Tough Week

I’m gonna level with you guys for a bit… I haven’t been doing so great. There’s nothing, in particular, that’s wrong; only things that have been wrong for a while, but my anxiety is doing its thing.

I might have talked about this before somewhere, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here before… Money has been a serious issue for my family for a while now. My brother got laid off, my mom had an accident around the time my grandpa got sick and both those things at once drained all of our savings. Two years after the fact, we’re… Scraping by, basically. My brother’s doing gigs here and there, so am I, my mom does housecalls now and then since she had to close her therapy clinic, but her health hasn’t been the best since the accident (which, yes, worries me immensely).

All of this has meant a lot of stress. A lot of anxiety. Just, generally, it’s been a lot.

And that’s where… It’s weird. Because the past couple of weeks have been a little better. I applied to a few jobs I’d really like to do. Either one of them would really help out our financial situation, they’re all part-time, and would allow me to work from home. So I could still make time for writing and be able to help my mom around the house when she’s not feeling well. We’re mostly ahead of schedule with chapter revisions and have a good system in place for posting Shadows Rise on the schedule we set up.

Meaning, the odds of things improving moving forward are greater than they have been in a long time for me. And my brain… Hates it. I’ve been having ridiculous bouts of anxiety. I’ve been jumpy and nauseous and having nightmares every other night.

And I really wish it would just… Stop. 😐

Of all things I’ve had to deal with since my brain flipped the ‘let’s be anxious about literally everything’ switch, the one I hate the most is my utter inability to enjoy good things sometimes. Everything, up to and including good things, is just something else I need to worry about at every waking second AND in my sleep apparently.

I’m just so fucking tired right now. I hope that when I hear back from those job applications (one way or another) and chapter one of SR is out, my brain will start to fucking chill.


Computer Problems Part 02

First of all, don’t worry. This has a happy ending. At least, it’s happy at this point in time. I just thought I needed to post about it because… It was just really amusing.

I woke up today and Windows wouldn’t start wouldn’t repair, reset, no nothing. I waited for my brother to come home and he was like “Welp, this hard drive is prolly dead”. Awesome. This was the laptop I had shipped to me just before Christmas. It wasn’t brand new but I thought it’d last me a bit longer. I asked him “Well, I don’t have money for a new one yet, but if I can’t work I’m not gonna have it ever. So now what?”. He thought on it for a bit and decided my previous broken laptop had a perfectly good HD. He was turning on even, just the screen wouldn’t stay on. So the solution was obviously to take that HD and put it on the laptop that had everything else working. Cool.

The next hour or so was spent watching my brother tear both laptops apart and do the HD transplant. I was very apprehensive about this. Despite having a degree in electronics, he is my brother; who I’ve seen put a desk fan back together, realize there were some parts left and then be like “Well, fuck it, it’s working.” about it.

Nonetheless, he returned the laptop to me. It turned on. Adjustments needed to be made when the HD went “WTF, we’re not in Kansas anymore” and proceeded to update all device drivers accordingly, but after all was said and done. It’s my old computer’s brain in my sorta-new computer’s body.

And here’s where I get into a previous situation where I had used a program to create a custom calendar for Valcrest. And saved the calendar for each year we’re gonna need in all our planned stories into Dropbox. Or so I thought. Because when I first got settled into this computer (with its original HD that had none of my stuff) and logged into Dropbox to look for that… It was nowhere to be found.

I forget stuff a lot. So at that point, I thought… I just either didn’t save those where I thought I had or I just forgot to export everything. The files for the first arc of Shadows Rise were there and for one other story, but nothing else. Okay. I talk it over with the partner. I’m gonna have to redo the damn calendar. I made peace with it. We moved on.

Back to now. Previous laptop Hard Drive installed in the new one. I realize, huh, I have that calendar program again. I can just open it up and export everything like I should have done in the first place. Awesome!

Imagine my surprise when I go do that and discover that I had exported everything we needed into Dropbox. It just never synced to the cloud, meaning; it never did the thing you expect Dropbox to fucking do! So I was both furious and extremely relieved that I don’t have to redo all of that and immediately copied everything to Google Drive. Because fuck Dropbox. >.>

But yeah. A Hard Drive died, but… We regained a chunk of worldbuilding we thought was lost forever. So… A silver lining there.

And my Frankenstein-laptop is working pretty well so far to boot. Happy ending.


A View into Shadows

See what the other half of my brain has to say about this whole ordeal. 😛

Plot Stains

Writing with a friend is like helping a friend hide a body. You are in it for the long-run. Longer than you first expect. You will hold onto deep, dark secrets. You will trudge through muddy thoughts and deep through the forest of your brain. You will help each other hide evidence of the mistakes you made in the past. You will even go as far as convince the other that characters, “have to go”. If anyone read your private messages to one another, you’d be locked behind bars, for sure and its doubtless that you and your friend are classified as a terrorist organization The Five Eyes. You will never be the same after writing with a friend. If the relationship my good friend, Blackbird, isn’t enough to prove that I’ve hidden many written bodies in the past, I don’t know what evidence a court would need. Over…

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This is a feeling I have a horrible time trying to understand. I always draw inspiration from people who are good at things I’m not. I admire them, I don’t resent them.

My own shortcomings aren’t anyone else’s fault. They didn’t build their success by stepping over me.

And it’s funny that, with how little I’ve actually accomplished, I somehow still get treated like a bragger sometimes. For saying things like “I’ve been making progress” or showing appreciation for the support I’ve received. I posted a thank you to some people on deviant art for New Year and in that post, I mentioned that some people have referred to me as talented and an inspiration at some points during the previous year. And despite having said that I don’t feel like that’s true; although I appreciated it, to some people that still comes off as bragging.

As confused as I am about the whole concept of envying someone in a negative way. It’s even more baffling when it’s directed at me. There are so many people out there who are actually successful and have accomplished things I can only hope to achieve in the future. I’m barely starting to be able to say I completed something. Whether or not it succeeds is a whole different story. What is there for anyone to be bitter about over here? I don’t get it!

I swear to God someone is going to think I’m bragging about my negative attention somehow. Because… Internet, I guess. -.-


Actual Progress Updates

Written In Shadows

Our first actual update post after… We’re not sure how long. Time flies when you’re obsessively writing.

Anyway, here’s how it’s going: Chapter 01 has undergone changes and given a small layer of polish. We have since asked the kind people who already have been beta reading for us to have a second look at it. Depending on the feedback given we’ll consider it ready for posting or take it back to the writing board for another round.

Progress at this point is as follows…

Chapter 01 is with beta readers at the moment.
Chapter 02 is being currently edited (and oh boy does it need some editing)
and Chapter 10 is being currently written.
Chapters 11-13 + Epilogue are outlined.

The hope is that we can simultaneously work on writing the last few chapters and edit the earlier chapters so we can start actually publishing them.

There is going…

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Now For The Actual Updates

Alright, cryptic ‘coming soon’ messages are all well and good, but this is me we’re talking about. Soon can be any span of time. So let me fill you guys in on where I’m at exactly.

Episode One of Shadows Rise is nearly complete. The writing phase is still ongoing, but in the meantime, I’m also editing earlier chapters. Chapter one has been released to betas yesterday. Depending on their feedback and whether I decide to make any further tweaks, it will be ready for posting on WIS. And since we are releasing this on a chapter-by-chapter basis, that means actual content coming out very soon even while I’m not done writing.

So yes, like I said, this is actually happening this time. No joke. And it’s a really big deal for me.

While the betas take their time to go over said chapter, I’m trying to fix up chapter two (it’s one of those difficult ones >.>) and going over all our social media accounts. I’m also setting up the aforementioned Patreon and a Ko-Fi just to have the options there on the blog.

Also, you may or not notice I have a new ‘laptop meter’on the sidebar there. I’m not without a computer again. It’s not an emergency or anything. It’s just a goal I’ve set to get an actual new laptop soon. So I can have something actually new and covered by warranty for the sake of my peace of mind. I’m saving up on my own (at some point I’m gonna update it with the amount I already have) but I’ve set it as a goal here and on my Ko-Fi page just if someone wants to help out.

I should also note that my Ko-Fi page and the WIS Ko-Fi page are entirely separate. Donations to this blog go to me personally. The Shadows Crew is a group project, meaning that donations there are shared between members. I just feel like I need to point that out since I’ve been fronting most of this for now. This is a group project. If any of you guys ever want to support our collective efforts in creating Valcrest, please refer to WIS for the upcoming donation buttons there. Not here.

For those of you who’ve been following this blog the longest… Only you know how many hours I’ve already poured into this. I cannot stress enough that spreading our content once it’s out is the greatest show of support anyone can give us. So keep that in mind for the near future.

And thank you for sticking around through all my inactivity.


Why You Should Put Yourself Out There

I posted a while back about how I’m a Terrible Writer. In that post, I was talking in a more technical sense. I’m not the best at grammar and I have a shit ton of things I need to work on as a writer. And I’m aware of that. That was basically the point of that post. I wasn’t putting myself down with it because understanding that you need to improve is a part of life. That was kind of the point I was trying to illustrate then.

As someone who has a bit of a history reviewing and commenting on what is basically amateur writing, though, I feel that I need to get one thing very clearly across. One deep-rooted belief of mine: your enjoyment dictates how good you are.

I read a lot of fan fiction, as you know. And fan fiction is great because… If you’ve read enough of it, you’ve seen it all. All types of skillsets, genres, points of view. Variety exists in fan fiction where, sadly, it doesn’t anywhere else in the writing world. And that’s because there is a lot less pressure to conform in the fan fiction community. At least, as an outsider, that’s how I perceive it. When you think ‘fan fiction’ you don’t think of a particular writing style. Certain tropes might come to mind, sure, you may immediately envision come self-insert OC that has no business in whatever fandom the fic refers to and fails miserably at just being a character, because… That does happen plenty, but if you’re a seasoned fic reader like I am, you’ll know there is much more beyond that.

As someone who’s seen a lot of what the fan fiction world has to offer, I can safely say that a lot of my favorite fics weren’t the best-written things ever. A lot of the time I actually have to put in some effort into reading a fic because the author’s English skills aren’t great or they don’t do paragraph breaks or, freaking, put a new line of dialogue in an actual new line and then I have to try and decipher who the heck is saying what.

But I do it. I do it because sometimes it is worth doing when you can tell the person is actually trying. I spent hours reading a Sonic fan comic the other day that had some of the worst English translation I’ve ever seen, but the plot was actually well thought out and the writer was so excited about putting up a new chapter. Their ANs always said something like “wow, next chapter is my favorite chapter. You don’t wanna miss it!” and I was like “Oh, well, if you think so…” *clicks next* >.>

And, you know, I was actually a little sad when it ended. It was a pretty good story at its core. There was genuine love put into it. And I don’t know about the rest of the world, but that speaks volumes to me. If someone writes a story for the love of it, trust me when I say, it shows. It counts for something. Even if I don’t like it, I can respect a genuine attempt; real effort. Because I can relate to it.

So here’s the question: should you put yourself out there or not?

First and foremost: Do you want to? Are you committed to your story? Do you need to write it? Do you need it to be read? If yes to all. Then absolutely.

Your writing isn’t perfect? Welp, you’re going to be met with criticism sometimes. It is going to put people off from finishing even your first paragraph. Yeah, you’re gonna get a lot of ‘textbook’ writing advice on all the little writing rules you need to follow to meet standards of ‘real writing’. Assuming a lot of people read it, that’s guaranteed to happen.

Support isn’t. Support isn’t guaranteed. It may never happen. People might not read, they might never say anything if they do read; even if they like it and keep coming back. And you might continuously wonder if whatever views you’re getting are because your writing is good or because some line you put in somewhere keeps showing up on Google searches a lot. These are things I wonder a lot about this blog. Because I’ve become so inconsistent with posting, but I keep getting views on my fan fiction posts daily. The other day I got an email saying that my stats were booming. If you’re all keeping track, it’s been a while since I last posted anything. So, again, it’s not guaranteed and what you get might not tell you much about whether you’re doing the right thing or not.

Still, the title of this post suggests that my advice is to go through with it… Why?

Because these are all possibilities. And the reality of the situation, for you, is that if you never do it you’ll simply never know. I… I’ve been surprised in the past year and am constantly surprised with the amount of interest and support I received considering how little of Shadows Rise I’ve actively shared with people who weren’t beta reading it. The previews I posted on my deviant art are outdated at this point, even, but… Just the fact I’m on a computer writing this right now is proof that there were people out there who cared enough to put money into keeping me going.

And, let me tell you, even if we do have things like Patreon in the works for this when it launches, that was never something I expected. Even when I posted asking for donations I wasn’t expecting it to do anything, because why would it? I haven’t put out anything yet. There’s no payoff to any of this other than the promise you’ll be able to read something eventually. Still, apparently, people do want to read it. And that in itself is a pretty amazing incentive.

Do I still get criticism? Yes. I do. Plenty of it. Some of it was hurtful only because I’m aware of my limitations and I know that reaching the next level of skill might take me a little while. Simply put: I know this is the best I can offer right now. So when someone says they don’t even want to finish a chapter because it doesn’t meet their standards, that stings. It stays with you. And, at the end of the day, it’s not for me to say that just the possibility of support is worth putting yourself through it. That’s for you to decide.

My personal experience has been that yes. Yes, it is worth it. My take away from all of this is that people can and will surprise you if you let them. And maybe one day, enough people will tell me I don’t suck that I just might start believing it too. >.>