It’s been a long time since I posted anything that wasn’t part of some prompt or other. My girlfriend says I’m addicted. Maybe so. There is something refreshing about flash fiction. I’d never done it before on any regular basis. In fact, I used to make fun of it. I’ve changed my mind recently. It’s a real palette cleanser and a terrific exercise, especially because the photos are pretty much universally dreary. Here’s an example:
If you were looking at a photo for inspiration, which would you choose?
I know, right? No contest. But a shitty picture is not a bad thing, I have found. It makes you use more imagination. That second photo is a story in itself. Anything I could write about it would be superfluous.
But that’s not what I’m posting about. I wanted to repost an entry from my comics blog I wrote in 2013.
TIME AND THE FOUNTAIN
It’s the classic problem of a largely unpublished creator. I work two jobs, but only one pays money. As a comics artist, I am a moonlighter by necessity. My professional life as a UX strategist is very demanding, making me use my brain continually and continuously. Add to this the lovely demands of family and romance, of motorcycle riding and of the community service work I do every week and it winds up being a very full schedule. I also play drums in a couple bands. Oh, and I started a novel too. Good thing I don’t have a dog. Anyway, time management is a crucial skill for all of us, but more important is the management of the creative fountain, the wellspring of ideas. I know a lot of writers live in terror of losing their ability to tell a story, losing the drive and energy to work, letting the well run dry. That fear becomes overmastering, and eventually the prophesy fulfills itself.
Balzac wrote “Our worst misfortunes never happen, and most miseries lie in anticipation.” This is true. Action is the savior. Like exercise, a balance needs to be achieved, and over time the ability to produce sustained amounts of quality work will improve. Persistence, habit and a cheerfully sanguine attitude go a long way. And the courage to fail, to be able to not agonize and overthink. Just sit down and get to work and you’ll be amazed. Then, after a while, stop and do something else. As Papa drunkenly said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Everyone knows Hemingway wrote his best stuff with a pencil, anyway.