Weekly Status: June 29, 2018

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Photo by vedanti on Pexels.com

To keep myself accountable, I have chosen to post about my creative progress each week.  Although you may not be invested in the details of my progress (or lack thereof), I hope you can take from my updates some ideas on developing your own personal accountability method.

Writing

Blogging

I think lowering my target posts by one took a bit of pressure off me this week although I struggled a bit to get my fifth post in, probably because I had a false sense of ease to accomplish my goal.  I know five posts per week fits well into my work, home and creativity schedule, I know now that I cannot take the effort I need to put forth in my posts for granted.  

Next week’s target: Post 5 of 7 days

Fiction

I spent quite a bit of time this past weekend working on my novel.  I set aside a few specific times to work on my writing and committed to writing, outlining, or thinking about writing while avoiding doing absolutely anything else.  I did some of the writing outside and when I had that urge to check my e-mail or jump over to a browser, I held myself back and just stared at the trees and clouds until I could refocus on writing.  I am now working on setting aside more time during the week to work on my novel and other writing projects.

Next week’s target:  3 hours brainstorming and outlining

Photography

No photography work again this week, but at least I don’t feel guilty for leaving this out.  Maybe I’ll have time and an urge to play around in the next few days.

Next week’s target:  Playing around for for as much time as I want

Coding

I completed the rework of one my main views to a static view, at least everything that was in the dynamic view.  This week I will be working on adding even more components to the project in this view.  My plans are getting a bit complex but the good part for me is that each piece can be segmented into smaller chunks.  Not only does this makes it easier to work on but as I complete each segment I am rewarded with the satisfaction of making real progress.

Next week’s target:  Complete three more sections in the static tableview

Videography

Although I’ve completed the script I have not jumped back into the Motion project yet.  I expect to spend time this week mapping out the project with placeholders to see how the flow works.  This will also provide some basic Motion practice since I am still quite the novice and it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve done anything in motion.

Next week’s target:  Map out the entire project using placeholders.

Have you started any new creative projects?  How are you fitting these in to your likely already packed life?

Character Assassination

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I still subscribe to and read the very first writing newsletter I discovered when starting my fiction writing journey.  Randy Ingermanson’s Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine had an interesting article this month about Ad Hominem Attacks on Your Protagonist.  You may be more familiar with the term character assassination which is a type of ad hominem attack.

Randy defines ad hominem attacks and provides an number of examples to provide a clear context.  He also make a strong case for adding this type of obstacle to your own writing toolbox.

You can find a link to the June 2018 e-zine here.

If you haven’t heard of Randy, The Snowflake Method or advancedfictionwriting,com I encourage you to give this month’s e-zine a look and when you’re done explore the rest of his site.  He has a vast amount of material for any fiction writer.

If you’ve heard of the Snowflake Method, have you used it in your writing?  Was it useful or not?

Weekly Status: June 22, 2018

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To keep myself accountable, I have chosen to post about my creative progress each week.  Although you may not be invested in the details of my progress (or lack thereof), I hope you can take from my updates some ideas on developing your own personal accountability method.

Writing

Blogging

I’m getting into a good rhythm with my blog posts.  Now into my 3rd week I made five more posts and have decided this is the right number that gives me enough time to complete my other responsibilities with enough time left over to work on my other interests.  Going forward I have adjusted my target to 5 posts each week.

Next week’s target: Post 5 of 7 days

Fiction

I worked a little more on my novel but not as much as I wanted.  I’m finding it difficult to sit down and do the work as I become distracted with other projects.  I read an interesting bit of advice about writing time this week.  (I cannot recall where or who originally said it, so if you know could you post a comment so I can give the author credit!  Edit:  I found the article I ready on The Art of Blogging.  The quote is by Raymond Chandler and included in the article Don’t Think, Just Write! by Cristian Mihai)  The gist is that during your set writing time you need to write.  If you aren’t writing you shouldn’t be doing anything else.  Period.  Your alternative to writing during this time is thinking about your writing or staring at the wall.  I’m going to give it a try this weekend.

Next week’s target:  3 hours brainstorming and outlining

Photography

I didn’t work on photography at all this week.  For now, I’m leaving this creative category as a “nice to have” and will play around with tutorials and practicing on my own photos when the impulse strikes me.

Next week’s target:  Playing around for for as much time as I want

Coding

I began reworking one of the complex views in my project.  I originally had it as a dynamic tableview but have since determined that it should really be a static tableview and insert dynamic tableviews within certain sections of the static table view as needed.  I’m sure if you are not into coding all you probably read was “blah, blah, blah-blah, and blah!”

Next week’s target:  Complete the change to a static tableview

Videography

I completed the script for my Motion project.  The best part about writing the script rather than jumping in head first to build the project was coming up with alternative ideas on how to present the full concept.  Near the end, I originally thought the animal shelter would rise from the ground, but as I finished up the script I came up with what I think will be a better way to show the shelter moving from idea to reality.  Now comes the fun part—getting my hands dirty in Motion!

Next week’s target:  Map out the entire project in Motion.

What projects are you passionate about this week?  Are you finding time and success in your creative adventures?

More Misses than Hits: My Weekly Update

To keep myself accountable, I have chosen to post about my creative progress each week.  Although you may not be invested in the details of my progress (or lack thereof), I hope you can take from some ideas on developing your own personal accountability method.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Writing

Blogging

I fell short of my target and only had four posts this week.  This first week of summer activities from outdoor chores to fun after work weekly activities ate in to my writing time.  I’ve taken a look at how these activities impact my writing time and have adjusted my writing schedule to accommodate them.  I know with these adjustments I can hit my goal of six posts this coming week.  I certainly don’t want to miss out on the summer fun!

Next week’s target: Post 6 of 7 days

Fiction

I had little time for my novel but was a able to complete a Flash Fiction piece which I posted on Wednesday.  I’m not sure I’ll be spending much time outside in the 90 degree heat and high humidity this weekend, so my novel will be at the forefront of projects I will work on this weekend.

Next week’s target:  3 hours brainstorming and outlining

Photography

I spent a couple hours rewatching some of the Affinity Photo Video Tutorials.  I want to keep learning and have found that I get more out of each tutorial on a second and third view.  Much of this comes from a better understanding of the overall process and being able to take what I learn from one  tutorial to help me better understand others.

Next week’s target:  1 to 2 hours of tutorials and practice

Coding

I worked through most of the UICollectionView tutorial I wanted to complete this week.  My next step is incorporating what I learned in my own project.

Next week’s target:  3 hours, minimum with the goal of understanding Collection Views

Videography

I’m still working on the script for my Motion project.  I am targeting completion again this week because I am at a stage where I don’t want to put too much work into the Motion project until I have a clear understanding of the storyline.  I’m sure as I dig in to the actual animation I’ll have some story tweaks here and there but what I want to avoid is major structure changes.

Next week’s target:  Complete the script

I hope you are finding success with your own projects.  I’d be interested in knowing how you stay on target to complete your projects.

Staying on Target: My Weekly Update

To keep myself accountable, I have chosen to post about my creative progress each week. Although you may not be invested in the details of my progress (or lack thereof), I hope you can take from some ideas on developing your own personal accountability method.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Writing

Blogging

I’m proud of the fact that I have posted five times over the first seven days in June. With renewed commitment to my blog, I planned to post six of seven days. I nearly reached my goal for this first week. To stay on target, I am starting out the next seven days with this post on schedule, two more drafted and another sketched out.

Next week’s target: Post 6 of 7 days

Fiction

Getting back into my fiction project has been a struggle. I decided to go back to my first successful NaNoWriMo project from several years ago. That November I wrote 50,000 words without an outline, so it’s incomplete and quite a mess. I love the idea of this book and am now returning to outline the story. My biggest hurdle is the middle. It’s always been the middle. I have a clear picture in my mind of the beginning and the end, but the middle is causing me fits. Each time I sit down to work on the outline I am easily distracted.

Next week’s target: 3 hours uninterrupted brainstorming and outlining

Photography

I spent a few hours viewing Affinity Photo Video Tutorials and applying what I learned to my own images. I’m improving on a technical level and in my understanding of how to select and apply adjustments. There is still so much to learn, particularly on the “whys” and “whens”—for example, why should I use a curve adjustment over an exposure or brightness adjustment, or when should I apply a high pass filter first? More about this in tomorrow’s post.

Next week’s target: 1 to 2 hours of tutorials and practice

Videography

My current project is a Motion piece for the senior pet rescue where my wife works. I am currently doing some testing of the action sequences and drafting the script. As I move along in the script, I am realizing this is more of an undertaking than I originally pictured. I have figured out some motion paths and a cool particle effect but these still need loads of fine detail work. As a draft, I am liking how it is coming together. The rescue just began construction on their new shelter buildings this week, and I would love them to use this as a promo video about their new permanent home so time is of the essence to complete this project well before they move in.

Next week’s target: Complete the script

Coding

I dedicated most of my free time to blogging this week to ensure I met that goal. Not much time was left for other pursuits so coding fell by the wayside. Unfortunately, at my learning stage of coding, not keeping up with learning and practice results in significant steps backwards.

Next week’s target: 3 hours, minimum with the goal of understanding Collection Views

 

Good luck with your personal goals for the week. I will post an update on my target progress next Friday.  I’m interested to hear more about the projects you are working on, so feel free to share in the comments.

A Don’t Miss Serialized Book Preview

Wondering if you have the gumption to be an artist or if you will remain an amateur  hobbyist?  You may want to check out the books by Steven Pressfield, the author of notable non-fiction bestsellers about writing including The War of Art, Turning Pro, Do The Work and Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh*t as well as bestselling novels such as The Legend of Bagger Vance and Gates of Fire.

Hero’s Journey or Artist’s Journey?

If you are a writer, you already know about the hero’s journey, but did you realize the artist makes a similar path of discovery?

Currently, subscribers to Steven Pressfield’s blog, are being treated to an advanced, serialized version of his upcoming and currently titled book “The Artist’s Journey”.  As a person exploring your creative side for personal enjoyment or something to share with the world, you may want to signup and see how Steven’s take on becoming an artist applies to your life’s creative pursuits.

You can find the current post, episode #17, here which provides links to all the previous posts in the series.

Something New: Video Color Correction

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Photo by Pixabay on Pixabay.com

Today’s post is the first in a series about something new I’ve learned this week.

I’ve been a frequent visitor to Izzy Video for over a year now and relatively recently became a full fledged Mastery Group Member. One of my renewed creative pursuits is videography and editing.

Color Correction

I spent last week taking Izzy’s latest course on Color Correction in Final Cut Pro.  Even if you have been working with Final Cut Pro for a while, using and understanding all the color correction filters, effects and features may be something you have skipped over or haven’t had time to learn.

The new color correction course is awesome.  Izzy demonstrates the basic color correction techniques before plunging into more advanced topics including blending, masking and setting up your own presets that can be used on different clips or even completely separate projects.  I love Izzy’s training style.  He doesn’t just show you how to use the tools but weaves the whys and whens of an experienced editor so you can also understand the thought process in play with each color adjustment.

If you have been looking to add Color a Correction skills to your digital editing bag of tricks, I highly recommend checking out this course. Even if you don’t use Final Cut Pro, many of the skills will likely cross over to other editing software.  I even learned a few things that I am certain can translate to photo editing, too.

How I Found Izzy

I’ve been creating the annual fundraising video for the animal rescue where my wife works for the past couple of years.  I used Final Cut Express years ago and various versions of iMovie more recently.  For last year’s video, I made the leap to professional software.  I wanted finer control and added flexibility so I could produce a more professional and engaging final product.

Although I’ve had a decent amount of experience with digital editing, I needed a quick course to familiarize myself with Final Cut Pro.  That’s when I discovered Izzy Video.

Izzy offers a free Basic Final Cut Pro course covering everything from understanding the interface to exporting your final project in thirty-six video clips spanning over two and a half hours.  The intro course got me up to speed enough to complete my project while showing me there was so much more to learn.

If you have a chance to jump over to Izzy’s site, check out all his course offerings and his blog.  Occasionally he will offer a new course that includes both prerecorded clips as well as a couple live workshops where you can complete the project along side Izzy while having your questions answered live.  If you cannot make the live sessions, he provides recorded versions so you can follow long on your own schedule.  I loved his Intro to Motion Course and hope he offers an Advanced Motion course soon.

If you want to learn more about Final Cut, Motion or digital editing in general, I encourage you check out Izzy Video.  If you have other sources for digital editing training, I’d love to read your recommendations in the comments section.

If you are interested in the senior pet rescue I mentioned above, please visit Young At Heart Senior Pet Adoptions at  www.adoptaseniorpet.com.  The video I produced last year, There’s No Place Like Home, can be found on Young At Heart’s YouTube page

 

I have no relationship with and have not been compensated in any way from Izzy Video. I just love the work he is doing.

Why Midlife Creativity

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I started Midlife Creativity because I needed a place to be more creativity than I could be in my career and busy home life. I missed my creative side which I mostly forced to the back of my personality since graduating from college. Recently, I longed to express my creative side which re-emerged through writing, something I never explored much in my younger days. I could feel it growing inside me. It was something I yearned to do.

Beginnings

My creative path through life stemmed from being a child of the 70s, a teen of the 80s and emerging into adulthood in the 90s. As a child creativity was ingrained in me. Parents and teachers encouraged our imaginations, exploration, and questions. They left us to figure out life by being kids. We had some responsibilities, but nothing like what you see with some kids today. We were kids, and we acted like it.
Moving into the teen years, the world changed around us. It became more of a push to discover what career you wanted followed by years of studying to make your career choice a reality. The pressure was on to be more successful than your family before you. I never felt that pressure from my family but in many respects I felt it from my peers, teachers and other grown-ups.
In college, even creative subjects were about turning these skills into a career. As a film/television major it didn’t seem like the best way to develop creativity in society. Luckily this approach has changed in the twenty-five years since I graduated. My focus at the time, from the pressure I felt to build a career, had always been on the business side of film. I used my creative side for the required individual and group projects, but, looking back, I never expressed it to its full potential at the time.

What is Midlife Creativity?

Everyone needs creative outlets. Life cannot be all work and responsibilities. Creativity is fun. It’s new. It’s originating. It’s problem solving. Creativity is too many things to name but emerges through your passions and your interests. It’s vital to a well rounded life regardless of how you personally express your own creativity.
“Midlife” means accepting that no matter your current stage in life, whether you’re twenty-something or ninety-something, you can always reignite your creative spark. Forget that you may have pushed creativity out of your life due to time and other commitments. The time is now to take it back.
I don’t think of “midlife” as a midpoint in time. I think of “midlife” as a turning point, a fork in life’s road. It is here where we make a choice to commit some of the time in our busy schedules to develop, grow and learn new or old creative pursuits, giving them the time they deserve.

Which fork will I take?

I’ve committed myself to the several creative pursuits; probably too many to take on at one time but they have all become my passions—writing, coding, videography and photography. Who knows what I may take up next year.
I have two main goals for this blog. First, to scream to the world that it doesn’t matter when you begin or restart your creative journey. What matters is that you take that first step and every step thereafter to create the best work you can.
Second, to develop a creative community. Creativity can be lonely. We create within ourselves before putting the ideas to canvas, paper, clay, or the pixels of an electronic device. Having a community to support and provide feedback before releasing our work into the world can make all the difference to one’s success. Midlife Creativity can be such a community by helping each other experience the freeing sensation of letting our work out into the world where it can have an impact others.
I want this site to be a beacon of hope for those who need to express their creative side but feel it may be too late. It’s never too late to do what you want in life. Pick up your pen, brush or stylus. Turn to a blank page in a notebook, open a laptop, set up your tripod or place a canvas on an easel. You’re Ready. You’re Set. Now Go! Be creative.

Will you join me on this journey? What creative pursuits ignite your passions and what new ones have you longed to learn?