Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"Switch Up the Groove" - Getting Focused Again

Honestly, I am in a challenging space. For the past couple of weeks, I have not been able to focus on my book (or this blog, for that matter). I think it's a combination of things, including stress and sleep deprivation.

I'm also going through a life transition. Before I graduated, I would spend hours each day on my book. I put that project before other things in my life. Now that the pressure is off, I've been trying to revive my social life. For example, I joined a book club and recently spent a weekend in Columbus with my best friend from high school. I've also been exercising and paying more attention to my appearance. All of these things take time.

Basically, I need to find balance. I'm really committed to publishing this book, but I don't want to neglect other areas of my life. It's going to take some time to figure it out. In the meantime, I'm encouraging myself with these tips:

1) Stick to a Schedule. I love organizing my time with lists. In fact, I have a dry erase board in my kitchen for this very purpose. I would like to carve out consistent times for writing and blogging. 

2) Don't Over-Do It. It's important that I don't go overboard, scheduling a huge number of hours for my projects. I need to start small--maybe even just an hour here and there, and then build up.

3) Don't Beat Yourself Up. Sometimes, I'm going to fail. I may not write as much as I want to on a particular day, or I might miss a week of blogging. Also, I might face criticism (internal and external) because my book isn't done, yet. However, I have to remind myself that I'm not giving up on my goal and I've already accomplished so much regarding this project. I know I can do it! 

How do you motivate yourself to get focused? 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

"Round and Round" - Research Pattern

I'm finally starting to edit chapter nine, which covers the Lovesexy era. I have a specific process that I follow each time I work on a chapter. One particular step involves consulting the same set of "sources." They include:

Publications: I focus on a few magazines and newspapers that consistently covered Prince's career. I look through all of the relevant articles that were published during the chapter's time period.

Interviews: I go back through the transcriptions of relevant interviews that I've done.

Notes: I have a really long, scary document full of notes that I take. For example, when I'm working on a chapter, I may have a thought that I'd like to explore later in the book. So, I write it down and I make sure I review my notes periodically.

Previous Drafts: I started this project back during my undergraduate studies, so I have several old drafts of the book. I like to look back at them for things to include in this new draft.

Previous Biographies: I have a few go-to Prince biographies that I consult to help me with my book. I often use them as a base, and then add my own research because my angle is very different.

Music and Performances: I always analyze Prince's relevant lyrics, videos and concerts.

Liner Notes: I study the liner notes in the relevant album.

Award Shows: I pay attention to speeches that Prince has given at relevant award shows.

Fan Magazines: This is actually a new "source." There were several Prince fan magazines that popped up in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I intend to start reading them after I finish chapter nine.