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.
So it has been a strange couple of years. I had not intended or expected to abandon this blog when the Covid pandemic started, but it happened. When the whole world hit pause on life as we knew it, my sense of needing to create things paused as well. I stopped writing. I stopped editing. I stopped taking my camera out on walks for nature photography. (Granted, travel was not advised in the early months of Covid and therefore, day trips were not an option, but I'm still surrounded by a respectable amount of wild property at home. Lack of travel opportunities is not a good excuse for me on the photography front.)
I made quite a bit of progress on my working vacation, and now that I'm home again, I want to keep my momentum going. I cut in half the amount of chapters I have left to edit on my current WIP. Once I finish the last few chapters, I plan to do a final read-through before prepping for querying and pitching in December. I still have my doubts about this manuscript's quality, but then I do admit to having a perfectionist streak in me and needing to get over the fact I can't please everyone.
Friday I participated in an educators' workshop hosted by a center at which I interned during my college years. While the topics and presentations given were familiar to me, seeing them again after so many years helped me to recognize teaching techniques missing from my own lesson plans and has inspired me to dig deeper into topics I would like to add to my class repertoire. I now plan to revamp my educator's teaching guide for my current workplace for a second time.
Over the weekend, I joined my parents in attending a gun show. Normally I find these events to be a waste of my time. Most of the vendors display modern weapons with composite stocks, overly-priced shotguns, antiques from WWI and WWII, or handguns with slides and clips. But none of these guns interest me. I'm not into shooting sports (although I was an archery instructor for a summer camp), and hunting in my little neck of the woods is not good enough to justify spending more than $300-$450 on a shotgun.
Today I decided to take a pause in listening to lecture series on my way to and from work to listen to some music instead. Over the weekend I got a song stuck in my head from one of the first CDs I bought as a teenager. It's from The Chieftains' "Tears of Stone" album, and once upon a time, I used some of the music on this CD to help inspire some character and world development in my writing. By listening to this music, I'm hoping to spur my desire to write and edit into action. Again I'm finding that long days at the office are killing my energy to do much of anything once I get some free time, and I want to put an end to this lethargic procrastination.
Numerous people keep notebooks by their beds to record details of their dreams upon waking. There are various reasons why people take up this practice, but artists and writers who do this are often looking for inspiration for their projects. Sometimes putting nightmares into words or visual art or music can be cathartic for those who truly find them frightening. Those of us finding pleasure in horror genres may simply find nightmares too intriguing to resist sharing with the waking world.