That Year Gone By (2015)

Written: 01/21/2016

Today’s long winded speech shall focus on the simple fact that I am still here, sticking with this process, and some events that lead to a turning point where the desire to gain public attention outweighed the fear of apathy. It shall briefly wander into other times when my writing has ‘surged’ and cover some of the things I do to keep going. I could delve into the depths of Continue Online or any other work but that would too easily stray from the core topic – so actual ‘written content’ discussion shall be kept to a minimum. There are no subject headers or near bullet points today, sorry in advance.

There are no subject headers or neat bullet points today, sorry in advance.

To start, writing isn’t ‘new’ to me. I’ve been writing off and on for years. Most words put to paper were complete crap and done for idle amusement or homework. Fifth grade saw me write a story about turning into a dragon man and burning a kid in my class – back then I didn’t really understand why burning other children might be frowned upon, but so it goes. Around twelve I put together a storyline for a boy who finds magic rings and beats up people (again involving dragons, they’re a slight obsession of mine).

Speaking of, here’s a cute picture a random Google search turned up. It almost look like how I imagine Dusk to be, minus the cartoon look – but it’s Toothless from Pixar, so that’s a bit too big for Dusk. They would probably both like cupcakes…

My greatest growth was on a message board for ‘Horizons’ – an MMO that still exists out there and I may poke around in. I didn’t even play for longer than a few weeks – but the role playing boards were home to a lot of aspiring writers that I learned from. Most of their feedback was on how terrible my spelling was and that I had neat ideas. There were two individuals I loosely formed a guild with pre-release – and we conversed for a few years off and on with other joint writing ventures. I loved it – but after they all slowly faded off, so did my desire to write. It became one of those to get back to like learning sign language and playing the guitar (One of these years, right?).

Eight years ago I scribbled a few one-page story scenes into a book. I draw a map of a fantasy kingdom under siege but who knows what sort of vague evil. My mind spun half a story about flying pirate ships and elemental magic, and throughout it all I read anything available.

So this year, twenty-four years after burnitation, when writing really took off for me on a level I’m both thrilled and nervous about, it felt like achieving a lifelong dream. The first few weeks of updating Continue Online saw me panicking over feedback (And that part hasn’t changed) – but not specifically because of people’s opinions, but because my content, stuff that is essentially my thoughts filter through a character who isn’t completely me (A certain amount of overlap seems impossible to avoid)  is out there for the public to review.

That, that whole process of not keeping all these thoughts inside my head like a sane person, is frightening. Putting those thoughts down publicly is tantamount to stripping naked and letting other people gaze. I understand why 99/100 viewers don’t leave comments.

Now all of this exposing myself to the public has been good for me. I feel both more generally positive and momentarily depressed (Not suicidal or life is meaningless, but shoulders slumped head hanging lack of coherent thoughts for a moment). There are other emotions in there too. One specific one that I’ve accepted as part of the process – the pressure to write.

It’s purely self-imposed, and the pressure of deadlines helps me keep going forward. Without them, I would fade off into ‘eh, I’ll get to it’ status and maybe never come back. I think I’m too far into it to stop dwelling on Continue Online, but part of me aches to be done with this project and move on. Is that odd? It feels odd, though part of me knows it shouldn’t be. Completion of this whole project will be exhilarating. That final chapter being fleshed out (The last one is half written….it’s just all the material between here and there that’s being worked on) – will be…like ending a wild ride and wondering how long the rollercoaster has been sitting there.

Still, to have managed to meet my update schedule every week for six months, I’m amazed at completing something I never expected to do. I’ve found great valued in approaching ‘publishing’ from a serial release style – though it may turn parts of the stories boring since they’re designed to go in arcs while building up. I don’t really do good ‘reveal, action, cliffhanger’ style chapters. Most of the ones that come off that way are accidental.

All this writing being put out is primarily done to feel like I have something of value in a field I love (fictional works). After having spent maybe a decade (compressed) in other people’s worlds, putting my own out there is like giving back to the pool. It isn’t just writing and putting those spun stories into existence – there’s a lot I’ve tried to do to subtly interject myself into various communities. Being active helps me give back too. I even put out my first Amazon.com review on a book called ‘Sweet Dreams Are Made of Teeth’, it is perhaps one of the more unique adventure books I’ve ever read.

To do all this, I put in roughly four hours a day on top of full-time work. There’s some overlap in there, but my desire to play games, watch television shows, and read other people’s works has dropped off drastically. I spent too much time trying to maintain this site, develop content, and respond to readers. That’s time I wouldn’t spend any other way – it’s been well worth it to me.

I sit now, at the end of seven months worth of editing and writing, and use the new year as a chance to reflect. WordPress has a document they put forth sharing a ‘year in review’ to give highlights to WordPress users. I think, all in all, the amount of people who have taken a moment to read my work greatly outweighs the amount of time I’ve spent reading other peoples.

I’ve enjoyed this year – enough to keep going through this next one, minus the pause to absorb that will happen after Continue Online finishes.

Thanks for reading.

3 thoughts on “That Year Gone By (2015)

  1. Pingback: Royal Scales Update – Book 3, Chapter 2 « FrustratedEgo Stories

  2. Aaron

    Cool Retrospective from you…
    I do not feel like commenting on any specific part of this; just like all of it, and I will check out the description of that book ‘Sweet Dreams are Made of Teeth’
    It is at a minimum…a very unusual title!

    OT but something to consider, only if you choose to keep publishing books after your current ones are finished IMO. On Endonline.com the author is releasing full stories for free with a caveat; each volume has one chapter that is only on the Kindle version people pay for. My guess is that for you at least now; this is not something you care about the income from it ( all your books published or listed on this website, IMO you do not care MUCH what the income is from them ) but you care about doing good writing for one, and second getting at least some positive feedback which you do.

    But?
    Consider doing what is done on Endonline with at least part of each book being ONLY on the Kindle version that costs money, if you choose to keep writing long term. I will give a WAG that in a long term, doing this would increase your sales income 30% from people who would NOT buy the Kindle versions if they could read all of your stories for free…
    Note: I intend to purchase your stories eventually even though currently they are all free;-)

    Liked by 1 person

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