There is something to be said for fun

I’ve been working on my second novel for The Half Blood Sorceress series for a while, and pushing through the knots I made in the plot, trying to unravel everything. It was getting to the point I just didn’t want to look at it anymore.

So I set it aside for a week and wrote something different. Here we have a graph showing my word count per week since the beginning of this year. This week I set aside my usual work and I wrote a litRPG. I’m currently about half way done with it, and loving it. I love that the words came so easily, even though I didn’t really have a plot at the beginning. But the plot really took a hold, and after talking to Bjorn about it a bit he asked a couple questions and that made the plot so much better. It became a full story instead of just a little snippet of an adventure.

So far I have written at least twice as much each day on this new story. Something about it is just fun to write. And that fun keeps me coming back to it, writing more.

I think the Half Blood Sorceress became work instead of fun once the plot got so out of hand that I was actually considering rewriting ten chapters instead of just editing it. I’m still considering rewriting, or dropping a few of the chapters, and that doesn’t seem like much fun, so of course I have put it off some more. But don’t worry, I won’t be doing that forever, just for this week.

You know that saying “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? It isn’t entirely true. Bjorn works a lot, and he loves what he does. But even when you love what you do there are some days when it isn’t as fun, and he has to slog through a bit to try and get it complete. He keeps going because eventually the work will be done and he can get back to the fun part. There is something he loves just waiting for him to complete the slog so he can get back to the good part.

It’s the same with any skill, really. Learning a language? You have to practice. Learning an instrument? Repatition isn’t fun, but you learn faster that way. Writing? Sometimes you just have to push through and get it done. Throw away, cut, rewrite, and continue.

And sometimes you need to set it aside for a bit and have some fun. Knowing when to do that is the trick. Knowing what the best course of action, and what you can finish, makes a huge difference.


It got away with me…

3I have been trying to do VEDA (vlog every day in April) this month, but I am horrible at finding something to vlog about. Mostly I’m terrible at picking up my phone and vlogging even when I don’t feel like it. (Yesterday’s VEDA was about my board games.)


It’s like the same muscle you use to write, or do anything creative I think. You have to do it even when you don’t want it. It’s not learning to do that thing. I know how to vlog, and I know what works best for me to get the words out. I know that sometimes I have to stop the camera and start again, deleting the old footage. I know that I can’t really edit it much afterward or it will never get done. I know these things.

But the desire to do it, the…what is the word I’m looking for? The stick to it-ivness of things. Going on, and pressing forward even when you don’t want to do it. Tenacity? Persistence? Maybe both.

I think that mental muscle — the one that helps you do a thing that you want to do even when there is nothing in your life to help you do it, nothing to encourage you, no forth coming reward from doing it — has to be exercised like any other muscle in your body. The rewards are so intangible and distant that we have to persevere and find small rewards  before we find the large one at the end.

It’s like a dog getting a treat. You give him a treat for sitting, and he learns to sit when you tell him to. While all he cares about is the treat at first, the end result is a better environment, a happier home, and everyone has a better time of it in the end. But that end is so far off the dog can’t see that as the reward for his learning to sit on command. The two concepts can’t even meet in his mind, so instead he gets treats.

Humans, like dogs, can be trained in many ways. Our parents train us when we are younger. They teach us language, walking, sports. They influence our likes and dislikes. They teach us what is socially acceptable. And they even encourage self determination, or sitting in the back of the class and letting life happen to you.

Because that is what it all comes down to in the end. Are you sitting in the back of the class letting life happen to you, or are you actively chasing life by it’s tell and saying “this is what I want, this is what I’m doing, and this is how I’m going to try and get it. And if that doesn’t work then I’ll just try something else.”

My parents were very much of the first type. Sit down, shut up. Do as I say. Actually, it was more of a “we have our life, you go do anything that keeps you busy so you don’t interfere with our life.” My husband was the same. It was reinforced over and over for decades that I should be seen and not heard, and probably not seen most of the time either.

So I completely understand if you are having trouble taking initiative in your life. If you are having trouble coming out of the shadows and into the light. If you want to be seen and heard, and felt. If you want to be counted as a person with individual ideas and plans instead of part of the crowd. I understand, and I encourage it even when others are still telling you to sit down, shut up, and pay attention to what they are teaching. Even when the teachers are insisting that their way is the only way, so learn or get out. Even when the art council says “that’s not art because we don’t think so.” Even when every fiber in your body says “I want to sleep, or curl up on the couch and watch TV” instead of picking up the pen, or the paint brush, or the leather working tool.

I get it. I’m there with you. I want to create, but I also want to watch TV and read books. I want to lay out in the sun and watch the ocean dancing on the sand as the winds play over the vast expanse. I want to breath in the scent of delicate flowers, and fall into the soft nothingness of dreams.

And there is nothing wrong with all of those things. But the people who persevere, those who stretch that muscle that helps them to keep going even when everything is against them, they are the ones that will be remembered long after tomorrow has faded away. And that is a treat worth practicing for.