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

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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.

Find your own kind of brilliance

Warning: posting this from my Android phone. Who knows what kind of silly shenanigans will follow?

Short summary of my day, better known as The Movening: I got very little done compared to my goals. This is thanks to me finding a groundhog’s dwelling with my foot, falling back on my left leg, and spraining my ankle quite badly. It’s been a symphony of swearing today. The ankle in question is bundled up neatly in an AirCast. It still really hurts.

I also started rereading Stardust for the hundredth time. There’s something in the magic of Neil Gaiman’s writing that fills me with such a yearning to get off my ass and do some of my own writing. The moving mentality I have seems to blot that out a fair bit, sadly.

And then there are the inevitable pangs of envy. Wanting to be able to create something as fantastically brilliant of my own. Lindsey, beta-reader extraordinaire and terrific writer, told me Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King read like a collaboration between Neil Gaiman and the author of Howl’s Moving Castle. That is, without a doubt, some of the highest praise I have ever received, but it also got me thinking.

There’s nothing wrong with never achieving Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett level brilliance. No matter how much I try, I won’t. What I will, I suspect, eventually manage is to create my own kind of brilliance. Even if it’s never on a massive scale, it’ll be me and the creative style that is entirely mine. That’s something I hope all creative folks can embrace.

Find what you do well. Make it brilliant. Make it your own. Love it and pour your soul into it, and then rip it apart and fix it until you reach such a point where you can’t bear to look at your work anymore. Let it rest, and do it again.

Above all else, be happy with creating something. There are so many other, similar artists out there, but none of them are exactly the same.

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.

Pumpkin spice season has (almost) arrived

At some point or another, September apparently showed up. Or every single calendar I’ve encountered since Sunday has been telling me horrible, cruel lies. I’m slightly more inclined to believe the former is true, however, because I’m not all that big into outrageous conspiracies on most days. This summer provided many opportunities for hilarious misadventures, but it also somehow managed to be entirely draining. From the work-related madness to the life-related madness (with a friendly reminder there was a goddamn bat in my house not too long ago), this summer has felt less like a season of vacation, rejuvenation, and fun in the sun, and more like a time of frustration, bad news so bad it bordered onto comedy, and both minor and major setbacks. That’s not to say all of the summer was bad, of course. I won a book contract, which I then over-thought to the point of making it a good and a bad thing (if you missed that you should count your blessings and move along). Brianne and I have found a new place to live, which I’m quite excited about (save for now having to cut the grass, which is far from ideal). I could probably go on for a dozen more posts about my trip to Chicago, but it’s probably for the best I don’t. You were all right, Summer of 2014, but you certainly tested me. For that I should probably be thankful. Continue reading

Fifty days in, and fifty to go

Has it really been fifty days already? Because it feels like it’s been about a thousand. While I may not have created a fully-fledged blog post for each day, I’m still breaking my brain for content that isn’t entirely recycled and stale.

This was not an easy challenge, and I think I’m going to need to sit myself down and have a long, very serious monologue in my own general direction about why this would’ve probably been a hair easier if it were planned out a little more. It has definitely had its fun moments, though, and this has been enough hard work to make me appreciate the fact that I need to keep moving as a writer no matter how lazy or tired I’m feeling. Even if it’s just a little bit of work for the day, I still end up feeling better than I would had I just done absolutely nothing.

Standard warning: this is a very introspective post, which no doubt happened because I’ve had too much time alone with my thoughts (and they’re treacherous little bastards).  Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Thirty-Three

Thirty-three? Two threes, hidden in the form of another number? Like three games in a trilogy? Mystery solved. Half-Life 3 confirmed through a blog with no affiliation to Valve whatsoever. Everyone else can go home.

Sorry. I really couldn’t resist.

Today’s probably going to see two posts. That’s the plan, anyway. I’m trying to guilt myself into it, but I’m also feeling lazy. The latter half of that shouldn’t be too surprising. I think it just needs to be vacation-time for me already. I had to stop half-way into that sentence because my elbow cracked, and it sounded like a goddamn gunshot.

Anyway, I’m just kind of rambling, so I might as well get to the important bits.

I’ll be taking an official break from my This Week in Misadventures posts for now, as most of what I’ve been doing (sadly) has been these posts. I’m taking steps towards fixing that, but it’s mostly an embarrassing reminder of all the things I failed to accomplish in the previous week. Not as good a motivator as you’d think. Continue reading