Monday, December 19, 2011

Life and the World to Come

Way back in July, I made a few decisions that would, inevitably, change the way I lived my life. Almost five months have passed since I made the choice to do a massive writing challenge to finish Bliss's Camp NaNo 50K. That, in itself, wasn't massively life-changing, except that it made me realise how much I could do if I stopped messing about, and if I put aside whatever was happening in my life that might distract me from my work.

In that same week, I made the decision to set up a website - which I worked on from then until the middle of September, when I launched the site. That involved a lot of planning, of course, and a lot of mulling over what would eventually end up on my site on Day 1. Over the next month and a half, I edited Stepping Forward, fixing up a novella I was already pretty happy with to give away for free.

That's been the first big change in my life: I now have a book out in the public domain.

The website has, since, been host to a number of articles, poems and short stories. While these haven't exactly changed my life, they have gotten me thinking about the different ways I live my life, and the way in which I write. I also decided to use the website to play host to a couple of projects in the New Year, one of which is an X-Men story I've been planning for some time. (I've checked, and given the fact that Marvel pick up writers and stories from self-published works - and that's the only way they will now consider someone new - I am perfectly within my rights to release this story as I see fit.) That one doesn't have any immediate effects on my life, though it will at least encourage me to stick to creative deadlines.

The other project is an adaptations ezine, which will help me (a) hone my critical writing and (b) review books, films and the adaptation process. Again, no immediate effect, but it will involve, once again, sticking to deadlines.

Aside from my website, I also decided to apply for a writing position at The Phantom Zone. While the rush of college work has stopped me writing for the site in some time, I still have this job. More than that, I still have my first ever writing job. It was something for me to be proud of.

In the two months that followed, I wrote and edited a play, The Rest is Silence. This is where things took another big turn: as a result of this play, I'm going to have something performed on-stage. More than that, it will, hopefully, raise some money for a worthwhile cause.

At the same time, I've set up an ezine in college, which has gotten someone else writing. He's a good friend of mine, and he's decided to put his quirkiness to good use. The immediate benefit for me? I can have a good laugh reading his blog when I'm stressed; he has all of these really funny observations and stories that aren't as noticeable in a group of ten (yes, there are ten of us... we're a bit of a mob.) It's also fun to be able to talk about writing with someone who's only just started to think of it as having potential to be more than a hobby.

The driving force behind a lot of this work was an old friend of mine. Whether I was trying to make him proud or merely using that as an excuse to make myself do something with my life, I mustered up the courage to finally put my name out there. As I said in my dedication in Stepping Forward, he taught me there's more to life than just existing. No matter what happens between us, I will always remember that I was too scared to do any of this on my own. Having a reason to get going has made the past few months some of the best of my life.

That's the immediate effect of knowing him; after so many years writing, and so many years living the same mundane life, I ceased to just exist. As a result of that friendship, I started to live.

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