On Feedback

Random, Writing

I’m heading into the final stages of editing my overgrown story Firestorm, which means I’ve had someone read it and give feedback. This is an important process, I know. And it helps improve the final outcome, especially when one is self-publishing. Being a solitary writer can sometimes feel like shouting out into a vacuum, wondering if anyone will ever hear. At least that’s how it feels to me.

But this time the feedback made me realize it might be easier to go it alone sometimes. Wow. Made me feel like the shittiest writer ever, some of it, because I got the distinct impression that the reader wasn’t even reading my manuscript, but rather something completely different. Some of the comments had me going “Huh? What do you mean, being surprised by X? There was a whole friggin’ chapter about X earlier, how could it blindside you so bad?”

And yet, at the same time I want to forget all about other people’s opinions and just write for myself, I’m still happy I sent the sucker off to be picked on and misunderstood. Check it out. Every single time the person asked a clueless question, it pointed big shiny arrows at a flaw. Because if the area in question wasn’t boring or poorly written, then the person wouldn’t have asked questions about it. Right? Right. Plus, it made me think of something a friend said ages ago, about movie critics. Paraphrase: You don’t have to agree with the critic. If you know what they like or dislike, it can still give you a good idea if you’ll like the movie or not. So, and this is my interpretation now, if the critic hates lighthearted, silly space operas, but you love them, a bad review might be a nice indicator that you’ll love the movie. Especially if the critic rips on the character for wearing a spacesuit that looks like pajamas, but you love the cheesy pajama look on a bridge crew.

So I applied that manner of thinking to the feedback, and it helped a bit. What? You didn’t like that I left four millennia of history out of the action scene? I must have gotten the action right, ’cause I know you love slow, in-depth, detailed explorations of history. And you can’t figure out why a character would do something Not Nice? Awesome, I gave the character a flaw.

And yet, there’s that whole “shittiest writer ever” feeling… Argh. I’ll just keep telling myself it’s okay, the shittiest writer ever wouldn’t bother trying to find and fix the flaws.

 

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Not Dead Yet

Random

Okay, wow. I haven’t posted since October 30. So much for being more active on this blog. Here, have some excuses.

November’s easy enough to explain away, that’s NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month to the uninitiated.) Won, 50008 words. Also worked my ass off at my day job.

December? I remember December. Barely. Busiest month of the year for dog groomers, took a break from writing after NaNo, made some simple New Year’s resolutions that should be easy to keep. Even went to see a movie.

And then… the world exploded.

(Warning: TMI ahead!)

I have a stupid, nasty disease, called adenomyosis. It’s disgusting, painful, and when it acts up, I get sick enough that I feel like dying would be a vast improvement. I’ve had this crap for six years now, and it just keeps getting worse. And this time around, it knocked me flat as a pancake. I seriously thought I might be dying.

Come to find out, I wasn’t far wrong.

I don’t have health insurance, because it costs too much. But this time I got so freakin’ sick I had to go to the doctor, even though it cost wads of cash and maxed out all my credit. But I found out I had blood clots in my legs and lungs, and acute anemia, and that either one of those things could kill me off.

Great.

So, long story short, I’ve been, quite literally, deathly ill. More than once, even. My creative life has fallen by the wayside, although I am currently fighting my way through Camp NaNo. (That’s Camp NaNoWriMo, the easier version of NaNo where you set your own goals.) I haven’t been able to do crap as far as 3D art, which sucks major butt. And to make life even more exciting, my computer’s starting to feel its age, so even when I do try to render something there’s no guarantee it’ll work. I even had a BSOD last night, trying to render a scene. A BSOD! On my wonderful computer!

All whining aside, right at this moment I feel okay. Tired as hell, but whatever. I’ve been writing all day, I cleaned up nearly three weeks of mess, and I have a scene rendering. So I’m going to quit whining and feeling sorry for myself, try not to drop dead, and get back to the things that really matter: writing, 3D art, and creating some content for this damn empty blog. Not to mention frantically saving cash so I can build out a new, far more powerful computer, even if it means I’ll have to abandon my faithful old Windows 7 Pro.

Woo-freakin’-hoo!

Oh, That Muse…

Random, Writing

A lot of creative people have a muse. Dictionary.com defines muse as the goddess or the power regarded as inspiring a poet, artist, thinker, or the like. Pretty fair definition, I’d say.

Some people are lucky enough to have a real person as their muse, but I’m not. Some people find inspiration in a photo, or a piece of art, or a place, or even a cat. I don’t.

Of course not. I can’t possibly be normal, have something so mundane as a muse I could look at, talk to, interact with. Nope. Not happening.

Instead, I get a nebulous and temperamental voice in my head. Well, sort of a voice. That’s the easiest way to think of it, even though it makes me sound completely insane. Sometimes this ephemeral muse is kind to me and showers me with ideas. Other times, like in recent months, my muse shuts the hell up and won’t say anything at all, even under threat of violence. Which, let me tell you, makes me feel real adult and rational, threatening to kick the shit out of something that doesn’t even exist.

I’ve been thinking about this temperamental muse of mine a lot lately, wondering what its problem is. (His problem? The bugger’s cranky enough to be a male.) And… it keeps coming back to the same thing: the real world.

See, my muse went on a long hiatus once before. It began on September 11, 2001, and lasted for a really long time. I went from writing and creating 3D art all the time, pretty much non-stop, to just barely creating anything at all. Because after what happened, writing smutty, slashy fanfiction just seemed so unimportant and trivial, it wasn’t even worth it.

But a good muse won’t be kept down, and mine eventually recovered. It started presenting me with idea after idea–you should see my WIP file–and helping me fill my online galleries with art.

And then… political bullshit happened.

Leaving my muse all sorts of pouty and unhappy, barely willing to toss out a half-hearted idea every now and again.

Idiots running my country, bills growing larger than my income can support, bigots and assholes partying in the streets… What place for creativity in all that? Why bother? Why not go crawl under a rock and hide, don’t worry about writing queer fiction or blog posts, don’t bother producing pretty pictures in a world full of ugly…

Yeah, whatever. That’s a line of crap I’m not going to buy into. Because I’m not going to let this stupid world get me down. I will feed my muse with Dr. Pepper (the real sugar kind) and pizza until it cheers up, and I will keep right on writing and making 3D art.

It’s harder now than it should be, yeah. But it feels like not writing is letting the jerks of the world win, somehow. Like allowing the stupidity of others to keep me from creating art or writing is just giving up and letting “them” win.

So screw “them.”

If nothing else, at least I can create beautiful worlds where bigots and assholes get run over by steam-powered freight trains or blown up by colossal fireballs. That’s the beauty of being a writer, after all.

Going offline for a while.

Random

Yes, I know. I just made a nicely public commitment to create a writing blog. But once again, real life has intruded.

I’m beginning the process of trying to buy a business. And by “business,” I mean my current job. If I can pull it off, life will be really, really good. But if I screw this up, I will most likely lose everything.

So in the interests of not effing up my entire life, I’m going to stay away from most social interactions for a while, and focus on scary things, such as market analysis and demographics. Things I became a dog groomer, 3D artist, and fiction writer to avoid, damn it. But if I want to continue living in this rather nice town, with a steady income and clients who love me (I mean this literally. I hear it a lot, usually from little older ladies with cute little dogs.), not to mention the ability to purchase food on a reasonably regular basis, well… I’m just going to have to suck it up, do the kind of work I dislike intensely, and put together a stellar business plan that makes me look like I’m so good there’s no risk at all in loaning me 60K. Ain’t no one going to do it for me, or help out. Even my sister the accountant answered one question for me, then told me to go find a financial adviser.

I’ll likely still be at deviantArt every day, but just lurking quietly, looking at a few bits of art in the mornings. And I’m still doing Camp NaNoWriMo, of course, but I’ve drastically reduced my word count. I love to write, but my only means of supporting myself is far more important. Everywhere else I’ll likely check once or twice a week if all goes well.

Wish me luck, because I really need it… Er, wait. Please wish me good luck. With this much on the line, I don’t want to take any chances.

Updating Myself

Random

I always intend to be more active online. Well, today I finally started an account at Queeromance Ink, which included a place to put social media links on the author profile. Holy shit. I have a huge online presence… and it’s almost all terribly out of date.

So here I go again, dragging myself out of the shadows of anonymity I always retreat to, and making another effort to be active, and current, online.

And in case you’re wondering… the out of date places are:

WordPress

Twitter

Goodreads

Patreon

Behance

Vimeo

WattPad

Tablo

my own website (!!!)

Amazon (what ever happened to that author page I started ages ago, anyway?)

At least I’m active on deviantArt and Facebook. I’m not completely hopeless.

Now that’s sad.

Random

Many years ago, I saw a car with a sheet of notebook paper taped up in the back window. On it someone had written George W. Bush does not speak for me. Now, that was back at the point when Americans were supposed to stop eating French fries and eat freedom fries instead. So I thought that was pretty damn neat, and put a modest little statement on my personal website, George W. Bush does not speak for me. I was really happy to take that down eight years ago.

Well, today my personal website has sprouted an innocuous little political statement, right up at the top. Donald J. Trump does not speak for me. It’s pretty sad that it came back, that little statement. And it’s not like my personal website gets massive amounts of traffic. But I feel a tiny little bit better having a disclaimer to show that I’m not an [insert favorite perjorative(s) here] idiot, nor do I like the future that appears to be looming over my poor country.

Seriously, people, is tolerance and hope really all that bad?