MANW: April Month-End Recap

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This month was unusual on multiple levels. For starters, I went on a writer’s retreat to catch a break, and I decided to pledge for CampNaNoWriMo. Then, life happened and all the things I didn’t plan for that were above and beyond the norm. Travel. 99+ Notifications. Emotional upheaval. Problem-solving. Friends and family. And then, the little things started to slip, because deadlines don’t stop for anybody. I did make art, and I had a lot of fun painting, lettering, and diving into my original stories. It remained a priority for me, but I wound up making up for lost time. This, to me, was a sign that Make Art Not War was working, because I treated it like a commitment that I couldn’t ignore.

Now, on the other side of this, I just want to make art and get myself sorted. In May, I am taking a break from Facebook and Twitter. Work-related announcements and posts will still go live, but I’m not and can’t check in for personal use. I really need the silence right now, and am looking forward to diving into the pile.

With that in mind, here’s how I did:

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.

April 2017 Challenge Recap

  • Due to unforeseen events, making art every day was a challenge. I did add extra hours on a couple of Saturdays, but there were a few points when I didn’t feel like making art at all.
  • Motivation was a problem for part of this month. I was willing, but that wasn’t enough to close the loop between “Here’s an idea!” and “Here’s all this shit going on!” So, I treated myself to one or two days off where I did nothing but play Pokemon Go and wander around. Following those short breaks, that drastically helped my motivation. Self-care is crucial to
  • Tracking didn’t happen. In fact, I’m realizing this is the first thing to go.
  • Social media time wasn’t managed, but I don’t feel that impacted my motivation or my mood. Monitoring it was a distraction, tapped into my need to remain informed, and an emotional release when the ending was in sight.

I did feel another shift when I started working out more, and that helped to turn things around as well. I don’t feel this month was a loss, and I do think I did just about as well as I could have.

SPEED Theme Recap

April’s theme was SPEED. As an optional theme, I thought this was fun when I needed a boost. Where the theme didn’t work, however, is when I was unfocused or didn’t have a clear image of what I was making in my mind. The increased rates of production worked out great for me when I knew what I was doing, and I feel this is something to keep in mind for the future. While word sprints can help get past writer’s block, the main issue with them is that, for me, a clear lack of direction results in wasted words.

That’s it for April. May starts tomorrow, and I’ll reveal the new theme then. Thanks for reading!

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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