My friend, Andrew Freund (@AndrewFreundKM) asked me to be a part of the IC Publishing Summer Blog Tour and I couldn’t be more delighted! You can read Sheri’s post that launched the tour here. The idea is to talk about projects and all the things that go into it. As Sheri puts it: “So, what better subject to blog about than how to start, continue, and complete those tasks we really want to—big or small?”
My projects vary: I’m a playwright
and soon to be children’s author (that’s my in-the-works project/goal!) and a blogger over at my “Everything But the Cat…” website
. I would really like to explore screenplays in the future; I have a webseries idea in draft about bereavement in a dark comedy set in Toronto too. So a little bit of everything really!
How do you start your (writing) projects?
With a deep desire to say something about that subject. When I wrote the historical adaptations for The City of Toronto Museums I was moved by historical fact and the knowledge that most people I knew didn’t even know those events had transpired. In their own home town too! The medium I was most familiar with was acting so I wrote a play. I also wanted people to come to the site specific museums to experience the history as much as be entertained by it.
With Everything But the Cat…
it was equal parts moved by events (my brother had died by suicide) and a part of my bereavement process. I needed an outlet and once again, it was the medium I knew. I also wanted to share my story in a very personal way: one-woman-show style. I wanted my audience to know this happened to me and that this show was something beyond entertainment – it was a call for community and awareness for suicide prevention and mental health. That’s why I made the blog over at www.everythingbutthecat.net so that the community could grow and connect and share.
With the upcoming children’s book, I felt I still had things to say about mental health and subjects like depression and helping young people understand that it’s okay to talk about their feelings to those they trust. In the book a little girl has SADs
and it is up to her and her helpful teddy bear to fight the symptoms and treat her illness.
How do you continue your writing projects?
Scheduling helps – I like putting myself on deadlines. I also like bringing in other people: the more eyes on it the better. With my plays I had dramaturgs, editors, directors, stage managers… With the children’s book I am reaching out to people I know in the business (Like Erik Buchanan
, you can read his blog post from the links below!) and trust their opinion to soundboard off of. Networking is helpful because you never know who will say yes to your project unless you ask! (This blog share being a perfect example of building networks and community!) But these people also put the pressure on to deliver! It’s harder to procrastinate a project when I know someone else is waiting to see that project.
How do you finish your project?
Ah. This is tough. I never feel the project is complete. With the shows, there is a deadline to get it into rehearsals, but even there the script may change and I allow it to with the insight of the actors, director, stage manager – all of these elements can add so much more to the original text. But it is key to stand by your words and stand up for your decisions: it is your play afterall. Setting boundaries is a good idea before allowing others to put their two cents in too 😉
With the book coming up, I don’t know how I will deal with that! That is a finite thing that will be sent off to the printers. I’m guessing with lots of re-reading and edits and a test audience to read it and give me feedback so I can adjust the text/illustrations to get the right mood from the reader as a response. Allowing your “ugly baby” out into the world and to come back with notes, scribbles, highlights and post-it notes is a hard thing but a necessary thing.
Include one challenge or additional tip that our collective communities could help with or benefit from:
Tip: keep a small pocket book in your purse, bag, knapsack for all those quotes friends say that tickle you – you should use them in your next project. I mean, it made you laugh, it could delight someone else in the future.
Challenge: I would love to know more about the ins and outs of the publishing world. I’m coming into it post-self publication world revolution, where the game has changed so much… where do I begin?
Passing the Pen
I’d like to pass the pen/keyboard over to these fantastic people who will answer these questions next Wednesday on their blog!
Dwayne Harmer is a Designer, is an Artist and the creator of the Stress Prevention Kit. After dealing with his own mental illness for over a decade, he wanted to provide an alternative to the clinical and the flowery spiritual self-help books. “Spirituality for me comes from the serenity of being in this moment.” He hopes to inspire others to take a (w)holistic approach to their health. @stresskit @zoetropicdream
stresskit.zoetropicdream.com + zoetropicdream.com
Erik Buchanan is a professional writer, ghostwriter, communications consultant, actor, and fight director. He is the author of Small Magics and Cold Magics, both published by Dragon Moon Press, and his third novel True Magics will be out this fall. He also has short stories in “When the Hero Comes Home” and “When the Villain Comes Home.” He has also written more than 300 articles on everything from from consumer electronics to reasons to get the flu shot. Erik is currently working on a web series, a young adult horror series, and trying to find enough time to sleep.