Thursday, May 21, 2015

Baby Steps - Big Things Are Made of Smaller Things

In the beginning of May I talked about April being a tough month and had a fairly down revelation about what I was doing with my life. Today I'm following up on that, because, well, I figure if I started the whining on here I can continue with it.

So how have things been going?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Depression, Sickness, and Motivation

April was a rough month.

I don't say that to apologize for a lack of updates. I don't say it for pity. I say it because, to me, April was a rough month. Somewhere along the way I let the month get the best of me. This May, I'm trying to take my life back.

The thing is I live a very simple life. Whatever my dreams/goals, my life is ridiculously simple. Every day I wake up, I go to work, I come home from work, I play League of Legends with a friend, and I go to sleep. On the weekends I mix in table top RPGs with friends, and replace work with house chores.

That is it. That is my life. It's not even a bad life. There are people who would kill for this luxury.

Realistically, I am working towards two goals this year. I say realistically because they are the only things I am working on with any regularity. The goal I am working hardest on is I want to get Gold ranked in League of Legends. The goal I should be working hardest on is I want to be a published author able to make a living off of my writing.

So what happened in April? I got sick. I had bad luck in League of Legends and played badly causing me to lose rank. I received numerous rejections in short order for a short story that I feel is the best thing I've written to date. Not just rejection letters, but form rejections "not even worth my time to give you a quick note about why" rejection.

It hurt. It was a soul pain. Bad enough I'm not doing anything with my life, but I can't even win in a video game and the best I can write gets summarily rejected from anywhere I can find even willing to look at it?

To say the least, I didn't have much energy to try the last couple weeks...which is just as well because, like I said, I got sick. Or maybe I got sick because I didn't have the energy to try, or to care.

So what happens now? As I write this it is 12:54am on a work day. I have to be up in 6 hours to go to work and I should be sleeping. I have a never ending stream of "motivational" videos going on my second monitor.

I want to say that this is my moment of epiphany. This is the moment I make the decision that sticks and work from here to re-arrange my priorities and move on. I'd love to say that this is the day I say "my shit gets in order and stays there." But that's not how this works, and everyone on the internet should know that.

This post is reading like a journal entry and I don't care. If nothing else this blog can serve to chronicle my thoughts and feelings and experiences along with whatever else ends up on here. If I make it bigger than I could ever dream, maybe someone will find this post someday and see that even those who made it hit these moments. Even if I don't, maybe someone else will see it and go "hey, that guy has those moments too."

Change takes motivation, and I have never been big on motivation when it comes to myself, not for the long term. However, I do like straight talk. One of the videos on youtube makes the claim that "most of us don't want success, we only kind of want it." It then goes on to say "you don't want it more than you want to sleep." I think that's a fair point. It's a reminder. More importantly, it's a reminder you can hang up near yourself.

Do I want to be a writer, or do I want to already be a writer? It's a fair question. One does the work. The other is envying the lofty position of the one who has already done the work. How bad do I want to be a writer? Do I want to be a writer more than I want to read reddit? Do I want to be a writer more than I want to eat lunch at work? Do I want to be a writer more than I want to play a game of League of Legends? More than I want to sleep?

Momentum is hard to build. Motivation is hard to keep. Setbacks and obstacles are numerous. It takes a special person to stay motivated and to want something enough that doing something else just doesn't even occur. The rest of us have to work at it. We need reminders. We need to think. We need to let logic win out over emotion, because waiting for inspiration to strike and take hold is going to a casino and waiting for luck to make you rich.

What am I afraid of? Am I afraid of failure? Am I afraid of success? Am I afraid of change? Does it matter? Change done gradually enough is not perceptible except in reflection. Choices though, small choices, those we can make. Make them the right way enough times and it adds up.

Do I want that icecream right now more than I want to be healthier?
Do I want I want to play that videogame more than I want to be a writer?

There's nothing wrong with either answer. Somedays, sometimes, we'll need that icecream. Somedays and times we'll need to destress with that videogame. But most of the time? I doubt it. Make the choice. But to do that you have to recognize the choice.

I'm going to try to start there. Right now though, I want to be awake for my work day tomorrow more than I want to continue to wax poetic on this blog.

We all have our struggles. Some are more romantic, more realistic, or just plain seem more serious than others. That doesn't change the fact that we all have our own, and by their very nature they are struggles.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

On Rejection

Rejection is a big part of being alive when you think about it. Looking for a job? You face rejection. Looking for a date? You face rejection. Looking to make it in some kind of creative career? Rejection is the norm, even for the successful.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Flash Fiction: Chicago Fizz - Terribleminds Flashfiction Challenge

Another week another Flash Fiction challenge from Terribleminds head guru, Chuck Wendig. This week's prompt? A random generated cocktail drink whose name serves as the title of your piece. Not sure if this gives bonus points or not, but I used the drink itself in my post and the purpose of the drink inspired the piece itself.

That said, not sure how much of a story this is. Also, this is - at present - an unedited rough draft. I'm using these to practice creation more than editing, but I'll try to come back and clean it up later on if I can. Click the link above to see the challenge, and maybe make your own entry?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Flash Fiction: The River Stole The Gods - Terribleminds Challenge

As promised, here is a bit of Flash Fiction from one of the weekly Terribleminds flash fiction challenges. The challenge for this week was to work one of a group of random lines into the story. So that is what I did. I'm not sure how well it worked out, so I'll leave that up to you. I consider this more of a writing sketch than a finished work, so be warned.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Japanese Phrases: Ganbatte!

When someone goes in for a job interview or is going to perform in a play, sporting event, or something like that we tend to wish them "good luck." The idea is that we want them to do well, and so we wish them luck in their endeavor. However, in Japan in the same situation you would tell the person "Ganbatte" (or "Ganbattekudasai" if you wanted to be more polite, but that may also be awkward westerner Japanese.)

Pronunciation: gone - bot - tay (like day w/ a t instead of the d)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

About Here

Confession time: I've spent a lot of the last couple weeks, when I did think of this blog, thinking about what I want to do with this space. See, Reality Refracted is easy. That is a blog about Table Top RPGs, and it has been going for 5 years now so that's pretty impressive. It is a dedicated space and I like it. This blog was formed so I could write about other stuff....only what that other has included has been kind of out there.

That said, I do want to maintain this space. I think a place to get some thoughts down, especially non-gaming related thoughts, is important. But what to do here?

I think the name is important to the blog. Shattered Refractions started as a play on Reality Refracted like I'd used for the gaming blog. Both of them have to do with writing and story telling. I think I'd like to keep that going.

So what is the plan?

First, in the interest of producing more, finished, works I'm going to put a real effort into getting some sort of weekly flash fiction up here. Most often this will be following the prompt from Chuck Wendig's Terrible Minds blog.

Second, I will chime in here on occasion about shows, movies, books, and other forms of media.

Third, I'm going to allow myself to venture off topic and discuss other things. Sometimes that may be video games and my trials and challenges as a Bronze level League of Legends player. Other times it might be something more poignant.

The problem is that big mission statements and forced lifestyle changes don't work very well for me, but small shifts can work wonders. This transition will be slow. Most likely it will start with the Flash Fiction stuff only and go from there. Hopefully it will grow and blossom.

Slow and steady wins the race, a journey of 5,000 miles starts with a single step, and all of that jazz. :)