finish and release “Writers UnBlocked / Novel Kickstarter” brand, which includes,
    1. the free e-mail course
    2. the workbook
  4. Finish and release the “Breaking Badass” Challenge, which includes,
    1. the free e-mail course
    2. the workbook


THE BLACKHEART BOULANGE GOALS


  1. Draft and test 5 recipes for The Blackheart Bakery pastry/treat lines
  2. Draft and test 5 flavor brands for The Blackheart Boudoir skincare/hair care lines
  3. Open The Blackheart Boulange for test business on October 1, 2018!


The dollhouse foundation GOALS


  1. Create and publish short-form video content for The Dollhouse vlog and blog and podcast
  2. Create and grow The Dollhouse’s “Single Mom Creative” community via your FB group
  3. Support and love on single moms trying to hustle their ways to creative infamy!


PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, I OF II:
PERSONAL CREATIVE UNIVERSITY GOALS


  1. Focus on developing my Directing skills ALL YEAR LONG
  2. Finish Screenwriting Track at my Personal Creative Uni
  3. Finish TV Writing Track at my Personal Creative Uni
  4. Continue to work through various Filmmaking & Film Production Tracks 


PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, II OF II:
GRADUATE SCHOOL GOALS


  1. Use every aspect of grad school to build my business and forward my creative career as an ARTIST, not as an academic
  2. Stay focused on what YOU are here for, even when others around you are “going with the flow”; stay in charge of your own destiny
  3. Prioritize your needs, acknowledge your limitations, and set clear boundaries
  4. Take care of yourself first; then take care of the kid; then take care of grad school
  5. Take advantage of my waning responsibilities in grad school as an opportunity to build up other areas of creative entrepreneurship and creative interest


PERSONAL GOALS!


  1. Physical Health: Elevate my physical prowess by moving from casual physical maintenance to a targeted endurance training and muscle toning. Sleep WAY more (8-9 hours per night) + naps. Join a martial arts class.
  2. Emotional Health: launching into full self-care mode by paying attention to my thoughts; engaging in ACTIVE positive self-talk; filling my blessings jars to help me along my journey; keeping graduate school away from my spirit and my art
  3. Financial Health: continue to build out the five pillars of economic stability and freedom (investments, real estate, credit, entrepreneurship, and asset protection); stand as an example to other artists of how to build wealth as an artist; build towards my four major financial and business goals for 2020-2025
  4. Spiritual Health: get into a daily spiritual practice, through meditation, prayer, or just focused breathing
  5. Self-love Care: more shopping, more cute clothes, more boots, more shea butter, more bubble baths, more afro glory, and ::gasp:: eyeshadow! Just a tighter focus on doing little things for me that center me once in a while.
  6. Family / Motherhood: see my daughter through to an amazing age 4!; spend even more time on my kid; go home to visit family AT LEAST once
  7. Hobbies: engage a bit more in learning some new crafts hobbies; re-connect more fully to my gourmet cooking/baking hobby; diving back into my language study casually; planning my 2019 international trip to Zanzibar

So there you have it, folks! These insane goals are what I’m aiming for in 2018. I expect new things, surprises, and set backs to change the course of some of these (obviously), but I always like going into the new year with a solid plan. That way, I can find my way back from my inevitable detours. So how about you? What are your major creative goals for 2018, and how do you plan to achieve them? Leave your comments below, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Stay badass, stay indie,
<3 Colby

Creative Achievements for 2017!


2017 is OOOVVAAAA, baby!


I just wrote AND recorded the most comprehensive round up of 2017 EVER. You can read it and watch the videos associated with each section, OR you can listen to it in “seamless” ::snicker:: audio here:

MY ENTIRE Creative 2017 Round Up, THE PODCAST VERSION

ONWARD & UPWARD!!



Welcome, and thanks for tuning into the round up and wrap of my epic, fantastical, creative journey for 2017!


TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Did I Achieve My Original 2017 Goals?
  • Reader Relationships for 2017
  • Author Relationships 2017
  • Influencer Relationships 2017
  • Marketing & Platform-building 2017
  • Writing, Research, and Shadow-development 2017
  • Directing-Dramaturgy 2017
  • Professional Development for 2017, I: My Personal Creative Uni
  • Professional Development for 2017, II: Graduate School
  • My Media F’empire: Rebel Ragdoll
    • Rebel Ragdoll 
    • New Adult Noir(e)
    • Rebel Ragdoll Press
    • Rebel Ragdoll Productions
    • The Bohemian Badass
    • Subsidiaries in Development for 2018: The Blackheart Boulange & The Dollhouse
    • Subsidiaries in Development for Future: ChickRogue Studios, Subterranime, Doll Theatre, Miscellany! at Rebel Ragdoll
  • Personal Achievements!


Creative Achievements for 2017:
DID I ACHIEVE MY original GOALS?


We’re going to start off by evaluating whether or not I even hit the goals that I originally set for myself at the beginning of the year.

SUMMARY POINTS:

MY ORIGINAL GOALS FOR 2017
1. Develop a daily writing habit of 500 words a day. — NOT ACHIEVED
2. Update daily writing habit to 2,000 words a day by October 1, 2017.  — NOT ACHIEVED
3. Publish more books! (At least 5 books.) — PARTIALLY ACHIEVED
4. Continue to upgrade and rebrand my author website! — ACHIEVED!!
5. Connect more with my community and grow it, too… readers and authors alike. — ACHIEVED!!
6. Shoot and release my first full feature horror film, SANDMAN. — PARTIALLY ACHIEVED
7. Shoot and release a second full feature horror film, OJOS. — NOT ACHIEVED!!
8. Focus on worldbuilding for my fiction franchises. — ACHIEVED!!



reader relationships 2017


My relationship with my readers has grown EXPONENTIALLY, and I have SO much to talk about in this video! From the size of my readership to the quality of our rapport, I’ve seen improvements on all fronts. It’s one of my greatest achievements of 2017.

SUMMARY POINTS:

  • grew my reader mailing list from 300 readers to over 21,000 readers (it grew by over 7,000%!!)
  • sent out a very consistent weekly to bi-weekly newsletter to my readers and developed a better relationship with them (prior to that, I NEVER emailed my readers, and I didn’t even have a unified mailing list!)


AUTHOR relationships 2017


2017 was a knock-out year for author relationships, and I loved it! I have finally found an internet home amongst other authors, and I’ve even been creating my own “online author home” of my own. 🙂

SUMMARY POINTS:

  • participated in several cross-author promotions and genre-specific newsletter swaps
  • participated in 5 multi-author box sets: Magik (fantasy), Mayhem (fantasy), OtherWorlds (YA sci-fi/fantasy), No Hope Left (dystopian “25 Days”), Epic (epic fantasy, “25 Days)
  • grew more author relationships by hosting my own cross promos and mega giveaways through New Adult Noir(e)
  • developed author relationships further by staying in touch with my NA Noir(e) author FB group


INFLUENCER relationships 2017


Strangely, “influencer relationships” wasn’t a topic I planned on discussing in my 2017 round up, but it IS an area that has seen considerable expansion, so let’s talk about it!

SUMMARY POINTS:

  • formed a sponsorship partnership with Instafreebie via our Instafreebie exclusive “25 Days of Box Sets” giveaway, with middling success due to lack of communication
  • formed a development partnership with Instafreebie to be one of the beta testers for their new giveaway author collaboration system


MARKETING & PLATFORM-BUILDING 2017


So marketing this year, unbeknownst to me, was pretty much on FLEEK. I worked on marketing a lot, and in many different ways: online, offline, setting up passive initiatives as well as active initiatives, and I’m here to report on it ALL!

SUMMARY POINTS:

Development of Websites, Blogs, and Groups

  • established, developed, and continued building out New Adult Noir(e) website & blog
  • continued developing and building out Colby R. Rice website & blog
  • started a re-haul of my “OFFWORLD” group and brand
  • started developing and building out Rebel Ragdoll website & blog
  • started developing and building out Rebel Ragdoll Press website & blog
  • started developing and building out Rebel Ragdoll Productions website & blog
  • started developing and building out The Blackheart Bakery website & blog
  • started developing and building out The Blackheart Boudoir website & blog
  • tried three different mailing systems before I settled on MailerLite (MailChimp, ConvertKit, and then MailerLite)

Podcasts

  • LAUNCHED The Epic, Fantastical Journey of a Black Female Sci-fi Writer podcast and also recorded / posted 52 episodes and vlogs (Colby R. Rice brand)
  • continued The B-Badass Podcast and also recorded / posted 2 episodes (The Bohemian Badass brand)

Radio, Podcast, and Convention Appearances!

  • did my FIRST live radio interview for my “iNKliNG” co-directing project
  • appeared on the “Fantasy Fiends” podcast
  • appeared as a speaker for the Space & Sci-fi online convention

Book Marketing

  • THE GIVEN spent nearly the entire YEAR on Amazon’s top 100 Free List for New Adult & College Fiction!
  • launched 2 successful review pushes within my email list
  • grew my Hollow Point launch team to over 400 ARC readers within my own email list
  • worked on the Hollow Point launch sequence
  • worked on The Iron Maiden launch sequence
  • submitted an inquiry and application for selling my books’ foreign rights at IPRlicense.com

OTHER MARKETING ENDEAVORS

  • started looking into affiliate marketing & other outlets for passive income


WRITING, RESEARCH, & SHADOW-DEVELOPMENT 2017


So, I didn’t hit my writing speed goals NOR did I hit my book production goals this year. Still, though, I wrote a hell of a lot, worked on lots of outlines, did TONS of research, and world-built the fuck out of my franchises, lol. Hear more in the video!

SUMMARY POINTS:

  • wrote 120,783 words for my novel series & non-fiction
  • wrote a shitty, disjointed script for AT HIS RIGHT HAND (as a play)
  • writing The Books of Ezekiel series, The Hitmen of Happily Ever After series, the ASYLUM trilogy, the FORGOTTEN trilogy, and “Plot like a Badass” non-fiction book
  • developing the SANDMAN outline
  • developing IMMORTAL TV series
  • continued developing, plotting, and worldbuilding for The Books of Ezekiel saga, The Hitmen of Happily Ever After series, the ASYLUM trilogy, the FORGOTTEN trilogy, the Godsman series, and the ForNever Files


DIRECTING-DRAMATURGY 2017


I have had QUITE the education in directing and dramaturgy this year… LOL. That’s all I’ll say. Let’s get into it in the video.

SUMMARY POINTS:

  • co-wrote, co-directed, and dramaturg’d “iNKliNG” MLK Day performance
  • presented “iNKliNG” at Student Showcase
  • wrote and directed “At His Right Hand” reading in “Voices: A Staged Reading” performance (for TAR 596B)
  • wrote, dramaturg’d, directed, and acted in the “Dahl” presentation (for TAR 696A)
  • started work on co-directing and dramaturging “Dream” spoken word piece for MLK Day performance
  • started work on writing, directing, and dramaturging “Morien” piece for Spring 2018 Studio Series
  • dramaturg’d CREEPS, a studio production at the University of Arizona’s Studio Series
  • dramaturg’d THE ADDAMS FAMILY MUSICAL, a main stage musical at the University of Arizona’s Arizona Repertory Theatre


PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT for 2017, I:
MY PERSONAL CREATIVE UNIVERSITY


This section details the creative training I finished, impactful experiences, and my professional development that sharpen my skills and acumen as a creative entrepreneur.

Summary Points + SKILLS I DEVELOPED THROUGH PERSONAL CREATIVE UNI:

  • 21 creative uni masterclasses completed
  • 17 major creative signature courses completed
  • 5 full-length books read
  • developed my own personal Summer Film & TV Institute
  • Directing & Filmmaking: learned more about directing, devising, blocking, staging, developing actor performances, and developing actor relationships; learned to start using the Canon T6i, learned to use the lens, and learned to DP; shot our first short film, “Home”!
  • Marketing: learned more about and worked on launch sequences and automations
  • Professional Opportunities: got recruited for a reality show casting!! (they recruited me in February); won a filmmaking scholarship; applied for more creative and professional opportunities
  • Film Editing: edited 6 short films / scenes this year (Creeps pre-show, Destiny short scene, Sucker Punch short film, Precious Knowledge montage, Lolo short film, Film Editing Pro Action scene); learned about narrative editing, documentary editing, montage editing, action editing, coloring, effects, and sound/foley editing
  • Novel Writing: learned about outlining and worldbuilding (on my terms)
  • Screenwriting: learned a hell of a lot about Horror Script writing; made some discoveries about how to do better research from Sorkin and Rhimes; analyzing pilots and scripts through pilot and script breakdowns
  • Tech & Virtual Reality: learned some cool stuff about programming and technology for virtual reality; did loads of research for ChickRogue Studios on starting a tech company
  • Musical Theatre/Theatre: learned a lot from The Addams Family book, lyrics, score, stage management reports, and from dramaturging the show itself; learned about rights acquisition (producing); learned about multicultural theatre traditions; developing more stage play concepts
  • Marketing: learned about Facebook Business accounts; tested more FB ads; explored Instagram a bit; learned more about pixels and re-tracking and set up pixels at my websites; learning more about foreign rights

MASTERCLASS & SIGNATURE COURSES TAKEN FOR 2017

PRODUCTIVITY COURSES

  • Plan to Achieve Your Creative Goals in 2017 (Joanna Penn)
  • The 2017 Author Pep Talk (Bryan Cohen)
  • Happy Black Woman Pep Talk (Rosetta Thurman)
  • Life Mapping Workshop (Rosetta Thurman)

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT COURSES

  • Black Money 102: How to Invest in Stocks
  • Black Money 103: How to Start a Strong Black Brand

CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP COURSES

  • Going Full Time as an Indie Author Masterclass (Joanna Penn & CJ Lyons)
  • Intelligent Boss Moves Course (Dr. Boyce Watkins & Damon Dash)
  • 4 Critical Keys to Make a Living Writing (Jeff Goins)
  • The 5 Secrets to Starting a Nonprofit Corporation or Foundation Masterclass
  • Become a Transformational Speaker Masterclass

WRITING COURSES

  • Story Engines (Nick Stephenson and Joe Nassise)
  • James Patterson Teaches Writing (Masterclass)
  • Advanced Playwriting: New Plays (TAR 596A)**
  • Write Your Brilliant Book Mini Course (Arynetta Floyzelle)

FILMMAKING COURSES

  • D4Darius Filmmaking Videos
  • Master Course in High End Blocking & Staging, Vol I: Stationary Blocking (Hollywood Camera Work)
  • Master Course in High-End Blocking and Staging, Vol II: Stationary Blocking (Hollywood Camera Work)
  • Shot Designer Software Tutorial (Hollywood Camera Work)
  • Editing Fundamentals (Jacob Bricca)**
  • The Art of Action Editing (Film Editing Pro)
  • Hollywood Film & Television Directing Masterclass (Gil Bettman)

SELLING COURSES

  • Selling to Hollywood for Big Bucks Masterclass (Ken Atchity)
  • How to Monetize a Small List in 12 Weeks (Joseph Michael)
  • 18 Secrets to an Author Platform that Converts Visitors into Buyers Masterclass (Alinka Rutkowska)
  • How to Create a High Converting Webinar (Casey Zeman)

MARKETING COURSES

  • ConvertKit Video Toolkit Training
  • Crowdfunding to Build Independence (Seed & Spark)
  • Reach: Increasing It with Ad Stacking, Box Sets, and More (Joanna Penn)
  • Serial Magic: The Power of Doing a Book Series (Honoree Corder)
  • Virtual Book Tours: Platform Building & Long Term Sales (Laura Fabiani)
  • How to Skyrocket Your Email List (Melissa Griffin)
  • How to Become an Authority and Grow Your Tribe (David DiPiazza)
  • Dream Team Marketing (Nick Stephenson)
  • Instagram Masterclass (Founder)
  • Viral Hacking for List-building (UpViral)

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT for 2017, II:
GRADUATE SCHOOL TRAINING


This section details the creative training and professional development that I received in graduate school via my MFA in Theatre Arts, Dramaturgy program coursework, my TA training, and my growing production experience.

SUMMARY POINTS:

  • 25 plays read / listened to
  • 6 big grad courses completed
  • 2 stage plays / productions attended
  • 2 stage productions acted in
  • 2 semesters of grad school completed – made it to the halfway point!
  • 2 productions dramaturg’d (1 studio production & 1 musical)
  • 1 TA-ship dominated; 1 new horror TA-ship acquired!
  • started studying Russian
  • Shaping the Program: gave lots of graduate school feedback and helped to shape the direction of the MFA program
  • TA-ship Lessons & Decisions: worked my ass off as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Popular Entertainment 160D; sharpened my time management & grading skills, but also learned to set boundaries as a TA
  • Decisions I Made: finally introduced the committee to Rebel Ragdoll and who I am as an artist (Fall 2017 portfolio review); clarified my artistic vision and goals as a theatre maker and dramaturg; took a step back from academic artistry
  • Growth as a Theatre Artist: started adding important concepts to my theatre production slate; got more into musical theatre; emphasized the importance of developing and growing a Black theatre tradition; influenced my dedication to Doll Theatre (another subsidiary of the Rebel Ragdoll media f’empire)

DRAMATURGY & THEATRE COURSES

  • Theatre & Culture I (TAR 602)
  • Race, Class, Gender and Representation in Film (FTV 599)
  • The Dramaturg & The Classic Play (TAR 661)
  • Contemporary Trends (TAR 696A)
  • Dramaturging the Musical (The Addams Family Musical)
  • Dramaturging the Studio Production (Creeps)
  • Advanced Playwriting: New Plays (TAR 596B)**
  • Editing Fundamentals / Independent Study (TAR 318 / FTV 599)**
  • Teaching Popular Culture 160D


MY MEDIA f’EmpirE: Rebel ragdoll


This section keeps track of the growth of my creative f”Empire, Rebel Ragdoll, LLC, along with all its subsidiaries (Rebel Ragdoll Press, Rebel Ragdoll Productions, ChickRogue Studios, The Bohemian Badass, and Miscellany!). Here, you’ll get to see how I’m growing my creative legacy!


REBEL RAGDOLL

My entire dream as a novelist, director, entrepreneur and living creative is to finish building my independent, multimedia f’empire from the ground up. In that spirit…

WELCOME TO REBEL RAGDOLL!

Rebel Ragdoll is my contribution back to the world that has forged me. It is where I, in the form of TEN other creative, f’empreneurial enterprises, push forward the mission of empowering women to create. Rebel Ragdoll, LLC is an independent, female-identified, multimedia production brand and holding company dedicated to increasing the presence and impact of female creatives in the creative industries, genres, and mediums in which they are underrepresented.

Our subsidiaries include (4 open AND running, 2 READY to launch in 2018, and 4 in shadow-development):

  • Rebel Ragdoll Press (publishing),
  • Rebel Ragdoll Productions (film & TV),
  • ChickRogue Studios (games, software, and animation),
  • Subterranime (comics, manga, animation),
  • The Bohemian Badass (creative education & training),
  • New Adult Noir(e) (content promotion services),
  • The Blackheart Boulange (specialty & artisanal products),
  • The Dollhouse Foundation (philanthropy & community-building),
  • Miscellany! by Rebel Ragdoll (fashion, accessories, beauty), and,
  • Doll Theatre (theatre arts and stage production).

WHAT WE GOT DONE AT REBEL RAGDOLL (as a whole) IN 2017

1. Grew (and then slimmed down) the Rebel Ragdoll DEVELOPMENT slate to 133 creative projects:

  • 56 Novel Series Projects (30 Novel Series, 2 Novella Series, 13 Trilogies, 8 Serialized Novel Series, 3 Short Story Collection Projects)
  • 55 Film Script & Film Production Projects (12 Feature Film Adaptations, 13 Original Feature Films, 10 Original Film Shorts, 7 Feature Scripts, 9 TV Pilot Scripts, 3 Original TV Series, and 1 Web Series)
  • 8 Stageplays
  • 10 Tech Projects (7 Video Game Projects, 2 mobile games/apps, 1 hard tech project)
  • 4 Summits / Live Events (these are events, both live and online, that are live that will be put on for the creative community)

MIND, the Rebel Ragdoll development slate contains all my projects TO BE DEVELOPED / IDEAS IN DEVELOPMENT. These are not the projects that I’ve finished. Obviously, the brain never stops. But my production DOES need to go waaay faster, so I’ll be working on that for 2018!

2. *officially* Branded & re-branded 5 of rebel ragdoll’s subsidiaries!

Rebel Ragdoll needed a SERIOUS facelift. Especially The Bohemian Badass! Like LITERALLY. Not only did I want custom logos, but I also really wanted to brand these operating companies with #blackgirlmagic and #blackgirlcreativity and just straight up woman-of-color badassery. Check out our new brands and re-brands below!

People just needed to know that Rebel Ragdoll is a company developed by a woman of color to help other women, disenfranchised communities, and people of color embrace their creativity, improve their craft, and build their own independent, creative, and financially-sustainable brands, careers, and companies.

We are publicly owning our Blackness, our womanliness, our beauty, our badassery, our femininity, and our fierce dedication to communities and groups that do not have ready access to resources that will allow them to build sustainable careers as artists. So here we are, and we’re ready AF to kick ass in 2018!

3. Moved 2 other operating companies into their “active development” stages for a 2018 launch!

Yes, you heard me right! Both The Blackheart Boulange AND The Dollhouse Foundation are in development for opening in 2018!

4. CLAIMED AND CONTINUED PLANNING the 4 other “SHADOW” subsidiaries of Rebel Ragdoll

As always, I can only take on so much, and I DO really want to focus on building up my novel backlist + author brand (and thus Rebel Ragdoll), growing New Adult Noir(e), and developing my artist-entrepreneur blog, The Bohemian Badass, for 2018. BUT! In those moments of rest and reflection, where I need a break from writing, marketing, blogging, podcasting, and being a lady boss, I do continue to slowly develop my other subsidiaries behind the scenes.

If you’re wondering which companies those are, they include:

  • The Doll Theatre (theatre arts),
  • Subterranime (manga, comics, 2D animation),
  • ChickRogue Studios (3D game development, 3D animation, tech, software, personal/business solutions), and,
  • Miscellany! by Rebel Ragdoll (fashion and accessories).

I believe in building, researching, and slow growth, so I have no problem with watering these four seeds a little at a time. One step, one day at a time will my f’empire grow into its badassery.


New Adult Noir(e)


 

FOR READERS: NA Noire hooks readers into THE darkest, grittiest, heart-pounding-est sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and romance to ever exist. Currently we offer our readers free monthly giveaways, TONS of free books, series discovery promos, free swag, reviews, and much more!

FOR AUTHORS: On the author side, we are a collection of authors who write dark and gritty science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, dark romance, paranormal romance, sci-fi romance, fantasy romance, and dark SFF/H erotica. We engage in cross-promos, joint giveaways, free book promos, series discovery promos, and other reader discovery projects so that we can build rabid readerships with hearts of darkness who love our work!


WHAT WE GOT DONE AT NEW ADULT NOIR(E) IN 2017

In May of this year, I organized a MASSIVE author summer promotion that resulted in the recruitment of over 10,000 readers. For free. After I realized that I was pretty darned good at what I did, I decided to create a book blog / author promotion services company for writers of my genre: *dark and gritty* sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and SFF/H romance.

The GROWTH of NEW ADULT NOIR(E) HAS been INCREDIBLE:

  • Our company’s revenue hit four figures in just the first three months of opening!
  • We have been able to recruit over 21,200 new readers for our authors and their books, and that number continues to grow every day.
  • We’ve successfully hosted 3 Free Book promos, 3 Series Discovery promos, and 4 Mega Giveaways for our authors and readers, and, most awesomely,
  • Our current and most recent giveaway, the “25 Days of Box Sets” giveaway, has garnered over 82,400 book claims and downloads across ALL levels of the promo!

And our year isn’t even over yet!


REBEL RAGDOLL PRESS


We are an independent female-identified publishing house dedicated to increasing the presence of female creatives in the fiction genres and mediums where we are underrepresented.

Our genres of interest include sci-fi, fantasy, action-adventure, true crime, noir, and thriller. Our mediums of interest include novels, comics (web & print), manga, and graphic novels.

We support female, female-identified, and transgendered authors AND / OR works with these representations.

Currently, RRPress’ two flagship brand authors are Colby R. Rice & Vanessa M. Bain (in progress), but far in the future we hope to have more!


WHAT WE GOT DONE AT REBEL RAGDOLL PRESS IN 2017

I didn’t hit NEARLY as many goals for my publishing press as I wanted for this year, but I’m still proud of my accomplishments!

SUMMARY POINTS:

  • commissioned 5 more covers for The Hitmen of Happily Ever After series
  • commissioned 3 covers for The Books of Ezekiel series
  • wrote 120,783 words for my novel series
  • conceptualized the “Saga Store”

REBEL RAGDOLL PRODUCTIONS


We are an independent, female-identified, multimedia production house dedicated to increasing the presence and prominence of female creatives in front of and behind the camera.

We produce films, TV, web series, and film shorts in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, thriller, action-adventure, true crime, and noire that is written by women or that feature women as central figures. We also use all-female crews to shoot, produce, edit, and market the films.

Rebel Ragdoll Productions is OPEN and we are currently in development on our first full feature horror film, SANDMAN. 

Principal photography will begin in summer of 2019!


WHAT WE GOT DONE AT REBEL RAGDOLL PRODUCTIONS IN 2017

I really enjoyed establishing the production house this year. Fell IN LOVE with the logo, worked on SANDMAN, and shadow-developed two TV series. I’m still working towards the SANDMAN feature film, and I’m excited to see where it goes!

  • purchased all my starter filmmaking equipment and filmmaking software
  • commissioned logo and banners
  • LAUNCHED and OPENED Rebel Ragdoll Productions
  • writing and developing the SANDMAN outline: finished ACT 1 outline
  • writing and developing IMMORTAL TV series
  • developed a director’s process and roadmap
  • developed a filmmaking protocol for Rebel Ragdoll Productions

THE BOHEMIAN BADASS


The Bohemian Badass is a community of indie female creators dedicated to one cause:

WE OFFER CRAFT COURSES, MENTORSHIP, AND TRAIN YOU TO BECOME THE SCRIBING, FILMMAKING, AND GAMING BADASS YOU’RE MEANT TO BE.

(And mostly for free!)

TO HELP OUR MEMBERS, WE OFFER:

  1. The Bohemian Badass School for Creatives: where you can take craft courses in writing, screenwriting, filmmaking, game writing / game design, marketing, branding, and creative entrepreneurship
  2. The B-Badass Podcast: our eargasmic, info-packed, free podcast for writing, filmmaking, game writing and design, and creative entrepreneurship, geared towards helping women to make a living with their creativity
  3. Books for Bohos: several non-fiction DIY book series to help our community create and make a living with their work, in their own innovative ways, from the bottom up
  4. The Bohemian Badass Blog: where you can get epic articles, tutorials, workbooks, editable downloads, and much more to help you along on your creative journey
  5. The Co-Creator’s Commune: where creators from all walks of life and disciplines gather together to network, support, critique, rally, and work together on badass creative projects.
  6. The Beatnik Boutique: coming soon, our Beatnik Boutique will be the place to get some of our sweet digs and badass merch so you can let the whole world know just how creatively badass you are!

WHAT WE GOT DONE AT THE BOHEMIAN BADASS IN 2017

I’m not going to lie: The Bohemian Badass, for whatever reason, is simultaneously my most exciting subsidiary, but also the one that has eluded me the most, probably because I simply have not made adequate time for it. Many things get done for it, but many things also do NOT get done for it. I’m determined to reign it in for 2018 and kick some ass.

Summary Points:

    • wrote and published 1 blog posts
    • recorded and published 2 podcasts
    • worked on and finished “Horror Screenplay” template
    • worked on and finished “Survival Horror Novel” template 
    • worked on “Writing a Badass TV Series” template
    • worked on “Metaphor Maven” brand
      • worked on “Metaphor Maven” signature course
      • worked on “Metaphor Maven” masterclass
      • worked on “Metaphor Maven” workbook
    • worked on “Plot like a Badass” brand
      • worked on “Plot like a Badass” signature course
      • worked on “Plot like a Badass” non-fiction book rough draft
      • worked on “Plot like a Badass” Scrivener template
      • worked on “Plot like a Badass” 7-day email course
    • worked on Writers UnBlocked: Pre-writing Course
    • outlined and developed “Creating Badass Characters” course
    • created an “Epic Giveaway Guide” (for NA Noir(e) but can be used for TBBA)
    • commissioned an AMAZING brand new logo & brand for The Bohemian Badass

OTHER SUBSIDIARIES DEVELOPED IN 2017:
THE BLACKHEART BOULANGE & THE DOLLHOUSE

**scheduled for launch in 2018!**


THE BLACKHEART BOULANGE: this is a *really* special (and limited) arm of the Rebel Ragdoll brand. The Blackheart Boulange specializes in artisanal, limited-time goods, merch, and promotional products based specifically off the novel series brands of Colby R. Rice and Vanessa M. Bain.

The Boulange has four planned product brands: The Blackheart Bakery, The Blackheart Boudoir, The Blackheart Boutique, and Blackheart Books. And we’re opening the Bakery and the Boudoir brands on October 1, 2018! Only open during the holiday season, Bakery & Boudoir swoop in to feed your sweet tooth AND fulfill your holiday gift-giving needs.

THE DOLLHOUSE FOUNDATION: This foundation is dedicated specifically to providing educational, social, financial, and emotional support and resources to single mother artists who wish to build creative businesses and make a living with their art!

First, I will open The Dollhouse’s inspirational blog, vlog, podcast, website, and online community. We will see if I can get 401(c)3  status for The Dollhouse so I can start giving small scholarships, but if not, I’ll push this goal to 2019.

SUMMARY POINTS:

SUMMARY POINTS FOR THE BLACKHEART BOULANGE

      • commissioned logos for both the Bakery itself and its umbrella brand, The Blackheart Boulange
      • started developing branding and positioning for the Bakery and the Boudoir
      • started developing product lines / flavor lines for the Bakery and the Boudoir
      • started doing the legal and administrative research for running the Bakery from home

SUMMARY POINTS FOR THE DOLLHOUSE 2017

      • commissioned a logo for The Dollhouse
      • began developing the “Single Mom Creatives” vlog & podcast

OTHER SUBSIDIARIES CONSIDERED IN 2017:
CHICKROGUE STUDIOS, SUBTERRANIME, DOLL THEATRE, AND MISCELLANY!

** scheduled for launch sometime in the far-off future **


CHICKROGUE STUDIOS: We are an independent, female-identified, game development and animation studio dedicated to increasing the presence and prominence of female creatives in game design, console design, animation, and software development.

We produce educational software, apps, mobile games, freeware, animation, 3D games, and game consoles. We specialize in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, survival horror, action-adventure, stealth-thriller, true crime, and noir(e) that is written and/or designed by women.

We use all-female crews to design and ship our games and products. ChickRogue Studios will open in January 2020!

CHICKROGUE, SUBTERRANIME, DOLL THEATRE, and MISCELLANY! are four subsidiaries currently under what I call “shadow development” at Rebel Ragdoll. Subterranime will deal in manga, comics, and 2D animation; Doll Theatre will deal in theatrical productions, arts education in the community, and new play development; and Miscellany! will deal in fashion and accessories.

Lofty goals, I know, but my motto is that this is the only life I live, and I’m going to go hard or go home! 🙂 More research, development, business modeling, and fundraising is required for these subsidiaries, and until these requirements are met, these three operating companies will remain on the Rebel Ragdoll slate.

SUMMARY POINTS:

      • commissioned a logo for ChickRogue Studios
      • the business goals of ChickRogue Studios into not just gaming and apps, but into software and technology
      • got over my fear of criticism and publicly claimed the three remaining subsidiaries of Rebel Ragdoll (Subterranime, Doll Theatre, and Miscellany!)

Personal Achievements


This section details the more personal (and not always pretty) side of my creative life, including what’s up with my family, motherhood, health, hobbies, challenges, and resilience. Keeping track of these things helps me to see where I’m doing well and where I need to improve.


So that’s me, y’all! A pretty insane round up, yeah? It took forever to make, but I’m glad I did! So what about you? What’s YOUR creative round up for 2017? What are you most proud of for this year? Post your thoughts, comments, and experiences below, HAPPY NEW YEAR, and as always…

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby

2017 NaNoWriMo: My Project Goals!

Hello my lovely bookworms and writing badasses!

Now, recently, ever since grad school’s started, you guys know that most of my blogging has moved (temporarily) to my weekly podcast. But there’s a special event coming up, and I just HAD to reiterate my excitement through the written word.

November’s now upon us, and so you know that that means!

NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH!! Woot!

I’m as ready as I’ll ever be, and since the last few months of the year are always about slowing down and finishing up for me, I decided to make HOLLOW POINT (Book #3 in the Books of Ezekiel series) my official NaNoWriMo novel project.

My goal is to add another 60,000 words this month, finish the novel, and spend the rest of December polishing and publishing it. Pretty straight forward… I think, lol!

Either way, I’d LOVE to link up with you guys online as NaNoWriMo writing buddies so that we can achieve our writing goals together!

TEAM UP WITH ME FOR NANOWRIMO!

You can tune into my writing progress by either checking me out on NaNoWriMo and adding me as a buddy, OR you can check out the sidebar at the right of this page to see my daily NaNoWriMo word count! Hold me accountable, y’all. I totally need it.

So, what do YOU plan on writing for this upcoming NaNoWriMo? Any major goals, first novels, or next novels you’re just DYING to get on the page? Let me know in the comments below, and of course, in the meantime…

Read on, write on, rock on,
<3 Colby

Weekly Hustle & Creative Wins: WEEKS 45-52 (10/31/16 – 12/26/16)

writing updates collageTHOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS

DUDE, the semester is OVER, and I’ve been away from my Weekly Hustle posts for two whole months!

As you can tell, things have been super busy, but now that grad school is over, Christmas is around the corner, and New Year’s is down the block, it’s time to start taking stock of this past year.

So for a JUST couple days, I’m BACK with two posts on the horizon:

  • this Weekly Hustle post for weeks 45-52 (10/31/16-12/26/16), and,
  • my annual 2016 Creative Achievements Review and Round up!

When the New Year rolls around, I’ll also be posting my annual 2017 Creative Goals post! But as of 12/26/16 to 12/1/2017, I’ll be away from both my Weekly Hustle blog and my Creative Journal blog. Because it’s time to spend some time with the fam (and writing my projects, of course)! 😉


THOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS: Weeks #45-52 (10/31/16 – 12/26/16)

These last 2 months in life and grad school definitely had their ups and downs. I really struggled with trying to pin down what my creative journey could, should, and would be as a generative artist. On top of that my disenchantment with scholarly work continued to deepen, LOL.

In order to literally survive this semester, I had to do some serious mental gymnastics, trying to find ways in which my academic classes could speak to my creative spirit. And luckily, I DID! I basically ended up using the scholarly work in my classes as a preliminary foundation for future grant proposals for a larger project I’m working on. With that simple change in perspective, I actually ended up getting some great work out of my scholarly classes, which will then be repurposed for use in my creative

With that simple change in perspective, I actually ended up getting some great work out of my scholarly classes, which will then be repurposed for use in my creative endeavors.

Still, I think the disconnect I feel between the scholarly world and my creativity needs to be addressed in a constructive way. Through the help of a good friend of mine, I realized that while I have my own plans on how this degree is to serve my interests and creative endeavors, that the program administrators have NO IDEA what I’m thinking, lol! So it’s time to work on my communication; it’s time to let them know what my master grand plan is and how I see the degree serving that plan. The people in this program only want to help us achieve our dreams, so I’m confident that we can work together in order to find pathways towards my end goals.

However, this is a scary leap for me. In my last graduate program, I was traumatized by the lack of support and receptivity my ideas and trajectory received. Not only did my research interests fall on deaf ears to an extent, but I also felt as though I couldn’t be upfront about my dual identity as a scholar and an artist. I got a clear message that if I focused on both, I would not be taken seriously as an academic.

So, I felt I had to “steal” what I needed in a cloak and dagger way (not literally, but intellectually): I registered for classes outside of my department without informing my superiors, I stopped talking about my creative projects and my research with my peers, colleagues, and senior colleagues, I withdrew socially and spiritually from my department, and I pretty much lived a double-life, which was slowly being taken over by full-time creativity. I was a lot happier, but definitely more isolated and less trusting.

And now, even though I’ve moved on from that program and disconnected myself from academia, and now that I identify wholly as an artist,when it comes to approaching my administrators about my needs I still feel those vulnerabilities creeping up on me. This is not their fault; these feelings of insecurity and shame are just lingering intellectual wounds and traumas which I’m only recognizing and dealing with now. So it’s my goal in 2017 to trust more in my program and in the people in it and to NOT pre-judge anything by my former experiences. New program, new people, new slate, new life!

So, SOLUTIONS! It’s my goal in 2017 to trust more in my program and to NOT pre-judge anything or anyone by my former experiences. New program, new people, new slate, new life!

That was the main epiphany I came to in the past 8 weeks. That, and that my identity as a “pure” artist has only been reaffirmed through the program and outside of it. And speaking of stuff going on outside of the program, I absolutely could not WAIT until the December break, where I’d literally just ART, every day, ALL day for five weeks straight, lol. Now that I’m smack in the middle of December break, I know even more that writing, educating, making films, designing games, and being a creative coach, all from home, on a flexible schedule, catered to my lifestyle is EXACTLY the life I want.

Now, it’s pretty much up to me to design that life, that career, and my f’empire on my own. So here’s to the next 2.5 years! In the meantime, I’ll be here keeping track of my progress on the blog and in life!

Gotta end the year strong with my last Weekly Hustle post of 2016. Let’s check out my:

LAST 8 WEEKS’ HAUL (10/31/16 – 12/26/16)

What I wrote these past 8 weeks:

  • 4,597 words for The Iron Maiden (Books of Ezekiel #3). YES! I know. So sad and not at all what I would’ve preferred, but c’est la vie! At least the story is moving forward, lol.
  • More story development and plotting for Rose n’ John Does (The Hitmen of Happily Ever After #1). Though I admit, I need to spend a little more time in the world and be able to visualize it before I can really write in it. But that’s coming soon!

What I read / watched / listened to these past 8 weeks:

  • I’ve been staying up on my usual podcasts. Nothing new here.
  • I’ve been on a Marvel TV BINGE, though! I finished the first two seasons of Daredevil, and it was AMAZING!! Especially the first season. The second was also solid, but the storyline went from gritty to a little sappy and strange. In all, though, it’s pretty much the perfect series, and I’m studying it intensely as I develop my “Design and Write a Badass TV Series” course for The Bohemian Badass.
  • Also finished the first season of Jessica Jones, and it was also pretty awesome! It’s a solid series, well-done, and I also LOVE how it deals with PTSD, trauma, and psychological and emotional damage (rather than physical damage). Also, I’m totally rooting for Luke and Jessica to get back together!!! (Which, SPOILERS, they will, in the most permanent way possible.) JJ is
  • pretty much the only show out there that attempts to actually deal with emotional and psychological abuse and work it out, rather than just using it as a cheap plot device (::cough:: Homeland ::cough cough::). Breaking Bad used to do this, but it’s no longer airing, and one’s dealing with drug abuse, while a central theme, was often only explored in some select episodes through Jessie’s storyline. But in Jessica Jones, we don’t just see the traumas happen, we also see people dealing with it in different ways (or not dealing with it). There are even support groups on screen. Anyone with a traumatic past or emotional issues can relate to Jessica and her journey to both hide from and yet stop her killer. Some parts can be triggering, so watcher beware!
  • I’m also catching up with Arrow. I’m almost completely through Season 1. Arrow is a DC series that I really enjoy, but it doesn’t strike much of an emotional chord for me. I’m not sure if that’s because of its execution, or if it’s because all the main protagonists are pretty much rich assholes. (Probably the latter, because the execution is pretty good!) Anyways, it’s what I watch when I basically want to be entertained, but I don’t want to think.
  • I also saw a swathe of movies I’d never seen before, including The Handmaiden, The Babadook, The Thing, and Bladerunner. And I also revisited a bunch of classic favorites, including The Matrix, Alien, and Aliens. As an emerging director of horror, sci fi, and action movies, I continue to watch and analyze both as many new and old movies as humanly possible. It’s been fun discovering story and process thus far, so that will certainly continue!

What I’ve developed the past 8 weeks:

Soo, after doing a major assessment of what I’ve been working on the past two months, I realized that SO MUCH has happened that I need to divide this section into SUB-sections, lol! But first, an update on the developments I told you about in my LAST Weekly Hustle post.

UPDATES ON R&D FROM THE LAST POST

  • The Hitmen of Happily Ever After: More worldbuilding, story building, and brainstorming for Rose n’ John Does. That’s about it!
  • Production Book Portfolio for my Stage Management class: We’ve now officially completed the entire class! WOOT! So NOW, I have two different portfolios: a Stage Management portfolio and a Company Prospectus for The Doll Theatre, a female-identified SFF/H theatre company that may or may not be developed under the Rebel Ragdoll brand!
  • Am still moving forward with my dramaturgy on the CREEPS production! We had our first production meeting before the semester ended, and a lot of ideas were getting worked out in vivo. I was able to procure a DP and an Editor for the show, which was really exciting, and we were also able to get the script translated! We also have a schedule, some research ideas, a pending callback with strong talent, and a heading, so everything seems to be chugging along just fine. I have A LOT to do as the dramaturg, including creating actors’ packets, doing research on former productions, creating a website, taking photos and videos, organizing the necessary film shoot, and more, so I’ll have my hands full once New Year’s is over.
  • Working on the ALPHA version of both my writing courses: Writers UnBlocked: The Pre-Writing Edition and Writers UnBlocked: The Chapter Writing Edition! I’ve set up the email templates (and am still working on them), have started creating ALL the powerpoints, am upgrading the worksheets with graphics, layout, and design, and I’ve also fine-tuned the hardware and software that I’ll need to record the videos and presentations! I have a feeling that I’ll be finished with the pre-writing course by the end of the month, and I’ll follow up with the Chapter Writing Edition towards mid-January.
  • FINISHED the preliminary handbook, grant proposal, and committee proposal, ALL IN ONE, for the 2019 Collaborative Arts Festival! I literally grabbed this bull of a grad degree by its horns and forced it to do my bidding, lol! I used my theory and methods classes to help me create a preliminary theoretical foundation for my festival. I will be applying for grants, and having some scholarly support is a great, just in case I’d need that research to boost my applications. I also used my Theatre Management class to inform my festival’s Mission, Goals, Core Values, and Vision. Also, through my meetings with my co-collaborators, I designed the structure of the program, including The Creative Institute and The Exhibition. The CAF is basically a mini Sundance but is located here in Tucson and will be steeped in the local cultures here. I am SUPER excited for this endeavor, and I love that I’ll be working on it for the next three years!
  • WRAPPED pre-production on “Home”, the movie I’m producing!! I hunted down some free online film scheduling software and just went to town! After doing a thorough script breakdown, I was able to create a prop list, location list, actor list, call sheets, and lots more production paperwork that we’ll need for our day of shooting. I was also able to schedule the shoot for one FULL day, and that’s it! Pretty proud of myself, because it’s literally 7 minutes of script being shot in one day. MOST film shoots can only fit 1-2 minutes of filming in a day. But of course, I can’t brag too soon. Lots of things happen on set, so we’ll see how it goes, lol! Now we’re just trying to wrangle equipment and a shoot date!

 

NEW R&D FROM THE PAST 8 WEEKS

This is more of a bulleted list of R&D endeavors. I got SO much stuff done in the past 2 months, that it’d take forever to elaborate on all of them, but here’s a very detailed list!

FOR MY WRITING:

  • developed and finished Horror Novel Writing template and Horror Screenplay Writing template from the “Creating Terrifying Horror Scripts” class at Screenwriting U!
  • started developing Season 1 of the Ezekiel TV series… yes, an announcement about that is forthcoming, but not for another year or so 😉

FOR MY AUTHOR BRAND:

  • created and soft launched the Colby’s Creative Journal series
  • added 3 new horror concepts to the Rebel Ragdoll project slate, and ONE of them I’m planning to shoot in the first 6 months of 2017!
  • updated and cleaned up a bunch of social media channels for the new year

FOR THE BOHEMIAN BADASS:

  • created a film analysis of Aliens, which is the first of many film analyses that I’ll conduct and then offer as free downloads at The Bohemian Badass
  • started developing 13-episode TV series template and a 13-episode serial novel template. For the TV series template, I’ll use that for planning out entire TV series and seasons that I’d like write, develop, shoot, and release as an indie production house. For the serial novel template, that’s the template I’ll use to write episodes and coherent seasons of future serialized novels (mostly sci-fi).
  • soft launched The B-Badass Podcast
  • completed outlines for four different courses that I’m developing for The Bohemian Badass, including the Breaking Badass 28-Day Challenge, the Novel Kickstarter course, the Writing the Badass Cinematic Novel course, and the Plot like a Badass course.
  • started brainstorming on a craft reference book (and companion courses) that I’d like to work on in 2019 called Genre. This is a project that’s way off in the future, though.

OTHER CREATIVE PROJECTS:

  • co-produced, co-curated, performed in, and co-launch a staged reading of After Orlando: An International Theatre Action
  • started researching and shopping around for cameras, filmmaking supplies, and software so that I can start prepping for the films I want to shoot in 2017 🙂
  • started development on my first two horror film concepts!

What I learned these past 8 weeks:

I really do stay up on my Creative Uni hustle, because I just LOVE learning new stuff! Here’s what I was jamming on the past 8 weeks:

  • Creating a Terrifying Horror Script (FULL CLASS): as suspected, this class kicked every ass in the house. I. LOVED. THIS. CLASS. For about 7 weeks, we learned everything from how to create a solid horror concept to how to execute that concept in different stages and via different “layers”. The class was so amazing and insightful, that I used it to develop two comprehensive templates for horror writing: one for novels and one for screenplays. I feel super confident in my abilities to produce an amazing horror novel in any sub-genre, all because of this fantastic course. 
  • Breaking into Reality TV Panel: This was a delightful and yet unexpected event on the campus of U of A. The panel was organized by the Inside Track series at the Hanson Film Institute, and the panelists consisted of an unscripted TV agent, an unscripted TV exec, a reality TV field producer, and a reality TV contestant and winner. It was a lovely selection of folks from different parts of the industry, so we got a really comprehensive look at how reality TV works. They covered topics on putting packages together, pitching, and how to get your ideas bought in the room. Good stuff.
  • 7 Steps to Taking Control of 2017 Masterclass: This is a great masterclass that’s offered by Michael Hyatt every year. It teaches you how to choose, set, and stay committed to your goals throughout the year. He offers it every year to launch his larger goal-setting and time management program, and even though I feel like I don’t need the larger program, I always sit his yearly masterclass to reorient myself and my goals to the upcoming year! Highly recommended for those who need extra encouragement and support in achieving your dreams!
  • 7 Steps to Writing Your Novel Masterclass: This class was offered by Joanna Penn as a part of her masterclass series. I honestly didn’t “need” the class per say, but I just love Joanna, her spirit, her brand, mission, and information so much that I pretty much take every opportunity I can to be exposed to her awesomeness. She’s holding two more masterclasses soon, and I’ll be sitting those as well!
  • Horror Genre Summit: THIS was an interesting little summit, and in its own way, it gave me a bit of insight into the making of indie movies! It also focused on a Horror theme, which is obviously really awesome and helpful. I think they do this every year, and while I was selective of which panels I tuned into, I did gain quite a bit of insight.
  • Producing, Directing, and Screenwriting with Rocket Jump Film School: Each of these areas was actually THREE entirely different educational tracks currently being offered at Rocket Jump Film School. So you can imagine just how much material I was absorbing, lol! RJFS, at the moment, is the most amazing filmmaking teachers (and doers) out there right now. They produce some pretty hilarious and VERY well done action-comedy shorts, and they then share their pro knowledge with us for free (for now)! Their courses and info is AMAZING, and I highly recommend burgeoning filmmakers to check them out ASAP. There are 8 learning tracks in total, so I have five tracks left to finish, including: Cinematography, Arts and Vanities, Visual Effects, Sound, and Editing and Post. Can’t wait to finish the rest!
  • D4Darious Training: lots of educational filmmaking videos from D4Darius on YouTube. Not an official “class”, so to speak, but only because he doesn’t position himself that way. For me, though, he is one of my online teachers (though he is unaware of this, lol) who is really giving me an AMAZING crash course on filmmaking. He’s also a very talented actor and filmmaker, and he’s funny as hell!

 


END OF THE YEAR HUSTLE:
ENDING THE YEAR STRONG (AND GENTLE)!

What I’m doing for the end of the year:

Between December 25 and January 1st, I’m pretty much taking a long, much-needed break. Here’s a few things I’ll be mulling over though:

  • Writing: I will be writing, but very casually. I’m aiming for my basic 500 words per day during the break, and I’ll be focusing mostly on writing The Iron Maiden and Rose n’ John Does.
  • What I’m researching and developing: Technically I’m smack dab in the middle of developing the Writers’ UnBlocked Pre-Writing course, but I think I’ll be taking a break from that this week! I’m mostly focused on trying to relax as much as possible and also getting out the final 2016 Creative Achievement round up and the 2017 Creative Goals posts.
  • Directing the MLK Day Segment: ALSO mentioned before, I’m co-directing and co-dramaturging a spoken word segment called “INkliNG” in the MLK performance this year at the U of A. That’s something else I’ll be working on a little more this break, but not until after the New Year.
  • CREEPS Production: As mentioned before, I have a bunch of things to do for the CREEPS production that are going to be dispersed over the course of the winter break. I won’t be working on jack during my X-mas & New Year break, though. More updates after Jan 2, 2017!
  • What I’m reading / watching / listening to: I’m going to try to finish up Divergent, catch up on a bunch of movies, especially horror, and listening to podcasts as they become available. Most of my podcast role models are going on vacay, though, so I don’t expect many episodes to come through! 🙂
  • Creative University: I think I’m honestly going to take a learning break this week until January 2. You never know, though! We’ll see what inspiration brings!

WOW. Yeah, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted an update, as grad school certainly swallowed me whole. Still, I’ve learned, grown, and have accomplished SO MUCH. My next post will be a round-up-of-the-year post, followed by a “goals for 2017” post, so stay tuned! In the meantime, tell me: how are YOU ending your creative year? Strong, I hope! Leave your comments below!

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

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Why You Think You Can’t Write A Novel – And Why You’re Wrong!

Calling yourself a “writer” is something that makes a lot of people nervous. It can feel like you’re asking to be called pretentious, or worse. If you’ve ever had the experience of meeting a distant relative at a family gathering and they ask what you do, you know how it goes.

“I’m a writer.”

“Oh! Anything I might have read?”

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationAnd the answer is almost invariably “no,” and so you know in their heads they’re thinking “Not a real job, not a real job.” It’s enough to cause a crisis of confidence, which of course contributes to the dreaded Writer’s Block. And when someone reads some of your writing and says “This is superb! Have you considered writing a novel?”, it’s easy to answer “no.” Because writing a blog post or an essay is one thing – a novel is a whole other ball game.

So many good writers shy away from the idea of writing a novel when that friend might really be onto something. If you think you can’t write a novel, you’re wrong. It may take time, and you may have a few false starts. But if you are ready to put the work in, you can overcome any obstacles – including the ones you put in front of yourself.


Excuse #1: “I know I can write, but I can’t write people.”

Writing characters is maybe the toughest part of writing a novel, it’s true. Even those of us who don’t think we’re creative can set a scene, can sketch out a narrative, but writing people is hard. Most successful novels will have at least one character who’s a lot like the author. Why is that? Because it’s easy to write yourself. Other characters are harder, of course. You can base them on your friends, but you want your friends to read the book and still like you, so that’s tricky.

What you need to do is sit and set out a profile of your characters. Their name, age, what they do for a living. Their personality. Refrain from making them too amazing – readers these days can spot a Mary Sue a mile away, and prefer someone relatable. Read over your profiles, and if they remind you too much of anyone, change the details until they’re their own person.


Excuse #2: “I know I can write, but I can’t handle rejection.”

lettersEvery author on the face of the Earth has received at least one letter of rejection from a publisher. J.K. Rowling famously received numerous rejection letters before one publisher picked up Harry Potter. One of them told her that she should get a day job because she was unlikely to make a living in children’s fiction. If writing is what you want to do, then you need to have a thick skin. You will get rejection letters – but they make the non-rejections worth so much more.

If you don’t want to leap straight into the lions’ den with publishers, then consider self-publishing to begin with. Book-printing experts such as Steuben Press will put your book together for you. You can then sell online or at book fairs, or give your books out as gifts. If you get good feedback from those, that should up your confidence. Never give up on the idea. Where would we be if Suzanne Collins had taken her first poor feedback as a sign to give up?


Excuse #3: “I know I can write, but the good ideas have all been had.”

We’ve all sat in front of a laptop, racking our brains for ideas, and the moment a good one comes up our internal editor rejects it. “No, already been done. There are enough books about vampires/wizards/astronauts…”. It is true to say that it gets harder to be original the longer time goes on. So the first thing to say to that is … don’t worry about having a truly original idea.

J.K. Rowling wasn’t the first author to write about a wizarding school. Stephenie Meyer definitely didn’t get to vampires first. And there have been more novels about a dystopian future than anyone could read in a lifetime. What you do need is a hook. Something that makes it a bit different. Play around with the lore a little; there is always something you can bring to it. A new setting, a unique power, a different threat. If you try to be 100% original, you’ll just end up with a book no one understands.


Excuse #4: “I know I can write, but I don’t have the time.”

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Authors and actors alike have the same issue that stands in the way of their success. In the beginning, it doesn’t pay. And so they need to hold down a full-time job while finding ways to indulge their creative side. Where authors have an advantage over actors is the fact that an actor usually needs to break through while they are young. The film industry is very ageist. And sexist. And shallow.

On the other hand, when you’ve got your work backed up, you can take as long as you need to finish your first novel. If you snatch a few pages each lunch break, take a few hours at the weekend and some in the evenings, you can let it come together at its own pace. In fact, you may benefit from taking a little longer over it – this allows you to refine what you write and really consider where the story is going.

You can come up with all these reasons and more not to put your writing to the ultimate test. There are dozens of reasons not to try – but in the end, all you need is one reason to give it a go. If it works out, you’ll have the chance to make money doing something you love. And there is nothing better than that. Sure, when you’re on novel number 10, you’ll still get writer’s block. But it beats the hell out of doing a job you’ll never like, let alone love, for just enough money to keep your house warm.

You just need to stop making excuses.

Stay indie, and rock on, write on,
<3 Colby

Weekly Hustle & Creative Wins: WEEKS 41-44 (10/3/16 – 10/30/16)

writing updates collageTHOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS

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’! 

Check it out here and see for yourself!

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:

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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.

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“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!

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:

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.

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  • 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!

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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.
  • 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,
<3 Colby

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Weekly Hustle & Creative Wins: WEEKS 37-40 (9/5/16 – 10/2/16)

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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Weekly Hustle & Creative Wins: WEEKS 34, 35, and 36 (8/16/16- 9/4/16)

writing updates collageTHOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS

Ooooh boy! So it was a huge mistake to neglect to post for the last 3 weeks, because HOLY FUCK BALLS do I have a lot to report! Lots of stuff happened, including some awesome creative slaying but also… some intense tearful moments and breakdowns?

Yah, I’ll get into it. 😛 Lol.

First off, The Given is BACK baby! And by back, I mean that it’s sitting pretty again in Amazon’s top 100 Free list for the New Adult & College genre. (Or, at least it WAS as of me writing this, lol! But if it’s not, feel free to download a copy and help it get back up there! It’s totally free and a great read… even if I do say so myself! ::bats eyes::) Check it out here and see for yourself!

Secondly, this post is so huge that I think I’m going to have to divide this section into three parts. So here’s:

THOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS: Week #1 (8/15/16 – 8/21/16)

So this should have been the week of quiet contemplation and meditation and shit, right?

WRONG.

I guess I sorta, kinda, maaaaybe semi-launched a bit of an itty-bitty, teeny, weeny, little wittle creative last chance party? Maybe?

Okay, no, let’s just be real: I WENT CRAZY ON CREATIVE WORK.

It was, like, insane. I was like a fat hungry hippo at the Last Supper, all like “MOVE OVER, JESUS, because while I appreciate your impending sacrifice for mankind, SOME of us still need to eat up in here, and we need to eat EVERYTHING. And by the way, ya boy Judas is a punk ass snitch bitch.” o_O

In other words, I did all the things, including, but not limited to:

  • developing 4 different novel series (like, what? Huh?! WHYYYY?!),

  • developing the top-secret erotic paranormal romance author brand, and actually BUILT its blog too. This brand’s been bubbling in my mind for a couple years, and I guess it was time for it to come out? (But bruh, can we get the FIRST brand on point, though?!),

  • jumped into and finished two masterclasses and then signed up for Aaron Sorkin’s Screenwriting Masterclass and also James Patterson’s Novel Writing masterclass, because for some reason, I thought I’d actually have time for that shit,

  • did ALL the adulting: bills, shopping, running around poule-sans-tête stylez, grad school orientation, meeting with GTA advisors and co-GTA, like some serious housework (YASS, busted out the bleach and all the soaps and just went in like Flynn), and lots of other stuff, and, oh did I mention…

  • just killed it Bohemian Badass stuff, including like, co-hosting a live 2-hour masterclass finishing all the content creation for one course (yaaaay!!), and then starting the development of 7 other courses (WTF)… because apparently, starting stuff is just what I do.

This was just an overview, obvs, and there are more specific details on all of this in the haul and hustle sections below.

Sooo, yes! As you can tell, I was a creative trollop all this week, and it felt so so good. I don’t regret it at all. At the same time, though, I didn’t take the deep breath I knew I’d need before the big plunge back into grad school. And, of course, I paid dearly for it.

Which brings us to…

THOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS: Week #2 (8/22/16 – 8/28/16)

First day. Monday. I get up, get showered, dressed, pack my bag, head to school, go to class…

AND I HAVE AN EMOTIONAL BREAKDOWN. Lol!

Ok, to be honest and fair to myself a bit, the breakdown was 50% due to my being triggered by a Black Lives Matter issue in class. I’m taking this amazing class in Production Dramaturgy where we’re going to be doing all of the most awesome theatre shit in the universe. At one point during the class, we discuss the Black Lives Matter movement as it pertains to theatre, dramaturgy, and theatre action. Which is fucking rad and exciting, right? But because I hadn’t been really dealing with and processing my emotions on the BLM issues the way that I should (+ just not processing much of anything lately), I was triggered. Like, hardcore. While my classmates were talking and discussing, and I was literally frozen in time, pretty much fixated on my own thoughts about BLM.

So then we do a meditation exercise wherein we start accessing some deep emotional shit, and all I could think about was BLM, my brother (who I fear for every day), my little girl (who is my entire world), and like, I’m barely holding it together. Then when class ends, I pretty much emotionally vomited on my professor, lol. Tears, sobs, throat pinch… just everything. Needless to say, she handled it brilliantly and made me feel so much better.

The shake up was actually a long time in coming, though. Again, there were a lot of unprocessed emotions surrounding BLM, but also? I hadn’t realized that I’d also neglected to really unpack how I felt about the recent shift in my identity.

My entire life, up until January 2014, I’d identified myself as really ambitious, career-driven, and creative. A gunner, always trying to excel at what I was doing while also keeping my future projects and goals in mind. An academic, researcher, sociologist, storyteller, writer, sci-fi & fantasy voyager. A media f’empire builder (one brick at a time). Etc. These are all my aspirations. My engine, really.

Then, when I found out I was baking a bun in the oven, my entire identity shifted from self-centered and career-driven to baby-centered and momish. It was a difficult transition and one that I did not make gracefully. At ALL. Lol! I missed my old identity and mourned it often. Aside from doing the expected– shopping for baby, eating for baby, exercising for me (and baby), and basically buying and reading every book and talking to every mom on the planet (so that I wouldn’t suck as a mom)– I stayed in denial about my new mommy role for a long time. That denial came in the form of me literally laying on the couch during the week and volleying between games of Candy Crush, those chef games on Facebook, eating, and watching Maury.

YUP. Maury. No shame in my game.

I mean, I got SOME creative projects done in 2014, but they were mostly comprised of lots of “finishes” and “polishes” and taking super small projects into completion. And I did a lot franchise-building by filling the Rebel Ragdoll project slate to the brim. Oh! And I held an awesome internship and worked that bitch like a job, honestly; and it was great. I learned a LOT about the film industry that year. Aside from that, though, 2014 was a big fat production flop, lol. And I was an emotional wreck every day. Like in constant mourning and socially-expected celebration, highs and extreme lows, and of course, in pure terror of becoming a mother.

All those feels? They were all a result of that “shift in identity”. Eventually, though, I moved past the emotional turmoil and shock, and I grew into my role as a stay-at-home / work-from-home mom over the next three years.

Clearly, I’d forgotten that with my entrance into this program and the new schedule, etc, I was shifting identities AGAIN. Lol! I’m clearly moving from “stay-at-home, stuck-at-home, work-from-hom mom” into a more fully-realized, “full-time-working-and-going-to-school mom”… hybridized, just like I’ve always wanted. But even though this is a transition I’ve been looking forward to (and have prayed and worked for), it’s STILL a major transition. And all transitions come with their shares of emotional upheaval and adjustment.

So, yeah. Emotional upheaval + not dealing with identity shift = emotional barfing on prof and on self. 😛 Plus a shit-ton more of adulting, meh. (As a side note, Thank God I’d already made the move from NY to AZ and had already had the baby start daycare through the summer, otherwise, this might have been an entire month of emotional vomit.)

But I’m way more chill now (at the moment, anyway). The rest of the week was a challenge because the little one got sick (MURPHY’S LAW), so I was literally in survival mode with school and homework, lol. But I made it. This coming week is going to be waaaay smoother (I dare to dream). But in all, I’m SUPER amped about my classes and teaching and everything else. To put a special point on it, my Theatre Management class is blowing my mind; many of my peers and colleagues have been on that merry-go-round, but this is totally new to me, so I’m like an excited puppy, lol. Well… an excited puppy with the standard “mom fatigue”, hehe.

I think the only thing I have to figure out now is how I want to fit my novels, Rebel Ragdoll, and The Bohemian Badass around what I’m doing in my program. The plan at current is to prioritize school and work and treat it like an 8-5 job. Then I get up super early (anywhere between 2:30 AM – 4:30 AM and work for a couple hours) to work on my other projects, until the baby wakes… which is working really well so far. 🙂

THOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS: Week #3 (8/29/16 – 9/4/16)

Soo, week 3! Significantly calmer than last week. I’m getting into the grind of it all, but I’m having a little trouble balancing all my duties needs: work / TA-ing, class attendance, homework, reading, sleep, food, rest, creative stuff, and the baby. I am determined to keep my hours to a firm 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM schedule (5:30 PM on the days I don’t have the little one), Mondays through Fridays. But I’m having a bit of trouble, and I’m so confused as to why. I think, again, this is about adjusting and also staying flexible. I had some interesting epiphanies about myself, though, including:

  • I need sleep, I need recreation, and most importantly, I need to STAY CREATIVE. When I went to grad school the first time around, I didn’t really and fully nurture my body, spirit, laughter, or creativity until the fall of 2012. My life pretty much turned completely around after I started that. So, in that

  • I have limits and I don’t mind imposing them. Namely I cannot and will not pull all-nighters, and I literally cannot work after I get home (most days). It’s just, like, it’s against my religion. Lol! But seriously, now that I’m older, I physically can’t withstand all-nighters, and I’m exhausted when I walk into my door. If I push too hard, I’m going to collapse and die, especially because I have to be present for the kid. And sorry, but I ain’t dying over Aristotle, Strindberg, and Lukasc, lol.

  • I REALLY like deliverables. When I say deliverables, I mean that I like to see the physical, practical, and applicable results of my classwork. I literally had a nerdgasm when I finished the first part of my production book and held it in my hands. Seeing my real-time results clearly keep my fires stoked, and I didn’t realize that until I’d started up formal education again. I think I got used to deliverables as a work-from-home mom, indie author, and game writer. Video game portfolios, novels, blog posts, a growing subscriber list, actual sellable and scalable courses on writing and publishing… deliverables. They all made me feel accomplished. Not sure what to do with this epiphany, except to try to make sure my love for deliverables is being fulfilled, I suppose!

  • These weekly hustle posts are about to turn into bi-weekly, tri-weekly, or monthly posts. Sucks, I know. I’m just so busy, though. I think I’m just going to condense the weeklies so that I can just work on them a little each day and then just post them when I finally have some time. So busy! We’ll see.

So, yeah, you learn something new every day. This week was challenging, but I survived and am now enjoying a glorious 3-day weekend at home. Next week, though, is gonna be KILLER. ::lightning strike::


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

LAST 3 WEEKS’ HAUL (8/15/16 – 9/4/16)

What I wrote these past 3 weeks: believe it or not, I actually got some writing done for The Iron Maiden! It felt so good, lol. Only 500-600 words, but you really don’t know how cathartic it was, especially because I was writing them on my new laptop. Woot!

I was FINALLY able to migrate all the data from my old MacBook to the new one, and then I combined it with all the writing I’d been doing on my back up laptop, which was AMAZING. Like merging the old with the new. And upon looking back on the “older” story for The Iron Maiden (that I’d written on the old laptop), I found that I really liked it!

It’s amazing what, oh, 3 months of bonafide distance can do for a writer and her morale. So I feel super amped moving forward from here.

But in addition to working on The Iron Maiden, I’d also been working on The Books of Ezekiel series as a whole (including the books that follow The Iron Maiden, “Blood & Ink” and “The House of Death”).

What I read / watched / listened to these past 3 weeks: I definitely caught up on a lot of podcasts these past three weeks, as they were integral in both staying relaxed and staying inspired… while I relaxed, lol.

I watched more House of Cards and am pretty determined to take a long break after I’m done with Season 2. It’s a great show, but I can’t spend too much time in shark-infested waters, even if they aren’t real, because the shit is so depressing, lol. This is definitely a show that I need to watch as soon as each season airs, because there is no way that I’m fucking bingeing on this show ever again. I also started watching Stranger Things, which is a pretty good show! Totally binge-able.

I also started reading the Divergent Trilogy… the movie is better, so far, but I’m enjoying it in a “passive pleasure” sort of way.

What I researched / developed these past 3 weeks: So SO MUCH. To start, here’s what I’ve been cooking up for my author brands:

  • Story, backstory, worldbuilding, plot, characters, and trilogy design for the ASYLUM trilogy.
  • Story, backstory, plot, characters, and trilogy design for the FORGOTTEN trilogy. I also started writing the outline and am almost done with ACT I. But I have no clue where the story is going after that because I still need to build the world for Forgotten.
  • Pitch doc, story, backstory, plot, characters, and attempted trilogy design for another trilogy, the SENTIENT trilogy! I even finished outlining ACT I of the first book! Holy crap. (Though I definitely need this series to sit in my brain a bit more, and I need to do some active brainstorming around the concept.)
  • Choosing stock photos and planning covers for my “Hitmen of Happily Ever After” series (debut 2017!)… am strongly considering hiring someone from 99 designs to help me create or improve a series “template” including style, font, and layout, so that I can actually take over designing the covers myself!
  • Made some improvements to a Transcendent Trilogy project (still untitled) that’s currently sitting on my project slate, just waiting to be made love to. Um, can you say “Hong Kong biker gang werewolf trilogy”? Cannot wait. Had a dream about it that just gave me ALL the feels.
  • Developed concept art and website for my top-secret, erotic paranormal romance thriller author brand (which I will NEVER talk about on here just because I like to keep those worlds separate, for marketing reasons).
  • Outlined Act I and Act IIA for a historical drama screenplay I’m writing, The Empress. I hope I can make it super good and maybe even get it workshopped at Sundance. This is definitely a project I’d consider submitting to Nicholls once it’s polished perfect.
  • Started another creative project, currently called The Dreamer135 Project (title in progress, lol) and wrote my first 3-minute film as a part of it! The film I wrote is called “Like a Dalí”. The Dreamer135 Project is an attempt to get myself writing small, contained sci-fi, fantasy, action, and thriller films EVERY DAY. The films are based off my dreams, which are always pretty bizarre, fast-paced, and crazy, and they always have cliffhangers. I’m looking for a way to practice and upgrade my screenwriting skills, but also, I’d like to start honing my skills and vision as a film director. Writing, perfecting, casting, lighting, shooting, editing, and doing special effects for films that are super small, contained, and manageable is a perfect way to build my skill set, find my voice, and hone my brand as a multifaceted filmmaker. It will also train me for my bigger 2019 project: The Grid film trilogy!

Anyways, yass!! The trilogies and scribblings are strong in this one, y’all. I have a feeling that, after this arc of The Books of Ezekiel is complete and after I’ve successfully established the Hitmen of Happily Ever After series, Colby’s Age of Trilogies will be coming on STRONG (2017-2018)! Which is in perfect synchronicity with my upcoming Bohemian Badass courses. And speaking of…

I put in a lot of creative work on The Bohemian Badass this week as well, for example I:

  • Planned my first blog post, to debut this Wednesday (I hope!)
  • Finished creating the content for my free 15-day writing challenge “Writer’s UnBlocked: The Chapter Writing Edition”. The Pre-writing Edition is coming soon as well, as it is also near completion!
  • Co-hosted a live, 2-hour masterclass on Writing a Brilliant Book and Mastering Metaphor
  • Developed a bunch of tools for trilogy-writing, which led to the fact that I…
  • Continued developing my meaty, 10-module signature course “Write Trilogies Like a Badass” (which I started developing in the end of 2015 but needed more perspective)
  • Started developing another signature course “The Hero’s Journey: The Trilogy Edition”, and from there, I…
  • Started developing a 5-course mega bundle called “The Hero’s Journey: The Odyssey Omnibus”, where students will get the following courses (still in development):
    • Creating a Badass Hero: which is a character design course that helps you to create a really awesome, flawed, and compelling hero that readers will love and invest in.
    • Everything You Need to Know About The Hero’s Journey: this is a content course that breaks down the hero’s journey so that you can create journeys and character arcs for your characters that are rich, layered, and engaging
    • The Hero’s Journey: The Trilogy Edition: this course teaches you how to adapt the Hero’s Journey to the trilogy format
    • The Hero’s Journey: The Serial Edition: this course teaches you how to adapt the Hero’s Journey to the “serialized novel” or “serialized short” format (best for stories that are structured like Harry Potter or Breaking Bad, that have a continuing and evolving story line over a series of installments)
    • The Hero’s Journey: The Episodic Edition: this course teaches you how to adapt the Hero’s Journey to the episodic format (best for stories that follow a “Law and Order / Nancy Drew”, where the focus is mostly on plot or “mystery / murder / monster” of the day.)

Anyways… so yeah. I did a LOT before the school year jumped off, and I’m excited to see where all these things are going. I’m still trying to master the art of “focus and finish”, so that will be my challenge for the next year!

What I learned these past 3 weeks: I learned quite a bit these past two weeks. I finished three masterclasses, and started a big fourth masterclass, including:

  • How to Get the Cinematic Look” by Eric Thayne
  • Create Your First Infoproduct While Working Full-Time” by Regina Anaejionu (as a part of her awesome #InfopreneurMonth event).
  • 9 Legal Concerns for Infopreneurs” that was co-hosted with Lem the Lawyer
  • The 60-Day Author (Nick Stephenson)

All awesome classes, highly recommended. But of course, I also started grad school, and those classes, while longer, are also pretty baller and substantive. Here’s a bird’s eye view of what I’m taking:

  • Advanced Topics in Production Dramaturgy
  • Theatre Management
  • Dramatic Theory
  • Research Methods (in Theatre & Theatre Studies)

Needless to say, these classes are rockin’ my world right about now. What I like most about these courses is that half of them are building a strong research and theoretical foundation for my future work, and the other half of them are helping me to develop actual physical deliverables that support my portfolio!

In this last week alone, I created a dramaturgical program for and mock-curated a theatre show for a collection of some amazing, impactful political plays. And, Theatre Management, I created my FIRST production book for the stage! I really like holding the physical results of my hard work in my hands at the end of the day.

The grad courses take up the grand majority of my learning, but I’ll still be slowly and surely supplementing my education in my other areas of interest… like with those two writing courses I just bought from Aaron Sorkin and James Patterson.

SUMMER COURSES: Speaking of, I’m already planning my learning for this summer! From May 15 – August 18, I’m either going to intern full-time at a production house, or I’m going to spend the whole summer polishing up my scripts, learning about action-thriller filmmaking, and analyzing films! I’ve gathered ALL my screenwriting and film books, courses, blogs, podcasts, tutorials, and I’ve even created a weekly agenda for my learning. This is one of my many steps towards branching out into film production, while also still building my backlist of novels, series, and trilogies.

It’s a lot, but I’m enjoying it all. Onward and upward!

THIS WEEK’S HUSTLE (9/5/16 – 9/11/16)

What I’m writing: working on The Iron Maiden, both plot AND actual word count. No news there, but I’m DETERMINED to get this book out come hell or high water.

What I’m reading / watching / listening to: who knows? More podcasts definitely. I’m still working on finishing Divergent (and the rest of the trilogy) in my spare time. And I’m going to try to finish up Season 2 of House of Cards, work on Arrow, and check out Mr. Robot. BUT I’m also wanting to finish up Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, and crack open The Get Down. And of course, there’s the Walking Dead to catch up on.

Lol. So much good TV, so little time. Like, really. SO LITTLE TIME!

What I’m researching / developing: how to sleep better? I have no clue. My brain is fried right now.

What I’m learning: learning ’bout that grad school life! Yeah, like I said, grad school’s taking over my learning life right now. If I can squeeze some masterclasses in here and there, though, I’ll let y’all know!

WHEW! That was an insane number of words. Lots of stuff happening over in Colby-land, and I still have more adulting to do! What about you? Any updates? Hit me up and leave your comments below!

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

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Weekly Hustle & Creative Wins: WEEK 33 (8/15/16)

writing updates collage

THOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS

Today’s post is going to be mercifully short! Yaaay!!! Over the past week, it’s clear that I’ve slowed down to enjoy life and savor the fruits of my labor. Spent a lot of time with the little one and we explored many kid-friendly places around town, namely the library and the Children’s Museum. So much fun! She had a blast, and I got to just chill out for a minute, color, and be a kid right along with her!

And yes, I WILL be buying some coloring books in the next week or so… coloring is so soothing!

Generally, my creative overloading has lightened significantly in the past week to make room for the other pleasantries in life. Family, friends, nature… ICE CREAM. Speaking of, if you’re ever in Tucson, I highly HIGHLY recommend you go to this AH-MAY-ZING vegan ice cream shop called Cashew Cow. Holy crap. I’m in love with their coffee ice cream. But they have many flavors, and all their ice cream is made with NO dairy, only cashews, and it is delicious. And it leaves you gas-free!

And no, I’m not a vegan, but damned if I’m going to eat any other kind of ice cream from here on in!

When I have the money, I’d love to be an investor for this place. They only have one location so far, and I KNOW the owner would make a KILLING in NYC, LA, Seattle, Portland… omg. And not to mention getting the Cashew Cow brand into wholefood stores? MY GOD. Not only a Cashew Cow, but also a CASH Cow, y’all. #dontsleep #investorsgetyourmoneyup

Anyways, yes. Ice cream. Lol! Skipping through life! Being delightful as fuck!

It felt strange taking a little time off, but it allowed me to focus on my health, mindspace, and on my bond with my little one. But as of today, the Colby Creative Cray Choo-Choo train will be pulling out of the station again because I have to #adult like hell this week. And write. Getting geared up for classes, pulling my apartment together, doing some shopping (yummy food and yummy outfits), making and sitting appointments, talking to all my friends back home for the last time in a while, GRADUATE ORIENTATION… !!!! Just stuff. Plus writing. Plus business bossing.

Plus buying books, of course!

Anyways, here’s:

LAST WEEK’S HAUL (8/8/16 – 8/14/16)

What I wrote: More plotting for all the character storylines in The Iron Maiden. That’s pretty much ALL I did. My goal is to finish EVERYONE’S plot by the end of August.

What I read / watched / listened to: FINISHED How to Get Away with Murder, and while I love the series, the resolution of the main plot felt pretty weak to me. 😛 There are also a lot of things that happen in the season that, to me, feel like “jumping the shark” a bit. Certain things and liaisons that occur only to serve the plot and not to focus on character development. STILL, I stay tuned, which is the important part. I’m also catching up with House of Cards occasionally. I’m still two and a half full seasons behind, but I’m totally cool with that. This series is still SO friggin’ good!

What I researched / developed: I worked on The Bohemian Badass website this week, just trying to organize and streamline a bunch of things. I also created a great Facebook group for all the Badasses who will be apart of the Bohemian Badass community! Aside from that, much of my focus has been on “adulting”, lol! And developing my personal organization and mind space. Just trying to tie up a few loose ends before school starts!

What I learned this week: I actually didn’t do any real delving into classes this week, if you can believe it. I reviewed a class from last week, and I started a few lessons from the “Email Marketing for Authors” course, but nothing too intense or invested. I was in total chill mode. Maybe this coming week, though, I’ll take something light.

THIS WEEK’S HUSTLE (8/15/16 – 8/22/16)

What I’m writing: Still more plotting and writing for The Iron Maiden. Can’t stop, won’t stop. I’ll probably start writing some of my other series as well.

What I’m reading / watching / listening to: I’m cruising through House of Cards, but I’m definitely also checking out Mr. Robot this week.

What I’m researching / developing: I’ll be focusing on the plotting and world development for other projects, namely, the ASYLUM trilogy, the FORGOTTEN trilogy, and the Hitmen of Happily Ever After fairy-tale revamp series! If I can have as many books as possible published by the end of 2017 in each of these series, I’ll be a super happy camper.

I’ll also be finishing up my work on the Metaphor Maven signature course, as I’d taken a nice, NEEDED break from it the past two weeks, lol.

What I’m learning: I’ll probably take two light courses this week. I’m looking at delving more deeply into the “Email Marketing for Authors: Savvy Authors Sell More” by Cathy Presland and Nick Stephenson’s “Author Marketing Machine”. I’m sure you can tell from the titles that marketing is the theme here, lol! I just sort of randomly selected these from my list of courses to take, because they are both light courses that sort of review many things I know, but that will also introduce some new concepts too.

Still, they both sound promising!

See? Wasn’t that delightfully short? It pays to relax on one’s grind every so often and to just take life as it comes! What about you, though? Have you been on your grind, hustle, and flow this week, or was it time to wander off the beaten path for a bit? How’d it work out for you? Leave your comments and thoughts below! <3

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

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