on being a chronically embarrassed artist

When I share my idea with a friend and they don’t get it, I’m immediately filled with a feeling of regret. I want to downplay my idea. “Oh, nevermind, it wasn’t that important anyway.”

I’m missing out.

When my friend is telling me they don’t get it, they’re giving me an opportunity to make my idea real. While my idea is in my head, there are a lot of blank spaces where I can assume the magic will happen, whether or not it’s actually there. I don’t always know where they are, either. Being asked to fill in the blank is a vulnerable place to be for an artist, but it’s also the most transformative.

If I can put aside the shame of not getting the right emotional reaction from someone, it’s clear that when my friend is asking “what did you mean?” they’re giving me an opportunity to find the truth in my vision. That’s where magic happens.

academic seminars: what to expect

Attending a seminar at your local university or college is a great (and free) way to get an introduction to a field of study, connect with experts in a field, or just have a good time. They’re an excellent networking opportunity. Some time I’ll talk about the mentors and project partners I met through attending seminars. People are sometimes surprised to hear that you can just walk into a lecture hall even if you’re not enrolled at the college. The truth is, you can even come to class without being a student. That’s another topic for another post.

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Captain’s Log 10/26/2015 – 10/30/2015

This week I implimented a new Trello board design.

2015-10-30 09_40_21-Ray's World Domination Plan _ Trello

There are a few other changes to my setup. The incantation and braindump are more or less the same. This week’s incantation was from Laura Hershey’s poem of the same name. I changed “Upcoming” to “This Week”. This week has some intentions that aren’t task based, as well as a pool of tasks for my time based goal in the next section. “Daily” is for goals I complete every day. I kept the “Now” section just in case, but ended up not using it.

2015-10-30 09_41_17-2 hr of creative tasks on Ray's World Domination Plan _ Trello

2 hours is clearly too ambitious, Next week I’m going to go for 30 minutes instead.

I spent those hours making rubbish pants, by the way. I’m in love with my rubbish pants, even though they’re kind of uncomfortable to wear as anything but a scarf. I also did some doodling.

My big challenge is doing personal projects for myself. On the week where I completely ignored my Trello board I still fulfilled my one work-related intention, but not my really personally important intention about working on comics. My health is irregular, so it’s easy for me to become apathetic about expending energy on anything but my responsibilities to other people. Next week, I’ll continue to focus on personal projects.

I’ve been sharing intentions with my learning network, but I also need to share intentions with my support network. When I have the expectations of my learning network without the help of my support network, I start to feel negative about the project and myself. Next week, I will incorporate support into my intentions.

I read some advice from a group of cosplayers about how to make costumes. I really like it, and think it applies to any creative endeavor:

Find a buddy.

Keep a public record.

Make it a habit.

Pace yourself.

Be agile.

Get over being a perfectionist.

Make a schedule.

Maybe I’ll do tiers of difficulty for my intentions? My worry with that is that I’ll only ever do the easiest thing. But that’s not so bad.

What to do about academic paywalls

As someone who likes to read academic articles and doesn’t belong to an academic institution, I often run into extremely frustrating paywalls. There’s a simple-ish way to get past the paywalls that is super legal and, in my opinion, even better than anonymously downloading directly from the website.

You can straight up ask the author for a copy. The number one desire of most authors of academic papers is to get more citations, so they love getting new readers. I’d say the worst that could happen is you get a flat “no”, but even that is extremely unlikely. If they don’t jump at the chance to share their worldview with someone (who could potentially become a colleague) by sending a 1 minute email, the message just gets buried in their inbox and they never get back to you. The best case scenario is that you enjoy the article, ask them some questions, and enter into a correspondence with a professional in the field.

Here’s a rundown of how I do it.

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