Weird Ways to Figure Yourself Out

I don’t know about you, Daniel, but it feels like I have an identity crisis at least once per day. I wake up and think to myself, “Who am I? What is my purpose in life? Should I get up and do my hair or sleep an extra twenty minutes?”

Sometimes, I wish that there was a test I could take that would just tell me who I am and what I should do. Yes, when we were kids there were those career aptitudes test, but the one I took told me I should be a vending machine mechanic. Yeah, I wasn’t exactly impressed with that particular test.

Anyway, thankfully we live in the age of the internet and there are plenty of ways we can define ourselves using handy dandy charts and Buzzfeed quizzes. So, for today’s post, I went through and found out everything I could about myself. And let me tell you, it was incredibly informative!

Zodiac

Scorpios are determined, forceful, emotional, intuitive, powerful, passionate, exciting, and magnetic.

Let’s start out with my zodiac. I’ve never been big into astrology, but I do check my horoscope once in awhile and I love taking those stupid Buzzfeed quizzes that tell you what you should be for Halloween based on your zodiac or something like that.

I’m not sure I 100% relate to how Scorpios are describe. I’m not exactly powerful or exciting, but I feel like I’m a pretty determined and passionate person when I want to be. However, one thing I have noticed about being a Scorpio is that, for some reason, everyone thinks we’re evil or cruel. Whenever I see one of those Tumblr posts that categorizes people based on their sign, I ALWAYS end up being something dark or scary or evil. Which, as a horror movie junkie, I’m fine with, I just want to know WHY.

Is is because my sign looks like the distant relative of the Xenomorphs from Alien? Is is because my star sign includes Halloween? I have no idea, but there’s a trend.

zodiac hatred

Apparently I hate everyone and don’t try to hide it.

space elements zodiac

First of all, rude. Second of all, did Tumblr just call me fat? 

harmful zodiac

Wait, so I look harmful? 

zodiac norse myth

Death and the underworld. Can’t say I’m surprised…

zodiac star wars

I was born at the end of October and that means I’m Sith. Why? Because I’m a Scorpio that’s why! 

Tumblr is just fucking rude.

Element

Water signs are emotional, intuitive, creative, and empathetic. They cannot connect with people and have a hard time disconnecting from stress.

Now a person’s element is also based on their astrological sign and Scorpio just happens to be a water sign. Why? I have no idea. Maybe because scorpions spend a lot of their time near water, waiting for an unsuspecting frog to come by and give them a ride.

Did you get that reference or am I a huge nerd? It’s probably both.

Anyway, I feel like I relate more to my elemental sign than to Scorpios. I consider myself very empathetic and creative and I also have the HARDEST time connecting with people. I also never disconnect from stress. Hell, I didn’t even know that people could disconnect from stress until I was in my mid-twenties. I thought everyone lived in a constant state of panic, but apparently that’s just me.

Ivy: The Survivor (Celtic Zodiac)

People born under the Ivy sign have sharp intellects and are compassionate and loyal to others. They have the prized ability to overcome all odds.

Now, I hadn’t heard of the Celtic zodiac until I went searching for all this information. I thought I was a Scorpio and that’s it, but I’m also an Ivy. This one I relate to WAY MORE than I do to the description of a Scorpio. I feel like I have a somewhat sharp intellect and I am definitely compassionate and loyal to the people I love and care about. Do I have the prized ability to overcome all odds? That’s yet to be decided, considering the most trying thing I’ve ever experienced in my life was getting a C in my middle school science class.

INFJ: The Advocate (Myers Briggs)

Advocates tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this type are found engaging in rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the root of the issue.

The Myers Briggs personality test is probably the most famous of all the tests out there. It’s so common that I’ve heard of employers asking people to take the test to see how he or she would fit into the team.

I took it a while back and ended up being an Advocate, which at first completely threw me off. I’m definitely not forceful or aggressive when it comes to standing up for myself or for other people, so how in the world could I be a good advocate? Well, after reading the description, I kind of get it. I definitely enjoy helping people in need and I always try to find the root of an issue rather than just treating the symptom. I can see why I ended up in this category.

However, the test told me I would make a good nurse or healthcare professional and I just have to say fuck that.

Server (Soul Type)

Servers are accommodating, caring, nurturing, hospitable, charitable

Apparently my soul is a server, which just confirms that my results on the Myers Briggs test were accurate. I’m definitely an accommodating and caring person.

Still not going into healthcare though.

Type Six: The Loyalist (Enneagram Institute)

Loyalists are committed, security-oriented, engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.

Again, I feel like this test just proves that I am an advocate by nature. I’ve been told I’m an incredibly responsible person, almost to a fault. I’m also incredibly anxious and suspicious of anything new or different.

Basically, I’m a neurotic dog, except instead of destroying your couch or eating your shoes, I crochet things and pick fights with people who try to get me to do new things.

Melancholic (Four Temperaments)

People of melancholic temperament are introverted and thoughtful and are perceived as overly pondering and favoring routine.

Lavater1792

Wait? Is this what my face looks like? 

This is based on the incredibly old and medically-debunked theory that the body contains four humors: melancholic, choleric, sanguine, and phlegmatic. Hippocrates believed that our personalities and emotions were affected by these four humors going in and out of balance.

Well, according to this theory, I have an excessive amount of black bile in my system, making me melancholic. I have no idea how much black bile I have in me right now, but I 100% relate to the description of a melancholic person. I am incredibly introverted and thoughtful and I favor routine so much I’ve literally gotten into fights with people when they try to change my schedule. Next time I pick a fight I’m just going to blame all the black bile I have in me.

Neutral Good (Moral Alignment)

Devoted to helping others and doing good, without bias toward or against order.

alignment

I am 1000% okay with being Captain Mal. 

Yes, exactly. If I was a Dungeons and Dragons character I would be neutral good. I would be a neutral good wizard or something like that. Love it.

So there you go, Daniel! I’ve figured myself out with the help of strangers on the internet. I feel so much better.

-EMS

 

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The Feeling of Nardledanger

Last Friday I was hanging out with some of our friends, and a friend I hadn’t seen in a while (whom I will refer to as Boo) came on by in a rare showing!

We were building Warhammer 40k models.  I was building a particularly nasty model called a Tyrannocyte.

This.

Boo and Heather were making black construction paper bats for Halloween.  In one of the left over pieces it appears as though they had deliberately cut it into the shape of a butt and perhaps some testicles.  It was at this point that my life changed forever.

Boo was laughing and made a comment about how you can see its Nardledanger.

Full stop.

What?

Nardledanger?  The fuck kind of word is that?

Now this is what it’s like when worlds collide.

It was such a striking word that I briefly forgot what I was doing.  I did a full 90 degree turn in my chair to face Boo directly.  I knew exactly what it a nardledanger was based on context clues, but it’s rare in life that I hear a new colloquialism for “dick” that I have never heard before.

Nardle is probably based off the 3rd grade classic: Nards.  Google, ever the great illuminating presence, informs me that nard is the singular of a flower known as a Himalayan Spikenard.  Reality has failed me, however, for it is a pretty standard (boring) looking flower.

Danger (aside from being its own very appropriate word regarding testicles) is most likely based of dangler.  If I were to ask you what dangler meant, you would likely envision Wily fucking Coyote dangling from a cliff edge.  A person who is dangling!  Duh!  Perfect metaphor for a man’s grain sacks.

(Because their full of seed.)

Nardledanger does in fact have an urban dictionary definition.  “Slang for ballsack.”

I was sitting on that lawnchair in our friends garage when this grown woman dropped this word on me.  After my mind went racing to come to terms with the new word in my vocabulary I had nothing but questions left.

This was the word that jumped to her mind when she saw something resembling a pair of testicles.  She didn’t say balls, she quickly and directly used nardledanger.  Is this the word she uses in her day to day?

It became the running joke of the evening.  After a time we started playing the popular internet game “replace one word from a movie title” with Nardledanger.  Its such a perfectly sculpted word.

So (poorly) building off your Feeling of Sonder post: a Feeling of Nardledanger.

A Feeling of Nardledanger: Learning something that you immediately understand, and at the same time you have nothing but questions about it.

have (extensively) googled nardledanger and see that it has been used in some TV shows and the like— so it is easy for me to follow the breadcrumbs.  But to me the weird moment was that singular minute in time where I heard the word, understood it, and then immediately did not understand it.

-DTM

The Feeling of Sonder

SonderThe profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passed in the street, has a life as complex as one’s own, which they are constantly living despite one’s personal lack of awareness of it.

I feel like everyone is a little self centered.

Now, I don’t mean selfish. Selfish in my mind means lacking empathy toward the people around you. Self centered on the other hand means that you think of life as a story in which you are the main character, which is fine. I feel like if we spent all our time thinking about the big picture and how we’re just minor characters in a big chaotic story that has absolutely no direction, we’d all be in bed having an existential panic attack 24/7.

It’s okay to be self centered. That just means that once in awhile you’ll experience sonder.

According to Wikipedia, sonder was a word created in 2012 as part of the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. I absolutely love this word because it’s definitely weird to think about how other people, people who have nothing to do with me, have lives just as fantastic and weird as mine. To them, the story is about them and that is just bizarre to think about.

There is a teenage boy who rides the bus right around the same time I do and he recently discovered Stephen King. He’s reading the Green Mile and we got to talking about King after he noticed that I was reading the Long Walk. I see him all the time, but never ask him about anything other than his current book. I sometimes think about him when I’m at home sorting through my bookshelf. Has he read this book? Does he like this author? Things like that.

Another familiar stranger in my life is a man and his four or five year old son. They will sometimes ride the bus with me in the mornings and they always stick out to me because of how cute the boy is. He always says goodbye to the bus driver and he loves to pull the cord when it’s time for them to get off the bus. Sometimes I think about them. Will the boy be going to school soon? Where does his dad work?

I know that I’m a familiar stranger in their lives, too. One day, I wore contacts to work and the little boy pointed it and told me I looked very nice. Another day, I stood up on the bus before it came to a complete stop and the little boy told me we weren’t supposed to stand up while the bus was moving. I sat back down immediately. When a little kid tells you you’re breaking a rule, you don’t argue.

It’s encounters like that that get me thinking about all the different versions of me out there in the world. Like you said, Daniel, there are people out there who remember us and probably wonder where we went when we leave. Those little kids at Big Al’s will always remember you as Dan the Man and nothing else. The woman at Petco will always remember you as Kyuzo’s dad. And, because of their memories, those versions of you will always exist, despite the fact you’ve moved on.

There are so many versions of each of us out in the world. It’s crazy to think about.

A few years ago I made the mistake of having a few too many beers at a bar and got sick in the parking lot. It’s very likely a stranger saw me and now I exist in that person’s mind as that drunk, party girl. They might never see me again, but a version of me lives on in their mind. Hell, I might even be an anecdote they share when the topic of alcohol comes up in conversation, despite the fact that I’m really not a party person at all. 

But I am in their mind.

Another example would be my third grade teacher, Mrs. McCoy. She knew me for an entire school year so, of course, she got to know me a little better than the stranger in the bar parking lot. However, after I left her class, that version of me became stuck in her mind. Somewhere out there in the world, there is a woman who only knows me as a little seven year old girl who likes to read and doesn’t speak up a lot in class. If she met me now, heard how much I swear and saw all my tattoos, it might blow her mind.

It would also kill the version of me that lives in her mind. Kind of morbid to think about, right?

There must me hundreds of thousands of versions of me out there, living in people’s memories. Someone saw me slip on ice and now an incredibly clutsy version of me exists. Someone saw me crying on the bus and now a very sad, helpless version of me exists. Someone saw me out for a run and now an athletic version of me exists.

It’s bizarre to think about, isn’t it?

-EMS

Familiar Stranger

Last week I was ruminating over how interesting it is that there are people in my life who I know by name and yet they are strangers to me.  The people at my favorite bar, Crush, all know me by name and I know them by name.  And yet, I know very little beyond that.

Similar with some of the people who make my coffee down at Floyds Coffee.  I talk with some of them and even have conversations about things going on with them, but even know I can know these details it never occurred to me that they just became acquaintances or even friends.

There are patrons at the bar that I know by name, but haven’t really spoken to them beyond daily pleasantries.  We recognize each other to the point that we wave when we see each other walking around the neighborhood!

But yet— I still think of some of them as strangers.  But familiar ones.

This even extends to one sided narratives to people I see from my car.  This is what made me start to think about this concept.  I drive across this bridge to go pick up Laryssa after work.  And since a lot of people get off work when I do, I inevitably begin to see the same people each day walking across the bridge.

There is this one woman who walks the bridge each day.  I noticed her because she was wearing full jeans and a jacket in the crippling heat of summer.  I saw her each time I drove across that bridge.  I thought it was strange that it could be so hot and she’s always wearing the same long, heavy clothing.

Then one day when the wind was blowing it pushed all of her clothes against her frame, and I saw that she was painfully thin.  I frowned to myself and gave a silent remark that I hoped she was alright.  But week by week, month by month I watched her become hunched and frail.

What specifically made me think to write this post is that last week I realized I hadn’t seen her in a couple weeks.

I’ve never met this woman.  I don’t know her name.  I don’t know whats wrong, but I know she doesn’t walk the bridge anymore.  And yet I urgently want to find her and make sure shes being taken care of and getting help.

I’ve never met this woman but I knew her narrative.  She walked the bridge everyday at 5:10, so I guessed she had a job.  Her clothes were clean and her hair styled, so she still cared about her appearance.  She carried a messenger bag so I guessed she might be a student.

Was she getting help?  Someone else must be noticing whats happening to you.

I hope that she is taking the bus or walking a new path or is getting help.  Should I have done something?  Should I have stopped one day and found her and asked if she needed help?  What can I do?  I’m merely a stranger.

I haven’t seen her in a while.  And I’ll always hope for the best, but it is weirdly distressing being in such a uniquely helpless scenario.  And then it made me think of all the familiar strangers that I suddenly just don’t see anymore.

I used to buy crickets for my lizard Kyuzo every other day.  The lady who worked at Petsmart used to talk to me about The Walking Dead.  And then one day I adopted Kyuzo away to someone else, and I just simply never returned to Petsmart.  Did she wonder about me?

There were numerous kids who came to Big Al’s arcade whom knew me as Dan the Man, Bringer of the Eternal Party, and then one day I just wasn’t there anymore.  Those kids came back and probably asked for me, and one day they were told I no longer worked there.

One of the old bartenders that used to serve me food at Crush five days a week quit abruptly over one weekend, and I haven’t seen him since.  I talked to that dude for years, and then one day he’s just gone.

It makes me wonder how many familiar strangers I’ve forgotten over the years.  How many people did I used to see everyday and then one day we just never saw each other again.  Makes me think and get all super pensive.  Its weird to try and express my thoughts on the matter.

Do you have familiar strangers?

-DTM

What a Terrible Week

Obviously my post this week is going up late. I wish I had a decent excuse as to why, but it really all comes down to the fact that I’ve had a crappy week.

It all started on Monday when I was dropped off at the airport.

The morning had been pretty easy. I got up, packed the few things I would need for my work trip, and then had a friend drop me off at the airport. We left about thirty minutes earlier than we needed to because I wanted to buy him a cup of coffee as a ‘thank you’ for driving me to the airport. Michael had a pretty nasty cold so he didn’t want to get up early and take me, which was fine. However, that side trip to the coffee shop took about a third of the time I had thought it would, so I ended up at the airport an hour and a half before my flight.

Now, you might say, “An hour and a half? That’s barely enough time to get through security!” Well, that is one of the many benefits of living in a small town like mine. Our airport has only one security gate and it takes like five minutes to get through it. You could get to the airport thirty minutes before your flight and still have time to use the restroom and get a snack.

Anyway, I wasn’t too worried about it. Being early is better than being late, right? And that just gave me more time to work on my laptop. No big deal.

Well, the WiFi wasn’t working and I did have a few urgent emails to send before we got to our destination. I thought to myself, “well that’s crappy, but oh well. I can work when we get to our first layover.” Little did I know that the day was only going to go downhill from there.

About twenty minutes after I arrived, I found out the flight was delayed by an hour so I was actually almost three hours early to an airport that had a grand total of two gates. Did I also mention that you walk directly out onto the tarmac to get to your flight? That tiny.

So I settled in to do some reading while I waited on my flight and then noticed something interesting on my flight itinerary. My first layover was only about forty five minutes, which meant that this hour delay in my first flight was going to make me miss my connection.

Well fuck.

After some finagling, the flight agent managed to find me another connection down in San Francisco. However, the flight was a red eye and I would be getting to my destination at 6 a.m. the next morning. My meeting started at 8 a.m. the next morning so, if everything went as planned, I would get a grand total of two hours to get to the hotel, shower, change, drink as much coffee as humanly possible, and then head right to my ten hour meeting.

Well fuck.

Everything did end up going as planned from there, but I’m not going to lie and say Tuesday was a good day. It sucked. It sucked so much. I was able to sit through my all day meeting, but I had to get up and move around every twenty minutes or so to make sure I didn’t fall asleep where I was sitting. I also hadn’t thought my wardrobe through and brought heels to wear to my meeting. Thankfully, I did not fall on my face.

The meeting was two days, so I did manage to get a decent night’s sleep at the hotel. However, the next day I had to pack up and head the airport right after the meeting because I had another late evening flight to catch. If I had known I was going to end up taking a red eye in the first place, I would have never agreed to such a late flight.

So, in conclusion, I got to my destination at 6 in the morning and spent a grand total of about thirty six hours there before I had to fly home.

Well fuck.

So I got home and slept for about ten hours before heading into work to catch up on emails and check in on a few projects. During my very brief day, I got a phone call saying I had been denied on a very awesome opportunity, which I will tell you about later, Daniel. After that I went home, opened a beer, and climbed into bed to rewatch Gilmore Girls for the hundredth time because when you’re depressed, there’s not much else you can do.

After a few episodes, Michael managed to cheer me up and I finally felt energized enough to write my post. And then, boom. I got hit by a migraine.

Well fuck.

After taking aspirin and sleeping for another ten hours, I was able to get out of bed and go to work this morning, where I frantically tried to catch up a project I missed before I was kicked out of my office for an event. Still have a bit of a headache, but at least it’s manageable, right?

Right.

Anyway, here’s my post. It’s a little pointless and has no deeper meaning, but at least I got to bitch about my weekend. Maybe next time I’ll have something meaningful to write about.

-EMS

 

Character: The Lifeblood of Roleplaying

Previously on Seven Degrees of Smudde:

There was a solid disconnect between Acolyte and everyone else.  So I figured the easiest thing to do was quietly retire the naive Acolyte for someone who was more suited to this party and the world.  I’m not really mad at anyone, just stopped having fun trying to make my character fun.

What made me think about this was one of my players approaching me saying that he wasn’t having as much fun with his character in Rogue Trader.  His character was a dark and brooding man with a troubled past.

I was quite surprised at how many of my players decided to play various flavors of “dark and brooding with a troubled past.”  Its a very attractive idea for a character— you can play a mysterious, crass, loner who doesn’t need anybody.  No strengths, only weaknesses hidden deep inside.

Roleplaying games are awesome because you can explore so many different personalities and lifestyles.  The breadth of options available in the theater of your mind is for another post— what I’d like to talk about is characterization versus character.

A thing to note: some people just want to play Dungeons and Dragons for the combat or the exploration.  What I’m about to expound about is only relevant if you want to focus on the roleplaying aspects.  If you just wanna kill dragons and loot dungeons then you can probably ignore this!

I have had a lot of strong opinions on character, appearance, and investment.  Only recently have I found the correct language to really talk about this effectively.  And again— I’m not a professional writer (yet) but I’d like to take a step back and evaluate what makes a character and how people view and understand them.

Characterization is how a character acts and appears outwardly.  Simple as that.  Is a character loud?  Quiet?  Snarky?  Mild mannered?  Are they thin?  Thick?  Athletic?  Portly? Short?  Tall?  Could they be described as angry?  Solemn?  Cordial?

In contrast: character is how a character acts during critical moments.  If the character woke up in a burning apartment building would they: run immediately for the exit, pushing past people?  Go into the apartment next door where their elderly neighbor lives to rescue them?  Pick up a child but keep running?

Its in those revelations that we see real character.  When characterization is similar to character you write a cliché.

The man saunters into the bar.  He’s wearing a leather jacket over some Levi’s.  Fingerless gloves adorn his hands.  He pulls his motorcycle helmet and runs his fingers through his short hair.  He has a scarred face and a permanent scowl.  He grunts in irritation at several people standing in his way.  He steps up to a stranger and sets his helmet on the bar counter.  He orders a shot of whiskey.

“You got my money, bud?” the rider asks.

“I ain’t paying you shit.” the stranger responds.

“I think you will, pal.  You owe me.”

The stranger draws a gun on him.

“Oh boy.  That was a mistake.” the rider says.

He then proceeds to beat the strangers ass.  Punching him right in the jaw and grabbing the hand holding the gun.  He has brass knuckles, but he is an honorable fighter.  Once the man is on the ground groveling, the rider lights up a cigarette, downs his shot of whiskey, and saunters back out into the night.

How predictable was that?  It was boring.  He looked and sounded like a bad mother fucker, so were you super surprised when he was a bad mother fucker?  It was something we’ve seen before.  It was cliché.

Its possible to have characterization and character be similar and write an interesting character, you just need to explore that character deeper.  But think about any character you think of as badass inside and out— they probably have other characteristics that contrast what you expect.  Especially as you begin to understand their development.  Try not to have characters with hard, aligned edges.

He closed the door to his car and began to walk to his apartment.  He slung his bags strap over his shoulder and checks his phone.  Several missed calls from his manager at work.  The server must be down again.  He’ll remote in and fix it after dinner.

He walked past a couple of his neighbors, smiling broadly at them and waving.  He chats a little bit about the weather and exchanges jokes about the sillier neighbors.  He crouches down to scratch a couple puppies behind the ears.  He offers to fix some of the issues the leasing office was having as he talks with the property manager.

He fumbled with his eyes and unlocked the door, entering the air conditioned room.  His girlfriend was there.  She hops up suddenly and goes to help with the bags and the door.  She smiles sweetly at him.

Then he heard the man calling for something from the bathroom.  Calmly, she made to speak.

“He’s just-”

Blood sprayed across the wall when the back of his hand hit her square in the nose.  When she crumpled to the ground he began kicking her in the stomach over and over.

“You.  Fucking.  Bitches.  Are.  All.  The.  Same.” he said, punctuating each word with another kick.

A little more jarring and interesting of a read.  There is something happening there that the reader wants to understand and explore.  The characterization: a mild mannered IT guy, was in contrast to his character, a man who was angry enough at women to beat one before knowing whats happening.

So why do I bring this all up?  Because they are things to consider when you are making a character for a roleplaying game.  Roleplaying games are nothing but choices under pressure, so your character matters so much more than your characterization.

As a player in a roleplaying game, you are equal parts narrator as you are player.  We read stories to learn how the story begins and ends, how a characters arc ends, and to see how everything develops and changes as it goes on.  As a player in an RPG, if you have no character than your character becomes a dull narrator.  Everything is predictable.  We know almost everything about you before you begin.

If you make a character who everyone sees as a dark, brooding, tough guy and then he goes to his room in the castle and broods at the dark in a tough way?

You end up sitting at the table for a while not doing much.  You end up trying to pull character out of characterization and you end up bored because there is nothing left.  You spend all of your time focusing on what your character is like that you forget about who your character is.

I see this a lot when I watch people make characters.  They say:

“Oh!  I want to play this funny little guy who speaks with an accent and always has a smoking pipe in his mouth!”

“I’m going to play a fighter.  He was an orphan and war took his family from him.  He learned to fight to protect himself.”

“My cleric will be the most possible good in the universe.  She’ll help the needy, and feed the hungry.  Her god is Lawful Good.”

Those are awesome back story ideas, but if you focus only on those events you will quickly lose steam when it comes to interactions.

What I wish I saw more of:

“I want to play a gnome druid who used to be a local folk hero.  But his addiction pushes everyone else away, so he never lets anyone in.  He has to learn to overcome his addiction or risk being alone for the rest of his life.”

“I want to play a firbolg fighter who lost his parents to a bloody war.  The only language he knows is violence, and he’s going to have to learn to trust people and that harming others isn’t always the way.”

“My cleric wants to be a healer, but she learns during her first battle that she is terrified of fighting.  She wants to fight and protect the innocent, but is too paralyzed with fear to go out and do it.  She has to find the courage within her.”

Which sounds more interesting to you?

-DTM

I’m Never Prepared

Dude, I feel like I’m never prepared to write for SDoS. No matter how well I plan out my week, I always end up writing my post during my lunch break at work, struggling to brainstorm a topic in between my meetings and work projects. Logically, I know that if I just take a few hours to brainstorm and outline my thoughts, my SDoS posts would be so much better, but it’s hard sometimes to find the motivation to put a lot of effort into something when I’m not feeling particularly inspired.

I think that’s the root of my problem. I think I’m in the same place that you are, Daniel. I’ve run out of ideas and it’s hard to find more things to write about when all I do is work, crochet, and chill at home. I’ve written about all of those things. I need something new.

Earlier this week you asked me to teach you how to be inspired and I jokingly said you need to stand on your head and drink kombucha, neither of which I will willingly do. But the more I think about it, the more I like the analogy. Finding inspiration is like standing on your head and drinking kombucha: physically tasking and not appealing at all.

A lot of people seem to think that I’m a creative or inspired person, but in reality I rarely feel “inspired” anymore. Yes, I crochet and I write and I sometimes craft things, but in reality all of the things I create don’t magically appear, conjured by a flash of magic inspiration. In reality, I crochet things I see on Pinterest, write things based on parameters given to me by my boss or a writing prompt, and make things to fill a need in my life rather than to satisfy a whim.

My creativity isn’t spontaneous, romantic thing that sweeps me off my feet, it’s more like a task on a to do list that takes time and energy.

Inspiration is like standing on your head and drinking kombucha. You’ve got to take some time and get yourself into a headstand and then you have to force yourself to do something you really don’t want to do, like drink gross kombucha or write a bunch of garbage until something wonderful happens.

There’s a quote from Stephen King that always comes to mind when I finally force myself to sit down and write my SDoS post:  “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

Sometimes I wish Stephen King could just follow me around, poking me with a ruler and reminding me over and over that if I want to write I just have to sit down and do it. Don’t loggy gag, don’t sit around and use the “I don’t have any ideas” excuse.

Obviously this post is more a reminder for me than it is for you, Daniel. You are a very inspired person and just listening to the way you talk about the blogs and your roleplaying campaigns, I know that you’re a way better writer than me. I really should be asking you to teach me to be inspired, not the other way around.

I guess I’ll end this post with another reminder to myself and any other writers out there on the internet who stumble upon this post. It doesn’t matter how good your writing is, what matters is you wrote something.

Writing is like going for a run. It doesn’t matter how fast you go or how long you run for, what matters is that you went for a run. Same goes for writing. I hated my last three SDoS posts and my last two WMR posts, but at least I sat down and wrote them.

-EMS