I did not get to writing in this space (or really at all) this last week. It was a pretty intense week.
On Friday, I gave a talk for a group on student retention efforts I have been working on in my professional role. That was pretty cool — my first time being invited to speak, as opposed to applying to give a talk. I enjoyed it a lot, and I think I want to do that more.
Out of this, I may have come up with an idea for a TED Talk (of course, about student retention). It needs to be a bit more numbers-y than what I prepared for this week. I did find that after writing some pretty comprehensive notes, I was able to mostly talk continuously and confidently about each slide — and some of those slides were among the best I have made. Some were not.
Anyway, mostly for myself, I want to talk about some of the projects I am working on and what my progress is on them. Sometimes I forget that it is important to process my progress in word form — it seem useless, but really helps clear out a lot of where I get stuck.
Ongoing Space Project — When I took the Comics Theory course at the beginning of the year, I had to do this project where I created an 8-page minicomic, which was folded from one page. Essentially, a zine. Then I remembered this project I had started back in 2014, which was slightly derivative of another project I’ve been working on in starts and fits since 2007, but a bit more approachable. I decided that instead of taking this piece I had intended as a Novella and submitting it, I could easily just turn it into a zine-sort of piece. So I am. I spent some time today editing my first 32-page issue.
My intention is four-issue arcs (it’s mostly arbitrary, but seems like a decent length). After doing some line-edits on a printed edition, I did some mapping of the arcs. I have the first two planned out, and an idea where the third one should end. I have not really planned out projects before. I typically let the characters tell me where to go. This is good. New. Different.
Once I have a structure, I guess it is a bit easier to fill in. I plan to figure out logistics for how to release/sell each issue when I have the first arc completed (and maybe a couple pieces of the second arc ready to edit?).I want to be able to release content consistently for these. I also need a title, so that’s something. Hopefully I can be ready to release these starting in late August or early September, then do one a month.
Time Loop Comic Script – Another Project with no title. This one I have been stuck with the first two pages of since I started it. Honestly, right now, it’s the one that I am most excited to finish, but also it’s going to be some work. I would love to have this done by early July and ready to pass on to a friend who does art to see if he’s interested.
The problem with writing this piece is that it’s a loop. A version of the character is having a conversation with themselves in the future/past at any given time, and that messes with my head a bit. I want to make sure it is clear and consistent, but also somewhat unexpected.
Retention Book – I really enjoyed giving a talk on my work. I liked being invited to do it, I enjoyed doing it, I enjoyed preparing for it (stressful as that was).
I think I want to give more talks, and it seems like one route to that is to write down my work. I think of Jeff Davis, who was, for a moment, one of the staff members of the McNair Scholars program office at my undergrad. He wrote a book about his experiences supporting first generation students (with a focused research population in the population he was working with at the time). It’s a pretty short and to the point book, with enough interviews laid out to be considered qualitative research. I figure that with that book as a mentor text, I could probably do a similar sort of thing about retention.
Heck, just in talk notes, I have almost eight pages. That seems like a pretty good jumping-off point.
Running — Running has been touch and go. I think I have run more in the last week than any week since November, which is cool.
Yesterday my run was real rough – the whole thing felt like a struggle, and I kept wanting to give up. Running 10 or less miles per week feels a lot different than when I was running 20 to 40 miles per week.
I feel sometimes like I have to choose between the running and the writing — the running feels better for my well-being and sense of accomplishments, the writing feels like it moves me closer to where I want to be in life.
Conclusion – well, those are all the projects/running things I have tangible updates on. I imagine I will try to do something like this once a month or so, to try and keep up on my projects.