Wake up at 5.30

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sundaytodo

Just a regular Sunday.

 

I’m big on habits and optimizing my life, mainly because I’m always stretched for hours between multiple projects and my never-ending creative needs, and I’m always looking out for new tools and thoughts on how to streamline my life.

Lately, I’ve come upon a new habit that has made my life a lot more enjoyable and easier; I can’t believe how much it baffles my friends when I tell them what it’s all about. Now, I can’t generalize and say this applies to everyone. Actually, it definitely doesn’t. I can’t say that it applies to you, dear reader, but since it is my blog, I can try to give as much bad advise as I feel like.

What I’ve come upon is something simple, it’s something I wish I’d began a decade ago and not a year ago, and it’s something poisonous to the nerd and geek communities: it’s waking up at 5.30 in the morning.

Knowledge workers generally tend to wake up flexibly, pointing out that their creative juices can only perform at specific times, saying that their best work only comes late at night, and that there’s no way they can even think straight in the morning. And while I don’t doubt that people have specific golden times during their day specifically set aside for the part of their brain that does writing, coding, or art, I also think that with certain mindfulness we can control or adjust it. Even if there really is only one magic hour late at night during which people are most creative, all that special time goes to waste if you’re too tired to do anything with it.

The whole point of waking up at 5.30 is not just to shift your day couple of hours earlier and do things like you would normally, but to change things around so that you can enjoy your spare time with your energy full, instead of tired and wasted.

For example, in my case, I’ve always lived the routine of waking up as late as possible, eating as quick a breakfast as possible, rushing to work, working for nine hours (+travel), have dinner, and finally sit down to relax. Tired from over ten hours of intense concentration and a meal digesting, I sure as hell never felt creative in the evening. Maybe after a few hours of resting there’s a spark of a thought in my head again, and I rise to the occasion to write or draw, only to find that it’s time to go to bed or risk sleep deprivation. A vicious cycle of feeling like crap for never finishing any creative projects, coupled with desperate lack of sleep made serious personal work only possible during the weekend.

For years I struggled with writing RFR and Daughters one hour a night, every night restarting with a buzzed out head, fighting with any decisions that required more than 1+1 calculations. Coffee and tea helped – a little – but all that lost time during the evening procrastination was ugly and painful.

Last year we switched things around and started waking up at 6.30 am (we go to the office at 9.30-10.00 am), and gained three hours of time for a nice solid breakfast, personal creative works and exercise, before spending the brain juice on professional game making. We still scheduled an hour of PC time between dinner and pre-sleep reading, but that was nothing but a gateway to procrastinating again.

Now, since we’ve managed to move the clock even further down, making the waking up happen at 5.30, gaining us a solid four and half hours of uninterrupted and well rested personal time, during which we can freely concentrate on daunting creative tasks like coming up with new universes and writing that requires concentration. This means that after work I really only have time for groceries, food, and an hour or so of reading, before succumbing to sleep at 10 pm.

I want to reiterate that I have not just magically gained more hours every day, just shifted the ones that got wasted in the evening to morning when I’m still rested.

At first, I was worried how this would affect my professional work, but it didn’t. I don’t feel any more or less tired form when I did before by the end of the day, and I think my mood has only improved – hence generating only better work. My body really only shuts down after dinner, which is why I pretty much just stay in bed with a book after food, willingly surrendering to my bodies will to sleep.

I am curious to see how far this can be adjusted, and I hope to try 4.30 am at some point, because as I mentioned, I’m a big fan of life hacking and finding the best patterns for my creativity. I’m worried about going to sleep at 9 pm though.

I realize this really doesn’t work for anyone with a social life or a partner with a different schedule, but if you’re a creative hermit like me, working together day and night with your best friend and lover, then I strongly urge you to give a good look at what you’re really spending all those hours on, and are there any steps you can actively take to make your every day happier.

What’s the harm in trying?

 

Love,
Silver Saaremaeel

Twitter me your bad life-advise @runfreakrun or say “hallo hallo” at the RFR facebook page!

State of the Nation update

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stateofthenation_header

 

 

Halou! Most of the time with this blog we’re trying to make you buy something or just show off our cool books. Occasionally we do things like general updates about how the comic and everything else is going, but it’s been a while and we wanted to rectify that.

Since we have a few projects under our belt now, we’ll just give a quick overview on all of them, mainly focusing on where they are now and our future plans with them! So, let’s start with…

RFR

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The original art of this page is available for purchase!

Run Freak Run will end soon. We haven’t kept it a secret, and if you’ve been reading you should be able to feel it too. But there’s still about three months worth of updates coming where we hope to surprise, inspire, and delight you many times still. :)

Within these three months we also hope to make Run Freak Run available as a printed graphic novel – we sure as hell want to hold it in our hands! It won’t be through a Kickstarter-campaign, it’d just take too much time from our other projects – but we are looking at a print-on-demand service that we’ve had some good experiences with. We’ll include the short-but-sweet secret story that’s in the ebook (chapters 1-5), and some of our favorite blog posts from the past years. If you want to make sure you won’t miss it, please sign to our newsletter, or like our facebook-page, because we’re sure to spam you about it then!

And also, me, Kaija, Two, and Priscilla would love to congratulate the US for the same-sex marriage ruling. It’s an inspiration for the whole world. #lovewins

 

Next up… GIFS!

DotWQ

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As I’ve mentioned before, we are horrible at planning novels. The first part of Daughters of the Witch Queen was ten thousand words, the second part was seventeen thousand words, and the third part is looking like… twenty-five thousand (ish) words. All of these book parts were supposed to be ten thousand words, because we had this great plan of releasing fast and often, creating momentum that way. But hey, you readers said you wished for a longer read, and we listened.

You also said you wished they included illustrations. Well, that’s another reason why DotWQ part 3 is taking us longer than the previous ones. We’re adding illustrations to each book part, and also combining parts 1-3 as one short novel (about 200 pages long). If you’ve purchased or got the books before, don’t worry, you’ll just have to update your file after the release, and your Kindle-app will download the newest version with images.

Before you go lower and start looking at some previews of what the illustrations will look like inside the book, check out this recap of an interview we had with one of our readers Rosi. She runs a YA book blog together with her blogging-partner Emily (they featured DotWQ there a couple of times.)

Now pretty pictures time, we’re really excited about these and can’t wait until they’re in the books for real. :)

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We want to add small detailed ornaments and decorations, because we like doing them.

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Work-in-progress tests how the illustrations would look next to text.

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It’s going to be metal.

 

And last, but not least…

A new project!

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RFR is ending and that gives us a lot of free time. Since we’re bad at taking breaks and resting, we decided to begin a new project again! We’re not really ready to talk about the details yet, because we’re still figuring it out for ourselves, but let me tell you what we do know.

It will be a novel, in a futuristic post-apocalyptic setting, and it will combine our love of fantasy, sci-fi, and ancient history. It will also have multiple viewpoint characters from around the world. It will be the most ambitious project we’ve done so far, with a lot of concept art and illustrations. And it will be free-to-read on a blog, that we’ll later collect into ebooks whenever there’s enough material to do so. Also, we’ll probably start a Patreon for this project, if that’s something you guys fancy.

So, we’re still very early, but we hope to have something out by the end of this year. Below you can see our freshly installed brainstorming board in action, ready to capture all our amazing ideas.

And just as a reminder, if you’re an occasional reader, and don’t want to miss out on this project – sign up to our newsletter, because we will spam you about it!

Love,
Silver

Catch me on twitter @runfreakrun, drop us an e-mail, or find us over at Facebook.

How a Chinese brush is made?

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This morning a question popped into my mind: could I make my own brushes?

I have a tendency to try to make as many things as I possibly can on my own instead of buying them. Almost half of our wardrobe is made by me, I love making pickles, muesli, and some toiletries like deodorants and lip balms from scratch, I’ve started growing my plants from seeds instead of buying them, buttons, jewellery, tinctures, you name it.

So, now that you know about my obsession with DIY, you will understand that making my own brushes is not that far of a leap.

I started googling and finally found what I was looking for. And the answer is a resounding NO; I definitely won’t be able to make my own brushes :D

And here’s why:

 

This series of videos kept me mesmerized easily for over half an hour. And although the training, knowledge, and the tools required to make a perfect brush far surpass any time I could possibly commit to mastering this skill, I’m happy I got to see the process. If anything, learned to appreciate good quality brushes even more.

Check out this master at work, and if you know of any other similar resources and glimpses into someone’s craft, please shoot them my way either on facebook, twitter, or in the comments below!

Cheers,
Kaija

Unreal RFR posters

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unreal

Two around the world.

Color us surprised, when we saw posters of Two in the new Showtime TV-show, UnReal. We gave the permission to use RFR posters on the set about a year or so ago, and since productions like these take months to complete and surface – we kind of forgot all about it. But thanks to a helping hand on Twitter  we got to experience a surreal and fun moment that filled us with pride and joy. You can check out the trailer for the TV-show HERE. :)

These posters are very nostalgic for us because they were one of the first promotional materials that we did for RFR. That was about three years ago and it’s just such a strange feeling to see them pop up again. But in a good way. The whole event also reminded us that we have Run Freak Run-posters in our online stores, should you want them hanging on your walls too!

In our Society6-store, you can find the “Red nun” and “Black eyes” posters framed or unframed and even as clothing apparel. Check them all out HERE!

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I want this!

 

rfr2No, I want this!

We also have a small amount of these huge “Many faces of Two”-posters. You can get them on our ETSY-store, next to a small selection of RFR-originals (Just ping us an email if you want to know the availability of a certain page you’d be interested in but can’t find on the store.)

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This, this, this!

On that note, we hope you have a wonderful Sunday, and hope you are enjoying the latest RFR pages.

Cheers,

Silver and Kaija

Kick-ass women in history

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I haven’t written in here for a while, and lately the weight of keeping the blog alive has been on Silver’s shoulders. His last post about ancient history finally gave me an idea to continue the history streak, and gather and present a few kick-ass stories of some kick-ass women from history.

But first, let me go through a little tangent before we get to all the ass-kicking:

In secondary school I had a history teacher who acted out in front of the class everything he taught. He added drama, flare, and comedy to historical events, basically translating them to us on an emotional level. Everyone loved going to his classes and no one had problems keeping their grades up.

By contrast, my grades plummeted in high school, when another teacher, looking like a bored toad behind her desk, barked out dates and events at the equally bored looking class.

History is an amazing source of inspiration for a storyteller. Not only does it offer precedents for hypothetical situations you’re trying to figure out, but if you dig deeper you realise that there’s multiple stories to be told for every event recorded, all of them coloured with emotions: tempers running hot, nostalgia, greed, joy, guilt, love.

Striving for objectivity when recording history is important, but I personally find it boring. From the perspective of telling stories, objectivity serves as little more than just a clinical dissection of time. But when you tell a story from the points of view of different people – or for a bigger picture: from the points of view of different cultures – you’ll end up with a huge spectrum of experiences and interpretations.

Unfortunately, one point of view omitted in most history books is the female perspective. For obvious reasons, women didn’t play the leading roles in most major historical events, and as a result many interesting stories have been left untold.

Luckily, our best friend Wikipedia doesn’t discriminate as much as our primary education, and we are able to read about countless kick-ass heroines. I wanted to introduce you to a few, that I’m itching to model some future story-characters on:

 

Julie D’Aubigny (1673-1707) aka Mademoiselle Maupin or La Maupin

Julie D’Aubigny had a life full of passionate affairs, opera performances, illegal duelling (during which she almost always dressed as a man), running from the law numerous times, and setting a convent on fire to rescue her lover from nundom. The latter story is my personal favourite.

With a life so vibrant and erratic, Julie’s story just begs to be told. Read more on Wikipedia!

 

Olga of Kiev (c.890-969) aka Saint Olga

Olga was the Queen regent of Kievan-Rus, ruling on behalf of her son, Svyatoslav, for 18 years. In order to preserve her son’s throne, she refused suitors from the neighbouring, hostile tribe, killing one group by trapping and burning them alive, and burying alive another group. Rest of the hostile tribe she invited for a mourning-feast, got them drunk and had 5000 of them killed. Whoever was left alive was begging for mercy at this point, but Olga had pigeons fly to their villages, dispersing sulphur from bags attached to their legs, and burned everything down, sulphur making the fire unquenchable.

More about Olga here!

 

Ching Shih (1775–1844)

Ching Shih was one of Asia’s strongest pirates, who terrorized the South China Sea. She was undefeated all her life, commanding a fleet that is estimated to go as high as 80,000 men, and was one of the only few pirates who retired from piracy by the end of her career.

She started out as a Cantonese prostitute, captured by pirates, eventually marrying the notorious pirate captain, Cheng I. After Cheng’s death she worked hard to rise to power and take his place, cultivating relationships and making herself indispensable to the huge fleet. Once in the leadership position she set up and ruled by tight rules, writing down a code of laws with severe consequences to prevent looting friendly villages, setting down strict distribution of the loot, and prohibited rape (the pirates were only allowed to have sex with the women they captured if they took them as wives/concubines and remained faithful to them).

Read the full Wikipedia article for more detail.

 

Stories like these make you realise that even Game of Thrones can sometimes feel tame next to reality.

 

And I’d also love to hear about your favourite historical figures and craziest stories, male or female. Contact me on Twitter, Facebook, or comment below :)

 

Cheers,

Kaija

 

 

3 awesomes from Ancient History

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3 awesomes from ancient history

 

I’m an avid lover of history, especially anything ancient culture related. Today I want to share three cool history resources from wikipedia and books to a podcast. These are things that have kept me busy many an hour and acted as great reference and inspiration.

I love reading about life from thousands of years ago: about how advanced, rich, and complicated human societies were even then.

As humans who always concentrate on their modern day-to-day lives, we can easily forget what has been before us, what wonders people had built, and how damn cool they were. Hopefully, today’s list of three awesome things from Ancient History will help battle that!

But before I get there, let me just give you a quick update on Daughters of the Witch Queen. Part 3 is coming along great, it’s about 30% longer than part 2; our planning skills when its come to scoping out this project have been abysmal. But the good news is that we’re sticking our deadlines, we’ve just become faster and more confident. If you’d like to be one of the first people to find out when it’s coming out and receive a free advance reader copy, then make sure to be signed on to our newsletter! We try not to spam, but sometimes we get a little excited and maybe overdo it. Then again, maybe we don’t spam enough at all, you let us know.

So back to three fantastic things I’d love to share concerning Ancient History: today I’ll go through something from Sumeria, Egypt, and of course – the Romans.

 

 

1.  Ancient Sumerian kings

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Not a real photo. Sorry.

 

Since the whole Sumerian culture lasted well over a millennium, it’s no wonder that it’s full of kings and rulers. Surprisingly for their time, Sumerians had a fairly decent habit of tracking and writing down these people who ruled over them; just check out this wikipedia-article on Sumerian kings – it’s fantastic! And while there’s some exaggerations, it seems accurate enough, at least to the best of our knowledge…

With names like Ishme-Dagan and Naram-Sim, it’s like they were ripped from a fantasy book, and when I read about them – I feel like I’m going through a crafted sequence of events for a back-story of a world I want to explore. I love this page on wikipedia that shows the historical timeline of Sumerian kings: how they came to rule, how long they stayed, and if there were any particular reasons they were dethroned.

As a reminder, Ancient Sumeria was a culture that flourished during the Bronze Age in Mesopotamia (Iraq). It’s one of the earliest human civilizations on record with a fantastic contribution to law, art, and architecture.  For a 10-minute crash course on the subject, John Green’s got your back, and if you want to go deeper, there’s always more on Wikipedia.

My favorite King was a gardener (Enlil-bani) who was put on the throne as a substitute king to take blame for the previous king – but instead he ended up holding the throne for the next 24-years. How’s that for a story.

I also love digging up pictures of ancient art and infrastructure so I could image the life there. Sometimes I wish there was a time machine that’d let us have a realistic glance at how things really were.

TLDR: Ancient kings of Sumeria – Wikipedia page

 

 

2. An art book about Ancient Egypt

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One of the best books ever.

 

The Discovery of Ancient Egypt is a fantastic book for history and art enthusiasts, but even more for world-builders and storytellers. It’s full of illustrations and drawings from the European 19th century delegations to Egypt, who made extensive studies of the ruins hidden in the sand and recorded it all with the photographs of the day – drawings.

The book is huge – ginormous –  and full of little details: from people who visited Egypt, to the origin of the tombs, temples, and gods who once lived there, and about how the 19th century Europeans viewed this from their perspective. As a child, I used to have this children’s illustrated encyclopedia, that I kept reading over and over. It was about everything from water pumps, to evolution, and to how tanks work. Reading this book makes me feel exactly the same, and I love it.

For the curious, you can get the book on Amazon. And those who need more convincing, here’s some pictures:

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If you think digging these ruins out was hard, imagine how tough it must have been for the guy who had cover it in the sand in the first place.

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Oh yeah, hot Egyptian statue action. Yes, this is that kind of a book.

 

 

3. History of Rome – the podcast

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Romans had some fun ideas how to raise their young.

Now, if you don’t have time for all this reading shit, but still are intrigued about the times before, then I will gladly move you towards this podcast about the full history of ancient Rome, from its creation to its ultimate fall, narrated by Mike Duncan.

Each episode concentrates on one or two main topics. Each is about 15 minutes long and there’s 190 of them. I was especially fascinated about the early history of Rome, of its time as a republic, before the really famous emperors and the glory days. Rome truly wasn’t build in a day, nor did it just take over the known world without a struggle, but somehow it managed to succumb and withstand all of it’s enemies, be it barbarians or economic troubles.

One of my favorite part of the republican Rome was that during a time of crisis, the senate elected a tyrant who would have unlimited power for a limited amount of time. This allowed him to cut through all the red-tape and just get things done without a hassle or consequence, and then when the crisis was averted, return the power back to the senate who could continue its in-fighting, politics, and corruption in peace.

TLDR: Listen to the history of Rome here for free.

 

One more thing before I let you go!

If you haven’t already, please check us out on Facebook. We post a link to a new Run Freak Run page every Monday, and occasionally small making-of photos and videos that aren’t big enough for a whole blog-post, but we’d love to share with you anyways.

And while you’re at it, please turn on “Get Notifications” or else Facebook quickly drops us off from your wall due to their algorithms. Blame them, if anyone, for making this unnecessarily difficult, but we apologize anyways.

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We have the best updates in the world, no lie! Make sure not to miss them. :)

 

And so – on that note – I hope to have made your day a history filled fun-day; full of education, fascination, and intrigue.

Love,
Silver

 

Twitter @runfreakrun

Run Freak Run – The Webcomic | Daughters of the Witch Queen – the serialized novel

Free DotWQ p1 Monday – Thursday (promotion over)

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freebook

Promotion has ended, we hope you enjoyed it!

In celebration of releasing Daughters of the Witch Queen part 2, we’re doing a promotion with Amazon where the first part of DotWQ is free for the duration of next four days.

You can download it on Amazon for your Kindle-app during this time. In case you don’t have a tablet, or a smartphone with a Kindle-app, you can also read it on the Kindle Cloud Reader, straight on your PC.

So check it out, please share it with your friends, and read it when you can!

Get your free DotWQ part 1!

Also, while you’re at it – check out what others think of it: bibliobibuli review

DotWQ part 2 released!

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“She’s the kind of pain in your ass that you can’t walk off.”
– Vision

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Halou!

We’re happy to announce that Daughters of the Witch Queen part 2 is now released.
We’d like to thank our proofreader Laura, our advance copy readers, and everyone who has hit us with encouraging email during the past months – it’s been great to improve these books with you. :)

This time the book is almost twice as long as part 1, touches more on the subject of magic, and definitely opens more questions than it closes.

Start reading!

DotWQ is only on Amazon Kindle at the moment. But fear not if you don’t have a Kindle device: for you can get a Kindle-app to any smartphone, or tablet, and you can read any amazon purchased kindle-books in your internet-browser over at Kindle Cloud Reader.

New to the series? Get DotWQ part 1 first. :)

Concept art!
This time we have an info-graph on the Tree of Powers, the different branches of magic in DotWQ. And an illustration of a mermaid. See if you can find out what magic Rain uses.

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Start reading Daughters of the Witch Queen part 2!

New to the series? Get DotWQ part 1!

 

We hope you enjoyed the preview, the pictures, and look forward to hearing any feedback from you.

 

Cheers,
Silver and Kaija

Twitter: @runfreakrun || Like us on Facebook, make us feel fuzzy.

Daughters of the Witch Queen, part 2 preview

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Heya.

We’re proud to announce that we’ll be releasing Daughters of the Witch Queen part 2 (our other project, a serialized novel) within three weeks, on the 2nd of May.

We gotta be honest, the last two months have been tiresome, frustrating, but ultimately fun months and we can’t wait to start on part 3 and get that out of the door too. Best part, like always, has been the interaction and dialogue with our newsletter-readers and advance copy reviewers who always know how to give us the best help, feedback, and cheering up just when we need it the most. We couldn’t have done it without you guys, and we hope you enjoy it. :)

So without further ado, have fun with the preview below and the first two chapters that are included!

Cheers,

Silver Saaremaeel and Kaija Rudkiewicz

 

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Read the first two chapters!

Get part one :)

 

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