Levelling Up

One of my resolutions for 2019 was to “actively seek out inspiration,” to not only look for the art and media that made me want to do things, but to engage with it more.

I also said I’d keep you up to date with that.


Right. Yeah. Sorry.

I haven’t figured out a way to talk about it that feels natural for this space. I tend to shy away from writing reviews or critiques—even short ones—but I don’t know a better way to do it. (If you have an idea, drop it in the comments! I really do want to sort something out.)

But I have been doing the important part: over the last couple of months, I’ve been more intentional in the movies I choose to watch and the books I choose to read. This time, it’s not just a matter of pulling myself out of a rut (though… it’s kind of that, too), it’s about looking at the media that thrills me, and picking it apart and figuring out why I love it so much—and why it frustrates me, because most of the time, the stories I love the most are the ones that infuriate me. Not only are my standards higher, but I spend more time thinking about the story, working through character arcs and plot threads, and eventually—inevitably—seeing the places where they fall apart.

(And, no, I’m not talking about Game of Thrones—I’ve never watched it—but I do have to acknowledge that it’s part of the reason I’m thinking about this stuff right now. I’ve been watching the discussion over the past few weeks, and it’s given me a lot of new ideas about craft and storytelling.)

(I am talking about Avengers: Endgame. At least a little bit.)

The point is, I’ve been watching some amazing movies and reading some fantastic books, and it’s starting to pay off. It’s pushing me to step up my game in my own stories, and making me want to tell different stories, in different ways. It’s changing the way I think about writing in general—or it’s reminding me of how I used to feel about writing, back before I turned it into a chore and eventually burned out. In the years since I’ve come back to it, I’ve liked writing, it hasn’t been a chore, but I never really found my way back to that place where the very possibility thrilled me, where I couldn’t wait to sit down and write every day.

I’m starting to remember that.

Of course, it’s also intimidating as hell. There’s a part of me that reads these books and watches these movies and thinks that I’ll never come close to reaching that level, that there’s some kind of magic involved that I’ll never really understand.

… and, you know, maybe there is.

But right now, I don’t care.

My skills and instincts as a writer are improving. My desire to write is getting stronger. And I’m having a lot of fun doing it. Even if I don’t reach those levels… I’m getting closer.

That’s what matters.