Born Again

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Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.

Status: good. still dragging myself out of bed, but good. Taking a little too much time to get ready to go to the “office”, but at least I’m getting up and putting myself in an optimal position to be productive. I’ll call that a win.

Writing.

Excellent day yesterday. I’m repeating myself, but full credit to a good start to the day which set me up for later success. I need to remind myself of this every time I don’t feel like going through the morning ritual and just want to lounge around reading and drinking coffee when I first get up. Churned out three solid, usable pages of the comic book script which I think is a reasonable expectation for someone who is just at the beginning stages of learning how to do this. Production varies wildly, but the fastest writers will produce five pages per day, or about four books per month. The slowest will be one page per day, or one book per month. I’m going to call this a win.

On that note, I appreciate that not every day will be like this. Creating art can be frustrating and disappointing, but days like yesterday confirm what I’ve always suspected: I love writing. I just love the whole process and it’s what I really want to with the rest of my life.

Opportunity.

That said, I will need to detour slightly while I work on establishing myself. The call yesterday with my network contact went well. They have an open position available, but there are a few hurdles to clear. It’s multi-jurisdictional, which is attractive to me. The organisation is good, and I know some of the key players. The position is a bit more junior than I’d like, and as such it likely won’t meet my salary expectations, or match the offer received from the other company, but let’s see how this plays out.

Ok, let’s get on with it………

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V Day

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Happy Valentine’s Day.

Status: good. I’m actually not a sucker for the way businesses have commoditized the day (it’s not a holiday) in order to sell you stuff. I also don’t have a problem with it because some people like celebrating the day, it keeps the economic wheels turning by promoting the circulation of M1 and I can choose to either opt in or out. Yay Freedom!

Writing.

The wheels came off the bus yesterday. I’m entertaining the idea that all writers grapple with this – I mean, I’ve had unproductive days in Finance as well – but, I’m also flirting with the idea in order to avoid feeling lazy and like I failed.

I’ll be honest, I let the story intimidate me and I procrastinated as a result. I think the best thing to do is forgive myself for the faux pas, the lack of self-awareness (which is what the meditation is supposed to be promoting with mindfulness), learn the lesson and try again. So, I got up this morning and went through the “going to the office” ritual in order to get my head in the right space.

Is it working? I don’t fucking know. All I know is that I have a burning desire to open up YouTube and watch a clip of a hamster licking his balls, or some other such foolishness. I mean there has to be some value in bearing witness to that act, right? (Don’t lie to yourself, dude, stay focussed and just get on with it.)

Opportunity.

Call with network contact this afternoon at 1pm. An exploratory call. I’m not really expecting this to go anywhere, but making the connection and having that conversation is worth the effort. They’ve managed my expectations up front about potential roadblocks, so thanks for that.

The offer. Deep down I knew I was going to get this response. They’re viewing everything as final and the pre-employment screening was incidental to the process. Then they began pressuring me to start early. Unexpected. Bottom line: I’m employing delaying tactics because I really don’t want to do this. I’ve got to be honest with myself about that. It’s also true that this is the most practical choice – it’s a good idea to have the security and revenue the job provides while I continue to cultivate other sources of income. I’m protecting my downside, which is a wise choice in this instance.

I think I need to employ one of the lessons I’ve gotten from the meditation book, which is to lean into it. This is the best option with the least amount of downside/risk. It’s best to embrace the change, I’ll suffer less.

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Making Beautiful Things

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I long so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things require effort and disappointment and perseverance. 

Status: good. kinda. Was awake at 2:30 am this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. Should have just gotten up and started my day, but I typically run out of juice by the time mid-morning rolls around and then I end up sleep walking through the rest of the day, so decided against it and stayed in bed. Not sure what was rummaging around in my brain which forced me awake at that un-Godly hour, and I was WIDE awake, but it happened. Best not to dwell on it, I think I’ll just focus on today’s tasks instead.

Writing.

Another good day yesterday. The word count on my journal/blog is slowly increasing, as is the word count on my actual story work. I started keeping track of my word count back in December and can see an improvement from then ’til now. I’m much less anxious about the writing and I’m finding it easier to get into the flow. I’m learning to relax and just let it flow out of me.

I’ve set aside the short story first draft which I completed last week in order to let it marinate, and will pick it up again next week to start work on the second draft with a fresh set of eyes. That’s what Stephen King says you should do, so I’m going to defer to his good judgement and experience. Started working on the comic book script which I’ve had kicking around in my head for, oh, about 15 years or so. Realised after completing four pages that I’d rather be writing something else – the Robert E Howard short stories I’m currently reading have awakened my love for the genre, so I’d like to do a little exploring in that space – but, I’m going to finish this one first. Which is what Neil Gaiman says you should do, finish what you start. So, maybe it’s best to follow that advice.

Opportunity.

It’s gone quiet on the offer front, so I reached out to them yesterday to see if they have finished their pre-employment screening process and also asked about next steps. I mean, I think I should be signing some kind of employment contract before I start? I did that last time around, started without having a contract in place, and I regret doing it. Would prefer that we follow the process in the proper order this time around.

Things also went quiet on the contact front, so I reached out to them thinking that the reason for the silence was a lack of interest, but that wasn’t the case. I’m due to have a conversation with them tomorrow about potential roles and how I can add value. My preference is to stick with the offer, but I think it’s best to have a backup plan if it falls through. So, let’s see where this conversation takes us.

I have more to say, but I think it’s best just to get on with it…..

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On Writing

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I and me are always too deeply in conversation.

Status: good. better than yesterday. I don’t know exactly why I let Mondays derail me like that. I shouldn’t have been as tired as I was. Is age creaping up on me? Is the “OCD” getting worse? Need to mull this over some more. I’m lamenting the lost time and opportunity for doing something productive. I need to remind myself to not allow yesterday’s hiccups to colour today’s outlook. Today is looking good.

Writing.

On Friday I finished the first draft of the short story I was working on. I’ve written stuff and things in the past, notwithstanding this blog, but have never actually finished anything. Appreciate that this is just the first draft and I have one more draft to complete before it goes off for editing, but I think it’s important to recognise the completed milestone and celebrate the win. Go me.

Reward.

Browsing in Indigo, I came across a book of classic fantasy short stories aptly named, The Classic Fantasy Collection (should I be using quotations here?), for $12 bucks. Containing stores from Lovecraft, Robert E Howard, H G Wells and a bunch of other science fiction/fantasy authors I’ve never heard of, all from the early 20th century. No need to overthink this one, 800 pages of short stories from famous fantasy authors for 12 bucks? Yes please, I’ll take one (actually the last one on the shelf). So excited at my find, I tore through the book last night and then dived right back into it first thing this morning. Regular routine be damned (although I did meditate as normal). It’s left me feeling inspired and excited, which is what good fantasy books should do. Life is Good.

Ok, let’s get on with it…….

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On Writing…..

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…on art, on being creative:

“Work hard
Think
Cultivate silence
Plan diligently
Plumb your own soul
And try, with every fibre of your being, to get better and better and better……”

James Ellroy

It’s just that simple, and that hard.

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So You Want to be a Writer?

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I can’t take credit for this list, it’s courtesy of Matt Hawkins at Top Cow Productions Inc. Link here: https://topcow.com/

I have, however, made a few edits to the list as I think this is relevant to most if not all writers and types of writing.

So, you want to be a comics pro? If you’re interested in becoming a professional writer here are a few things to consider in order to make sure that this is the right move for you:

1) For the most part, writing is a solitary experience and you can expect long periods of isolation while doing the creative work;

2) Most writers have editors and they also do work-for-hire, which means you will be forced to change your creation in ways that you may not like. You’ll need to find a way embrace and work past this disagreement in order to complete the piece (and get paid);

3) You’ll need to learn self-marketing in order to sell yourself (and your work); publishing companies market characters/titles for the most part, however you’ll need to market yourself. And yes, driving 4 hours to a book signing where 3 people show up is no fun, but it’s happened to everyone.

4) Unless you have a day job, you need to have enough savings to cover your living expenses for 6 to 12 months. Freelance writing jobs aren’t always readily available, so don’t become too comfortable in your current economic status. There are countless freelancers who went from making 60-80k a year to 20k the next.

5) You have to become comfortable talking to people and selling yourself and your stories at cons. Unless you’re on a name brand book it won’t sell itself.

6) Either have something to say or don’t say anything at all. Social media is a bitch, so either have a message and stick to it which can help build you a following (and potentially alienate others) or don’t discuss controversial things at all. If you aren’t comfortable and good at it, don’t do it.

 

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Why Are Writers Crazy?

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The isolation of working on my own is is something I’ve been wrestling with for some time, the last four years to be specific. I came across this post from Scott Snyder on Twitter which sums it up perfectly, so I thought I’d post it here:

“The other day when I was doing a Q & A, someone asked a version of the classic question, “why writers are so crazy? Is it a prerequisite?” I ran out of time before I could answer, but been meaning to post some thoughts as this is something i struggle with myself.

The thing with writing is that you spend all day alone, and to make something meaningful to you, you often have to spend that time staring at and exploring things that matter to you – things you hope for, things you’re deeply afraid of. About the world. About yourself.

If you do it professionally, no other job, you usually don’t see anyone all day. No social regulators. It’s an amazing thing, and there’s no better job, but it can also become an echo chamber, and lead to self destructive patterns b/c of the the material and the social isolation.

I don’t say this to excuse any bad behavior. On the contrary, I’m speaking more to aspiring writers more than anything, because I wish more writers had talked to me about this when I started. Over the years, I have admittedly gone down some dark rabbit holes with it

gotten lost in my head, been destructive to myself and people I care about, and I’ve tried to be pretty open about battles with depression and anxiety here. For me the bottom line is this: be aware of the pitfalls of writing. Because there’s NO romance in being the crazy writer.

None. Getting yourself into a black place, being cruel to yourself or those around you doesn’t help your writing. Write what scares you, what inspires you, be unflinching, but also make sure to get out of your own head, take care of those around you, and yourself.

sorry for the length of this thread, it’s just something I wish I’d understood better at when I was younger (and still struggle with sometimes) and see romanticized or excused sometimes in a way that I worry stops people from getting healthy”

I can especially relate to his thoughts on getting lost in my own head and creating an impenetrable echo chamber. There are periods of time when I don’t interact with anyone in a meaningful way, sometimes for days at a time, and that’s when the dark thoughts creep in. I lose that third party perspective. The shadows in the corner of the room start to take on oppressive qualities, and the plans that they have for me are……(struggling to come up with the right word here)….destructive.

I’m finding that the only way (or at least the only way for me) is to get out of the house and put myself in social situations, no matter how uncomfortable or how much social anxiety I feel. If I don’t, then I lose that social perspective and end up feeling weird all the time, which I think is not really conducive to good writing. It’s makes my thoughts way too dark and it comes out in my writing.

It’s not necessarily all gloom and doom, however it is something I need to manage carefully going forward….

 

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