Saturday, September 27, 2014

Feeling Better

Last night my friend and I went to this really cool restaurant with lots of art on the walls and live music and organic food - it was the kind of place you'd think you have to go to Boston for, but it was right in my friend's hometown. We drew outlines of our dream houses, which was a really special bonding experience. I've had at least part of this dream house in my head my whole life. I'll probably post the picture on here soon and explain what each room is. We also went geocaching for the first time! Well, my first time, her 18th time, although this was her first time going at night. We found this little magnetic key case hidden inside a street sign. It was really cool - I was so excited that we actually found it.

Also, I love my coloring book. I got this really intricate detailed coloring book from American Girl with a "sweets" theme, and it includes pictures of stuff like cookies and cupcakes and candy and ice cream - there's a big poster of a bunch of kids at a party with lots of treats, and another poster of kids in a candy land made of sweets! I feel like I've uncovered a whole new interest, because it's been years since I've done a coloring book. I'm getting really into this one, and I like trying different things. One of the pictures, I'm using to practice blending different colors together. I've only finished one picture so far, but when I've done a few more I might start taking pictures and posting them here, and talking a little bit about what I did.

On another note, when you're writing a book, I always find there's something really special about the 30-page mark. Basically, when you've just started writing a book and you have only a few pages, it seems only natural to reread what you've done already each time you start writing again. It's sort of an automatic thing to do, to remember where you left off. As you write more pages, it takes longer to read what you've written. And somewhere around the 30-page mark is where I stop doing that automatically. Where I feel like it would take too long to reread what I have every single time I start writing again. Not to say that I'll never read over what I have, but rereading has become its own activity, rather than part of the daily writing process. And when I reach that point, it's pretty exciting. It's like, wow, this is becoming a real book. The 30-page mark is the first benchmark that feels that way. After that, every ten page increment feels like a big accomplishment. And it never really changes proportionally either. Like, I don't feel like the gap between 50 and 60 pages is bigger than the gap between 150 and 160, even though it is proportionally bigger. Ten page differences always feel really good.

I'm not quite at the 30-page mark yet in my validation book (although I have a ton of outlining work done), but what I've realized from trying to write a book that references a lot of my blog posts is that I'm at a point where I've written so many blog posts that I literally have to google my blog address with words from the post in order to find it, because unless I remember when I wrote it, it would take way too long to find on my own site. (Luckily I usually remember when I wrote different posts, but there have been some recently that I had to google.) I don't remember exactly when my blog reached that point. I can't really judge with time because the years aren't consistent, but I know there was a long time when I could easily go back and reread all of my blog posts just for fun. It was somewhere in the middle of 2012 when I felt like the blog was too long to do that very often, somewhere in 2013 where it started to feel impossible - not that it would actually be impossible if I wanted to do it, but going back and rereading everything from the start seemed like too much work to actually be fun. (Well, rereading every word would be a lot of work, but it is still fun to go back and glance at what I was writing at different times.) When I wrote The Unencrypted Truth, it was getting a little difficult to go back and find stuff, but it was still doable. I think it was this year, 2014, when I had to start using google for my own blog. And it's kind of the same feeling of realizing how much of a job it will be to go back and reread all the pages you've written. You just can't believe how much you've done.

Oh, and just a disclaimer, because it matters a lot to me: I started my sex blog in 2013, so my actual total blog posts for that year are 116 (91 this blog + 25 sex blog). And this year so far, I've written a total of 119 posts (57 this blog + 62 sex blog). And I've got three months left, so I'm still on track with having this year be higher than the year before. I did not write any less because of having a full-time job or anything like that.  It's going to look like I had a drop this year because I've divided my time between two different blogs, but I actually already have more total posts than last year, with three months to go :-)

Friday, September 26, 2014

And Being a Kid Continues!

Being a kid continues to be great. I got a new coloring book today from American Girl that's all sweets and includes a scene from a candyland type of place. I spent pretty much all night coloring and it was awesome!

So I might be updating a little bit less frequently now that I'm working on my validation book, because some of the new ideas I have are going directly into the book. I want the book to have at least some new material that no one has read before. I'll still be updating here, but I might not have as many deep, well-thought-out posts about pressure and invalidation while I'm working on my book.

But yeah, I'm gonna try really, really hard to keep my younger mindset, playing kick the can with my friends and playing with my toys and coloring and rereading my favorite books, and tomorrow my friend and I are going to design our dream houses together! I feel like it's been working mostly well so far, I've had a lot of setbacks, but somehow I always manage to maintain my interest in the younger stuff I want to do. My interest in the activities is strong enough to pull me in, and there isn't anything about the activities that can hurt me.  Sometimes writing the validation book will hurt and I'll have to stop and take breaks. Same goes for novel and this blog and almost any writing I do that I plan to show to people, but living like a kid never fails me. Even when I get people saying bad things to me for my life choices, I don't actually feel bad when I'm doing the activities.

I keep thinking to myself, what would  I have been looking at on the internet if I hadn't gone to college and been told what to care about? And then I do that, and avoid at all costs any good-for-me sites that will make me feel bad. And I've started regulating what's on my facebook newsfeed as well, because I'm not listening to anyone who pushes responsibility on me or tells me not to live my life the way I really want to. I know that if I can really, really stay in the mindset I get into when I do my younger stuff, I'll have lots of fun and be happy and I honestly think I'll be better able to do the more grown-up type stuff that I want to do (not like chores or anything, I mean writing my books. At the rate I'm going now, I might actually finish the validation book by the original date I had set). But anyway, everything is all about fun and I'm not gonna have productive days, I'm gonna have fun days, and everything is going to be play except for when I have to go to work.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Untyped, Not Unwritten

When I was younger, I was basically writing stories all the time. I didn't write them down on paper, but I wrote them in my mind. As I explained in my first post on being a kid again, I used my imagination as a medium. The funny thing is that when it actually came time to write stories down on paper, like for homework, my stories weren't all that exciting. I mean, some of them were. I remember especially enjoying creative writing in 4th and 5th grade, because we got to write a lot of stories and free compositions with very little structure, but even then, these stories just did not compare at all to the ones I wrote in my head. I also didn't have the same connection to them. The stories I wrote in my imagination, I daydreamed about almost all the time. They were entire worlds that I had created in my own mind, that I could go to whenever I was uninterested in living in the real world. Nothing I wrote down on paper was like that, with one exception. There was one fantasy short story I wrote in 5th grade that was the basis of a full-length fantasy screenplay that I imagined for year. The final draft that I handed in for class ended up being the rough draft of a much bigger story. But as far as I remember, that is the only exception.

For a while, I just assumed that I didn't put much effort into my school stories because I didn't care about school, and that was why they were never as good as my personal stories. But then when I got to middle school, I started entering the short story contests in my favorite magazine. I entered the contests entirely on my own - no one else ever pushed me to do it. And the contests themselves were pretty much a free-for-all.  They'd give a length limit and tell you what season to set the story in based on what time of year the winning story would be published, but the writing prompt was usually just one sentence that had to included somewhere in the story. The possibilities were endless. I had a lot of fun writing stories for these contests, even though I didn't win. I didn't have a huge stake in winning the contests - I mainly just thought they were fun. But even with all that said, knowing that this was a fun, free-for-all activity that I did entirely by my own free will, I can honestly say these stories did not take over my life the way other stories had. They did not form entire worlds in my head where I could hang out all the time. I had fun writing them, but I was never attached to them like the stories I only imagined.

In middle school, I also started writing out some short stories, comic strips, and part of a memoir that I had planned to share with family and friends. These stories occupied much more of my brain than the stories I wrote for the contests, but nowhere near as much as the stories I only imagined did. It's like, actually producing something with the intention of showing it to people dramatically reduces how much I daydream and live in the world of the story, and producing it with the intention of getting published puts an even greater wall between me and the story than when I only planned to share it with family and friends. Even though I wrote all of these stories entirely by my own free will.

My brain really took a toll after college fiction writing class. It wasn't anything that the class did to me specifically - it was that writing stories for class got me into this mindset of producing things, of feeling like I was ready to start my career as a professional writer and go from imagining to producing. In theory, this should have a been a good thing for me. I want to produce things and get published. But once I started only working on stories with the intention of showing them to people, my brain no longer had all these safe fantasy worlds where I could go and live. Those stories never made their way into my brain like the stories I never wrote down had. The last time I had an imaginary story that took over my brain was not when I was really young - it was actually the summer before my junior year of college; the summer before fiction writing class.

I worked on my novel for a year and a half, and I can honestly say that it did nothing to protect me. It did nothing to provide a fun, safe world I could retreat to inside my head. It did not have the power that my unwritten stories had. When I used to enter the worlds of my unwritten stories, I would see playgrounds with all kinds of fun activities to do. But when I entered the world of my novel, I only saw work that needed to be done. The lawn needed mowing, the flowers needed watering, the house needed a new coat of paint. I never felt like I could just go hang out there.

This is something that I need to fix. I want to get my books published, but I also want to live like a kid and have my stories take over my mind like they did when I didn't write them down. I want my stories to be constantly running through my mind, to the point that I can't concentrate on anything in the real world, to the point that I don't even live in the real world full-time.

There was one time in fiction writing class, I had spent my entire winter break replaying a story in my mind, and by the time I sat down to write it, I was really just typing, because I already had a first draft of the story in my head. And that's what I need to do now. The stories in my past were never unwritten, they were simply untyped. And there is no reason why the simple act of typing should prevent stories from taking over my brain. My focus right now, in addition to being a kid again, is to try to imagine my stories the old fashioned way, the way that will make them take over my life, and also type them out. It's something I'll have to play and experiment with, but it's what I need to do. I'm not going to have my fun places feel like work and I'm not going to live in the real world.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Effectiveness

In college, we had a digest email that went out to all students. It had things like event announcements and a lost and found section. Every so often, a student posted about a lost/stolen laptop, and no matter how stressed out they sounded, they never directed any anger at the person who stole their computer. They always said, "If you have my computer, I will take it back, no questions asked." At first I didn't understand this at all. If someone stole my computer, I'd be ready to pound them! Why was everyone being so calm? Then it hit me - they weren't necessarily being calm, they were being effective. If they posted how angry they were at the person who stole their computer and what they'd like to do to them, that person would be much less likely to give it back. It's easy enough to lose something small like a cell phone without it being stolen, but a laptop? Not so much. Telling someone you "found" their computer is going to raise suspicion, and really the best way to get it back is to promise not to say or do anything bad to the person who took it. It doesn't mean you don't want to do anything to them, it means you're being effective at getting your computer back.

This is what I'm doing with the validation book I'm writing. The friendly, solution-focused tone does not express how I feel about the people who have invalidated me. It's not the tone they deserve. It doesn't mean that I'm "over" stuff from the past or that I don't plan to tell people directly just how much they've hurt me. It means that I need to hold the reader's interest and I need to get the reader to like me if they're gonna listen. I need to be effective. It doesn't mean that I want to be civilized to someone who stole my computer, it means that I want to get my computer back. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Being a Kid

Being a kid again has been awesome so far! I'm playing with my toys, playing games outside with my friends, reading books from when I was younger, and trying my best to live in my own little imaginary world and tune out everything going on in real life. The only thing I really liked about being an adult was doing lots of fun sexual stuff, and without that, being grown up doesn't interest me. I don't think I'll ever go back to being an adult or caring about reality again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Being a Kid Again

I've decided to go back to living like a kid again and it has been awesome so far. I mean, not completely awesome because I still have to go to work and get pretty drained from that and I don't feel good during the work day, but while I'm being a kid, I feel good. I don't feel like getting into the specifics of everything I'm doing or psychoanalyzing anything (I'm happy to talk about it in real life, I just don't feel like blogging about it right now). But I'm planning to live like this now. I'm not accepting adulthood. I will always be a kid inside and I will always do the things I really like to do. I want my mindset to go back to what it was before I became a grownup, and so far, that has been happening. I am starting to feel like a kid again, but with no bedtime and no rules - exactly how I always planned to live as an adult.

So regarding the validation book. Yes, I'm still doing it. No, I'm not having my 6-month goal anymore. Trying to write this book before I decided to be a kid again was miserable. It brought me flashbacks and nightmares and general feeling bad all the time. My friend Eli told me that maybe I needed a break. So I took a break, decided to forget about my book and my goals of getting published and just do all the kid stuff I wanted to do. And after a few days of playing, the book ideas started entering my mind again. The motivation is still in me. But I'm gonna take it very, very slow for now. I just started being a kid again and I have much deeper to go before I'll really feel like I did when I was younger. But I am starting to feel a little better and I don't want to mess it up by putting pressure on myself to produce something.

This is awesome example of unschooling: http://alternativestoschool.com/2014/07/23/going-back-school-fall/   I wish I could have been pulled out of school back then. What the mother describes here is very common: there's a phase of not wanting to do anything (and who would blame them after being forced to do stuff for so long?), but then at a certain point, the kids sort of wake up and become interested in stuff again. I think I need to go through a phase like that before setting time-sensitive goals like finishing a book in 6 months. My whole life, I've been on deadlines and had pressure to study and learn and write and care about stuff I didn't care about at all, and I'm at a point where I just don't want to produce anything anymore. I don't want to be productive or motivated or anything. I just want to have fun. And that's what I'm planning to do.

And you know something? When I was a kid, I wrote all the time. I wrote my first musical when I was seven years old. I made up stories constantly. I didn't write all of them down, but imagination is a medium of its own. I used to purposely replay scenes in my head over and over again until they were exactly the way I liked them, and until they were solidified in my head. I know now that a lot of my younger stories were lacking in plot points, and I wouldn't necessarily want to go back and try to make something out of them, but there is no reason why I can't live that way again. There is no reason why I can't have my mind be entirely consumed in a really cool project, to the point that the story is a playground inside my head, and also write it down. It doesn't have to be perfect the first time around because that it what editing is for. Editing is the serious work part (which I actually enjoy quite a bit!) but the initial first drafts can be just as fun and playful as they were when I was little. There is no reason why I can't live that way again.

So as for the validation book, I am planning to write it, but I am not setting a strict time goal right away. I want to let my brain get back into happy daydreaming mode again. I need to go through that resting phase that unschoolers go through when they're first pulled out of school before I can feel that passionate, purely internal motivation towards my writing goals again.