Art Anxieties and Other Adventures

Hello dear readers.

I hope today finds you well.

I am coming to you live from my new art making nook:

wri
Newly dedicated writing and arting space. Also fuzzy.

I keep trying to figure out how to convince my heater that warm does not mean melting all the clocks in the house with epic heat and that likewise cold that stops time dead is not appreciated. These extremes should not be the only settings available, but my heater is unaware of this fact.

Even though it’s not going very well with the heater, other things are going VERY well for me, some for the first time in a long time:

  • Goth Gal is almost a year old and no one has threatened me to stop making comics or face the fish of pain.
  • Goth Gal is now on Tapastic and will hopefully be seen (and liked) by more!
  • My novel is almost two years old–still in first draft editing mode because life interrupted my plans.
  • I have a brand new freaking awesome professional art board to create stuff with thanks to donations from patrons at Patreon and GoFundMe.
  • I just sold my two paintings for the first time to a non-friend/non-family person.
  • And I was just promoted in my part time job to a much higher position.

Things are going well.

So why am I paralyzingly worried?

I should be dancing on the moon in a full on conga line with some little green (or gray) men (or women) right about now. Instead I find myself worrying that I will now not have time for art.

This may sound selfish to some. I know there are plenty who can’t get a job, let alone get promoted in a position that lets them work from home in their pajamas. This is the college dream–well this is someone’s college dream anyway. I saw enough pajama pants on campus to know that. Still, please don’t get the wrong idea: I am so overwhelmingly grateful and excited that I don’t know quite what to feel…but I am also downright terrified.

Why, you may ask?

My first thought after the excitement of the offer fizzled down was what if I don’t have time for art?! I then readily followed a bunny trail of thoughts down a dark road that involved my dreams being locked away in drawers as I was forced to deal with the practical things of life until I died of old age or alien invasion–whichever comes first.

 

now-im-a-superhero
Not my art. Anxiety Girl belongs to Natalie Dee (as far as I can tell).

 

In my epic level disaster scenario (which oddly does not include zombies at all), I age rapidly while my dreams abandon the obviously failed artistic writer person in search of sunnier shores (read people who make money off of their art and don’t have to work a non-art job). Right about now is when my more logical side started giving me the Ben Franklin stare-of-discomfort ™:

960
This is the face of a man who has seen things, or had his parking space stolen–hard to say.

My logical side knows all sorts of stories about all sorts of people who made it while doing a normal person job but it also knows stories of those who had everything going for them and somehow did not make it. (That latter part was really unhelpful logical side!) The one helpful thing my logical side did point out (before I stuffed it back in its cage) is that dreams are not in fact separate entities, so they can’t technically run away.

So, how am I managing this unhelpful fear of change/life/dreams/art?

Up until now, I’ve been working major overtime at work, helping other people with various things, hanging out with friends when possible (I’m so sorry Blanka–I totally forgot until yesterday and I really did have a message sitting in “send”. I WAS NOT FLAKING ON YOU!), and doing all the other things people have to do in life to stay alive.

All of that really needs to change.

The new position means I don’t need to work overtime. Being that I’ve been working almost 80 hours a week for several months and doing Goth Gal and doing all the other stuff, this is a HUGE relief (I began this job as a part time job…life had other ideas). However, a leadership position means more time in other ways. Plus, even without overtime, it is still hard to work a job and create art. And for me it may be harder than for most because I have some remnants from my major health issues of last year that I am still battling. I will be taking some health steps soon in an attempt to cleanse all of that–but that’s another post for another day.

So, to fix my quandary, and make sure my dreams are fed and watered properly, I am setting up some boundaries!

Yay–wait what?

I know, it sounds kind of boring, and vaguely like an adult thing… and even maybe not inclusive. Really though it’s more like YAY! because it is inclusive and I am totally NOT adulting.

Really.

So boundaries, how can they help?

Well Tim, boundary inc. guarantees that as long as you enforce their patented boundary technology, you will be able to decide things and mostly stick to those decisions.

Subject to terms and conditions, special offers do not apply, not applicable in the case of natural disasters or health issues.

Or, in other words, I’m blocking off specific days and times for art. I’m also overhauling my schedule completely. I will do art in time slots before work because that is the only way I can really stick with this. Different strategies will work for different people, but this is what it has to be for me. Nothing but art will fill these specific slots because I will guard them like a rabid hyena. That’s my job. In return for providing them some dedicated time, the dreams with stick around with me as long as I feed them.

Which is why I am sitting here typing this at 6am…my eyes hurt.

Normally, I don’t get into work until noon. This means I’m up all night then get up and go to work. Unfortunately this also means that by the time I get to me time, or art time, or writing time, I am tired and I don’t have much drive left to push myself with. So, I end up giving myself permission to take off JUST THIS ONCE. Which of course becomes JUST ABOUT EVERY TIME.

So, from now on, I get up in the wee hours of the morning and I get to arting and writing and my million and one projects that are always flowing through my head screaming PICK ME!!!!! This is also why I made the new nook. I need a space my brain doesn’t associate with my normal job that is easy to get to when I’m bleary eyed. (Right now I am convinced coffee is nature’s superpower). I have also dedicated my weekends to creating deadline specific art so that I am not overwhelmed during the week with it. And I am going to take at least 30 minutes to write every single day. Arting needs to be as much a priority in my life as eating, sleeping and working for my paycheck.

No art can be created without TIME; it is one of the most important ingredients. Many of us (I am looking at you here dear readers) beat ourselves up about our imperfect art. Yet usually we are stealing moments in between other moments to be able to make the stuff in the first place. So in essence you and I are creating time in between the ticks of the clock. That’s magic as far as I am concerned.

Getting off of a full time job and working on your novel even though you are worn out is MAGIC. Painting even though you are going to school and working a part time job is MAGIC. Making videos and uploading them to Youtube even though you have crippling anxiety is MAGIC.

YOU ARE MAGIC!

Ongoing art making is nothing short of heroic. Ongoing art making when you have a million things vying for your time and you have to provide for your family is nothing short of miraculous. So good job to those of you making it despite the odds. To those of you making art in the wee hours of the night because you have to be somewhere in the early hours of the morning: I salute you and admire you, even though we might never meet. You are amazing people.

And to those of you who want to make art, but keep waiting because you are busy or tired or worried, it’s ok. Start small right this very minute. Try to take as little as 15 minutes each day to spend on art. You don’t need fancy tools–any pen and paper will do. My novel started out as random snippets doodled in notebooks and grew from there. Eventually you will find that what art gives back to you is greater than what you put into it. Don’t wait for life to give you the time, because there will always be a more practical thing waiting to fill it. You must take the time you need, life will not give it to you. The struggle is worth it. Somewhere, someone desperately needs your art.

Imagine a world where David Bowie didn’t try because he didn’t believe he was good enough. Even as we grieve his loss, we see his huge impact on the world. If he can do it, you can do it. If you aren’t sure this art thing that you want to try is really what you want, experiment. Art is everywhere if you are looking for it. You can try 50 different art forms until you find one that clicks with you. You don’t have to go all in at once. Work on little dreams. If you take some time out to care for your little dreams it gives them the chance to grow into big dreams.

Take time.

Make art.

Live.

Until later my dear readers. ❤

 

 

I Am Not the Best Thing Ever and That’s Okay

Hello dear readers!

It is currently a lovely *trying to pretend it’s fall* day.

It’s eighty degrees where I am, but there is a breeze…and some falling leaves.

It’s FALLLLLLLLL I tell you!

As you may have deduced, fall is my favorite season. It’s been that way as long as I can remember. I love the (typical) chill in the air, falling leaves, pumpkin EVERYTHING, and Halloween stuff everywhere (finally my music is seasonally appropriate).

Today’s musing is on not being the best–as you probably ascertained from the title. Before I get to that, a few words on my morning ritual.

My morning ritual is fairly drab. I wake up, check Facebook for a while, get tea or coffee or guru energy and some breakfast, and watch some Tales From the Darkside (or something similar) for a little while. Then I get about whatever I need to do that day.

This morning I was perusing Facebook like normal when I came across some very good art by the amazing sakimichan (warning, some of her stuff is NSFW). I perused her awesome art with a feeling that began as awe and became insecurity as I looked.

In my head I was comparing my art to hers. Mine, I felt, would be at home in preschool, while hers belonged in galleries. (The logical part of my brain neglected to toss in that my main career choice is actually writing and I have no real technical training in art.) As I struggled with these feelings, I decided to try painting a character into existence.

Normally I am very line focused. I create a line drawing in pen or digital–pencil I always manage to smudge too much. Then I focus on coloring, shading and all the rest. So, today I started with blobs of paint in a human-ish shape and went from there. One hour later, here was the result:

Blue Experiment
Blue Experiment

Now, this is a far cry from Sakimichan. I was frustrated with myself. I mean really why couldn’t I simply draw something like this:

Source: http://sakimichan.deviantart.com/art/Sci-Fi-Elf-398195577
Source: http://sakimichan.deviantart.com/art/Sci-Fi-Elf-398195577

Then, I stopped to think about it. My girl looks fairly human, and her hair (which took FOREVER) has an effect I’ve never seen before… I actually decided I liked the drawing. I had challenged myself and created something new–not bad.

I went on with my morning (website updates GALORE today) then hopped over to my patreon to see if anything needed updated. I started looking into other patreon members…and went through basically the same frustrating process as I had with my art. My thoughts went something like: I am broke. My art is not making money. All these other very good people are. My art must suck, or maybe my jokes suck, or maybe…marketing?

My mum is a business type person, I am not. Marketing myself is like some foreign  language that I need a translator for. It doesn’t help that I despise false positivity. I refer to the EVERYTHING IS GREAT WE DO NOT FEEL NEGATIVES EVER culture that pervades corporate reality in my experience. I am not dissing genuine happiness and optimism. Being happy is totally great. So, my brain sort of hisses at words like “marketing” and “branding” and other terms like them when I apply them to myself.

However, I decided to be brave. Maybe my own artistic self was getting in my way. (Read: maybe I didn’t suck as much as I thought.) I looked up web marketing for oneself. It was like a bizarre labyrinth of bright colors, bad web design and BUY BUY BUY NOW NOW NOW. After a few hours, I found very little useful info that common sense and normal internet use wouldn’t provide. In other words, I found NOTHING. I gave it up as a bad job and stared at other people’s patreon pages trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong. Loading Artist for example is great and funny and living off of his art. (Way to go Loading artist!)

I still haven’t figured out what I’m doing wrong.

I did, however, figure out some interesting things about myself:

1 – I make art for me.

If you are making art only for others, you will quit long before you make any impact on the world. I thought about what would happen if Goth Gal or my other projects never made me a dime. Would I stop doing it?

Nope.

I love making Goth Gal. I make her first and foremost for me. I’m glad I get to share her with everyone else, but I would still make this comic, even if I was the only person on the planet. Maybe that sounds weird, but I’ve been doodling her in notebooks for years now just for me.

2 – I am my only real competition.

I am not competing against the talented Sakimichan, or Loading Artist, or anyone else, not really. I am competing with myself. I try to improve because I want to make the best thing I can possibly make, not because I compare myself to those around me.

I do realize that, as a human being in a world of human beings, there are times I will compare myself to others. That’s okay, as long as I don’t get stuck there. It’s okay as long as it doesn’t poison the passion I have to create, the heart of my creativity you might say. (You can’t spell heart without art, after all.)

3 – I’m not the best and that’s okay.

Artists, Writers, Musicians and others like them are a strange breed. We aren’t so much competing against each other as swimming with each other in the same impossibly large ocean. Learning how to navigate it and survive is difficult, but not impossible.

In other words, I don’t have to be the best, I have to be my best.

That distinction may seem tiny, but to me, it’s the difference between beating myself up with comparisons and being able to enjoy the other artists around me.

After these realizations, nothing external changed. I’m still broke, I still have the exact same problems, I still wonder how to do this thing called life…but now I feel better about it. I can enjoy the swim instead of dragging my fins. As one great fishy once said, just keep swimming.

I hope this helps another fishy out there.

PS – I just published my first set of goth gal comics on the amazon kindle store.

Q1 - Cover

Volume One contains the first 60 comics in high quality format. Visit this link to check it out! Kindle is compatible with PC, Mac, iOS, Android and of course kindle devices. If you have kindle unlimited you can read it for free too! Goth on!

I Am Not the Best Thing Ever and That's Okay

Hello dear readers!

It is currently a lovely *trying to pretend it’s fall* day.

It’s eighty degrees where I am, but there is a breeze…and some falling leaves.

It’s FALLLLLLLLL I tell you!

As you may have deduced, fall is my favorite season. It’s been that way as long as I can remember. I love the (typical) chill in the air, falling leaves, pumpkin EVERYTHING, and Halloween stuff everywhere (finally my music is seasonally appropriate).

Today’s musing is on not being the best–as you probably ascertained from the title. Before I get to that, a few words on my morning ritual.

My morning ritual is fairly drab. I wake up, check Facebook for a while, get tea or coffee or guru energy and some breakfast, and watch some Tales From the Darkside (or something similar) for a little while. Then I get about whatever I need to do that day.

This morning I was perusing Facebook like normal when I came across some very good art by the amazing sakimichan (warning, some of her stuff is NSFW). I perused her awesome art with a feeling that began as awe and became insecurity as I looked.

In my head I was comparing my art to hers. Mine, I felt, would be at home in preschool, while hers belonged in galleries. (The logical part of my brain neglected to toss in that my main career choice is actually writing and I have no real technical training in art.) As I struggled with these feelings, I decided to try painting a character into existence.

Normally I am very line focused. I create a line drawing in pen or digital–pencil I always manage to smudge too much. Then I focus on coloring, shading and all the rest. So, today I started with blobs of paint in a human-ish shape and went from there. One hour later, here was the result:

Blue Experiment
Blue Experiment

Now, this is a far cry from Sakimichan. I was frustrated with myself. I mean really why couldn’t I simply draw something like this:

Source: http://sakimichan.deviantart.com/art/Sci-Fi-Elf-398195577
Source: http://sakimichan.deviantart.com/art/Sci-Fi-Elf-398195577

Then, I stopped to think about it. My girl looks fairly human, and her hair (which took FOREVER) has an effect I’ve never seen before… I actually decided I liked the drawing. I had challenged myself and created something new–not bad.

I went on with my morning (website updates GALORE today) then hopped over to my patreon to see if anything needed updated. I started looking into other patreon members…and went through basically the same frustrating process as I had with my art. My thoughts went something like: I am broke. My art is not making money. All these other very good people are. My art must suck, or maybe my jokes suck, or maybe…marketing?

My mum is a business type person, I am not. Marketing myself is like some foreign  language that I need a translator for. It doesn’t help that I despise false positivity. I refer to the EVERYTHING IS GREAT WE DO NOT FEEL NEGATIVES EVER culture that pervades corporate reality in my experience. I am not dissing genuine happiness and optimism. Being happy is totally great. So, my brain sort of hisses at words like “marketing” and “branding” and other terms like them when I apply them to myself.

However, I decided to be brave. Maybe my own artistic self was getting in my way. (Read: maybe I didn’t suck as much as I thought.) I looked up web marketing for oneself. It was like a bizarre labyrinth of bright colors, bad web design and BUY BUY BUY NOW NOW NOW. After a few hours, I found very little useful info that common sense and normal internet use wouldn’t provide. In other words, I found NOTHING. I gave it up as a bad job and stared at other people’s patreon pages trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong. Loading Artist for example is great and funny and living off of his art. (Way to go Loading artist!)

I still haven’t figured out what I’m doing wrong.

I did, however, figure out some interesting things about myself:

1 – I make art for me.

If you are making art only for others, you will quit long before you make any impact on the world. I thought about what would happen if Goth Gal or my other projects never made me a dime. Would I stop doing it?

Nope.

I love making Goth Gal. I make her first and foremost for me. I’m glad I get to share her with everyone else, but I would still make this comic, even if I was the only person on the planet. Maybe that sounds weird, but I’ve been doodling her in notebooks for years now just for me.

2 – I am my only real competition.

I am not competing against the talented Sakimichan, or Loading Artist, or anyone else, not really. I am competing with myself. I try to improve because I want to make the best thing I can possibly make, not because I compare myself to those around me.

I do realize that, as a human being in a world of human beings, there are times I will compare myself to others. That’s okay, as long as I don’t get stuck there. It’s okay as long as it doesn’t poison the passion I have to create, the heart of my creativity you might say. (You can’t spell heart without art, after all.)

3 – I’m not the best and that’s okay.

Artists, Writers, Musicians and others like them are a strange breed. We aren’t so much competing against each other as swimming with each other in the same impossibly large ocean. Learning how to navigate it and survive is difficult, but not impossible.

In other words, I don’t have to be the best, I have to be my best.

That distinction may seem tiny, but to me, it’s the difference between beating myself up with comparisons and being able to enjoy the other artists around me.

After these realizations, nothing external changed. I’m still broke, I still have the exact same problems, I still wonder how to do this thing called life…but now I feel better about it. I can enjoy the swim instead of dragging my fins. As one great fishy once said, just keep swimming.

I hope this helps another fishy out there.

PS – I just published my first set of goth gal comics on the amazon kindle store.

Q1 - Cover

Volume One contains the first 60 comics in high quality format. Visit this link to check it out! Kindle is compatible with PC, Mac, iOS, Android and of course kindle devices. If you have kindle unlimited you can read it for free too! Goth on!

Sometimes I Am Not Funny

Bonsoir!

I hope you are well dear readers.

I am having a grand, but strange day right now. I have a new hobby. I don’t know if you can call something that has absorbed all my thought for several days a hobby (I tend to obsess over things), but I intend it as a hobby.

When I was small, I loved watching late night television. It was not just any program that interested me, I needed horror. I needed to sink my fangs into something scary–the spookier the better! I’ve mentioned that I wanted to be a mad scientist as a child. I did not explain that this was so I could live i the same world as the monsters I adored from media.

My child brain assumed the horror hosts like the Cryptkeeper of Tales from the Crypt, Big Chuck and Lil John from the show of the same name and the other horror hosts lived in the same world as the monsters. Some of the hosts were monsters themselves (Cryptkeeper, Vampira). I didn’t know how one might become a monster, but I knew that mad scientists were often stars of the show. I knew that they went around creating monsters from nothing. It wasn’t long before I had decided this was my path.

My career choice set, I tried many, many, MANY ways to become a mad scientist. This post is not about those. I might do a post about those adventures later if anyone is interested, but today’s post is not that post. I only mention my childhood obsession to explain my new hobby. I am going to become a horror host. If you don’t know what that is, I am so sorry. Please go google it or watch American Scary on amazon/iTunes/your media provider of choice.

Here are some of the great, legendary horror hosts:

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Zacherley, Shock Theatre
Zacherley, Shock Theatre
Vampira, generally regarded as the 1st Horror Host
Vampira, generally regarded as the 1st Horror Host

Vampira was inspired by Morticia Addams by the way:

rexfeatures390873nm
Normal is just an illusion. What is normal to the spider is chaos to the fly.

I adore Morticia. I actually adore the entire Addams family, but she has a special place in my black little heart. When I have a finished video up, I will post a link here. Until then I will leave you this experiment of mine to imagine with:

11229407_1657191521182406_5746623694344677081_n
Hello Ghouls!

This post however is not really on horror hosts or monsters, as I keep saying. I’ll try not to get distracted again (it is hard!). I only mention such things because this post does have to do with a particular kind of monster. The “it’s no good” monster:

Artist Rendering of the It's No Good Monster
Artist Rendering of the impossible to photograph It’s No Good Monster

The it’s no good monster mucks about in creative spaces. It boldly declares that art isn’t good enough. It criticizes the particulars of each piece with distinctive viciousness. It does not sleep; it needs no rest. It is always at the ready wherever and whenever art is being born. To a baby piece of art the art monster can be particularly devastating. Those brave souls who dare to study the art monster have found only one weakness in its vast metallic body: the “magical so what formula“.

It works like this. The it’s no good monster slithers into the room focused on an unsuspecting baby art. The baby art is displayed proudly. It sits, waiting to be seen, trying not to tremble with too much excitement. The It’s no good monster begins to criticize: The lines are wrong. The proportioning is off. The colors are bad. The work is bad. IT’S NO GOOD!

In the past you might have tried to parry words with the it’s no good monster. This is a trap that never works. The it’s no good monster does not care. It ignores your reasoning and attacks the art even more viciously than before. When the it’s no good monster begins to criticize respond with the magical SO WHAT? formula as quickly as possible.

It might look something like this:

I.N.G. Monster: The lines are bad.

Artist: So what?

I.N.G. Monster: The proportioning is off.

Artist: So what?

I.N.G. Monster: The colors are bad.

Artist: So what?

At this point the artist could even throw in an “I like it that way.” or “That’s on purpose” formula in there. The monster will most likely get to its main weapon now.

I.N.G. Monster: IT’S NO GOOD.

Artist: SO WHAT?

The it’s no good monster will have nothing left to respond with, so it’s best at this point to throw in a few “I like it” and “it’s beautiful”. The monster, having been defeated, will slither back to it’s smelly cave. It might try a few more things if it is a particularly nasty beastie, or, it might slither out again in five minutes ready for another round. Stick with the so what? magical formula. The monster cannot really deal with it.

I had my most recent fight with the it’s no good monster yesterday. I made a new comic in Goth Gal, like I do every Friday. It had been a struggle to create a comic that day. I was feeling pretty down and I find it particularly difficult to be funny when I am down. However, I had managed create a comic and to publish it before 7pm–the day was beginning to look up. I stretched and waited for people laugh at it, like it, comment on it–the works.

Nothing happened online. Normally I at least get one or two likes. (at the time of this posting there is actually one like, but there wasn’t yesterday.) No one around me got it either. I don’t know why. I thought it was ok. Certainly not as great as some of the comics, but not bad either. Still, everyone has off days. I doubt if there is a single comic in existence that is 100% funny 100% of the time. I’ve realized that this imperfection thing is normal.

Being human is all about contradictions. I am kind, cruel, afraid, courageous, powerful, weak, confident and hesitant all at the same time. And that’s ok. I came across a post today on tumlbr’s post it forward page that said something like “artists can get hung up on the imperfections, but those imperfections are part of what make the masterpiece.” The post was referring to one’s body, but I think it can apply to anything anyone makes. The point is: you can’t let the inevitable imperfections keep you from creating.

Sometimes I feel like it’s no good, but SO WHAT? I did it. I made that thing. I created something that wasn’t there before I put it there. I pushed myself to use my talent, to do something I enjoy, to make art. It does not matter if it’s good or right or near perfect, it matters that I made it. It matters that I keep making it, despite the doubts and fears and it’s no good monsters that I, as an artist, face every day.

Who...me?
Facing Face of Faceness   

Sometimes I am not funny…and that’s ok.

Future Diary

Bon apres-midi!

It is sunny, sunny, SUNNY where I am. This may effect my writing. I shall apologize now for what will inevitably be an overuse of exclamation points, CAPS LOCK and/or bubbly text.

Now that that’s out of the way…on to the show!

The delay in writing here has been due to a variety of factors including, but not limited to: moving, project work and, of course, the artist’s natural self doubt. (More on that last part a little later in this post.)

Moving is HARD. Moving to a home that you love helps soften the blow, but it is exhausting in mind body and soul. The last month has been a Mobius strip of packing, sorting, moving, unpacking, sorting, moving…you get the idea. Now I am basically moved in, but I still have plenty of unpacking/sorting to do. For a more amusing and detailed idea of how it is to move with me, please click here. This will take you to part one of six in “The Moving Saga”, a miniseries in my comic Goth Gal.

In other non-comic related news, you may recall a few months ago I said I was working on a secret thing? Well, secret is out: I applied for an art program and was accepted. Yay! In case you’re scratching your head right now and saying something like “Wait, aren’t you a WRITER?”, yes! I am in fact a writer, but I am also an artist. I feel that I have progressed as far as I can in my own art without some sort of guidance. I want to be able to write and illustrate my own books, especially my children’s books. For this, I need some training…badly. So, come the Fall 2015 semester, yours truly will be attending Graduate school.

It is now that I wish to turn my attention to a little discussion on HOPE. (I told you we would get here.) I hate hope. HATE. Hope far too often has equaled extreme disappointment in my life. Someone once asked me what my hopeful expression was, I couldn’t answer them right then and there because I didn’t really know. So, I thought about something I was hesitantly hopeful about and to my surprise my face morphed into a distrustful mask of skepticism. Oops?

I have since discovered that hope is very important. As children, we have to have hope so powerfully that the mind will twist all of reality to create hope if it has to. For some, this means that abusive parents become the “good” guys while they in turn are transformed into the “bad” guy. See, you have no power over your parents, but you can change yourself to be “better” if you want to fix things. Unfortunately, this screws up a lot of other things. This happened to me. Not fun, I can tell you. The power of hope can be amazing, but also terrifying.

In an effort to provide hope during a period when I had none, I came up with a random idea that I will now share with you. If it helps you, please let me know. Post pictures. Say stuff. TELL SOMEONE! Pass it on to people you love who need some hope. I really want this thing to spread like fire because I find it so helpful for my chronic skepticism.

ARE YOU READY FOR THE THING?!?!?!!?

REALLY?!

OK!

I call it the FUTURE DIARY.

(If that sounds familiar you have awesome taste in anime. Note: this in no way resembles the anime, it’s just the name for the thing. You can sit back down now and not worry that someone is going to try to assassinate you…seriously SIT BACK DOWN.)

Ahem.

The way it works is pretty simple.

Step One:

Get a bank notebook, journal, sketchbook, or any other blank mass of paper somehow held together. Mine looks like this (yes that is a duplicate of River Song’s notebook–I love you guys!):

If I Could Write As Mysterious as a Cat
If I Could Write As Mysterious as a Cat

Find a pen–any pen will do. Open the notebook and write This is the Future Diary of YOUR NAME. (Feel free to add a tagline.) This notebook is now SACRED. You can only use it for your Future Diary. I wrote in mine like so (drawings are optional):

Warning: Spoilers
Warning: Spoilers

Step Two:

You pick something you are having trouble hoping for. This could be ANYTHING. You could pick a possible promotion, getting accepted somewhere like Grad school, meeting “the one”…the possibilities are endless. You pick a topic.

Step Three:

Pick a random spot in the notebook. As a rule of thumb, I put my larger hopes (i.e.- those things that will probably take longer to fulfill) further back in the notebook and the more everyday style hopes closer to the beginning of the notebook. You can also do these in order if you want. I prefer the randomness thing…obviously.

Pages Waiting to Be Filled
Pages Waiting to Be Filled

Step Four:

This is the most crucial step for the hope process. You must imagine your hope being fulfilled. Imagine how it smells, how it feels, where you are, what you can hear etc. The more detail you can get in there the better. Then you write that down as if it’s already happened, like you would in a normal diary.

NOTE: If you can’t imagine whatever it is, you should pick another hope that you can imagine. For example, I couldn’t hope for grad school, so I didn’t write it down. I could hope for being a world famous author, so I went with that. (Yes, I know…no idea why, but this is how my brain works.)

Step Five:

Keep at it. Keep thinking up hopes and writing them in the notebook. It’s okay if you entry is crazy detailed and then the actual event is quite different. We are not clairvoyant, we are non-hopers trying to hope. (And, if you are clairvoyant, why are you reading this?) You may surprise yourself with the results. I was having a really bad day when I came up with this idea. After I did several entries, I felt like I was on cloud nine. I was seriously dancing around the house. Scary, I know.

Step Six:

Pick a spot for your diary. It is now a SACRED object, it needs a SACRED spot. When you take it down to use it, make sure to put it back so you can always find it. Mine sits before the Great Nameless Owl:

The Great Nameless Owl Guards the Future Diary
The Great Nameless Owl Guards the Future Diary

Step Seven:

GO OUT AND DO THE THINGS! Don’t let the diary be the end, let it be the beginning. Let it inspire you to go accomplish the things you want to, to chase your dreams and fight your fears. In short, write then LIVE. Living is the point here dears. Living is what too many forget to do in modern society. I don’t know who said it, but I once read a quote that went something like: “Don’t live the same day for seventy years and call it a life.”

So, you.

Yes YOU!

GET OUT THERE!

LIVE!

GO MAKE ART!

And I’ll share with you a little something future Madison told present day me:

Thanks Future Madison!
Thanks Future Madison!

So there you are. That’s what I’m doing right now. Feel free to take the idea and experiment like crazy with it until you find what works for you.

I will, from now on, be updating this journal weekly. Every Saturday, you can expect an update from yours truly. Thank you to Problems With Infinity for giving me the motivation to make this a regular thing. If you haven’t checked out her blog you should.

So dare to be hopeful and write your futures the way you want dear readers!

Stormy Seas and Story Skies

Bonjour!

I hope things are going well for you this chilly morning.

I have not abandoned this blog; I have been working on a ton of projects recently. While I don’t mean the literal 1,000 lbs that “a ton” implies, it seems awfully close to it at times.

I have not been working on the novel for a few months now. This is mostly due to my intensely judgmental views of my own work. I tend to write a chapter, then rip it apart, then rewrite the same chapter and repeat. Pretty easy to fall into a depressing malaise if you keep that up for long. I intend to break this malaise starting today. Time to move that plot along with a barbaric YAWP! (Internet high five if you got the reference!)

Yesterday I felt stupid. I did not feel stupid for any sane, rational or even logical reason. I felt stupid because I had created a patreon for one of my projects. See, I decided that the low traffic on the website of said month-old project meant that it didn’t deserve a patreon, or some nonsense like that.

(rant: I’m not mentioning which project, patreon links, etc. because I am really trying not to beat people over the head with this. This is a journal designed to communicate with the world, not advertise. /end rant)

It took a friend pointing out the logic fail inherent in this thought pattern before I could see it clearly. She said something along the lines of “Well if you don’t put it out there, no one can decide if they like it or not…”. I am butchering her words (sorry dear!), but the idea is there.  It is at this point that I realized this was my self doubt rearing its multifaceted head. My brain immediately travelled in two different directions with this newfound knowledge:

The path of art doubt:

I have always doubted that my art is “good enough”. Always. It’s like the awful feeling that stress testers get right before an exam, except it revolves around your child..er, I mean art. (Yes, my arts are my children.) Don’t ask me who could deem my art worthy. As far as I know there is no benevolent art deity who can give my art the high holy seal of art approval. Even as I sit writing this I have to fight not to give it up as a bad job.

Yet fight I do. I MUST create art. My writing, my drawings, my fashions, my crafts, my single attempt at a floral arrangement, they all come from a need to create. It is this need that keeps me pushing despite the glacier of self doubt that I keep bumping into. I think in some ways all this critical thinking helps the art be better than it might otherwise be, but in other ways it can choke the life out of the thing.

All things in balance.

The path of people doubt:

At the time of writing I have a total of 9 twitter followers. I think there are animals on twitter with higher numbers okay. I really am not good at being social in real life, so it comes as no great shock that I’m not very good at it online. This number has risen to as many as 15 before, but those were the people who click follow so you’ll follow them back. I do NOT do this. I in fact am vehemently against this. To me this defeats the point of twitter, social media etc: connecting with what you actually CONNECT with. If you want to boost your numbers just to boost your numbers, don’t waste your time with me. I don’t play that game. I follow people or companies (or animals) that I genuinely find interesting, or inspiring, or a hundred other ing words.

This disturbing “numbers are all” trend is the same across instagram, tumblr, facebook, google+ and any other social media. This is why spam accounts have become an epidemic on such platforms. When you take the element of connection out of anything with the word social in it, you kill it. What was organic and alive and evolving has become an empty vacuous thing that nobody recognizes anymore.

All of the lovely artists (By artist, I mean anybody who creates anything.) making it and connecting with their fans and creating art is WONDERFUL. I love this stuff. I love that I am able to keep up day to day with people who inspire me, awe me or are just freaking epic. Sadly, it also makes the critic in me compare my own serious lack of connection with those who are killing it. It does not make me jealous that they are successful, it makes me criticize everything I have ever made. Silly right? Recently, I make sure to remind myself that at one point in time everyone who has ever made it (however they, you or anyone else defines “making it”) was an unknown person swimming in the sea of humanity. They failed, they fought, they made art and eventually, after much effort, it worked out.

Most importantly, as a lovely little fish so famously said, they kept swimming.

So keep swimming!

Until next time, dear readers.

Thanks for reading! <(~_~)>

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PS – Also, Goth Gal is a comic that I have been creating for a while in my spare time, but it has only recently been released to the internet. If you like what you see here, please go check her out at gothgal.net

GG
Hey. I’m Goth Gal.

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PPS – Here is an inspirational wallpaper I made a little while ago to inspire more writing (click the image to see the large version):

Dory writing
Dory is AWESOME. I love Disney.