Hello, Old Friend

It’s that time again. Time to dust off Misadventures In Fiction, evicting spiders and so forth, and return to giving it the attention it intermittently deserves. While I certainly can’t claim to have forgotten this site–quite the contrary, in fact, as I think about what I could be writing almost daily–I must admit I haven’t done the best job of keeping it alive. Or the most mediocre job, really.

However, I am moved back to Carnegie as of a couple months ago (living partially out of boxes and bags is moved back in, right?). Life has gone on, and in ways I couldn’t have necessarily predicted but I’m entirely okay with (and no, I am not suggesting I won the lottery, so don’t start asking for yachts or anything). Tonight, when I have an overnight shift to work tomorrow and relatively unlimited time to stay up, I find myself frustrated. I am, as often is the case, in the throes of a creative funk. Continue reading

Banishing the troubles of the universe

And some other things. I’ll focus on the bigger topic first before I throw the real surprise out into the world, as it’s not really as substantial as I’d like just yet.

The good outweighed the bad yesterday. I would say it was an entirely terrible day, but there were enough redeeming qualities that I can’t damn all twenty-four hours for the transgressions of only a few. It was, however, enough to leave me feeling flustered and frustrated, stuck in a state devoid of creative thoughts. Such occasions are usually rectified with a healthy dose of my usual stubbornness, but not so much last night.

Before heading to bed, I posted this status:

I have resolved to make tomorrow a significantly better day than today. No over-the-top threats of violence, nor sarcasm to that statement. Just the conscious decision to not be affected by whatever stupid-assery the universe throws my way.

Reminder: I work in retail, and so this was a rather lofty goal. I’m also not always the most positive person in the world (a statement so obvious it’s painful). Keeping that in mind, I went to bed with every intention of making today superior to yesterday by will of not letting the universe ruin my perfectly good mood. Continue reading

Equal parts determination and madness

Or “I’m hitting all of the walls today so I’m going to rant a bit while still being positive about writing”.

Writing, on some days, is a completely magical experience. Those are the days I get completely lost in the words, not focusing on time or making sure I’m eating or anything else. Since becoming the joint-owner of three cats, I’ve gotten used to ignoring the occasional glimpse of cat anus as one of the two cats who don’t hate me will wander between my laptop and my line-of-sight. I lead a magical life.

Other days–days like today, for instance–are less productive. I have an idea of where I want to go with my writing, and then I proceed to flop around without any real progress. It feels like the cartoon depiction of falling down an up escalator, complete with irate people-as-obstacles and all. Days like this make me have serious doubts I could ever become a proper writing-for-a-living sort of writer. They’re not particularly enjoyable days, and I could probably chalk a lot of it up to the hilarious constellation of neuroses I have.

Fortunately for me, I happen to have a tremendous support system of friends and family, a spectacular girlfriend who tolerates my particular brand of crazy that shows up from time-to-time (don’t ask her, though, or she’ll say it’s around all of the time). I acknowledge that goals like being able to write for a living or becoming a best-selling author are lofty, and that’s putting it mildly, but I can also say I will never stop writing. Even on my worst days, I still add at least a couple words to something, or I tweak and adjust something I’ve worked on, because I need to keep at it. I am far from perfect at what I do, as evidenced by the proofread-and-commented copies I get back, but I have my strong points and my weak points. The ultimate goal, above all else, is to continue improving upon the weak points while refining the strong ones.

This post started off as feeling down and out, but I feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the entire world again. I’d throw together a shitty metaphor about feeling victorious, but I’m going to focus on fixing up Cordelia’s as much as I can so it can be that much closer to being publication-ready.

Happy Sunday, folks. I hope you all have a kickass week, devoid of doubts and frustration.

Slowly, somewhat unsurely, recovering

There are plenty of ways I could talk about how this week has been off to a bit of a tumultuous start, which would be putting things in fairly mild terms to say the least, but I’m choosing to now focus on that. I’m instead choosing to focus on victories.

Here’s a big for-instance regarding victories:

Seen above: not the best track record, but it's still something

Seen above: not the best track record, but it’s still something

I’ve not done a lot of writing lately, and I know there’s still a very deep, ingrained fear of failure and rejection playing a decent-sized role in my stagnation. I logged onto Submittable to remind myself of a couple key things regarding creative writing. Continue reading

Running into a wall (until the damn thing breaks)

I’ve been in a bit of a writing funk this past week or so. Blame it on me not feeling quite 100% or perhaps on the sleep deprivation, but I’ve not really felt like doing much writing. This would be less of a problem if I didn’t have two things I need to finish within a reasonable amount of time (read as about a week ago, probably).

Naturally, I sit down at my desktop, I open Microsoft Word, and then I sit here and stare at the blank document as I become increasingly frustrated with not being able to string words together effectively. Given that I’m working on a post for Screen Robot and a guest post for Onezumi, I want these pieces to be perfect. My current mindset says give up, and there were a couple times today when I considered contacting the respective folks necessary and apologetically bowing out. Obviously bad decision-making on my part resulted in taking on more than I can handle writing-wise, right?

Except I don’t. I can’t, in fact. Just because I can’t force myself into a motivated state doesn’t mean I won’t damn well try as hard as I can until I want to smash my computer (the good news there being I wouldn’t smash this computer because it is a magnificent beast of a machine, courtesy of Jason’s hard work and computer wizardry).

A rather unwelcome guest has arrived, in the form of sleepiness, and so it’s time I turn my attention where it needs to be. If I finish one of my drafts for the night I’ll be pretty content. Two would be better, but the sleepies weighing my eyelids down seem to disagree with the possibility of that happening.

Crunch-time

Tomorrow will involve the transfer of DIRECTV to the new dwelling, among other madness. The madness will be slower, scaled down madness thanks to my jacked-up ankle, but it will be there.

Why? This is the point I need to be an unstoppable force, moving forward and not quitting until I’m damn-well satisfied with the results. Even if that means living from boxes for a bit.

A vexing night

This is going to be short, sweet, to the point, and a pretty healthy dose of “get your head out of your ass and move on already” for myself. That last bit’s kind of important, even if it’s a little selfish. It’s been a weird night of running into walls, struggling with inner demons, and other meaningful cliches for the headaches I associate with dwelling on the gap between where I’d like to be and where I presently feel I am.

Warning: There be some f-bombs a-lurkin’ in this here post.

I could easily put together a post on how many creative-types are weighed down by their own doubt, fear, self-loathing, and so much more (I came way too close to listing the various Sha there, and I’m not sorry to point that out). That’s very nearly what this would have been, but I couldn’t. It felt wrong and unpleasant. Plus it was the last thing I needed to read in the mood I’m in, and so I doubt it’s the sort of thing anyone else would want to read if they’re trying to muster up the energy to get back to work.

Here’s what I’d like this post to be instead. The instructions for myself and any other creative folks, or really anyone, who find themselves frustrated and feeling stuck.

Create. Don’t force it because it’ll only end in regret, but create as often and as passionately as possible. Build amazing, awe-inspiring worlds and populate them with characters both sympathetic and heroic as well as ones who are irredeemably loathsome. Let them move through lives that are only somewhat guided by the art you create and enjoy where things go. Don’t let the goddamn what-ifs and why-nots, the feelings of doubt and failure, all of the shit that makes creative types like myself into their own worst enemies. It accomplishes no good, and only results in nights spent after long days at work only thinking of the things you’ve not accomplished. What you haven’t done or where you think you should be. All of this instead of celebrating where you are and what you’ve accomplished.

I say this as someone who won a book contract, which should be a big deal for me as a writer. I’ve been so busy worrying about never managing to create something that big again and dwelling on how people will perceive my book being published not based on its merit but because of a contest victory.

Screw that.

There’s a reason the saying “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” has endured the test of time. My schedule may be a bit all over the place, and I may question my merit as a writer a good deal. I don’t have a five year plan or a ten year plan. Hell, I don’t even have a particularly well-assembled one year plan. While I recognize such things as long-term planning are crucial to being a successful artist, I’m pretty sure there’s more than one way to handle them.

Most importantly, and veering a little bit back from the rather self-centric post we have here, I hope any artist who finds this gets enough of a boost to keep going if that’s what they need at the time.

Going back to my post about almost being to Pumpkin Spice Season/Hot Apple Cider Season – I need to just focus on finding time to create, not worrying about the outcome. Far easier said than done, especially when every fiber of my being is saying to just go to sleep. What’s the point in busting my ass at a 9 to 5 if I’m not going to find time and energy to do what I love most (hint: I’m talking about writing).

So I end with a challenge to anyone who reads this. Create, with or without a plan, but with all of your heart and soul. Make something you think is awesome, even if upon editing you decide it’s not the best thing ever. At the end of the day, you’ve still made something new that wasn’t in the world before that point, and that’s pretty fucking rad.