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.

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.