triptych

Creative works, working to create

Today, colors seem brighter. Light seems to illuminate the world a bit more. Fear and hate has suffered a defeat today. There will be battles to come, of course, but today we get to have a celebration and to hold on to hope.

Anxiety siphons away creativity and joy. Imagine the outburst of happiness that will spawn so many creative acts. I am a bit more hopeful today. The darkness is a bit less dark. Let's take this and build on it. I hope you find something to celebrate today, and look forward to seeing all your cool stuff in the days to come as you begin the process of healing.

Hi there doomscrollers! 📜😱

You know those half-done side projects you've done, those tutorial apps you made but then did nothing with. Those codepens, replits, jsfiddles. They have all served their purpose. You learned a thing. You spent some time coding. You can let them go.

Think of a jogger when they are about to go for a long trip. They do stretches, exercises, running in place. All those projects you've played with are just like that. They helped you get “warmed up” and that's cool. You don't see a jogger upset that they're running in place didn't get them anywhere do you? Even if you fully intended to create the next “Big Thing”. You even got a domain name. Yes, I have been there too. It's ok. These are more like swimming laps. You are figuring yourself out. Seeing what you want to do and you learned from them. Failure is not a bad thing in this respect. You did an experiment and got a result. You can then harvest that code, or those experiences and go farther then before. Or maybe you see you should start smaller. The point is stop thinking about that backlog of stuff you've done as “failures” or “waiting to get done” or “if only I had more time?”.

Stop that. 🛑

They are your trophies 🏆 of work done in the past. Put them down, free up your head. What new thing will you start TODAY? It will be better because of all your past stuff. The spirit of those past projects, tutorials, etc. will live on in your next thing. If you feel like you are just spinning your wheels 🚗, here's some tips:

1) Make something small, but complete. 🎆

You will feel better. Even if it's just a doodle or a index.html file.

2) Be purposeful. 💭

Every little project should point you toward something. It's a stepping stone. Let it be in some direction.

3) Play. 🕹

Some of my best ideas come from just playing around. I didn't know SVG could do half the amazing stuff it can do. This is the opposite of 2) and those two opposing forces is where real creativity comes.

4) Put everything in one place. 📦

Make a github repo of your random stuff. Put it in a gdrive. Have a shelf for your clay projects. The point is if they are all together you can see physically how much progress you are making.

5) Share. 🤝

Did you make a thing? Great! I want to see it! So would other folks! You might inspire someone else. They might (steal) borrow your code, music, or theme. Sharing brings that level of “I must do this” a little higher. And it helps you find like minded people or “fans”

6) When it's done, it's DONE. ✈

When you finish a thing, unless it's something you want to keep building on , then put it away.

You need to learn from it, then let it fly away free to give you head space.

7) Write about it. 📝

You did a thing. Whoo! What did you learn? How did it make you feel? What would you do differently next time? Writing about stuff helps imprint what you learned in your head, it helps to share, it helps you with your voice, and sometimes you might discover aspects of the thing you overlooked when you were so close to it. Writing is good. Write. A lot.

8) Guilt free. 😄

Maybe you weren't happy with that sketch, or you got busy and didn't finish it. It's NO BIG DEAL. It's in the past now. It's purpose fulfilled. Do not let it become baggage or an anchor. Use it to help drive insights into yourself. Why did you not finish it? Are you super busy? OK what can I do to work around that? Maybe I have issues with finishing things? Ok. Why would that be? Feeling like an imposter? Self sabotage? The point is even our “failures” or “half-dones” can be windows into how we work. If we let them give us insights into ourselves, then their value is beyond measure.

9) Do something different. 🎭

You like making React apps? Working with watercolors? Try doing something different. That “other” ness will spark your creative side and put you in a slightly uncomfortable place. That's a GOOD THING. Your brain loves novelty.

You will discover * what is different about this? * how is it the same? * can I make generalizations? * this is kinda cool? * this sucks, and now I know that...

Lastly,

10) Have FUN. 🎉

If you aren't having fun doing a thing. Stop doing that thing. Especially as side projects. You hate Java? Stop and try out... Python! Or you hate doing tutorials. Maybe write one! Or get a mentor and talk! The point is – having fun will energize you and help you finish those (side project) things. So above all, relax. Put away the guilt. And go make something fun!

(See what I did here? I made a thing! I had fun! I wrote about it! I did something different [added emojis]. I put it in the same place [ write.as ]. And finished it! )

I did it! I am doing several things today that are “day 2” of a process that's been challenging for me. During this pandemic, I've seen my attention span drop to that of a gnat on caffeine — flitting from games to novels to coding to whatever seemed interesting for 5 minutes. This due to a desire to stay distracted and not thinking about the times we are in.

But that's changing.

For me, writing is fundamental to who I am. If I'm not writing, then something is wrong. And I've not been writing or doing much for a while. So many times I will try out a thing like https://cables.gl and after a day or so move on. But I know that if I want to regain that lost sense of self, and to move forward as a person, I need to start writing more, and getting my “voice” back. So many goals and plans, I cannot build on them if I'm just doomscrolling all day.

So today is a big milestone for me. I set a challenge for myself to start writing every day. For whatever reason, and who knows what about. But still, I'm writing on day 2! A huge step forward for me.

I've tried off and on to blog for many years, and never really found a good “place” to do it. But with write.as I can write, embed code, apps, and more to create a place where perhaps folks will find something interesting to learn.

I worked on a “TinyIF” game today using Svelte. You can check it out here:

I've been off the writing horse for some time now, and while things are not great anywhere, I'm just trying to live every day one at a time and seek out answers as they present themselves. One thing that is bugging me is that I'm not writing. And when I'm not writing, I'm building up a creative “backlog” that makes everything worse.

So, with that in mind, I'm going to try writing “something” every day. And posting it to Twitter will help keep me honest and potentially I'll write something worth reading!

What am I doing right now? I'm working on a tiny interactive fiction experiment called Tiny IF. If I can get this working, I'll share my code and build on that to perhaps get back to the place I was when I was so ambitious about creating a game making tool.

I'm also working on several stories, and just trying to get all the randomness less random. I'm using GitHub as a personal goal keeping tool now, and I'll write about that at some point in the future. I'm also trying to find a game that I can play for more than one sitting. I'm so impatient now and my attention span is so low, I'm unable to even get to “day 2” on many games. But yet I want to play them!

Hoping things go well in the world in the next few weeks. We are on a negative path, and I hope that we can course correct in a huge way.

Anyway, have a good weekend everyone and I'll be back again here tomorrow – hopefully I can at least “day 2” my blogging.

Just (re)discovered I can use write.as to write for myself, or even do long form tweets!

Have you ever played a “long” RPG ( are there any that aren't) and then life happened and it was a long time before you got to play that game again? That happened with me with a game called Legend of Heroes Trails in the Sky.

I originally played it on Steam in 2014 as I love RPG's but for some reason I was stuck on some part of the game and other things came around to prevent me from progressing. Probably another RPG.

So, fast forward to 2020 and here we all are stuck at home with ourselves. I still have my old game saves, and I was thinking of just “continuing where I left off” but I would not have any idea what to do! So, I'm going to try to play this game through from the beginning. I've NEVER finished an RPG in my life. And RPG's are my favorite game genre. And I'm 50 years old. What the heck right?

My problem has always been sticking with a game long enough to finish it. There's always some new game that comes your way you want to play and the “old” game doesn't seem as fun. Well, I'm hoping this time I can stick it out and get to the ending. Will I succeed? Well, I'll post about it here!

I hopefully can fast forward through the parts I've already played and get to the “new” part quickly.

Do YOU have a game like this? You enjoyed playing it, but life happened and you just couldn't finish it. Do you finish many games? If you are like me you can count the number of games you've completed on one hand. Perhaps I can change that for myself and stick with this fun RPG and see how it ends.
> Written with StackEdit.

1% Every Day

It's been rough for so many folks for a long time. There doesn't seem to be an end in sight, but at least hope is keeping us all working and playing and learning.

I had high hopes of getting a lot of technical articles done, and building a bunch of games, stories, etc. at the beginning of the year. As with many folks, plans have changed. I have however gotten 3 novels (self) published and I'm working on several more.

What I want to convey with this post is something I've learned over time that might offer some degree of wisdom to you. What could it be?

Take some time every day to improve some aspect of your life by just 1%. Everyone can do 1% right? I mean it's such a tiny thing. But what does it really mean? 1% might mean today you sleep in an extra hour, or you spend some time writing your novel, or working on coding. The idea is that you build on the improvements every day. 1% is like a compound interest savings account. Every advance should build on the previous in some way so that you find yourself closer to your goals.

Written with StackEdit.

When I began my journey to publish my novels I was at a loss to know how I would go about it. I had the artwork, but I didn't really have a good tool for adding formatted text and getting it all put together well. For the first few books I found a site called Canva that worked out really well for me at the time. After posting about my experience with Canva, I was messaged by another site called Visme. They were curious about my experiences and wondered if I'd like to try out their site as well.

I did some research of my own, and I read a lot of good things about Visme, so I decided to give it a try. I had another book I was working on called Sarah7. The Visme folks gave me a free trial subscription so I could kick the tires without the usual limitations. I am very pleased with the results.

As a complete newbie I clicked around and tried things out, then I watched a few of the great videos Visme has that teach you how to use their site. After a short amount of time I was able to create a simple book cover like this :

Here's what things looked like in the Visme interface :

You basically pick what kind of media you want to create and Visme tries to set things up for you quickly. I found the site to be very snappy, with no lag or odd download issues. I felt like I was always in control of what I was working on without a ton of features that I didn't really need. I'm no great designer yet, but I was able to put something together that wasn't terrible.

They have a lot of interesting integrations, and one of the things that really has drawn me to Visme vs other sites like this is that they allow for interactive content. Here's one of the sidebars with options to include Youtube videos.

As someone who wants to create content for booklets and cool tutorials in the future, I feel like I could build them here pretty easily and then potentially share / sell them on Gumroad

Last night while I was thinking about writing this post, I realized there were a lot of things I could use this site for, beyond just book covers and interactive slide decks. I realized I needed to update my Twitter profile pic. I was happy to poke around with their stock images and came up with something I liked in like 10 minutes. Here's my example:

I also liked that I could just jump back in to that file later and add things without having to dig around on my computer for the image.

I've only really scratched the surface of what I could do on Visme. The whole workflow around interactive content seems really fun and easy to do. I'm going to try out some graphics myself and play with things. Visme seems to encourage this playfulness in it's interface :

There are a lot of example templates to check out and get ideas from or just spin off and use for yourself.

Overall, I have had a really good time with Visme and I encourage you if you are a creative wanting to make like PDF content for selling like graphic novels, slide shows, or even just graphics for your own website, I would encourage you to check them out.

Here's some other types of content you can make with Visme:

Visme is used to make

Having used both Canva and Visme, I think Visme edges out just because of all the interactive content options you have. I really wish, however that sites like Visme would allow for publishing directly to Gumroad and related sites. It would be so great if I could create some content on Visme and be able to wrap that in a Gumroad or Stripe store and be able to come back later and update things without having to go through all the download / upload process.

Feature requests aside, if you are doing any kind of creation for the web or social media, there's a lot of cool stuff to try out here on Visme.

Oh and one last thing – the Share options are amazing — instead of just downloading some image or creative work, you can host it on Visme and do things like get “leads” from content ( names, emails etc. ) or invite comments and feedback. For instance, here's a link to my Twitter Header that asks for a bit of information before you can view it — perfect for if you are sharing some free information and want to get information about the folks interested in your content: Twitter Header Link

They even have an affiliate program which I've only signed up for today but maybe I'll write more about Visme and share it here. It seems like a great place to start creating shareable digital stuff – so you'll probably hear me talking more about it in the future!


Oh and one more thing! ( I just discovered this and it's so cool and has so much potential! ) you can embed any of your Visme stuff on your own website. I created a test page here on my Neocities site with animations and other fun things. It's giving me lots of great ideas!

Written with StackEdit.

I've decided to stick with Write.as as my home for blogging. I have my own site Andreww.xyz which I will sometimes import special blogs from here. But for now – let's make this an awesome place to be and post things about my writing, my games, and my apps. Let's go!

A new chapter is out! Check it out below:

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