After several weeks of high summer temperatures, the weather turned a bit cooler this past week. I'm very appreciative of the drop in temperatures as I prefer autumn and winter over summer. But the change has also put me in a mood to work on other projects, some old and others new. During the past few months, my focus has been on the work required to launch the first novel in my fantasy series which is geared towards a young adult/new adult audience. I have always been a fan of fantasy stories, particularly high fantasy adventures which introduce readers to new worlds and cultures and lore. But I have also been equally a fan of supernatural and horror-based stories and folklore, and I have several projects which lean more towards these darker themes which I want to spend time on this fall.
I spent a little bit of time looking at cabins for sale in the mountains this week. It's been months since I last did this, and I certainly wasn't looking with any particular seriousness this time around. But it's still entertaining to see what is available and imagining moving out to the middle of the woods. The past couple of weeks have been disappointing and frustrating for me, and the mountains have always brought me a sense of comfort and peace which I do not find elsewhere. Unfortunately, I don't have the ability to take a few days off and visit my place of retreat right now. So what is it about the mountains that I can't find elsewhere?
Many people in my life don't understand why I get so discouraged and frustrated over missing self-imposed deadlines. But nearly everything in our lives is structured around dates and deadlines, whether you're talking work, school, appointments, sales, applications, or even taxes. There are deadlines or cutoff dates for everything! And by setting deadlines, I am trying to elevate my writing and creative pursuits from a hobby to something more serious.
My blog has not been getting many views lately which is giving me some concern in coming up with a marketing strategy for my finished novel. I have added a little teaser announcement to my Welcome Page, but if no one is visiting my blog, it is not going to be seen. Because of this, I spent most of yesterday afternoon (four to five hours) working on additional artwork and materials to share on social media in order to try and attract viewers to my book, but unfortunately, I had nothing useable by the end of my endeavors.
Last Monday I went to the movie theater to see Jurassic World: Dominion. I don't often go to the theater anymore, but this movie was a special case. The original Jurassic Park (1993) was the first live-action movie I asked my parents to take me to see in theaters, and it has been one of my favorite movies all my life. Now, almost thirty years later, it seemed appropriate to see this final act of the Jurassic franchise in the theater as well. Movies and storytelling has changed a great deal in the past thirty years, so I went into the experience looking only at the nostalgic value and not much else.
In getting ready to self-publish my novel, there comes the question of what to do about a cover for my book. Many writers I've talked to in the past have said that it's better to hire someone else to do cover art for your novel, leaning on the idea that other people are trained in marketing and graphic design and that most writers have not taken the time to learn such things. However, with the rise in self-publishing options, there has also been a rise in available templates which people can use to make their own book covers. So the question becomes one of preference, costs, and time management; is it better to create your book cover yourself or to hire someone to do it for you?
So over the past couple of weeks I've had some setbacks in progress with my creative goals. Unfortunately, one of those setbacks involves the possibility of getting that separate personal workspace away from my family. But I am not letting that stop me from achieving my goals. I am still pressing forward with my projects and am still on target to have my novel manuscript self-published by midsummer. It's a bit of a surreal feeling, being this close to having this particular story out there and available for people (complete strangers as well as friends) to read. But the closer that publishing goal comes to being a reality, the more I feel like it's less of a big deal than I have made it over the years.
So I'm back from vacation and unfortunately, it was not as productive as I had hoped it would be. While I did manage to get out in the woods for several photography sessions early in the week, during the second half of our time away, I ended up sick and didn't venture far from our rental cabin. This isn't the first time I've ended up sick on vacation, but this is the first time where my family has decided to come home early because of it. I spent most of the ride home and the rest of yesterday sleeping while my body recovered, and then I also slept straight through the night and woke up several hours past the usual time when I would get up.
Despite inflation and high gas prices, I am currently preparing to go on vacation. It will be the first week-long venture I've taken in nearly a year and a half, and I am looking forward to having some quiet time to relax and recharge in the mountains. I've written before in this blog about how I use such vacations to get some work done on creative endeavors, and this time around will be no exception. I'll be taking my laptop along with me as well as my DSLR camera and some art supplies. I have plenty I hope to accomplish during the week, but also, I will be looking for inspiration for projects I won't be able to work on until I get back home again.
During the past couple of weeks, I have woken on several occasions to the sound of rain rustling the new tree leaves outside my window. Sometimes there have been low grumbles of thunder accompanying the rain. Sometimes only a light breeze adds to the sound of the drizzle. If I have the time to do so, I will lie in bed and listen to these natural melodies for thirty minutes or more before deciding to get up and start my day. This type of spring rain puts me in a mood to create, and the peaceful atmosphere gives me the patience to pursue complex or challenging projects.
If there is no rain to envelop me in this peaceful atmosphere, I tend to listen to music to achieve the same mood and focus. I have several soundtracks and go-to albums of instrumental music which I can use as background noise while I write. If I'm working on paintings, sketches, or photo editing, then I may choose to listen to select singers or groups instead. Music doesn't create the exact same atmosphere - lighting quality, temperature, and humidity play a part too - but it can help.