Sunday, 4 December 2022

The CreativeLife - weeks 46, 47, and 48 in review

Hello creative friend,

 I need to drink a lot of water because of the diuretic effect of some prescription meds. So on Tuesday I left my home office to refill my water, when I stepped into poop. Yup, right in front of my office. Inside my house. At first I thought there is a gecko running around, because they sometimes sneak in. I don't mind them, they are cute, but they are quiet. And the noise I was hearing told me it wasn't a gecko.

Following the sound, I found a bird in the area where I have the laundry on drying racks. And a lot of bird poop on the floor. And a frightened bird. It was a pied starling. It was either chased by one of the dogs into the house, I leave the backdoor open when I am at home during the day, or it flew in because it was curious. Either way, I had a scared bird on my hands and clean laundry which I was not in the mood to wash again.

Since there was only one exit, I had to get it back into the kitchen but it was not cooperating. Instead it flew into the living room making me cringe at the though of bird poop on the couches.

A bit of thought went into coming up with a solution. I closed the beaded curtain hanging in the passage to my office so it couldn't fly that way. I know it is a bit boho to have a beaded curtain, it usually serves another purpose, but it kept a bird where I could try and redirect it outside.

Inktober52 Prompt #45

It flew everywhere, pooped again, and thank goodness only the floors, except a spot on a curtain but I wasn't too boothered about that. Then I got an idea. Since it was avoiding the kitchen, I think the dogs were scaring it, I had to open the patio door. This door is difficult to open, but I managed.

Back to the bird. It saw the new bright light and flew right at it. I was holding my breath when it landed on a drying rack - with Hubs' work pants. Then it landed in a gap of the security gate. And flew away. Yay! No bird was injured in the process, but my mood was sour for sure. I have so much work to do, and now I had to wash the floors.

Oh well, it all turned out all right in the end, and the house had clean floors too.

I might have mentioned that I had decided to not keep up with the Inktober52 prompts during November to focus on NaNoWriMo. The idea was to catch up in December, and I did. Four drawings in two days - not too bad I think. Since I am up to date with the challenge, I can relax because I really don't like falling behind on challenges.

The priority is now to get all the work done before the lab closes for the holidays. While our group art sessions continue on Thursday evenings, I will not have time for anything creative for a while. I don't mind because the thought of the break, is really motivating despite year-end exhaustion.

I have also been contemplating my blog for next year. No major changes, just a few thoughts that may or may not be used.

Thank you if you had bought a copy of my latest novel, I really appreciate it. If you haven't grabbed yourself a copy yet, there is still a few days left. The rest of the series will be in the Smashwords end-of-year sale at 50% off from 15 December if you want to grab yourself a few more books to read this holiday season.

Thank you for reading, and I will chat again soon!

💜🇿🇦 Linzé

Sunday, 13 November 2022

The CreativeLife weeks 44 and 45 in review

 Hello creative friend,

The past two weeks have seen the end of Inktober and the start of NaNoWriMo. Both challenges that I take part in for my own benefit. This year my energy levels are taxed to the limit, and some days are more difficult than others to achieve the daily word count target of 1667 words.  <- Click the link to book your FREE ticket to the art show

As usual I get started with a bang and the words flow with ease and without too much thought. I am a pantser at heart, but this novel, Jarod's Choice (working title only) has been brewing in my head for a while now. Before the start of NaNoWriMo I had already written about 12,000 words to get the story started. So it was not as if I was staring at a blank page on the first day. But then the notorious second week arrived and the struggle set in.

It was hard. Harder than every attempt at NaNoWriMo I have had before. Just writing 1700 words barely takes me two hours, but this time it took me nearly a day, everyday. I had my personal computer next to me on my desk while I was working and typed a few words here and there when taking breaks from work. It was difficult to say the least. Then Friday morning arrived and I decided that a change of scenery was called for. So I waited until load shedding was over, packed my stuff, donned a waterproof jacket because it was raining, and moved my butt to a local Wimpy.

Since I had already had breakfast, I ordered coffee, a slice of their decadent triple chocolate cake and got to work. Whether it was the coffee (I had two mugs) or the chocolate cake, or both, but the words came easily and fast. I could hardly keep up with my characters.

If these words will remain during the editing process is a concern for another day but writing more than 2000 words in an hour and a half does not often happen to me. Definitely grateful to the writer's muse who showed up when I was at the keyboard. The words have continued their flow since and I think my characters are happy with me, otherwise they would just make me struggle some more. LOL!

When the words were tough, I spent the time to work through the edits of the last chapters of Keeper of the Dragon Key. I still have to proofread the whole manuscript again, but I have set some time aside for that after I finish NaNoWriMo.

So it is back to writing now.

Thank you for reading.

Until next time!


Sunday, 30 October 2022

The CreativeLife week 43 in review

 Hello creative friend,

If you are feeling like me on this Sunday evening, then you are both tired and grateful. Tired because of an additional daily challenge, and grateful that I managed the time and completed all the prompts on time. October is Inktober month in my life - not only the prompts themselves, but also making the time to draw every day.

I posted my drawings on Instagram, as the challenge requires, but also in a group called The group was founded by Phil Davies (the ArtTutor). He is a skilled instructor and like many others I have learned a lot from him over the years.

I was quite happy to get the invitation to join ArtKula, but getting involved in a new group is a challenge for me. I left many Facebook groups over the years because they grew so big that it became too overwhelming to try and have a decent conversation with anyone. ArtKula is different.

Pre-order available now

It still has a huge number of members, over 13,000, but people have the opportunity to join smaller groups where similar minds can find common ground. Groups like watercolour, mixed media, and pen and ink. I belong to all three, but that is not what this blog post is about. I want to talk about community.

Artists that run online classes often have thousands and thousands of people doing their courses, and then their student join their Facebook groups and they love to call these groups a tribe or a community. To me that is not even remotely close to being a community. How can you form connections with 45,000 people? It is physically impossible in the real world, and I don't buy that social media can make it happen. What makes it happen is a smaller group of people who support each other. A small group of people who share things about their life and art and how the two impact the other. Because life and art are not separate things. People that find connection because they are willing to do the work.

While I spend a lot of time drawing and painting, even teaching art, I don't always share my art online, except Inktober and Inktober52. And now we get to the point of this post.

ArtKula also has a monthly challenge, where the members can explore different mediums as their own interpretation of the theme. October was Inktober month on ArtKula too. So it was with trepidation that I posted my first drawing for Inktober. I don't know if I was the first to post a drawing for Inktober, but it wasn't too long before more and more people started to post.

Artists of various skill levels. But one thing stood out above everything else: people were supportive. No negative comments that I could see. Of course, the group has moderators to keep us all in check, but I only had a positive vibe throughout the whole month.

Prompts elicited discussions, and laughs, and inspiration, and sympathetic comments like I have never seen in any other group before. It was fun chatting about the difficulties of finding time to draw, complaining about the prompts that we didn't like, and cheering the amazing drawings that many people made.

With NaNoWriMo starting on Tuesday, the finalisation of Keeper of the Dragon Key still on my to do list, and the art exhibition, I don't think I will have time to do much art. But one thing I do know: come December I will be back to take part in the ArtKula monthly challenge and to chat and learn from the amazing people I had met in October in this group.

If you are taking part in NaNoWriMo, I wish you all the best with your writing endeavours. May your target challenge you to achieve something new. If you are a veteran, may the 50,000 words be the next milestone on your writing journey.

Thank you for reading!

Until next time,

🇿🇦💜 Linzé

Sunday, 23 October 2022

The CreativeLive weeks 41 and 42 in review

Hello creative friend!

I hope your October has been a creative one so far. Mine certainly has with inktober on my daily to do list. A few of these prompts were definitely a challenge and some of them felt like they were picked by a child. Maybe they were? Hmm...

On a more adult note: I had applied to take part in a curated Christmas art market show at the end of November. Applying was a lot of work, and I decided that whether or not I got in, would make no difference. I decided to put my work out there and that to me was a victory in itself.

Dates and times of the art show in
Pretoria, South Africa.
Gallery address to come.

A few days later I got a weird WhatsApp message: I was added to a group by an unknown person. Upon further investigation it turned out to be the host of the show. Five minutes later the emails popped into my inbox: my paintings had been accepted. Good thing I was sitting down at this point because my first thought was how on earth was I going to deal with this on top of everything else?

I have a book to finish and publish. I have lots of work already on my plate and more coming in, and now an art show? A slight feeling of panic set in. I recognised this feeling because I have been there - it is the feeling of being overwhelmed. At this point I was tempted to say no, but decided to take a day and reassess my schedule against my to do list

I am only committed to take part in the show when I pay the small fee for which I still have a few more days until the deadline.

As I sit here writing this post, the feeling of helpless overwhelm has receded. The first time I felt this way I had no idea how to deal with it. In fact I was so out of my depth that I simply took a few days off and did nothing except to watch YouTube videos or series on Netflix. It hadn't helped, because the reason for the feeling had still been there.

Since that first time, I have realised that not doing anything is not a solution. For some things like mental or physical exhaustion it might be a good time to step back from work and other commitments, but this time there is no such need: I simply have too much to do and no time to do it in. Or do I?

That question made me pause to think about it. Nothing on my todo list was due tomorrow, except one thing. Neither was everything due this coming week. I have one thing to finish this week: the book. Even my work load is light this coming week. Sure the art show fee is due, but what do I have to do for that takes any more effort than authorising a payment which takes less than two minutes? It was the decision that needed the “task” to be done.

Then it hit me: take some time, and it doesn't have to be hours, and sit down to look at my calendar for the next 8 weeks. I don't usually have my tasks planned that far in advance, but what can it hurt to do it this one time?

I am still working on that planning but I know when which things are due for the show, the organiser was very clear about deadlines. Deadlines are good. Art show? Check.

The book's editing is very nearly done. And I will finish the last chapter this coming week. So that is a check, or soon will be. The next step is to work through the edits from my editor, and I have already started doing that. The cover is done, and I am very happy with the result. No, I didn't use my painting, it turned out to be too dark for what I had in mind. Maybe next time. Cover? Check.

When I made a list of all the deadlines ahead, and the tasks I have to make those deadlines happen, I knew I could make them work. If I couldn't have? My first priority would have been the book, but now I can do both and I am satisfied that there is enough time to do what I want without sacrificing any sleep, or letting my engineering clients down.

It is late in the year and tiredness do start to set in, but that is not unexpected. I still have December and about three weeks of rest to look forward to anyway. So I am not too worried about that happening because of the added work for the show.

I was reminded of the quote that says something in the order of - if you don't have a plan, you plan to fail. Since no one plans to fail, having some kind of plan in place can only help you to succeed. I have my plan, and that helped to deal with the feeling of being overwhelmed.

I hope that you plan to succeed in the coming weeks.

Thank you for taking the time to read. Until next time!

💜🇿🇦 Linzé

Sunday, 9 October 2022

The CreativeLife weeks 39 and 40 in review

 Hello creative friend,

  If you are immersed in the drawing challenges of October, you are doing a great thing for yourself. So many artists on YouTube and other sites constantly all say that they need to improve their drawing skills. And what better opportunity than Inktober?

  Of course, keeping up can be a challenge given all of our daily responsibilities, but doing whatever you can does contribute to improving your skills. Because it is about the practice, right?

  I love drawing and taking part in the weekly challenge of Inktober52 is also a good way to practice. You can see all the drawings I have done so far on Instagram.  Likes and comments notwithstanding, my favourite is the Gargoyle so far. The gold detail was a challenge to draw because I didn't have a thin nibbed metallic pen. I have since bought one, because gold details could appear on any drawing at any time. 😆

  My biggest challenge remain editing my next book. I managed to finish Chapter 16 on Friday, and am nearly done with Chapter 17. Will see how far I can get tonight. Maybe my editor will get two chapters in her inbox tomorrow morning.

  We had a heatwave badgering us the last two weeks, making it particularly difficult for me to work when we have load-shedding. I have taken to making a little siesta time after lunch, to recoup some of the energy drained away by the heat. I can't say if it really helped, but at least I felt better late afternoon. The heat is not unusual for this part of the country, but the lack of rain is not helping. Neither is the water restrictions that were imposed last week. Tough times indeed.

  I have experimented a bit with the background I want to paint for the cover of the book. I liked the result, but have now changed my mind on the style of background I want. LOL! My workload is still a huge challenge, but I will see what I can do this week, especially if I can finish editing Chapter 18 tonight. With only two Chapters left after that, I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

It is still hard to see the book ready for publication in December, but I am feeling a bit more optimistic. Pre-orders for the ebook will most likely be available from the end of October, so keep an eye out if you liked the first four books, or like adult fantasy stories.

Until next time!

🇿🇦💜 Linzé

Sunday, 25 September 2022

The CreativeLife week 38 in review

 Hi there,

What a week! As anticipated my workload was huge and there is little chance of it letting up soon. The pains and pleasures of being self-employed, so I am not complaining. The bills are not waiting and the current situation is getting worse on an almost monthly basis. Load-shedding every day between 6 and 12 hours? Yup, it is not fun at all and then our electricity provider keeps on raising the costs of a service that they are clearly not delivering.

Maybe it is time for us to go off-grid too. If only it wasn't so expensive we might have done so already. Not an easy decision to make, I can tell you.

I bought these sunflowers to use as
reference in a future painting.
Hubs took the photo for me.

Work and life challenges aside, I managed to finish three more chapters of Keeper of the Dragon Key. I will send the third to my editor tomorrow morning. The end is not yet in sight, so I need to continue working on it as much as I can to stand a chance of making the publishing deadline in December. Holding thumbs!

With Inktober coming soon, I have to start preparing for that on top of everything else. I really like the challenge so it is a good time to pull our my planner for the upcoming month. Oh, and Stoic Week is coming in October too. Fortunately, later in the month but still another thing that I want to spend time doing. Definitely time to do some serious planning.

With everything on my plate for October and November (NaNoWriMo) the art group will not have new projects to tackle. I need to finish a small painting I started during the week, and then I am free to use my time to draw. If you want to see my upcoming Inktober drawings, and all the Inktober52 drawings I have done so far, check out my Insta @LinzeBrandon. If I remember, the drawings are also shared on Twitter, but the challenge mainly runs on Instagram where you can see the awesome drawings made by some many other artists.

Since it is Sunday afternoon, and I still have a few things to do for the week ahead, I will say goodbye until next time.

Have a productive and creative week!

🇿🇦💜 Linzé

Sunday, 18 September 2022

The CreativeLife week 37 in review

 Hello there!

  Just a short post this week because work was again taking up most of my time. But I am happy to report progress on my editing of the Keeper of the Dragon Key.

  I also got all the cover graphics I want, and spoke to my husband about doing the Photoshop edits of the design I want. I have no idea how to use Photoshop and to be honest have little motivation to learn, but he is brilliant with it. As a photographer it is not even an option, so for me it is a benefit that he does.

  I can explain what I want, and then he creates the cover design I see in my mind. Perhaps I explain it well, or he is just that good. Trust me it is the latter. I have also used some of his photographs for previous covers, but this time I had to get the graphics online - from free sites of course. Infringing copyright is not something I am comfortable with at all.

  So here is the cover teaser 😋 and hopefully soon I can share what the real cover will look like.

 Since the editing is progressing a lot more smoothly than my last post, I better get back to it - while the iron is still hot, as they say.

All the best with your week ahead!

💜🇿🇦 Linzé

On my wishlist this week:

Couture Creations Alcohol Ink Blending Solution

The CreativeLife - weeks 46, 47, and 48 in review

Hello creative friend,   I need to drink a lot of water because of the diuretic effect of some prescription meds. So on Tuesday I left my ho...