June 18, 2012

Son of the Shield Update

Well, June 16th has come and gone. I'm sad to say I didn't get Son of the Shield finished completely. There are still a couple of spots in need of fixing/editing/filling in/rewriting, and there was simply no way I could get them all finished by June 16th. A little disappointing, yes.
However, since setting a deadline for myself I've made an absolutely huge amount of progress, and I think it'll only take me a few more days to get the rest of SotS tidied up and in shape, so let's just say I'm filing an extension on the deadline.  : )
As I've gotten SotS closer and closer to completion, I've found myself worrying about how good is good enough. How do I know when it's ready? I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to my writing, so I've also been concerned with knowing where to draw the line between 'I've told the story God wants me to tell in the way He wants me to tell it, and that's good enough' -and- 'I know I can make this paragraph flow just a little smoother, I know I can make this description a little more vivid, I know I can make this action more intense'. Where is the line between wanting my work to be as good as it can be so that it reflects well on Christ, and wanting my work to be as completely perfect as I can possibly make it to satisfy my perfectionist pride?
Not an easy thing to figure out, let me assure you. But I spoke with a good friend about it yesterday, and he advised me to let God tell me when the story is done and to take Him at His word when He does... whether the work is as good as I want it to be or not. God is just, my friend reminded me, and He will give me the information I need to make the right decision at the right time, if I'm willing to listen and trust Him on it.
So, with that in mind, I'm going back to work on SotS to fill in the last remaining holes in the new draft. As I mentioned before, it should only take me a couple more days... no more than a week, max. I know those holes have to be edited and filled in, because they're in such a mess they don't make any sense and the story doesn't make sense without them. But after that's done, it just might be time to close the laptop and let God tell the story He wants told, in the way He wants it told, whether it comes up to my perfectionist standards or not.
We'll have to see.
I'll be posting updates throughout the week as I finish up the last little pieces - and I'm going to be starting on some of the fun SotS special features I hinted at earlier too, so stay tuned. Our 'Son of the Shield is finished' party has had to be pushed back a few days, but we're still going to have it, mark my words.

June 6, 2012

The Final Countdown

Ten days to go, my friends.

Ten days until the deadline to finish Son of the Shield. After five years of work, I'm ten days away... I hope. Unfortunately, I still can't tell whether I'm going to make it or not. Here's hoping.
I'm not going to promise much by way of blogging over the next ten days. Bear with me. See you on the other side!

June 4, 2012

Color Wars

(Son of the Shield Status Report)

I am what is considered a self-motivated person. For some reason, a lot of people take that term to mean that I never struggle with a lack of motivation, it's just always there automatically. While that would be immensely handy, unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Being self-motivated means just that: I can motivate myself, and it's usually more effective than motivation from an outside source. But it doesn't happen automatically. It still takes effort on my part - sometimes a lot of effort.
I'm also a very visually-oriented person, and I've found that being able to view my own progress is essential to keeping myself motivated. When I was still in school, I kept progress charts and crossed off each block of work I had completed. Being able to see and track my progress that way made a huge difference in my motivation level.
This past week as I was working on Son of the Shield, I found myself wishing for some way to do that same thing. Since I'm editing and rewriting, tracking word count is impossible. Since I'm not going through the book in order, tracking page numbers won't work. Since half the chapter breaks haven't been placed yet, checking off a chapter at a time can't be done.
So, I've finally settled on a game of color wars to keep me cracking (and to keep myself from going over the same favorite section again and again trying to make it 'just a little better'). Once a section is completed, it gets put into blue font. The sections still needing work are in black. And, I'm happy to say, Team Blue seems to be in the lead! It's difficult to be certain because the sections are very mixed up and it's hard to tell percentage proportions without wasting ridiculous amounts of time. But, if progress continues well, it should be very easy to tell very soon. So stay tuned for the next update on the progress of the great Son of the Shield Color War!

Where do you get your motivation? Do you find it easy to stay motivated, or is it a struggle?

June 1, 2012

Perspectives - the Imagination of a Child

Rather than a full day of working on Son of the Shield, I spent most of today on a pirate expedition with my cousins, ages eleven and six. Bandanas, belts, and wooden swords made up our wardrobe. My brothers' camouflage face paint that they use for deer hunting made for some very dashing beards (on the boys, not me of course). A rocking chair/flower planter, an old cart wheel, a set of loading ramps, a log chain, and a basketball goal made up our ship. A cow's pelvic bone served as our figure head (The boys picked it out. I wanted the garden statue of the little boy and the dog.). A t-post driver and a basket of golf balls acted as our cannon and ammunition. We even ran a Union Jack up the mast (basketball goal) to confuse the British ships pursuing us. Over the course of the afternoon we successfully fought off the entire Portuguese armada, rode out a gale, summoned a kracken, and amassed a small mountain of treasure we dragged out of the scrap metal pile (Dad was thrilled).
Suffice it to say, I am thoroughly exhausted. But it's a good kind of exhausted. Sure, I didn't get to spend the day working on Son of the Shield, but I got to spend a great day with my cousins, and in the greater scheme of things, that's way more important (not to mention the fact that there can be nothing cuter than a 3-foot-tall Greenbeard using his 'Captain America powers' to fight off the Portuguese armada).
And anyway, I find it so unbelievably refreshing to watch children's imaginations at work. Sure, in reality it's a slap-dash conglomeration of random items from the lawn, garage, and junk pile, topped with a British flag. But in their eyes it's the Ranger, a tall, glorious pirate ship cutting through the open ocean under full sail. A person would be hard-pressed not to find that a refreshing perspective.