Artistical Exploration is what I named this blog & that’s what I want it to be about - exploring artistry in it’s varied glory. At the same time I have a great deal to say & contribute on the business end of things for artists, writers, & online shopkeepers. The trick is to figure out how to properly balance that in. It’s far too easy to get carried away talking shops. Too often I’d sit down to write about something specific, only to find my mind playing this cruel game where it likes to plague me with thoughts on stuff not relevant to what I’ve sat down to write about. That isn’t too bad when working on fiction projects because the deadlines on those are less daily centric in nature. When blogging however it can downright screw my days blog work, especially when I feel it’s time to whip up a post on artistic matters. Which it has many times.
This past year I’ve been discovering that with my projects I need clearly defined goals and some kind of standard operating procedure. Yet at the same time, I need major flexibility to deal with random unpredictable life bits and a disobedient muse. She shows up fine, it’s just she usually shows up confused about what’s due when. So scheduling has been a dastardly affair. I fully expect my muse is trainable, however housebreaking her this year has been rough. Suppose it helps to now realize this is in fact what I’ve been trying to do. See clearly defined goals.
The goal of attempting a proper wordcount regularly has thus far helped since deciding to go for that. It’s not yet where I want it to be, but the improvements are manifesting. Yay!
In my silly ambitiousness, I attempted to cut the business angle out of this blog as well as out of my Facebook page, via starting a new blog & facebook page for that. Wow, did that get time consuming fast!! I wound up not having time for anything else for a few days. * I went into the process of shutting it down. That project will not stop haunting me, though. So I'm trying to figure out how to find the right balance for it. It's called Indy Shopkeeper Chat [the column on this blog | the FB group | more content will be available on my RedGage account] Putting more on my plate than I currently have balanced out can tip the sucker over. One Twitter, one FB page, one main blog (I say it that way cuz posting things like help topics, my poetry, & Decadent Angels or any webcomics, should have their own bloggy homes not diluting what I’m trying to achieve with this one), etc. is a great goal to shoot for though not always as cleanly practical as I'd like.Wisely I did not attempt that extra blog & FB page in that same way for more than those few days. Unfortunately, about the time I started that extra blog my ability to add or edit the gadgets in any thing I have hosted via Blogger vaporized. That bug better get resolved soon or I may pop a blood vessel. [I'll have to test it in different browsers etc.]*
Now the plan to balance in the business junk consists of: -The intent to post an indy shopkeeping column as close to weekly as I can make happen. Said column may be a highlight round-up of Indy Shopkeeper Chat activity. *
-Re-purposing & changing the way I handle the Indy Shop Chat on Facebook *
-The intent to host a semi-regular chat about that stuff on Twitter – using the #indyshopchat tag (yes I made that up) in conjunction with the beautimous tweetchat app
-Occasionally haunting the various relevant forums (not done much of that prior).
“Haha! That’s all well and good smartypants but what’s to make us think it’s enough to bust outta this bloggy rut?” you might say. Fair point. Over last weekend I had a serious break through in my epic war against my disobedient organization process, and my productivity in the days since that have been most pleasing to little old me. Granted this break through has been building for awhile, small battles have been won by me regularly for the last month or so.
These small battles have been things like -Useful databases
I setup to help me keep track of what I should be on top of and how on top of it I am.
More are needed but it’s a good start. One of these databases tracks my blog posting. With categories like date last updated, name of blog, blog host, general topics & motivation. It disturbs me that there are 11 on there AFTER the great trimming I did. But this will reveal what ought to go into each blog and which ones won’t make it through the next round of cuts. Most of those blogs are the stuff that comes with accounts like Facebook & Myspace etc.
Proper shop tending logs.
These help me keep track of what I’ve done & when in a particular shop I manage & what needs to be done in future shopkeeping sessions, also it’s a good way to notate what kind of art I need to be working on for them.
There were of course many other small conquests, however it’s the big ones I ought to talk about now. There were 2 huge battles totally trounced last weekend. And they were such simple changes, I can’t help but feel the words “stupid oversight” creeping through me brainmeats.
Epic Victory #1
Through the course of my work day I frequently come up with some little important bit that needs to be documented for handy reference. Formerly this consisted of tons of looseleaf sheets scattered about my house as I’m butt-deep in a project, things get re-shuffled constantly as I work on different stuff. Hunting down the correct notebook or piece of paper I need would eat endless hours out of each week’s work and often put the Muse down for a nap. Granted this would not have been as large of an issue if most of my life had not involved frequent moves.
So there I was trying to sort out a bunch of these papers & file them. Many of them were not practical to be filed since I need to access them instantly on the fly without breaking my train of thought, rifling through a file or stack of random papers looking for a frequently used reference sheet or for my time sheet when trying to create is detrimental at best. Suddenly I remembered I have an empty binder upstairs. Audible forehead smack follows. I ran up there and snatched it outta my art studio. Next I began putting the most hunted for sheets in there.
Then when there was enough sheets in there to warrant it, I labeled some generic post-its and sectioned it off, sure the post-its are less elegant than separators, but I needed it organized right away. I don’t even want to get into how much time that has saved me this week alone. Epic. Victory.
Epic Victory #2My OS is Windows 7 on this cheapy laptop we have (we have my 6 year old computer too, but getting on & off it takes too long & it’s hard disk space & RAM are too low for practical everyday use). With Windows 7 came a simple but great little program called Sticky Notes. Basically it’s like post-its for your desktop. I use them regularly with several useful things stuck to the desktop.
It suddenly occurred to me this weekend to start one for “what I’m doing right now!” Major. One of the biggest problems I’ve had is: more often than not it’s far too easy to get distracted, lose focus, or just plain forget what the crap I’m doing. There is a bit of a need to jot down stuff more specific than what is practical to put to paper, plus I want it in order but it needs to be able to be easily moved around. Regular files have been less accessible for this purpose, they lacked any sense of immediacy, and it’s far too easy to bog regular files down, etc.
Of course the list started to get long pretty quick so having a second “soon” sticky note to transfer items back to the Right Now file as time becomes available, and for any goal type thing that wound up in there (as opposed to actual task). Again epic victory.
Who’s already doing some of these things? What works for you in keeping your creative & related business efforts in check this way? What’s been holding you back with a project lately? Have you had a really simple change have such a huge effect on your process? Did it make you smack your forehead when you finally realized what simple change would do that?