The Fear Phase

Life is always a struggle and the fear never helps.

At first, it was a fear of everything. And that really didn’t go away until recent years. I suppose that’s the fear we’re born with. I just… held it longer than I probably should have. That original fear kept me from being more as a kid. It deterred me from asking out girls as a teen. It kept me from forming bonds with my elderly family as a young adult. It kept me from leaving situations I badly needed to escape as an adult.

As I shifted shape, as I changed courses, as I forged ahead, I got over some of the fear I carry as a creative. To be creative is to be fraught with it – at least it seems that way for me. You feel so many things waiting to erupt from you. Songs to be sung, melodies to be written, stories to tell, vistas to draw, all of the things that won’t rest until they’ve not only be visualized, thought over, adjusted, and – most importantly – shared.

I’ve gotten over the self doubt of being able to tell stories that engage. I can do that. I’m over sixty-short stories now, I have two manuscripts and a half-written third. I’m working on audio projects and contemplating getting back into motion graphics again. As I press into my forties soon, I’m realizing the thing that everyone knows but doesn’t act on: the illusion is that we have time.

Hint: we don’t.

So it’s come to  ahead. I’m ready now. I believe in myself. It’s time to start publishing these things. Time to let them out in the world and let them take root in minds. Time to finally commit.

I have no idea how.

And again, I get that little blade of fear sliding under my creative fingertips like an old acquaintance that always comes around looking for money – or in this case emotional capital. It knows where the tenderest flesh is, how to cut juuuuust so to make me look to anything but the work. And there’s a lot to do when I let my attention flag from the goal. Creativity, though wonderful, is not the only thing I want or have to do. I have a wonderful fiancee who I want to be with, a family I love deeply. I have books and games aplenty waiting to be indulged in, stories to experience, the ever elusive want to travel beyond my limited borders and to connect with other humans on the road with me.

I don’t have enough time.

So now it feels like the bottom of the ninth. I am at home plate with a full count, and fear is pitching me the ball. Always has.

So, with the time I have, I have to swing – swing hard – and hope that fear doesn’t have as much drop on the curve as I think it does. And hope that if I lose this game, that the next one will be different.

NaNoWriMo – Be Creative All the Damn Time

You Know What? I don’t think I’m gonna wait for NaNoWriMo this year. The past couple years have been fun, but I gotta say… I participated in it one out of those three years and finished a manuscript. I can cross that off the bucket list. Participation is fun and all, but this year I’ve decided I don’t just have to be creative in November.

I got my idea early this year and just couldn’t keep it in. Not even after compiling a database of all of my favorite stuff to create a killer mash-up generator – shout out to Ben for writing the script to make it happen. Not even with the promise of literary abandon and excitement. Not even with the sweet, sweet promise of a seal of achievement.

NaNoWriMo - eh

I think a big part of it is that a group of good friends in the past three years got together to take the challenge, but also to up the stakes. We’d toss stuff into hats for each other to write about and see what came out. But, as groups of adults are wont to do, some procreated, some got busy with their lives, tragedies struck. It’s just not gonna come together. Without that collaborative event, I think this year I’ll start working early. I think I’ve started to learn what a lot of NaNo critics say:

Why should we put all of this effort into just November?

I’ll be creative when I goddamn feel like it.

I felt creative three days ago and posted a bit from the most recent project, tentatively titled ‘Occupancy’ (you might even still see some of it here).  And then, I heard a ridiculous little voice say ‘just wait, it’s two weeks until November!

I strangled that little voice before it could say anything else as colossally stupid.

NaNoWriMo - hannity
I wonder if the little voice looked anything like this idiot…

Because why defer that which makes me feel right in the world (though writing a story about a seemingly abandoned apartment complex-slash-prison being a thing that makes me feel good is kind of frightening)? Why put it off when all of the cylinders are firing exactly as I want them to? Procrastination for the sake of Nano feels suddenly dumb. I can use that idea generator anytime I want. I don’t need target word counts, I don’t need a feel-good certificate from total strangers.

I need to sit my ass in my chair and work on my stories. I need to pump out words because they’re the right words, not because of an artificial time constraint. I loved NaNo  the years I participated, and some great stuff came out of it. But, this year, I think I’m in it because I want to be a writer. I want to have something I’m doing all of the eleven other months of the year too.

So I’m gonna write at my own pace this year. I’m gonna do my thing how I’d like to.

Cause the guy stuck in this weird apartment complex I’ve created isn’t going to go insane on his lonesome.

Better get writing.

Worldbuilding – From the Land Comes the Story

I recently had a discussion between three of my friends. Part of this conversation drew out one of the reasons I write. I love to create things. New things. When given a blank piece of paper, I enjoy that what gets put on it is something that perhaps only I could have created. Sure, I could draw a picture of a flower. Lots of people have drawn flowers. But this flower could be wholly imaginary. The flower can become my flower.

I don’t have to stop with the visual. The flower, in addition to looking unique, could have properties purely fantastical for use in any narrative. It’s pollen could induce blind hysteria. Eating it’s seeds could let you see extraplanar beings that aren’t phased in with our reality.

The possibilities are limitless. With the tool of imagination, I can make anyone, anyplace, or anything I choose.

Worldbuilding is usually where I start though.

Start with the clouds first. ‘Cause clouds are cool.

I guess I’m big on the nurture side of the nature/nurture environment. Where you live and how that place treats its people you is going to tell you a lot about any people and cultures that come from those places. So when I want to tell a story, I usually need to know where it is. So, last night, I started to work out the world in which the characters in the new collaborative project I’m working on are going to come from.

I had a loose story – one of revenge – only loosely planned out. The characters weren’t coming to me though beyond my two protagonists. I needed something to help me bring more lives out, so I started with their environment and worked my way out. Before I knew it, I had a city in mind, as well as the non-human entities that lived there.  I started to imagine what life there would be like. It would easily kill any but the most cautious of humans, but the spiritual, non-human residents were attuned to it. They’d be similar to us in a lot of ways though.

I pushed further. Who were their neighbors? How did they interact? What was the rhyme and reason for their cosmology? How do they feel about humans and their strange home called Earth? How did they interact? And after asking these questions, I felt the supporting cast crop up like seeds planted in good earth. Now I had a mentor for my two protagonists. Soon I had an enemy. Then others who would make life interesting for friend and foe alike. And before I knew it, the story was starting to find itself.

If only it wrote itself – that’d be a trick!

But this is a part of the process for me. Sometimes to work out the little details I have to start big and not be afraid to step into that large world I’ve just created.

So I’m making the world as big as I want. The more the merrier.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑