I am not my heroes

Hello, Wor(l)dPress.

In typical fashion, I’ve taken an extended time between posting. In typical fashion, I have been mad at myself for doing so and wondering why, oh why, do I still maintain this. That last part is a bit exaggerated, though. I covet my domain on here like a dragon with gold.

Today, while driving home from work and alternating between the current CD in my car and NPR (Kai Ryssdal hosting Market Place and PRI’s The World make my soul happy), I had a thought. It hit me hard, square between the eyes, and with all of the abrupt unapologeticness (that is a word, damn it) of such in-transit revelations.

I am not my heroes. I will never write like Neil Gaiman. I will never be the next Terry Pratchett. My works won’t be on the same level as Douglas Adams or Christopher Moore.

And those aren’t the things that I should want. I’m none of those people. My writing is my own, with influences from the writers I enjoy but also years of me finding and refining my own voice. There is some humor, some dark fantasy, and a whole lot of whatever the Hell I’ve turned into in terms of narrative voice and creativity. I am way more okay with that than I ever realized. At the end of the day, what is most important to me is continuing to write, continuing to strive towards publication, and (to a lesser degree) dreaming of somehow, someday becoming a well-known writer.

And so I continue.

This post brought to you courtesy of Sia’s “The Greatest”, which I have had on repeat as some sort of anthem to fend off any stress from recent weeks (I couldn’t say why if I tried, but I enjoy that song entirely and unapologetically), and the glass of Laphraoig Quarter Cask I’ve been nursing for over an hour now.

To write now, or to hold off in hopes of a better idea later

I’m trying very hard to actually utilize WordPress’ new-ish post creator, but it’s off to a rocky start as I’m already not fond of it. Something about typing into a tiny rectangle while everything else sits off to the left of the screen is frustrating for reasons I can’t properly verbalize, a problem which only further feeds my lack of joy in using this interface instead of clumsily wandering over to my Dashboard, then hovering over the Posts option to get to New Post. Or whatever it actually says.

Tonight’s post will be a split affair, starting now (with now being defined as approximately 7p.m. Eastern Standard Time) and finishing it after 11p.m. because I have to go back to work shortly. It’s also a short experiment to see if any ideas occur to me in the time between now and when I return home. The reality of writing blog posts, such as this one, on a daily basis without really giving them much prior planning (having a theme for each day panned out only so well) is that the ideas will eventually run out. Either that or you’re some sort of creative deity of sorts and you should be sharing your gift with other creative-types, as we need all the help we can get. Seriously. The point I’m getting at here is this: with time-sensitive posting, such as daily blog entries, it can be tempting to put off writing a post until later. Sure, I may have other obligations such as work, but if the idea for a solid post isn’t there and I just don’t feel like rambling pointlessly, well, the temptation to put the post off becomes far greater. However, there’s also never the guarantee that an idea, or a better idea, will materialize during the procrastination time, and so there’s always the chance I’ll just end up too tired and frustrated by the time midnight rolls around and just post another cat picture or something.

This raises the question: is it worth it to put off writing a blog post because you don’t have what you consider a strong enough topic? Or is it better to force a post to happen as soon as possible so as to not fall prey to later-laziness? We’ll see what my brain has to say once I get back later this evening. I’ve got to get to work in enough time to grab something to snack on.

It’s almost midnight and I want to sleep forever. Keeping in mind that I just worked almost twelve hours today, I’d say I made some more progress? Mind you, I have some fictional business floating around in my brain now, but I won’t disclose that here because it’s top-secret.

Goodnight, folks. Happy writing.

Motivation from procrastination

This week is proving to be a perfect foil to my vacation last week, and that’s all I’ll say on the matter as just thinking about the past couple days stresses me out in ways that are probably entirely unhealthy. Alternatively, the weather’s been really fantastic this week, to the point that I’m actually not too upset that I’l have to return to mowing the lawn soon. Give it a few weeks and I’m sure I’ll change my tune on that comment (especially since my yard is one giant slope broken up by sporadically placed retaining walls).

Fun fact: this post isn’t really the highest priority I have right now. There’s some cleaning I need to tend to, and there’s the small problem of needing to stop letting my brain turn in on itself in its standard patterns of worrying. There’s also the small problem of me still having an extraordinary lack of motivation to do much writing lately, which continues to feel awful. That needs addressed sooner than later, by the way, but this isn’t really the post for that. See, I have cleaning and other things to tend to, and so suddenly I feel hugely motivated to write tonight’s blog post…about how having other things to do and putting them off are such an impressive driving force in terms of getting other things done.

Seriously. The best motivation for everything else will happen when there’s at least one more pressing thing to do. Especially if that pressing thing has a deadline and the other ideas don’t.

Or you could have the realization that you have several hours before work the next day, that you’re stressing over nothing like usual, and that you should probably be in bed because you’re still starting to get sick (this is a note to self, by the way, but if it’s applicable to any of you go the **** to sleep and feel better).

Hibernation season has arrived

At some point, through some cruel twist of fate, it has officially become winter. I know. Shocking that the weather has taken a turn for the cold and disappointing in January of all months. Today was the first day of my favorite multi-month event, the Fishtailing of the Cars. My lovely little black Toyota handles snow pretty well in the sense that it usually doesn’t go three different directions I don’t want it to before correcting its course.

I had a post planned about how things didn’t go quite according to plan in regards to my more writing, more reading, less naps, etc., plan, but there’s something about this weather that makes me want to curl up underneath a thousand blankets deep within a pillow-fort (note to self: find a way to build a pillow-fort that incorporates the TV; only leave the living room for food and bathroom use) and slumber until the first signs of summer are upon us. It’s supposed to be eight degrees or less tomorrow, which is at least twenty degrees colder than should ever be acceptable.

The bigger problem, at least for me, isn’t the cold or the snow, or even my inability to cope with weather conditions I’ve been exposed to my whole life living in Pennsylvania (the keystone to the frozen wastes of Northrend). No. My biggest conundrum is how this cold weather, with its oppressive chill, saps me of any energy to really use anywhere (beyond the aforementioned cover-cocooning).  It becomes a vicious cycle of frustration over not accomplishing much only to realize that it’d be a lot easier to meet goals if I didn’t feel borderline comatose thanks to trudging through this dreadful cold to and from work…all ten feet of parking lot that I need to walk, at any rate.

However, that’s not to say I don’t realize I need to brew up some tea or cocoa (or perhaps just a hot toddy, but probably not since I want to actually be coherent while writing), sit my partially-frozen ass down, and get back to writing. I’ve got a notebook of ideas, more notebooks practically begging for ideas, and a relatively new Moleskine pen that is powerful enough to make me push past my typical distaste for handwritten notes and the likes.

To my fellow creative types, in whatever partially iced-over dwellings you find yourselves in: how are you coping with this polar vortex horseshit? What tricks and tactics are working best to help keep the creativity thawed?

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

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.