Back from the dead (again). What three months of frustration has taught me.

So, I did reconsider this whole blog thing. I haven’t been using it, simply because I haven’t had the motivation to really write anything blog-ish in some time.

I’ve been busy with trying to keep up my motivation do to everything else. Writing has been on and off, the Valocea project has been on and off, and even things that are purely recreational, I sometimes feel like I have to force myself to do, because it feels like too much work. Which is partly why I don’t play video games nearly as much as I used to (and why I still haven’t played through a bunch of stuff that most gamers finished ages ago). That, and a lot of my gaming time kind of gave way to writing time – I still have trouble making consistent progress and finishing things, but what time I DO have I tend to try to devote to creative projects. Still, a recent swing with FFXIV has me reconsidering trying to really get back into gaming a bit. Speaking of FFXIV, I’ll probably make a post detailing all my thoughts on that game sometime soon, now that this blog is “undead”. Haha. Saying it’s undead while talking about FF? Ha?

Anyway. What the last couple months of mostly inactivity punctuated by occasional bursts  of creativity – which are great until they inevitably lead me back into feeling like “man there is just way too much stuff I want to DO and not enough time to do it all” when they end – have taught me, strangely enough, is: you cannot expect ANYTHING to happen unless you take the time and make it happen.

Yeah, I know, that sounds really basic. Stuff that only you can make occur will not occur unless you do it. I mean, no shit right? But sometimes, seemingly easy, obvious things about life elude us. We put ourselves through various forms of misery or discomfort because we just forgot these simple things, or because – even if we might know them, intellectually, applying them to how we act isn’t always so simple. Maybe it’s part of human nature. Or maybe it’s just me that does this, though I kind of doubt that.

The point is, what I learned was that I’m not satisfied with passively letting time go by and not doing anything. I’d become frustrated with the fact that progress on anything that I find meaningful and fulfilling is so slow, not to mention hard. I’m a writer; writing is hard! No one really disputes that. Coming up with interesting stories/settings/characters/etc. and then (most especially) translating your ideas to coherent, written word is really difficult. This is evidenced by the number of people in the world who, at some point in their lives, want to write a novel and have a great idea for the story, vs. how many people actually successfully finish and publish a novel. So I was frustrated by that, and in what is admittedly a self-fulfilling prophecy kind of deal, I let the frustration at how slow my progress is stymie my progress. I had the base motivation to do all these things, as in “these are things I would like to do”, but could never find the motivation to do them in the MOMENT. To stop sitting around and just passing time and actually do one of those things.

I don’t want to let that happen again. I don’t want to spend so much time moping or aimlessly browsing forums. I’m not going to pretend that I’m NEVER going to do that; sometimes you just need to unwind, and there is nothing wrong with “wasting time” here and there. But I’d fall into a pattern where I was doing that way too much. Even though it’s NaNoWriMo, it was still starting to creep in and happen again. When Nano began, I just started writing, which is what you’re supposed to do, but it wasn’t too long before I got stuck again. Now I’m trying to get back into it. (Another thing I’ll devote to its own post soon: what I’m writing this year).

So, I don’t know if saying that “I’m turning over a new leaf”, or “From this day forward, progress!” may just be too grandiose. I’m not going to tie myself down to some kind of rigid schedule, because I know that wouldn’t work for me. I just want to spend less time sitting around feeling like I’m not really doing anything. Working on creative projects is the best avenue for that; if I’m stuck on a story I was working on, I can open up some other project and work on it, or open up CC3 and work on one of a few mapping projects I have (Valocea is the one I’ve mentioned here of course, but there are a couple others that relate to stories/worlds I’ve created), or I can even just load up WordPress and see if there is anything interesting/amusing/insightful/insane/etc that I want to try to throw together a post about. I think maintaining this blog again could help, because it provides a record of progress at times, and if it’s been a while since I posted anything, that makes me stop and go “Well, what else have I been doing during that time, anyway?” I’m even including video games in this: gaming is not productive, of course, but that’s not the only thing I’m concerned with here. I haven’t been playing em much lately, and would like to get back into it. Not to the degree I once did – I used to play like crazy, routinely spending several hours a day playing a bunch of different games. That’s really not me anymore, I’ve changed and my priorities have changed. But I still enjoy games, when I actually sit down and find the time to play them, and there are several that I have (Mass Effect, Tomb Raider, Skyrim, among others) that I’ve never finished and would like to. And there are other things I can do, too. Some of these are no more productive than gaming, but as I said, “productive” isn’t even the whole point. True, working on my creative projects can be considered productive, since the idea is that hopefully, I’ll be able to publish something someday, but mainly, it’s something I want to do. Same with the games. I want to look back at my time and say, Yeah, that was fun/fulfilling. Or productive, or both; but at least one or the other.

So yeah. That’s basically it. Less time sitting around doing nothing, more time doing something. Sounds easy, but isn’t always so when one sinks into that spiral of frustration and depression that makes it harder to do those very things that would help you to break out of the cycle. We’ll see what happens. Since it IS Nano time, I’ll start with that. I’m so far behind on word count that getting to 50k by the 30th would be a massive undertaking, one that I’m really not up to right now. If at some point before the end of the month, I’m suddenly just inspired and go on this crazy huge writing binge, then hey, great. But I’m not going to force that, and if I don’t make it to 50k, I’m fine with that. I’ve “won” Nano four times in five years, so I know I can write fifty-thousand words in one month. Before November even began, I had decided this year that I wanted to make progress on existing ideas, rather than start yet another brand-new one. Thus, word count isn’t quite as important to me this time, and I’m a little more concerned with quality progress, as well (as opposed to that “inner editor OFF” mode that one needs to adopt to really do Nano). Basically, I’m using Nano to help kick start me back into writing regularly, after not spending nearly enough time on it during the preceding months, but my focus this time is on making real progress toward actually finishing one of these projects I’ve been working on for so long.

Even though hardly anyone reads this, it’s nice to just get my thoughts out in here, and I enjoyed posting about music or Valocea or ponies or transit stuff or (whatever) back when I was actually making blog posts regularly, so I hope to do that again. There’s actually a bunch of things I can comment on – shows I’ve seen recently, Valocea-related things, season 4 of MLP: FIM that’s about to start (GET HYPE), now that I stop and think about it and go Oh yeah, I have this blog that I actually want to use! So I should be able to compose some new posts soon.

And with that, I decided that if I’m going to resurrect the blog, it’s also time to redesign it! I changed the theme and layout and whatnot; I like this much better, really. The old “Twenty-Eleven” theme was good, but just very basic. I think it looks more interesting now. Might try to tweak it further down the road, too.

Farewell for now!

-Saito S

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One thought on “Back from the dead (again). What three months of frustration has taught me.

  1. Nice to see you back, and I completely empathize with your position. So many things you want to do, and time seems to be pressing down on you to do something, *anything* before time “runs out.” I’ve spent a great deal of my time browsing message boards, and it can feel like a waste, although considering my position, it’s also what has prevented me from going nuts by keeping my mind engaged.

    Still, it can consume lots of time, and before you know it, you’ve spent hours on message boards when you meant to spend “only a minute,” and so your story gets put back another day, your hobbies get put on the sidelines, and you feel as if you’ve accomplished nothing.

    So I hope you are able to begin accomplishing the goals you’ve set for yourself. Hopefully, you will find the satisfaction in your work, and in your other interests, and that things work out all around. Once again, good to have you back. 😉

    -.John

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