The Daily Westin

Hey friends!

I haven’t blogged in a while. To put it simply, it’s because I haven’t written in a while. Okay, I’ve written but not like I need to be writing if I am to become a published author one of these decades.

On Painting

If you’ve read any of my more recent posts, you know that I took up painting. Do you want to see how that’s going? Let’s get that out of the way real fast, shall we?

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I’m kind of proud of that one. I had just completed one layer of a very colorful painting, which took me about a week, and decided to turn around and do a grayscale within about 30 min of that. It only took me a few minutes but was very satisfying. If I were ever to make prints of my paintings to sell, the grayscale one would be the first one I’d think about.

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This colorful piece was done purely on instinct. It was completely random and very reactive in the sense that I had no idea what was coming next and, thus, had to react to every single brush stroke. It was challenging but also very fun.

You can see that my painting style has changed dramatically if you take a look at what I was doing when I first shared a painting with you. I threw any attempt at realism out the window and have since focused my energy on the abstract. It’s much more challenging than even I would have ever imagined, and it’s because of that intense challenge that I find it so rewarding.

On Writing

I was doing so well with my novel, The Liberty Chronicles. I’d made some major revelations in the story and was super excited, as per the usual, to build on it more and more. Then I got a shiny new idea and I could not stop. I kept on developing it despite knowing that I should just write it down and move on. It is my firm belief that this is what did me in.

I haven’t written in something like three weeks now. For whatever reason, my creativity has manifested in visual art lately and, despite how much I love painting, writing is still my passion. Sure, I would love to make an income as a painter but I want even more than that to be a published author and make my living that way someday.

Maybe this is what I needed to do, to publically say, once more, that writing is what I want to do. Perhaps something as “simple” as blogging will be enough to get me back into the writing groove.

It’s going to be tough trying to balance writing with painting, but I am going to try my hardest to do just that. I am going to put my shiny new idea down and get back to work on The Liberty Chronicles. I think I have been away from it long enough now that I can actually do what I was planning to do weeks ago. I think I will go back to the drawing board, keeping the main points but developing a new outline for the story and then starting the manuscript over from scratch. It’s a big task but I am glad I was less than ten thousand words in when I decided I needed to do this.

So, that’s the plan ladies and gents. Thank you to those who’ve stuck around and I hope you will continue to do so. I will be doing better at blogging and trying to be the example I set out to be for you all.

Happy writing!

–Trevor

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On Rebranding My Blog

Hey readers!

So I have been thinking a lot lately about the route I want to take with this blog. As most of you who have stuck around know, I write about writing most of the time but I also like to do product reviews.

Here is my dilemma. I still want to write about writing. I still want to share my journey to becoming a published author with all of you. That hasn’t changed and will never change. However, I also really love doing product reviews. It is honestly a joy for me to reach out to various brands, get their products, take the best photos I can, and then write about my experience with those products.

No, no, that wasn’t the only part of the dilemma. The biggest part of the dilemma is that my current brand doesn’t really fit too many niche’s. It’s not entirely difficult for me to get journals and pencils to review as a writer. It’s when I want to reach out beyond those things that I find a problem. I want to review all sorts of things. Tech, food, toys, all sorts of, well, lifestyle things.

So, here’s what I am thinking. I am going to find a way to rebrand this blog as sort of a writer’s lifestyle blog where I will still bring my readers along with me on my journey, but I will be able to share with you all some of the things I love and use on a day to day basis. I hope that sounds a little more fun to you guys.

It will take a little bit to get my brand figured out and then adapt the blog to it and I hope you all will stick around to see what comes out on the other side. I truly believe this is going to be fun.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to leave them below.

I hope you all are having a wonderful day!

–Trevor

The Daily Westin- 10/11/2017

I’m so torn.

I have always just used Microsoft Word to do all of my writing. That is, until the past year and a half or so when I started using the famous (or infamous) Scrivener.

The thing about it is that Scrivener has a huge learning curve. I will use it for a while and then get discouraged because I don’t know all there is to know about it and go back to Word before I even give myself a chance to figure it out.

I really want to use Scrivener though. But it’s not enough to just use it, I want to use it effectively. Word is easy because all you have to do is create a new document for every chapter and place it in a folder for the novel. Unbelievably simple.

Scrivener, on the other hand, is easy in the sense that all you do is create a new project and all the files and documents that have to do with your story are right there in front of your face. You don’t have to create a new file somewhere on your computer (and let’s be honest, it can be anywhere, even somewhere that the rest of your story isn’t) and try to keep track of it all. When you want to write, just open the project and it’s all there. But there are so many nuances. Things that are supposed to make it a more streamlined experience. But you have to learn all the things first. Ugh.

In trying to plan during PrepTober, I am also trying to decide where I want to write this novel. This is tough. The only real benefit to Word, aside from it being simple and being able to save a copy to the cloud so I can edit on my phone, is that when I send this to publishers, it will likely have to be in something like Word. Not Scrivener format.

I don’t know. If any of you have any suggestions or want to share your thoughts on either program, please comment!

Sorry about the rant, just wanted to share my PrepTober struggles.

–Trevor

On PrepTober

I am failing miserably at PrepTober. We are 1/3 of the way into the month and I am not 1/3 of the way done planning for my #NaNoWriMo novel.

I started the month with big plans. I was going to begin to use a bullet journal and plan out times when I would prep. I would split the tasks up by days, world-building Monday, character creation Tuesdays, outlining Wednesdays, something to that effect. Yet here I sit, having only fleshed out a small piece of my main character and, though I know the world in my head, I haven’t gotten it down on paper. Outline? Ha! Not even close.

Queue the excuses. As per the usual, work is wearing me out. I truly hate my job anymore. I love writing and that’s what I would rather do so I also spend a lot of time getting product reviews ready to publish. I have countless products that I need to review and they can’t take a backseat anymore. It’s something I am truly passionate about. I love taking the photos, editing them if I have to, and writing about my experience. It’s fun to try and craft my words into something that can best represent my experiences with a product. It’s challenging and hurts my brain sometimes, but I love it.

Also, finding and reaching out to brands I’d like to work with isn’t as easy as you may think. So that’s what’s been taking my time.

No more of this not prioritizing my novel. I have to get back to getting ready for Nano, because dammit I’m going to win this year.

I hope you all are doing better than me if you’re spending October prepping for Nano.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

 

–Trevor

Creativum Minimalist Journal

Hey gals and guys!

I want to share something very special with you today. The Minimalist Leather Journal from my friends at Creativum, who were kind enough to send me my own journal for the purposes of this review.

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I have to note how, every time I walk into my office since I got this journal, it smells like leather. It’s the most wonderful thing. It’s like my office is filled with expensive leather furniture. It’s not, I promise, It’s just this journal.

 

The Specs:

Size: A5 (8.5″x6″)

Paper: Unknown. I suspect around 80 to 90 GSM.

300 pages of refillable lined paper.

Binding: Stitched

Closure: Leather strap around wooden button.

Bookmarks: 1

Pockets: None

Pen Loop: Yes

 

The Basics:

Minimalist. It’s in the name and the journal itself screams it. We’ve all seen the big hulking leather journals found anywhere from your local box store to Barnes and Noble. They are the opposite of minimal. The folks at Creativum have nailed the concept, providing the rugged durability of a  100% genuine leather cover with a simple yet very functional journal insert.

One of my favorite things about this journal is the button used in conjunction with a leather strap to close it.

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How beautiful is that? And it’s not just a button. This is a huge part of the culture of Creativum. In a nutshell, it stands for creativity and how having a little of it can get you a long way. As a writer, I can’t imagine writing my story in another book just for that alone. It’s a constant reminder of how one man made something from nothing and how, if he can do it, so can I.

As you see here, this journal is stitched and bound.DSC_0065.jpg

Because of it’s stitching and not being bound to a solid spine, it also lays relatively flat.

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If you’re looking for a beautiful cover with refillable pages, this is a perfect choice. The refills are available for only $8.00 USD, which I consider an absolute steal!

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There’s also a nice pen/pencil loop so you can keep your favorite utensil with you wherever you and your journal travel.

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Writing in the Journal

I must say, I originally planned on using this with pencil, because that’s what I like writing with, but I purchased a Pilot Metropolitan and wanted to use it more. I chose to do some of my writing in this journal with the Metropolitan.

First let me say that this paper takes the ink from my Medium Nib pen very well. It feels nice and smooth, while on some other paper I’ve used it’s been a little too scratchy. This comes at a price, however. It takes the ink too well. While there is no bleed-through on the page underneath the one on which I write, it does bleed through a little too much on the back of that page. So much so that I wouldn’t write on the back, which for me means half the page availability if I were to continue to use a fountain pen throughout the entire book. I should clarify that not all of it bleeds through and the ghosting is heavier and thus more distracting than the bleed through in my opinion.  Thus, I would not call this paper fountain pen friendly, at least not with a medium nib or anything this wet. I wouldn’t even call the Metropolitan “wet” but I guess with this paper it seems to be.

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If you do like to write in pencil, the paper feels really nice while doing so. It’s not too toothy so it won’t eat the graphite, but it’s not just slippery smooth either. I’d call it a perfect balance.

Conclusion

Don’t expect to use this with wet pens. It simply won’t be effective. Having used it for quite some time now, that’s honestly my only complaint, and it’s not really a complaint.

I absolutely love this journal. If you’re looking for something you can use for a bullet journal, this may not be for you (though you can bujo with lined sheets if you want). But if you’re looking for something for daily journaling, a diary, or even writing stories like I use mine for, this is perfect.

I give the Minimalist Journal from Creativum a 9 out of 10 stars. 

You can pick yours up for $45.00 USD for the regular size. They also offer in a mini size (5.5″x4″ 240pages) for $35.00 USD.

I want to say a huge thank you to Creativum for sending me this journal.

Thank you all for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful week!

*This journal was sent to me free of charge for the purposes of this review. However, I am not being paid to provide a biased review and my opinions are my own.*

–Trevor

 

 

The Weekly Westin

Total Manuscript Word Count:  4,330

Hey guys and gals! Happy Monday! If that’s a thing. It’s a thing, right?

I hope you all had a productive and enjoyable week last week. Mine was busy of course. Work was crazy. I feel like I say that all the time but it’s been the absolute truth lately.

If you didn’t notice, my manuscript didn’t grow very much. I technically only added 108 words to my story last week. However, if you read last weeks post, you’ll know that I decided to change perspectives. I figured I may as well do this in the fourth chapter while my gut told me to. Naturally, this was almost like a first edit, not to mention some things that work in first person just don’t work in third. That said, even though my total word count didn’t grow, my novel did. There were parts that even I didn’t know were going to happen until I changed perspective. So this is a good thing.

Also, I had a major revelation on Saturday, but I can’t tell you what that is. All I can say is that I know how this book will end. As most ideas do, it just came to me out of nowhere. But I do think that this is how it has to end. I can’t wait for you guys to read it when it’s done.

Another bit of interesting news, I’ve acquired another analog writing tool. Well, I ordered it anyway. Can’t wait to show you guys. I bought a late 40’s to early 50’s Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriter. I’ve been wanting a typewriter for a while now and finally had the funds to get one so I did. I don’t know how much I’ll use it versus longhand or computer but I’m definitely excited to see how it works.

Well, that’s about all I have for you guys. I, unfortunately, have to get on the road to work. I cannot wait for vacation starting Saturday!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Happy writing!

–Trevor