If you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been away for awhile. I guess it’s just a thing that I do sometimes. Not intentionally, but it just sort of happens. Getting pulled in different directions is not something I have been all too great at dealing with. I am far from an excellent juggler of any items. Be they literal or figurative. I aim to do better.
There have been struggles with health. Both physically and mentally. It’s been an unfortunate thing to let that get in the way of my work. Sometimes one informs the other and that struggle is amplified. It seems a common pattern for me that I get on a roll and make a whole heap of progress for a few weeks, but then I sort of collapse for a few months. When this happens, it’s as though any progress I have made toward my goals is undone. Like starting over from square one a couple of times a year.
There is an advantage in all of this though. I am afforded ample time to think. In the past, this has been to my detriment, but lately, I have sought to harness this neurosis for my own benefit. An effort has been made to seek help and it is beginning to pay off quite handsomely.
Reinvention is the name of the game.
While my introspective nature has often been problematic, I have made the decision to beat it into a more useful shape. I am a worrier. Always thinking about what can go wrong. Always wondering what form the next personal catastrophe might take. For most of my life, this has been sort of like putting a leash on myself. I never allowed myself to stray too far from what felt comfortable and safe. Inevitably, I would strain against that leash until it broke and then be terrified of what I found. To the point that I would find some reason to craft a new one and strap it around my neck and keep the pattern moving. Somehow, enough became enough and I’ve decided to forgo creating that new leash.
In conjunction with a new uptick in work and bringing my blog back to life, I have also begun a journey I never expected to find myself on. A way to make myself uncomfortable in the hopes of promoting some personal growth. I have begun streaming on Twitch.tv. This is something that has left a few people speechless as it is definitely out of character for me. I am not one to put myself out in front of people. Anxiety and general grumpiness has often kept me from doing many social activities and I have never been a fan of public speaking or performing of any kind. Before I got started, I had thought about it a time or two simply as a way to get out of my comfort zone. Then, at breakfast one morning, a friend mentioned that he had an interest in streaming and it got my gears turning. Something about knowing someone personally who had this interest made it more appealing to me.
I spent the next couple of months doing research and working up the nerve. I learned the basic ins and outs of the technical side of things and spent many hours practicing to myself. It took me awhile to get comfortable, but I finally got around to doing my first stream. I made sure to keep it low key in an effort to keep myself from getting the jitters, but I felt invigorated by it and it gave me renewed confidence. Because of that, I am actually comfortable sharing my channel with more people in the hopes that I can start to build an audience and share some entertainment with people.
Doing all of this feels like a real win for me as I can work on socializing more and help my anxiety. Not to mention the fact that it’s a great way to play games that I love while still being productive and I love the idea of exercising my brain in a different way. It’s my hope that it will only serve to help me be more flexible and confident in my writing.
In all this struggling, I came to realize that writing a novel probably wasn’t what I was really after. For some reason, I had come to see it as a sort of pinnacle of the art form, but the expectations involved with it were beginning to crush me. I took an idea from short story, to novella, to novel, to multi-part novel series, back to novella. I fucking hated it. It’s something I had to learn the hard way. Am I never going to finish said novel or ever write others? I can’t say that at this point, but my heart lies in a different area. I love flash-fiction and the idea of more bite sized content. I especially love the idea of something serialized. A trail of morsels that take us on a journey together. There’s something to be said for time as a component in story telling. Sometimes fiction is best served in courses with time to relish and reflect in between. And tiny, piquant ideas that linger on the palate can have quite the impact.
Why do I bring all this up now after all the silence? Just get back to the stories, right? I don’t really know. I suppose it’s more for me than for you, but sometimes it’s worth having complete strangers put their eyes on your trouble. Sometimes it’s worth giving some trust to the unknown. I guess it’s a bit like crowd sourcing therapy or something. (I almost wrote crowd surfing. They might not be all that dissimilar.) At the end of the day though, it’s just cathartic to put some feelings into words. There’s a plan at work here.
It’s Fridays. Look for new content on Fridays. Most likely starting next month. I can handle once a week if I get out ahead of the other parts of my life. I will continue chiseling out new pieces of flash fiction and short fiction. I also aim to work on some serialized pieces. After coming to the realization that long works would only serve to suffocate me, I had to think of a new way to share some of the larger ideas that I’ve had. It’s entirely possible that I could do more in the future, but with other projects I am working on, it’s best not to bite off more than I can chew.
Perhaps the most painful, but important lesson in all of this has been coming to the realization that being good at something is just a tiny piece of the equation. That really only matters when your productivity is consistent and you can get your work in front of the right people. The best solution to my struggle is to work more and and with boldness.
Thank you to all who have continued to encourage me. I won’t quit until I am satisfied. If that never comes, then I will be proud to have lived a life full of attempts at doing what I love the most.
Stay tuned for more.