Tag Archives: creative work

The 777 Challenge – in Part


I was tagged by Ali from over in Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman! for the 777 challenge.  The idea is to turn to page 7 in your current work in progress, go down 7 lines and copy the next 7 sentences.

My current work in progress is still The Fireborn.  I’ve done 4 main drafts and a handful of quick revisions looking for typos and such. Continue reading



I’m reorganizing my creative workspace.  It’s a long, hard haul, but it must be done.  But before I go into some of the reasons I’m reorganizing, I need to explain the picture at the top.

This picture was taken in 2011 after the last time I reorganized.  I had been composing classical music and had decided to switch back to a more pop/rock/jazz sound.  I wrote my classical music directly onto manuscript paper.  At first I really did use paper, but later I used a program with virtual paper.  I had a single keyboard set up so I could play parts to make sure they sounded right.  When I moved to the more performance orient styles, I need a performance oriented set up, which I created, as witnessed by this photo. Continue reading

How Did You Ever Think of That? (Again)

Idea Tree(Originally posted March 2, 2014 – yes, the idea tree is picked clean)

When I read interviews with authors or books describing their writing methods one question always comes up: Where do you get your ideas?  Some get very defensive, “You’d think I had an idea tree I can just pick story lines from or perhaps I say an incantation and an idea demon comes to my rescue.”  Others are a little more practical, “Whenever I read or hear something new I get a story idea.  I spend a lot of time going through magazines and newspapers and they’re just full of potential stories.”  “I take two unrated ideas and find a way to bring them together.  This creates a story.” Continue reading

Prelude in Ab Major (Again)

My Piano Sings
My Piano Sings

(Originally Posted 17 February, 2014)

Several years ago I wrote a set of 24 preludes in all major and minor keys.  In some future post I will talk a bit more about the series including why I (stupidly) chose the order they’re in.  For now I want to concentrate on just one prelude, the Prelude in Ab Major.

Listen to the track below.  Don’t read on until you’ve listened.

Finished?  OK, start it again while you read. Continue reading

The Magic Wand

Almost exactly a year ago I started work on a picture story, the magic wand.  I posted it May 2, 2014.  However, in ways I like the colorized version better.  If you have time, look at both and let me know what you think.

Magic Wand 1

1. “Where have you been, Edward? We haven’t seen you in days.”

“I’ve been too busy to come out and play. Last week I received a magic wand for my fifth birthday and I’ve been practicing.” Continue reading

Dabbler, Hobbyist, Amateur or Pro – Repost

Dabble - Sketch by Trent P McDonald(OK, this is the third time this showed up.  Still one of my favorites!)

I’ve participated in many of the arts and have had formal instruction in a few.  I’ll admit that I’ve discovered a problem with trying to be a Jack of All Artistic Trades: it’s very easy to fall into the trap of being a Master at None. Continue reading

Bartelby, My Award Winning Cat (RP)

Bartelby was a very athletic cat. One way you can read this sentence is that he often got into very weird places. For instance, once when he was a very small kitten we were woken up in the middle of the night by the sounds of meowing. Turning the lights on we found Bartelby sitting on a curtain rod maybe eight feet (about two and half meters) off of the floor.

Another time I found Bartelby on top of a cabinet. He stood there proudly, head pressed firmly against the ceiling, staring into the light. I grabbed a camera (an Olympus 2020 with its groundbreaking 2 mp sensor) and took a quick picture. Continue reading

The Art Of…

Dabble - Sketch by Trent P McDonaldOften the skill we think we need for an art isn’t the one that’s really required.   So you think the main skill for drawing is hand eye coordination?  The same thing with music, all you need is fluid fingers to play an instrument, so you can hit the right key/valve/finger hole/fret at the right time?  Perhaps all you need for writing is good spelling and grammar?  Let’s take a look. Continue reading

A Matter of Timing – Repost

Trent on trumpet - phot by Trent P McDonald

(Sorry for another reblog.  This is one of my earliest posts, slightly edited)

“Ha!  That sounds so ‘Trent’!  It’s like whenever you play fast runs you get excited and speed up.  Relaaaxxx.  Stay in the groove.  Flow with it.”  She was right, I’m rhythmically impaired.  Since my college days when Teresa made that observation, I’ve worked hard to bring it under control.  I’ve used a metronome, improvised over wildly diverse music and often scat to anything with a constant beat.  I’ve vastly improved but still tend to accelerate on fast parts. Continue reading

Getting Your Groove Back – Repost

Trent's studio(Note-This is a post from almost exactly a year ago.  It’s still relevant today since, although this year I didn’t fly, I did take quite a long and relaxing break.  I don’t think I have my groove back yet, but I’m working on it.)

The holidays.  A time to spend with friends and family.  A time to fly the friendly sky with 50 million of your closest friends.  The rush and crush of the mobs at the airport.  Parking nightmares.  Security lines that stretch half way to your destination.  Ugh.  I hate flying on the holidays.  This year I left early and returned late in an attempt to avoid the mad rush.  That put me away from home for over a week.  It’s nice to get away, but of course I dropped everything while out of town.  So, no creative energy used during the week of vacation.  No third draft of the novel.  No new short story.  Not even a blog post.  One measly little 12 word Facebook post.  Not exactly keeping the creative juices flowing, are we?

How does one recover from a week away from creative work, be it writing, music or the visual arts?  I know that I have dropped many projects after a too rewarding trip.  I’ve even temporarily dropped totally out of an active art upon returning.  There must be a way to get back into it, to get your groove on. Continue reading