The Working Writer and Artist

There are two lists on the big whiteboard in my office. One is headed with ‘graphic design’ and the other, with a flourish, ‘fiction.’ There used to be a third labeled non-fiction, but for some reason it was erased, and I need to put it back up there, although really it’s only one item currently: the cookbook.

On the other side of the office are two calendars. One is a full year, with enough room for every day that I could write on them. Or put up stickers, tracking when I last wrote any fiction (a week and a half ago, no, that’s not right. I forgot to put up a sticker for Tuesday). Above it is a month calendar, also dry erase, and on this one is the reason I’ve been so slow in making progress in March. Last weekend I was at a convention. Small, fun, and for me less a working con than a getting-away-with-friends which was just what I needed. Then there are the book releases.

March 3: The Squeaks Caper

March 10: Space Cowboys 2: Electric Rodeo

March 17: The Lawdog Files

For the rest of the month I have another postcard challenge upcoming to celebrate FantaSci. I won’t be going, but CV Walter and Lawdog will be, and I believe Jonna will, as well. So the task I’ll have will be coordinating handing out the digital prompt images, and also working on setting up the book layout for Steam-Powered Postcards from last weekend. I will also be attempting to get some of my writing done, as I have two deadlines looming in a couple of weeks at the end of the month.

I’m also slowly wiping down the graphic design column. I had a lot of fun working up the cover for Kelly Grayson’s latest. It took sitting at the con listening to him read part of this story out loud, and laughing inordinately, for the artwork to finally gel so I could finalize his cover.

Just like writing, art for a book cover takes some research – in this case, I was thinking about past great covers, not just the Amazon best sellers. Picking a good font and treating it properly, not just slapping it on the art, particularly when you have a lot going on as this art does. That’s a whole other kind of research, as well. Sometimes, though, it’s very easy. Talking with Lawdog about the upcoming Space Marines anthology, we settled on the art style for those covers (there will be two, possibly three, of them). “Pick out a good science fiction font!” he said. “Oh, that’s easy! I have one in my font library called Space Marines.”

And so it goes. Some days are easier than others. Some days you have to deal with all the things. Others, you can dance with the cat and share dinner with friends and work through story ideas. Life of a writer, plus a day job that lurks under the surface making my time available much shallower than it may look from above.

I’m having fun, though. And with all of the organization, plus the new processes with Raconteur Press that are keeping all of us in the loop for deadlines, I’m not feeling overwhelmed and like I’ve forgotten something important. Which is the good part here, since I have a tendency to overcommit. Keeping it visual tells me when I’m approaching that point, so I can turn down proposed projects, regretfully, but it’s what I have to do to keep myself happy and productive. Saying no. So hard. Keeping it fun is the goal, not making this into something that will replace the day job, so I have to say no sometimes.

20 thoughts on “The Working Writer and Artist

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  1. You know, I was about to leave a very long comment here… blog post long… I think I’ll answer you tomorrow. 🙂

  2. That cover is Too Good. In spite of the fact that I should watch my spending and that I like to cut back on my Amazon purchases, I Had To Buy! [Crazy Grin]

  3. I am always impressed by the numbers of irons you have in the fire, Cedar. For mine, a cute notebook and a series of scrivener and excel files seem to suffice. I love the lead artwork, BTW 🙂

  4. I have to be so organized for Day Job that I let my writing schedule slide. I should do better. (Granted, I work solo, so I don’t have the same deadline and collaboration requirements that you do.) And April is called “Plans? You made plans? Bwahahahaha!” It’s when every activity gets jammed into the schedule because, “March is too soon, and Spring Break, and May is finals.” [That explains why I write a lot of fight scenes in April, now that I think of it . . .]

  5. I love that cover. It will sell books all by itself, without potential reader having to read the back-jacket copy.

    1. You are getting better. I am hopefully rubbing off on you. Speaking of, we should do dinner at my place soon and compare notes. Sanford’s home and would enjoy having you, the Boy is likely to miss most of it, he works/schools late into the day.

      1. I am still mostly slapping fonts on art. The slapping is more attenuated and fiddled with, perhaps, but still, slapping.

        As for dinner, can’t be this week, and possibly not next. Work schedule got really “interesting” due to filling in for LawDog while he’s at FantaSci (and was already a bit ungainly due to someone else taking a vacation). I’ll get back to you when I know I have some breathing room. 😀

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