01 September 2016

Foolishness

Another day in the Land of the Lost. I think that's a terrible movie.

Maybe.

Anyway, back to the blog and trying to write more frequently. The Swede inspired me with an email about her own blogging and writing endeavors. I had a couple of really incredible trips recently - Gen Con and Australia. Once again they reinforced that there's so much out there to love and that I'm passionate about. And yet... I can't find a way to translate those into something more than free time hobbies to dabble in. I'd like to blame the universe but it's my own fault.

Nature of the beast, I guess. I love exploring and learning knew things - so I tend to dabble a lot. It's given me a great of experiences, and in some ways I think of myself as a modern Renaissance type. This is not valued in our society. We want experts and the most successful individuals are those who drill down at one thing and work tirelessly to achieve. Or that used to be the case. Nowadays successful individuals are the 1% who rigged the systems for their own benefit.

Okay enough of that.

My point is, these days I don't buy into the system, the American Dream, or a sustainable future. That's nihilistic, and also unsustainable as a living philosophy. I may not buy into it, but that doesn't mean I can escape it. So writing?

I wrote a short story. It's been rewarding. I'll talk about that later. Because I'm blogging from phone and it's annoying.

Thus this entry is pretty much filler. Just know I'm frustrated and trying to figure out my future.

16 June 2016

Damnable Sprites

A small update.

That I find getting back into my current project obtuse.  Like a skeleton key that is just barely oversized for the lock it ought to open.  I can force it with enough effort, but first I feel myself scramble around looking for another alternative when there simply isn't one.

You must sit down and do the work.

This is where all the insecurities come to play, dancing on my mind like sprites, quick and ephemeral. I brush them away but out of the corners of my eye I can see them.  I know they whisper that the story is no good and you should simply let it die.

But that's depressing.

More encouraging: plenty of terrible stuff gets published all the time.

Currently I work on a short story that called to me.  This is the third short story I have started into within the last few months.  Ideas call and I'm exploring them, but it isn't the commitment of a longer piece and I don't feel bad letting it go.  The process is just lubrication to slide back into the heavier work I ought to be doing.

Not that they are bad stories.  There's potential there.  Potential that the sprites whisper I probably won't realize.  They can shove it.

This urge to write something new is simply avoidance of the hard work ahead, and I know it.  Short story explorations are safer, and easier than tackling something bigger, like the one I really want to write (currently under the working title "Construption") (yes that is spelled correctly, and no it isn't a real word).

I need to go back and reread a good portion of AN and then I might start feeling the vibe on that one again.  Feeling it or not, it needs to be written.  It's close - close to the point where I can abandon it to the wilds of others and see what returns.  Close to being able to tackle something else.


Basically, [insert motivational poster here].

09 June 2016

Emotional Dictates

Today I am positive.  This is more difficult lately, and I frequently re-evaluate my outlook to see if I am slipping into some sort of protracted, bitter depression.  It is not someone I want to be and I worry that my age, my views on success and my current position in life are all poised to send me to that place.  I suppose it is also because I am reconsidering many notions about my own capabilities that I once took for granted in my youth. There are days I feel like I am just screaming into the void.  Maybe that is the lot of our existence in this hyper-information society (I want to segue right now into how our rise in communication ability and access to knowledge has actually given a bizarre foothold to anti-science, anti-intelligence movements, but I am resisting).

To combat this feeling I am focusing on the exciting things that have entered my sphere.  Things like speaking with and feeling a peer to several web series pros I admire.  Or getting to screen my film at a festival and convention I have wanted to attend for years, with those people I admire.  These little blips are worth a surprising amount in payoff to all the time I sunk in the the GS project.  But enough caterwauling.  I am here to recommit to my writing goals.

In the throes of negative energy I saw/read a few things that are easing my transition back into productivity, which I shall relate here, mostly to remind myself. They are thematic.

While watching an episode of Chelsea Handler's new show, she had an amusing bit in which DJ Kahled unveiled his "keys" to financial success.  Overall it was mostly fluff, but at the end, she asked him for advice to give other artists.  His response was that you keep working at your craft, you keep pushing yourself despite failures and setbacks.  This sounds stock, but his next advice really resonated: he said that ultimately to key to success was to get up and work at your goal, regardless of how you feel.  Essentially, don't let emotion dictate your craft.

Second, an article I stumbled upon wrote about finishing projects was not a matter of passion.  Everyone has passion for something and ultimately that is unsustainable.  Passion will see you through the beginning of an undertaking, but time easily douses that flame.  What separates professionals from amateurs is working through, even when bored or uninspired or passionless.  Essentially, don't let emotions dictate your productivity.

Finally, a different article detailing how world greats have only become that way via many years of work.  It cited a study of masterworks from composers and how virtually all that have stood the test of time were only produced after ten full years of working as a composer.  It went on to point out that it isn't just hours of doing something, it is the quality of the practice as well.  You can freely put in hours that accomplish very little, but those who excel at something put in focused training, working on specific skills or details.  Essentially, don't let emotions dictate your quality of effort.

The message here is obvious.  No matter how you feel, you only become truly great at something by committing to it, even when it isn't enjoyable, when it isn't easy and when you don't feel you are getting the results you want.  Easy to say right?

I am ending this with an activity I want to attempt.  It is a simple practice from Jerry Seinfeld, who uses it in his own life.  Buy a calendar.  Everyday you do whatever it is that you want to be better at (writing), put a big X on the day.  As you continue daily to do this, you will slowly build a chain.  The only goal is to not break the chain.  I like this idea.  But I'm a visual person so it appeals to me in that sense, and I will try it.

As far as my own writing, well it's time I got back to that now.

13 May 2016

Progress

Today I believe.

That seems a silly statement.  It's just that lately I've been trapping myself in a lot of mental boxes, then getting frustrated by the mazes I run to escape them.  Needless, really.  But how do you stop that?

I don't know.

What I do know is that the heart of the matter lies in my own perceptions of myself, in my abilities, in my capacities.  I am only capable of what I tell myself I am capable of - and lately I've been coming to the sum of "not a lot."  I re-started this blog because I had a glimpse of that possibility.  Today I return because the lesson has been driven home again (doubtless it will need to be many times over).

So today I reassessed where I am at and what I am.  There is inherent disappointment in that, but it may also function as a compass.  I have always been my own roadblock - but perhaps there is a way to cease such self-deprecation and work towards the life I envision.  One where I write.

I haven't been idle - new jobs to pay the bills and releasing a social media storm have sort of drained of late.  The writing  calls, and I will answer.

Because today I believe.

21 April 2016

The Release.

Holy shit guys.  I did it.

It's a weird feeling, but after four long years, we've released our web series.  I want to say more but I don't know what.  It's hard to express this sensation.  It's weird to see it finally out there.  I'm proud of it.  I'm momentarily satisfied.

Strange.

This counts as writing because I wrote and directed the series.  I remember the first time I every wrote something (not homemade) that was performed in a space.  Its equal parts terrifying, cringe-worthy, and incredible to see your words brought to life by talented people.  There's some of that here.  Its different because I've stared at these images, listened to these words over and over and over again.  That inherently loses some of its magic and drowns you in such a microcosm that eventually you can't tell if what you've done is good or not.  Separation is hard.

I'm not sure I'm there.  But I do think that what I've created isn't half bad.  For now that's enough.

Now I've let it out into the world.

19 April 2016

Dashed-off Update

Okay, I recognize that I haven't written in a little bit. While this is regrettable and my story waits quietly on the sidelines, my negligence has not been due to laziness. Rather the opposite.

The web series I wrote and directed, GruntSlingers, begins on Thursday this week.

I have been scrambling - finishing reviewing audio, last touches, creating the credits, building and taking live the website, creating a press packet, and frankly single-handedly re-launching our social media campaign (there was a lot more support and involvement three years ago - ha!). It's overwhelming and everything I think I'm close to getting there I find fifty more things that need doing. Applying for an IMDB page, creating a countdown to our launch on Facebook. Fixing our broken Twitter account. Trying to build buzz and attract new followers so that someone will watch this thing. Let's not even discuss jumping through the rotating fire hoops that are rendering, compression, codecs and color management. It's a good time to be unemployed (not really, but I can certainly dedicate time to this thing).

Bright side: learning plenty. Haha.

That said, why am I doing all of this? For one I owe it to all the people who helped with GruntSlingers. Most donated their time, money, and incredible skill to a guy who had a whim to create this. It's also one of the most challenging things I've ever done. It isn't as perfect as I want - I know that. But I do think it's good. I grew as an artist and am finally putting something out into the world. That thought is terrifying, but I have to remember that:
a) this is what a real artist does, and someday I'd like to be one of those.
b) no matter how it is received, if I am happy with it, that's the most important aspect. And I am. It was created out of love.

The other reason I'm putting so much work into this is that I hope it will provide an opportunity somewhere. I can't shape that because I don't know what something like this could bring. Very best scenario would be the ability to create a second season, pay people this time around and make an even more polished addition to the canon. But who knows? Nothing may. And then I'll have to write the novelization instead.

My point is, I will soon return to writing. But for the moment you should consider checking out GruntSlingers!

11 April 2016

On putting it out there, on letting it go.

The hustle and frustration.   Sometimes I'd like to think that it is because I overextend myself.  And I do.  I commit to anything interesting, anything exciting and creative.  I convince myself it is where I need to be, it will help me center, to focus on the things I love.  And it does.  But for a moment, and then it falls into the piles of other ruinous attempts that are left for the new and exciting things to commit to now.  Followthrough.  That's the real rub, isn't it?  Today is an obvious one, because it is reminding me that I haven't written in two days.  Failure.  I think about it, I work on it in my head.  But that is not enough.  It isn't.  Because I work on things in my head ALWAYS.  Those things don't translate into reality.  Is it fear that I am laden with?  Too careful, too critical, not open, but simply delusional in imagining my offerings to the world - if only the gatekeeper would let them free.  I am the gatekeeper.  Better to not know, right?

Fear.  Of rejection. Of acceptance.  Of criticism. Of the confirmation of a lacking self worth. Of indifference.

It doesn't matter.  It shouldn't matter. We live in a world who cares for a hot minute, and that's all they can afford.  The next hot minute is only a hot minute away.  Worst case scenario is it doesn't matter. And that doesn't matter either.  And I don't think I can take that.