The curse of being a creative

Oooh, it’s another post time.

I promise, it won’t be too depressing. This is just a quick word-vomit thing to get this horrible, repeating thought out of my head.

Sometimes, I feel like I got cursed with creativity.

Allow me to explain.

Being creative is a valued trait. In certain contexts. Some of our highest-paid professionals in America are creatives–singers, actors, directors, etc.

Yet, go to school to be a film maker, a graphic artist, or a creative writer, and people are going to laugh when you struggle to get a job and say, “Well, you should have done something more practical.”

So you look at other options. The reality of the situation is that you probably won’t be the next Veronica Roth. E.L. James. Jennifer Lawrence. Or whoever.

You begin to realize that you really have nothing else to fall back on. You’re good at one thing: making things out of nothing. You’re good at getting lost in your own head, feeling at home among the clouds, your eyes staring off into nothing, as your brain paints a picture that you need to get out somehow–whether it’s through writing, drawing, singing, acting, or literally painting.

And when you’re out of school, you discover..

no one wants to pay you for that shit.

So you end up going off on your own, looking for ways to make your dream happen. We’re that generation, anyway. Your job doesn’t exist? Fucking make it up. Make your life happen on your own if you can’t find it on monster.com (or LinkedIn, I guess, whatever people are clamoring all over these days). You control your destiny, right?

God, no.

It’s such fucking hard work. You know what sucks? Knowing that you’re really going to struggle at the start. knowing that you’ll have to change your strategy time and again to pin down the formula that really, truly work–it’s a business, after all.

You want to sell your art online? You can start up a store, but good luck marketing your stuff and having it take off immediately. You can show people your portfolio, but they’ll end up asking you to make a logo for free or else they’ll “ask their boss’s kid–he’s good with that kind of stuff.”

You wanna write? Have fun begging people for reviews and trying to get your book to climb the search result ranks on Amazon. Pour your heart and soul into these words to have someone look at the cover and shrug and say, “next.” or worse–submit to a traditional publisher and get used to being rejected over and over.

You want to compose? Are you going to be stuck trying to sell little jingles for a piddly little fee while trying to write an album that you only hope will put food on your table?–it’s not like you’re asking to be a superstar, right?

Want to be in a film? Ha. Work for days on end for no money, understanding that the people who are making the film probably can’t afford to even buy water for everyone on the set, let alone offering you a fair wage. But hey, it’ll look good in your portfolio, right? Maybe this role will be your break out role.

It seems that no matter which creative route you take, if you’re not already connected, it’s a rough road to travel.

I’m not saying it’s not worth it. These jobs are laborious, tedious, and slow-moving for most people. But they’re done out of love, and that’s why we keep doing them.

What I’m sick of seeing is people who shit all over art.

A blogger I used to follow has made a platform for herself by being pretty. Literally all she does is take selfies and make her hair and face into cool art projects. I loved her style and reading her funny, weird posts. Then she started getting preachy about other people’s bodies. Then about their lives and choices. Then about the recent celebrity photo leaks.

I cut her out of my feed like a tumor.

A makeup artist I follow drew some pictures and shared them with her fans. people told her to stick to “looking pretty”. For fuck’s sake, she was happy and wanted to share it, and thousands of people tore her down for daring to do so.

I can’t read those comments anymore. Her feed constantly rips on her appearance, anyway.

My female friends stream their games online. They get torn apart for their appearance

sometimes–because they happen to be women just sharing something they love with fans. Whether it’s a comment about their bodies or someone just being an asshole for no good reason, it must get tiring to be the target of such negativity. It wears you down.

I don’t watch streams for that reason. Can’t stand the comments.

So I sit here, thinking of the talents that I have. They are all in the creative realm. I will never go back to school to get a STEM degree. I respect people who do this, but I don’t belong there with them. I will never go into something lucrative–I’ll never own a huge business. That’s okay, too.

But I feel discouraged because creativity is all I have.

Really. It’s all I have.

And I don’t understand the

Creativity is a blessing and a curse.

Unravelled

Weaving lies from lips that never parted, never breathed
for her,
her loom twists syllable after syllable of mine
into a tumbling skein of sensical syntax
that graces dozens of ears that do not hear.

“But she, she is subhuman!
She’s lost her essence to the world, perhaps,
or to a cesspool of her own morose doings.
She refuses to learn that it is she
who does this to herself, and no one else.”

Were she to will it so,
my days would stretch out like threadbare cloths
over a frame that tightens until my mind unravels,
and there would be needles pricking,
leaving scars,
darkening my eyes as well as my heart
in an indelible pattern,
marking me as

ugly,
scarred,
insane,
worthless.

Yes, were she to will it so,
I would have scarlet letter of shame
stitched into my skin,
so that all who saw me would know
I was his,
but I am no longer,
because I am damaged,
and I am unmendable.

But she can’t will it so.

So she weaves lies from the words
of a woman she has never met
will never know
and will never understand,
and her cries are fed to the night
while all other ears have moved toward the dawn.

Unity (Friday Fictioneers)

Friday Fictioneers, Short Story, Release

 

Word Count: 116 

The golden trill of the bells cut through the crisp March air. The woman counted them.

One. Two. Three. A baritone voice followed.

“Are you ready?”

She turned to gaze into the eyes of the man at her side. These were the same green eyes she’d looked into before; familiar and comforting.  Before the bells tolled four, she would become his. She would not, could not, ever look into another’s eyes thereafter.

“Yes.”

He took her hand firmly, confidently. She turned away to inspect the balconies of the cathedral, their ivory curvature reminiscent of a shark’s jawbone. Quaint windows framed the precipices. They were quite high.

That would be her only chance to escape.

First timer for Friday Fictioneers here. Welcome to my blog, and I hope you enjoyed what I wrote. If not, well, maybe next time, huh?

End of Hiatus

Although it was never officially announced (because I’m a terrible blogger) I took a short break from cross-posting all my articles at Beneath the Brand. Perhaps I’ll catch up and post them here soon, but in the meantime, I’d like to say that I’m looking forward to getting back to personal writing.

My break from personal writing was partially due to the number of commissions I’ve had to fulfill, and partially because I was so emotionally drained from dealing with everything else I’ve had going on. I have several pieces in the works that I am looking forward to sharing. Intense, yes, but not as difficult to write as the post on my sister. If I can write about that – the spotty, somewhat faded memories of my youth; the narrative of a child that must be relived and subsequently translated into a tale that an adult can relate to – then I can finish writing about the other experiences I’ve had.

If I can get past my self-flagellating tendencies, the posts will be done soon. I am inclined to build something that takes considerable time and effort, and crush it before I ever let another human see it. It needs to change, but I’m not sure how to keep myself from being so frightened of visibility… or vulnerability, for that matter.

December Frenzy — Machinima, Blogging, and More

Nanowrimo and Aria’s Reprisal

So, November came and went.  I posted a few times about how I was falling behind on Nanowrimo.  Can you guess how the month ended?

If you guessed that I failed, you’re right. I only wrote about 12,000 words.  That’s more than I’ve written any other year for Nano (yay for mini-goals?), but I still failed pretty miserably.

I am still planning on working on this project, however.  It has been a ton of fun to plan, and if you’re interested in any plot points, quotes, notes on progress, world building, or soundtracks that I think would rock for a movie version of my writing (don’t hate; I make machinima for that reason…) then head over to http://hellystia.tumblr.com to see Aria’s Reprisal and take a look around.  You may find it interesting. Or, you might think, “What the hell is this? Now I definitely don’t want to read any of her writing.” Either way, if you are vaguely interested at all in sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, dystopian alternate worlds, and really intense descriptions of cold-weather landscapes, then you may find some of what I write on my tumblr interesting.

Machinima and Morningstar Episode 5

In the machinima realm, I’m slowly kicking off ep 5 of Morningstar.  I have a few things I’d like to address about this:

I am doing my best to keep multiple story lines going at once. It’s the way I prefer to tell tales. While I technically have a “main” character, I don’t see the point in focusing on narrating only her thoughts on the world. Azeroth is huge, diverse, and ancient. There’s too much opportunity to tell interesting as well as intersecting stories. That being said, I’ve heard some people say it’s a bit hard to follow. I will try to make sure that things are as clear as they can be at that point in the story, but the point of leaving the viewer hanging is… well, so that they want to watch more!

I have not made a final decision on whether or not I’ll use voice actors for this episode.  I understand that this was my #1 complaint about the series, and I also know that I’d reach a much wider audience if I did use voice actors. The funny thing is, I’ve known of quite a few people who’ve done their stories the way I do, and none of them get such terrible complaints about it.  I don’t know what it is about me that makes people want to point that out so much — I guess I’m just that socially-awkward nerdy kid that sits alone at lunch. 😦

I will attempt to keep the episodes around 10 minutes in length from now on.  I know the last one got ludicrously long.  I cringed when I saw the projected length, and for that I’m sorry.  I will keep it to 2 story lines per episode to remedy this, rather than three or more.  It’s simply too unwieldy at that point.

Yes, there will eventually be a ‘love’ story. I’ve also had a few people ask about this. I am aware that love is a common thread throughout the narratives of Azeroth; I, too, am interested in reading and writing about that. But love is not the primary focus of the story, because I want to tell a tale where my characters stand on their own as solid, well-developed individuals.  Too often, I feel love stories are used as crutches to avoid developing a character — who are they without their partner?  Characters, particularly females, can exist and be simultaneously intriguing, complex characters without a love interest. It can be done!

Beneath the Brand

I am a regular contributing blogger at Talent Zoo’s Beneath the Brand blog now.  I post under my real name there, so regular readers might see some discrepancy in the online personas I use.  I’m sorry if it’s confusing!

I will be linking my articles here every week (usually Fridays) so that you can read something fresh!

Other Projects

In addition to my day job of writing, and my night job of… well, playing World of Warcraft and doing more writing (as well as video effects), I am a — wait for it — freelance writer.  I take commissions  for a multitude of projects and genres of writing. If for some reason you’re interested in working with me on a writing project, get a hold of me on Twitter or shoot me an e-mail (ninja dot superwoman at gmail dot com). I’ve been busy of late, but I always love receiving new jobs.

I hope you guys have kept yourselves busy, happy, and creative!

❤ Helly

New Site Layout

I’ve been so terribly busy the last few days with getting my writing in order (I have a lot of commissions this week — on Thanksgiving weekend, of course!) that I’ve forgotten to mention that my next Beneath the Brand post should be up early next week.  I am looking forward to sharing this with you as well!

The new layout is cleaner, but the navigation should remain the same.  I may go through and do some reorganizing again later, but for now, I suppose this will do.

And I’m so far behind on Nanowrimo… I hope my followers are managing better than I am. I’m sitting at about 12k words but I want to get a lot done this weekend.  Let’s hope!

❤ Helly

The Rebranding of the Romance Novel

[Reposted from my article at Beneath the Brand.]

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the success of E.L. James’ erotic 50 Shades trilogy. For a quick recap, the story encompasses a young billionaire professor and philanthropist’s relationship with a naïve, virginal recent college grad. It started out as Twilight fanfiction, but grew into something much more provocative — and now people are trying to wrap their heads around why. Was it the explicit writing? Was it because it branded itself as a “different,” more modern and kinky tale of romance? Maybe it was something else altogether.

Well, part of the success of the series is that the media keeps talking about it. The series’ popularity has been attributed to a number of factors: from the economic recession influencing housewives to escape from reality; to the popularity of e-readers such as Kindles or Nooks providing a private, anonymous way to read kink material; to even good, old-fashioned curiosity in the allure of BDSM and the taboo culture surrounding it.

But another reason it’s prevalent is because romance novels needed an update. And with the 50 Shades series, we saw a fresh new take on the genre emerging: it’s dark, kinky, and alternative, especially when compared to the bodice-rippers of the Harlequin genre. This simply isn’t your old-fashioned romance novel. So why is it drawing so much attention?

Strangely, although the content is more explicit than most romance novels, the cover art is actually more subdued. Where one would normally find two passionate, fit, attractive figures entwined in each other’s arms, clothes falling to the ground in the heat of the moment, they now find simply a mysterious face mask. Or a tie. Handcuffs. Something that is perhaps symbolic of the nuanced themes of dominance vs. submission that you will find within the pages of the book, but definitely not an overt symbol of lurid sex. But is cover art really a reason that women are interested in the trilogy?

“I knew it was going to be kinky when I saw a tie, hand cuffs and a mask on the covers. I think it makes your mind go to a different place seeing an item rather than a provocative cover, because then you know that item is telling a story all on its own,” says one fan who states that she has completely fallen in love with the series. “It’s like a can of Pringles — once you read one page, you can’t stop until you’re completely done with all three books. I know many people who read the whole series in under a week.” Another fan agrees: “I definitely prefer it to the more Fabio-ish covers.”

Yet, the covers didn’t seem to affect everyone in the same manner. “I wouldn’t want to read other books with this theme; for me, it was curiosity that arose with the popularity of this book series,” says one woman who became interested because of the talk surrounding the steamy trilogy. “The cover art didn’t influence me at all.”

Still another reader says that she was curious about the sex, but mostly, she wanted to read 50 Shades for what it was — a romance novel. “Overall, when I think back to those books and what I enjoyed, I liked the teasing, the flirting, banter, the love story. And that’s what hooked me…the falling in love.”

So it would seem that for some, this rebranding of romance has been extremely influential in their choice of reading material. Perhaps for people who are looking for something a little darker and more taboo, the change works very well: for those readers who have an active imagination, all they need to see is a symbol, like a tie or handcuffs, and their minds will fill in the blanks. This makes the story much more real and nuanced for them. For others, the social hype surrounding the book is enough to entice them, and they are pleasantly surprised to find that the trilogy is a good read.

What do you think?