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This moving process has been very involving. I'm sorting through every piece of property I own and figuring out if I want to keep or get rid of said item, and if I want to keep it, I'm not asking the question of "for how long" but if it's under a year, then it's in the donate/sell pile. I've come across some items that are really challenging to consider: I've bought it, I don't care about it, but it's hard to get rid of it. Those sorts of things have been my primary woe but also dredging through those intense emotions in this environment is helpful because I'm learning to be more decisive and perhaps less emotional? Or, less willing to accept the emotions dumped on me, from say negative comments?

I haven't tested this theory yet.

My primary writing focus has, therefore, been learning the art of detaching from materialism in the form of first-person essays. Not really the stuff that will help me learn to write fiction better, but it is useful to commit myself to write an essay a day, and I've been reading daily for the past week plus, so all of those help with the general process of writing. It's better to target your learning, but if your broad learning can happen even during a stressful series of months, then isn't that worth something? When I'm moved, I intend to go through my backlog of drafts, upload everything I can, and then start moving forward with the Sammohini Arc.

I look forward to the condensation.

Throughout my 20s, I led a life of material excess, jumping from project to project based on whim and fancy, over dedicating my time to completing a book, finishing a short story, or more broadly, buying something with the intent of trying it, only to never do anything with it. I'm 32 now and having learned my passion was writing right around 30 years old has led me in a path substantially different than I could have imagined in my early 20s, but it's a good path. One where regardless of the duties of the day, I must write? That's some discipline I never could have imagined even three years ago. After I'm done here, I might dig into my daily essay before packing up more stuff.

My next update will be... I dunno.
Maybe next week? Two weeks? Hopefully not next month.
  • Listening to: Breakfast With The Beatles
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: Videos in the background like Bearded Diver
  • Playing: 2048
  • Eating: Crackers
  • Drinking: Coffee
I won't be publishing fiction for a little while.
My next update will be on the 23rd.

To briefly summarize the last two weeks:

I talked with a life coach. Put that thought on hold for a moment while I give an example from Jodorowsky's Dune. Jodorowsky was putting together the most ambitious movie in the world and had just hired Mœbius, a world-class artist, and they were looking to build up their team. The two traveled to Hollywood to meet with the top special effects producer in the world. Douglas Trumbull had just completed work on the biggest movie that might still have ever been made, 2001: A Space Odyssey, so he was A Pretty Big Deal. When the two met with him, Jodorowsky found him to be arrogant and too much of a salesperson so he gave up on trying to hire him in, instead, he found their guy in Dan O'Bannon, an upstart special effects artist that had just completed Dark Star. So this life coach could be Hollywood's Trumball, or, A Pretty Big Deal that just completed the biggest movie that might still have ever been made, but for me, he was Jodorowsky's Trumball: too much of an arrogant salesperson. With that same breath, we're all someone's Hollywood's Trumball and someone else's Jodorowsky's Trumball, so don't dwell.

The moving process is going as well as it can. As a compulsive hoarder, this process has been good at developing the positive skills of cleaning and methodically storing what I want to keep and sorting the rest into donation or selling piles. I'll probably move all the stuff I want to sell and keep into at least my next apartment and do the dirty work of selling from that next spot. My rationale is that if I do too much when I feel too raw about selling anything, I'll be more likely to feel regret later, and, the selling will stop once I move. Whereas if I set aside a particular area for sorting through the many boxes of possessions I've already moved, let alone the ones still left, in my next residence I'll have the mindset of going through these possessions and constantly downsizing. Not for any negative sense, but for the positive sense of keeping only that which I love, and the rest can go back into the world. There's a scene from Lupin III V that really summarizes this well: there's an art collector that hoards art to the point where once he buys something, it effectively vanishes from the face of the earth. The funny thing about hoarding is that once you buy something, it does that: rather than displaying my favorites to any degree of rotation, this still would just disappear. I'm constantly finding things again I forgot I owned. I don't want to live like that anymore. I should enjoy and treasure this stuff, not just merely own it.

Once I move, I'm sure I'll have plenty more fiction to write about with these topics as subtle analogies. Until then, here are my dA goals, realized more so outside the community, but hey, we do what we can:

1. Fielding critiques -- I'm becoming more comfortable with editors now.
2. Writer's groups -- I'll try attending one group after I move in February.
3. Commissioning artists -- No progress
  • Listening to: Advaitic Songs [Om]
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: Ben Saint's Nuzlocke Genocide
  • Playing: Keyboard Kommander and Zork
  • Eating: Eggs, crackers, hummus
  • Drinking: Water; Coffee
I won't be publishing fiction for a little while.

My primary focus for the next few months will be moving, along with several other slightly less urgent tasks, so I need to reprioritize the time I might otherwise spend brainstorming character ideas in fictional situations to boxing up stuff and clearing out space. We only have 24 hours in a day, so I need to borrow some of that fungible time to spend on moving tasks.

I'll return on December 9th for another status update.

Until then, check out betterzombie.com

1. Fielding critiques -- More editors are checking my volunteer writings.
2. Writer's groups -- Asked the Seattle Indies Discord community.
3. Commissioning artists -- No progress
  • Listening to: Art of War [Sabaton]
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: None
  • Playing: Keyboard Kommander and Zork
  • Eating: Eggs and crackers
  • Drinking: Water; Coffee
Just a quick update.

I'm working on my ability to receive criticism and part of it involves the callouses of when and where you hear the criticism, good or bad. Within some sort of collaborative editing document like Google Doc, I can receive any criticism, because I have taken sufficient measures to distance myself from the work. It is me and the critic viewing the work separate from the "me" as a person. Sure, it was born from my imagination, memory, or journalistic efforts, but within an external framework, any feedback is not a criticism of "me" as much as it is "the work."

This distance is helpful.

Without it, we get too defensive at the moment over what we read or hear about our creative or technical works. It's an odd reflex. I think criticism affects the perfectionists the most, who should be most willing to accept feedback in order to perfect their craft, so rather, that perfectionism is intertwined with narcissism in such a way that truly prevents us from attaining a more "perfected" craft. If I were overly concerned with how I looked as a writer in the editing bays of my last three essays to publish on Professional Websites, I'd be embarrassed by typos and one factual misstatement.

Part of the reason was I was playing fast and loose with the writing process.

To generate thousands of words of content quickly means you're going to make some mistakes. People will see it. Rather than get embarrassed over it, I adopt a mindset that the flaw is with the "written work" rather than the "writer." deviantArt has, for over ten years now, been a place where artists want that certain kind of feedback that might seem more like ego stroking on the surface, or the prefaced, polite criticism that makes us feel good.

Part of it, too, is placing trust in the criticism after you know the critiquer.

Do you trust some stranger that says your shirt's ugly? Of course not. But if your friend that is a person that makes shirts and has given you good advice on shirts before says that this particular one needs some work, in some particular shirt-wearing way, then yeah, it's probably a little more believable. Otherwise, you can take the heckler's statement at face value. Maybe with enough hecklers, you can decide if you want to change, or proudly own that shirt?

Just depends on what hills you want to fight or die on.

On that note, my dA Goals:

1. Fielding critiques -- Having as many as 10 editors in one of my document at once, with 2 professionals and a number of casual editors checking over my writing is really cool.
2. Writer's groups -- No progress
3. Commissioning artists -- No progress
  • Listening to: "I Want You (She's So Heavy) by the Beatles
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: None
  • Playing: Various Seattle Indies games
  • Eating: Peanut butter and crackers
  • Drinking: Water; Coffee
With the Seattle Indies Game Jam write-up nearly complete, after the better part of a week editing, refining, adding, editing, and collaborating, it's time to forge on ahead to the next project.

You're never really done with anything and yet you're always done with everything.

A project of that length and complexity could be endlessly added to, edited, and refined. I could find more people to talk with about their experiences, but I did as much as I could within a 60-hour period of time.

Similarly, with art, writing, and anything that you work on, you just have the now time.

Fight for that time as much as you can. People will steal seconds, then minutes, then hours. They'll steal your motivation away out of jealousy or their own internal disassociations with politeness.

Don't let that bother you.

Just keep on forging on ahaead. The shitty people that say terrible things will fade away as you fight on with your work and the good people will forge on with you. It's a difficult battle. There is no better battle.

On that note, my dA Goals:

1. Fielding critiques -- Some good edits of the write-up.
2. Writer's groups -- Experimentations outlined below.
3. Commissioning artists -- No progress

I don't know if writer's groups aren't that common, or that commonly advertised, or what, but there's a certain degree of risk with throwing yourself out there. The time you spend on the bus going somewhere to meet potential networking situations with writers or non-writers but intersted parties may be enough for you to consider giving it a go. Even if it doesn't work out, then, at least it was worth the time to try, right? I'm not so sure. I think it's a matter of balancing out the help for others with the help for yourself. 
  • Listening to: High on Fire, Celeste soundtrack
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: None
  • Playing: None
  • Eating: CLIF bars
  • Drinking: Water; Coffee
3,000 words into an entire write-up of the Seattle Indies Game Jam.

My dA goals:
1. Fielding critiques -- No progress yet.
2. Writer's groups -- No real progress.
3. Commissioning artists -- No progress

But I've talked with many people about my writing, and I'm gathering ideas.

Back to a regular update next week.
  • Listening to: Chatter among game developers
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: None
  • Playing: Multiple game jam games
  • Eating: Cheese and crackers
  • Drinking: Water; Coffee
I reached my physical and mental capacity last week.

I quit that gig and spent the greater part of the week not so much in regret or fear as much as just fatigue. While I still believe that you can teach anyone anything, it's just the context and capacity for learning need to be there first. Part of what I enjoy about helpdesk gigs is that I can take near-ubiquitous experiences, filter them through "The Story's Imaginarium" specifically through Sammohini and Jane, and see how they'd interpret those situations. Nothing proprietary and nothing too extremely difficult. Anything much more advanced than that requires too much effort for me to be concerned about. Since my brain is already a quarter to half occupied by biological functions, and if another quarter or half is occupied by "The Story," then what space is left? Certainly not learning a new field's worth of work that I can't write about to any degree just to collect slightly more money. So where I end up working next is less important to me than making sure it's not just another temporary stint. These gigs have been churn-and-burn, so maybe it's time to find something long-term?

Until then, I'll continue collecting up my publication counts.

I'm refining my process for publishing my short stories from my website over here. The transition from my website to my Wordpress instance is nearly seamless, copying the code from one to the other, matching tags, categories, publication dates, and then I just click Publish. I have to reformat the "p align" tags and remove the Endtable code, which seems like a whiny thing to complain about but does take time to make sure I get it right. I'd rather not have to pluck the weeds of Wordpress's terrible coding system to publish here, but I think over time, I'll refine that process further to make it easier for myself. Just like how it was cumbersome at first to copy things from my website to my Wordpress instance.

That's a way of explaining away a bigger problem.

Fiction still isn't that comfortable for me, in comparison to essay writing. I mean, to a certain degree, it's just functionally easier to write my opinion from a first-person perspective than imagine a character and how she would interact with a certain situation. There are just fewer layers of abstraction in nonfiction essay writing... I bring that up for the same reason I brought up the HTML coding and the work stuff: we often limit ourselves by our capacities. Sometimes those capacities are just our tolerances toward certain things, like figuring out a less-intrusive way of doing things, whereas when they become too much and the goal is not worthwhile, it's time to reframe and decide what's really important. Collecting all that stress to release it somewhere positive? That's good. Collecting all that stress only to have no outlet? No good.

Let's end on this note:

My dA goals:
1. Fielding critiques -- No progress 
2. Writer's groups -- Joined some groups on dA
3. Commissioning artists -- No progress

For me, a big part of deviantART is to figure out how to share my fiction - what I really pride myself on - with the world. I'm sure there are ways that I could pay to advertise. I'd rather go about it more organically, to build friendships and group membership roles with fellow writers that have a similar mindset. Just because we're both writers doesn't mean that we'll see eye-to-eye in the reading, writing, or editing processes. Maybe part of this whole thing with deviantART and writing is to find my truest self? None of my fiction is overly autobiographical, though, so there's always a layer of abstraction.
  • Listening to: Breakfast with the Beatles; 10,000 Days
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: Procrastinators Podcasts; Bearded Diver
  • Playing: Habitica
  • Eating: Rice and canned gumbo
  • Drinking: Water; Coffee
We shouldn't work for the money to support our lives.

And yet, we do, and when it doesn't work out for weeks or months or years at a time when the challenges become too great, the question becomes: how can we get out of this rut? Will sleeping in fix the fatigue? Perhaps, but it doesn't really offer the long-term solution of finding the root cause of the fatigue, because really, fatigue of the mind is more powerful than fatigue of the body. If we're sore we can still sit at our computers and write, draw, or browse reddit, but when we're mentally tired we really only feel depressed and tired and sleep endlessly.

Finances tie in with that.

We want the good paying jobs because we think that will help us afford more things. I'm starting to realize that the only thing that money can afford is more stress. It's better to work in a healthy medium where the job is not too stressful and the pay is not too much, because then we'll be burdened by too much stress. Then the money is worthless. It's spoiled thinking, but there it is, I've said it, so now I can work on it.

I'm seeing what else is out there.

Maybe there is work beyond technical support for me to do to support myself while I acquire the skills to become a true professional writer? Maybe some of those skills are interpersonal tolerances where I can endure the stresses of people, the ambiguity of work, and all that. Fortunately right now I live below my means, and hopefully long-term I can continue to do that, where stress is a manageable factor, rather than an overwhelming burden to wish to avoid.

I'll keep on writing and keep on working toward finding some balance.

My dA goals:
1. Fielding critiques -- No progress 
2. Writer's groups -- No progress
3. Commissioning artists -- No progress
  • Listening to: FF4 soundtrack
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: None
  • Playing: None
  • Eating: Unhealthy foods
  • Drinking: Coffee
I don't really get writer's block anymore.

By now, writing is so purely instinctual for me that though I am not a terribly great writer, I write so often that the only thing that will slow me down is fatigue. The writer's block, for me and maybe for others, is approaching a certain topic or type of work. If I don't feel like writing, I'll prep some code for my website, or do a little picture editing for something like my "Betzom" or "Writing Summaries" essays.

If I don't feel like doing anything, I've learned not to waste too much time.

Usually, that means I should do something other than sit down and do nothing productive. reddit is nice for a quick decompression session, but anything more than five minutes is an addiction to hedonistic pleasures. When you've become so accustomed to building things as I have, then your thought processes reduce to either building or business. The business is everything necessary from personal hygiene to external hygienes like maintaining your abode or your livelihood.

Here's another thought:

What expense should you make for building things? As artists, we typically want to go All In. Sacrifice it all. Certainly, that makes for the best art, right? In a sense, it all comes down to balance: if you're not feeling like building something external, don't try to form the blocks of an external building - be it some writing, art, or anything. Instead, rebuild yourself so that you can return to building your art.

That's my thought on that...

My dA goals:
1. Fielding critiques -- No progress 
2. Writer's groups -- No progress
3. Commissioning artists -- Progress deferred until a few weeks from now
  • Listening to: Vae victis by Wounded Giant
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: Clutch, Tron: Legacy
  • Playing: GYM https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/192824/gym
  • Eating: Canned jambalaya
  • Drinking: Coffee
Burning your life's candle from both ends of the wick is one way to go, and truly, pushing yourself is the only way to succeed. How much is too much? How much can you burn at a reasonable pace to get what you want without burning yourself such to the point that you burn out too quick?

Within the last six months, I've operated under the guise that if I'm running into a writer's block, it's not a lack of inspiration, it's a lack of energy. I am bursting at the seams with dreams. Ideas just flow constantly. I wrote Surgery's Dead Mouse over the course of a day with just a few minor edits yesterday. I didn't get a dedicated amount of time to write. It was more like "I can carve out five minutes to write this paragraph and a sentence," or "I've got thirty minutes I could be browsing Facebook, let me scroll through for a minute while thinking of what I need to write next, then write it out and oh, 30 minutes have already gone by..."

I think that sort of use of your time is healthy.

Rather than distract yourself from your problems with hedonistic tendencies that innocently don't get you into trouble in the short term, but screw over your chances of having a long-term impact, you should try every day to at least scratch that itch of your long-term life.

My troubleshooting jobs have forced me to think in this way.

There's the short-term solution that gets the customer back online then there's the long-term solution that prevents the customer from complaining about the same issue. In technical support, you patch together a short-term solution as fast as possible and then work on the long-term solution from your desk. The lazy people that I don't respect in this field will not address the long-term solution. It's not their problem and Facebook is a-waitin'. I'll close the ticket when I've either created a long-term solution or have done sufficient research to uncover the problem that would require a different team to go in and implement a long-term solution.

Why the long-term analogy?

Everything in life operates in exactly that same framework.

When you're stressed out in life and feel like you have no opportunity, that's because you have a short-term problem. Sometimes just unwinding for a bit can change that. But if it's persistent, then there's a long-term problem to address, and it's usually not fixed the same way the short-term problem can be fixed. Say you've had a stressful week on an otherwise easy job. Then playing a videogame for a few hours, guilt-free, can fix that. If it's chronic stress over months and months, that two-hour session of playing a videogame won't fix that. Maybe acquiesce the pain, but not address it long-term, so the same issue will happen again. And maybe playing a videogame for a few hours on the weekend is the way to solve that problem.

When that's sorted out, you have plenty of time each day.

I was under some degree of stress when I wrote Surgery's Dead Mouse, but it was short-term stress with a long-term solution already in place, so all I had to do was decompress from the day and the week and I'd be fine. So what did I do? I did the equivalent of checking Facebook, playing a videogame, or distracting myself with reddit, but with a long-term product of that time. Rather than just seeing that so-and-so went to this-and-that, I created something that I can use for my portfolio, and as a creative person, that use of my time is better.

I didn't need the downtime.

When I do, that's when I relax either by going to sleep or doing something that's low-stress.

Also, my three dA goals:
1. Fielding critiques -- Planning to meet with two writers on Monday to discuss some ideas.
2. Writer's groups -- We've made a cadre of three writers, with possibly more advisors.
3. Commissioning artists -- I was going to commission someone, but, I'm still jetlagged, so not this week.

Oh yeah, that's the thing, too: if you're physically tired, don't burn yourself out. Or you'll get headaches like me. There's so much I want to do now, but with so little time, I'll push out all the stuff that's not important, always starting with the stupid things that people do that would normally offend me. I don't have the time to let them into my mindspace, so why should I let them weigh me down?
  • Listening to: Escape from New York soundtrack
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: Descendents and Clutch
  • Playing: none
  • Eating: Chili with crackers
  • Drinking: Coffee
Trying something different this week, writing on the deviantArt app. The design is too different and unintuitive for me to want to bother with long-term, so I'll be uninstalling it after I post this.

I mentioned to someone last month that I posted my short stories here. He seemed surprised. Maybe art in his mind was more visual and this website was more an antiquated social media platform of his youth? In some ways, yes, and in others there aren't too many better platforms for us writers. Photographers have myriadic options.

If it were more thriving, I might be less interested in meeting more writers in person like I have been, and will do.
Quick update.

I'll be busier than normal over the next two weeks and my uploads will be less frequent. After that, I should have more time to clear out my writing backlog and publish more short stories.

To consider for a moment the writing process, setting scenes into sentences is merely the final part of the process. Earlier this week, I was working on a short story that I'll publish soon where the heroine of one small section of "The Story," Sammohini, is job-shadowing Hank, a seasoned employee that likes her go-getter attitude. The short story took all afternoon to write, piece by piece, but it's not because of my typing speed. That's easy. What's more difficult is figuring out where the pieces fall into place and how they fill in certain gaps that have been both known and unknown to me. In this example, I didn't know much about Hank's background other than that he's got a girlfriend and is in a band. In this upcoming story, he reveals some things about himself and briefly monologues about his father, a doctor, which maybe took fifteen minutes to storm through. Writing took all of about two minutes. I hope to have this one published this week. If not, it will be published soon.

My three dA goals:
1. Fielding critiques -- Still haven't worked with my first critique.
2. Writer's groups -- Not much progress.
3. Commissioning artists -- Not much progress.

It's all a matter of time and no headaches.
  • Listening to: "Battle with the Four Fiends" from Distant Worlds
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: Wardruna, concert
  • Playing: none
  • Eating: Snackbar and soup
  • Drinking: Coffee
It's been a week of ups and downs.

The Final Fantasy: Distant World symphonies were fantastic, although more stuffy than the Video Games Live. If anything, it highlighted Uematsu's dynamics and experimentality for me, because some of the newer arrangements weren't as engaging. Not just because they weren't recognizable, but because if you consider peaks and valleys as part of any dynamic art, Uematsu brings those peaks up to immeasurable highs, downspikes, then rollercoasters its way through the rest of the song. I hadn't quite appreciated "Battle with the Four Fiends" before until the symphonies, now, it's probably in my top 10 favorite Final Fantasy songs.

Hunter S. Thompson wrote like that, too.

Thompson would roll through sentences that would cover expansive ground on a particular topic, twisting its way through the mind of someone that had done it all, seen it all, and lived to tell its tales in such a vibrant way that journalism couldn't help but change. Then change direction. Short sentences are breathers for the readers. Longer sentences are what we're more naturally inclined to write, considering that we as writers tend to have larger ideas floating through our brains that need to be pinned down, and typically require being lured out through some kind of extended concentration on a single point. That can get old. Unless it's a song like "To Sirius" that entirely hangs in a narrow upper-tempo range; if that's the mood, go with it.

Art, for me, is dichotomic. Grime and glitter.

My particular art, if I may call my writing that, explores the glitter in the grime. In particular, this week's pair of short stories A Club's Retirement and A Deferment's Retirement explore more of the grime without much glitter, although the latter in particular started off with more optimism. It's through these pains that we get gains, just like you can't have the dynamics of a downspike without first reaching the top of a peak, although the trick is not overdoing it like I've done this week. I'm afflicted with tension headaches, perhaps due to the weather or not taking care of my back, so I'm going to need to start taking it easier. That said: 

My three dA goals:
1. Fielding critiques -- First critique!
2. Writer's groups -- Tangentially, the Seattle Indies.
3. Commissioning artists -- The Seattle Indies... actually.

The Seattle Indies videogame development meet-ups have been great for meeting other creative people. This week, I met an artist that I might commission for some works within the Sammohini Arc of "The Story," depending on a few factors. I'm not in a big rush but I figure what I'll do first is commission someone to draw Sammohini and Jane, along with maybe some of the side characters, with the goal of drawing substantive scenes from my short stories published here. Also, I briefly chatted with a writer for a videogame studio and I'm working with another writer on receiving some framework advice.

More noteworthy: I received my first critique on a short story!

A few weeks ago, I'd mentioned that I was overall unsure of Help Desk Training {ROUGH}. Well, through a trade of some of my time troubleshooting a computer issue for a retired professional writer, I received a critique review of that short story! I glanced through it yesterday before the Indies, might not be able to dig into it today, but hopefully soon.

After, of course, I make sure not to overdo it.
  • Listening to: Breakfast with the Beatles; "To Sirius" by Gojira
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds
  • Playing: An alpha of a drone-pilot game
  • Eating: Snackbar
  • Drinking: Coffee
PAX SIX was great.

Talking to a handful of writers both at PAX SIX and yesterday's Seattle Indies meetup was a self-confidence boost. You have to believe in yourself to talk to people either pitching your crazy hypothetical idea within an actually viable product and through your rote knowledge of what works or doesn't within your many failed attempts at storytelling. Then, as the psychology kicks in as you believe in yourself and the other person believes in you, as well, it works out swimmingly. Other than a couple of missteps, I did well, we did great as a team, and I'm keeping that motivation with me as I progress through my behind-the-scenes work for Keyboard Kommander and pressing on in the Sammohini Arc of "The Story."

A quick intermission:

My three dA goals:
1. Fielding critiques -- The Seattle Indies... actually.
2. Writer's groups -- Tangentially, the Seattle Indies.
3. Commissioning artists -- No effort applied.

Riding off the wave of PAX SIX, I reached out to every writer I met. I have some plans in the works. Now it's just a matter of finalizing the minutia before the meetings. More broadly, where are people's motivations? Within the Keyboard Kommander team, we Kommandos are mutually interested in this game's success because it's a good portfolio item, primarily. How about others? If they're not willing to sacrifice along with the team, they're not part of the team, and then we simply exchange a reasonable amount of our money for their consulting expertise, covered through the appropriate legal paperwork, and away they go.

It's a tricky balance.

Depending on operational size, you want people on the same wavelength as you, with the same mutual goals, but even me in my contracting work, I can ride their wave for a while until I find it's floating me away from my long-term ambitions, and then what? Well, let's consider the Sammohini Arc of "The Story," in that I'm collecting great generic [non-disclosure agreement considered] content, which is mostly just remembering what's already happened to me over the years. I don't need to work in a career that makes me miserable just for the art of culling ideas from daily stress, so what if I change that?

What if I learn new skills?

We'll see what happens, but for now, I'll just focus on the bright future I have ahead of me as I press on with Keyboard Kommander and the Sammohini Arc of "The Story."
  • Listening to: "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" by the Beatles
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: Andrew W.K.
  • Playing: Keyboard Kommander
  • Eating: Trailmix
  • Drinking: Water
Quick update: I've rejoined Keyboard Kommander as the Story Mode [co-]writer and we're doing a booth presentation on September 2nd just outside of PAX in Seattle. In some sense, this actually helps me fulfill some of my dA goals:

My three dA goals:
1. Fielding critiques -- Both from my co-writer and from the team.
2. Writer's groups -- Talking to more people will help me find more readers, editors, and artists.
3. Commissioning artists -- No effort applied.

It's been a hard week for doing editing, so I haven't published much. The extra day on Monday, if I'm not terribly exhausted, should give me enough time to publish some new short stories. I'll also be publishing the Keyboard Kommander short stories that will make up the story mode once I get approval to do so, and that'll probably be in a batch all at once in six months to a year. I might add other content, but for now, this profile is like my writing portfolio for the content I'd most like to advertise.
  • Listening to: "Vengence" by Denzel Curry
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: Asobi Asobase [episode 5]
  • Playing: Keyboard Kommander
  • Eating: Carrots with Peanut Butter
  • Drinking: Water
"There's an appeal to being a free inhabitant, not held down by anything..."

Part of what I like about anime, that quote being from MEGALOBOX, is that sense of boundless energy in a certain niche direction. It's outsider art.

There's a balance between perpetuating that inner-spirit you have toward your art and making it popular enough to sell that can drive us in one of two directions: toward the good of the art or the good of the paycheck. If your art is worth sacrificing enough of your time, energy, and let's face it - money, eventually, you might get there. By that point, I suspect the money won't even be much of a concern, because at least now, I get more pleasure from the process of writing than I do in spending money on nice food or nice things.

I taste the food, it nourishes me, I feel better, then it's back to life.
I observe the item, it compels me enough to purchase it, I feel better, then it's back to life.

I write the fiction, it feels complete so I publish it, I feel better, but it's not the same old life after it's online. That short story or essay is not just a permanent fixture in my writing portfolio, representing the summary of a certain amount of effort applied toward a particular idea, it's also an example of some practice that made me better. Me as a person. Each short story is a level up. If you start at level 1, and it takes until at least level 500 for senpai to notice you, then crank 'em out!

Because the thing is, writing is a universal skill.

I still make typos, I still write sentences that are poorly structured or confusing, and I still am not an excellent writer by any stretch. I am more of a utilitarian writer than someone more evocative or flavorful. When I tell short stories, I am constantly barreling the reader along from the start until finish. When I can throw in experimentation or make a particular section subversively unnerving, there is no greater feeling, and the more I write, the more I can mix in those elements that comprise my unique, uncompromising worldview and view on literature.

But there is something to be said for collaboration and critique.

Last year, I was working on the story mode for the PC typing game Keyboard Kommander. I didn't so much drop off the project as much as we might have jumped in too deep too early. Things are different now. A year later, the game has developed nicely, the team has coalesced, and, I have improved as a person. My rough draft short stories provided some good background context - the Orthographimancer's manipulation of a world, where sinners of orthographical mistakes are cursed to have their most terrible word float above their head - which unexpectedly resonated with the current cast of people working on the project. Everyone on the team knew about the Orthographimancer!

Those stories weren't the right fit, but they can lead toward the right fit now.

Attending my first Indies meetup in just about a year was cool, in part because I'm less shy about sharing this writing vision I have with other people, and more open to trying other routes than just a single-minded focus toward writing "The Story." In a roundabout way, this also fills in some of the fields of my three dA goals:

My three dA goals:
1. Fielding critiques -- Indirectly applied effort.
2. Writer's groups -- Indirectly applied effort.
3. Commissioning artists -- No effort applied.

I don't play many videogames - "you haven't played it? What are you doing with your time?" "writing, dude." - but I have enough of an interest in videogames where I'll play a game if it's appealing to me. For proximity and friendship biases, I'll check out anything if it's not a pain to attempt to try - either from sacrificing too much effort, energy, time, or money - and if it's not something I can dig at all, then it's my choice not to support it. I like many aspects of Keyboard Kommander, so it's a good project to get back into, and the positives of contributing to the project outweigh any negatives like sacrificing time otherwise spent on other writing projects or resting.

Plus, returning back to a previous thought, compared to last year, I'm more open to critiques and building on my writing skillset. During a conversation about the intentions for the story mode, I said "I think a lot of people spend weeks and months working on some short story, so they feel upset when it's critiqued." It's not that I don't put any effort into my writing. More that because of the volume and speed at which I write, if something doesn't come out right or falls flat, it's not a sacred idea to me. It's something we can edit or adjust.

I didn't have that attitude last year.

Last year's short stories, not just for Keyboard Kommander, but for everything else just prior to the Sammohini Arc as seen on this deviantArt portfolio, were these high-concept short stories that I agonized over. A few... were terrible. I did the best I could with what I had, but looking back on them now, they just weren't well executed. It's not worth deleting or erasing them, because now they can be positive examples of how, effort applied in a particular direction is never lost. Even if one or most of my writings are objectively considered failures by a majority of readers, that I sacrificed time - minutes, hours, days - toward honing my writing craft, rather than say, watch anime, is an objective positive if I want to become a better writer.

Now, I can start building the skeletal structure for the story mode of Keyboard Kommander along with the team, and I can write short stories that fit in within that structure. Working within a team environment, accepting the team's feedback, and applying that in a way to better the overall story, is great for more reason than one. If I am continuing to practice these senses of disregarding the ego, no writing is sacred, criticism of the work is not a criticism of the person, then a group environment like is the best way to apply those ideas. Writing is a very solitary exercise, so having that sort of team environment is useful in more way than one, in part because I prefer writing over generating ideas, so I can just fill in the ideas of the team and adjust the writing to serve the ideas and the overall goal of the story.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand...

I can apply everything I've learned within the Keyboard Kommander group and talking or collaborating with people at the Indies in general to serve the Sammohini Arc of "The Story," and "The Story" itself.

We're getting there, fam.
  • Listening to: Breakfast with the Beatles
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: Lupin III V and Ninja Girl & Samurai Master
  • Playing: Keyboard Kommander
  • Eating: Curry
  • Drinking: Coffee
My writings almost always reflect some subconscious interpretation of my reality.

I can't write something like "Working While Sick" without feeling sick, scatterbrained, yet somehow coherent enough to push through the lack of motivation that usually comes with feeling sick. That sort of special mindset usually occurs when I get the occasional impairing gut thing, which usually clears up between 24 and 48 hours, and did between yesterday morning when I wrote all of it (except for editing in the words "Eville Medical" for the pre-requisitory exposition for these disjointed short story), and sleeping for over 12 hours last night to clear all that up.

With my biochemistry in a more steady state, it's time to write something more coherent.

That's the value of writing quickly. Don't concern yourself with every word or sentence. Did it make sense? Does it help lead into the next sentence? Did the sentence add value to the overall story, or at the very least, flavor? Most stories shouldn't be dry, utilitarian pieces, otherwise, they'd read like dry technical manuals. There might be a place for that, say, if the main character were a dry, utilitarian character that only sees the world in terms of what is objectively the best action to take in any situation.

That'd require a special mindset too: one patient enough to parse a short story through a technical lense.

I like keeping myself accountable to a 500-word-per-day minimum, because it forces me to write through those days where I'm feeling sick, unmotivated, or otherwise might want to take a day off. These weekly updates don't count toward those 500 words because these are just fun thought pieces about how my work is going overall this week. Speaking of which:

My three dA goals:
1. Fielding critiques -- No effort applied.
2. Writer's groups -- No effort applied.
3. Commissioning artists -- No effort applied.

Last week was just reactionary and hanging onto steady states. I was sick through most of the week, so I didn't really apply much effort to anything outside of what was necessary. Those business cards are still waiting for me at the post office. And mainly, I just feel like doing what's necessary today then engaging with some quietudinal activities.
  • Listening to: Hellbender and 'Til the Livin' End by Zeke
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: Steins;Gate [complete]
  • Playing: Nothing
  • Eating: Trailmix
  • Drinking: Coffee
I have seven mostly completed short stories to publish.

About half of them are done, I just need to go through my publishing process, and they're done. That usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on how much I can focus on the process. It's just more often than not, I get distracted by the minutiae of a certain detail, and if it's too much of a nagging sensation then I'll shelve it for a while.

I'm sure this is common for all artistic endeavors.

It just feels weird sitting on so much content that's 90% complete and not having the time to go through the final steps to completion, until I take a step back and remember the writing and editing process. Writing, for me, is easy. I don't really think about the process, I start with a general idea and type out what I'm subconsciously thinking until I get to a sufficient realization or word limit. For short stories, there is more of a focus on beginning, middle, and end.

But rather than write about the writing structure, here are timestamps for uploading "WARNING: node down".

4:02 a.m. - Decision to upload. Rewrite the final sentence or two of this journal entry.
4:03 a.m. - Find the final draft to upload.
4:05 a.m. - Copy it to Notepad. Notate the written and edited timestamps. Switched to "Thursday in the Danger Room" by Run the Jewels from Nirvana.
4:06 a.m. - Format journal entry for the long haul. Focus too much on the music.
4:10 a.m. - Copied the first 75 words into my template. Repeat song.
4:13 a.m. - Grammarly found some issues with "shoot a round" - it thinks it should be "shoot around" - so changed it to "shoot the toner-bazooka."
4:17 a.m. - Grabbed the photo I'll use for my website and Wordpress backup from Twitter, reply to a message, double check something just now, then format and upload the photo.
4:22 a.m. - Halfway through the editing process. There has been one lingering issue I've had with this short story since I wrote it. The beginning and the ending are clear, but there's a middle part seems to be random. While I wrote this on my lunch break, it just happened organically, so I have to find some way to tie in the unrelated vignette to the overall story. That could be just a subtle reuse of words, or more directly renaming one of the random characters. I'll think about this for a minute while I work on the next part
4:29 a.m. - Final decision: left the scene in-tact. While it doesn't tie in directly with the printer itself, that's not always the point. We don't read fiction because every word had some sort of relation to the words around it. This isn't a scientific formula reduced to its most essential components. My fiction attempts to recreate my nonfiction experiences, so when I'd replace toner, there'd be some random vignette that might be more interesting than the toner itself - oh, and there's the thing, it sounds big, bad, and important, but really, it's just a toner cartridge on a spare printer. We forget our priorities on the things that are really worth having "warnings" about, like, hey, there are people around us with issues either apparent or otherwise.
4:34 a.m. - I have goosebumps after doing the final edit of that section: "Mikey subtly recoiled before Sammohini waved her open arm." Reusing recoil earlier, when Hank did it for comedic effect, and Mikey might imply Michaelangelo from TMNT. I do have the fans running...
4:38 a.m. - Done with the editing and endtable.
4:40 a.m. - Transfer process to deviantArt.
4:42 a.m. - Published!
4:45 a.m. - Technical difficulties...
4:46 a.m. - Guess that's it for that one...
4:53 a.m. - Journal entry complete.

Let's conclude with my three dA goals:
1. Fielding critiques -- No effort applied.
2. Writer's groups -- No effort applied.
3. Commissioning artists -- No effort applied.

I have business cards for my website sitting at the post office. Once I retrieve them from the office, that should help me "get the word out" more. During a conversation on Friday, I told a colleague that I am more interested in hearing the opinions of non-readers and non-writers about my writing, because really, my writing style is more influenced by technical communication like technical writing and troubleshooting instructions. I like to think I'm more straightforward. Action A happened, Statement B was said, Action C resulted. Something like that. Of course, being too curt is not effective either, so it's just a matter of balance. I figure the more people I talk to, here, on the rest of the Internet, and more especially in person, the more likely I'll find the path toward my goals.

After all, if you know what you want, you can more clearly advertise it.
  • Listening to: "Thursday in the Danger Room" by Run the Jewels
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: Too much, not enough
  • Playing: Nothing
  • Eating: Pistachios
  • Drinking: Coffee
Another week with below-average publishing productivity.

That might seem harsh because I've been writing just about as much as previous weeks. It's just easier to start than finish. When you start off with a particular idea, it's full of potential, it's limitless, and you haven't had enough time to mull it over in your head. As you work on a project - writing, art, whatever - the self-criticism sinks in. You might get distracted by hunger, thirst, time, commitments, and the world around you. You have to overcome all of that and more each and every time. The longer you stick with something, the more those thoughts fester and pervert your mind to the point where you doubt you can or should do something. That's why, once you've overcome that, clicking publish is the easiest thing.

That is done. Onto the next one.

Another battle of the mind to fight. The rough drafts are fallen soldiers. Maybe they can be revived? If not, let their armor and weapons be used in future battles. No piece of art is perfect, it is all subject to the subjectivity of the artist and the viewer, so why agonize over details? Is it because so often we want to be perfect? If a detail nags at us, is it because of incongruency, or because there's something deeper to consider or reconsider? If we don't catch those thoughts in the editing bay, let them breathe. The number of professionally-made movies I've seen with poor set choices, weird editing, or in other regards seemingly full of flaws is comforting. Nothing is perfect. Don't attempt perfection. Accept the flaws inherent in something that is good enough. We aren't building air-tight spaceships requiring the tightest tolerances, even if, in our minds, we think we are doing just that. If you see trends, address them, otherwise, move on.

That said, I have some short stories coming up.

Three are on the docket. One, last week's "[Sammohini Arc] Help Desk Training {ROUGH}," needs a more thorough editing job. Two might just need a quick polish before publication. Two more are in that battle of wits against self-criticism and time. Maybe time is the wrong word in that situation. Motivation isn't it, either. My mind has been too scattered recently, trying to complete multiple things at once. I don't do well in that frame of mind. I need to sit down and focus on one thing at a time. What's the next sentence? Where is this paragraph taking me? Am I closer to completing this essay? What's next after this essay? This...

Hey, think of this-

Now go to this-

How about we think of this now?

OK, now drop everything.

Do this.

Do that.

Stop.

Do this.

What about that thing from before?

...doesn't work in writing. It would be interesting to experiment with figuring out ways to write that because when I meet people and figure out their psychologies, and they figure out mine, I repeatedly told something to the effect of "your focus is your greatest strength and weakness." Give me something interesting and I can do it for 8 hours straight. Most people can't do that, so most people don't think or talk in that way. I've learned to tolerate that for the most part, but I think now I'll start having to put my foot down, to complete projects of my own, to complete the projects of others, and to do so in a way that works for me.

I am turning 32 soon.

Birthdays, for me, are a period where I focus on myself and what I want out of this life. It's a new year's resolution because I've made another circuit around this planet. I will now resolve myself to quit scattering my focus. My focus should at almost all times be on my Next Important Task [NIT]. I should be almost-fully, if not fully, engaged in my NIT until a new one comes up. Complete one item before moving onto the next, even if that means dropping that item. Save the draft and close it if it's not working, then put it on the backburner for later. Pay the bills unless there is a major hurdle like a website going down that necessitates a later completion.

NIT-picking based on highest priority is how I succeed the best.

If I can't, then I get stressed. So let's conclude by thinking about those three deviantArt goals:


1. Fielding critiques -- No effort applied.
3. Commissioning artists -- No effort applied.

2. Writer's groups -- I don't think I'm quite so interested in joining a group of writers, per se. At least, not in the traditional sense of writers looking to motivate themselves to write things within traditional structures. Since my post-high school fiction, I've always written with an outsider's approach. (A deviant approach, if you will.) Confining myself within a strict group might not even interest me, but being within a larger group of creatives with a similar mindset of pushing the boundaries of our respective mediums is more appealing to me. Where these sorts of people, friends, or potential friends congregate, I don't know, and so though it's an idea I'm pushing around every week, it's not something I actively seek. Why? Part of it would be external validation, and another part of it would be the social dynamics of acquiescing to a group's norms if that group isn't on a similar wavelength. By broadcasting out more of my mission statement, more people on my wavelength may start to find me, and if not, that's fine, too. No need to rush it.

My Next Important Task isn't to find new friends to critique my art. It's to finish up some other writing, pay some bills, and proceed with my day.
  • Listening to: Requiem for a Dream soundtrack
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: Post-Food Keto Old Bois - Pro Crastinators Podcast
  • Playing: Practicing bass guitar riffs
  • Eating: Fettuccine Formaggio
  • Drinking: Coffee
No submissions this week.

It's not that my writing output slowed down - I wrote an average of 803.86 words each day this week - it's just there's more to my process than just writing.

Let's use an upcoming short story, "Help Desk Training {ROUGH}" as an example. It's a 500-word short story about writing a document to train the help desk on how to do something... on the surface. As I was writing, I realized the true intent. It started with how Sammohini internalized certain things, which amplified and reverberated in my mind long after I saved that first draft at the 500th word, when I was on my commute into work, that I realized I needed to edit it some more, which is the first short story in a while that inspired me to want to polish it up and edit it down.

Cut it down to 450 words, first, to be precise.

If I can do that, cut the fluff, I can then guide it toward that certain something that I know it can be to really make it work.
If I can cut the fluff, I can then guide it toward that certain something that I know it can be to make it work.
Cutting the fluff will guide the short story toward something special.
Cutting the fluff will make the short story sharp.

Most of these short stories are just practices in writing, scene-building, dialogue, and other basics. They're mostly inconsequential. I respect them all the same. If they need some editing, I'll spend the time required to do so, unless it takes too much time, then I'll put it on the backburner. No point in trying to salvage a dud now, when you might be able to clean it up later or salvage the bits that work and scrap the rest.

There are two cases in which I know something really works. The first is when the writing and editing processes are nearly subconscious. If the short story comes together through almost automatism, I know it'll work. It might not be overly innovative or challenging, but it will have a certain sheen that makes it easy to read. The other is when the writing is ambitious and compelling. Going back to that average word count. That average has ranged from 600-some to 1200-some words written per day since January. With that volume of material, I forget over 80% of it. I'm still proud of each word I publish here, or on the main site, but for today's main site essay "Destroying Old Desk," for example, I could not rewrite the same introductory paragraph using the same 75 words in the same order from memory. I've purged it in the writing and publishing process. I don't need to keep it in my brain anymore.

Maybe that means that there's a purpose for certain passages or scenes to linger? In our example here, Sammohini internalizes some things that Nils says off-hand as negative comments about her appearance. From a negative perspective, that might mean I didn't hit the right notes in that short story or essay. From a positive perspective, that means there's a deeper well to tap into. Sammohini has had surface-level insecurities, most apparent in her verbose monologues where she externalizes her thoughts, but those insecurities go much deeper than that. Far deeper. So that will be some psychological study to explore in the future.

Three deviantArt goals:
1. Fielding critiques -- Nothing external. The process above was an exercise in internal critiquing from a positive perspective, where hey, that rough draft is actually pretty decent, but the problem is that it could be better. If it's a 3/5, it has the potential to be a 4/5.
2. Writer's groups -- No effort put in yet.
3. Commissioning artists -- No effort applied yet.

This random thought popped into my head, and is the hidden fourth goal: assemble a team before writing "The Story." Once I've refined my ability to write short stories, the process would be even easier with, bouncing off that third goal of having an artist visualize my intentions, some casual or focused readers, and casual or focused editors. Having, say, three causal readers to send rough drafts to asking "what do you think" could help, but only once I start writing at a more professional level and drum up more attention. I do ask Collector to be a casual reader/editor sometimes, but having a wider base to bug might be easier, in a few year's time.

Oh, these are all just lingering goals, sweltering under the lingering heat that's raised my abode's temperature 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Just another excuse for decreased artistic output, but excuses like that work best after acknowledging their control over you.
  • Listening to: O.S.T.R. ["Zombi" from W drodze po szczę]
  • Reading: My essays/short stories to publish
  • Watching: Steins;Gate [episode 22, 5/5]
  • Playing: Sentinels of the Multiverse
  • Eating: Trailmix
  • Drinking: Coffee