Should I Write?

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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?

Feel Every Yard (BIG Announcement!)

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Before I get to the post today, I promised you a couple things from Wednesday. Sorry if it was a tad bit misleading, I wasn’t about to shout out some cool stuff if I wasn’t sure it was happening, but here we are.

So, first of all, I’ve been releasing a few shirts over on Teespring for Random Acts Creations. Year One through Year Four shirts/hoodies/v-necks are available now + I don’t plan on pulling the stock ever. I’m working behind the scenes to release a spring line towards the middle of April this year. It will be full of rad stuff like hoodies, T-shirts, and phone cases. (There is more but Imma keep some of it a secret!)

Second, I’ll be releasing a compilation of poetry from the blog itself (edited and updated, I promise.) Some of em were pretty rough around the edges but They’re shaping up nicely + you’ll be hearing more about them towards the third quarter of the year.

Third, I’ll be putting out another blog compilation this November, Year Five is going to come with a lil bonus though, I don’t want to give you too much about it, but I’ll tell ya you might want to keep some space available on your wall. 😉

All of that being said, if you’ve made it this far, you can check out my website, freshly updated and looking super fly to see my release schedule every single month. I’ll have days scheduled for blogs, poetry, YouTube videos + anything else I’m doing. Don’t think I’ve been forgetting about some of the older stuff you all loved. Over on the S+I Facebook page i’ll be bringing more happiness and inspiration than ever before. Snapchat will be live with some new tutorials just for kicks and I have SO much more. 2018 is just getting started and your favorite hippy is swinging harder than ever.

Best believe that.

It’s funny how they say time is money when we are so reluctant to spend time but we will freely throw away our time. Before I get into this week, I hope that you spend much more time this week than you do money, it is so much more valuable and so much more appreciated.

Last week I was having a conversation getting to know a new coworker and discovering their interests when they told me something I have said to others. We were talking about his passions and his dreams and he told me that he wanted to travel, he was going to set up a motorhome and just drive around the country in the next three years. That his dream was to see every state in the US and then he continued by saying something I have said countless times before.

“I know it seems stupid…”

Right before he launched into the description of his dream since he was a child, he wanted to touch every piece of dirt in the USA and he looked away from me in shame as he told me that.

It rang a bell inside of me that has been softly ringing since the day I picked up a pen.

I remember when I was that kid, unsure of my future with lofty goals and dreams, this grand desire to be all that I am working to become, an author, a YouTuber, a poet, a musician, a business owner, a chef, a friend and a blogger among so many other things. I remember being in that exact same place, telling others that my dreams sound stupid.

That was before I found The Buried Life, I’ve written about the show before + in case you’re new around here and have been hiding under a rock, they set out with this idea to cross off items from a collective bucket list and along the way help others cross one item off of theirs. The show + corresponding book inspired me so much that I decided to do the same.

It’s funny how these things that cross over into my head overlap so often. It is a still small reminder that my purpose is clearly defined and I cannot stop building for it, fighting for it and praying for guidance along the way.

I lost my job and began to panic about making money, how I could support myself still, how I could keep moving forward and what I could do to pay my bills, when I was provided for as if by magic I silently prayed a thanks and kept moving, without realizing that I had begun orienting my time beneath making money. The time I spent with friends decreased, the time I spent working increased and I began to trip up a lot, wondering if I was worth it or whatever.

Well that’s some shit if I’ve ever heard it.

Talking to my friend I was reminded of the madness that my life has become and how I enjoy every last second, every last wasted cent, every last smile and tight embrace between myself and those that I love.

This life is so much more than we always think it is. In the midst of darkness, for you or me, there is always light. You have your purpose and I hope that you consider it if you feel lost today. You have dreams and goals somewhere within you, you have a calling and there is no greater sin than wasting you valuable time.

Spend it instead, searching for the next step and moving forward. If you want to become an author, start writing. Streaming on Twitch? Download the app and go. There is no back tracking as long as you are aware that you are accomplishing goals and dreams with every new step you take. So don’t stop stepping.

Just get out there, climb in your motorhome and hit the road. We have a long list of items to work through, it is going to take a minute…

…and every minute will be worth it.

Thank you so much for reading.

A Cathedral of Ants

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I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking about how I speak and how I act, who I am as a person and the things I’ve said to others over the course of my life.

In some countryside, standing proudly beneath an old farm house, built before the people in it were born, built when the dustbowl was raging, built in a time that the generation before me sometimes refer to as a “simpler time” lies an anthill.

This anthill has survived for centuries, through queen after queen.

Although, Queen can sometimes be misinterpreted. In human life, a queen rules and makes decisions regarding the status and the safety of her people.

However, A Queen Ant doesn’t have much say in the activities of her workers. She, rather, sits in the center of the maze and is used to produce more and more ants so that more and more dirt is moved, more food is found, and more ants are made.

In this aspect, there is a Queen, (Or King, for the sensitive) ant inside of your mind.

See, an ant colony is built meticulously, and despite the time it takes to do things perfectly to humans, ants can do this in a fraction of the time, developing cathedrals across the world, building homes for themselves to continue about their business as mindlessly as ever, picking up one small stone or fractured piece of dirt, driftwood or what have you to bring back and fortify the chapel, to deliver food to the queen and the other workers. Though, unlike us, they have no lunch time. They eat when the world allows them to. They live in a day to day course of venturing, delivering, and continuing their course.

I found this particularly interesting, given how many similarities we share with ants when it comes to the words that we say.

Often I find myself speaking mindlessly about something, it may be a topic I have extensive knowledge upon, it may be an idea I wish to learn, it may be something I’ve heard and I want to share. This is an especially terrible action to set my ants upon, because if I speak words which hold no truth, it will not matter to the ant colony. They will deliver it into the ears of another and the idea will root within their minds.

We must be careful in how we use our words, we must be mindful of how we speak to one another.

Once the words leave our minds they are as ants. Small morsels of gossip that are brought to the minds of other hungry colonies, begging for something to take them away from the dull monotony of their minds.

I would be lying to you if I were to say that I was always exciting, or interesting. I am a simple creature with complex ideas, nothing more and nothing less. The idea that I would chase something painful often springs to the tongues of others. I think, in one regard, gossip finds its way to our ears and out of our mouths because we can’t understand others.

Obviously, there is the popular thought that gossip is spread because of jealousy. This is true in some cases even. I once heard that I had an STD (Even though I was a virgin.) and that women should be careful around me.

Obviously, the gossip couldn’t have been started because someone was jealous about how much action I was getting, I wasn’t getting any. I wasn’t even really thinking about that.

Of course, I don’t know the truth behind that small line. It could have been a simple message mutated down a seemingly endless line of other ants that eventually reached my ears and was entirely different from the initial comment.

This cements my thoughts on this subject even further. We have an immense power within our words. We say things that can uplift another’s soul, or we have the power to utterly destroy them with words alone.

I haven’t spoken much about reputation on this blog, because I never felt as if it was important, but I have come to see things a bit differently.

My stance hasn’t changed, my reputation doesn’t matter much, because those with harsh words hell bent on my soul will likely never reach me, those that do will slide between rows of ants I have sent out to adjust my own thoughts. Of course, this is a dual edged blade. You can see me for who I am by simply reading this blog. I have published the good and the bad, left and right on this blog. Those who have read from the beginning up until today have been with me through four years of good and bad, four years of lessons learned and victories celebrated. They have read about my dances with everything that may have been the death of me.

I say this knowing, however, that the whole world does not have an outlet or a place to vent as I do. I know this, and it only further proves to me how important it is that we select our words carefully.

According to my faith, gossip is considered something to avoid. Saying that the human tongue is evil and full of deadly poison.  I am sure, though I haven’t looked, that other religions and simple moral compass guidance would say that it is not wholesome as well. It is not something to be looked upon with glee and it is not something to be proud of, but, if that is the case, why do we still seek out the gossip and the misinformation in the world?

Because it is easy.

It is much easier, to say that we know someone, or to spread something vital about the life of another, than it is to accept that someone would be willing to trust us with something dear to them, or something frightening to them.

It is easy to tell your friends that Karen is pregnant, it is difficult to tell them that her life is not their business.

Of course, gossip doesn’t come only in the form of spreading truth that wasn’t meant to be spread. It comes from lies slipping over the stone barrier and poisoning the well.

One by one, with everything we whisper to one another, ants will crawl from deep within our throat carrying these tiny stones of information, true or likewise, and deposit them over the edge of the well. Deep below, a sound so faint we may never hear it, the pebbles splash in the water and it begins to turn black.

See, I have been witness to and spread much gossip over the course of my life. There are things that feel so important that I can’t wait to share them with someone. This is the problem, with these cathedrals full of ants. They are autonomous. They act without notion. There is no billboard that orders them to carry your words. You simply speak and they do their duty, in subtle, stoic service to their Queen, resting on her throne, meant for breeding more division, more pain, more untruth.

Consider the abilities of this colony. In the midst of a flood, did you know that ants bind together and are capable of floating? They link their legs together in formation and float atop the flowing water.

This is not the only attribute granted to these tiny cities beneath our heavy feet and heavy hearts. If you remember biology class, or any science class in elementary school you may remember that ants have super strength. They can lift up to three times their own weight. Communication through chemicals and an overwhelmingly powerful hive mind are just a number of things that leave me in awe about the intricacies of ants, and in the same way…

The things that we say.

We may not consider the weight of our words, but they can carry much more than we anticipate. I realied this as I was speaking with someone the other day, making jokes as I do, and I hurt their feelings making a comment that wouldn’t have harmed me at all. I didn’t’ realize the punchline of the joke directly attacked them, and so I sent it off with a pack of ants into their minds.

We have a responsibility to be better with what we say, who we speak to and where our ants go. The longer we spend poisoning the wells around us, the farther we will have to travel to find clean water and a refreshing break from the gossip that permeates everything around us with every tiny slip of the tongue.

I have heard much gossip about who I am as a person, I have even spread my own about others. I have mistreated the ant colonies around the globe, and I am here to ask forgiveness publicly for those who I have effected by what I have said, know that I am apologizing for what I have said through the messages my ants carried.

We are meant to do better. So let us do better. I will keep untruth from my tongue. When trusted in confidence towards another’s secrets, I will keep them. The colony within my mind will spill out with only encouragement and love as often as I can. The unnecessary things we say will rip apart everything we have been building, it will bleed hot mercury into our colonies and it will eventually be our undoing. I forgive you, for the gossip you may have spread, whoever you are, wherever you are. It is okay. I forgive you.

you can’t get enough of the blog, right? Right? Well, good news! I have the updated compilations coming out on Amazon over the course of this week. The First Volume is available now + Volume Two will be out in a few days!

If you grab the book, maybe you want a cool way to rep the message? If so, I have a shirt available on Teespring. Go cop some sweet, happy, inspirational shirts or hoodies for your grandmother for Christmas. She’ll be down for sure.

Looking for more? Check out my website for updates on upcoming projects and action I’ve been putting down behind the scenes. Youtube is seeing weekly updates, I have four big projects due out next year and there will be more poetry on the way.

Life is not meant to be awful, friends.

Training for The S-Class

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If you’re here from my YouTube channel I love you tons + Thank you so much for subscribing/following the blog + shit. I love what I get to do.

Recently one of my absolute favorite series came to an end: Fairy Tail.

So I’m going to talk about it for roughly the next 1200 words.

I started watching back in 2014 with my friends, it is a story about a group of wizards and their guild going on jobs, conquering challenges and growing their bonds with one another. As the seasons progressed like just about everything else in media the stakes rose and here we were in 2017 with the ultimate battle against the greatest evil in the world.

I won’t talk a lot about the plot or the course of the show. Questionable choices were made and it certainly wasn’t a story I would have written but I think I can appreciate it that much more because of that fact. See, when I write I do it to expel demons. There may be happy endings and there may be sad endings but at the end of the day I write to get out what is inside of my soul. Each word I put down corresponds with the way I am feeling at the time of writing. What you see most are the things I want to engrain here forever. The timeless messages that I am always learning. I put them in this public forum so that years from now I can look back on whatever year and remember the ups, the downs and the adventures I was having. I attempt to do so fondly.

That may not always be the case for me. Some things I’ve written have broken my own heart, especially a la The Darling Bones, they have come from a place of heartbreak.

Much of the media I consume mirrors that emotional spectrum. I feel things extraordinarily, I’ve been told. What I listen to and watch reflects those feelings. I can cry at the drop of a hat and I can laugh aloud with next to no provocation. I’ve spoken before about searching within my own writing to make my readers laugh and cry at the same time. There is something spectacular about feeling so joyful that you begin tearing up and giggling to yourself.

Fairy Tail gave me that feeling, reading through the last chapter of the manga I thought back on the ride it had taken me on. My friends and I joked about not caring for spoilers in the series as we were all at different parts because it was all about the ride. We wanted to enjoy the story we were being told.

Enjoy it I did, as I sat in my mother’s house at the end of last month and read the final chapter I began crying and laughing because all of these characters I had grown to love had finally come to the end of their journey. Their tasks were completed and they were able to rest. They accomplished dreams and they formed bonds that would last forever. They fell in love and they grew strong in their love for one another.

It takes a strong kind of magic for a creator like Hiro Mashima, the author, to grasp the attention of any one human and draw them into a world. Like so many people have felt with Harry Potter and friends I found myself invested and attached to so many characters from the story. All of whom I watched grow and change at a time in my life when I was growing and changing as well. By the end of the chapter I realized that I had gotten caught up in the technical aspects of the story like many, MANY people on the r/fairytail subreddit did. I had lost focus for just a moment, on what the story was truly about. I love when a tale can do this to me, rip me out of the fantasy world and sit me back down in reality to look at myself critically.

Therein lies the magic of creation. Every author or musician, painter or creator has this level of power within them, this real life magic that enables us to create something amazing and share a bond with others through it. I have surrounded myself with a league of men and women who do amazing things and there I have found my own guild, much like Fairy Tail.

I realized that the story wasn’t about the fights or the potential death toll. It wasn’t about the way the dragons vanished and the way the demons came to exist. Sure those things were important to the plot of the story but they weren’t what FT was about. I believe that we can put so much focus on defining plotlines and poking plot holes that we forget sometimes that these things were created by humans with imperfections like ourselves. We are just as much Natsu and Lucy as we are Zeref and Hades and even the same, we are still ourselves.

People consume characters that are real and tangible, and while there may not be a lot of reality to a 400 year old dragon slayer lighting a stadium on fire or a 90 year old man bringing his wrath down upon an enemy in the form of light, there is a real tangible desire within the characters.

Each of them, like you and me, are searching for a purpose and searching for someone to share that purpose in.

We are all looking for the next adventure, or the next moment to survive, but I think we are focusing too closely on the plot instead of trying to understand what our story is about.

I was created to do this. This writing, this creating. It courses through my blood and brain every moment I am awake. It is my calling. I can’t turn that off. I was given a level of compassion that sometimes I wish I could shut off, I am able to feel things like they are happening to me. I use these traits to further the plot of my own story, which is driven by my purpose for being.

Every day I am training. I am bettering myself and praying to better those around me with the same spell.

Today, don’t focus too much on the plot. Don’t concern yourself so severely with your next step. Don’t focus all of your effort on continuing forward. Instead, focus on your reason for being here. Why are you sitting at your desk reading this? What put you here? Was it me? Was it a friend? Was it curiosity or luck or happenstance? Whatever the reason, you have an engine behind your plot that is driving you. Find it. Harness it. Continue to pursue that purpose. Don’t fall into the technical bullshit about your battles and your plot.

I live today to be here for all of you. I live to write my books. My plot is just another job, just another meeting, just another period to sleep or shower. In all my down time however, I am training.

I am training because I am not the best I can be yet. I am still an A class wizard.

Soon, I will make it to S class and I want to see you there beside me.

Bonus love to you if you clicked all four of the creator links + subscribed. Tell em I love em, tell em they’re beautiful people.

Blessing of the Vampire (Poem)

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My first poem back in a while.

You ever think about living forever?

That’s the kind of thing I’m shooting for.

You’re always gonna get to come back to my words.

2017.8.2- Blessing of the Vampire.jpg

Don’t forget! New blog post this Friday + a Badass NEW YOUTUBE VIDEO.

❤ Shit I love y’all.

AD,NB (Poem)

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This month I’ve been doing my poetry a bit differently, I created the titles to the poems and then wrote around those concepts afterwards + I’ve been pretty pleased with how it’s turned out.

Recently I watched a video about Iterative Drawing and am going to be applying those principles to all of my work. This weekend, I’ll be outta town. My Mass Effect series on YouTube has finished as of today, and tomorrow – saturday I’ll be posting some other stuff and working my way up to next week, beginning a steady streamed schedule of videos. More on that later, for now, enjoy AD,NB.

2017.4.19- ADNB

www.linmtba.com