On Self-Improvement – [Just Me]

Self-improvement is a process, not a race. I keep forgetting that and my subconscious becomes so opportunistic that I end up reverting to old ways of thinking and being. Trusting in the progress we make as people who are trying to make better decisions in life requires us to be brave enough to trust ourselves even when the unexpected or the uncontrollable occur. Let mistakes happen. Tap into that raw emotion that rises up, analyze those old habits, accept why you gave into them, then take that experience and do better. It’s not easy and it’s not a race. Let’s give ourselves permission to explore and adapt to the process of self-improvement.

Have a good day.

Gratitude – [Just Me]

There is a lot of fighting still happening in the United States. If you’re not from here, I’m sure the Black Lives Matter movement caught your attention and if you and your country participated in marches and protests for the cause, I thank you so much. Somedays, I get really upset about the violence and ignorance that is spreading and it’s even more upsetting when you have that radical thought to just leave, but learn that every country has its issues and even making the drastic move to live somewhere else doesn’t mean everything will be better. Frankly, the fight in me has been so damn weak because of my mental health, but I’ve had some very encouraging people, including you, encourage me not to give up on what I can do and how I can speak up. As an African-American, there’s always going to be this strange lack of belonging to me. I’ll always feel “not American enough” and “not African enough” simultaneously, which puts me in this strange limbo of identity and origin. The silver lining is that I have the complete power to sculpt my identity since that goes beyond my skin color (Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE my skin color and no one will take that away from me).

I still witness and feel the tension, anger, and power coming from my African-American brothers, sisters, and nonbinary siblings. I have so much gratitude and so much inspiration. The ways that I can speak up and leave my mark may be limited, but as a writer, as a creator, I’m limitless. We’re limitless. Keep creating, keep speaking up, keep your dignity, keep your pride, keep loving who you are.

It Was Tempting To Give Up On My Novel – [Just Me]

I think this is a common thing to happen to most writers. You get to that weird middle ground of your novel and wonder if any of it is even worth it. For me, I was worried about my poor habit of overthinking. In my Violet Project Diaries on Vocal, I mentioned that I had to delete some characters and parts of my novel because it was “too meta”. Although I do want my work to be thought provoking, I don’t want to seem like I’m trying to hard or that I bit off more than I can chew. I’m trying to stay humble during this process, but I took a step past humility and wandered into hopelessness. It was tempting to just let it all go and figure out what I “really” wanted in life, but… I mean come on, I’ve spent over 2 years on this thing. Even though I have been thinking critically about the audience’s reception to my work, I’m not going to just drop it because I can’t figure out EXACTLY how audiences want their story told.

The last diary entry got to me. I was going in circles about the concept of karma and trying to figure out why we connect to that concept in storytelling. I was unsure if I was writing my story “correctly” regarding the karmic justice thing, but I already know I won’t know if it’s working or not unless I finish it to the best of my ability and then get it out there.

Writing the second draft has been one hell of a ride, but I’m not giving up. Please check out my Violet Project Diaries on Vocal where I discuss my workflow and the writing resources I stumble across. I’m trying to post as much as possible throughout the week.

Stand Up – New Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ Resource Page – [News]

The new page Stand Up is live. On the page are resources that help with the Black Lives Matter movement and the LGBTQ+ community. As a black queer person, I’m determined to do my part in getting information out there. There are several sources there now, but I will add onto it as time goes on. I especially need sources for those who aren’t American because I know many of my readers aren’t American and I thank you for your support.

I can’t thank you those of you who support this movement enough. Thank you for putting your integrity ahead of your comfort. If you know of any other resources that will help, let me know. We must stay connected and informed. We need to be united more than ever because unfathomable changes are coming and change is always hard to accept. We must be there for one another. Be with me.

The Greatest Revenge Is Living Your Best Life – Oracle Reading

A lot of the hatred, heartbreak, and loss recently may persuade some of us to hide away or run away. I woke up feeling that way, then decided to do an ancestral and karmic oracle reading. I used The Shaman’s Oracle deck to speak with my ancestors who communicated an awesome message of resilience reminding me that fear can be hurtful and paralyzing, which is all the more reason to set boundaries and take time to retreat so you can reflect on the truth of the situation, but there’s no need to forget your own strength. There are traditions in the past many tried to oppress, but they still live on. There are those who cultivated their skills in the midst of being afraid and became prolific figures in history and in modern times. Right now we have so many protests, petitions, and other forms of speaking out against injustice and unfairness. While fighting for integrity and acknowledging our fear, we shouldn’t forget our power and our right to live because that is how our freedom lives on.

It’s appalling that there are people to this day who believe some lives are less valued than others, but those same people are ignorant of the fact that they don’t have authority over another’s life. What fear teaches us when we see those same people do wicked things to others is to be cautious as we forge our own path. Sometimes a brash and outspoken rebellion isn’t as significant as a patient strategy that can abolish oppression for the long-term. Acknowledging our fear and being thoughtful of what is and isn’t in our control is what maintains freedom because then our fear doesn’t become a card the oppressor can play whenever they want.

I hope this isn’t being interpreted as a suggestion to be passive and tolerant of injustice, but rather as encouragement on the establishment of autonomy, keeping our power. There is hope, but if your heart is angry and seeking revenge, the hardest blow you can land is striving to live your best life. The people who take the oppressive route are clowns refusing to reflect on their own pain and insecurity, which is not our responsibility, but theirs. All the more reason to make sure we speak out about accountability and continue the fight for integrity without losing our will to live or abandoning our gratitude for life.

The way this message was told to me started with the dancer of fear (acknowledging fear and pain, cautious and resilient), then the ancestor of boundaries (setting boundaries, respecting yourself), then the shaman of tradition (deep memories, ancestral wisdom, remembering the past), then the ancestor of skill (utilizing skills and powers to daily life) and lastly the ancestor of hope (strength to achieve goals for the long term, even during adversity).

The stones on top of the cards are two malachite (the green ones), two Botswana agate, and in the middle is lodelite.

Be well. Stay strong.

First Draft Progress – Five Days Until Deadline Pt. 2

Word Count Today: 2822 words
Current Word Total: 102,920 words

No research today.

Additional Work Needed:

  • Creating certain spells and incantations for characters
  • Should I create a new language? Will I hate myself if I do? Probably
  • Continuity checks on character arcs

I’m ultra proud of my writing sprint today.

I’ve broken 100k and I’m predicting I may reach 150k. That might be because a friend challenged me to reach it, but who knows how far it’ll go. Honestly, writing at the end of the second act is such an intense time for writing, at least for me. The momentum is nonstop. My imagination won’t stop. Nothing stops. I’m enjoying it. I’m even happier that I have an ending to keep my focus on. I see the finish line. I’m ready to cross it.

Tomorrow will be the last day of airplane travel. I’ll definitely be doing some writing before hand and on the way. I will admit, the pressure of the deadline is helping so much, but I’m also unsure if I’ll actually meet it lmao! I’m still going to try, but there’s still so much! My chapters are getting longer, my descriptions of my world are becoming more dense, and my characters are so much more fun to delve into and it’s fun to think about how I want the audience to take them in. This project is so much work.

I love it. No complaints whatsoever. I’mma reach that deadline, damn it.

Laughing In The Face of Uncertainty

It was the first time I ever laughed when asked what I was doing with my life. Usually social anxiety and hypothetical fears sweep in, but I just wasn’t in such a vulnerable state where I was going to allow myself to be crippled again. It was marvelous, a joyful success. My response in the mix of my laughter was “I don’t know.” That response often makes those who care for you uncomfortable or worried that you’re losing a sense of reality. Just because I don’t know what’s ahead doesn’t mean I’m aimless. I am a very passionate, determined, and disciplined person who is sincerely on the path of abandoning temporary validation. Validation from myself is most important right now.

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I’m not necessarily implying that it’s wise to disregard the advice and concern of others. Rather, I’m asserting that I’m more grounded and mindful than I was previously and I certainly can’t help but be proud of that. My mind is this creative jungle and none of the animals residing there are tamed. You can’t explain how much fun hanging out in that jungle is to people who go out of their way to ignore what their mind and inner self is trying to tell them. All the creative projects I have in mind and every moment of effort I put into bringing them into reality makes me feel so very alive. So very free. What people don’t understand is that it’s a process, a joyful one, but a process nonetheless. Why would I dabble with this when it’s more convenient to get a job that brings more immediate income and thereafter more stability? Well, it’s not like a job is completely out of the question for me. What I am doing right now, even writing this post, every page of my novel, every song I want to sing or write, every time my paintbrush hits paper, IS my job. Every project is my professional stride and while I work on these projects as top priority, I don’t mind having another job on the side that provides income, well, I see it more like funding, for my first job. Right now, that’s what I’m doing. It’s not an elaborate plan with milestones or scheduled goals. I love it so much.

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Also, being in this state of freedom doesn’t lack organization either. I have a general deadline for finishing the first draft of my novel and sometimes for other projects, but I’m my own boss. There’s a flexibility I’ve learned to grant myself without diminishing my discipline. I will compensate for missed time. I will work overtime somedays. I will also give myself a goddamn break when I’m overloaded. My creative work is inspiring me to fall in love with myself in a humbling way, where I’m acknowledging my strengths and weaknesses, constantly evaluating my capabilities, adapting my working process so the ultimate goal of sharing my accomplished work is done. Love towards myself has inspired this and it’s more efficient than harsh perfectionism and self-criticism ever was. It’s funny looking back on those perfectionist times and recalling how praised I was for that. Here I am doing the opposite where I have such a greater integrity towards my sense of self, but since there’s little understanding of which direction that’s going due to its ambiguity, there’s uncertain support most times. I shouldn’t forget, however, that there’s surmountable support from the universe as well. Waking up often leads to leaving the sleepers to their dreams or nightmares with the hope we’ll all walk together eventually.

I’m not taking any of this experience where I’m coming into my own, loving my life, and being proud of my accomplishments in any haughty way whatsoever. I had to write today because I am filled with a joyful, but fierce respect for my life. I am grounded, but my head is also in the clouds. I am focused, but also enjoying the thrill of imaginative wonder. I’m a walking paradox harmonizing with what and who I’m in love with.

I am.

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Risk As A Writer

On my welcome page, I wrote that my novel takes priority. It certainly does. It’s everything. Sometimes life circumstances try to convince you that your everything is nothing, that there are more important things to address than your fantastical ideas. Art is such a battle, though I truly believe it’s such a glorious, introspective experience where I can take the time to understand myself and be relieved from all the life circumstances that convince me to censor myself. Those circumstances that implore that ignoring them is too great of a risk, that I should be safe.

Because art is a battle, it isn’t safe and never will be. Art is pure vulnerability, which can transform into terror or freedom depending on how powerful your fear is. There’s that 50/50 tug-of-war going on: The first fifty says “What if you share your work and this happens?” and the other fifty says “What if you never share your work and this happens?” Circumstance. Consequence. Chaos. I am so torn by risk, but I am so thrilled by the challenge. I’m in a position where I must bet on myself or bet on a system that may or may not take care of me. I know for a fact that if the system doesn’t have art or doesn’t let me create art, I’ll die. I’ve idealized death too many times to go there again. That was another risk. Another circumstance. Another chaotic instance of thrill and torment, but at least in art that torment tears me to pieces that I can reassemble and make into a new creation. Art provides rebirth beyond death or circumstance or consequence. Art is one of those immortal mediums that I’ve chosen to surrender to, so why shouldn’t I just fall and see if my masterpieces catch me or blow wind under me so I can fly as high as possible, see the big picture, and remember what I’m living for?

Risk as a writer is a dive into first-person narration where your perception is limited, but choices must be made. What I should take from my current risks as a writer, as an artist, is remembering that any choice I make will make me reborn. The chaos is beyond my control, but during the rebirth the least I can do is dance in the storm since all this experience I’ve gained has made me strong enough to brace myself for the storm’s blow or flow with its currents and absorb the unknown. This is what art has taught me. It’s not a “no risk, no reward” situation; the risk is the reward.

I can do this. I am enough.

I am enough.