Over the past couple of months, I’ve been pretty quiet in posting much of anything other than my weekly movie review. It’s not necessarily that I didn’t have anything to say, it’s that taking the time to turn my thoughts into anything that would make a modicum of sense has been elusive, mostly due to a lack of motivation. Part of this, I think, stems from the struggles I’ve been encountering in getting Phoenix Moirai out into the public consciousness and turning new contacts into actual clients. I knew going in that it was going to be an extremely steep and laborious climb, but with the reality of it all settling into place, and my current revenue stream beginning to dry up, you can see how this might make me feel a little insignificant and powerless.
But, I’ve been working hard to climb out of the hole of obscurity. I’ve been attending networking events, Chamber events, and doing everything in my power to stay positive. God doesn’t give anyone more than they can handle and over the last couple of months, I’ve done a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong, but now that I know what not to do, or what I can do better, I can move forward with a much better footing. I am very grateful to those who have requested my services so far, and will continue to do everything I can to leave my comfort zone, build my network with worthwhile contacts and find a strong foothold in this crazy world of small business, entrepreneurship and creative endeavors.
Speaking of which, I have some terrific news to report. Having only a few small projects come in every now and then has given me time to do a few things that I probably wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. This includes learning the ins and outs of After Effects, a program I once thought would take me forever to learn on my own, but actually turned out to be right in my wheelhouse (which, come to think of it, I should have realized to begin with, since it is an Adobe product).
Like any other new program, opening it up for the first time is a daunting prospect. But after watching a very well-done video series from tuts.com, I’m much more comfortable with the program and feel more confident in exploring the system and learning everything it has to offer. There are definitely a few things I need to get used to, such as how to effectively use the camera operations and learning all of the different effects that come included with the program (and all of the different settings that come with each of the effects), but the majority of the program is very similar to other programs I already use and am very familiar with. And, of course, as I continue to practice and learn different ways of doing things that work best for me, I can add After Effects to my growing repertoire of skills.
But you probably couldn’t care less about all of that mumbo-jumbo. The only reason you clicked on this post was to find out about this:
As of yesterday afternoon, I have officially completed the first draft of my next novel, Memoirs of Keladrayia, the second book in my four-part Jaxxa Rakala saga!
What does that mean? It means I’m about twenty-five percent finished with the actual book. Because of the way I write, the first draft is usually the simple act of spewing my thoughts out onto the page. There isn’t any real or meaningful character depth just yet, and as I’ve discussed in an earlier post, there are a lot (and I mean A LOT) of inconsistencies from the first page to the last, mostly due to the characters having taken me places I never thought of until I got there with them. I have plenty of notes on these issues (that run the gamut from minor to major), and will now need to go back through and implement them accordingly.
In so doing, I will be adding and rearranging chapters, deleting anything from a piece of dialogue to entire paragraphs, as well as taking a much harder look at dialogue, descriptions, character development and themes that run through the story. Basically, I’ll be starting from scratch, as I will be seriously overhauling the entire text. If I were to describe it in another way, my second draft is a first draft for most other writers.
But that’s how I like to work. I like to get everything down on paper as my thoughts come to me, and then go back and create. For me, the first draft is grabbing the clay I’m going to need to build with and piling it up until I’ve got what I need. The second draft is then about molding and shaping that clay into a piece of art that resembles what it was always meant to be. From there, I can then fine-tune (additional rewrites) and add in all of the intricate necessities (editing) before placing it in the kiln and solidifying it (publishing).
So, there’s still quite a bit of work to do. The good news is, now that I have it all written in some form or another, procrastination and lack of inspiration (which plagued me quite often) won’t be an issue anymore — at least as much as they were before when there was just a blank page staring back at me — so the writing will go a lot faster from here on out, especially if my double-edged sword remains sharp (translation: Phoenix Moirai clients remain few and far between, which gives me a lot of time to write, but no money to pay the bills!)
I’m hoping that, now that I’m one draft closer to finishing the novel, I’ll be able to release it by the end of November. It isn’t the summer as I had originally planned, but at least it’s not just standing still, half finished, collecting pixel dust alongside a few other novels and screenplays I’ve started and left unfinished (for now). I may be lacking somewhat in motivation due to my business (or lack thereof), but that’s never stopped me from working as hard as I can to turn my dreams into my reality.
As a wise man once said, “Never give up. Never surrender!”
I don’t intend to.