MANW Week 13: Month-End Recap

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Good morning, challengers! If you’re just joining us, you can check out the full set of rules for my Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge. As always, this challenge isn’t about me–it’s about you. Hopefully, these posts are motivating you to make art and find your light.

Time to revisit my pledge!

My Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge pledge:

  • I pledge to devote one hour a day to my original art.
  • If I don’t feel motivated, I pledge to write down the reasons why I wanted to take this challenge for fifteen minutes or one-to-three pages whichever comes first.
  • I pledge to mark down on the calendar whenever I complete a day’s efforts.
  • As the challenge creator, I pledge to create a weekly accountability post every Wednesday beginning on January 9th. Comments will be open. Hashtag #makeartnotwar2017 #manw2017
  • I pledge to check into social media twice a week for personal use, and once a month with my local community of artists and writers.

March 2017 Challenge Recap

  • I had no problem making art every day.
  • Motivation hasn’t been a problem. Sometimes, I do feel out of the loop because I haven’t been online as much. The only way forward, however, is to make art. Can’t sell a blank page!
  • Tracking? Eh, I fell off the wagon there. House guests, trip/con planning, and the pain and agony of adulting really soured my mood. More on this shortly.
  • Social media? TOTALLY MANAGED. (Finally! YAY!) Future community time? Also planned.

All in all, I think this was a fairly productive challenge month. I felt my priorities shifting 100% to work (which is good) and more reading (which is very good). Doing that, allowed me to better spend my free time knowing I am doing everything I can to get shit done. That’s a good feeling!

Adulting blows, because it’s boring as hell and it’s not as exciting as writing a new story or making a gift for someone. But, it is part of being human on planet Earth, unfortunately, which means that it’s necessary to offset that filing/appointments/life, the universe, and everythingTM decision-making crap with a reminder of the good stuff. That can be hard in today’s climate, but no matter what age we’re in that little bit of light can be found.

PLANT Theme Recap

March’s theme was PLANT. I decided on this theme to ease off of “big picture” planning and focus on the small stuff–especially after February’s ORGANIZE theme. PLANT encouraged you to spend this month accomplishing small, mini-goals. Even if you did a handful, that adds up quick! And, knocking off a few minor to-do list items can help build your confidence as an artist, too.

To tap into PLANT-ing the seeds for my future, I focused on outlining–which isn’t something I normally do. Then, I started working on a few scenes for each story just to get started in preparation for Camp NaNoWriMo. I also revisited my “morgue”, which is where my stories go to die, and the 100s of e-mails I have filled with story ideas. From there, once I grab ideas from the dozens of journals I have lying around, I’ll probably put together a spreadsheet. I’ve also marked down two settings I need to create setting bibles for; they are massive, massive lumbering beasts that can populate games, stories, comics, etc. Additionally, I did focus on spring cleaning, organizing my art supplies more, and I started taking stock of my beads. I do have a rough idea of how long a household project will take me, however, and that definitely helps me plan my day.

Out of this, what I learned was that outlines for fiction don’t come naturally to me, because I’ve always been more of a gardener (as opposed to an architect) when it comes to telling stories. My solution to writing has always been to write until I internalize what I need to, and I always wanted to try new approaches to see if I’d get longer projects done faster. Outlines have helped me recognize a story’s potential for conflict and character motivation, which are two things that are often lacking in stories if you’ve worked in games for as long as I have.

For some novels and long-term projects I’m working on outlines are essential; they’re also necessary in the world of media/tie-in for approvals, too. In the past, I’ve worked off one-to-three paragraph pitches for short stories, but now that my productivity cycle is longer? I have to use them–especially since I can’t drop everything to work on “one” project for months at a time. That would be glorious, if that were the case, but to stay in business I have to do more than one thing.

For April, I am embracing Camp NaNoWriMo and am in a cabin with other writers from my agency. April’s theme will be SPEED! It takes inspiration from the many one hour, one thousand words writing sprints the NaNoWriMo team conducts. Watch for my upcoming post about how (and why) this theme can be a lot of fun!

    Mood: Focused like sharks with laser beams on their head.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: I stopped counting.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Housework
    In My Ears: Nada
    Game Last Played: Final Fantasy X-2 Remastered
    Book Last Read: The Oracle
    Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: ONCE Upon a Time
    Latest Artistic Project: Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge and Rules
    Latest Releases: In Volo’s Wake for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Read my end-of-the-year list of releases for an overview of what I’ve put out for 2016.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. New project update coming this month!

Monica Valentinelli is an author, artist, and narrative designer who writes about magic, mystery, and mayhem. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.

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