WU Logo Contest (Again)

Okay so two (very exciting!) pieces of news today:

One, my design for Writer Unboxed logo competition is up on their site and available for voting. If you have a few seconds to click over there and vote for Design #1, I will be eternally happy!

This is a huge opportunity for me, especially since… I have opened a new site at kristycondon.com, my new professional domain from which I plan to start offering freelance graphic design and copywriting projects. I am still working on getting my portfolio formatted and up to the new site, but I will be providing services in book and magazine cover design and layout, including e-book formatting,  as well as logo design, business cards, and other branding materials. I will hopefully be offering web design later this year as well.

If you have a project for me in mind, please let me know! I am still broadening my porfolio and my rates will reflect that.

So to sum up, vote for me (Design #1) at Writer Unboxed!

Then, check out my new website at kristycondon.com!

Then, hire me to design things for you!

Kristy

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Writer Unboxed Logo Contest

Hello! My life is crazy as always, but somewhere in between homework assignments I managed to design this logo for one of my favourite writing blogs, Writer Unboxed. A couple weeks ago they posted that they would be having a contest to have a logo designed for the blog, and I thought I would give it a whirl. I didn’t expect my submission to go anywhere, but lo and behold, it was selected by blog founders Therese and Kathleen as one of their top 3!

My design is going up this afternoon on the Writer Unboxed website as a finalist for voting, so I am going to shamelessly beg you all to head over there and lend me your votes!

I keep getting 403 messages and can’t access the website right now (it’s driving me crazy) so I don’t actually know if the post is up yet or whether or not my name is attached to it, so here is the one to vote for:

My logo submission!

Thank you all in advance for your support!

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I’m Back!

Sort of. I can’t guarantee I will be able to post with any kind of regularity for reasons I will explain in a bit. But before that, what exactly have I been up to these last months?

First off, I moved to Vancouver, which I am fairly certain is the most beautiful city on Earth.

I landed a job this summer as a marketing intern for a live theatre company, and for the first time in my life was actually getting paid to write.

My main duty over the summer was to write study guides for each of the six shows in the upcoming season, to be made available for teachers wanting to bring their classes to the theatre for field trips etc.

I was also charged with writing media releases and synopses for the shows, which have been published in newspapers, magazines, and on the web. It’s a small accomplishment, and uncredited for the most part, but I feel absolutely elated. My original words have been published for mass consumption!

The internship ended in August, and I started school again in September. For those still not clear on what exactly I am taking, write this down: a diploma in publishing.

What exactly does one learn to obtain a diploma in publishing?

A lot of software, for starters.

Here are the courses I’m taking now:

Designing for Print I (graphic design)
Writing for Publication (magazine nonfiction freelancing, basically)
Page Layout Software (Adobe InDesign)
Digital Illustration (Adobe Illustrator)
Publishing Issues and Practicies (primarily ethics and business planning)
Adobe Photoshop

Next week I start Designing for Print II, to make it an even SEVEN courses this semester. I am in a classroom (well, a computer lab) for 36 hours every week and doing homework for pretty much all of my other waking hours (and some of my sleep hours too). Thus, infrequent blogging.

My program is AWESOME. I absolutely love it. Even though I sometimes want to strangle the inventor of Photoshop. Him and whichever guy decided we are only allowed a max of 24 hours in a day.

I am just so excited to finally be learning real-life, employable skills… that are related to the written word, no less! Next semester my class and I are publishing a magazine—the whole thing, from cover to cover. Every article, image, and even some of the ads will be created in-house by my class. My portfolio is wetting itself with excitement to finally have things in it.

I’ve already created a few things I’m pretty happy with. We designed a magazine ad and a book cover already, and an instructional diagram and a personal logo. Today I am writing a query letter to my writing instructor to pitch an idea for a magazine article due later this term. Later this week we have a business card and letterhead design due.

My book cover design.

It’s a LOT of work, but I am loving every minute of it (with a few exceptions).

Also, have I mentioned that I live in the sushi capital of the world?

YUM.

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Breather

Well after a whirlwind couple of weeks, I have finally left the wintry prairies behind me for the greener pastures of the beautiful west coast. I’ll still be in transition for the rest of April, but I’m all ready to go with a new apartment in Vancouver and I’ve managed to land a marketing internship with a theatre company for the summer. (I am SO excited to finally have a job that requires me to write!)

After all the hubbub of moving and job hunting, I am going to really enjoy freeloading at my parent’s house this week and lying on a beach in Puerto Vallarta next. Things are finally coming together, and I a feel justified in saying that after 5 years slaving to finish my degree, I deserve this break.

It’s funny that what I am most excited about in my move into the big city is being able to spend quiet time alone outside on my patio, book in hand. Some things never change…

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Falling Out of Love

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve taken a bit of a step back from writing in the past little while, both from this blog and from the story I was working on. I’m not writing this to say that I’m giving up, by any means. I just need to re-evaluate my priorities a bit.

I used to write because I loved writing. Then through school, I wrote because I was told to… and some of the joy necessarily faded. Just when I was starting to enjoy it again, I lost my primary source of motivation and had to come up with my own. I thought I had it in my idea for Villainous. I thought that I loved the idea so much that it would drive me to complete it in novel form.

I did love the idea. And I think it made a really cool one-act play. But maybe that’s where I should have left it.

That feeling you get when you are so excited about your story that you can think about nothing else all day long except for how much you wish you could just get back to the keyboard… I lived a couple of years of my life on that constant rush, so I have no problem recognizing its absence from my life right now. In fact, I am painfully aware of it. I’ve fallen out of love with my idea.

Personal experience has shown me that writing is something that I love to do, and I don’t need any more motivation than my own love of the story to write it. But I think it’s time I recognize that I may be trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Some day I may very well write a novel. Maybe it will even be a good one. It just might not be this novel, this year.

So, with all that being said, I’m going to try to refocus my writing goals and put less pressure on this one option. Writing should feel good, not forced. With my big move coming up in less than a month, I know I’ll have a flood of new stimuli and experiences that could very well provide me with my next golden idea. And if not… Well, that’s okay too.

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Death of the Traditional Publisher?

I came upon this article on a friend’s facebook page. I highly recommend the read to anyone who’s looking to get involved in the book publishing industry, on the writing side or otherwise.

Though it looks like it’s getting more and more difficult for authors to get published these days (see this article for even more evidence), there could actually be a silver lining. Writers already get such a small piece of the pie when it comes to book profits, it’s really only a matter of time before all of these added pressures start fueling a mass migration into self- and e-publishing, and completely bypass the increasingly more demanding middleman.

What the traditional publishing route has always offered essentially boils down to:

1. Editing, polishing, and designing the content and packaging of the book.

2. Providing a marketing platform.

3. Providing the resources and financial backing to actually print the book and get it into bookstores.

BUT,  the vast majority of books are still sold by word-of-mouth, and with the huge rise in opportunities for e-book sales and print-on-demand publishing options as well as the apparent new decline of in-house editing services… all this seems kind of, well, unnecessary. When you also take into account the fact that publishing houses take a such a huge chunk of a book’s profits, often 75% or more, writers also potentially stand to make a lot more money by self-publishing.

With things like the iPad and Kindle transforming the way books are both produced and consumed, it’s a wonder that traditional publishers aren’t offering even more services to draw authors in. Instead, they are reducing services by asking authors to put out their own money for editing services, and still taking the majority of the profits for themselves.

What are your thoughts? Are traditional publishers digging their own graves? At what point are authors just going to throw their hands up and decide they might as well just do the whole thing themselves?

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A Collection of Unrelated Thoughts

I work two jobs, but when people ask me what I’m up to these days I say I’m unemployed. I like my jobs and they pay pretty well, but even combined they barely qualify for the definition of ‘part-time.’ Since I’ll be moving in the next 2-3 months, there doesn’t seem to be much point in finding a job here right now.

I guess this means I’m in that post-degree, artsy, destitute, soul-searching stage.I can work with that.

I’ve been watching a lot of daytime TV recently since I’ve been out of school. It’s worse than I remembered. When did Ellen become my favourite time of day? Maybe it’s time I took a bit of a break.

I just finished eating a whole can of chicken noodle soup out of the pot. For the second time in two months I am disgustingly ill. I would be pointing fingers at H1N1, except I don’t think I believe in it. H1N1 that is, not pointing fingers. And besides, my mom once told me that you can tell if you have a virus because your boogers will be green. Mine are not. P.S. Why does ‘Mucous Relief’ NeoCitran taste so much worse than regular NeoCitran? Why can’t my mucous be relieved as deliciously as my other symptoms?!

I’m drinking water out of a Sleeman’s beer glass because the only real glasses I have are these short little tumblers, maybe 3 or 4 inches tall. When I get a thirst on, 3 inches of water just isn’t going to cut it. I don’t know why I don’t have any tall glasses. I’ve been living on my own for 5 years and I have a toaster oven, waffle iron and a matching cutlery set, but I drink water out of free promotional beer glasses. It bothers me every time I pour myself a glass of water, but for whatever reason I can’t bring myself to take a trip to the dollar store and pick up some real drinking glasses.

I bought Wii Fit a couple of weeks ago but I won’t use it now because I know I’ve gained weight and I’m afraid that the little sprite will judge me. Instead, I’ve been playing pokemon, because I’m ten years old. There’s a special promotion going on at gamespot stores soon. If I go in with my game they will give me a free rare pokemon. Someone please talk me out of this.

This winter has been insane. My Aunt told me it’s the most snow Edmonton has seen since 1971. Don’t believe me? Here’s the view of their backyard:

See that circle in the middle? That's a picnic table.

This week has been warm, though, above zero for the first time in months. So it’s all melting. Ever wondered where four feet of snow goes when it melts? Answer: EVERYWHERE.

Yuck.

Upon deciding that I needed to get out of the house in which I have been hiding from the snow for several week now, I took it upon myself to go for a short walk to the bookstore. I had just finished The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second novel in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, and desperately needed to pick up the third. (As an aside, what an annoyingly successful cliffhanger ending.)

Although I live in a city where it is winter 8 months out of the year, I have somehow managed to accumulate zero shoes that are waterproof. I was walking in my own personal twin swamps by the time I made it to Chapters. Not only were my socks wet, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest is apparently only available in hardcover edition.

Riddle me this, please:
Who in the anal-retentive every-detail-counts world of book publishing decided that two of the three books in a trilogy should be available in paperback while the third only exists as a hardcover? What happens if you’re a paperback girl? What happens if you like uniformity? Do they just expect me to throw them on my bookshelf like that, with matching cover art and everything, while one is twice the size of the other two?!

And it’s not just the Larsson books. I dealt with the same issue when I went out to buy the Twilight series. (I’m not even going to apologize. I read Twilight. Deal with it.) For some bizarre reason, the first one was only available in paperback, while the other three were exclusively hardcover editions. This is beyond my comprehension. Do the editors not have bookshelves? Do they not look at the three books altogether and realize that they DO NOT MATCH?

Am I the only person who feels like this is some kind of terrorist revenge plot against consumer freedom??

WHO AT PENGUIN BOOKS HATES ME THIS MUCH??

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Home Movies

Here’s to my very first post from the other side! The other side of what? A couple things, I suppose.

  • The provincial border, for one. I’ve been visiting my parents for the past couple of weeks and I have never been more aware of how deeply I miss BC. I am seriously starting to look forward to my upcoming move.
  • A seemingly endless Bachelor of Arts degree. I updated my resume a couple days ago from “will have completed a B.A. by Dec 2010” to simply “B.A. 2010.” I don’t think it’s quite hit me yet, but I’m sure when I get back home I will really start to feel the absence of a full-time school schedule.
  • The new year, of course! I think graduating in December has been especially nice since it’s like I’ve gotten a clean break at the new year mark. I have no idea what wonders 2011 hold in store for me, but I can look back from here and say that 2010 really was an overall wonderful year, despite a few bumps along the road.
  • Writing e-grouppage! In a bout of motivation combined with new year’s ambition, I started an online writing group a couple of days ago consisting of several of my classmates from my university writing classes. I am really looking forward to reconnecting with my support group and all the fabulous feedback we’ll be trading in the future.
  • Adulthood. This one’s a little more obscure, but bear with me here. I feel today like I have officially bridged the gap from young adulthood into full-fledged grown-uppedness. Completing my degree has been a huge part of this, but another huge part has been watching home movies every day since I’ve been here (I unwittingly volunteered myself as family archivist and have been spending full days painstakingly dubbing all of our old VHS tapes onto DVD). In the past weeks, I have observed myself at ages 4-17, and of course 22. This has (as you might imagine) placed me in a state of self-reflexivity, and I’ve been able to draw a fairly interesting graph regarding my development up to this point.

The single most fascinating point of interest to me is that today I am more like myself at age 6 than myself at ages 10-17. I have nearly come full circle. I look more like my adult self, talk more like my adult self, and act more like my adult self at age 6 than I did at any other age in between. For some reason, this is evidence to me that I have overcome the mountain that is adolescence, and am now back on the life path I started in my first few years of school. If anyone would like to point out how ridiculously flawed this logic is, feel free but be aware that I will ignore it :). I am entirely and utterly convinced that this is proof enough that I am now an adult that I am now free to stop looking for reasons to prove I am an adult.

Thanks and adieu for now,

Ms Kristy L. C.
B.A. 2010

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What I Learned From My Bachelor’s Degree

Four and a half years ago, I had no idea what I was doing with my life (things haven’t changed much). Fresh out of high school I was presented with two choices: go to university and get myself a Bachelor of Arts degree, or… do something else. I will readily admit that after powering through my first twelve years of school, I was not terribly eager to volunteer myself for another four. I didn’t know what a BA was anyway, only that, according to my mom, I would never get a job I enjoyed until I had one.

I went to University. I had no idea what to take, so when it came time to register for classes I declared myself an English major (that’s what everyone does, right?) and just enrolled myself in a potpourri of introductory language courses: Spanish, French, and Japanese. I probably would have continued with German as well but they didn’t have any advanced courses at my small university, so I took the obligatory first year English instead and scored myself a slot in the one coveted creative writing class.

I will not elaborate too much on this first year, except to warn anyone who is planning to learn four languages at the same time that it is a stupid idea not advisable. Continue reading

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Change

I am finally down to my last week of school. This time next week I will be a free woman. Or at least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself for the past four and half years. Keep your eye on the prize. Just pass that finish line.

What happens to the runner once she’s finished the race?

I’ve always been a student. Excluding years 0-4, I have never not been a student. As excited as I am to move on past this milestone, it also feels like I am being stripped of my identity. I’ve been a student for a long time. I’m good at it. It’s comfortable for me. I’ve gotten used to being poor, always living from deadline to deadline on a fourteen week rotation. I like being able to schedule classes late in the day so I can sleep in until 9.

I never thought I would admit this, but I’m really going to miss working through phonology problems. Research essays. Being forced to learn things I secretly want to know but would never look into on my own. I even get a secret thrill out of writing midterms.

I live within a 5-block radius of everything I need: classes, work, groceries, other work, boyfriend. I’ve spent four years building myself a nice comfortable nest here. Why does everything have to change?

Now don’t get me wrong. I want this change. I need this change. I’m so deep in this rut I forget what daylight looks like. But it’s just become so easy. I know what’s expected of me and I know what to expect. And while I lust for the chance to get out and start something new, I’m afraid of all the times I mistakes I’m going to make. I fear failure and I don’t even know what I’m trying for yet.

I know it’s silly to write all this on an internet blog post. The whole world probably doesn’t want or need to know how lost I feel right now. But writing it out seems to help. I realize that I’ve got a classic case of grass-is-greenerism. The whole time I’ve been in university I’ve been counting the days until it’s over, looking forward to life after school. And now I see how easy I’ve had it all along.

Sorry about all this whining. I’ll post something less existential next time, I promise. In the meantime, I have an exam tomorrow morning, don’t I? Life goes on…

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