Blog Journal 9/18/19

Hello everyone, another week another blog journal. As far as life goes I’ve been working hard. Work has taken up most of my time again this week so I have had less time for writing. But I think that’s about to end soon, fingers crossed.

Poems and Things

It’s a normal week for poems. Tuesday and Thursday, this schedule is working out rather well for me so I think we’ll keep going with it. Next weeks blog journal won’t include information about the schedule since its normal now. I will only include this information if something different is happening that week. In addition I will try to keep blog journals going up on Wednesday, but if I can’t for whatever reason they will be going up on Friday instead.

Short Stories and Book progress

I’ve been brain storming ideas for short stories and working on that project but I have not had time to sit down and write anything out. So nothing like that is being posted this week–unless a miracle happens.

In addition I have made very little progress on writing my book. I’m still writing chapter 2 and that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. I’m going to have to take some writing days I think very soon if I have any hope of catching up on where I want to be. But right now that requires taking a day off as my weekends are filled with things. I do have a lot of free time on Friday’s after work though so maybe I’ll take a half writing day.

What am I reading and playing

I’m planning on taking more time for reading books next week and I even have a few picked out that I think might be interesting. My video game playing has been really limited and I’ve set a goal for myself. I want to have competed another play through of Pokemon Ultra Sun before Sword and Shield come out in November. I need to catch all the Pokemon from gen 7 to help my wife complete her Pokedex, because she says I have to….

That’s everything for this week everyone, I hope to see you all next week.

Just Keep Writing

If you were to ask me what bit of writing advice I wished someone had told me sooner, this would be the most important one; just keep writing.

Keep writing even if everyone hates what you’ve written. Keep writing even if you hate what you’ve written. Write during the good times, and the bad, write silly stuff and serous stuff. Write stuff that sounds highbrow and write stuff that sounds like glorified fan fiction. Just keep writing.

Outside of just naturally getting better at writing as you do it, this also leads to you having a large selection of writing samples. Something that might be useful if you are looking to become a professional writer.

It really is that simple, but for those of you who are not sold on this let me go further.

Maybe you’re the type of writer who likes to outline everything. These kinds of people tend to make sure they know what’s going to happen at every step of the way along the path of their story and/or poem. And many times they just never get around to writing it because they either get burned out, or it’s not good enough.

But the secret is that if that’s your attitude, it’s never going to be good enough. I get the feeling behind this type of over planning writer, I have a book I’ve written that’s not going to get published without any sort of major rewrite. It sucks that it feels like I wasted all that time working on something that only a select group of people are going to see. But here’s the secret, all that time I spent working on that book–was not a wast of time.

I learned how to improve my spelling, my grammar, and my time management skills. Saying I’ve written a book in a job interview is how I’ve gotten more then a few job offers, because the skills that I developed while writing translate well to the “real world.”

It’s a tad mementic, but “just do it,” is often times the best way to get started on anything. So no matter what anyone tells you about wasting time, or needing to plan better–my advice will always be just keep writing.

But that’s just what I think….

YouTube is No Longer a Good Place for Creatives

I too once dreamed of being a gamer on youtube. My Brother and I even started a channel. But as we started to grow up time started to get away from us and we just ran out of time to do such things. When I was a kid I would play video games everyday–so being a youtube gamer seemed like a good fit for me–for us. But now a days I have to make time for gaming among all the other things that need to be done with life, I have to plan to game–something that ten year old me would have thrown a fit about.

But as you may have guessed I’m not here to talk to you about video games. I also have a youtube channel, and while I had posted gaming content their from time to time, I also posted poetry. There is a certain something about hearing poetry spoken aloud and places like youtube seemed to provide a good place to do it–not anymore though.

The first problem is that poems are short, so even if you give an introduction and an outro as well you are still only looking at 6 minuets of play time. The shorter the video the less view time it has, and view time is what determines a lot of things on youtube, like how often a video is recommended to someone, or how likely it is to get picked up for ads. So not only are you going to not get much attention, but your not going to be able to make any money off of the prospect either.

Of course poetry isn’t exactly a growth field and I doubt most of us got into this for the money. However not having as much of a presence because of the run time is still an issue. But it get’s worse.
As it turns out in recent years advertisers have gotten a little skittish with all the controversies on youtube. I could write a term paper on all of the controversy that have plagued youtube so I won’t bore you with the details. However now anything that contains “adult content” is not only less likely to be picked up by advertisers but also less likely to be shown to a wide audience. And I don’t know if you noticed but Poetry can get dark sometimes, I feel it’s not an exaggeration to call it the dark chocolate of the literature world.

Not a big deal I hear you say, and your right. The solution seems simple, post the video on youtube and embed it into your personal site. After all most of us are not here for the money or the fame. We just want to express ourselves through our poetry. Or fiction, or whatever creative medium brought you to this place.

But you know how these things go–we’re not done yet. Having something flagged as adult content can actually harm your personnel website as well. Yes that’s right, my website, Wandering Poems, once got blocked by the adult content filter on google. I go out of my way not to swear or post graphic images, so I was a little confused. But then I realized that the pages that were being blocked were the pages containing my embedded youtube videos. This wouldn’t have been the biggest deal except for some reason having one page blocked on my site meant that my homepage had also been blocked.

So I’ve since stopped posting youtube videos with recorded poems on them and it seems to have cleared up the issue. I still have some of those youtube poems posted here on my site but they are berried so far in the post history it probably doesn’t even matter anymore. I’m still not sure what I said or did in those videos that got them flagged as adult content. Part of me wonders if google views poetry as inherently adult. If that’s the case the issue of censorship is front and center once more.

But that’s just what I think….

Finding a New Path as a Writer

Here’s something you might find interesting, I’ve written a book. I haven’t gotten it published, I did try of course but there was a lot working against me, including my lack of social skills and inability to sell myself as any sort of skilled individual. I did some research into publishing after my failures and found out some frustrating things. The most frustrating is that a first book is supposed to be “put in a drawer” and then never heard or thought about again while I work on my second book which of course will be superior in every way.

Yeah right, that all sounds like high and mighty garbage to me, excuses written by kool-aid drinking pompous publishers who sit around talking about the art of writing in absolutes, as though there is only one obviously correct way to do things–or at lest that was my knee jerk reaction.

Oddly, I’ve never been the kind of person who does things the way everyone else does, heck I’m so untrendy I sound at least ten years older then I actually am with how out of sync I am with pop culture. But for some reason I’d always bought into the standard path that a writer must take, and I don’t know why. You know what I’m talking about right? Get a book published, maybe write a few articles, and then win an award or something. It all sound very easy when your listening to a story about someone else success.

None of this should have bothered me, and heck, maybe it wouldn’t have bothered me save for one issue. I had changed my story to be more appealing to publishers. I had added in artistic elements that I might not have even bothered with had I just been writing the story with no thoughts of publishing in my head, and honestly writing that book was miserable.

I’ve never been able to fully figure out why I was so unhappy writing that story. It could very easily have been a combination of factors. But when it came time to try and get my book published I–Just didn’t want to think about it anymore. The thing I thought would make me happy, had somehow made me unhappy. And I had to start thinking about why this was and what I needed to change.

After going through a time where I wasn’t really writing much of anything I decided that I needed to find a new path, a new path for me as a writer. And I had learned that the traditional way of writing, and the traditional way of publishing made me unhappy and just plain frustrated. And there’s an old truth that came to mind, don’t buy stock in a company you don’t belive in.

So I started this blog, I started posted poetry that I had saved up across, many years of writing. I had always hoped that I might get my poems published in a collection or someplace important. But I wasn’t really sure that I believed that was the correct way to do things anymore.

And then I started writing and posting stories on here, including NEXUS Monsters (Don’t worry I intend to write more about the inspiration and reason behind that story soon as well). And I’ve started to experiment with poems that tell stories in interesting ways as well. And the best part is I’m happy with what I’ve been writing and how I’ve been writing it, I’ve let go of any expectations of being published and am more then happy to just have my stuff posted somewhere on the internet. I no longer care about how my poems and stories might appeal to a wider audience, I can write for me, and it’s been a blast so far, even when things have’t worked out, or when I’ve run into issues.

Now none of this is to say that my path and your path need to be the same. Heck–the more traditional publishing path may be the perfect one for you, it clearly is for a lot of people. And now that I’m out of the way and not competing for a publishers attention it might give you more of a chance in the futuer, who knows.

If there’s one thing I’ve taken from all of this is that we should never be afraid to look for new ways of doing things, Even when it seems like we’ve hit a dead end we just have to back up and try to find another way forward. But that’s just what I think….

Rule 0

I have an unwritten rule for myself with it comes to writing. I call it my Rule 0. What is this strange and mysterious rule that didn’t make the list but I keep sacred anyways. It is as follows; “Always remember to have fun.”

This might seems like a no brainer to some, and others may be rolling their eyes at my ‘childish’ way of thinking. But I have always tried to keep this rule when writing. If I’m not having fun with a project I drop it. I will hold on to all the work I had done up to that point in case I change my mind latter. But I will never force myself to work on a writing project if I’m not having fun.

As I’m sure some of you are aware this goes against common writing wisdom. Many say the best way to keep writing is to make it a habit, write often, at least once everyday. But I find if I try to force my writing I burn out quickly and I end up with almost nothin to show for it. No for my money it is better to write when your excited to write. And to write what your excited to write. I spent a good three years trying to force myself to write a book to say that I had done it. And I did, despite the fact that the book remains unpublished.

I was excited to write that book at first, but the more I tried to force myself to work on it the more frustrated I became. And when I look back at what I’d written it was rather subpar. What do I have to show for three years of writing effort. Not a whole lot, I can’t even say I had fun writing it or that they story excites me anymore. So now I write for fun, and only when I’m having fun, and only about ideas that excite me.

I would be remiss not to mention the obvious exception for rule 0. I realize that a lot of people write for work and that’s not always fun especially when you have to write 3 articles a day to make ends meat. Work is not always going to be fun but you do get paid for it so it’s important nonetheless. That being said rule 0 still has something to say about writing work. If you are waking up everyday dreading work, if you haven’t had fun with your writing not just for days but weeks–it may be time to consider a change in jobs. No job is making yourself miserable over, even if it is one of those supposed ‘dream’ jobs.

But that’s just what I think….

About My Strange Fiction

I was once told that my poetry was amazing but my fiction sounded like it was a Saterday morning cartoon. I probably should have been insulted, but honestly my love for poetry is matched only by my live of cartoons and animation in general.

My tastes have always been eclectic, but my matto has always been; have fun while writing. If something stops being fun its hard for me to finish, or even get enough motivation to think about finishing.

As a result I like to write thoughtful poetry, I view much of my poetry as philosophical, my meditations on the world around me and how my mind interacts with said surroundings.

But my fiction is always about what makes me happy. What I find, fun, and cool to write. And as someone who grew up in the late 1990s and 2000s much of what I feel makes entertaining fiction is the same things that made me fall in live with shows like Pokemon, Digimon, Transformers, Dragon Ball Z, and other cartoons from that era. In some sense I never really grew up, I still like to keep up with the latest cartoons and video games, many of which are for an audience much younger then me.

So in some sense I’ve never really grown up–but I feel as though in other ways I’m one of the few people who have. I don’t hate things just because it’s cool to, and I refuse to see something just because it’s the “it” thing to see. I read the Gane of Thrones books, but I have yet to see the show due to time constraints. And honestly…I’m not really sure I’m missing much. I love Star Wars, and Law and Order, and plenty of other “normal” things.

But when I use my imagination to try and write some kind of story, I always seem to rewind to a ten year old kid who thinks; “wouldn’t it be cool to go on an adventure with monsters, and magic.” And so that’s what I end up writing.

Now, part of me feels like I’m makeing excuses. I’m about to post some episodic stories here on this blog that some people are going to call childish. And when thay happens and they ask me why I’m going to point them to this article. But I also wanted to spend some time thinking about the strange dichotomy of my writing.

Now as for this blog, the reason I don’t have separate a blog for my fiction has mostly to do with money. I pay for this domain and paying for a second one that’s probably only going to have a few followers seems like a waste of time.

But there is a second reason–a lot of my fiction helps to inspire my poetry, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Character poetry, and poems about the history and setting of the world is something I do all the time. And I like to be able to tag what poems go into what setting.

Now, would I ever consider separating my fiction into a separate blog. I’d never rule it out, but there would have to be some benefit for me, and honestly, right now there just isn’t.

Anyways this has all gone on long enough, my basic point is that I have two very different styles of writing that have always existed side by side, dispite how different they are. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. But those are just my rambling thoughts….

The Odd Emotion of Anger

I have a question for you–and I say that knowing full well that the limited nature of this medium means that I’m not actually going to be able to get immediate feedback. Do you like being angry?

That isn’t ment to be any kind of rhetorical question, or some sort of philosophical long game where you find out at the end of this article that I had some kind ulterior motive for even asking you that kind of question. No, I ask because I’m starting to think that maybe I’m alone in hating the feeling I get when my rage surfaces. There are many times in my life where I’ve dealt with anger, in that at least, I know I’m not alone. So I’ve started to develop coping mechanisms and ways to avoid situations where I would normally get angry. I’ve developed ways to calm myself so when I do get angry I can calm myself quickly and also so it doesn’t impact my day and the people around me.

I would call all of this healthy–except I’ve noticed that where I’ve learned to avoid anger a large portion of the population seems to relish in it. Rage, and it’s politically inclined cousin outrage seem to be–well–all the rage these days. Turn on the news and you will find someone getting angry, go online, and you will also probably find someone getting angry about something.

I had to cut myself off from an online video game forum for a little bit because people have rather strong opinions and they are not open to changing their minds about anything. And everything seems to be something to get angry about, everything new learned about a upcoming video game. And other people getting angry and telling me that I’m a stupid for having a different opinion than them–well–makes me angry. And I just really hate that feeling, it doesn’t make me excited for the newest video game release, it doesn’t make me feel like I’m valued or contributing to a conversation. So I’m takeing a break from those forums.

So full confession time, this article started out as an article about how it’s ok and even healthy to turn off the news sometimes. Don’t get me wrong it is important to stay informed but there is a balance to be had and some day’s it’s better to catch up later than expose ones self to something that’s going to make the rest of the day suck. That’s what I wanted to write about today, is finding that balance. But as odd as it sounds the more I thought about my own anger and the anger of the people I hear about every day about the many different thing there are to get angry about, the more I wondered, do people enjoy this emotion?

Is it like fear, where some people seek out the thrill of that raising heart rate? If that’s the case and anger is an emotional need, or want for some people then we should start treating it like the need or desire for fear. With fear we clearly mark what things are for people seeking fear. So those people can find it and others can avoid it. Fear has its own genre of movie and video games, horror. Fear has special places where one can go to feel fear, like haunted houses. But anger doesn’t–so people seeking anger must mingle with those who want nothing to do with that emotion.

But those are just my thoughts….

Why I Communicate in Poetry

After deciding that I wanted to post more then just poetry and fiction on my blog here I opened a new blog post on my wordpress app–and then I froze. What did I actually want to write about that I haven’t already said or done though one of my poems? It’s an odd thought, at first blush, that maybe I find it easier to speak my mind though poetry. But when I considered it further it started to make more since. And what I found as I thought about this deeper both encouraged me, and disturbed me.

The good news first, poetry can hold, and express complex thoughts that words and sentences cannot. That’s always something I think people who don’t focus a lot on this medium have a hard time understanding; how a few words can sometimes be more meaningful and informative then a twenty page paper with properly cited sources and well researched topics. It’s a strange art that can stretch meaning beyond it’s normal boundaries. using the same limited everyday language that people struggle to use to express themselves, we can express almost every emotion and experience within the range of humanity, those we understand, and many that we don’t understand. There are simply a lot of things that I would not be able to say or explain without the use of poetry.

But upon reflecting on my poetry more, a darker thought occurred to me. Many times I hide behind my poetry as well. We live in a world where people get killed over posts on social media. I won’t go into detail on that since some of the specifics are far sadder and more tragic then I want to get bogged down with on this post. But as social media shapes more and more of our understanding of other people beyond their actual lived experience it’s simply easier to hide behind my art. Art and poetry are still protected and given more leniency form some of the toxic arguments and debates that can brake out on social media nowadays. I can still express how I feel about something without the pain of paying the social price of holding any given opinion. And maybe that’s not a good thing….

There is another way to look at this too–many times I write from other peoples perspective, I imagine that I’m someone I’m not and write from their perspective. This seems to give me more empathy then I would normally have towards people of different political persuasions then myself.

Perhaps all of this just means that there is no one superior way to think, to write, or to express one’s self. My poetry and my tendencies as a poet gives me strengths, but it also gives me weaknesses as well. And maybe the next step of my growth as a poet is to acknowledge this.

But that’s just my thoughts….