Creative Spaces

Creative spaces are a very personal thing. It is where worlds are created and the abstract becomes something tangible. It can be the kitchen table or an entire room devoted to your craft. Here are a few things I prefer for my creative space:

• A large desk 
This gives me space to spread out papers and still have room for my keyboard and mouse.

• A book shelf
I enjoy having books at my fingertips and bookshelves are one of the most aesthetically pleasing ways to do this.

• Blank paper
I always go back and forth on whether to have lined paper or completely blank. I have found that I much prefer the blank. I like to draw and work organically and feel limited when I use lined paper.

• A Nerf gun
This is mainly to deter any interruptions and cats. 

• A computer
Writing and video editing requires me to use a desktop for most of my work. I currently work with four monitors.

• Sharp pointy objects
I have always liked knives and swords. My wife and I took a German longsword class and we both enjoyed it immensely. 

What does your creative space look like? What items do you find necessary?

Entering the New Year

Happy New Year!

I thought now would be a great time to review the goals I set in 2014 as I get ready to start 2015.

My 2014 goals were:

1. Make a video twice a week for my YouTube channel (100ish videos in a year)
-Completed 98 videos along with several in editing as we speak.

2. Write 300 words a day
-I did this sporadically.

3. Publish a book by January 2015
-I have several drafts. Nothing ready to publish yet.

4. Complete an After Effects training course through Lynda.com
-I dabbled in several courses throughout the year. I bought a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, so I needed to learn about color correcting, white balance, and RAW video.

5. Go to at least 2 networking events
-I went to Poland and present at a linguistics conference.

6. Obtain a second source of income
-Sort of… I have made a little money outside of my full time job.


As I look back at my 2014 goals, I realize I should have revisited them more often throughout the year and changed them as my interests changed.

Several of my goals also focused on the end result and not the process, such as Publish a book by January 2015, which was less helpful for me. 

I find goals like write 300 words a day to be much more helpful and doable because they focus on the process and not the end result. On the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy  she explains the difference between goals that focus on the process instead of the result and has inspired me to change how I set my goals for 2015.

My initial 2015 goals are:

1. Post on my blog everyday

2. Write 300 words a day

3. Intentionally work on making my marriage thrive

4. Read 20 books

5. Work on a video everyday - Shooting or Editing

I will break these goals down further throughout the year and in subsequent blog posts. One big resource that I will be using this year is a Don't Break the Chain calendar designed by Karen Kavett.

What are your goals for 2015? 

Christmas on the Beach

Our family has a tradition of going to the beach on Christmas day. After a morning spent opening gifts and drinking coffee, we pack up and head to the beaches of North Carolina. It is a tradition I do not plan on changing. This year was a little different, on Christmas we did the usual gifts and coffee, but instead of a beach in North Carolina we went to the beach on Ikei Island, Japan.

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Ethnography and writing

Ethnography: A branch of anthropology dealing with the scientific descriptions of individual cultures. Dictionary.com During graduate school I took a class called Ethnographic Methods. It was pretty much people watching on steroids. We were required to wake up and pay attention to the world around us and document it. One assignment in particular sticks out in my mind. We had to go out in public and collect data. This meant going somewhere and writing about the people, the place, and what was going on. We also had to be discrete by participating in the event but all the while writing things down.

I choose to do my assignment at the local farmer's market. Saturday morning, a few classmates and I went to the local city square where the market was happening. I decided to use my phone to keep my notes. That way I could look like I was texting while really taking notes. When I arrived, I drew a map of all the booths in my notebook and wondered what to do next. I have had a lot of experience people watching, but I had never taken notes on it. What should I write? I started asking myself various questions:

Where do people go first? Why can a puppy be without a leash around all this food? How do customers know who to pay? Should people really wear that color? How long does the typical person stay at each booth? Who is allowed to sneeze and not cover their mouths? What type of people are here? Where is that awesome smell coming from? Which booths are the most popular? What ages are the people here? Why is the coffee all the way down the block!?

Answering these questions told me a lot about my own culture that I had never noticed before. It showed me the things we just know. I was able to see my culture instead of just being a part of it.

I sometimes still do this when I go places. It has become a little addictive to be honest. This practice has given me a better understanding of my own culture and the people who live in it.

All of this has also increased my people watching by about 400%. (When I am paying attention.) Coffee also seems to increase this process exponentially.

Have you ever noticed why people do things they do? Do you have any fun people watching stories?

NaNoWriMo - The End

NaNoWriMo

I have just finished my 50,000 word novel for the month of November. As you can see from the graph below I had a few struggles along the way.

That big dip you see around day 17 is called life and procrastination. November is all about priorities and sometimes writing takes a back seat, even during NaNoWriMo. Honestly, every NaNoWriMo I have participated in I have fallen behind on word count at some point. The key is not to get discouraged even when you start to fall behind. This is where forums and friends come in.

You see, before my second NaNoWriMo I tried to convince everyone I could to join without much success. It was not until my wife decided to join the challenge that our friends followed suit. My wife and friends have been writing novels along side me for the past four years and that is the reason I have been successful at this endeavor every year. I believe this is true for anything we do. Community is important and without it you may still be successful, but it is a lot harder.

The only reason why I started to catch up this year around day 24 was the goading and prodding of my wife and friends. I had to scramble to bring my word count back to where it should be. I did not want my fifth year to be the year I failed and neither did they. After a lot of coffee and a few write-ins, I finished two days early. It is the earliest I have ever finished NaNoWriMo and I could not have done it without my wife and friends.

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What was your NaNo experience? Would you like to join me next year?