Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Oooo, Look At The Pretty Paints

I finally did it. I finally got my hourly-break-down calendar for the rest of the year. Ended up being one of those "academic calendars" so it goes from May through to August the following year. So it should hold me for quite a while.

Jotting down each main activity I do and roughly how long it took me is an awkward habit to try to build. I still have an hour or two each day this past week where I don't remember what I did since I forgot to write it down when I was done. Man, my memory is BAD. Either that, or my hour was filled with a whole bunch of little things - a phone call to a customer, looking something up, chit-chatting with my coworker, organizing my desk, etc - and I couldn't fathom after the fact that those little things all added up to an hour.

Either way, I have the majority of what I've been doing down for the week. There is both not much and a whole lot of wiggle room at work in regards to writing/reading time. I just feel guilty now if I'm not working round the clock. I'm coming up with projects that don't need to be done. Organizing things no one even thinks about. Creating databases no one asked for. Even my manager tells me to chill most days. When I was on commissions I was fine spending the day writing or reading. If there were no customers in the store it wasn't my fault I wasn't bringing in money. Read? Inventory fabric samples? It was all the same. I was either going to make minimum wage with my sales, or I was going to get paid out of draw.

Now that I'm hourly again, I feel guilty. They're paying me to help around the store. They're paying me to make things easier on the sales associates so they have an easier time closing sales. So if I'm reading instead of creating another database to simplify searches, then I feel guilty that I'm getting paid to sit around.


I blame my mom on that one....

So, yeah, definitely have more than enough time to read and write while at work, but now I feel guilty about it, so who knows if I'll do more than my half-hour lunch break?

Speaking of, I did start up a new book finally. I meant to do so shortly after finishing "Half Bad" in order to get a jump on next month, maybe even sneak two books in one month. Instead I went on a two-week hiatus from reading in an attempt to force myself to write instead of escape into a book. Clearly that didn't work.

Anyway, I'm now attempting my father-in-law's favorite book. He even lent me his "loan out" copy. Yes, he has multiple copies. I'm only about 20pages in, and I already had to stop, go back, and re-read some passages as I'm reading because of the flowery language. But at least I have the gist of the plot so far. I'm also a bit curious why every main character has to have his/her full name - first and last - written out each time. It's a bit unnecessary to me for "Eddie Willers" to be written out nearly every sentence instead of just "Eddie." Stranger still that there ARE a few sentences that just have "Eddie" instead of his full name. It's a weird ratio of three-pages where he's "Eddie Willers" then a paragraph where he's just "Eddie" and then another two-pages of "Eddie Willers" and then a full page of just "Eddie." I don't think Ayn Rand could make up her mind.

For those who might not know just based on my above paragraph, I'm now attempting "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. I haven't been loving the classics such as "1984" or "Dante's The Inferno," and "Atlas Shrugged" seems to be in the same vein for my tastes, but I made it through the other two, so I'm going to make it through this one. The other two I at least enjoyed the overall concept and plot, even if I didn't enjoy the writing or connected with the characters. So, here's hoping I at least enjoy the overall plot of "Atlas Shrugged." If nothing else, it's another classic I can check off the list.

But back to my hourly calendar.

I do and don't have time at work, but I definitely have time after work. I've just been spending my four hours doing a completely different hobby. I'm kind of proud of it, and it is soothing - same concept as adult coloring books - but it still isn't writing.

As I mentioned last week, Hubby and I have a game where miniatures could be painted to give them character and help distinguish between them. Well, last Wednesday Hubby was taught the basic techniques to painting minis. Ours are - as I expected them to be - a bit flat compared to the professionally painted ones I posted last week, mostly because we weren't shown yet how to do highlights and shadows on our minis. The closest thing we have is a paint that sort of does the shading for you as you coat the whole mini.

Anyway, Wednesday through Saturday I spent probably about four hours a night painting a starter squad from the core game in an attempt to get decent enough with the hobby to feel confident in painting my main clan.

The results aren't the prettiest, but they're still not bad either:
Just a reminder of what they look like unpainted.
I decided to start with the core-game's blue clan
They still need some touching up, but they're mostly done now.
This is the clan mystic: a madoushi
Clan fighters: kaiken
Archers, also known as yajiri
Specialized female ninjas: kunoichi
And finally the unit leader: the chunin
Like I said, not as polished and defined as the professional ones, but that's why they're the professionals. Painting minis is not easy. It is fun and relaxing, but it's not easy. Plus, I tend to overdo the paint which is why mine is a bit gloppy, especially with the skin tones....

Now, I could spend this week painting another starter clan to try to hone my technique, or I could write. I'm not going to lie that part of me wants to paint.

But I am starting to miss writing. I'm climbing back out of my slump, I guess, because before I was kind of "eh, I'm not writing, whatever" but now I'm back to feeling a bit guilty about it.

There are a lot of things, such as painting minis, where I'm decent at it. I'm passable. I'm not terrible. I may even be a touch better than your average novice. Crocheting is another crafting hobby where I'm mediocre. Video games, or all games in general, actually, are also fun, but I'm not exactly "great" at them. Even tedious things like creating spreadsheets for data entry. Yeah, I can get the job done and it works for people, but there's probably tricks to doing it easier or faster than I do it.

Everything I do, I'm kind of riding that mediocre middle-road. I'm not great. I'm not bad. I'm decent, or perhaps slightly above average, but nothing to make people "wow" over.

Everything I do, except writing, that is.

That is where my talent is. That is where people "wow" about me. That is where people ask for more. That is what people ask me for advice about. That is where I'm most comfortable in my talents.


I don't know. Maybe it's the fact that I have immensely loyal fans, but they number in the tens instead of the hundreds. Maybe it's because I'm afraid that if I give myself wholly to writing, find a project and stick with it, I might still come out not being published until I'm in my 60s, and I don't know if I can handle that.

I wanted to be married by the time I was 25. Kept me an extra three years.
I wanted to be in a career either within writing or video production. I managed that, but it only lasted three years and I haven't found that career path again since.
I wanted to have my own place instead of still renting by the time Hubby and I have been married 5 years. That came and went and we're still in the same apartment.
I wanted to be a mom by the time I was 30, and that clearly didn't happen. Still hasn't.
I wanted to be a published author - or a screenwriter with a movie in production - by the time I was 35, and that's not really shaping up to be a realistic goal either. Even pushing it back to 40 seems out-of-reach, and I don't know if I could handle another major life-goal milestone coming and going without being reached.

So, maybe that's it. Maybe I'm keeping my writing simply as a hobby out of fear. Maybe I'm avoiding it as a subtle white flag that I submit that it's never going to happen.

But, how COULD it happen if I don't even try!?

GAAAAH! It's so annoying to know in my head that I'm good. Know in my head that I HAVE to keep trying otherwise there's no hope in hitting my goal. Know in my head that I WILL be rejected, but that doesn't mean I won't find the right book/agent/publisher/audience combination eventually. Know in my head that even if it does take me until I'm 50 or 60 to be published that a lot of great authors had a late start.

It's so hard to KNOW all of this, and yet have my heart still not completely in it. My heart is still going "ooo, shiny" with story ideas so that I never fully commit to one. My heart is still thinking "if I don't actually try, then I never actually fail." My heart is still nervous that I'm only good within my small community - high school, college, local library - but not good enough on the grand scale of the world or even my country - as "evidenced" by my low readership on DeviantArt, FictionPress, and FanFiction.

How to combat this? How to shut off that critic that's becoming more and more vocal? How to let my head take control again?

I have to work through this. I have to figure it out. I have to toughen through it.

I have to also find my writing journals.....

Sadly, I did a lot of shuffling things around the past week or so, and I'm not entirely sure where I put my writing journal. So I don't have a "new" writing practice for you to read today. I'll post two for next week to make up for it.

In the meantime, if anyone has any advice, I'm all ears.

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