The Multimedia Dilemma

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather a couple of days now. I’ve finished all of the minor tasks on my checklists, but the major ones are all but untouched. May is trickling by very slow.

That said, I’ve finished my first ever complete artwork. This may not sound like a big deal, but I have a huge fear of finishing artworks, and I tend not to post them up for because they don’t seem good enough in my eyes. So this is a big step. I’m drawing again, I’m reconnecting with friends a lot more, completing my tasks, and wearing pants when I need to. I haven’t written a lot though, and I think that’s what’s ticking me off.

I haven’t written for a project (current or otherwise) for a while. Every time I start, I get distracted by other things I need to do, and I do those instead. And being my scatter-brained self, there’s always something else to do.  Sometimes it feels like I am divided between art and writing, along with gamedev and graphic design and being a functioning adult. I’ve discussed this wibbly-wobbly multimedia pursuits before, but it is pretty disconcerting to jump from one area of interest to another. There’s a feeling of getting stretched thin, and yes, I did say if I want to do both, then do both. It’s gonna be hard, but that’s the price.

This is one of the hard parts, I guess.  Trying to balance a number of interests so you don’t burn out or neglect the others.

So does anyone who juggle different interests have tips about this sort of thing? Do you have a schedule you keep? Do you do all your hobbies daily? every other day? weekly? Do you do it just when you feel like it? I need guidance on how to find balance in different aspects of your life.

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The Biggest Challenge

I had a weird dream last night, the details of which I can barely remember. I know it includes the unraveling of a certain magic cloth, super-powered humans, and one of the latter giving me a Shia Lebouf style pep-talk in my sleep. Thanks subconscious, I love you too.

It occurs to me that giving up is never like we see in movies.  In the stories, the protagonist falls on his knees, looks at the destruction and demise surrounding him, and *gasp* loses hope. He retreats to a corner. He cries himself to sleep.  Maybe he’ll even grow a dirty beard. Until one day, a wise character gives him advice, comforts him, encourages him… And then he rises up with newfound strength, facing the adversary with belief in himself, inner strength intact.

In real life, “giving up” is too easy, too mundane. You don’t like what you’re doing? You can just stop and quit. You can change your mind. You can drop whatever you’re doing and start anew. I’m sure this doesn’t apply to all situations, but the fact is, if you don’t wanna be doing something, you can stop doing it. You get to a certain age, no one is to push you towards your goal but yourself. And if you’re feeling hesitant yourself, how is that going to work?

Well, first we got to acknowledge that “Not giving up” isn’t one BIG moment like a movie. It isn’t a test. There is no apotheosis. You don’t drop your sword in a dramatic slo-mo. In real life, “not giving up” is the training montage. You wake up, you do what you do, you get better, then you go back the next day to do it again. It’s the grind. Something terrible happens, you still keep living. You keep going. The world moves on.

I need to remind myself that, everyday. And that may be the biggest challenge yet.

 

Showing and telling burdens

I’ve read more of this months’ book club feature this morning, Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz. The format is pretty neat. Each chapter is quite short, probably 5-10 minutes reading time focusing on one to two characters’s perspective. It lays the groundwork for the mystery lurking around the corner. At the same time, it paints the characters of the small-town folks involved.

There are some cool ideas I gathered upon reading, such as the author’s use of subtlety in conveying characters. We’ve heard the adage “Show, don’t tell” so many times that it has been pounded to the point of dust. Still, it’s never an easy thing to do, and I’d argue that a writer’s ability to wield subtlety defines their skill.

I’m not really sure how to use “Show don’t tell” effectively yet. Perhaps “actions speak louder than words” is an accompanying adage I might attach to this idea. There are a lot of information communicated through non-verbal language after all, and it’s almost always a better option every time.

That said, where is the point “showing” gets a bit vague, where the writer get too enamored with their metaphors and bits of inessential action? While writing Truth’s script, I can’t help but compare it to authors I admire. They rarely use “He sighed.” and “He folded his arms on his chest.” which are, embarrassingly, littered every where in my prose.

So if it’s not necessarily action, or lofty metaphors, what is left to describe the scene? What do you think? I’m still trying to find it out and would appreciate your thoughts!

 

Watering the Garden

I’d like to introduce you all to my cute zinnia plant.

Aren’t they such cootie patooties? (๑♡⌓♡๑)♥

It’s almost unbelievable I planted them a month ago and I was staring at an empty pot of soil for what seemed like the longest time, wondering if they’ll ever grow. Mind you, I’ve tried growing other seeds in my little pot, but the darn parsley didn’t grow, and all I got were cuckolded grass shoots pretending to be parsley. v.v

It was a disappointment, growing damn grass instead of parsley, but I watered the pot anyway and talked to it like a weirdo. (Hey, they said plants like being talked to kay~?! I’m not crazy! …right?)

I realized this is a great analogy for building supporters/fanbase. It can get a little disheartening to work really hard on a certain thing, but not have any attention. 0 likes, 4 views, and two of them are from my IP lol. Who doesn’t feel that little bite of disappointment?

The feeling got even more intense when I started a Patreon. There was quite a bit of interest when I announced it. When it did launch though, I only got one pledge and that one pledge was my friend *cries. It went on like this for a couple of days and I started to doubt my legitimacy. Maybe I’m not yet good enough to start this thing. Maybe I was being full myself…

But I reminded myself about my zinnia. When the pot was empty, I didn’t stop watering it just because there were no sprouts. I didn’t demand the plants to grow. The plants didn’t owe me anything, after all. I’m not an unlovable person if the plants don’t grow. I probably need to up my gardening skills, but it doesn’t mean I am stupid or cursed or hopeless if the seeds aren’t sprouting.

If you are a relatively unknown creator, please remember the zinnia. Water them everyday, give the empty pot TLC. Keep in mind that your viewer count is not proportionate to your worth. And when it does bloom as I know it will, it will be beautiful! *hugs

(By the way, at the time of writing, I now have six patrons! It’s not an army, but six people believe enough in what I do that they chose to impart their hard-earned cash. It really is a wonderful thing. It could only get better from here.)

 

Grind in your own dungeon

I think we can all agree that one of the hardest parts of creating something is getting started. Dreaming up a project is so much better than actually making it. And I can understand that. There’s a magical feeling lost in the translation of apparition to physical thing, the fairy dust swept aside, the treasure chest unlocked to reveal the enchantment for what it is. And it is… *drumroll*

… dirty, sweaty hard work.

On all my readings and scourings on artists, musicians, creators, business people, authors, etc. It’s always the same thing. They worked their butt off. That is the secret sauce. Sweat. Yum. Well, I personally don’t mind that at all. It’s a relief to know it’s not an elusive unicorn like PR and Marketing (h-ha…haha… *nervous chuckle).

So we got the beginning part down. What about this long stretch in the middle, a.k.a. the “journey” itself? The “hard work” part? How do you get over the overwhelming feeling facing insurmountable tasks? That stone wall golem’s looking pretty darn indestructible.

During the little hiccups of time between work, my brain (thee I dub the mistress of pain), starts introducing little needles of torture in my system. Thoughts of stuff I still need to do, things I should be doing, things I should be doing better. Apart of the game itself, I gotta start sketching character concepts, preparing the programming, contacting musicians, making promotion materials, thinking of a kickstarter, putting money together to pay for assets, merchandise?, email youtubers??, make a website???

It just goes on and on and I… I’m only one person… It gets overwhelming at times, and I just can’t help but retreat to that usual dark corner of despair.

…But a wise person came along and slapped me with the best advice I could ever hope to receive.

“Grind in your own dungeon,” he said. “There’s no point grinding in Level 20+ if you’re Level 5. You’re gonna be taken out in one hit. You think you’re being cool, but you’re really just wasting time. Strive to be a little better than what you are now. Go for Level 7 instead.”

It’s a very good metaphor for the common knowledge “cross the bridge when you get there”, but with a little more sophistication. The advantage of working hard over a long period of time is you improve everyday, and with it, your tolerance for difficult things increases as well. I realized I was getting overwhelmed with things way out of my level and stressing out on things that I obviously don’t have the capability to solve. Of course I’m gonna get depressed. But I must see it for what it is. It’s simply another form of distraction away from work. No better than a twitter feed or a cat or a funny gif (Cats are pretty good tho gotta admit). It’s highly indulgent and requires ego stroking to appease. If I were really busy, I wouldn’t feel the need to gratify this craving.

So, every time I feel like I’m way over my head, I’m going to remember to keep grinding in my dungeon level! Gain better items, make friends with my people along the way. Little by little, chugging down that sweet level up juice. Gotta work towards that next level y’all (and maybe bang a couple elf dudes along the way)!

The regency of “That”

Here I am again with your daily scoop of Ame. I hope you’re not tired of me yet, even though my nutritional value fluctuates like the socially acceptable amount of mayo to put in your salad.

Last night I finished the chapter from my current project, Truth, and when I say finished, I mean that it is closer to the shippable finished product I can produce until now. I had a couple of friends read through it and the results are mixed. A friend called it vague. Another said it was pretty good. I’m not sure what to improve on, but I get the feeling it’s a skill issue than creative.

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