Browsing Tag

writer’s block

20-Something, Hipstercrite Life

Always Remember: Comparison is the Thief of Joy

comparison is the thief of joy

My jealous neck

 

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I don’t know who said it and I’m not sure the Internet does either, but my friends at Vinca put these brilliant words on a necklace for me because they know I’m a insecure and jealous turd of a blog post I wrote regarding 10 Different Ways for Artists to Fight Doubt and Insecurity.

In the post, I listed “stop comparing yourself to others” in ten variations. That’s all you really need to remember to fight artistic doubt and insecurity. Oh, and that whiskey will get you through the cold months (and I don’t mean winter).

In the insta-fame society we now live in, it can be very difficult not to compare yourself to others. When hard-working musicians see talentless teenagers make the news rounds because of their atrocious Youtube hit, feelings of confusion and denial may blister. When driven writers see 12 year-old fashion bloggers inking multimillion dollar contracts with fashion lines, the want to drink oneself Continue Reading

Austin, Hipstercrite Life, Pop Culture, Writing

The Art of Being a Lazy Blogger

I’ve been a lazy blogger over the past few weeks, but FUCK!, it was the holidays and the holidays are confusing and disorienting and make you want to live on the couch for a month while gorging yourself with White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles.

What I have not been is a lazy writer and somehow I’ve managed to stumble through my month-long writer’s block and spew out a bunch of stuff.

So, because I’m a lazy blogger this month, I’m going to be super-ass lame and share with you a couple of articles I wrote on other sites, but ones I’m particularly proud of. I hope you enjoy! Regular blogging will resume shortly and I think my first post will be about “moochetarians”, the title given to a person who is vegetarian except when someone gives them free food- then they will eat a pig’s entire face if they have to.

Hipstercrite Life

10 Ways For Artists to Fight Doubt and Insecurity

“You! You right there! You suck AT LIFE, mother fucker!”

For almost two years now, people have paid me to write for them. In the past year, I went strictly freelance and in doing so, my paid writing work picked up.

I feel very fortunate.

Actually, most of the time I feel completely bewildered.

Scared.

Confused.

Insecure.

Gassy.

Every day I envision a Russian totalitarian figure a la propagandic style standing tall amongst a backdrop of fire, pointing a giant forefinger at me and shouting, “YOU are obsolete! YOU have no idea what you are doing!”; a fleet of angular soldiers in perfect unison come to whisk me away and save humanity from the disease known as my poor prose.

I’m still not exactly sure where semicolons go and you will never see me use a word like “perfunctory” in a sentence. I’m not even sure what that means. Granted, I DON’T HAVE AN EDITOR TO FIX MY MISTAKES!

This is an insecurity I mostly keep to myself because, well, nothing is more unattractive Continue Reading

Hipstercrite Life

Uninspired work is the worst kind

Today I am to announce who won the “Everyone Loves Austin” t-shirt giveaway.

I will do that later.

Right now I don’t feel like writing at all. Not even that sentence.

In fact, these past 8 days have proven difficult in writing emails let alone blog posts. Sometimes I don’t even finish sentences while talking. I trail off, confused as to what I’m saying. I switch out words for other words. Left becomes right, north becomes south.

My brain is so cluttered with stuff, I can’t even tell if I’m writing this sentence correctly or not.

When I read these words aloud in my brain, a hundred other voices compete to make themselves known.

All these conversations battling for hierarchy in my head end up sounding like Peanut’s adult talk.

When I try to be creative, I feel my thoughts running immediately up against a brick wall. I start a sentence only to find it struck down by immovable and nonexistent brain matter. I can see the wall, but I can’t see the words. They Continue Reading

Hipstercrite Life, Writing

Anatomy of Writer’s Block

via Three Hundred Pages

Do you ever find yourself staring blankly at the computer screen with a large and heavy brick sitting smack dead in the middle of your right cerebral cortex?

Of course you do. You’re a writer and writer’s block happens all the time.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck ass any less.

The way writer’s block occurs is different from person to person. When many writers find inspiration from any upheaval in their life, I want to retreat into my head and turn away from anything that resembles a blank computer screen or pen and paper. I need structure and normalcy in my life to feel creative, though out of both those things comes nothing remotely interesting to write about. Only in living life do we truly have fodder worth writing.

Having been interested in creating “stuff” my entire life, I randomly find myself in creative ruts from time to time. It often seems that there is no rhyme or reason to the blockages, but I know that is not true. It takes Continue Reading

Hipstercrite Life

Creative Block or Fodder? When Life’s Challenges Affect Your Writing

Ah, writer’s block.

You never know when it’s going to hit.

The current writer’s block that reared its ugly head last week after a homeless man tried getting into my house while I was taking a shower, was actually a long time coming.

I wish I could pin it entirely on the homeless man, but in reality, he’s maybe only 50% of the blockage traveling through my creative vein right now.

The homeless man has preoccupied my thoughts.

Though he is not a danger, at least I keep telling myself, his presence has recharged any already existing fear I’ve had living on the eastside. With my fear comes the frustration that I should not live in fear in this neighborhood I love so dearly. I try to remind myself that living in a big city comes with its “character”, but within the past year, I’ve seen more sketchy shit than I have in my entire life. When I lived in Los Angeles I was shielded from the grit and grime because I lived in an apartment. In Austin, I live in a house and I’ve Continue Reading

Writing

How to Come up With Fresh Crap for Your Blog

source

The biggest obstacle I face with blogging is coming up with fresh content.
And not swearing.
Swearing may be my largest obstacle.

Mom told me that when I moved to Los Angeles I turned into a “raging swearing jerk” that she “no longer recognized”. After LA, I dropped the jerky part, but kept the swearing. It has not only become a problem with my blog and social media profiles (my 92 year-old grandmother de-friended me on Facebook because of “my language”), but also in real life where I often find myself dropping little tiny F turds every now and then at work or in meetings. But my swearing is not the point of this post. I’m not even going to “accidentally” place a “fucking” or “shit” anywhere in that past sentence to try and be humorous.

The number one problemo I have with the bane of my existence, er, blog, is coming up with shit that doesn’t bore people to tears. Ideas I don’t feel like I’ve rehashed, don’t give a crap about, or know that others could give a flying rat’s poop about.

I’ve written a post before about climbing your way kicking and screaming out of writer’s block with advice I never listen to myself. In fact, reading the old post now I realize that I’m not as dumb as I think I am and I should maybe listen to myself more often. Except when I tell myself it’s ok to take a nap after I eat dinner. Because then I’m secretly lying to myself. I’m not taking a nap! I’m going to wake up six hours later with a food baby and my work clothing shifted 45 degrees on my body.

Sometimes my brain spews out interesting content. Sometimes my brain acts like how John Cusack’s performances are now- dull, lifeless, and robotic…and fat. Sometimes I stare at the computer screen for a very long time and hit refresh on my Facebook page all Rain Man-like and then go post on Twitter what I’m doing on Facebook. I will do this for a couple of hours until I fall asleep again in my work clothing, having most likely eaten a second dinner.

Many bloggers will tell you that they keep a journal of ideas to blog about. I do and it’s proven helpful. Especially during the moments when I’m supposed to be doing something else and this GREAT AND WONDERFUL idea slowly paddles it’s way into my brain. Before I let the thought boat make it’s way out, I grab my journal and scribble down notes. It’s important to do this. If you tell yourself, “Oh, I will remember this idea later!”, you will not, and you will regret not having written it down. Just like when you come up with all those brilliant concepts right before you trickle into sleep. If you don’t write them down, they’re lost forever and you just missed your opportunity to become the next Steve Jobs or Joe Francis.

I keep a running list of ideas. Some of the ideas are topics that are related to me personally- what is going on in my life, what is not going on in my life, what I should be doing with my life, and what I will never do with my life. Some of the ideas are related to current events and pop culture. It’s important to stay up on what is new and hot. Read what people are talking about on Twitter and Facebook, follow various news and entertainment outlets. I like to read Flavorwire, NPR,Huffingtonpost,The Daily Beast, The Frisky, Inhabitat, and WebUrbanist to get inspiration. Reading other blogs are also a great way to see what people are writing and what readers respond to.

Another good practice, and one that I told myself recently to take heed to, is recycling old material. If you have a post that readers responded well to, why not do another one? Or start a weekly or monthly theme? Just because you already wrote about it and think it’s now boring, doesn’t mean that people aren’t still interested in the topic. For example, I wrote a post called “Indie Music According to Middle-Aged People” where I recorded my parents reactions to listening to the popular indie music of 2009 and 2010. Well, it’s 2011 now so why don’t I subject my parents to listening to more “depressing funeral noise” and get their opinions? In fact, I think I will do that this weekend.

And lastly, something I mention in my writer’s block post and is an absolute no-brainer (but something I have to remind myself minutely), STEP AWAY FROM THE F’ING COMPUTER. Inspiration ain’t gonna hit you if you sit on your duff for hours in your tiny house on your tiny couch eating tiny pieces of cheese. Go outside, get in trouble, buy a motorcycle though you can’t afford to, drink a 40, drive to Waco, Texas, DO SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Believe me. Even walking two feet helps (and it will prevent you from getting F-A-T).

If you find yourself stuck trying to come up with fresh crap, here are some resources that are helpful:
7 Ways to Keep Fresh Content Flowing– Problogger
Howe to Come Up with Fresh Content Every Day– Will Work 4 Followers (a blog by Single Dad Laughing)
5 Ways to Create Fresh Content for Your Blog– American Express’ Open Forum

Do you keep a journal of blog ideas? What websites help inspire you to come up with content?

Writing

Inspire Me: 5 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

obligatory cheesy stock photo….ha, like people still use pen and paper

I just can’t do it.
There is nothing to come out of me. The experiences that I drew inspiration from have been over-talked, over-analyzed and are simply dried up.
I don’t dream of Los Angeles anymore. I don’t lament in my twenty-something confusion anymore.
I simply live a normal and happy life in Austin, Texas.
This should be something that one can take inspiration from, right? A well-adjusted, healthy, and drama-free life?
Then why do I have writer’s block?

When these sort of times occur in my life, I try to recall a number of steps that help me get out of my rut. Though simple, the exercises below are sure-fire ways to help…and I probably won’t do any of them.

1.) Travel– From the act of getting somewhere to the people and places you see along the way, traveling is always a great way to inspire creativity. Not only do I feel mentally and physically better after getting out of my daily surroundings, but words and stories start circling my head and I can’t wait to get to a computer. If you can’t take a vacation, then get the hell out of town for the weekend. Get lost. Drive to somewhere you’ve never been. Some of my favorite writing was born out of traveling- my drive from Los Angeles to Austin, road trips through West Texas & New Mexico and the Oregon Coast with my mother, and my stint in Chicago. Hell, my trip to Chicago to work for 6 weeks on a TV pilot creatively inspired me so much that I ended up quitting my job in the film business and relocating to Austin. That’s the power of travel. New places create new narratives.

2.) Read– If traveling is not doable in the foreseeable future, then take yourself to another time & place via literature is the next best thing. Not only will reading introduce to new people, places and ideas, but will help you exercise your grammar and spelling skills. I try to read often, but I don’t nearly enough. I typically find that after I read a book, even for a little bit, what I write subsequently is instantly stronger. When I read David Sedaris or Sloane Crosley, I find that my humor is better. After reading a Bret Easton Ellis book, my writing is stark, symbolic, and romantic. There is a reason why literacy is important and we should all be better at taking time to read.

3.) Get Out of Your Comfort Zone– Like sleep overnight in a homeless shelter or drive to the Mexican border at 2AM. Though I don’t encourage you to do anything that will cost you your life, I’ve discovered that harrowing or uncomfortable moments create great storytelling. For me, renting a raw loft in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles kept me lying awake at night in a cold sweat and to deal with my terrors I sat in bed and wrote. Though I would never make the same mistake again, mistakes are made for a reason, and more often then not that is where some of the best writing comes from. Lessons. Without experience where are you as a writer?

4.) Join a Writers’ Group– A writers’ group is a great way to stay committed, have support and a second pair of eyes. Most large cities have writers’ groups of various kinds. In Austin, you can find writers’ group listing in the back of theAustin Chronicle. Craigslist might also be a good place. My best girlfriend in LA heads a screenwriter’s group and though it sounds very strict and disciplined, it’s exactly what some writers need. I know that if I had people every week who expected something from me I might be more prone to finishing my writing goals. Not only are you expected to keep up with your own writing, but you will have to read and give feedback to others. This is a great way to compare and evaluate how others write and what they are writing. Though writing is often a solitary experience, we often forget what the support and encouragement of others can do.

5.) Eliminate fear– Fear is probably the number one reason why people don’t write. I realized that I often don’t write because I feel that I have nothing interesting to say (ex. the intro to this post) or that my writing seems sloppy or forced on a particular day. I also don’t feel strong grammatically yet or that my sentences aren’t flowy and poetic enough. Or that I’m just a hack and that everyone will eventually point out my hackness. Truth be told, some of the posts that I hated writing and thought were crap ended up being some of people’s favorites. In other words- don’t trust your own instincts. They might be wrong because of fear. Don’t let fear take over your dreams. The ones that succeed are the ones that keep trying.

What are your steps to getting rid of writer’s block?