Tag creative

6 posts

I suck at everything

Ever have one of those unshakable moments – but the kind of moment that lasts for days, and then weeks, and hopefully not longer than that?
When you just feel like everything you touch turns to ashes? even if it’s not objectively bad? it just feels like everything about you is burning everything you’re trying to create?
Lately, despite some cool accomplishments, I feel like I can’t do anything right, or like I’m letting people down, or like I’m behind, or stupid.
Because I haven’t learned javascript yet, because I haven’t used git, because terminal still makes me a little uncomfortable, because I haven’t finished the codeacademy ruby course, because my websites aren’t perfect, because I miss things, because I don’t know everything about servers and I’m probably the worst tech person ever, because I spend more time creating than working on SEO, because my (awkwardly sized) book on drawing people depresses me, because I don’t “draw through” enough, because I haven’t gotten to the point where under-layers work for me, because my drawings still look like scribbles compared to other people’s art, because as soon as I make something and release it into the void I feel almost lost, because because because…
Because I’m not good enough.
I need to do bug fixing on E.R.A. and I’m sad because it worked when I tested it locally. I feel like any progress I’ve made on the web-development and creative fronts have just vanished and I’m the worst who ever existed.
sigh.

Survivor's Guilt

Maybe it’s because I’m on that high from just finishing a comic after not drawing in way too long because set backs and busy-ness and certain-life-things just completely zapping any creative drive out of me, or because I’ve been rocking out to music in my headphones (which I’m sure looks entertaining), but, I’m really happy right now.
Dude, I make comics.
And I make videos about gaming.
The first of season 3 is yet to be out because reasons (not limited to, but including computer failure). I do have it planned though…And all but one piece of the puzzle has come in, so yay! Computer thing is being fixed tomorrow *crossfingers*
I had an epiphany in the shower a couple days ago…about how I don’t have to feel guilty for, I guess just the whole circumstance I am in where I am actually in a place where I can create and not have to worry about stuff. I realize I’m fucking lucky and that it’s so fucking rare for that to be a thing, and more often than not I have some weird kind of survivors guilt and feel like I should shelf it and join everyone else, you know? Because I almost feel like there’s something wrong that I have the ability to do these things and lots of people don’t.
But then I realized, that’s not actually helping anyone. It’s not helping me, if I’m sitting at home, paralyzed by guilt and anxiety because I can choose the work that I do, and I’m not desperate. It’s not helping me if I force myself to go spend my time doing something that isn’t helping me actually grow when I don’t absolutely have to.
What does help people, and what does help me, is if I actually use the crazy lucky situation I’m in and create, and keep creating, and doing those things and bringing stuff into the world that makes it better, or bringing in the stuff I want to see. I don’t know how long anything is going to last, no one does, so who am I to not make things while I can?
I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else. I just realized…I don’t know, I shouldn’t feel guilty or like something is wrong because my life and journey looks different. I shouldn’t be paralyzed by survivor’s guilt because I can choose where to dedicate my time.
Because I really do feel bad about it a lot. Which I realize is idiotic. *shrug*
And now I’m remembering this poem, which I first discovered years ago when I watched Akeela and the Bee:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
– “Our Deepest Fear” Marianne Williamson

And the more I’m trying to figure out who the fuck I think I am and what the hell I’m doing here and what makes me so qualified, the more apt it is, because….
If I’m quiet
and if I’m honest
and if I look deep within myself
In the corner I don’t want to admit exists
I’m terrified of my own power.
And that’s holding me back in the light of sudden…success
I’m really not that scary of a person
(you hear that psyche? I’m really nice!)
But for some reason, something dwelling in the cavern
says
who the fuck do you think you are?
and I just have to remember
who the fuck am I not to be?

Failure and Creatives (me)

I follow awesome people on twitter – and Erika brought up something that I had thought about at PAX (and then forgot because I was confused by my sudden lack of 4 molars), the subsequent short conversation with Kiri (who, btw, is awesome incarnate – not just because we pronounce our names the same way) then spurred me onto a twitter muse which I realized would be better suited for a blog post, because all the thoughts are way more than 140.
I feel like a failure – and if twitter is any indication I’m certainly not alone in that feeling. If you’ve read here before, you’ll probably have seen that strewn across the blog relatively frequently, if in vague terms.
That’s been escalated lately, exponentially. At some point, you become comfortable with your relationship with failure, and hiding in the dark, and doing stuff with little response – even though you desperately want response, all creators do (as hard as that is to admit because it feels…vain?).
Kiri wrote a post the day before I started my kickstarter about the same feeling. Between that and this post by Katie Lane…I’ve expressed the general terrifying-ness and failing feels of everything, but I’ve been so afraid to say what for fear of…I don’t really know.
I think I’m afraid that if I get into detail here of how I feel and why, everyone who’s been there for me and backed me is going to think I’m a horrible person. Which probably is playing a huge part in the creative block I’ve been facing.
I made it into the first round of the G&S Vlogs, my Kickstarter following that was successful, before PAX even! So the paralyzing fear and anxiety should be gone, right? Because everything worked?
Ah, but you don’t live inside my head. I waffle between YAY PEOPLE THINK I’M COOL and OH MY GOD I NEED TO NOT FUCK THIS UP. WHAT IF I’M AWFUL AND THEY HATE ME?
Strangely, the “just don’t fuck this up” part is wayyyy louder than the, “hey people like what I do!” voice.
Because I was successful I’m met with more stress than living in the shadows and making things maybe 30 people saw – most of whom I know, on a good day. It’s gone up a bit since The Daily Beast and Geek and Sundry and Kickstarter and it’s wonderful.
But damned if I’m not fucking terrified. I was funded, partially because Harry Knowles pissed people off, which I mean, I’m not complaining about – but the internet can be scary. I don’t want to piss people off, and I’m afraid that if I don’t deliver something perfect, it’s going to end poorly.
Which I know in my thinking brain isn’t true, because I have a years worth of content people could go back and look at, people knew what they were getting into when they funded me and they liked it, it doesn’t have to be The Best Show Ever(tm) is just needs to be KieryGeek, which I’m actually good at – when I’m not hiding in a corner being afraid.
I’m afraid that I’m not getting things done fast enough, or that I don’t know what I’m doing (I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing anymore, even though I’m doing the same thing, but being actually able to show it this time), or that it’ll still fall short (I’m reminded of Ira Glass on Storytelling) of what I want it to be.
I’m worried I won’t get the rewards to everyone on time, or they won’t like them, or I’m not making KieryGeek episodes fast enough (even though I’m still waiting on my mic to arrive), and I should be making ALL OF THE THINGS right this second, and I’m failing because I’m not. Instead I’m writing this, or playing animal crossing or painting my Archangel (which is actually related, because warmahordes). I’m worried I won’t be able to keep the Humorotica schedule that we’ve only tentatively set, or that if I draw all of the times my drawing will not get better and it’ll just be lamer and lamer (which, I KNOW is bullshit, you can’t get worse at doing something all the time..right?).
I’m afraid that my comics are lame (drawing, not words, because I have a great writer), or that I won’t be able to balance comics and KieryGeek and jobs – even though I’ve been doing that, dare I say successfully, for months.
I’m not sure how everything is going to work from here on out. I know what I want, but I’m also terrified of achieving it. I want to be able to support myself making comics and filming vlogs about games and making webseries and painting and making other digital art. I want to not have to rely on my partner for everything all of the time. It’s really awesome that he doesn’t mind, but, I’d like to be able to contribute too, you know? With more than $9 an hour seasonally.
I’ve not done things because I was afraid or too drained to, and I regret those a lot. I wanted to make friends with all the G&S Vloggers during the competition but didn’t – mostly because I was coming off of hellcation and the PTSD that brought (which, fed into self loathing, oh yeah, that’s tied in too – this is a nasty beast). I’ve regretted it since and haven’t really known how to deal with it. I didn’t meet any of the strip search artists at PAX even though they’re some of my favorite people because, SOCIAL ANXIETY. I feel like I talked a little about the meltdown I was dealing with over that weekend, it’s basically all of this stuff and existential crisis and creative self-doubt.
But, I DID muster up the courage to buy a shirt from MC Frontalot because I was too scared at PAX East…so…that’s a plus? If you don’t listen to the internal montage of “dude, you sounded so stupid” that played for a couple days later.
I realized there, that everyone deals with this – all creatives do – probably all humans, actually. I don’t remember which story Scott Kurtz was telling that made that point, but it was perfect. I think it was about how you put so much of yourself out there that you get exhausted, which…so true. Sometimes everything in my head is exhausting, and everything external is exhausting and everything is just exhausting.
But I can’t not do it.
And that’s what keeps me going – through the blocks and the fear and the anxiety.
I know what happens when I don’t create (I go nuts and YAY MORE MELTDOWN KIERY).
I have to (and I love it).
I realize that ultimately, the problem is coming from myself and my own hangups and my own fears and I am quite literally my own worst enemy. I am the one with the unreasonable expectations and overactive internal critic.
I just don’t know how to fix it – I’ll let you know when I do.
(If you’ve discovered the elixir, tell me? please? begs)

PAX Thoughts

Creatives

I left for PAX drenched in a crazy amount of social anxiety. My kickstarter was funded as I was on my way to the airport which was phenomenal and completely unexpected. It all suddenly became very real (but simultaneously completely surreal). Sometimes I think the scariest thing is actually succeeding. Like in Neil Gaiman’s speech, just waiting for someone to come by and say “nope, game over, we’ve found you out” for having the audacity to create publicly and wanting to be able to like, eat and stuff while doing it.
I’m scared of failing, really really really scared of failing, and for the better part of the week, I was terrified of admitting it. But it’s driving me crazy and into a not-good anxiety spiral, so here:
I am terrified. I am really fucking terrified that I’m going to fuck this whole thing up, I’m terrified everyone who backed me will hate me because I suck, or I didn’t do things exactly how they wanted, or because life happened – as it does (for instance, I came home to water leaks in my living room and studio, and now I need to replace the broken equipment as well).
So then the Q&A’s with Mike and Jerry (Gabe & Tycho) happened. They touched on anxiety, and valuing their work, and just doing it anyway.
These songs happened on Saturday and I realized something really important:
What I’m feeling, and this (increasingly volatile) cycle is normal, and I’m not alone.

Introversion and Drive

I watched the panels and the musicians, and I realized I was just one of many socially awkward, introverted, and insecure creatives in the room – including the ones on stage. I realized that the more creative I am, and the more I put myself out there, the more introverted I become, because I feel like I’m living so externally already and it’s an incredibly vulnerable feeling.
The more of myself I put into what I do, I feel like, the less barrier there is, which is awesome – authenticity is something I value and I get really irritated if I feel like I’m not being honest (hence: this post) and it starts eating away at me. It’s also really really scary, because everything feels so much more personal.
But, as much as that is, as much as I feel the need to invert and crawl into myself, I can’t escape one this drive.
This drive to create, publicly, and live, publicly. Every time I go to a con or see a panel or performance, it’s one of those things where I know I belong up there, creating things that I love, and other people love and want to know about. Like, it’s different somehow, and it’s an inescapable drive and something that I’m kind of moving toward.
I think this is a plight of creative people – especially creative people who tend to become introverted or socially anxious. Creating and sharing that creation calls to us and drives us and we can’t escape it; so we do it, because it matters to us and we don’t really have a choice, it is us. I think that’s okay.
I think it’s okay to feel anxious when you’re putting your heart on the line because it’s scary.
But I also think that I need to fix my anxiety, because it becomes crippling.

Stuff and Things

Well I didn’t make it into the next round of the Geek and Sundry Vlogs. All of the voter contributions were wonderful (and thank you so much)! I just must not have been what they were looking for. Still, It was worth trying, even in just learning the amount of people that I’ve been able to reach and meet and people who really like what I do.
I decided before I even applied that regardless I’ll still continue KieryGeek – and since then, I’ve been brainstorming and I think you’ll be excited about some of the things that are currently ruminating in my head. I’ll do another video later this month when I have a couple things nailed down, explaining it all, and then we’ll be back in time for PAX Prime (which I am ridiculously excited about going to).

I finished part one of The Acceptance Chronicles. < Part one meaning: I have more. I actually have a lot of plans and ideas on the comic front as well. Currently I have so many ideas for so many things that I need to just wait for them to organize themselves. It’s nice to finally have drawn something though, after not being able to draw or write or anything due to the stress and lack of sleep over the last few weeks.
Thankfully, it seems the tides are turning. I’m getting back into the swing of things, and chopped off my hair (so now my Elizabeth Cosplay will look much more Elizabeth-y) which boosted my (previously dangerously low) confidence up by +20.
It’s just the overtired fuzz that I need to get rid of now.

Time Management

I’ve got a semi-intense seasonal job which is really amazing. I like what I do and I like that it ends before christmas and enables me to save/create an art fund and buy christmas presents without feeling bad for mooching off my husband (not that that’s bad either, or that he minds, ’cause he doesn’t, but there’s something empowering about having *my own* in a separate bank account and making things a little easier in *our* finances as a result). However, with this brief change and total upheaval of my schedule (waking up at 8 and going to bed by midnight) I’m finding myself more and more in awe of the people I know who work and find time to do things like write and create during the day on top of all the other stuff we end up doing (cleaning, much?).
I’m usually pretty decent at managing my time, but lately I’ve been so exhausted by the time I come home, the most creative thing I do is unwind in Azeroth (not that I mind…’cause it’s a blast and I do it with a friend and it’s the highlight of my week 😉 ). I was painting for a while, before thanksgiving, but just haven’t felt quite up to that lately (too much energy and cleanup). There are a lot of things I just don’t have the energy to think about and facebook/online communities become more of a drain than an outlet. So I haven’t been writing much, or painting much, or doing much besides problem solving and questing and cleaning when I force myself (like today, because the mess was stressing me out).
I admire my husband so much more now, for being able to do projects and what not after he’s done working, because it’s all I can do not to just fall right to sleep.
But creating makes me feel alive and writing keeps me sane. Even just writing this, in my exhausted little brain, I’m feeling a little bit more energetic and relaxed.
So here’s to all the working people who manage to do something with their minds besides just work, because for some reason, that alone is a lot of work…for me anyway.
unplugging now. Cheers.