On Tricks & Treats

I never really understood April Fool’s as a thing. The concept of a day set aside to play pranks and tricks upon friends and unsuspecting strangers seemed at best foolish (assuming the prankster is genuinely good at pranks) and at worst cruel (what usually occurs since most people actually suck at pranks and tricks). For the most part, my friends and I have never really recognized the day or its festivities.since we are the kind of assholes that prefer our pranks with an element of surprise and psychological terror. (I swear we love each other very much)

Perhaps my distaste for the holiday has had some association with my distance from friends and groups that I would want to actually mess with. In truth, April 1st has become more about CampNaNoWriMo for me. It’s my own personal “treat” amid all the tricks. It is a month set aside to work on any personal creative project. While I try to get as much writing done as possible (like this blog and other places), there is something pleasant about committing to a specific project within a set time.

So, if you have any creative projects you’ve been putting off or wanting to start, I suggest you join the NaNoWriMo community and make April bow down to your will and dedication!!!!

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I WON NANOWRIMO!!!!

So the title pretty much says it all. On my third attempt, I finally was able to finish and win NaNoWriMo. My story is not quite done technically. I have a better conclusion in mind that I want to add to what I currently have, but i still wrote over 50,000 words on a brand new story in the month of November. It was not easy. At times, it kind of sucked, but I pushed through and still wrote.

I had wanted to keep up with this blog during the month of November, and I had managed to do so up till the last week. I was just too behind on word count and needed to concentrate solely on the NaNoWriMo project. Now, that it is done, I guess I’ll return to normal blog entries tomorrow. Or take a huge nap; haven’t yet decided.

Anyway, NaNo was fun. I kicked its ass. Hopefully some of you will join me next time around and slay the 50k word beast!

National Novel Writing Month! (NaNoWriMo)

Today marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for short. It is an annual challenge to anyone and everyone who believes they have a book in them. Take the month of November for yourself and finally write that story, book, or novel that you have inside you and put it to paper or screen or whatever.

I have attempted this task before and unfortunately failed in my attempt. I don’t know if this time will be any different, but it is always worthwhile to at least try. I managed to get a decent start today and hopefully will continue the momentum. I am going to try to keep up with this blog for the month of November without dying or stressing out.

We’ll see how it goes. To everyone else doing NaNoWriMo, best of luck and I’ll see you on the other side.

On Writing Goals/Challenges

I am currently in the midst of CampNaNoWrimo and my word count is not quite what it should be. Truth be told I have tried to complete the NaNoWrimo challenge a few times before and have fell short of the finish line. I am hoping that this time will be different and that I will manage to catch up on my writing project. *Fingers, toes, and other malleable appendages crossed*

This worry over my current writing challenge did get me thinking (unfortunately not writing so obviously my muse has a wicked sense of humor) about goals and challenges. We attempt various things in our lifetimes, and most will never be accomplished. Whether circumstance or apathy does not allow their completion, the truth is most of our goals will only be dreams in our heads.

Not the goals discussed but I miss the World Cup fervor.

Not the goals discussed but I miss the World Cup fervor.

Yet we continue to make lists and lists of achievement we wish to strive for and fervently pursue them. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we create these endgames? Is it merely the desire and need for hope of change and progress or do the things we labor for have some deeper intrinsic meaning for us?

I wish I could answer even half of those questions, but I do believe that the dreams we have are at least possible to attain. Hell, I have aspirations of being a published author and the stats on that fantasy are not forgiving. Still, having that in my back pocket makes me write as much as I can and read authors of all genres to expand my internal inventory and appreciation. Thus, even if I never see my name on the New York Times bestseller list, my life would have been enriched in some way by this pursuit of a pipe dream.

More in line with post.

More in line with post.

Maybe, that’s the best any of us can hope for. Perhaps it is the, at times, vain attempt of a challenge that benefits more than the end result. Who knows, but it is, admittedly, fun just to try.

On Transitions

Only image of transition I could find that wasn't glasses.

Only image of transition I could find that wasn’t glasses.

Transitions are hard. Seriously, they are damn near impossible to write well and in an interesting way. In my job, I try to explain to my students (English teacher y’all) why transitions in writing are so important. After all, explaining the medical benefits of marijuana usage (I swear this has been a chosen writing topic for years now) in one paragraph and then incarceration possibilities in the following may be jarring for a reader.

Thus, you need to be able to flow from one paragraph into another without much trouble or random sentences or ideas. Cotton candy is delicious. Otherwise, there might be a bit of confusion in relaying information or conversing with your audience. I have high hopes that whoever reads this has a sense of humor and poetic justice.

While transitions are important in writing and narrative works, they are of equal importance outside the borders of the page or screen. Currently, I still consider myself in transition from being a college graduate/student to a functioning, contributing adult. Who knows if I will ever really make the final push.

The truth is we are always in some state of transition and I don’t know if, as a species, we have gotten any better at managing these changes. Frankly, I hope so because, honestly, what is the alternative.

So, what phase(s) are you currently transitioning from or to? Any tips on how to make the trip a bit easier?

On Promotion

E3 has taken over California and certain social media sites. Truth be told, I have been watching virtually every available piece of coverage from the major video game and pop culture sites. I would wreck some shit for the opportunity to attend the Electronic Entertainment Expo someday. Seriously, just perform unspeakable acts for that golden ticket…

Anyhow, while I enjoy the coverage of announcements and trailers, the entire expo is, admittedly, a week long advertisement for the video game industry. It makes sense. When a company makes multi-million dollar projects, it would want a return on said investment. As much as we like to claim otherwise because of our supposedly developed selves, advertisements still work on us. So, for those that enjoy playing video games, E3 is a pretty effective method of promotion.

Of course, it would be. The companies involved, with the exception of the independent developers present, have creative marketing teams whose entire professions revolve around making video games appealing to massive audiences. The large budgets don’t hurt either. However, what about when you don’t have a separate team, immense budget, or promotional background? What about those of us that would prefer to just create something and hope that it will find an audience?

Obviously, this is not an effective method. When you are trying to create your own creative space with the eventuality of it being self sustaining, you do not really have the option of silence. Unlike large companies or established individuals, most up and coming creatives don’t have a team to do their marketing for them. As well, most creative types are not the most social individuals, so literally shouting out into the ether “Hey look at me and my stuff” tends to not be the easiest thing in the world.

How does one manage to promote their work without coming off desperate, annoying, or naive? Seriously, not a rhetorical question. Is there some special gene in certain people that they feel no shame and just go up to people without issue or concern? If so, can someone bottle that shit up and put it on sale because I will pre-order like 500 bottles. I know that in order for me to have any chance of having a career in a creative field, self promotion and marketing will play a necessary role, but how does one get comfortable wearing that particular hat?

I feel that I am just throwing questions into the miasma of the Internet without positing any type of response. Sorry about that, but I tend to use these posts to think things through and maybe get some response to my queries. Thus, I’ll leave it to you random readers: any thoughts on self-promotion? Love to hear a few…

On Endings

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Endings suck! Seriously. They are the most difficult and frustrating things. Even if you have the greatest ending in mind getting there usually proves impossible. Somehow, your perfectly constructed ending cares not for the story you created and prefers other narratives and story tellers. The characters you painstakingly created and breathed life into do not believe your tale and do not think you merit their efforts. In short, endings suck.

Well, they can anyways. Other times, a great ending ends up being the cherry on a superb sundae; just the right bit of sweetness to finish everything off. The right phrase to describe endings came to me from, of all things, a video game. It said, “Endings are just beginnings in disguise.” The best endings provide a worthy resolution but usually leave enough for the audience to imagine beyond the pages. Hence, the existence of fan fiction, in all its forms. (Be wary of the fan fiction and what you search for).

Around this time of year come a lot of endings. Students are graduating and moving on to the next part of their lives whatever that may be. Television shows are being canceled or renewed for a series of arbitrary reasons due to unclear reasons or numbers. Basketball teams are playing the last games of the seasons putting months, and really years, worth of work to a great championship winning end.

Basically a lot of things are ending, but really they are merely pausing to begin anew. Endings are hard because we consider them some sort of conclusion to the story in its entirety. Instead, we should consider endings simply pauses to that particular chapter. There will always be more story to tell even if you are not the right author to continue it. Finish your contribution and let the tale continue. After all, an ending is only a beginning in disguise.

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