Thursday, 27 February 2014

No warning sign, no alibi...

So. We meet again, Bloggy McBlog Blog. I know I have been incredibly slack the last month, what with my total of ZERO posts in the last four weeks (though in my [exceptionally weak] defence, I did write at least one post, but it never made it off my pretty pretty triad-shaped USB stick). I know it’s awful. I know it’s completely counter-intuitive. I mean how do I expect to become a professional writer if I don’t actually, you know, write?? I’m ashamed to admit this, but this month I have written a grand total of 2785 words. All. Month. That’s disgusting. I can write so much more than that – I HAVE written so much more than that in the past. I could write that in a couple of hours if I tried hard enough. So what’s changed? What’s stopping me from writing at the moment? I wouldn’t call it “writer’s block”. I’m not starved for ideas. The problem is actually putting those ideas onto paper and turning them into something tangible. That’s where I’m falling down, which is weird, because I’ve never had a problem doing that before. Writing as always been as natural to me as breathing. It is part of who I am. But now…? I feel as though that part of me has been taken and locked away in some unreachable box. I feel like I’m working when I sit down to write, which has never happened before. I don’t like it, and it scares me. But the good news is I think I’ve finally figured out why.

Fear.

 
I’ve written about fear before. I written about it a few times, actually. I’ve talked about how it can make you think you can’t do something, or it can convince you not to try. I’ve also talked about how it can even convince you that everything you want out of life is unattainable and impossible, and really you’re an idiot for even trying so you may as well just crawl into your bed and read the books written by people who are better than you at everything because you SUCK.

Yeah. My brain is such a fun place to be.

The thing is, though, I didn’t even realise that the thing holding me back this past month was fear. It’s a sneaky thing, that fear, and it can manifest itself in so many different ways. See I’ve made some big decisions recently (one of which is to stop querying HEAT for the time being, but that’s a topic for another post) and I actually thought I was being productive by plotting and planning and researching good writing techniques and the other million things I was doing instead of writing. It gave me the illusion of moving forward, yet I was making zero progress. There is nothing wrong with the things I was doing – they are all good, useful things – but I was just using them as an avoidance strategy. It’s like when I was at school and procrastinating doing one assignment by starting on another. That was all well and good for the assignment I was working on, but sooner or later I had to come back to the one I was avoiding, and chances were that one was due first. Like I said, it’s a sneaky thing, that fear. It can get you even when you don’t realise it.


So now that I am aware of the problem, the question becomes: What exactly am I going to do about it? You know what they say: there’s a HUGE difference between being aware of your issues and actually addressing your issues. Clearly I’ve been aware of my fear for a long time now, and yet I’m still unwittingly allowing it to control me. If you had asked me how I was going to overcome that a few days ago, I would have said I didn’t know.

But.

Thank God for Jared Leto.

This. This is how I’m going to overcome it. I’ll let him explain*.

 
You have to make friends with [the things that threaten to stop you from following your dreams], because that’s never going to leave you. It’s called fear, ultimately, sometimes doubt, and it can be a great friend or it can be a terrible enemy. But it’s always there. It’s a part of your body; it’s an appendage, so you have to somehow make peace with it. You have to breathe it out; you have to make peace with the fact that it’s never going to leave you no matter how hard you work or how many pills you take. You can’t kill it. It’s there. But I find it’s also a great motivator. Fear is that thing that gets you to keep moving forward…It pushes you to find that place that you need inside yourself to get it done. It’s a good thing. I think it can be a good friend to you. I think that we put a negative connotation on certain things because they’re uncomfortable, but we shouldn’t. Fear should be as warm and fuzzy a word as love. But for some reason it’s not, and those two rub up against each other almost all the time. The thing that you love the most in your life is the thing that causes you the most doubt and fear, right? It happens all the time…Those things work in harmony with one another, and it’s not such a bad thing. I think it’s just a perspective change. A perception shift. And the ability to harness that [fear] and really use it. I have doubt all the time, but I keep walking forward NO MATTER WHAT. Some days you don’t want to. Some days you want to make bad choices. That’s what fear can do. It can trick us. It’s a funny little thing. It’s got a lot of disguises. Procrastination. Bad habits, you know, addiction; all of those things can grow as a result of fear and not wanting to confront certain things, right? It’s a bizarre thing…But it’s a gift.
Ultimately it’s a gift. It’s the thing that pushes you forward, no matter what.

 

Good God I love him. Like really.

 

Putting aside my obvious adoration for this man, I happen to think he’s right (there’s a shocker). Let’s embrace our fear. Let’s let our fear motivate us, rather than hold us back. If you’ll excuse the 6277th Mars reference, it was fear that motivated Jared to direct the video for The Kill himself, and it was that song and video which saved the band from being dropped by their record company and subsequently changed their lives. It was fear that made the band fight for their creative lives (and win!) in Artifact. People say that necessity is the mother of all invention, but I believe it is fear **. Fear can be a wonderful thing, if you know how to use it. The trick is learning to do that, but unfortunately I don’t think it’s as easy as just deciding to start using fear as a motivator. I think you have to work at it every single day. I know I need to. Fear could easily cripple me into becoming static. This last month is proof enough of that; I’ve let fear take an entire month away from me. An entire month of words, an entire month of progress, an entire month of getting closer to my dream. That’s not okay. That’s not the person I want to be. I know better than that. I know I can be better than that. I know I will be better than that.

I will embrace my fear. Fear of failure, fear of looking stupid, fear of never achieving my goals. I will let those fears motivate me to do whatever is necessary in order to make my dreams a reality. Some days it will be easier than others, but as long as I keep moving forward, I have to have faith that I’ll get there. After all, you know what they say…Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

And I WILL fight to the death in defence of my dreams.

 

 

TITLE LYRICS: ‘Alibi’ by Thirty Seconds To Everything That Man Says Is Golden
(It’s an Alibi-on-repeat-loop-all-day kind of day :3)

*I found this quote on Tumblr, screen capped it, and now I have no idea where it’s from :(

**Yeah…Jared said that one, too :p

Saturday, 1 February 2014

I can't escape this now, unless you show me how...

Music.

 
It has the power to transport us, to transform us and to inspire us. It can remind us of our first date, our first heartbreak, our last year in high school, that friend we’ve fallen out of contact with but still miss. It can give us strength when we feel weak, or help us get psyched before a big event. Music speaks to us and lets us know we aren’t alone in the world. It drives us, motivates us and helps us keep going when we feel like giving up.

Music is everything to me, and to so many others. I want to take a closer look at why.

 

 

When words fail, music speaks*.

Have you ever had a day so horrible that you can barely find the words to describe it? Or a day so wonderful that there aren’t enough adjectives to explain how amazingly spectacular you feel? Music’s got you covered. Whether it’s celebrating the highs or lamenting the lows, music helps us express exactly how we feel. Who hasn’t sat in their car blasting Eminem (or pick your favourite angry artist) as a giant ‘SCREW YOU’ to the rest of the world after a bad day? Or cranked up Ke$ha on the way to the club to get pumped to do some dancing? (Don’t lie…Whether you like her or not, Ke$ha songs are awesome dance music :p)

 

Music can also be the perfect way to tell someone how you feel. There’s something a lot less scary about using someone else’s words to explain something than it is to say it by yourself. When you’re lost for words, music can be the vehicle you use to find your voice.

 

 

Music lets us know that we aren’t alone.

Name an emotion and I can name a song about it. Music is written from experiences, and so music lets us know that we aren’t alone in those experiences. It lets us know that we aren’t alone in how we are feeling, which can be a huge comfort to us when how we’re feeling isn’t that great. For example: When I was going through the worst of The Dark and Twisties, my go-to band was Linkin Park (and their album Meteora, for those of you playing along at home). Whenever I had a rough day I could come home, lock myself in bedroom and blast their album on a repeat loop until I felt better. There were some people in life at the time who didn’t understand why I would do that. They saw it as me wallowing in the negative emotions I was feeling, rather than trying to ‘cheer up’. They saw it as a bad thing, and regularly criticised me for it. (Sidenote: Saying cheer up to a person with depression is about as useful as saying mend your bone to a person with a broken leg. It doesn’t work, so stop doing it. Please and thank you.)  I didn’t have the voice to say it then, but I’m saying it now: Screw You. You don’t know ANYTHING. The reason I was listening to “depressing” music while I was all dark and twisty inside was because it gave me hope that I could get better. It showed me that other people had felt how I was feeling, and they didn’t die from it. They lived to tell others that yes things could be ridiculously hard and yes you could wish you were dead, but it gets better. You could survive it. That, to me, is one of the greatest things about music. It gives us a voice to express how we are feeling, and then it tells us that things can get better.

Because honestly kids, it can. And it usually does.

 

 

Music transports us.

Sometimes turning on the radio can take us to another time and place. All it takes is a song from our past and we are right there again, living in that moment. As I type this I’m listening to ‘Everything’ by Lifehouse, and I honestly feel like I’m back in year nine and just getting home from camp. If I close my eyes I could be back in the house I grew up in, sitting on my bed and writing in my journal. All it takes is 3 seconds of the song and I am right there.

 

Music can take us anywhere. It can take us back to our first kiss, our first heartbreak, our first fight with our best friend. It can remind us of people we thought we’d forgotten and places we haven’t been to in years. It can take us to places we’ve only ever been to in our dreams and places we hope to visit someday. With the right chord sequence and the right notes, we can be anyone and be anywhere. And that’s a beautiful thing.

 

Music inspires us.

The title of this post comes from the Imagine Dragons song Demons. I chose it because:  

a)      That song is awesome and if you haven’t heard it you should check it out, and

b)      That single line wrote four chapters in my current WIP**.

 

Music is hands-down my BIGGEST inspiration in life. It always has been. I have a playlist for absolutely everything in my life. Driving to work? Let me throw on some Kings + Queens to get myself pumped up. Cleaning the house? It’s Glee, baby. All the way. Taking a shower? Yes I DO listen to music in the shower. What of it?? Writing? Definitely. In fact I can’t even begin to write until I have my playlist in order.  Without music, I don’t think I’d be able to write. I don’t think I’d be able to function. To me, a world without music is a world without inspiration, and quite frankly, a world I don’t want to live in.

 

 

Music makes us happy.

Music makes us ridiculously happy. Even from a very young age, there are certain songs just make us want to dance and sing and be happy, because music has the power to instantly lift our moods. I would wager that most people can’t listen to ‘Happy’ by Pharrell and not feel, well, happy. Or ‘Do or Die’ by…some band, I’m not really sure which one…and not want to get out there and live your life to the fullest. Music can lift us up and make us grateful to be alive. You really can’t feel sad when you’re listening to your favourite song by your favourite band, and that effect is quadrupled if you happen to get up and dance your ass off while you do it. In fact, I highly recommend dancing every day. Dance it out, people. When things go wrong, throw on your favourite song and Dance. It. Out. It really helps.

 

 

Music brings us together.

Music really does bring people together. So many friendships have been formed simply because of that moment when you go, “you like that band? I love that band! Let’s be friends!” Music creates a sense of community and shared experiences. I’ve read so many concert reviews where fans of a band have said that being at the show felt like coming home. And really, how could it not? When you’re with a group of like-minded people and you’ve come together to celebrate and experience something you all love, it would definitely feel like coming home. It feels like you’ve finally found the place where you belong. Music does that for us, because…

 

Music is the closest thing to a universal language that we have.

It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what language you speak; music brings us all together. You don’t have to understand the lyrics of a song to know that it makes you feel good. Instrumental music is great example of this because it doesn’t even have lyrics, and yet it can still communicate a very clear message. Just think of the soundtrack of a movie. There’s almost always music playing in the background, communicating that this is scary, this is happy, this is silly, this is sweet. Music speaks to us in a way that words alone never could, and that is precisely why we need it, and why we love it.
Music is  e v e r y t h i n g  to me.
 
 

To end, I’d like to share these two short films with you as a demonstration of just how powerful music can be. Listen to what the people being interviewed are saying. That’s why we need music. That’s why it’s so important. Yesssss I know it’s Mars again and yesssssss I know they turn up in practically every single one of my posts, but that’s just the way it happens. All roads lead to Mars. I’d say I’m sorry, but No I’m not sayyyyyying I’m sorrrryyyyy...

(Watch the first video for that to make sense :p)

 

Enjoy! Xo

 

Closer to the Edge ~ Thirty Seconds To Mars
 
 


Do Or Die ~ Thirty Seconds To Mars
 
 

 

 

TITLE LYRICS: ‘Demons’ by Imagine Dragons

 

*This was written on the wall of The Lab, so I’m not sure if it’s a Jared quote, someone else quote, or something someone random said. Anyone know?
 
**Work In Progress