Writing and Arting and Goals

Oh yeah. I’m supposed to be a writer. I should probably do the thing. With the words. For something other than the blog.

So last year I made several posts giving “advice” (please read that while doing air quotes) on writing when I started doing the blog. Looking back on them now – and a lot of my older posts, if I’m being honest – they seem so unlike me. Like, who am I to be giving anyone advice about writing? I guess I was still in the mindset of desperately trying to keep being a fiction writer after graduating college, and I was trying to share what I learned from other articles and authors about writing. I was very much into the idea of “if you want to be a writer, then start acting like one,” blah blah blah, post-college attitude, pre-I can’t find a job I’m qualified for even with a B.A. and it’s been two years since I graduated thoughts.

And geez, how I can’t even follow my own advice. Aside from the blog, I really haven’t done much writing in almost a year. There was a lot building up to it; the lack of effective workshop classes now that college was done, the lack of support (or even care) from most people; my own overly critical judgements of my work; the fact that all of my fiction pieces started sounding like the same thing and I was starting to feel like I was a one-trick pony…

And then I got rejected from my school’s literary magazine last year, and I don’t know why, but that really hurt. I made it the year before, and I didn’t spend nearly as much time on the short story that got accepted that year then the one I submitted last year. I put a lot of time into that one, a lot more time than any other story I’d written since I was actually in college. I was even able to workshop it with someone that used to be in my class. And one of my friends was on the team that selected stories to go in, and she kept telling me how there are so many bad entries and I’m not one of them. And I overheard someone saying that year’s edition (the one I was rejected from) had a lot of pieces that weren’t so great.

So even though I’ve been rejected a bunch of times before, this one kind of… stung. Definitely felt like I wasn’t really cut out for writing.

And then I fell into a very big depression shortly after due to something else, blah blah blah, how many times am I going to talk about being in the same state of depression, etc., etc. Long story short, it’s January and I think I only wrote 1 short story since getting rejected from my school’s literary journal. That was last April.

Oh, and that 1 short story is a revised draft of a story I did during college in 2011. Granted, it was a heavily revised draft, with half of it being brand new material, but still. Doesn’t really feel like I’m the fiction writer I wanted to be.

I don’t want to blame the depression, but it’s kind of hard for me to delve into writing fiction when my mind’s kind of… well, not so great. I mean I could definitely use this opportunity to write something involving the things I’ve been feeling. You know, turn that into a work of fiction.

But it’s hard when you’re still having trouble facing your own shit.

I guess I took a somewhat extended break from writing. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t do anything during that time. I started a few short stories, I have this collection of random scenes of random characters in random points of view that I occasionally add to – kind of hope it will grow into some sort of novella or longer work some day. But it’s mostly been the blog for a while, and I really want to start getting back into fiction.

And don’t get me wrong, the blog’s been great. I’ve been able to try out different styles of writing. And doing this weekly, even when I have no clue what I’m going to talk about some weeks (like this one), has kept me on my toes. I may have been slacking in writing fiction, but I’d like to say writing here every week has helped my writing abilities in some regard.

I’ve been focusing a lot on other art projects in my absence of writing fiction, at least. You guys have probably seen some random Perler bead projects I’ve posted, right? Doing those is one of the ways I cope with the depression. It started out as a way to distract myself, but I’ve been loving it so much that I use a lot of potential writing time working on stuff like that. I reasoned that if I wasn’t making anything I was proud of in fiction, then I may as well concentrate on other creative mediums that I am proud of. And I really am proud I started doing the Perler stuff, I’ve wanted to for a long time and it always feels good to finally do something you’ve been wanting to do for a while. I can’t say everyone shares my enthusiasm for it, but those that do really love what I make, and some of them are even saying I should start selling them. And you know what, I would really like to! I’m going to start looking into some craft fairs, and maybe even selling them on Etsy. Like I said, I’m not having much luck finding work, and even though selling Perler art isn’t going to make me anywhere near enough money to move out and get my own place, it wouldn’t hurt if I could make a little extra money doing something I love.

I’ve also been trying (or meaning to try) incorporating some art into some of my posts. I mentioned last year when I reviewed Hyperbole and a Half that I wanted to try telling some stories the way Allie Brosh does, and I’m ashamed I haven’t even done one yet. My post about the first semester at college was supposed to be one, but at the last minute I just tailored it into a normal post. I’ve got one about my trouble with weight loss lined up. It’s written and everything. I just have to do the art. And I keep talking myself out of it because I feel like I’m always going to hate what I draw. I guess kind of like writing fiction.

Anyway, sorry if this post was kind of scattered. I guess this is a bit of a personal update post more than anything else.

Oops. Oh well.

Next week’s gonna have that art in it as I talk about trying to lose weight. There. I said it. Now if it’s not done, I’ll look pretty darn silly. 🙂

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One thought on “Writing and Arting and Goals

  1. Depression can really screw your brain up when it comes to trying to plot or just feel motivated. I think the fact that you’ve still been writing here and there even if they’re not completed stories shows your hearts still in it, even if you’ve been struggling to get your mind to fully pitch in!

    I hope you stop being your own worst enemy when it comes to art and writing and push through that doubt because, as you’re experiencing now, it can be crippling to your output.

    Sorry about the ramble, but I honestly hope you continue to do what you obviously enjoy doing!

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