Aftermath of 2016

I’ve been hard at work on Chronicles of Arkyria, which is why the blog has been neglected. Blogging tends to help me organize my thoughts, so I’d like to do more of it moving forward.

While I was building out the world of Arkyria, I had this completely ridiculous idea to have a small country run by a parody of Donald Trump. I figured it would be a game of “What if this doofus actually won the election?”

Then he won. I’m still baffled. The ridiculous idea wasn’t so silly.

When I was creating the world of Arkyria, I wanted to make a place that didn’t have the same bigotries that our world has. That seems naive in hindsight. I think the better move is to work that stuff in so my heroes can call it out. I’m mulling it over. Other writers will handle it far better than I will, so maybe pure escapism isn’t such a bad course for me. I have a while to figure it out.

The hardest part of 2016 was losing our dog, Mikenna. It’s been two months and I still expect her to follow me into the kitchen or burrow under my blanket as I’m on the verge of falling asleep. She was an amazing friend and I miss her.

More on the 5am thing

I’ve been doing this “get up at 5am and do stuff” thing for about a month now. Despite the relative quiet on my blog, I’ve been really productive. My goal was to start getting to the gym regularly and to spend more time drawing. I think it’s going well.

I’m still figuring out what kind of gym schedule I prefer. This week, I am trying Mon-Wed-Fri for the gym and using the extra time on Tuesday and Thursday to do whatever I feel like. Today, it’s writing this blog post. Sometimes I clean my office and sometimes I just sit and snuggle my cat. I always spend at least an hour working on art.

What’s great is that doing the creative work in the morning relieves the pressure of trying to cram it in after my day job, when my brain is fried and I just want to relax. I’ve been watching TV and playing video games with my wife, and even getting some reading in before I go to sleep most nights. We even go out to get coffee and write sometimes.

So, I’m still making adjustments and figuring things out, but overall I think this has been a good change for me.

5am Status Report

The 5am thing went well last week. I woke up and got out of bed at 5am Monday through Friday. The only morning I didn’t go to the gym was Friday because I hemmed and hawed about how cold it was. Friday was also the day I felt least energized, which I attribute to the lack of exercise.

I didn’t do a great job going to bed. I’ve found that I function best on 7-8 hours of sleep, which means being asleep at 9 or 10pm. That still sounds early to me, so I was shooting for 11 or 12pm most nights. The morning exercise was keeping me functional, but I slept in pretty late Saturday and today because I was so exhausted.

This isn’t about times, though — the point of getting up and exercising was to give myself structure and focus to work on stuff before my day job used up all my brain power. This has been awesome — during the work week, I worked on art projects every morning, and worked in a little bit of writing most of those days. After the day job wrapped up, I didn’t feel guilty if all my brain could handle was watching TV or playing video games before bed. Even then, I was watching TV with a sketchbook handy, and went on a writing date with my wife late in the week.

Tentatively, I want to keep this up. I got a lot done this week, and I finally reached a point where I don’t think everything I draw sucks. The early morning discomfort is worth the sense of accomplishment that comes with it.