The Ups And Downs Of A Creative Life

Hello dear reader,

it has been a week of strange motivations. I took a few days off work to recharge and spend some amazing time with my lady Emma, I spent that time playing games and doing absolutely nothing productive at all, even though, in the back of my mind I intended to and secretly wish I had.

I go through long periods of wanting to be better and I tell myself that I got to work, that I need time to myself, that I love playing games; repeating all those things that you tell yourself when you’re putting things off, without even intending to or understanding the reasons why you’re putting them off in the first place.

Deep down I think I know and the feeling scares me a little bit. Deep down there is a little creeping fear that everything I’m doing and all the time I’m spending will never come to anything, that all the effort will be wasted, nobody will ever get to see my writings or the products of my work.

I hate that feeling, so I think I distract myself by making the conscious decision to not try, or to make excuses why I couldn’t try in that moment, then I feel the existential guilt that only a creative can feel when another day has ticked by without actually having made any strides towards the endeavours that make you love being creative in the first place.

How do I navigate around this strange catch-22 that I have pretty much always found myself in? Do I just let the feeling take me and do whatever the hell I want, even if it will take ten years to finish a project? Or do I push myself to finish something and then try my best to get it out there?

The trouble is I don’t know…and I feel like I don’t have the time, knowledge or motivation to get involved in a creative community that might allow me to get my work out there.

How do you know where to best put your time to get your work done, get it out into the world and to keep yourself sane?

I think I’ll be asking that question forever, but maybe one day I’ll find an answer. The important point is that I’m not going to stop. I can’t stop, and if you’re ever tempted to stop, know that in all your unsure and nervous attitude about whether your work is worthy, well it always will be, we need new ideas; all of them.

Keep going, and I will too.

Topic Tuesday: Failure and Mistakes

Failure, mistakes, trial and error. All ways of expressing the same thing, opportunities to learn, but heard to understand them as such in the moment.
I’m a planner, I love to plan, to come up with game plans and schedules. But rarely, RARELY, do we implement them for very long. There’s pleasure and accomplishment in the making of lists, in figuring out a good looking schedule but following comes with little of the same rewards. Once one thing slips, the whole plan feels useless.
We came up with the plan for getting content on to the site, for getting me to learn and to climb out of a lull but as I tried to research I realised that it wasn’t going to work. My brain just doesn’t take in information, reading and comprehension are just beyond me at this point. I wanted to prepare myself for writing, I wanted to have a good foundation but right now I just need to write, I need to get stories out of me and to get the words down. A good editor can help me with the things I don’t understand. So Topic Tuesdays are going to be a little different and more relaxed than I envisioned, but hopefully more fun to both write and read.
I focus on the thing that I’m not doing right now, example, I’m writing this and thinking about cross stitch. Another, last night I was desperate to design more cross stitch but all I could think about was my fantasy world. Another, I wanted to do exercise this morning so I focused on thinking about climbing a mountain, while John looked it up and I sat on the couch not doing anything. Urg!
Each cycle that I go through, each time I fail, I’m learning, and that’s what I’m choosing to focus on. Each time I get a little closer to who I want to be.
I have the time. Many people would kill for the time and the space that I have and I’m pissing it away worrying and stopping myself, but no more! (Well probably still some bumps in the road but I’m gonna try!!)
If you’ve failed, try again, change what doesn’t work and keep trying. Failure isn’t the end, it isn’t, it’s just the beginning!

Photo Friday – Motivation

We’ve been stalled for a couple of weeks now, it’s rather frustrating. So we are renewing our dedication and fighting the urges that have resulted in our plateau. This is our fridge and our words of encouragement .

I wish you strength in all your endeavours.

Thoughtful Thursday – The Nagging Itch – On Games, Creativity and Procrastination

Hello dear reader.

Being a creative is horrible sometimes. At least I’m assuming the feeling I’m going to write about is to do with being a creative.

The long and short of the matter is that I spent a large portion of yesterday trying to find a computer game to play, which I do from time to time; I open up Steam and spend literally hours scouring through hundreds of games, trying to find the “right” one. I’ll then buy one or two and play them for a few hours before never touching them again.

I’ve been doing this for years and I know my wife, Smidge, suffers from a similar malady; though it expresses itself in less expensive ways. I have no idea why I do this; I love the idea of playing games and when I find one that does scratch that itch, it feels great, but most of the time I end up spending money that I shouldn’t have spent, on games I don’t play.

I’m quite an introspective beast, so it’s not as if I haven’t tried to find the route cause to this feeling, and honestly I think it’s guilt. I desire to do something with my life, and every time I feel like I want to just relax with a game, I feel like I’m not really “doing” anything towards my goals. The games I want to play are strategic and complex, like the games I want to design, but I push myself into a corner and feel like I should be playing a multi-player game because that experience will in some way feel more meaningful; I’ve played every single MMORPG you could name because the persistence inherent to them engenders a feeling of accomplishment…a false feeling of accomplishment.

The reason I’m writing this article is, more and more, I’m learning that my real projects; those linked with this website, are the ones that give me a real and tangible sense of accomplishment. Maybe when I make real progress on something I value, something real, I’ll be able to give myself a break and just enjoy a “meaningless” experience.

At the end of the day, it’s all just a push and pull between short-term pleasure and long-term accomplishment that represents a common modern struggle; there’s so much in the world that appears to be fun and in the moment, worth doing, but when inside you’re striving to do something more you will never be able to get away from the feeling that you’re not supposed to be wasting your time on short-term fun, at the expense of a project or endeavour you’re “meant” to be working on.

So what have I learned from the last day or so?

Do what you know in your heart you should be doing before trying to distract yourself and put it off because it takes a little longer to get there. Such times as that build motivation if you can find a way to not give in to the urge to procrastinate.

Thank you for listening to me ramble. Good luck in all your endeavours.

Photo Friday: The First!

Our collection of love themed plushies

John and I don’t care for Valentine’s Day, we prefer to have a good relationship all year round. However, in recent years, we have taken to collecting cute teddies, but this year we haven’t managed to find one that is to our liking. But maybe throughout the year we will find a new member!

Have a great Friday, whatever you’re getting up to!

Thoughtful Thursday: Schedule and the Future

Changes are afoot!

For a little while we’ve been struggling with this site and the content going up has been sporadic. But no more! We’ve worked together and come up with ideas and a plan to share our lives and passions in a better way!

Our schedule:

Modelling Monday – On Monday’s John will post a picture about a Warhammer 40k model (or group) and tell you a little about it. Perhaps in the future I, too, will share some of my Skaven troops.

Topic Tuesday – I’m tired of only having a passing knowledge of my interests. In order to combat this I’m going to be picking a topic and attempting to learn all I can about the things I love, then I’ll report back on the next Tuesday! We can take a learning trip together. Things to expect: history of cross stitch, components of writing (tenses, sentence structure, words, etc.) and interesting facts.

Wildlife Wednesday – This will most often just be a picture from one of our nature walks, but occasionally we’ll post something about the photo.

Thoughtful Thursday – A day for updates, random thoughts, stories, anything we fancy!

Photo Friday – A photo from our week that we want to share.

Sneak Peek Saturday – A sneaky look at something upcoming, whether it’s a photo or a few words.

Sleepy Sunday – A day off (in spirit, John still has to work his day job).

So that’s what we’ve come up with and what we’ll be trying for the foreseeable future. It’ll be a more interesting array of content. In the background I’m going to be working on my fantasy world and my fantasy detective series and John will be working on the games he is developing. If you want more cross stitch content I suggest following my smidgemakes Instagram/Twitter where I’ll be posting pictures and updates of progress.
For a little life update, while we’re here, things are going well! I’ve pulled back on my artist pursuits in order to focus on writing and cross stitch. I’m more than ready to give my passions the time they need. We are still getting healthy, and going on more walks and I’m having little dance parties to get more movement in!

That’s it for the first Thoughtful Thursday. Have a wonderful day!

January Update

The sun has set on January (at least where I am) and I’m checking in with myself and you.
I’m very grateful that this year I’ve taken up bullet journaling, it makes looking back and keeping things in perspective really easy. I’ve managed to accomplish quite a bit, and much more than I thought from the top of my head.
For ten minutes or so each day I’ve been doing full body stretching and I’ve found that my back is much less painful, I recommend it!
Though the month has been overall good, there are things that I definitely need to work on in the coming months. Getting up early, getting out of the flat and more reading are the biggest things.
Posting more regularly is something I want as well, the problem with that is I’ve been working on world building, which I can’t really show, and my other projects are taking quite a while. I will have some cross stitch content coming up in the next few days but after that I’m not sure.
I’m in the midst of soul searching, trying to figure out what I like, what I want and how I want to present myself. For so long I’ve been a shallow person, somewhat of a shadow person and I’m ready to be a full, solid, colourful person. So for a little bit I may be a bit short of content, but I’m never too far away!
That’s it for my little end of the month update, in short, all is well and I’ve had a good start to the year. I hope that it is the same for you. Good luck for February.

A Peek in our Window

I’ve just got in from the weekly shop for food. Well, that’s a bit of a lie, I’ve been home for awhile, but I was spending time with John. He’s not well again and he’s having to go into work, so I feel guilty. Since I can’t work (anxiety) or even claim benefits (anxiety again, whoot) it means that John is solely responsible for our income. I know that he doesn’t mind but when it comes to being ill, it makes it hard for him to take time off work since we lose a fair amount of money. But that’s not what I wanted to ramble about. I’m sure it’s not interesting to hear me worry.
I don’t really have a point to the post, though, I just wanted to have a bit of a check in now that we are almost at the end of the second week of the year. I’ve been doing rather well with goals, however, I was slightly less productive this week, causing me to feel a little low, but I didn’t let it stop me and that in itself is a victory.
How is your year so far? If you think you’re falling behind with what you have planned, take a step back and see if you are achieving other things, habits that are making a better life or little victories that will make the whole plan easier. You can do this, I believe in you!
Maxi (our bearded dragon) is doing well, yesterday he had a great day, hunting for worms and having fun evading us as we try to keep him warm. Today he’s a bit calmer but no less cute.
I’ve been doing some experimentation with cross stitch, trying to find how much thread I use per stitch and I think I finally have the number, well for 14-count aida. Each time I try something new I will note it down. It’s all for the goal of creating my own patterns and to allow me to better anticipate how much thread I’ll be using. I get a bit nervous when I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing, is that clear yet 🙂
Today, I’m going to do some world building, I’m working on it constantly but I’m putting it on the computer in order to have a better grip on my ideas and to have it more accessible when I’m writing. With each pass it changes a little but gets better.
What are you up to this weekend? Whatever it is, I hope that it is great!

A New Year; Let’s Make This One Count

Good day dear reader.

Lots of things happened last year that made 2019 one of the most tumultuous in my memory: I quit my job…twice and am now back at the second place; I spent most of the year learning to drive and passed my test after three failed attempts; I faced a lot of time out of the house and with some serious insomnia along with struggling to keep my weight loss up in the face of all my stress, it meant that my writing and creative goals got put by the wayside.

Don’t get me wrong, I worked on a lot of interesting projects last year, but none of them went nearly as far as I wanted them to. This brings me to the new year. We’re starting a new decade and a lot has been lifted off my shoulders, so as far as I’m concerned, there is no longer any mitigating circumstances that stand in the way of me and my wonderful wife of 12 years (our anniversary was yesterday) achieving some long standing goals.

The SteadmanSociety team want to make 2020 the beginning of an active period in providing content. We have a wide variety of interests and hope to establish an eclectic community of like-minded people who can simply be together to share the ups and downs of life through the mediums we enjoy.

This year we hope to do four things:

  1. Challenge our writing skills by finishing and publishing at least one work of fiction;
  2. Begin streaming on twitch regularly, this will include gaming content, writing content and games development content;
  3. Start posting on our Youtube channel with slice of life updates, mainly just little videos to keep you clued in on how we are doing with our projects;
  4. Reach out to a wider community and hopefully prove we can keep you around!

This is a mission statement that me and Emma have really taken to heart over the holiday period. Christmas and new year are out of the way. It is time to work hard on the things we know we can achieve.

Join us then on our long road, we promise this year will be the best yet for SteadmanSociety.

Twitter: Here!

Instagram: @steadmansociety

Youtube: Here!

Festive Feeling

Lights twinkle in the dark evening, illuminating parts of the tree. Round baubles dangle, chocolates hang, tempting, and silver bells jingle and jangle.
The heating is on, keeping the cold at bay as we sit enjoying the cosy night. Music and games, crafts and films.
It’s overwhelming, the feeling of Christmas, the joy we are supposed to feel, the family we are supposed to have and the parties we should be at. The life that is plastered all over, in film, and online. Sometimes in the act of comparing we forget how wonderful our lives actually are.
Experience your life, feel your feelings and enjoy the times and things which make you happy. Easier said than done, I am aware.
The lights twinkle in the night, illuminating parts of the tree. I sigh as I look at the wonderful sight and take it in before kissing my love.
We head off to bed, the room now dark, but waiting to see us again.