"So to me the creative process, the writing of the story or book, is the fun part, the part I desire. I love the process. So I want to do more of it and thus I end up being very productive.
I play one story at a time, story after story after story.
People like me are writers. Writers are people who write.
People who say they hate writing but love having written are authors, not writers. And they tend to vanish after a few years." - Dean Wesley Smith
"'Unfortunately I cannot show it to you,' replied the master, 'because I burned it in my stove.'
'I'm sorry but I don't believe you,' said Woland. 'You can't have done. Manuscripts don't burn.'" - Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
IMO You have to do at least two things to 'find' a plot (and thus conflicts) in a story:
1) Put some part of a painful memory, a returning fear, a constant yearning, a powerful desire or any another resonant experience, fantasy or wishful thinking you have ever had yourself ... into one or more of your characters.
2) Want badly enough to explore and share that particular experience with the world in prose, even if in a totally disguised form.
I thought for a long time it would help me finish creative projects if I narrowed them down to just one, due to work and family time constraints.
Turns out I get more motivated by having about 3 projects that I can shift between (but not many more), like I am recording an album instead of just having to choose a single song.
It may take longer, in principle, to finish any one of these projects, yes - but now I feel more confident that I WILL actually finish one, because I realized that this worked for me.
My soul wanted this for a long time.
But there were many excuses.
One of them: You are too puritan if you decide to be absolutely abstinent in the age of the Internet, even if just while home.
Puritan is a weird word.
But the question is what I am if I actually get to draw a lot of valuable and joyful and significant stuff again before I die?
If that is a puritan then that is what I am.
I like the word in that case.
So, like I mused about back in December (IIRC) ... if I only have a very limited time I should try to do something in that time that gives mere energy here and now. Results be damned.
Process and the path is all it is about. And if that path leads nowhere then so be it.
But if that way of walking the path actually makes me go the distance then perhaps it will indeed lead somewhere. Finally, and after many, many failed attempts and interpretations about what was good for me creatively.
So it is worth trying.
However, right now it feels even more right to let it go at this: I just write when I feels it gives me energy, to use what little spare time I have - when I feel it is right to use it for this and not for something else.
And the same with art, whatever the ups and downs and relatively incoherent decisions of last year(s).
And as long as it works, it works.
But I do miss drawing and writing, so I will have to go back to actually doing it soon. Very soon.
And now, today, I felt again afraid that I - for some reason - would not make it. Would not draw all the things I really want to draw. Or write all the things I really want to write.
Very afraid ...
And I think I know why ...
I felt afraid because I was not spending enough time doing it.
For when I don't spend enough time doing it, then ... it is obvious to feel afraid: "What if I die tomorrow or next year? ... Without having ... "
I see that now.
And I shared that.
I hope you can use it. I can.
"There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by. A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet. Who would call a day spent reading a good day? But a life spent reading — that is a good life. A day that closely resembles every other day of the past ten or twenty years does not suggest itself as a good one. But who would not call Pasteur’s life a good one, or Thomas Mann’s?"
- Anne Dillard
I am still only doing Hammer and Magic - art and illustration bits - in my spare-time when I need to relax. I am going to be deliberately and hopelessly "unprofessional" about how I work on this project, because I know from experience that ... nothing else works, if I want to stay motivated under the circumstances of my life.
If I can make a buck from some income stream or other attached to the site where the story and other things reside - then fine. If not the project will have served its purpose anyway, namely to give me energy when I need it. And give me the opportunity to express that desire to do epic storytelling (and illustrate it a little) that apparently I cannot escape (nor do I want to).
I won't rule out ever publishing on Amazon again, but my desire just for control alone seems a far cry away from the raw deals The Company is offering authors these days. And I don't think it will help to just sit down and hope they will treat authors better in the years to come.