Stress Direction and the Time I Have To Do Things

So I haven’t posted anything here very recently–hell, last thing I posted was a picture of a goat (which I swear is more impressive than it sounds) I drew for one of my sister’s stories.

I don’t think I have quite the steady readership here, but I do write elsewhere (fanfiction, mostly, on Archive Of Our Own, and Fanfiction.net), and I do actually have regular visitors to many of my stories.

Hell, in a world of usernames mostly made or kept from your tweens or drunken haha-this-is-obviously-the-best-idea‘s, I recognize a rather astonishing amount of usernames and profile pictures that aren’t actually of people. (Hahaha, yes, so sayeth Doodled93 with a Halloween costumed selfie to the one side and a picture of my dog on the other. But my username is an adaption of a childhood nickname and the creative use of my birth year, so.)

But the thing is, I have a pretty steady readership in my fanfiction plunges, people I’m surprised to see reviewing/commenting on one story or another because they’re usually commenting on other fandoms I’ve written in, and usually it’s pretty nice. The thing I like about Ao3 (archive of our own, for those not in the know) is how friendly everyone is, and while part of that, I think, is because you have to join a usually quick waiting list to even get an account (whereas there are many dud ffn.net accounts), but also because people looking into fanfiction are generally pretty nice.

Actually care about what you post, the quality you crank out, and people will respond.

I think the most negative comments I get nowadays is from people reviewing for the first time a story I wrote nearly, gosh, 8 years ago now(02/14), and it’s mostly about the overuse of some punctuation.

But the negative comments I get aren’t the annoying ones, not really, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, but berating and shouting at me for not having updated one story in a while gets me stressed and annoyed and a bit spiteful. 

It’s the stressed part of that mix that I’m going to be focusing on today, but you should really pay attention to the fact that when I get annoyed I get spiteful.

If you’ve read anything of mine before this, of the non-fiction side of things, you’ll know that I’ve had a lot to say about stress. I’ve written about stressful situations, I’ve written about what stress is really like for me, I’ve even just tagged posts as ‘stress’ or ‘stressful’ simply because writing about it gets my anxiety up.

I don’t deal with stress well.

I think I’ve gotten better, in that instead of bottling it up I let it out in bursts to Lexy and internet and real life friends in short bursts, but I still have the avoid-it instinct…

Do you see why it is doubly unwise to yell at me and snark about when I’ll likely update?

Because I’m NOT a writer that can work within a certain deadline, I am simply one that can work within parameters. Hmm, should this story be 10k/chapter, or maybe 5k, or should this be every 7 pages, or… hmm. When should I be updating this, because otherwise the chapter will either go on forever or else never get worked on due to its open-ended-ness.

When I was in a bad way after Ottawa-related failings, I was stressed and unhappy and trying my best to avoid real life and all that comes with that, and so I got quite a bit of writing done.

Because when you’re avoiding real life, fiction is where it’s at.

Or just the internet in general.

I read and wrote a hell of a lot, and was unemployed so I had all the time I could possibly want and/or need, and basically turned all my attention towards plot, character development, 10k long chapters, and taking breaks in-between to finish whole seasons of TV shows. As uncomfortable as it may seem to you, I wallowed in unemployment and a feeling of failure but was 80% oblivious to it because 80% of my day was turned towards fictional drama, and a large part of the remaining 20% was eating and sleeping in.

Now, however, I’m in a bit of a better place, and I have a job.

Full-time even, and for a while I had TWO jobs, at least until current job was like “What would it take for you to quit working other job and come here full-time?”

Kudos to past put-on-the-spot me, because I responded with ‘benefits’, because that seemed more likely than ‘more than minimum wage’.

And now while I have stressy bits of work (working in the produce section of an organic foods store means there’s ALWAYS SOMETHING TO BE DONE, and also manager issues but whatever), I am working full-time.

I can no longer utilize my best writing time (between 10pm and 2am) because I either have work to get to at 7am, or I’ve returned from an exhausting shift that ended at 9:30pm.

So no, my writing is not happening at quite the same pace as it was last year, or even over the summer, but you know what?

Stress is usually the thing that gets me writing, because it is an escape.

Sometimes more than reading, because I am quite literally feeling like I’m in my characters head.

When I haven’t written in a long while, or am blanking on what–or how–to write in a particular story I have yet to update for a while, I experience a bit of anxiety, because I do want to write. I enjoy it. But I stress myself out in a minimal way when I haven’t updated something in a while, because I’m disappointing myself. Not in a ‘you could do better’ kind of way, but more like making plans, looking forward to it, and then finding out that either you or the person(s) you were going to hang out with and do that thing with can’t make it.

Oh, ok. Next time then. 

But when I get passive aggressive remarks and pressure from people who, while it’s flattering that they’re enjoying what I’ve written that much, don’t give a f*** what else I’m doing or how much pressure they and their unknowing compadre’s are putting on me, who would very likely feel a bit of camaraderie with the others if they knew (Hah, the author will have to update sooner than expected if we’re ALL shouting at the same time), well.

Stressed.

Annoyed.

Spiteful.

Let’s work our way up, shall we?

Spite, a desire to hurt, annoy, or offend someone.

Leads up to Annoy, irritate (someone); make (someone) a little angry.

And though it’s not in there, anger is part of this too.

I don’t like being angry, I don’t like the way it makes me feel, I don’t like experiencing that boiling in my gut, and I especially don’t like how hard it is to keep it focused on the intended recipient/aggressor. It’s like the difference between being a little peeved and being actually angry is like using two different types of weapons. Being peeved is like your emotions are turned into a laser, easy to point it at the thing that’s causing it.

Being angry is like having that laser pointer turned into some kind of gun that lets out a poisonous miasma. It’s scary, there’s kickback that can injure you, and as soon as it’s out, it’s up in the air. It could affect anyone. Could hurt anyone.

And you know what? If you let me get to know you for 48 hours, within that 48 hours I will have figured out what sort of thing I would have to say to you to actually hurt your feelings, the way that shouldn’t hurt because it’s a relative stranger saying it to you, but hits deep anyways. But I don’t say it. Ever. Because if hearing that it’s that easy to figure out how to hurt a stranger verbally puts you off from ever wanting to interact or even meet me, then maybe it’ll change your mind to hear that I don’t say any of it because I find it very easy to empathize, and I’m selfish enough to not want the emotional backlash of hurting your feelings.

But being actually angry makes that wall in my head of ‘no, you do not say this ever’ seem more like a line, and hey, isn’t it closer than I thought it was, and I bet I could walk right over it, easy as pie.

And that is stressful.

Stress, a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances, makes me want to escape. I don’t like being angry because I don’t like confrontation, and I don’t like actually feeling stressed out because I don’t like feeling like I need to escape.

And I really don’t like feeling like I need to escape from my escape.

There are a few situations that I get into that translate into me not being able to write coherently/well.

Alcohol. I will never be that writer who sits down to write with a bottle of wine (i don’t drink wine but that’s besides the point), or with a beer, and a masterpiece will never have its rough draft written in a drunken haze.

Exhaustion. I can write best when it’s late into the night, but I’m pretty antisocial, and interacting with people is exhausting. This is why I don’t really write well after work, because 1) I’m tired, and 2) writing how character a interacts with characters b-z around them is working socialization muscles that do not have the capabilities for this sort of work. I get steadily more anxiety ridden when I have to talk for a prolonged amount of time, and that makes me stressed, and makes me want to escape, and it’s hard to interact socially and also escape at the same time.

And I kind of just mentioned it within ‘exhaustion’, but Stress.

Because if you missed it,

It is hard to interact with anything when all you want to do is escape.

So yeah, this is 1700 words of unhappiness at how some strangers on the internet are making something I enjoy, something I like escaping to, into something I feel like I need to escape from.

Why Asking When Something’s Going to be Updated Isn’t Helpful

Just what it says on the tin.

Or, on the blog as it so happens…

One of the things I find… if not irritating, then at least disappointing, is when people comment on my ongoing stories and they don’t actually have anything to say.

And no, I’m not talking about the people who leave one worded things, like “Nice!” or any other bit of smallish feedback, because that’s actual feedback.

It’s when any of this happens that I get frustrated.

“Update!”

“Plz update!”

“When are you going to update?”

and even the occasional

“Have you forgotten about this story?”

No. No I haven’t.

I just haven’t had the chance, the inspiration, or the right mindset to write for this fandom, to write in this ‘verse, to write this particular fic.

And no, I don’t know when I”m going to update.

Some authors can do the scheduled update thing–and kudos to them.

But unless I have most of a chapter written out, the most I can give you is a rough estimation–and if I know that, I’ll mention it at the end of the last chapter I posted.

So why I appreciate the thought behind it, the implied “I like your story so much I’d like you to continue!”, there isn’t much I can say to that.

(and I do like talking, responding, to reviewers, so if I have ever not responded, either I’m late in replying, or I have nothing to say to your not-really-a-comment-on-my-story review.)

Again, I like the thought behind it, but it’s not really necessary to, oh, I dunno, remind me to continue the story.

If you want to say something about the story, you’re welcome to it… just please keep in mind that in most cases adding an “UPDATE!” at the end isn’t cute.

If you really feel the need, maybe try less of a demand and more of a “I hope you get a chance to update this soon,” or “Hope you get inspired!” or something positive and supportive. It may take a little bit longer to type out, but hey, you’re already taking time out to comment, so…. why not?

I dunno, I hope this doesn’t seem rant-ish, but it does get disappointing, for multiple reasons, when I see that I’ve gotten a new review, or a new comment, or any sort of feedback, and it’s one line demanding more… especially when I’ve just updated the story.

Honestly, if it’s really too much to write…

I’m going to put it out there that I’d even prefer a smiley face, or any sort of emoticon over an update demand.

Because even if you give me a

:\

or a

😐

or even a

:#

it’ll give me more feedback than “UPDATE!”, and won’t bring to mind a faceless being shouting at me, demanding for more.

I don’t get paid for this (oh, but what a world it would be if I were), and you aren’t my boss. Please stop shouting at me to get work done.

 

 

Good and Bad Mooching

I’m pretty experienced with Mooching, both being the Mooch-er and being the Mooching target.

Hell, my best friend from High school mooched off of me all the time.

She did it well.

I know how to do it well.

And you may be wondering what exactly I mean by doing it well.

I don’t mean she’s good at getting all my food/drink from me, because THAT’S not Mooching well. THAT is being irritating. That is being a Mooch 😡

What I am, is a Mooch 😉

To Mooch well you have to be happy with getting a small amount. If you get too greedy, no one will be willing to give you any of their snacks, they won’t be willing to share with you.

People mirror other people’s attitudes too much to be able to share well with a greedy person, and while you may be able to get away with it one or two times, if you’re consistently greedy, no one will want to share with you.

Kasia and I are fine with mooching small amounts, we’re the best kind of Moochers; the kind that gets jokingly referred to as Moochers, but don’t have anyone getting annoyed at us for it.

One thing you learn when Mooching, is that there’s always some sort of equality. It’s symbiotic.

I let Kasia Mooch off of me, and she lets me do the same. With others, They let me mooch off of them, and I let them complain about their problem(s), and do my best to help if I can. Or some other kind of equalling action is taken.

Now that I’m older and legal, one example is between Meghan and I. I let her drink my Rum, and She lets me drink her Vodka. She’s more of a vodka drinker, and I’m a rum drinker, so it works out well to mooch off of each other.

It’s a trade.

But there are some who go beyond being a Bad Mooch.

A regular Bad Mooch is a Moocher who takes way too much. They take enough that it could be considered just giving the person something, and that involves key phrases like “paying me back” or “Buy me one later” or “Owe Me One”

These are not things that are said in regards to Mooching. These are things said in favours and borrowing, in Mooching it’s so little it’s not even said, it’s an unwritten code, a secret handshake, an inside joke of sorts. So when a Mooching incident gets into that sort of territory, it’s irritating.

It’s what makes them a bad Mooch.

What makes them a worse Mooch can be one or both of two things:

1) They Mooch expensive things.

2) How they go about Mooching.

Mooching expensive things is bad form. It’s like someone gets a slice of $15 cake and you eat most of it. If you’re not in the least bit remorseful about it, or are cocky about it, it’s more than irritating, it’s something that gets you put into “That Annoying Person” category in people’s minds.

That’s right. People’s. Not just the person you Mooched off of.

Because when you’re in the Annoying Person category, it means people complain about you to others. People you never even met now have preconceived notions about you and your character.

There is one such person in THAT category for me, and it’s gotten to the point that I get pissed off when even thinking about her.

For the record, I didn’t much like her that much in the first place. She doesn’t really have much of a personality (in that she really doesn’t even try to contribute to any conversation, and is the kind of person that when you get them a present for their birthday, you just get them some sort of generic chocolate, because you have no clue what the hell they even like), and never initiates any sort of hang-out or activity. I mentioned her in my post about skating HERE, she’s the one who walks on ice.

Sometimes it feels like she just sort of latched onto us and just never let go.

The few things I have gotten from her is that she really doesn’t drink.

She said this in a different way than my sister does.

My sister says it because she doesn’t like drinking. She’s the sort who says ‘yuck’ when offered any sort of alcoholic beverage, and it’s been a life choice for her that I accept even if I don’t understand it.

Melissa says “I don’t drink” while eyeing my Bacardi Breezer with some curiosity.

So I was like “You know what? You want to some? If you don’t like it I can finish it.” And she tried it, liked it, and that was that.

I’m okay with sharing alcohol. I don’t like drinking alone, and it is a pretty social thing. Eleanor, who does drink, drinks wine, and doesn’t get as drunk as either Meghan or I, but she has fun with it.

One time, it was decided that because we had the time and the lessening of work to do it, we were going to have a drinking night. We didn’t actually call it a drinking night but that’s pretty much what it was. Other nights were less planned, but they were on days when classes wouldn’t be a problem.

So, since I was going to the nearest LCBO on a day when I didn’t have classes, I asked Meghan, Eleanor, and Melissa if they wanted anything. If I’m remembering correctly, Eleanor wanted me to grab her a Girls Night Out (a weird wine, and I’m not really a wine drinker, but to each their own), and I’m pretty sure Meghan wanted me to grab her more Vodka, and maybe something else, but this was a while ago.

Melissa said “Oh, no thanks, I’ll just have whatever you’re getting.”

… well, no, that’s not actually how this works.

Alcohol can get expensive.

I enjoy liquor and mixed drinks, so I was planning on getting a few Breezers, some spiced rum to go in Coke Zero, some Disaronno to mix with Orange Juice, and more apple juice to go with the Fireball I already had.

In case you’re underage or don’t buy alcohol much, straight liquor is expensive, and already mixed drinks are pretty cheap comparatively. Liquor is expensive like this because it’s expected that it’ll last you a while, it’s expected that it’ll be mixed, and it just makes sense when already-mixed drinks are one-night deals.

So when I ask if anyone wants me to grab them something, well after I’ve let everyone try sips and glasses of what I like and have had during other drinking nights, I expect that they’re going to give some sort of yea or nay, yea meaning that when I bring out the receipt they’ll be paying me back, nay meaning they’re bringing their own.

Because you don’t need to be drunk to enjoy yourself on drinking nights.

So when Melissa says that she’ll just have what I’m having, I’m thinking that, okay, you know what? Perhaps she’s just planning on sipping tonight. I can spare orange juice and a shot of Disaronno, I can spare a Breezer.

But I was mistaken. This was not the case.

Because when I say that I’m okay with sharing alcohol, I don’t mean that I’m okay with being treated like an open bar.

Melissa drank about 3/4 of my Disaronno, a great deal of my mixed-drinks, a third of what was left in my still pretty full Fireball, and then also had quite a bit of Eleanor’s wine.

“I don’t drink” is something she still says.

Another thing she said that particular night, was “Wow that’s  lot of alcohol,” and from anyone else, I would expect that that’s an expression similar to saying “wow were going to get dunk tonight!” or at least that something like that would be the subtext.

When she said it, the subtext was

“…You’re an alcoholic.”

This is an irritating thing, especially after she’s drunk so much of my booze.

This is an especially irritating thing when, after drinking so much of my booze, she doesn’t even think to pay me back for all the alcohol she’s drunk.

Because, at the very least (and this is being generous), she’s had about $50 of alcohol from me.

To be more realistic, it’s somewhere between $70 and $80.

So, in case you’ve missed it (or else are now thinking I’ve now decided to only talk about alcohol), Melissa has 1) mooched quite a bit off of me without reciprocating in some way, 2) has mooched an expensive thing, 3) has Mooched while affecting an annoying holier-than-thou attitude, and 4) has been doing 1-3 while not even being that fun to be around.

She is firmly in that Annoying Person category I was talking about.

So right now I’m back in Ottawa, and tonight I’m going to be hanging out with Eleanor (who has made the decision herself to be roommates with Melissa–I don’t actually know if she’s ever been annoyed with her before…), and Melissa… and trying my best not to let this annoyance show.

So that’ll be fun.

Don’t be a bad Mooch, or else you might annoy someone who has a blog.

And remember, it's not just alcohol. It's food too.

And remember, it’s not just alcohol. It’s food too.

Plot Bunnies With Cattle Prods

Everyone gets ideas, it’s a fact.

Everyone gets persistent ideas as well.

You know the ones, the ones with cattle prods. With Taser in hand.

Sometimes the cattle prods are red-hot at the ends, as they want to brand you with themselves.

But it’s an idea that you can’t let go of, even as it pokes and prods at you, wanting your attention, wanting you to do something about it, wanting you to –hey, why haven’t you dropped everything yet? What’s up with that? This idea is so much more interesting than what you’re doing now, or what you need to do later, that it’s amazing you haven’t imploded from the need to move onto this amazing idea yet.

What is wrong with you?

The idea will poke and prod until you do something about it, it will continuously remind you that you have a duty to it every time you stop for a moment, let your mind wander…

Why haven’t you done anything about this idea yet?

Are you stupid?

Idiot.

But, because you have something that NEEDS to get done, that idea will have to wait.

It has to, because it came to you not when you had time, but when you were reading something, or perhaps doing something important, or getting ready to go to bed after working fo the entire day and the idea finally catches up to you…

And then doesn’t let go.

These ideas are funny like that

But, no matter what you’re doing, until you have done something about this idea–no matter what, exactly it is an idea about–you will be poked, prodded, sometimes bashed over the head, so that you are either mildly distracted from what you need to do, or else you are blinking and shaking your head from disorientation from this new abusive relationship you have with this part of your psyche, asking “pardon?” and hoping no one will notice you weren’t paying the least bit attention to this thing that NEEDS your attention

Of course, this idea you have also NEEDS your attention, doesn’t it?

Because you know that it’s an idea that needs to be explored, it may even be something that you will eventually actually NEED to get to, and you don’t want to lose this at-the-moment unwanted passion and unwilling enthusiasm, that what’s grabbing your attention will not be done nearly as well if you don’t get to it while you’re THIS interested.

And there is this fearful need to get it done, because there are a few things that run through your mind, and most of them are what-if’s

What if you just finish what you’re doing, and come back to it? Will that work?

What if I forget this amazing idea? (Note: his happens a lot right before you’re going to bed)

What if after I’m done this important thing, I’ve lost the enthusiasm? Then it won’t be nearly as good…

All these things will run through your mind at one point or another, and more, and it adds fuel to the fire of any anxiety you’ve already experienced thus far.

Not fun.

With me it’s usually story ideas, and I end up telling Lexy a lot of them (she does this in kind, though lately it’s been for her amazing short stories), and one term for these ideas you might have heard about is that you’ve gotten a ‘Plot Bunny’

It’s rather clever since the ideas are usually little fuzzy things bouncing around in your mind, sometimes breeding with other bunnies in the vast landscape of your imagination, and creating new, sometimes more developed plot bunnies.

This is usually what I imagine a plot bunny would be like:

Plot Bunny writer Kitteh

Cue yeah? And writer cat is good for me too, since a great deal of what happens is that I get so focused on one idea, and sometimes get distracted, or focus on a different plot bunny and ignore the others I’ve already started working on. It’s a bit like a cat who’s really interested in the game you’ve been playing, but then between one swipe and the next the claws are out and they’re entirely disinterested in that bit of string that’s held their attention so long.

But these ideas, these plot bunnies that kick and shout and generally screw with your mind until they die or you give up, it’s like something went horribly wrong.

Possibly in a way that can be salvaged, but it’s like adding a buzz saw and ninja stars to a plot bunny.

No, wait. It’s like the plot bunnies have gone rabid.

They’re going crazy in your mind, frothing at the mouth, and you can’t not pay attention to that, can you?

It seems like it could be cute or scary or something from Monty Python, like something that could be in your dreams or nightmares, and in any case something difficult to put aside.

I feel like I experience this quite a lot, so here’s some things that at least help. It’s not a lot, but it means that these plot bunnies can sometimes be saved, rather than end up being put down like Ol’ Yeller.

I write things down.

I have probably a dozen or so word documents with a few ideas for stories written down inside of them, little bits and things that seem brilliant and are flashing and shrieking in my ear as something brilliant (or heartbreaking, there are quite a few plot bunnies that are on a mission to have me bawling my eyes out), so I write them down. If I can spare some time to write out a few paragraphs (even if they aren’t coherent, or in a proper story-telling kind of format), I’ll do that and just write out the other scenes around it… Mind you, if you do this you must have patience, because you may or may not be the kind of person who wants to post something immediately, or get to an idea quickly, but more times than not it’s best to write out what needs writing rather than jumping to this amazing scene that’s only amazing because YOU (the author) know all the back story and linking things for it.

I experienced this with my Torchwood story, when I jumped ahead to a part of the story I already knew would be happening, and had at least a chapter finished… only I knew I had at least another scene to write (at the VERY least, and that would be skimping on important detail), so the few reviews I got complaining about me not updating quick enough (which is equally flattering and annoying, by the way), or people asking if I’ve abandoned the story (NO. Each chapter is at least 10k, and I write ALL of the next chapter, don’t you DARE give up on me you weak-willed readers! Have courage to click the ‘subscribe to story’ button!), can get really frustrating, and I know none of them believe me when I say that I wrote ahead. That I’m not done THIS chapter because I was busy working on the next.

The Love-Hate relationship to writing fanfiction…

Another thing I do is talk about it.

Lexy is a fantastic sounding board. I personally hate calling someone a ‘sounding board’, sounds quite a bit like I’m just using someone, but it’s true.

I can talk to her about stories and plot ideas I’ve had bouncing in my head, and being able to talk about my ideas aloud sometimes help me solidify one idea or another. Sometimes I can get away with just talking aloud, but hearing feedback and seeing Lexy’s expressions and opinions really helps.

Most computers have some sort of webcam as well, and I’ve tried filming myself talking about a story idea to even see my own expressions, because watching it helps me figure out where I’m unsure. You don’t realize how much you express when you’re talking until you’re watching it.

This also helps out when you’re working on a story/idea already, and helps you get new perspectives. Dwelling on a story long enough sometimes dulls the story for you, yourself, as the author. It’s like the 20th time you’ve seen a movie, as you’ve already looked over all the hidden meanings, you know all the back stories, there are no more surprises, no more twists, and you think way too ahead.

So yeah, talking. It works.

It also forces you from your writing cave

And the last thing…

Well, It’s something I’ve been thinking of doing, so it isn’t something I KNOW works. I know there’s a possibility it may work though.

You could make a forum and adopt out your plot Bunnies.

I have a lot of ideas rumbling about in my head, and before I start writing a story I’m usually feeling it out for months before I start seriously writing it, so some plot bunnies get neglected.

So why not give out prompts? You could do it with one word prompts, and their definitions, or you could write out a small summary for your plot bunny, you could post a paragraph that you’ve written down, you could give bits and pieces and scenarios from plot bunnies and see where others take them.

If you make a request for someone to link their project back to you, then you can even read it, and you know that one quote…

If you don’t, it goes something like

“If there’s a story you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, get to writing it”

Something like that. It’s what got me into regularly writing my own things.

But back to turning part of your imagination into a sort of foster home for Plot Bunnies (Rabid or otherwise, and remember that you can always pick them back up again later when you have the time and inclination)… well, you really don’t have to, but it’s something to consider.

What use are YOU getting out of them, hmm? What if you have an idea, a newborn Plot Bunny, but don’t have any plans on actually writing it? What if you just enjoy the idea hopping around your head? Well, you could foster it out and then you could READ the story someone else makes out of it.

You could hate it, you could love it… but it’s maybe gotten someone else to start writing, so that’s good 🙂

These tips work pretty well for other kinds of ideas, too, I’d imagine. An idea for a drawing you don’t have time for? Doodle it. Write down colours, just do a thumbnail drawing and come back to it. Have an idea for a poem? Keep sticky notes with you, or a note pad, and write it down as it comes. Edits are for later, and you might not have the rhythm for it later. Or what about a sculpture, or a carving, or something else that would be three-dimensional? Draw it out. A rough sketch to get the idea out, jot down the specifics, things not obvious in the drawing.

These ideas are rabid in your thoughts because they’re GOOD ideas. They may need refining, some other details figured out, but they’re distracting you because you can do something with this.

The Plot Bunnies and Business Bunnies and Doodle Rabbits and other furry creature ideas DON’T have to be a problem. Even if you’re in a rush, taking a half-hour break to jot down some notes can only help, since it means you won’t be (as) distracted when you go back to work.

How do YOU deal with your Rabid Plot Bunnies?

This is more of a nightmarish thing for me, honestly...

This is more of a nightmarish thing for me, honestly…

 

It’s One of Those Ages

I turned 19 on February third of last year (2012). And now I’m 20.

(SURPRISE!)

But…

19 is one of Those ages, I’ve figured out…

Those ages, in case you’re wondering, are usually ages in which it’s hard to multiply to get without 1 being one of the multiples.

You know, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23 etc, etc, etc…? I’m probably missing a number in between that, but…

Well, from what I can figure out, most of these numbers are significant ages to be, either to parents or to society or to you, as you are at that (or before that) age. It is from these ages you compare yourself to your younger self.

A baby turning 1 year old is a landmark in aging. But, like with dogs and pets in general, it’ll probably be until that baby is close to or past the 2 year mark before your age will be measured by years consistently, rather than by months.

If you ask Lexy how old Gwynn is, she will respond with “Almost three” or “Three in March” but once, for a while, she used wild numbers like 13/14/15/… months old.

It was a strange time that made me have to think a moment as I subtracted 12 from that number, and then… wait no, that would make him…

Ah.

(You redevelop math skills like this when you get a pet, or a baby, by the way. You don’t realize how much simple math you’ve lost until this time comes)

Turning 3 seems like an important age to me, as it is the first year after you’re two, giving you one full year of being referred to by year-age rather than by month-age. I don’t have a baby, and Gwynn is not yet 3, so I wouldn’t be able to tell you any other significance, except that maybe at the 3 year mark Gwynn, and possibly babies in general, will have learned a few new tricks.

Perhaps he will have learned not to go ape-shit over cats.

Unlikely, but a hopeful possibility.

5 seems to be that age that you’re constantly hearing/reading/seeing children being thereabouts. They are either almost 5 or are corrected to that they are only 5, not six for a couple of months yet. Or, they “Justh turned thixth”(say with clear lisp) and have likely lost a tooth. 5 is that age that you just want to BE. You never hear about your inner 4-year-olds or 6-year-olds. That’s because 5 is infinitely better than either of those.

Because you’re FIVE.

Later in life you will find out that you like fives even better, especially when learning your times tables, and find out that multiplying 5 is even easier than multiplying by 2’s.

But enough about 5’s, let’s move onto 7.

7 is important for a number of reasons, and not just because Voldemort had 7 Horcruxes and you always forget the last one or two from the list you try to keep in your mind, and not just because it was one of the most important numbers I learned because Mom sat me down and had me learn the days of the week. This was when I once thought that it was the weekend on a Wednesday based wholly on the fact that the alarm hadn’t gone off. 7 is important because you can finally leave 5 behind.

The memory of 5 is an immature phantom of a memory, filled with scuffed knees, grass stains, hair pullings and crying for no good reason. You have moved past the age of 6, even, with all the reminders of being 5 being brought up, and you are now free to luxuriate in your maturity and lording your advanced age over those stuck in the vortex that happens around 5.

Writing down your age becomes a skewed checkmark of age and maturity, writing it in letters gives you the chance to write a ‘V’ for something other than ‘GIVE’, and you take something from that and maybe think if there’s a number out there that has an ‘X’ in it, or maybe a ‘Z’ because you really don’t get to use those that often.

Of course, Lexy has a friend she’s known from childhood whose name is Aziza.

I doubt she had thoughts like these.

(I think I stopped having this wonder for the letter ‘Z’ when I realized fully that one of my middle names could be spelled with a ‘z’ and decided to spell it as such, and it was only in the past couple of years that I have confirmed that on my birth certificate the possible worry of being an Elisabeth Rose was left for the certainty of being an Elizabeth Rose. Because I’m trying to be as honest as I can be while on the Internet, I’m going to admit that for a while there I think I was overzealous and decided I was an Elizabeth Roze)

(It made sense at the time…)

While moving on to 11 I am going to stop for a moment and take away the notion that 9 or 10 are important figures.

9 is a multiple of 3 and while it may seem mysterious by being almost as hard as your 7 times tables, it is not. You are past the smaller vortex (in comparison to 5) of 7 and are next to the little ball that is 10.

10 is insecure but vicious. If 9 tries to pull weight, it simply rolls over and squashes 9 with the fact that 10 is better than 9. 10 has 2 numbers.

It’s Double Digits.

9 can’t get past that. If you’re 9 YOU can’t get past that.

You must remember here that I’m not making up personalities for numbers, this is how I half remember/half imagine a child’s mindset is like. I wrote a great deal of my Harry Potter fanfiction “It’s Green” going on this, and managed to get a number of reviews on my realistic and odd young Harry… Which is flattering, but also makes me think that I won’t be able to write the personality of anyone over the age of 11…

And that would suck.

Back to numbers.

10 is insecure because while it has lorded its double digits-ness over 9 and occasionally 8, it IS right next to 11.

As grand as entering the double digits of age is, it’s not nearly as awesome as moving past that pinnacle to a new height of age.

11.

10 has the misfortune of having a zero in it.

Zeroes, as we have been taught in school, means nothing.

10, as great as it is, is written down as a 1 and a 0, a something, and a nothing.

11 has the amazingness of being the first number in the double digits that doesn’t have a 0 in it. 11 is also when you leave all the 9’s behind, because you are beyond being 10 and have no time to play with babies. Because that is what anyone is if they are still stuck within the limitations of the single digit of age, at least compared to you.

12 year olds matter nothing unless you yourself are a 12-year-old with other 12 year olds, or you are a 12-year-old who knows or encounters a 13-year-old.

Because, a 13-year-old was once… not a teenager.

But is one for the next 7 years or so.

(it’s hard to shake that image from The Adult’s minds)

Yes, when you turn 13 you are experienced in the ways of the double-digit-age enough to be accepted into the ranks of teenagerhood.

I imagine it’s very much like being accepted into street gang. Or maybe the Mafia.

It’s dark, it’s dirty, you are going to be introduced to a whole slew of sights, experiences, smells that you would have liked to be spared from, you will meet people who you may not like but are now part of different rules, ones that will remember you if you report them to the authorities of the Parentals… the ones from their district or yours, it matters not, they will remember and do their best to repay in kind or else find some other way to return the favour.

They will shank you for your candy…

And give bald-faces lies to the Adults about what happened, and you can say nothing.

I know (for the most part) that that’s not how it works, not exactly, but if someone can come up with a better example of what you are getting yourself into by unknowingly agreeing to join this… group… well. Feel free to step forward with your own post, and link me 🙂

But, regardless of your newby status, Parents will expect just a bit more from you, as the Responsible Teen you are, perhaps playing on your sense of new duty and responsibility to get you to do more around the house, set a ‘good example’.

This is an important stage in your life.

The next is 17.

I think that people will think that 16 should be one of Those ages, but aside from “Sweet 16” what is there, really? You can now get your driver’s license… Wonderful.

Due to new laws (at least in Ontario) you must wait a full year after getting your G1 to get your G2. You will be 17 when you are even remotely close to getting your real license.

17 is important for more than this real license, though, and it’s the reason why, in Canada at least, 18 is only really important if you’re in (or, I guess, beside) Quebec.

17 is when you’re preparing yourself for the fact that you will soon have to take the consequences for things that may or may not get you into serious trouble.

18 is when you are putting to use all these thoughts or concepts of responsibility, but 17 is for where you can get paranoid.

It’s about this time when you also have to start thinking about the Future… about University and College, what your major will be, what you want to do with THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

It’s scary.

Feel free to feel paranoid.

Be afraid.

It’s be a whirlwind, gale forces of GRADESGRADESGRADES whipping around you, sharp rocks of EXPECTATIONSEXPECTATIONSEXPECTATIONS will give you shallow cuts that sting, and you’ll be desperately trying to stay near the eye of the storm.

You’ll be desperate to stay there, because there’s always that possibility that the winds and rocks will chuck you any which direction, and you could land anywhere.

It’s not likely it’s going to be a place you like.

A few will actually be able to stay in the eye of this storm… until they’re turning 18 that is.

Those who have been struggling to stay near the centre will have gained endurance, will have scouted were they could land, and will have calmed down some by this time, but those who were suddenly jolted from their place at the Eye…

Well shit it’s scary being plucked from your comfortable place, isn’t it?

17 is the slightly more significant time, I think, and if you think it’s actually 18…

Well, of course you’d think so.

17 is desperately gripping at 18 and trying to stay grounded in that shit-storm as drama and grades get thrown around in school, jobs and money problems biting at tender unprotected areas like vicious mosquitos, and 18 is freaking out.

17 has already screamed itself hoarse, why else would 18 be louder?

For those who have later birthdays, it IS 18 that’s scary, but I’m talking from my own experience, so stick with me okay?

19…

Well 19 is scary.

And fantastic if you happen to live somewhere that the drinking age is 19.

Like, perhaps… ONTARIO???? Or Canada… (I live there, whaddya know…)

I was in luck while in Ottawa in that Hull (sketchy part of Quebec, drinking age 18, sketchy party/club central for the underages of Ottawa), in that for the few months before my birthday I could get alcohol, and afterwards I could still go out drinking with my friends whose birthdays were in Oct-Dec, and so were less than legal in Ottawa.

(I’m not saying anything about having an apartment-style res and being legal in a group of under-aged friends. Also, yes, 2+2=4)

But yeah, 19 means first year uni/college, or else it means succeeding in surviving first year, or not.

(Me? Kind of not, but I’m working on getting back in that tipped canoe, it’s a bit hard, but I’m doing it)

It means you’re trying to find the friends you’ll likely be closest with for the next four-or-so years, making connections, keeping your head above water and clothes the least wet…

Stressful.

But a very important time.

20…

Well, I’m only turning 20 now (Happy Feb 3rd everyone! Happy Birthday to me!), so I don’t know how it’ll pan out, but I have hopes.

I feel like I’m significantly more mature (Maybe… My mom would laugh, as would Lexy and maybe just about everyone who knows me), but it could just be because now I can say “I’m 20”

Because hell yes! I’m 20!

But on the other hand… I’m two decades old.

I feel like I should be whipping out cocktail dresses and be brushing off cobwebs at the same time.

This is said because of the two decades thing…

It’s not two centuries, no, but it’s a bulk unit of time.

Seconds, Minutes, Hours=Nothing.

Days, Weeks, Months= the make up of a year. So?

Decade= Impressive. That’s a bulk unit of time, the likes of which you haven’t been able to process by the time you’re 1 decade old. You have no idea.

Literally, for em, since i think I was still spelling ‘idea’ as ‘ida’ because I thought the ‘de’ in ‘idea’ was satisfied with just the letter.

No idea, I tell you.

(only Ida’s)

2 decades= 2 FREAKING DECADES! That seems like a lot! That’s MORE than ONE!

WOW!

Whoever can count their age by more than one decade is obviously super OLD!

And now I’m part of that group.

I’ve been kicked from the Teenager-Gang and have joined the Decade Group.

I don’t know what it’s going to mean for me, and I don’t know what it’s meant to other people…

I hope there are more cookies in this group though.

Happy February 3rd everyone!

 

Sometimes You Need a Break. Dealing with Stress.

Slightly more serious post than my other ones, but this one is something I think a good number of students (at least university/college students) may find important.

I am going to get this out of the way and say I don’t do stress well.

Or rather, I stress well, I don’t DEAL with stress well. Here’s how I think of my stress dealings:

I bottle it up, store it away since its so unpleasant to deal with. Later, when I once again get stressed, I bottle that up too, even as the aftershocks of the feeling shake up the last bottle of stress.

Unlike real life, the tremors of stress stay with me, though I ignore it, and so it slowly shakes the second, and eventually third, fourth, fifth bottles up as well, building up pressure that I also ignore (as I am so very good at it) until the bottles I use start having trouble containing it.

I feel like, at least right now, the bottles I use are plastic. Later, if I keep doing this, the bottles may be made of glass. I don’t know.

When, eventually, the bottles fizz and explode so that I have stress colouring everything, making everything sticky and gross and makes me feel like doing nothing else but clean up and throw away the stress, I do so. It is, after all, hard to focus on anything else when you have sticky, gross stress all over you.

I ignore everything else, I have trouble concentrating, I have this overwhelming urge to do nothing, to go do something else that will make me feel better, like maybe watch comedy skits, or watch shows I know I like and episodes I know are funny, or read something totally random, or something else entirely.

I’ve been working on this example and been trying to self-analyze in a realistic, objective way, and I know that I need to work on a better way of dealing with stress than bottling it up and storing it away.

The reason I say I believe my bottles to be plastic right now, is because when the bottles explode from stress overload, broken plastic doesn’t hurt or cut nearly as deeply as glass.

Wow, that sounded a bit dark, huh?

I’m just trying to say that this tendency of mine to put away stress could develop into a worse problem, or could cause me to ignore something important because it happens to be stressful.

To help counteract that, I’m doing a number of things.

I don’t quite bend over backwards to do it, but close enough

I’m trying to schedule myself better (made a schedule for the week, having classes, study times, break times, etc…). Hopefully by having something steady and schedule like in my life, I’ll have something to hold ono.

Yoga, once a week. Similar to the schedule, by having yoga, it’s consistent and, unlike the schedule, something physical. If I need to do something more exerting, I can get onto one of the exercise machines and go on for an hour.

Phone conversation with Mom at least once a week. I am used to having a support system on hand. I don’t like talking about stress to friends, because I don’t like making my friends

My family has more personality than this and my three roommates combined

feel uncomfortable. It isn’t like I’m going to be able to talk to my roommates after all. I hardly ever see them, and even if I did, I don’t particularly like them. As such, my support system is my family. I need to be able to talk with them. So I’m making sure that at least once a week, there will be a conversation. To just talk. About nothing in particular. About things happening at home, things happening in Ottawa, allowing Mom to complain about her school while I can talk about how wonderful it is to be skating. I think it’s helping. No guarantee though. Midterms are stressful.

Writing. I know it isn’t the best thing, but writing here, on a blog, is almost surprisingly stress-releasing. Even if I don’t talk about stress. To be able to put my thoughts out to an invisible crowd, it’s nice. I also still write fiction for my own, and fanfiction because I enjoy getting reviews. It helps that most reviews are positive and are very encouraging and you can’t feel useless when you get an enthusiastic review for one of your ideas. Hell, I have a number of people who review regularly for my story ‘It’s Green‘ (Harry Potter Fanfiction and yes I linked to my own story) and I can go on for endless replies in conversation with these people who I only know because they like something I’ve written enough to contact me. How awesome is that?

By the way, Mom doesn’t like that I write fanfiction, but it’s a stress reliever for me. I enjoy writing. I didn’t do NaNoWriMo this year because I promised I wouldn’t, but writing is one of my hobbies. I’m not giving it up. I’m glad my Mom understands that. Or at least I believe she does.

Aaah, stress, you give me such issues!

Boy do I need to work on this, and I believe that this IS helping, but i’s hard to be objective in things such as these. I’ve been thinking on this for so long that I could be imagining everything, and I’m sure that some invisible person out there reading this is thinking I am imagining everything, or explaining it unrealistically, or SOMETHING, but this is as close to the ‘truth’ of the matter as I can get to.

It’s very hard being objective when dealing with yourself.

I think that’s one reason why self-portraits are so hard to do. You try to make it better because you’re vain (don’t try to deny it) and want to look pretty.

Or cool, if you aren’t quite ready to admit that you think you’re pretty.

But, as I said before, I don’t do (dealing with) stress well.

But, because I’ve been able to recognize it well enough… I am also going to recognize that I need a break.

Not a full one, more like slowing down to a jog from a sprint, but a break none the less.

Next semester, my hesitant plan is to take a break from school, move back to Toronto, and (with the permission of uOttawa) take a course while in Toronto so that I’m not totally removed from doing class work.

It will be one semester, and a break from full-time class. This will be me working to get used to stress of university, while having my support system with me.

I don’t know if I would have done better having taken the first year off, but this is what I’m doing now.

I wish I had  my own time machine, to go back to the beginning of the school year, maybe then I could have done a better job, but since I don’t, I’m giving myself a chance to breathe.

 

The Difference Between a Writer and an Actor: The Muse

I think that there is a reason that Actors and Directors and whatever end up doing what they do, and writers and script writers end up doing what they do.

I think it’s mainly the mindset of the person in question, when their muse kicks them in the face.

Two people are thinking. They are, for some reason, thinking of a fight scene.

Perhaps those two people are angry at someone for eating their cereal (perhaps even their roommates), or are in a bad mood because of exams and in their inner imagination, imaginary them is kicking imaginary Exam’s ass all across a papery, lead smudged landscape. Either way, one imaginary character is beating up another imaginary character.

Your Muse is one character. There is no choice in this, it is just so.

Sometimes you are in the mindset of your Muse character, YOU are the muse. In imaginary situations like these, you are working with your Muse towards an ultimate creative goal, towards that intensely interesting idea or image that’s been niggling at the back of your mind for a while now. Like the idea to mix Baileys and eggnog, or to go to BulkBarn and buy a lot of wafer sticks and chocolate to try to make a gigantic KitKat bar… The other is some other representation.

Sometimes you are the referee in the fight, or just a spectator. As a referee, you can stop and rewind the match, redo parts if you will. As a spectator you’re letting things go on, rooting for your Muse against this imaginary menace. In this situation you are reviewing ideas you’ve had for a while, pairing them together with other ideas that you’ve had at some point.

Occasionally you are facing your Muse. It is in these situations that it is actually your Muse who initiates this daydream. It is in these situations you wish you hadn’t always imagined your Muse as such a bad-ass. This situation arises when you have been neglecting your Muse, and haven’t been letting the creative juices flowing.

To get these creative juices flowing, your muse will kick you in the face.

Watch as the juices flow.

But back to the two people.

Regardless of what sort of match up this is, these two people see an amazing move, something realistic that looks too cool to NOT be expressed in some way.

So, Person Z starts thinking about how they could possibly imitate that move, how they could possibly train for it. If Person Z has training in some sort of fighting, they will think about the other moves that they could possibly combine to do that move, they will try looking up fake fighting techniques (on Google or YouTube or anything else) to see if they could incorporate anything into pulling this off. They might also then imagine themselves pulling the move off in some sort of dramatic play or something.

Person 26, on the other hand, will think about how they could possibly describe that move. Those combinations of actions. How could they write it in such a way that the reader could fill in any gaps, how could they make it so that it wouldn’t seem stunted or stuttering, choppy? Person 26 will try writing it down to edit later, and/or will try reading or watching something with an action scene in it, to get their mind working in such a way that they will be able to write this action, or actions, in a way that flows. They will try to imagine what kind of plot they could use this in.

To show that I didn’t have any preference between the two, I didn’t name them A and B or 1 and 2 or X and Y or anything else that has a first one and then the other kind of connotation or connection.

Person Z is the actor, and Person 26 is the writer.

While the two may mix (example: John Green [writer] and his sort-of acting on a vlog [Brotherhood 2.0 or vlogbrothers]), your muse will, in some way, prefer to have you try to express the ideas they promote in SOME way, eventually.

I realized this a little earlier, while daydreaming in between studying, and realized that somewhere someone else is probably having a daydream as well, and might be thinking about acting it out instead of writing it out like I was thinking of doing.

I realize that from my title I’m kind of implying that the difference between an actor and a writer is their Muse, but everyone’s Muse is similar. It’s just the way that people use and react to their muses that’s different.

Muses will become lazy, or overactive, or will have a muse crash, or will be suddenly into that genre that you don’t actually like or write or whatever that often, or will be so into a certain thing that you end up blowing off other things to try to get it out of your and your Muses systems…

And I’m not trying to say that your Muse will always show you things via intense fighting, but I am saying that your muse, if you ignore it will kick you in the face.

Ka-POW! The creative juices are now flowing. (you are not the Zebra, you are the lion that just got pwned)

P.S. Update on studying: IT SUCKS! But is getting done. It is the shit hitting the fan in my mind. It’s everywhere.