Writer’s Musings: Chasing Fool’s Gold

“Life is a long preparation for something that never happens.”
– W.B. Yeats

There’s something to be said about being realistic with your dreams. I say this not to be a downer, or to discourage someone from pursuing concrete goals that may as of yet seem unattainable.

The realism I’m talking about is less about the end goal and more about the emotions that plague someone as they’re on the road. The self-doubt we all expect, even though we may not expect the depth or longevity of it. But there are aspects to it that may catch us by surprise.

We see so many examples of overnight success in the media, that we forget the majority of us only succeed after months, years, and even decades of near anonymity. We don’t realize that with the expected self-doubt of ‘can I do this’ there’s also an added helping of ‘should I do this’ or ‘am I doing this the right way.’

As a result, we try to rely on other people’s roadmaps, but the truth of it is all that leads to is fool’s gold. What worked for one person is wonderful for that person, but we all have unique strengths, weaknesses, backgrounds, and goals. As we should. The most obvious path may not be the best one for you.

Listen to what your instincts are telling you, and don’t tread down the emotions that accompany your dreams. Let your goals live alongside the things that you know you will struggle with, and celebrate the things that you excel at. Give yourself space to breathe.

So where do we go from here? I wish I had wise words or a concrete answer. Suffice to say, the only thing I know for sure is that whatever path I choose, it will be the one less traveled, and it will probably stay that way. Not because of any inherent uniqueness on my part. Simply because what works for me probably won’t work for anyone else.

Maybe that’s what makes it a dream.

Writer’s Musings: What’s In A Spark

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
Kurt Vonnegut, If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young

A spark. A stroke of genius. The lightbulb moment.

No matter what you call it, the times where our creative endeavors seem to bubble from us like a freshwater spring are probably as close as we as humans will ever get to divinity—hence why so many authors, artists, and musicians spend much of their careers trying to find it. And when they do find it, try to keep it going.

This state of near-invincibility in creative pursuits has a name: flow. And it’s a heady drug of a feeling.

I’ve experienced flow both as an artist and as a writer. As an artist, I remember the times where the rest of the world seems to fall away, and I’m lost in the action of creating so completely that I lose track of time. Everything I try seems to work, every brushstroke or ink line perfection.

As a writer, I’ve experienced it as writing a scene and everything clicking into place like puzzle pieces, situations and characterization I hadn’t even planned aligning like a constellation of stars.

It’s hard not to love the experience of flow. It’s the rest of creativity we have to learn to enjoy.

Because the truth of it is, if you want to be a writer, an artist, a crafter, anyone who wants to create anything, you need to be willing to trudge through the times where you wonder if you’ll ever re-experience flow. When you think that you’ll never feel those god-like moments again.

You cannot wait for inspiration, for flow, to create. But the more you create, the more you’ll experience flow. It’s a flighty thing that is attracted to hard work and perseverance.

I live for the times were creativity is like a spark. But sometimes? You gotta make do with embers.

Writer’s Musings: Every Adventure Begins With A Spark

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Writing for me started as an escape route.

I was an illustrator and graphic designer when my hand pain began. First in my thumb and forefinger, then into my palms, my wrists, my forearms. It wasn’t long before I had the inkling that this wouldn’t be stopping anytime soon.

I was right. Pain is my new norm due to debilitating chronic illness. Left with no creative outlet—drawing caused me a burning, throbbing pain up my arms and into my neck—I resolved to pick up something my late wife had used to soothe her own wounds: writing.

It started as poetry, then moved to short stories. Then the stories became longer. And longer. Almost two years later, and that spark of poetry has turned into one published novella, and another novel in the query stage. I began to write around and through my pain, lighting a new flame over old embers.

Today I manage my chronic pain as best I can, drawing when I feel capable of doing so and writing when I’m not. Sometimes the writing is taken from me too when the pain is too bad, but I hold onto those moments where the words leave my fingertips like treasures in my memory.

My weekly newsletter was one more step on the path of my new life. I thank you for being my companions, and I hope you enjoy the scenery.

Let’s start a new adventure.

Writer’s Musings

Here’s where you’ll find all my generic blog posts on writing. These posts were originally released in my Newsletter (which you can sign up for here.) I transfer them over once a month.

Butterflies & Unlit Fires

Butterflies & Unlit Fires Part 2

Candlelight Vigils & Blank Pages

Change Comes in Wildfires

Chasing Fool’s Gold ✨

Each Adventure Begins With A Spark 🔥

Fanning the Flames: How Ideas Are Born Part 1

Fanning the Flames: How Ideas Are Born Part 2

Finding Fuel for the Fire

Fire Escapes and Emergency Exits

Misfits & Matches

A New Year of “Raw, Strange” Fire

Old Flames Meet New Flames

Sparks & Hero’s Journeys

The Temperature At Which Books Burn 🔥

To Each Their Own Flame

Too Many Candles to Burn 🔥

Warmed by a Dying Light

What’s In A Spark

When Burned By Friendly Fire

A Writer’s Guiding Light

Flash Fiction

Here are a variety of flash fiction stories I’ve written, most of which were written for the Rue|LouPrompts Series.

Encore:
Stories are fragile things. I tell the story of my wedding day and what ’till death do you part really means.

Flappers & Finches (All That Glitters Isn’t Gold)
A one night stand that should have been more,  but maybe yet could be. AKA, when the peacock and magpie meet.

Framed
Left with the responsibility of clearing out her father’s home, it’s a four-legged, slobbering ball of fur that’s giving her the most trouble. But for how long?

 I’ll Be Your Misfit
They were both misfits, and maybe that was enough. The transformation from fellow outsiders to found family.

No Roots
A curse takes them one by one. Is there salvation or selfishness left for the final sisters?

Sinners and Saints
It wasn’t the ring Jyn had wanted to give Lila, but sinners and murder force their hand.

A Space Between the Stars
“‘You’re as dumb as an ox, Cam.’ He believed them, but felt he was made for more. As the years go by and doubt settles in, Cam makes a decision.

We’re Only Braiding Roses
A princess forced into a marriage of treaties gets an unlikely savior.

 With the Pieces
When a teenager breaks her own heart—literally—she learns how to fix it.