About My Creative Process

If you’ve looked around this blog, you can probably tell I have a ton of interests and projects! The main areas I like to work in are art, research, fiction, nonfiction, and, of course, climate.

I’m usually working on a handful of projects in parallel, and bounce between them as inspiration strikes. Inspiration can be unpredictable, which is a challenge when it comes to planning ahead. 

The two terms that, combined, best describe the way I work are ‘multipotentialite’ and “methodological-pantser.” The first refers to having many different interests. The second term comes from a categorization by novel editor Ellen Brock, extending the plotter/pantser dichotomy to more dimensions. It means that I like using systems and methodology in the short term, but in the long term, I’m winging it.

Put together, those traits result in a pretty chaotic way of working! (Well, I like it. Never a dull moment.)

So, it’s been important for me to figure out how to be organized and maintain continuity on projects that progress in fits and starts. I cycle between projects in short bursts, and I need to be able to capture everything I need and pick them up easily.

Identifying my work style was a huge step up, creatively. Being organized and planning don’t come naturally to me, which is why they’re often on my mind. I write about my creative process while I figure it out, in the spirit of showing the behind-the-scenes (and pushing back against one-size-fits-all productivity advice). 

I’ve been experimenting with organizing my work into short series or art challenges (10 days, month-long), which worked amazingly well

I also make tools and worksheets for myself. And for you, if you are someone who works a bit like I do. And if not, hopefully, my process is interesting as a data point to consider as you discover what does work for you.

Also appears: Medium, LinkedIn

The Climate Movement Needs Your Creativity, Not Your Guilt

I wanted to share something! I’m giving a TEDx talk next week, titled The Climate Movement Needs Your Creativity, Not Your Guilt.

If you want to check it out (or share with anyone), there’s a livestream and registration is free. Anyone can register at the link below and pick “virtual attendee” at the last step.

Event details:
April 15, 2023
10:00am – 2:00pm CDT
(UTC -5hrs)
Registration: https://www.ted.com/tedx/events/51831
(I’m not sure when my talk is within the event; I’ll let you know when I find out.)

Update: For people who wanted to know, looks like I’m speaking during the first hour of the event.


  • It went great!
  • The video isn’t up yet. I’ll add it here when it is!
  • Here’s a picture in the meanwhile.

Multiproject Update for Q3.5 of 2022

Once again, the third quarter blends into the fourth, and my projects have been inching along chaotically. I’ve been behind on updates, so I will share the outputs I’ve hoarded these past few months in bits and pieces from now.

Here are some topics that have been on my mind these past few months.

US Midterm Elections

Participating in election campaigns is a natural extension to environmental advocacy in my opinion, since politics has become increasingly entwined with environmental action. It’s natural that politicians would disagree on what environmental actions the government should take, but in the US, climate change is politicized far beyond that.

The environmental groups I participate in all pivoted to ‘getting out the vote’ (GOTV) efforts to encourage climate-conscious voters to go to the polls this midterm. If you’ve been following the election news, you know it’s been an existential-for-democracy nail-biter, and women and young voters stepped up to the quest. We environmentalists are pretty relieved with the results.

So the lead-up was quite a frenzy for me, writing postcards, phone-banking, making media, and trying to freak out as productively as possible.


I took a much-needed vacation to Scotland and Ireland to visit friends.

I returned refreshed and with plenty of sketches and vacation photographs to make art from. I’m excited to dust off the inks! My library of landscape references was running low.

Organizing my research

For a while now, my research and other notes have been exploding out of my organization systems. I mainly relied on indexes (BuJo style) at the beginning of my notebooks and the occasional spreadsheet to track the writing I produced.

Recently, I’ve gotten on the ‘second brain’ train. (If you haven’t heard, the book Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte has been taking nerd circles by storm. It’s a book about note-taking, and it was very relevant to my situation.)

I made an organization system in an environment called Obsidian. The main advantage of Obsidian is it enables you to link notes together and manages the links when you move or rename files. There’s other handy functionality from plug-ins and add-ons.

So far, I’ve added about 800 notes about various topics in the last few months, and organized them into a loose structure. I think I’ve finally found a system that can keep up with the bouncing-jumping-skipping way that I work.

I think of it as an extension of my notebook index. I effectively made a map to my notes across all notebooks, hard drives, and cloud accounts, so I can cross-reference them.

* * *

So that’s what being going on under the surface! As for the actual projects, I will summarize briefly and post more details soon.

  • Research quest: My advocacy goal was to have an op ed accepted (continuing to build on the foundation of comments and letters to the editor). I’ve gotten in the swing of writing and submitting them, with no luck so far. As for reading and blogging, I have some updates to share soon. [Update: Redondo Beach Climate Action]
  • Novel: I’ve consolidated my manuscript, and there’s a chunk of editing to do. Somehow, every winter I get a burst of writing productivity [Update: the plan for December]. I’m hoping the pattern will hold in the months ahead! I have some concept art to share as well.
  • Art: I’ve been working in digital illustration mostly! Pictures (and a bit of video) coming soon! [Update: picture]

So, there it is. More of a trailer than an actual update, but I’m glad to be back to sharing some writing and art!

Multiproject Update for Q3 2022

This is a late start to the quarter, since I gave myself an extra month to work on my Q2 goals. I spent today assessing where my projects were at and what they needed most. Without further ado, here is what I’d like to get done in the next couple of months!

Research Quest

Over the past two reading projects, I got the foundation of sustainability knowledge that I’d felt I was missing. There’s always more to learn, of course, but my focus is going to be on output – writing about what I’ve learned, and picking up any additional research I need as I go.

I still have a few blog posts pending from the first reading project, and books to read (that I’m looking forward to) from the second. And most recently, I’ve been experimenting with writing public comments and letters to the editor (LTE).

So my goals are:

  • Write the last few blog posts from reading project 1,
  • Read the books from reading project 2,
  • Continue to write public comments and LTE,
  • Try to get to the next sustainability skill: writing op-eds! I took a cool class by the OpEd Project last year about how to do it, and I’ve made one submission so far…

YA Fantasy Novel

I have a fairly consolidated draft that needs more detailed editing. I don’t think I can get done with a full edit in the next two months, so my goals are:

  • edit half the novel,
  • post regular writing updates and spoiler-free ‘concept art’ (I’m using drawing to help me visualize parts of the story) over on the Fiction page.


I had such a blast doing a 10-day drawing challenge a few months ago that I definitely want to do another one. I have two ideas I just can’t choose between! Maybe I’ll leave it open, and decide when I’m ready. It’ll be a surprise, to me as much as anyone.

* * *

And that’s all! Setting goals after I’ve started – I guess that’s one way to do it.

Are you in the thick of your projects? Do you find it useful to re-evaluate in the middle of them?

Multiproject Update: End of Q2 and Start of Q3 of 2022.

I last made a multiproject update post here, listing my goals for Q2. 

I gave myself two extra weeks after Q2 officially ended, because the end of the month was chaotic-good. I went to Portland for the WDS conference in late June, and I had a huge dip in productivity right before it (because I hadn’t traveled in a while and was stressed) and a huge boost in productivity right afterward (because Portland is awesome). When July rolled around, I was still in the thick of my projects and didn’t want to stop work abruptly. 

Now that my extended quarter has ended, here is the latest on my big projects:

Research Quest

My reading line up for the quarter included a few big reports:

  • The SEC’s proposed climate disclosure rule (March 2022)
  • New IPCC report AR6, from three working groups – 1, 2, and 3 (2021-2022). Especially prioritizing Working Group 3, which focuses on Mitigation.
  • October 2021 report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) about Curtailing Methane Emissions from Fossil Fuel Operations.
  • FTC 2012 Green Guide

Of these, I was able to skim all of them (excluding the working groups 1 and 2 of the IPCC report). 

I spent a bunch of time on the SEC climate disclosure because I wanted to write a public comment in support of the rule.

When government agencies propose new rule, they often open a public comment period when we, the public, can share our views on it. They post all the comments they receive publicly on their website.

I’d never done this before, so I followed the guidelines from the Public Comment Project, and squeaked my email in just before their extended deadline of June 17th. I was worried I had bungled the submission because I didn’t see my comment on their public comments page, and I still might have, but according to this article it typically takes a month or two before the comments are posted. So I’ll be keeping my eye on that page to see if I did it right. I definitely want to keep doing these in the future, because it’s an effective way to influence climate policy. (If you want to read my comment, I’ve appended it at the end of this post!)

For the other three reports, I’m mostly stashing them away as references for future blogging. I’m still formulating what I want to say about them. I’m sure the FTC Green Guide will feature heavily in a planned deep dive into the subject of greenwashing.

The rest of my research lineup consisted of:

  • UNEP Six Sector Solution
  • Inconspicuous Consumption by Tatiana Schlossberg
  • Speed and Scale by John Doerr
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Web Survey (of useful websites for climate and sustainability data)

I mades some good headway into the first and last of these, and they will fit into a YouTube series I’m working on. So, once more, I’m stashing them away for when I need them. The middle three are books, and unfortunately, I didn’t get to them at all. I’m looking forward to some cozy reading time, so I’m rolling those into this quarter.

In the two research quests I’ve done so far, I organized the quest by the reports. I read each as thoroughly as I could and blogged about them. This was a pretty good way of working. I wanted to be thorough and feel like I knew what I was talking about. But it was also kind of a slow and lumbering process.

Going forward, I might shake up the research quest format a bit, so I can respond more quickly to current events. More on that soon.

YA fantasy novel

In the fiction world, I had two goals. One was to finish the ‘long draft’ of my YA fantasy novel by pasting into the main manuscript scenes that I’d written in various note-taking apps. I’m about halfway through this task, so I might give myself another couple of days to get this done before I set myself a new goal.

My second goal was to finish sharing my novel’s (real-world) backstory, so that you’d be all caught up when I started sharing real-time writing updates. I did manage to catch up to the start of this year by adding two new installments to the story. One more installment should get us to the present day.

Art and Painting

This is the one category where I crushed my goals, which were:

  1. To upload my recent watercolors and vector art into galleries in my Painting category.
  2. To make vector drawings of all the plants (and fruit and vegetables) in my house.

The Painting category of this blog is all the way up-to-date, and the vector drawings of plants are here, where you can download them in the form of a PDF booklet if you like. And you can watch the ‘making-of’ videos here, if you like drawing videos.

* * *

It’s been an intense quarter and a very, very mixed bag. I feel good about my progress, but also a need to adapt how I work, because there is a need for rapid action in preparation for the US midterm election.

 How about you? Did you have any projects planned for last quarter, and do you have any planned for this one?

The comment I submitted to the SEC (A few years ago, I used to sound this formal in my writing all the time! Can you imagine?):

To whom it may concern,
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors.
I am Deepti Kannapan, an aerospace engineer with an Engineering Design background. I have a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

I strongly support this new rule, and welcome the prospect of clearer and more standardized climate-related information from companies whose disclosures have, thus far, been opaque and overly self-congratulatory.

I consider climate risk to be related to a measure of a registrant’s unused opportunities for GHG mitigation. For example, a company in a relatively easy-to-decarbonize industry that fails to take decarbonization efforts may face more customer backlash (and risk) than a company in a hard-to-decarbonize industry that makes use of best available practices. (Even though the latter company may have higher emissions overall.) 
I believe the proposed disclosures will provide useful information for making those comparisons. However, I have two comments:

1. Regarding the Request for Comment #111, I think GHG intensity should be specified per unit of production, broken out by product category.  I would consider a company with higher GHG intensity (than its peer companies) in a particular product category to have higher risk.

For example, for a company that produces both physical products and web services, I would compare its GHG intensity for physical products with other companies that produce those products, and compare its GHG intensity for web products with other web companies.

Comparing the aggregate GHG intensity across all product categories may not accurately reflect which company has more unused opportunities for GHG mitigation, since products and industries vary widely in their difficulty to decarbonize.

2. In addition to GHG intensity, I would like to know how dependent a registrant’s business model is on high sales volumes and wasteful design practices like planned obsolescence. A company that produces products with shorter life cycles and (resultant) higher sales volumes than its competition (such as ‘fast fashion’ or cheap electronic products) has more unused opportunities for GHG mitigation, even if its GHG intensity may be lower.

However, I would consider this company to have higher climate risk, since its business model may not be viable under future regulation or market pressure to pivot to more durable products. For this reason, I would suggest that a measure of product durability be added to the disclosure.
Please see below for relevant literature.
Thank you.
Sincerely,Deepti Kannapan

M.S. Mechanical Engineering, UC Santa Barbara,

B. Tech and M. Tech Engineering Design, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

 * * *

Bibliography:– Rivera, Julio L., and Amrine Lallmahomed. “Environmental implications of planned obsolescence and product lifetime: a literature review.” International Journal of Sustainable Engineering 9.2 (2016): 119-129.
– Peters, Greg, Mengyu Li, and Manfred Lenzen. “The need to decelerate fast fashion in a hot climate-A global sustainability perspective on the garment industry.” Journal of cleaner production 295 (2021): 126390.