Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Very Organised Pinboard Time

Things I want to do today:
sketch out a chapter of my graphic novel
bind a dummy book
eat tasty salad

Things I don't want to do today:
install a system upgrade and fix the resulting mayhem
phone the bank and turn down insurance deals
prepare a slide show
fill in forms
decide on major purchases
shop for tasty salad ingredients

Things I also should be doing:
Ummm... I know there's SOMETHING... birthday presents... some sort of bill somewhere... arrgh, must urgently draw an A3 sheet of cats for an event in Newcastle!

Something tells me this day has potential to be frustrating. I think it's time for the Very Organised Pinboard again, which I get out in times of Too Much Stuff Going On All At Once. I made it years ago after reading "Time Management for Unmanageable People", which has been one of the very useful books in my life, along with Keith Johnstone's "Impro" and a book on dealing with anxiety attacks which I read and lost, but I remember the most useful part was that anxiety and excitement feel very similar, so if you manage to be excited about scary everyday things life becomes much more enjoyable (if a bit silly at times, especially around the great annual adventure of the Tax Return).
Anyway, pinboard, here it is. Shall fill it up presently. It breaks my to-dos up into life, work, stuff that can be sorted with a phonecall/email and treats. No, I don't need to empty the whole board of tasks to grab the treat, it's just to pick the most suitable task from and help me not get confused, not to make me work harder. Treats are for when a treat seems in order, whenever that may be.


Candice Hartsough McDonald said...

Oh I love the treat prize! So cute.

Viviane Schwarz said...

Very important to have treats. I just had a gold-coated portion of ice cream after phoning the bank, binding a book, upgrading my operating system and making a leather sheath for the very sharp kitchen knife that always rattles around in the drawer. Am now drawing comic panels.

John Peacock said...

Goodness! I didn't realise you were an admirer of Keith Johnstone, though I'm not surprised (or did we have a conversation about it once, that I've just forgotten?)

I heard of him through the late, great Ken Campbell who was a huge admirer of his.

Have you ever done one of his workshops? I'd very much like to, but keep missing them.

Viviane Schwarz said...

Ha! No I don't much mention Keith Johnstone, strangely. I didn't even think to check for workshops! How brilliant would that be...

I bought his book some years ago in Germany - I was on a sort of a recuperation holiday after a burn-out, completely unable to make up any stories at all. My uncle took me to a local theatresport event. They sold books in the interval. That was, I think, the beginning of the end of that burn-out. I'm still grateful, even though I forget at times. In fact, I was quite ashamed when I forgot the most basic rules of improvisation last time I ran a workshop and told people off for being too violent when that's just what naturally happens at first... but anyway, I've not dislocated my brain with misplaced discipline again since I read this.

And I just looked up Ken Campbell, how did I not know about him - he does indeed sound great!

John Peacock said...

Yes, the Thing I just came back to - which involved a certain amount of improvisation, I suppose, had a meeting in about the middle, which many people referred to as "Lord of the Flies Night". It did settle down after that, and only the fact I'd done something similar before (and knew that it would) kept me sane. Or what passes for sane under those conditions.

I looked it up - the next KJ workshop in London is in August/September - http://www.keithjohnstone.com/main.aspx?id=77

I'll probably be burned out from whatever happens in Barcelona this Summer, but perhaps you can save up for it.

Ken Campbell was a genius - I'll lend you one of his scripts next time I see you (and give you your "You the Living" DVD back), as long as I have advance warning of the meeting. I'll probably have to do an impersonation of him to set you off, as it's all in his very particular voice.

Viviane Schwarz said...

Ooh that would be a brilliant workshop to attend... I should most definitely do that, actually, I'll apply. Thank you!

The scary middle bit is very familiar... the workshop I led was badly planned by me in that there was only time to get to that stage, I allowed no time to clear out the aggression, which was I think amplified by me making them do stuff they were unsure about, and that, again, scared me because I wasn't used to causing such creative rage. Then the students aplogogised for being "unusually violent" and I was tired enough to just say "oh it's okay", and I think they felt they'd failed when actually they'd produced an amazing amount of surprising material. - We did, however, have a really interesting result when everyone agreed to try and be completely non-aggressive and the results were either completely horrifying or pointless. I thought that was a very good thing to remember when trying to write a "very nice, lovely, warm" picture book by force - you can't simply deny the aggression that's fed by competition and released by improvisation, you got to go through a phase of it first if you want to create something truly friendly, or in fact anything but displays of aggression.

Anyway, I could do with some more training just so I can pass on the things I mean to, because I do often lose them in translation.

Yes please bring scripts to next work-meeting...