When You’re in a Rut

For me, it’s gets very frustrating to feel stuck in a situation. This applies to any aspect of life; from school to your livelihood. Thankfully, there are few places where I’m having this stagnant feeling. But in the places I do feel it, it hits me hard. I’ve written about writer and art block, but this rut feels a bit different. There’s something stifling and suffocating about a rut. Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out how to get out of it.

One major thing to remember is that it’s temporary. There is a phrase that I’ve heard in books, movies and television shows that ties to this; I’m relatively sure the phrase stems from a religious background, but I digress. The phrase is: “This too shall pass”. This can be said about ruts. Now, I know it feels like you can be stuck there for what feels like forever. But, it is a temporary thing. There are several things that I have done to try and push past a rut.

One of the things that I do, may sound a bit strange to do when in a rut. That thing is to just take a break. For me, I feel stagnant and like I’m in a rut when I’m overwhelmed. When too much is going on at once, it can make me shut down, thus putting me in a rut. So taking a breather can help with crawling out of that rut.

Once I’ve taken a break, I don’t jump straight into what was causing me to feel so off. An example is in my novel. I have been a rut with this for quite some time. Now that I feel more ready to write, I focused on other works. This isn’t the first time I’ve been in a rut when it came to writing my novel. The last time this happened, I decided to work on short stories, scripts and even fanfiction. I only dabbled in those for a few months or so, but after I was able to finish the first draft of my novel. I hoping to be able to get through a second draft , or even a final product.

Those are the main things that I do get through a rut. I hope these help someone who may be going through the same issue.

Deciding to Chose a Creative Lifestyle

I watched a video yesterday that really struck a cord with me. It was a video about the particular content creator’s top ten best anime characters. There was a character that he was describing that he identified with, and honestly, I identified with it as well. I link to his video for those interested. But to summarize there was a character that had a realization to chose what he loved (Tennis) over what he had convinced himself was more important (Getting straight A’s). This was something I’ve struggled with throughout school, even in Grad school. Granted, I really love school and learning for knowledge’s sake. I tend to lean more towards creativity.

So how does one chose the right option? This was something that I struggled with, more so in undergrad. I wasn’t sure if school would impede on a more creative lifestyle. This was heightened as I started to lose interest in what I had thought I wanted to study, which was to go into law school. I thought I’d have to give one up for the other.

I’m extremely thankful that I learned that I can have both. Creativity is something that is very fun, and has the capacity to be lucrative. I see things like the arts, literature and writing to be the a part of the creative lifestyle. I currently feel that I have a creative lifestyle. I pour a lot of my time into writing. Recently, I’ve also gotten back into drawing. However, I’m very active with my education as well. As stated before, I identified with the character in the video that had to chose which lifestyle they wanted to live.

For me, I chose both. I know that this sounds like a lot to handle. But honestly, even one of those things can be a lot depending on one’s out look. For me, the creative lifestyle doesn’t just mean that you only focus on the arts. It’s very possible to follow a creative lifestyle while that may not be your entire focus. For me personally, I’m in school to be a professor. But I still am active in writing my novel as well as just writing for fun. I also make it a habit to draw everyday. It’s really a matter of mindset. I don’t just see them as tasks or as a burden. They’re a part of my identify, as corny as that may sound. It can be the same for others. You can have goals that a different from your creative goals. Depending on the goals, they can even intertwine with one another. My love of writing is extremely helpful with my goal to be a professor.

That’s my take on the creative lifestyle. If anyone is reading, let me know what you think.  And here is the link to the video that I was referring to.

Don’t Down Play Your Milestones

I’m sure that I’m not an only one who has a goal, or even more than one. We all have that one big thing that we want to attain. A goal comes in many shapes and forms. I have several goals myself. One goal of mine is to complete a novel. A few of my other goals is to finish an animation, get my doctorate and to finish an art piece. These goals are things that I spend the majority time trying to get closer to attaining these goals. Naturally, none of these goals happen overnight. In fact, I’m sure most goals take quite a bit of time to accomplish. There are a lot of things that have to happen prior to being able to reach these goals.

With all these goals, there are smaller milestones that happen. Something that I used to do was to really not regard them. However, I’ve recently thought about how counterintuitive that mentality is. These milestones were something that I was initially proud of, but pushed down because it wasn’t that goal. I don’t know why I get like this, but it happens to me a lot…

For example, one of the first goals that I mentioned was that I want to write a novel, and am in the process of it. Truthfully, this has taken me longer than most since I’ve had the idea for well over five years. My first milestone was to write out the entirety of the outline for my story. I was proud initially, but then downplayed it as almost nothing. Each milestone that you make is something that you should be proud of. Sticking to writing a novel, each little milestone leads to getting closer to the end goal. This isn’t to say that every single thing that one does is deserving of accolades.

The things that we do to get closer to our dreams, desires and goals are important. They’re teachable lessons. They’re things that can help guide us to our goals. Yes, giving small milestones the same regard as the end goals isn’t the way to go. But neither is downplaying them. A healthy understanding of the importance of milestones helps give an appreciation of the journey to the goal.

Haikus and Poems about Everything and Nothing

I’m completely drained from finals week, which is still going on mind you. The combination of ten to twenty page papers is leaving me tired and stress. But, I still want to upload this week, so I figured I’d challenge myself and write a few poems using the daily prompt, mostly haikus because I’m not as well versed in writing them.

A Course Called Life

An obstacle course,

It’s spiked layout is painful.

Life always is, though.

The Hedgehog’s Dilemma

Strangers stay at bay.

But friends can’t touch the long spikes.

A sad dilemma.

Spiked with “Happiness”

She spikes her drink with a little bit of happiness,

making a drink that guides her to a blurry abyss.

Maybe ‘happiness’ doesn’t quite fit.

She closes her eyes, to forget his wit,

That tussled brown hair, and manipulative smile.

She squints her eyes as the table grows by a mile.

She pours more happiness, the smell so strong.

She feels wetness in her eye, everything feels wrong.

The abandoned ring on the table leaves a heaviness in her heart.

She desperately wants to calm down, but doesn’t know where to start.

The spiked happiness does little to quell her pain,

the stream of tears leaving a bitter stain.

 

 

An Outlier in Success

Awhile ago, I made a post about the connection between a work’s success and luck. I talked about the fact that a successful work that becomes objectively successful tends to have well written characters, an interesting world and a well developed plot. And often times, all of this tied together with how sometimes luck often pushed these works into popularity? But what of the outliers? What about the really well made stories that just never to seem popular? Or, what about the works that seem rather lackluster but still reaches an insane amount of popularity?

In any formula, there is bound to be some outliers. This can be seen in the formula to success. But why? Well, lets start with a particular medium.  There are plenty of movies that reached a high level of popularity and a an abundance of money. One series that comes to mind is the Transformer series. Many people, critics and audience member alike, have picked fun at the series and not without reason. And yet, each movie in this series has gained it’s money back from production well into the hundreds of millions of dollars. When looking at the characters, it leaves quite a bit to be desired. The humans in the movie tend to be one note archetypes. The Transformers themselves aren’t any better. Several of theme are merely archetypes, some even offensively so. In regards to world building, it feels as if I, as an audience member, is completely disassociated with where the characters were, even though a lot of these places were completely grounded in the real world. And the plot felt like there was a tug of war between nothing happening and everything happening all at once with a lack of coherence.

So what happened to make this movie a success? It’s similar to what can make a good movie successful; luck. Sometimes, a movie that isn’t really that well written can get luck on it’s side to stay afloat or even become outright successful. An outlier in success shouldn’t always be seen as bad thing. The movie that becomes successful could be a first for a writer or director. They shouldn’t made to almost feel guilty for their success when they’re just coming into a style. This can also be said for a movie that doesn’t do well, but was written and directed well. It would be a shame to let this situation discourage a truly creative mind from making more works. This applies to all forms of media, from books to movies and even TV shows.

All of this makes me introspect on myself and my works as well. If the novel I write isn’t successful monetarily, I shouldn’t let it discourage me from continuing on in my progress, especially if I know that my works was written to the best of my ability. And I hope that reaches someone else who is working on creating their own works.

The picture was found here!

When a Show becomes an Experience

Do you ever watch a show and wish you could pull out your passport and go visit? To breath in the sights that you see some of you favorite characters live seems like one of the most fun adventures.  That is honestly one a show becomes so much more than a show to me. Every aspect of world building is so fascinating to me. It can truly make or break the immersion into the show.

I’ve talked a lot about the Avatar series, and it’ll honestly come up in this post as well, but this series most certainly the only show. Another show that did an amazing job at immersing their audience was Disney’s Gravity Falls. This was a show that mainly played on the channel Disney 😄 which naturally means that it was aimed at children. I saw the show when I was 21, so I well over the age of the intended audience. That being said, I wanted to visit this little town that the main characters inhabited. I felt like I experienced what the characters, Dipper and Mabel, experienced because of how well written the town was.

So what is it that make a show’s world a place you’d want to visit and how does that affect the experience of the show? I’ve talked a lot about world building and character building/ development. What makes a show more real  is how well the characters and their world blend together. It solidifies the real aspects of the show. Let’s look at Avatar: The Last Airbender, specifically at the Water nation. The way that this nation is written, it’s not just an arbitrary area with a set of rules. There is a culture. That culture is displayed by the characters. I’d like to quickly note that side characters are just as important as the main characters, in that they also need to be written like real people as well.

When we get to know the characters in how they interact with their home, it begins to feel like a home to the audience as well. In the Water nation we meet common villagers, royalty, rebels, children, the eclectic and many different types of people. It feels a lot like our own homes. We all have that nice neighbor, the loud neighbor, the super sweet barista who never gets your order wrong, the “It” family and so many more people.

I truly love shows that let me immerse myself and let me experience what the characters do. I’m someone who likes to travel, though I have yet to leave my country just yet. That being said, there’s something about feeling like you’re traveling an unknown world with well written characters.

 

The picture was found here:  http://ghreece.tumblr.com/post/120313243996

Is Success just Dumb Luck?

This topic is something that I have always questioned in my writing and was quite pleasantly surprised to see this as a daily post. For the past few weeks, I had been writing about Avatar: The Last Airbender and will bring this up as well in regards to it’s initial success.

When looking at any successful product, people often question if something comes into popularity through it’s own work or through dumb luck. This is a question for a multitude of creative mediums. This is seen in art, books and movies. Why did the Mona Lisa become so culturally significant? How did the Harry Potter series rise to success? Why is L.A Confidential considered a classic? Can all of these be boiled down to luck? The answer, I would say, is quite clearly, no.

For all three of these examples, there is a clear level of skill from the creators of each of these things. The Mona Lisa didn’t happen to be come a cultural piece in regards to art. It was modeled after the wife of an influential man as well as created by an already established artist. There were also the culturally historical nuances that have to be put into consideration as well. This came about during the beginnings of the art renaissance. The Harry Potter series is another case that shows that success is not just dumb luck. It must be noted that Harry Potter did not rise to the powerhouse level of relevancy that it has today immediately upon its publishing. For starters, it was rejected eight times. There was also a clear level of skill on J. K Rowling’s writing and crafting of characters and worlds. If you haven’t seen L. A Confidential I highly suggest you give it a look. This movie showed an astounding level of skill in pretty much all aspects of film making. Though, seeing that I’m not as well versed in film making, this is the best I can give.

This can be seen in Avatar as well. The majority of the first episodes hit well over a million on their day of airing. It has even gained an extremely loyal following that still praise it over a decade later. Was it all luck? Of course not. My bias aside, there is an abundantly clear amount of skill behind the show. Everything from the writing to the animation was done beautifully. Granted, there were some things that were on it’s side. The year 2005 was an interesting one for cartoons in the West. For one, around the early 2000s was the same time that the first “Cartoon Renissance” happened in which shows like Power Puff girls became highly popular. There was also a rise in the powerhouses of cartoons had a multitude of successful series studios. This was also the time that western cartoons were also being introduced to eastern influence. Avatar had all of this in its favor.

So is success just luck? A little yes and a little no. There is a level of skill that is necessary and apparent in a lot of popular products. But they also benefit from things like historical/ cultural nuances and coincidences.