And now, a more practical followup to last week’s post / tweet thread — note that this post, like last week’s, started on Twitter, chockablock with many animated GIFs. So if that’s a thing you want to behold, you gotta check it out over yonder Twitter hills.
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IN THIS WACK-ASS YEAR OF 2018…
IN THIS AGE OF AEROSOLIZED FASCISM THAT WE ARE ALL HUFFING…
IN THIS INGLORIOUS CYCLE OF HORSESHIT NEWS FIREHOSED INTO YOUR FACEHOLES…
Not why, but HOW do we keep on Making Cool Stuff?
1. WRITE YOUR ANGER. SING YOUR RESISTANCE. PAINT YOUR PANTS-CRAPPING RAGE wait okay maybe less evocative than “pants-crapping,” but you get my point. Shove your feelings not into a box, but into the work. Where it can be seen.
2. Stop poking the broken tooth that is BAD NEWS. Yep, yes, you need to be aware of all the shitnanigans going on in the world, but you also don’t have to swim in it. Get clear of it. Create first, dunk your head in the HELL TOILET later.
3. Learn to FORGIVE YOUR OWN ASS. Forgiveness starts at home. You might create less in this turbid, turbulent era, and that’s okay. Keep moving forward. Embrace momentum. Sometimes it’s a game of inches, not miles.
4. Cleave to routine! When in doubt, routine for me is like a ladder. I can plant my feet and grab a rung and cling there as the world churns around me. And when I find a calm moment, I can climb up, one fucking rung at a time.
5. If you’re starting to figure out that SELF-CARE is a theme here, that’s because it is. Another method of self-care? Eating right. Sure, sometimes you want to die inside a gallon of ice cream, but a lot of the time, try to eat healthily. Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy output of work.
6. Also though it’s okay to eat the fucking ice cream once in a while because the world is cuckoo bananapants and if you’re happy, it’ll be easier to MAKE COOL STUFF.
7. Exercise. I’m not saying you need to be one of those ULTRAMARATHONERS whose nipples are flensed into little bloody quarters – but get that blood moving. Blood carries ideas from your heart to your brain to your fingers. HASHTAG SCIENCE.
8. Also important to practice care for others. Do well by the world. You might feel your work is a distraction (it isn’t!) but you can assuage it by taking positive steps: donate to charity! Food kitchen work! Work for a political campaign!
9. Read history. It helps. It’s not that the arc of history bends toward justice, necessarily – but humans have a history of forcibly bending it back toward justice when they decide to. Bonus: history is instructive for art and writing. History is a story!
10. Have a secondary hobby. Something that has no pressure associated with it. Something that is not current events-related. Also not related to your other STUFF-MAKING. Photography! Robotics! Interpretive dance! Heinous occult summonings! Be distracted! Work new intellectual muscles.
11. Be optimistic. This might be the hardest thing on this list. It may cause your sphincter to clench hard enough your butthole could snap a broomstick. But optimism is resistance. Especially optimism where you are engaged in enforcing it upon the world.
12. Also, be advised: this current kidney-stab bad news era is likely to trigger all kinds of anxiety and depression. It’s super-hard, but forgive yourself for that, and try to find treatment to address it. It’s not about “fixing” it – but it’ll be easier to make stuff if you’re working on it.
13. Consume art in greater quantities than before. UP YOUR INTAKE OF CREATIVE GOODNESS. In every goddamn direction you can find. Guzzle it! Gorge yourself upon it! Doesn’t have to be the same kinda stuff you make – and better if it’s unrelated to current events.
14. Travel. Anywhere. Seriously, anywhere. Two towns over. One state up. Other side of the country. A subterranean villain’s lair in New Zealand. Whatever. It opens your brain, and lets you escape, and lets you see how other people live.
15. Meet other artists. Online if you must, in meatspace if you can. (Mmm. Meatspace. Also: meetspace?) It’s good to find other likeminded weirdos to remind you: you’re not alone; this shit really isn’t normal; making stuff is cool and also hard.
16. Go to a bookstore. Even if you’re not a writer, just go to a bookstore. Or a library. SHUT UP THOSE PLACES ARE SACRED PLACES AND BOOKSELLERS AND LIBRARIANS ARE MAGICAL IMAGINATION SHEPHERDS.
17. Enjoy nature. It has nothing to do with creativity or making stuff, but it can be reinvigorating. Go look at a fucking bird. Smell a tree. Get out of your house and your head.
18. Make stuff first. Look upon the world second. This will be different for everyone, so YMMV, but for me, it helps to devote time to making stuff BEFORE I go swimming in the Turd River that is the Trump Era.
19. Also at least once per day, yell FUCK TRUMP at an ugly sock. It doesn’t really help you make stuff, but it’ll feel better. Feel free to make up new insults for him. F’rex: YOU OLEAGINOUS SACK OF RANCID RACIST MONKEY LARD. See? Creativity!
20. listen, kid, have you tried coffee
21. listen, kid, have you tried various unguents and balms and magical greases, I got a guy who will get you some enchanted elk bezoar, or a wizard-toe, or even just some really high-quality lavender hand lotion
22. Repeat after me: it’s not your job to fix it, shit’s been broken before and shit’ll get broken again, art still needs arting, stories need telling, stuff needs making.
23. Meditation. Therapy. Podcasts. ASMR. CBD Oil. Seriously, find something that works to just chill you the fuck out for a little while every day. Code it into your daily programming.
24. Remember that whatever you’re making will make The Worst People mad, and that is precious fuel, indeed. YOU’RE LIKE A CREATIVE VIGILANTE
25. Try to help other people make stuff, because helping other people make stuff helps you make stuff too.
And that’s it.
Buy my books or I die in a lightless oubliette of my own making.
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DAMN FINE STORY: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative
What do Luke Skywalker, John McClane, and a lonely dog on Ho’okipa Beach have in common? Simply put, we care about them.
Great storytelling is making readers care about your characters, the choices they make, and what happens to them. It’s making your audience feel the tension and emotion of a situation right alongside your protagonist. And to tell a damn fine story, you need to understand why and how that caring happens.
Whether you’re writing a novel, screenplay, video game, or comic, this funny and informative guide is chock-full of examples about the art and craft of storytelling–and how to write a damn fine story of your own.