There, I said it. I got that out of my system.
This isn’t just in reference to the blog. It’s a truism at that point, but there’s more to it. Life gets in the way and I’m working on things that pull me sixteen different directions at once. Rarely do any of them see the light of day anywhere, but I still get something worked on every day, whether it be something at my job, reading some of a book, working on a novel, or doing a short story, or even just getting the week’s errands done. It can be draining, and even though I love writing, it tends to get pushed into the background if work or other aspects of life tend to get in the way. Honestly, I tend to STOP doing what I love to if I get stressed. It locks me inside my head just thinking about problems and issues and I start spiraling and spiraling which just makes things worse for me in the long run. I at minimum stress all the time at that point; all of which leads to sleeping issues, which causes more stress and less time for me to spend doing what I enjoy. I’ve become better at finding the point where this process starts and trying to nip it in the bud. I’m not perfect at this, though, and I get caught in those spirals more often than not.
NaNoWriMo helped, to be sure. Writing on SAGE this year has been helpful with that, too; I mean, I’ve been working near continuously on a story all year long. I’ve been thinking about the world that is SAGE, building the little details, discovering who the characters are, finding what story exactly I’m trying to tell. I knew a bit of it at the start when I put down the first words back in February, but it’s become so much more diverse and wide and challenging than I ever expected. at 5o,000 words right now, I’m just moving into act three, and the final act is anything like I anticipated when I first started this. I think it’s gonna come to the same ending, but the story leading to it is something I never saw coming in a thousand years, and I’m so happy about that. It means I’m getting a bit better. I’m taking the ideas that I had just a skeleton for, forming something stronger around them and making them better in the process. Maybe, one day, I’ll be good at this, too.
This doesn’t even include the little short story that I just finished up a draft of yesterday. It’s a harsher story than I expected, and probably harsher than I originally expected or intended it to be. It was something that came out of the emotions I’ve been feeling the last couple weeks, which coalesced in my head a few days ago. It was my way of working those out. It was in a horrid mood and funk for days until I got that out, and it almost felt therapeutic to type that last period. It felt (at least to a degree, for I think the sentiment of the story is something I shouldn’t entirely let go of, I just can’t let it. Like I said, the story helped me work out exactly what I was feeling, now I’m just trying to figure out what good I can and could do with that feeling.
There was something else there, though, and something that had been bugging me as a writer since I went to hear Neil Gaiman speak at the Long Center a month back. He’s given this bit of advice hundreds of times online through answers to questions on Tumblr and interviews, but for some reason, it never stuck with me until I heard him actually say it in person. Kinda strange considering I am such a fan of his craft of putting words down to text. Still, it finally stuck in my skull and it made me realize that in the last 5 years, I’ve only completed two projects in the realm of writing. That’s insulting to myself and to the work I’ve done.
His advice? Finish things. Get the work done. Put the button in and write the end of that story. Beginning is easy. The ending, that only comes with work. I hadn’t been ending things. So, that’s what I’ve started to do. I finished that short story yesterday and that’s the best I’ve felt in a long time. I’m working on SAGE now and I’m pushing towards the end of it. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time, considering I’ve only ever finished one other novel, and technically that was only a first draft. It was finished, though. So, really, what was out there to stop me from doing that again, and again and again?
Me. Pure and simple.
So, I do what I can to not let me get in the way. Part of that is by actually building good habits, which I’ve struggled to do, but I’m getting better at. So, here I am, coming to the end of my 28th year, about to start the 29th, and working to make myself and the world better for it. It should be my goal every year, but I’m not going to lie and say that’s my goal every year; that would just be irresponsible. This year, though, I don’t know, there may be something out there for me yet. I won’t reach it unless I go for it, though. It’s time to go chase it harder than I ever have before, whatever that “it” may be.