It’s Good To Put Yourself On Charge Too!

It’s funny how quickly you don’t realise how much work you put into something. I have been going non-stop with my creative side that I forgot to take a breath and take time for myself.

Life has a way to make you see these things when you can’t seem to do it on your own.

I went back home to Mauritius for a few days this past week and it has been great. It was my Mum’s birthday and I wanted to be there to celebrate it with her (as opposed to talking via Skype). I’m glad I did because it was an awesome celebration.

Celebration
Celebrate Good Times

At the same time, I went back home with the idea of not going anywhere. I wanted to chill at my childhood home. I didn’t know how much good it would do me though. I actually felt my batteries recharge over time. I went to the gym every morning and enjoyed Mauritian food throughout the day. It was great!

67843388_364788991112295_3896891765453488128_n
Mauritian Roti made by my Dad ❤

I also enjoyed gaming and lost myself in a Japanese Role-Playing world. I felt like I did back when I was on summer holidays in high school. The only thing I had to worry about was how to spend my free time. I did not think about work or anything like that while in Mauritius.

67873068_1102502019949520_6665905637005721600_n
Getting Lost In Fire Emblem: Three Houses ^^

And much like when I was in France and Italy for my honeymoon, my creativity seemed to replenish itself. I felt joy at being in my homeland and remembered the moments that made me who I am today and why I chose the path I am now on.

There was something in the air that made me reflect on how far I have come.

Once the trip was over, I felt the excitement to get back to writing, recording and just being creative. I know it’s healthier to take a break from time to time but it’s easy to forget that when you’re doing things you love. They don’t seem like work and therefore you keep at it, not even thinking of burnout and whatnot.

 

Burnout-Dice
Battery: Low. Please Recharge Now.

This year has been a crazy ride so far and it’s not over yet. I have my Hot Desk Fellowship starting at Centre for Stories and I am getting hyped for my first ever panel. Oh, and the interview I did for Liminal Magazine should be coming out pretty soon too. Onwards and upwards.

I am refreshed, recharged and ready to go!

Advertisements

Create Your Own Character and The Story Will Follow

I am finding a lot of joy doing things I like these days. I’m sure most people would go “well, duh,” when reading that but for a while it was hard for me to enjoy these things. I always felt guilty about spending time on me. Self-care had been a low priority in my life for the longest time. There was always a very good reason for me not to care for myself. But now, I have changed.

Self-care has jumped up in my order of priorities. I can’t say it’s at the top but it’s close enough for me to have a happier life.

So, one of the things that brings me a lot of joy is video games. Gaming has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Like TV shows, films, books and graphic novels, gaming offers a world away from my own. And in those worlds, you have (almost) absolute control over what you do and you do them on your terms. This is especially true of the role-playing game genre.

Player
About to spend hours in-game ^^’

One aspect of gaming I adore above everything else is character creation. This is where you get to pick the physical features of the character you are going to play but also their role and their powers, if that’s applicable. At first I loved that aspect for the fact that I could create a hottie and watch him through every camera angle possible as I played. Yes, I do love me some main character hotties, not gonna lie.

Cloud
The Original Hottie aka Cloud Strife ❤

But there is also another aspect of that character creation feature that appealed greatly to me and that was the fact that I could make up a character that was in my head. I place great importance on characterisation in stories.

I love a character that touches me and that makes me want to see them through to the end of their journey.

So being able to customise a character I would play for hours on end was and still is a joy beyond description. It creates a connection with me as the player that can sometimes pull me through an otherwise fairly average game (*cough* Mass Effect Andromeda *cough*). Sorry, BioWare, I do like you a lot and have great hopes for the next Dragon Age game aka my favourite game series of all-time. But I digress.

That connection with the player is what I aim to do with my writing. Create a connection between the characters in my stories and the reader. The beauty of books is that everybody is free to imagine the characters as they wish. You do get character descriptions in books but more often than not they are quite loose and open to interpretation. I like stories like that. Sometimes a name is enough to create an image in my head of that character and I run with that for the whole book.

DAI Character Creation
Who Do You Want To Be?

Does this mean specific character descriptions suck? No, of course not. Much like games that do not offer character creation do not automatically suck. Final Fantasy VII is one of my absolute favourite games and it does not offer character creation. Artistic vision is still very important. For me though, on a very subjective and personal level,

I prefer games which offer the character creation option and the same with books that remain somewhat vague on character description.

I like having the space to imagine my characters. Ideally, I’d love for game developers to always offer character creation options (but with also the option of playing as their default character). In books, that’s harder to do, but I suppose that despite extensive character description, we are still free to imagine the characters the way we want. Except if it’s very story-specific, obviously.

What I take from all this though is an insight into the way I write. It is somewhat funny that it came to me while playing video games but not surprising.

There is a creative connection and it’s all linked in the ether.

I come up with the plot of stories after I see the character(s) in my head. It’s always that way. I might have a vague idea of a plot but once I form a character in my head, the plot suddenly takes a life of its own and weaves itself around that character image. It is a thrill when that happens. Much like when I create a character in a game and I’m super happy with it (note: it can take me up to 3 hours to be happy with a character I have created in a game).

Creating Art
Need To Get That Character Right

I believe that’s why I can enjoy a book despite a plot that doesn’t really speak to me. If the characters touch me, I will dive into it and not let go. Character studies can be such an amazing thing to read about when done right. And when you’re Stephen King or Quentin Tarantino, you can do character studies and create an adrenaline rush kind of story with relative ease. I hope I can do the same. Highly ambitious, I know, but I believe in myself now.

A World Of Difference

Some writers have one story at a time going through their heads. They focus on that particular idea and produce a manuscript within a few months or even a few weeks. The first draft anyway. That’s pretty cool. That’s efficient. Productive.

Productive

I thought I was like that but I am not. Yikes.

The thing is I am the kind of writer with ten ideas going through his mind at a time. Every idea has its own story, its own universe, its own purpose. And more often than not,

I am pulled in each direction with equal force which sometimes means I am frozen in place.

Well, which idea do I go with? After all, I need to be efficient and use my time wisely so I can produce a manuscript that will get attention. Right?

That mindset is kind of fucked. I am all about mindset these days it seems. It’s funny to think that the way you think about something can alter your approach so much. I used to think I had to be very careful with which idea to go with as I didn’t want to miss the boat of what would be the next thing publishers want to look at. Wouldn’t it be fucking awful to produce a manuscript and be told, “Hey, you should’ve submitted this last year, we were all over this shit. Now, we moved on to [insert current trend].”

Missing Out
I missed out?!

It used to be a fear that governed what I wrote. Or rather, which idea I would follow. And maybe that’s why I ended up procrastinating a lot. Even though the idea did interest me, there was probably another one simmering away in my mind that spoke to me much more in that moment.

But hey, I don’t wanna miss the proverbial boat so I’ll just keep that appealing idea on the back burner and focus on what I think publishers want me to write.

Now, I have changed my mindset on this stuff. I know what it’s like to write something that speaks to you in the moment. That idea that makes you get up at 5 in the morning and hit the keyboard like there’s no tomorrow. And I also know what it’s like to hang on to an idea that isn’t really clicking just because you think that’s the one to follow. There’s a world of difference between them. Yes, those two ideas mean something to me, but one should definitely be left cooking in the oven a bit longer. Forcing something to work does not mean it is going to work.

Frustrated
Why won’t you work?!

This is why I am listening to my gut a bit more. The current idea I have is probably a bit out there but I want to follow it. I want to explore what it means and figure it out. That’s exciting. That’s what makes writing so exciting to me. When you, the author, are genuinely excited to discover where the story takes you.

Hopefully you can also create that magical connection which makes readers dive without reserve into your book.

I have many ideas in my head and I can’t write them all at once. I’m not that multi-task efficient. I can produce videos and write at the same time, but writing several manuscripts at once? Nope. That I cannot do. I cannot just have one idea at a time in my head and I cannot write all of the ideas at once. It’s a messy situation but now it is an interesting mess to play with. Because listening to my gut feeling makes the sorting out of ideas more fun.

Worth living

It’s all about how you see things. It truly makes a world of difference.

 

The Way I Write

When I made the conscious decision to fully dive into writing, I did what I suppose many writers have done before me and what many writers will do in the future: I looked up various ways to write. I read about best-selling authors’ methods of writing and planning. I read my favourite author’s (Stephen King, if you didn’t know) opinion on writing methodology and I tried to find which one suited me best.

Research
There are various ways to write. Let’s analyse them all!

Not once did I even think then that maybe, just maybe, there was another way. MY way. A way that only I can do and only I can achieve. Again, throughout my life I feel like common sense was often acknowledged but never applied. In other words:

I was a dum-dum about many many MANY things. Including the writing process.

So is this blog going to be about my writing process? Well, I’m going to share the way I write (after all, I assume most writers and readers enjoy hearing about this stuff, I know I do) but mostly this is about how I beat myself up in the most creative ways possible.

Baka
A visual representation of beating myself up

I knew I was going to be an artist because I felt it when I was a kid and I read my very first comic. I used to read the adventures of Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge and Mickey Mouse. They were fucking awesome. I would anxiously wait for Saturday as it was the day my parents took us to the bookshop and buy us comic books or books, whichever we wanted.

Picsou Mag
One of my favourite comic book magazines ❤

I was more than a reader even then as I would grab blank pieces of paper and draw my own stories of these characters. Spoiler: I suck at drawing. I hated myself for not being good enough to draw. Yep, I started beating myself up as early as back then. Dum-Dum.

I eventually stopped drawing (I doodled on my school notebooks and stuff, but never tried to draw comics again) but I did not stop writing. I would write different things: made-up stories, fanfiction and TV Show scripts. I was creative in many aspects of my life. I would play with Lego and action figures but follow a storyline (no matter how basic). I remember an awesome moment when I had Shredder face off with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Shredder was about to be defeated but PLOT TWIST: Michelangelo betrays his brothers. Gasp!

It was a shit ton of fun.

As I grew older, I got better and better at putting myself down. I would repeat to myself day in and day out that I was not good enough. I screamed internally at myself that I was deluded if I thought I had any ounce of talent. I beat myself to a bloody pulp. I almost killed my creative self and resigned to never follow what my heart truly wanted.

Sad Boy Tears
Is this the end?

But then that part of me didn’t die. I got back on my feet and decided that being miserable was tiring. It was fucking exhausting. I still heard myself say:

You’re not good enough, but now I also thought: So, what?

It was a start. I began to listen to my bruised heart again. Nurtured him and allowed him to share what he wanted. It hadn’t changed since I was a kid: he wanted to be an artist. A storyteller. A writer.

It took a while but now, I don’t hear myself say: You’re not good enough. At least, not as often as I used to. Once I was able to stop belittling myself all the time, once I stopped beating myself up constantly, I realised what was my methodology of writing.

I make up stories and chase these moments that make me feel like a kid playing with his action figures. That’s the way I write.

Writing Boy Sleeping

It’s Okay To Be Selfish

It’s something I have just recently realised: it’s okay to be selfish.

What a selfish person I am

Sounds awful, doesn’t it? Makes me seem like a prick who is more interested in his own self than anything else in the world. And you know what? Sometimes, that is perfectly fine.

I used to live my life thinking about how my decisions will affect this person or that person or even how it might not be the proper thing to do. Still, I managed to do things. But they were tepid, safe, unlike me at all.

I used to say to myself: shut up, you don’t matter. You shouldn’t think of yourself. Ever.

When I was a teenager, I did my best to not rock the boat with my friends. I was a confident boy but still would choose to avoid pissing people off if I could. When I think about it now, it makes me angry that I wasn’t more myself around my friends. Coulda, woulda, shoulda, I know.

I really was like that
My reaction now to how I was back then

But now? Now I want to bitch-slap myself into having more sense in my brain. I want to say to that uptight moron: Don’t belittle my desires. Don’t make me feel like shit for wanting something good for myself. I deserve to do what’s right for me.

Being an artist is selfish, apparently. At least, according to my old self. Well, I say, screw you old self, I am an artist and I am proud of it. You know why? Because it makes me want to sing from the fucking rooftops. I wake up everyday happy to be alive.

That’s not being selfish, that’s doing what is right for me.

I can see this in my head:

Achievement Unlocked
Took me long enough ^^’

You’d think common sense is well… common, right? Well, not for everybody. Especially me. I have a lot of common sense when I listen to people I care about and when they ask for my opinion on things. But when it comes to my own life? I always seem to forgo common sense and choose the beige option. Fuck that. I’m done with that sort of thinking.

Now, I choose what sparks a fire in my chest.

I have decided to apply this mindset to many other aspects of my life. I have gotten a better set-up for my Fortress of Solitude (that’s how I call my office). It was expensive and not the reasonable decision if I consider my artistic endeavours ‘selfish’.

And you know what? Screw it. I did what I did and I absolutely love my new set-up. Do you know how awesome it is to feel genuine excitement walking into my Fortress of Solitude? I now have a creative space that is me. When I stop to appreciate what’s around me, it gives me goosebumps. That’s an awesome feeling!

Hurray
Feeling that child-like joy again!

This decision has led me to stop feeling guilty for spending most of my days writing or recording videos. It is a space I constantly want to be in. I am thriving in it.

It is these decisions, no matter how big or small, that contribute to how you approach life. I have decided that it is more than okay to listen to my heart and to fulfill my own desires, no matter how silly/stupid/unreasonable they may seem to others.

I love this new mindset and it makes me fucking happy.

Joy
Selfishly Unleashing My Creativity

 

 

 

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

So, my computer died a couple of weeks ago and I finally got a new one sorted.

And it’s a beauty.

I often wondered why some people, especially guys, get so wrapped up in their cars and now I know. I’m the same, except with tech things like video game consoles and computers. No wonder one of my favourite super heroes is Iron Man.

Iron Man - 2008
Iron Man is damn cool! *_*

But anyway, I haven’t been able to properly dive into my writing groove. I had to use a shitty backup laptop that was slow as. It still did a decent enough job but I couldn’t use it to type over a long period of time.

Too Slow
aka my back-up laptop T.T

 

And now, here I am with KITT. Yes, I named my computer. He deserved a name. I did tell you how I now understand people and their love of cars, right? KITT is fast, powerful and runs things smooth.

KITT
A spiritual representation of my new computer ❤

Yet, I find it hard to write this. I almost want to give my keyboard a good bashing and walk away. Maybe there’s an interesting video on YouTube for me to watch or something.

Writing story ideas is not an issue, that I can do, no worries.

It is the letting go so I can write as honestly as possible that is giving me headaches. I thought I had let go before but it turns out that no, in fact, I really haven’t.

So, what’s my fucking issue? Why can’t I get it together and work my ass off towards succeeding as a writer? I want to write stories, I want to write blogs, I want to connect with readers and yet… I have remained still for almost two weeks.

Stress And Frustration
How I feel sometimes >.<

Okay, truth be told, I have done stuff.

I have applied for something writer-related and I have been sorting out KITT. But still, I hadn’t written a single word of this blog. I had been putting it off for a while now. You know when I thought of writing this blog? Back when I was still honeymooning across France and Italy (side note: IT WAS THE BEST!). I kept putting it off and I didn’t know why until recently.

Thinking
What the hell is wrong with me?

Let. It. Go.

I will spare you the Frozen meme. Saying it is easy (Let it go, let it gooooo… Dammit!) but applying the concept is another beast entirely. As I mentioned, I thought I had done that before. After all,

I am unashamedly myself around people and I am not afraid to share my thoughts even when it might mean people thinking less of me or thinking I’m an idiot.

But then I thought about it more.

I am like that with my friends, with my family, but with the world? No, I am not. In the previous blog posts that I have written I have only shared a piece of myself. The rest is carefully guarded. It’s almost like a belief that if I share only a little bit, I’ll be fine and totally safe. But it’s not true. I am not fine. I’m miserable. I feel like I can’t be myself as an author.

If I cannot share my thoughts and my feelings as an author, then what is the fucking point?

Here I am now. I am not going to hold back anymore. I am going to make it my main quest, the big one, the unavoidable one, to let everything go when I put words to paper (well, digital words to digital paper. You get what I mean!). Screw you, safety!

Superboy tears
Time to let go

What should you expect from me in the coming weeks? Well, more blog posts. More YouTube-ing (I will go through a shake-up on there actually) and most importantly, more fucking writing. I have ideas, I need to explore them. I need to dig deep and rip out those feelings. Spread them all over pages and let them speak. Watch this space.

You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Sailor Moon
In the name of the Moon, I shall be true to myself

Fight For Your Dreams: Daring Or Crazy Stupid?

blog 002 - fear me

There were many times when I thought about doing something but then talked myself out of it. There was always a convenient excuse or a good enough reason to not even try: Why bother? It’ll never work anyway.

It’s hard to let go of that fear when you’ve spent years allowing it to have a say, no matter how small, in your everyday life.

It takes a lot of work to stand up to that naysaying voice and go, ‘You know what? Screw you!’

That’s how it has been with writing. When I was a child, I had no qualms in drawing my own comics and making up short stories to go with them. I didn’t feel the need to share those at the time because they were just for my own fun. I created stories while playing with Lego and other action figures (I owned a lot of Japanese action figures at the time – it was an awesome era!). There was no fear.

blog 002 - jump
Taking a leap of faith

When I was a teenager, I created a web-series on what used to be Geocities homepages. I wrote during whole summer holidays, creating outrageous storylines for my ensemble cast. It was an absolute blast. I even fooled myself into thinking that I was surely the first person to ever think of creating a web-series. I wasn’t the first. But the other writers were very kind and supportive.

Glad to see that the writing community hasn’t turned sour since then.

I have found that fire again after being lost for a very long time. At some point I had decided that earning money had become more important than anything else, including my happiness. I was adulting, as they say. I was listening to fear. The naysaying voice had won and claimed its territory for that time. But then I found my fire again and fought back.

blog 002 - fire
Fighting back

I am now happier as I am doing what I am meant to do.

Somehow, this has also opened something else in my mind. Something that had been closed, unbeknownst to me, since my teenage years. The willingness to dare. To do what I wanted to do even if it meant making a fool of myself. Some would say that choosing to be an author is just that.

Why would I willingly choose a career that will condemn me to slave away for ages with no guarantee of financial reward?

Well, because that’s what I’m meant to do.

So today I dare again. Try things that may seem foolish or pointless. It can take many forms. It can be through my writing, through my creativity or even through my everyday life. It can also be simply daring to dream.

With that in mind, I decided to leap into the world of YouTube.

blog 002 - youtube
YouTube – Here I am

I had been thinking about this for the past two years or so. I am one of those people who spend hours upon hours watching content creators on YouTube and Twitch. There are some real gems out there. I do have a passion for film and television and visual stuff in general. I love gaming, graphic novels, and animation.

I thought why not become a content creator as a way to put that side of my creativity to use? I’ll dare.

I’ve got to say that I had forgotten just how long it takes to make videos. It takes a very long time. You have to have the patience for it. Same with writing. But the important part of making videos is to enjoy making them. I had a lot of fun testing angles, colours, framing, audio, backdrops, and titles.

It also means it’s going to make me even busier this year and moving forward. In between writing and making videos, I won’t even have time to play any games.

Jokes. There’ll always be time for gaming!

I like this year already. Someone told me recently that there’s something different about me. Something about my aura had changed. I am radiating something. I know what that is. That’s happiness.

blog 002 - happy
ハッピー

Happiness in knowing that I am going in the right direction for me.

It’ll be a difficult road with no guarantee of rewards but at the very least, I’ll feel alive.

That’s something.

If you’re curious, click on the link below to open my YouTube channel. Hope you like what you see. If you do, give it a like and subscribe. It’d be super awesome! 🙂

My YouTube Channel

 

 

Up, Up & Away

Blog001-Superman Sad
What have I been doing this year?

I haven’t written much in a while.

I want to say that life got in the way, that work kept me so busy I couldn’t even make time to stop and relax or that there were many other tiny factors that when combined meant I couldn’t unlock the creative juices in my brain. Yep, I can explain it in a thousand different ways but the thing is, I just didn’t try hard enough.

It’s fucked really when I think about it.

I should’ve come home every night after work and got straight onto the computer and typed away at my manuscript or whatever else came to my mind. I should’ve spent any free time I had on the weekends on my computer typing away. I should’ve tried harder.

But then again, I would’ve just stared at a blank page for hours on end.

I feel like shit when I realise that I didn’t have it in me this year to push through the exhaustion and the mental blocks. I should’ve been stronger, should’ve tried much harder. Hard work pays off, I do believe in that.

I have beaten myself up all year when I wasn’t writing. I trashed myself in my mind. Writers write as they breathe. Not doing so would mean the death of their soul. I am dramatic and that’s how it is in my head. I saw this year as a slow death for my soul. I was not happy. There were moments of joy, of course. I wasn’t crying in a corner all year, don’t get me wrong. But there was always this part of me that clouded my mind constantly. I was not doing what I was meant to be doing.

Writing.

I had all these big ideas on New Year’s Eve last year. I was going to finally write blog posts, I was going to be way more active on social media, I was going to really push myself forward. I failed utterly and miserably. It’s shit. I feel like shit.

Blog001-Fail

I did win a mentorship though after entering a short story in a competition which is this year’s saving grace for me. I took it as a sign of the universe telling me, ‘Stop fucking around and do what you’re meant to be doing!’

It’s not easy to follow the path your heart tells you to take. Funnily enough, I’ve often just listened to that voice and that’s how I ended up here in Australia. This was the place my heart was telling me to go. And yet, this year, I gagged my heart, knocked it unconscious and listened to common sense instead. I needed a job.

I needed to work full-time.
I needed to make sure money was never going to be an issue.

Duh, of course you need to work and to earn money. How else are you going to survive? It made sense. But what I didn’t do was to make sure that I also allowed for my soul to sing. And the way my soul does that is by creating stories. I did not do that. Instead, I became someone else. Someone that isn’t me at all. Someone who let his job consume his being and that was it. I was reduced to my job title and that chipped away at my being, bit by bit.

By the time Christmas came around this year, I wasn’t sure what I was meant to celebrate. I feel like I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing. I feel like all I’ve done is put some coins in a tin and that’s about it.

But then the universe once again came to my rescue. I’ve got to say that I feel pretty lucky that the universe keep slapping some sense into me.

I was talking with someone and the conversation turned into how I saw myself in the future. As in, not the distant future, but more immediate. What do I see myself doing next year? 5 years from now? They asked me, point blank:

Where does your future lie?

And my heart was loud and clear: Writing.

I answered with honesty, as I always like to do.

I felt great when I said it, I felt true to myself.

So here we are, I am still recovering from a shit year but that’s it: I am recovering.

Blog001-WhoIamsupposedtobe
Being a writer is who I am.

I am feeling my heart lighten as the New Year approaches and I feel my mind beginning to break down the blocks that have been there all year.

It’s not an easy road ahead but I don’t care. This is what I am meant to be doing. I am a storyteller and I am done silencing my heart.

2019 will be different.

I’ll work hard.

I’ll fall.

But more importantly: I’ll keep going.

Fuck common sense.

My heart and soul are now taking flight.

Blog001-Superman Flying