Half A Lie

Today I wrote a couple of thousand words, but most of those were in a new bit of short fiction I started fresh today. The last two scenes I need to rewrite for the novel I’m editing remain incomplete.

Writing the new story came easily. Writing the few words I added to the old story felt ponderous and unpleasant. I don’t think its a matter of the quality of the words, or of the stories. I think its all a matter of the point of progress on the story.

I love the beginning of a story. It’s full of promise. There are unlimited possibilities. The further I go the more difficult the writing becomes.

When I approached a book I wrote some time ago and decided to try to rebuild the ending into something awesome I should have known the feeling I would have by this point. I feel like the ending must be inevitable.

This post is largely about feelings, but I think these feelings come from my education as a writer. The Writing Excuses Podcast, in specific, while a wonderful show, has ingrained in me a feeling that structural adherence is vital to making the best stories.

Once upon a time I patently rejected that idea. And that’s when I wrote the book I’m editing now.

Structure is a fine tool for building a better book. The lie is that it is the only way to build a good book.

I’m past thinking any of this will help me enjoy my work more, or help me become more productive. I can’t give up, but I don’t dare hope to find a tool for change so easily.

Thanks for reading.

Acceptance

There is always someone out there better than you at what you do. In my case, I think this applies to just about everything. It doesn’t help that I woke up late and felt lousy and frustrated from minute one of returning to consciousness. Even so, I want to complain.

I’m autistic, and though my condition is extremely mild I feel it all the time. I’m slow on the uptake most of the time. My skills are weaker than they would be if I wasn’t autistic, and I find it difficult to work enough to make up for it.

There is no even playing field. Life isn’t fair, and it cannot be fair.

Once I accept the fact that I’m never going to be a match for, let’s say my twin brother’s skills and persistence, I don’t know what I’ll do with myself. Obviously, the only answer is to keep trying to get better at the stuff I care about. However, that is not a solution. There is no solution to these issues of mine. Probably everyone feels this way. Possibly my autism diagnosis makes me feel weaker, less hopeful.

I used to think I could become really good at what I did, but I’ve always been struggling just to get to normal. People don’t usually like the things I write in my main area, fiction. I hate that. I hate that I’m seemingly unable to ever get better at this ridiculous craft.

It’s happened two mornings in a row now. I’ve felt like I was trying to wake up. And I couldn’t. Both times I felt like I was screaming but no sound came out. I hate that feeling. I’m just as trapped when I’m awake as I am while asleep.

I’m going to keep trying. Don’t ever I think I’ll give up. There just isn’t any better option than pushing forward.

Thanks for reading.

Shame is a Golden Paladin

I have played a lot of a particular game over the past couple of years. That game, is Hearthstone, from Blizzard (The same company behind World of Warcraft). Among the first PC games I enjoyed was Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. That is kind of beside the point, though, because now I’ve become addicted to this card game set in the same videogame world.

I grew up playing Magic the Gathering, so maybe that’s why I even bothered requesting a beta invite for Hearthstone. I got in, and the rest is chaos. Hearthstone is a lot like Magic, but its a lot simpler and more limited in what one can do, at least at this point. Even so, there are rabbit holes I have gotten lost down in this game.

You see, if you win 500 games on the ladder with each class in the game (Of which there are 9), you are awarded with a golden version of that class’s equipment, an animated portrait etc… I don’t know why this matters to me. Blizzard is great with game psychology, I guess. This month I achieved my second golden class. Golden Paladin. I play this game every day. I need to stop playing every day, because I’m ashamed at how much time I spend on this silly stuff.

Yet, I found the game very satisfying for quite a while. I still find it involving. But I’m never going to be good at it. I’ve given it hundreds of hours over the past few years. I need to take it less seriously. Part of me thinks the game isn’t even fun. I want to be a writer more than I want to be play this game. I want to be a writer more than I want a Golden Paladin.

Guess, that means its time to unplug a little bit. Time to get the world back in order, and the fingers back on the keys for longer each day.

Last night, I had a conversation with my twin brother in which I complained, as I often have in the past, about the things I want to write about that I feel I must not write. I want to do things I was telling myself were cliche or wrong, but which I must pursue if I am going to reclaim my time from Hearthstone.

I am happy to report that for once I feel as though something changed after that conversation.

No more golden classes. No more obsession over a game that doesn’t even give me that much enjoyment. I don’t mean this to bash the game. Clearly its a very good and playable game. No, I’m just not cut out for this stuff.

When I was in high school I gave up almost all videogames in favor of writing. That time is once more upon me. I don’t plan to quit cold turkey this time, but I will be reducing the time I spend playing in favor of writing.

Thanks for reading everyone.

No Cure

I have been out of contact on this blog for a few days now. If you follow me on twitter you may know this is because my grandfather completed his amazing life by passing away. Most of my immediate family and I had just been back to his town and visited him less than two weeks before he passed. Two days ago the family gave him a good send-off.

There’s no cure for life. I’m grateful for the amount of my life I got to share with both this grandfather, and my mother’s father who passed away years ago. Even so, that is not why this post is called no cure.

I felt so different on this last trip. I felt like my life had meaning, purpose, a responsibility I needed to complete, no matter how simple. There is no cure for a lack of that sense of purpose. And I lack purpose too much of the time. My passions are divided between different stories, games, and stages of process. I think putting my grandpa to rest gave me a genuine mental change for the first time in quite a while.

Today I feel as though I’ve already changed back. But I know I need to return a feeling of purpose to my life. Maybe a sense of purpose will help me get more done, but if it only gives me some direction I will be happy.

Thanks for reading. Hope to communicate with all of you soon.

Wind

Proverbially, the wind is moving me today. But I know the real drive is coming from within. I have goals, just for today. I have a plan, just for today.

The summer is getting old, and I think I spent too much of it whining. Not enough time thinking, too much of it listening to noise, and not enough of it listening to my own thoughts.

As of now I have decided to write in silence. So far this is working out well. It definitely cannot hurt.

I am trying to embrace who I am. On this blog, that means I’m going to post more about personal stuff, and less about writing. Personal for me, however, usually goes down a philosophical bent. If you have read this blog for a while, I think you will agree with me.

I also want to get back into the podcast over at my website, mentalcellarpublications.com, and that will continue to be more about books and writing, than this blog.

In any case, this post is only brief for today. I’ve got through the beginning of my plan. Time to execute the rest of this thing.

Internal Voices

Lots of writers and editors talk about the unique voice of each author. From what I’ve read, many consider the voice of a story or the author to be the most important aspect when it comes to sales and success.

I think that is likely true, based on the people I have seen espouse that view online. Despite it’s importance, I’ve never placed strong emphasis on voice. Once, I decided I should simply let my voice (Also sometimes called ‘style’) develop on its own. I still think that is advisable.

However, like I imagine is true for a singing voice, an author must hear his or her own voice in order to develop it.

That brings me to the latest thing I’ve realized about myself. You see, the MP3 player I use when I exercise ran out of batteries just a few minutes into my morning walk. I walked the next forty or fifty minutes with only the sounds of the world around me, and my own voice in my head yammering incessantly.

I remembered then, how I went without music most of the time when I was young. I just did not listen to music except in the car. And I did not come to love music until I was a teenager. But over time I have listened to music (And podcasts) an increasing amount of the day. Two years ago, during NaNoWriMo I listened to podcasts a lot even while writing my story.

The point I am getting to is simple. I have stifled the development of my own voice by listening to others too much.

Yes, I have still learned a lot. But without listening to the voice within enough, its no wonder my productivity and thought processes have suffered.

I wrote this whole post with only the sound of my fingers striking the keys and the rumble of a dehumidifier in my ears. But my inner voice is speaking loud and clear.

Thanks for reading.

I’m Alive

Sometimes I forget the title of this post. My trip out of town saw me visit my grandparents in an old folks home in Pennsylvania a few times. I love my grandparents, and seeing them in that place always hurts. I was struck by the fact that this currently the most I can hope for in fifty or sixty years: a place that drains the spirit, with no hope of escape, except through death.

The above is my depressing moment for today. However, I also know that I am not dead yet, no matter how often I forget that I am still alive and free for the time being. If I do not do what I want now, what right have I to complain when I eventually lose that ability.

Hearthstone is still leeching away my time, sometimes in great gulps of temporal blood. I get nervous about writing and editing with this much behind me on the current projects. The trip did not help this anxiety, as I got only a little editing or writing in while traveling.

I need to put aside that anxiety. I need to remember, just as we all must, that I am alive. There is freedom in every decision, even if that decision does not seem important. The chain of actions one takes develops karmic patterns that will help or hinder future activity. Time to start forming some useful karma. This post is number one on my checklist of ways to embrace good karma. I do not believe in reincarnation in the literal sense, but rebirth can happen to any person who looks for it.

I got started writing in August over a decade ago. That makes this month a fitting time to be spiritually reborn.

My writing awaits. My worlds and characters are my hope for a better future than what I face now.

If all life ends in death, that is not my concern. Right now, I am alive. I am not a big proponent of biblical truth, but one line comes to mind. “Let the dead bury the dead.” All of us who live need to continue seeking joy as best we can.

Than you for reading. I hope all of you are well.