Thank you for reading. I appreciate any kind of feedback or just a conversation. Let me know what you thought. If you liked it, what it means to you. Anything is welcome.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate any kind of feedback or just a conversation. Let me know what you thought. If you liked it, what it means to you. Anything is welcome.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions over the course of my writing career from people who have stories that they want to write, but don’t know where to start or if they even should begin. I’ve been writing for eight years or so now and in that time, I’ve finished a bunch of manuscripts and published a few books to boot. Through those experiences, as well as dealing with publishing companies, resorting to the avenue of self-publishing, and learning that though they are expensive, editors are more than worth it, they are necessary, I’ve come to sit upon a wealth of lessons and advice that I wanted to share, to some degree, with others in my position.
Writing is my favorite past time and it’s something I’ve felt passionately about for nearly my whole life. I wrote my first story in fifth grade, then have written ever since. What I didn’t realize then was shitty Yu-Gi-Oh fanfic birthed a storyteller within me and I’ve been on that path since the day I began. Writing is an internal thing to me, I do it for several reasons, but almost all of them deal with me.
I write to process information, happiness, pain, anger, guilt. I write to speak to myself clearly, I form ideas about life and in order for me to understand what I’m trying to say, I write it down. I write because I need that outlet. When I don’t write, I notice a sizeable change in my mood and my life outlook. Things tend to grow bleak in a world where I don’t get to be a writer.
In the video, I mentioned the reasoning behind adopting a creative discipline, be it writing or art or something else that employs the creative muscles in your brain. The fact is, being creative makes for a good mood shifting tool. From my perspective, engaging in various forms of art has been nothing but good for me. Of course, it grows frustrating when I can’t adapt a song the way I want to play it, or write a passage the way I see it, but my mind is enamored with struggle. I’ve been known to do things the hard way intentionally in some instances, just because I want to learn more along the way. Everything is a lesson to me, and in the process of artistry, those lessons are sometimes vague and difficult to understand, while other times they cut right to the bone. However good or bad the experience is, it always turns into a positive for me.
From Psychology Today:
Repetitive satisfying art making may actually mediate depression and anxiety by stimulating the “accumbens-striatial-cortical” connection in the brain. It is perhaps connected to what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi named “flow,” an experience of complete concentration and absorption. Because flow is close to other mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga, it may offer many of the same positive, attention-focused benefits through deep engagement in an art process.
This process adapted to the practice of art is why it is so calming and efficient in the management of negative emotions. It’s basically meditating when you delve deep into the practice of your art. Of course, there are likely caveats, as with all other disciplines. There are days that you will wake and find yourself frustrated at the size of your task.
In fact, that’s how I feel currently in the process of editing, but editing is a beast that requires its own whole session in this series. For now, I am holding on to the token of thought that one day, the hard work that makes me want to rip out my hair will bill worth every second of time I spent wading through misspellings and difficult choices when deciding what of my writing to keep in the story and what to abolish.
“Art is an expression of joy and awe. It is not an attempt to share one’s virtues and accomplishments with the audience, but an act of selfless spirit.” -Davit Mamet
So, the process of being creative brings a fundamental joy to us through the work we pursue. If that is the case, then you should absolutely begin writing, or creating music, or whatever else you decide to pursue. Each faction of creativity creates an outlet for us to push our displeasures, heartbreaks, and sorrows as well as a place to celebrate success, joy and love. There are few things that hearken back to the thought of magic than that, don’t you think?
One note, in regard to creativity and happiness, is that it serves as a dual effort. There is a wide one-way line between happiness and meaning. We exist to have a purpose, some kind of meaning that can define our lives. For example, happiness can give us meaning but the meaning will give us happiness. When we find our purpose, it will fill our hearts with joy.
Creativity, in whatever manner you use it in, will aid in creating meaning for each of our lives. Creativity doesn’t necessarily mean making art or writing music or books. My father is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met but he doesn’t create music or poetry. He builds things, he works on cars. He takes that creative spirit and turns it into energy.
We each have our own way to be creative, and I happened to choose words.
Which brings me back to the original question,
“Should I write?”
Yes, yes you should. If you have the desire, even a seed of an idea growing in the back of your mind, you should at the very least try. If you don’t try, you will never know.
Of course, if the answer is yes, it can be a daunting task to follow through. There is a lot involved when it comes to learning how to pursue writing, and that is why I decided to create this blog + corresponding YouTube channel. I want to talk to you about writing in its various forms, and give insight to the journey I’ve been on for the last few years when I sat down in a Walmart bathroom and asked myself…
Should I start writing?
In the event that you find yourself at the end of the rope, the saying goes “tie a knot and hold on.” But I think that we can strive to do more than that. Simply tying a knot and hoping we don’t fall to the depths is fine enough, and some nights it is all you can do. Believe me, I’ve been there. But that doesn’t change the fact that we can, and should, push forward and try to climb. Progression is not our enemy. Accomplishing the impossible is not something to sweep beneath the rug. If it seems impossible to get out of bed in the morning, and you do it…
Look at that. You’ve done your first impossible thing for the day. Can you imagine how much more “impossibility” is out there?
Thank you for another month. I’m filled with joy that you’d find yourself here to read what I’ve written. If you want to see more, browse the tags on the blog page or check my website tomorrow! I’ll have uploaded the schedule for June on the News + Updates page for your viewing pleasure.
I spend an exhausting amount of time each week writing, between the two to four hours I spend working on my novel in progress or novella or whatever big project I have, plus the writing I do for the blog, I also have been running a D&D Campaign that meets once a week. Despite what a lot of people on the internet seem to assume about D&D it is a time-consuming beast. Each session requires a lot of work to balance and create the session. Making sure that my players can survive the encounters, making sure I have resources backed up in the event they make a move I hadn’t anticipated and so on. Because I am a story-teller, I put a lot of effort into building the world around us and creating something that my players can vividly see within their own minds. Each character that I plan for the session is finely tuned, their personality carved out as well as I can carve it and each of them have their own separate goals and passions. Much of that comes from my desire to write a good story. Something that sticks with its viewer for much longer than I will. I build lore for my own work while creating D&D Campaigns as well, which tallies the full creation time up to quite a few hours each week.
Of course, I accept this as a fact and despite my numerous attempts at shaving off unnecessary work while planning I find myself still sucked in for hours and hours while I build this world for my players to dig through and discover. I think that’s most of the joy for D&D for me. I am creating a place for my friends to live out power fantasies about things we could never truly be. I am giving them the reigns to be powerful and destructive in a safe environment. I’m giving my players the ability to be anything they could imagine. Their ability in the world is only limited by the progression of their own ingenuity.
I think that same reason is why I have such an affinity for writing. I am allowed to do that same thing and make those same fantastical grandiose worlds for people to enjoy, albeit slightly different.
Still, with D&D and other forms of gaming it allows something more prominent to emerge through all the hours I may need to put in to get where I want to. It gives me an outlet to spend time with loved ones doing something that we all enjoy. The thrill of taking down a big boss or solving a puzzle that was kicking our teeth in for days is something that I will never grow tired of. But it is so much better when I can do it with my best friends.
What I’m saying is that for those of you who are workaholics like I am and spend as much time as you can working on something, consider taking an hour or so to do something with your friends every week. The longer you work the older you get, and the older you get the closer you are to kicking the bucket. So, make sure you’ve got a lot of good stories for that bucket before you go.
Thanks for reading my lil baby blog post today. If you’d like to see when the next stuff is up make sure you poke around my website, I’ve got a calendar there for you to see what’s new.
My birthday is soon! If you wanna see some cool stuff, check out my instagram @alvatobiasbooks for the coolest birthday project I’ve done so far. (My book is on sale for $7 too!) ((I am going to run a giveaway on my social media pages starting this sunday! Don’t worry I’ll like you guys in on it too!))
For the full release schedule for February, all of the links for Dyzygy, RAC + Gravity, My Enemy, not to mention links to all of my books you can head over to Salt + Iron. It’s going through an update period through February + during this I’ll be putting up a bunch of new resources for you to stay connected, stay informed and be a part of this blog in a way you haven’t been able to before.
In the event of a collision, brace yourself on the nearest passion or friend or purpose and hold on.
Nothing can destroy you.
Often times I am reminded of the steadfast and stalwart parents who raised me. Parents who looked the biggest struggles of their lives eye to eye and refused to blink in a way that often I don’t think I could do. That being said, my family is 100% the reason I am the same way today.
Of course, like everyone there are moments when I am faced with something that pulls at my soul in a way I never want to feel and I will feel the sliver of shivers run through my bones but that does not change something integral about my personality.
Something my mother and father both instilled in me from a young age.
Once, I locked myself out of the house in the middle of winter. My parents were visiting friends and though I had gone into my room. So they locked the door behind me as I went about my snow angel business. When I was finished freezing in the snow banks in our front yard I went to go back inside and found that the door wouldn’t open. I pounded on it and called for my parents or their friends, praying that I’d be heard and they would hear me.
They didn’t. I was terrified, and when the realization set in that I was likely going to die out in my yard I took things into my own hands and decided to make an attempt to get back inside. Eventually, I knew my parents friends would leave. So I hopped the fence to the front yard and met the garage door and the front door, pounding on them until my hands bruised. I sat there like that for a while until eventually those inside came up from the basement to let me inside. Turns out they had been in the basement and couldn’t hear me calling them.
As you can see, this story doesn’t necessarily end with me getting out of a sticky situation myself. It’s true, I relied on my parents then but I am older now, though still relying on them for much more than I’d like, I also know that there are things in my life that I will not have them behind me for. So, it is in these moments where I should think of the possibilities… what happens when we don’t have those who regularly support us there to lift us up anymore?
We should take our problems by the throat into our own bruised hands.
Choke those demons in front of you and throw them away.
Of course it won’t always be easy, but everything can be broken into smaller projects. Everything can be taken down to the small grains of sand that collected together to form a stone. It took super heat and energy but eventually every new diamond emerges from its old shell of coal.
I lost my job in the fall.
I was denied for something like nine jobs I had applied to, the rest beyond the nine rejections simply didn’t reply to my application.
I didn’t write a single successful piece for any of the writing anthologies I had taken.
I was faced with the massive challenge of picking up at perhaps the lowest point of 2017. I didn’t let on much that I was struggling so hard but I was. This year ended in a whirlwind of extreme joy and immense pressure.
I wonder what other material shares the same qualities, bringing extreme joy and enduring immense pressure.
Every event we are faced with demands a solution. Every problem and every scenario has an ending, it is up to us to determine where that ending lies and how we will get to it.
This brings me back to my parents, who, although occasionally frustrating, each of them made certain that this concept was chiseled into my memory with not one stroke misaligned.
My dad would regularly tell me I needed to get into a stable career, something to make sure I had the money I needed to do the things that I wanted. Of course, at the time I blew off this notion. It didn’t matter then what I did or how I did it. I would find a way. Of course that is still true today, but I’ve discovered that there is another step.
Find something you love.
We all need work. We all have a passion and a skill. No one can truly float along life without money, as much as it frustrates me that we base our entire lives around the mental weight of green paper we must obtain it to continue living. There will always be a way to make money, and money will always have a purpose. Of course, money doesn’t necessarily mean bills and coins. It could be gold or supplies. There will always be a use for some sort of tender, some sort of item that we can trade around.
This concept was lost on me until I grew up a bit and started working, finding a job that I loved. The food industry. I ate up every shift I was given, bathing in the joy of cooking or bartending, absorbing every interaction with customers good or bad. Some days I needed to vent, but that is a part of life. It is another one of those struggles I was always told about. My dad’s words were much more important than I first realized, and they still held a meaning that I hadn’t gleaned as I grew older. A job is not just a place to be for a few hours. It isn’t just a way to make a living. Since I started working in restaurants I have had a desire to do nothing but that while I write. Cooking, baking, serving, all of the things involving food appeal to me. It makes me happy on a base level.
Still, the point of what pops told me so many times was that it was a stepping stone. If I had that outlet, that passion, that place to go to do something I loved, it would help me face down bigger challenges I would eventually face. The same can be said for most things. If you have something you are passionate about, please, right now I urge you to go commit to it. Draw yourself into the loop of that passion. Woodworking, reading, writing, art, making YouTube videos. Whatever it is. Dentistry, coding, marketing, business management, sewage containment. Everyone has a purpose and a joy to be fulfilled in their working life and too few are able to do it successfully. Embrace that thing and go for it, full speed ahead. Challenges will come, you must face them. It is nice to have an island of sanctuary when you need it.
My mother, on the other hand always told me to finish what I started. I once joined the youth soccer team and I absolutely hated it. I was chubby and didn’t like to run. I wasn’t good at soccer and so I stood on the field for most of my play time. I picked my nose and watched the ball go back and forth as it came close to me and rolled away. I came home one evening begging to quit because I hated it so much, but mom told me no. I started it, I needed to finish it.
Eventually the season was over and I didn’t sign up again, but I learned something valuable. Things are always in motion. I played defense, which was remarkable because I was so poor at defending. It’s hard to focus on kicking the ball when you have your finger in your brain stem. Still, things moved. That soccer ball moved, your obstacles will move. You will be able to progress and you will be able to take knowledge from each moment you live.
Those things have been instilled in me since I was just a boy, and I will never forget them.
When things become difficult, when faced with something insurmountable remember that you are not Atlas. You are not a god. You are a man, and man has something remarkable about him.
We don’t give up.
So don’t give up.
Take your bruised hands and start to push. If pushing doesn’t work, kick. If that fails, find a new path. There will always be a way around. There will always be a way out. There will always be a new obstacle and there will always,
Be a way for you to overcome it.
All you have to do is start moving.