I wish I had more time to do more things. I like to invest time into whatever I do. I can spend hours editing a scene or a video. It’s not that I suck at time management, it is simply how it is. I cannot take shortcuts because then it would lessen the quality of my work. So how to deal with this?
How do I not go crazy over the fact that the clock is continuously ticking and I’m always feeling like I’m playing catch-up?
It takes getting used to. I have stopped thinking I can outsmart time or even beat it. I can be more efficient with it but I cannot pretend to defeat it. So now I run with it and too bad if it seems like I’m lagging behind. Truth is as long as I know how I do spend that time, then it’s all good. I have created a balance in my creative work so that I am equally invested in all of my endeavours as such.
I am always writing something, even bits and pieces of scenes or ideas, I am always writing. Even when I play games, I use that to produce videos for my YouTube channel. No time is wasted when it comes to my creativity. I also remember to switch off and zone out with a book (as in reading for pleasure and nothing else) or in front of the TV.
Only a year ago, I was always in a constant state of panic because I kept thinking I was running out of time to do what I wanted.
How was I going to achieve all of my goals and ambitions in the time that I have? It was torture. I was torturing myself every day. I felt guilty whenever I did something that had no connection to my dreams.
Now I know that time does not care and does not have a personal vendetta against me.
The clock keeps on ticking but it is up to me to decide how I interpret the seconds going by. I am not panicked anymore. I am motivated. Motivated to use the time that I have to feel super awesome about what I do. I am grateful for the fact that I do have time to do the things I want to do. Will I achieve everything that I want? Will I realise all of my ambitions?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.