Writing notes and getting motivated

I am wasting so much time. For months now, I’ve been wasting time: because I’ve been tired, because I’ve been overworked, because I’ve been stressed. I’ve complained about it on here and elsewhere, but I haven’t really done much about it.

No more excuses, no more delays. Today is the day I start writing and don’t stop. Gotta get back into it one way or another, and discipline is my way.

On Friday I had some players in our D&D group relate the story up to that point. There were a couple of new characters, and since Cody just started playing with us a few weeks ago, he wasn’t aware of what had come before. Ryan was giving the narrative of what had happened at at one point said, “So I started off investigating why my people were killed and what happened, but it turned out there was this entire bigger picture I didn’t know about, like in a good story.”

Our D&D campaign is a story I’ve been working on for a long time, but I’ve not written it down. Everything’s in my head, which is a blessing and a curse: I like writing for the exploration, to figure out what’s going to happen next, and I have difficulty writing when I already know what’s going to happen. But in this campaign, I’ve got a pretty decent story, and I ought to write it down. In writing, it’ll have to be a fair bit different than what has gone on in the game, but the idea is there.

So I’m beginning notes on that. I laid awake Friday night working through two books centered around this world, though I’m still missing a plot for one of them (the one I want to publish first, unfortunately). Once I get the notes done this week, I’m going to sit down and make a massive timeline. Like, pseudo-ridiculous, which will tie everything together and make the storytelling so much easier. I’m having trouble with it right now because I’ve got two stories I want to tell, but I can’t figure out where they fit together. They overlap time-wise, and I know one starts before the other, but they don’t quite match up yet. That’ll be a good project this week.

I’m continuing to work on a book of theological ramblings, which I feel is coming along well. It’s only April, so this year’s looking pretty good. Should be at least one thing to publish next year, and hopefully two or three (depending on how the fantasy fiction goes).

But there won’t be if I don’t get my butt in gear. I need to stop watching The Daily Show and anime during lunch and start writing, even if it’s just a few pages with lots of staring out the window in between. I need to start doing more of an evening and on the weekends. I’ve got to figure out how to balance it so I don’t burn out (again), but this lack of productivity isn’t helping.

And I’ve also got to stop putting so much pressure on myself. This post isn’t the pressure to which I’m referring; this is needed pressure. But I want to do so many things in so many different ways: podcasts and videos and writing about half a dozen different subjects and updating the blog multiple times a week… I can’t do it all. I haven’t been doing it all, which is good, but I need to be OK with that (which I haven’t been).

So, that’s what’s up with me. So far, feeling good. I’ve also come up with a neat (I think) superhero story, and I’d like to tell it through a comic. Going to work on that script on and off for the next year or two, because I’ve got the conflict and a decent plot forming up, but I don’t have characters yet.

This is all a slow process. I’m finally coming to terms with that, which is really healthy. But I’ve got to keep working at it too. I will continue to seek balance.

Maybe I can draw after all…

Hand Study

I can only recall twice that I’ve really attempted to draw in my life. The first time was when I was four years old, and I was trying to sketch the goose we had on our dining table place mats. The second time was in a junior high art class, when I spent three hours recreating a sketch out of a book that probably took the original artist a matter of minutes. I got a B.

As such, I’ve always claimed that I could easily mess up stick figures, and that I’m just a terrible artist in general. Any other time I’ve made attempts at drawing, I quit before getting very far because of how poorly it was going. Why waste time doing something I suck at?

But recently, I’ve been seriously entertaining the idea of making a web comic. I greatly admire and love web comics, and I would really enjoy expressing myself that way and creating one. I think it’d be a lot of fun, but how do you do a comic when you can’t draw?

I was considering trying to make a comic without art, and I still think it’s an interesting idea. Rather than drawing, it would be text describing what’s going on, with different fonts used for different locations, people, dialog, emotions, etc. I talked with a friend about how I might implement this, and I went so far as investigating making my own fonts, but as cool as the idea might be it just isn’t practical. You can’t convey with a change of font the breadth of emotion and setting that a facial expression can, and there just aren’t enough fonts available to capture the full range of human emotions, especially across multiple characters.

Determined, though, I decided to sit down yet again and find out if I can draw. I began with a couple sketches of someone sitting at a desk, but I couldn’t figure out how to render the character holding a pencil. Staring at my hand, I decided to give drawing that a go.

Click on the image above for more detail; it’s not inked, so it’s kind of light, and it’s obviously not that great, but it represents something phenomenal to me. It represents a possibility, as well as an individual overcoming their fear. Perhaps I can draw after all, but more importantly, I can try. And if I try, I can succeed.