May Favorites feat. Happy Sassy B.

A staple of YouTubers across the spectrum is the monthly favorites vlog in which one discusses their favorite things of the month. Or at least, that’s how I understand it in the most basic sense. Honestly I’ve never watched a Monthly Favorites video, so I decided to go about it my own way; breaking it down into multiple categories that relate to things I enjoy and/or care about.
Category Is… May Favorites…

The Fine Line

There is a dangerously fine line between confidence and cockiness, but what is the line, and how do we avoid crossing it?
The thing to know is that confidence vs. cockiness is all about  perspective. A lot of people who are currently successful at the top of their fields, have admitted that even before they were successful they had an idea that they could be successful and/or would be successful. Had they articulated these ideas at the time, it would be easy to view that sort of thing as cockiness. Without the goods to back it up, some might have looked at even people we see as talented without question now, as just full of themselves. We’d tell ourselves, they’ll learn, they’ll get a swift dose of reality.
There’s a certain desire that exists in some, particularly in the art world– to tear down the confidence of others. While there are plenty of inspirational quotes about not looking to others to quantify your self worth, there are a lot of contradicting realities that are taught to us from a very young age. To know your self worth and to know you are talented is to be cocky and therefore, is considered a negative thing you don’t want to be.
To be vocal about this knowledge, and to be willing to share it can get you vilified, and you begin to learn rather quickly that being confident is not actually what people want you to be. Secretly they want you to need them for validation. If you aren’t validated by others, how can you possibly know you are talented, or beautiful, or intelligent?
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t bad to want validation from others either. But there’s a very real cycle of shame when it comes to validation, where, you aren’t supposed to know you’re talented and admit it, but then if you ask for validation rather than waiting for it to simply come to you, then you look desperate and needy. Another negative that we’re made to feel is wrong, putting us in a lose/lose situation in which either way we’re wrong.

In my conversation with Adrianne, the thing I really took out of all of this was that frankly it shouldn’t matter, there is nothing inherently wrong with being ‘cocky’. You really should be able to know your self worth and admit it.

Best Laid Plans

Well that didn’t quite go to plan.

I had almost made it an entire month of blogging every single day when somewhere along the way I got derailed. I lost the momentum because I was struggling for ideas, and the notion of going on vacation was starting to make me perhaps a touch lazy. (This is perhaps the first vacation I can remember in which I wrote absolutely nothing– didn’t even take my laptop with me).

Now in (admittedly early) May, I’m a bit behind in multiple things. I didn’t end up recording anything of Drag Con for a vlog (as I somewhat suspected I wouldn’t), and I’m a week behind in blogs and just general writing. It seems my outline that I was so sure I was going to make my writing the sequel to my current work that much easier has not proven true as of yet and I find myself currently trying to find said outline so I might get back to work after a well needed vacation.

Ugh: a memoir

vlogIt’s officially the week before Drag Con which is exciting, but this has also been a week where I’ve been having some struggles, particularly where recording is concerned. I’ve learned that for reasons I cannot quite begin to fathom, there’s been an issue with the recordings of some of my videos in which the audio and the video are not syncing properly and for the life of me, fixing it, is surprisingly difficult. I’ve taken to moving to recording with my iPhone in the hopes that will at least allow me to record without the syncing issue, but it does present a problem with the video I’ve already taken.

It seems to be an arbitrary issue effecting some video and not others, and affecting the video more extremely in some than in others. I haven’t quite surmised why this issue has decided to show up now when it didn’t before, nor can I figure out why I can’t seem to fix this in the editing stage (Premier is great in many ways but there’s a lot I don’t know and I was a little too annoyed to figure out). I’m almost tempted to cut the video portion and just upload an audio only even to YouTube although that’s a touch annoying to be honest. (I’ve since unlisted the video because I’d rather not have a video for Friday than a shitty one). But it begs the question how many other videos did it mess up, and why?

I’m glad I’m not the sort of person who might take something like the issues I’ve had with recording this week as I sign I don’t need to be doing this, because to be perfectly honest with the week of recording drama I’ve had, it’s enough to make almost anyone want to throw in the towel.

Stumbling Blocks

 

If you don’t follow me on Twitter you probably (blessedly) missed a little breakdown I had earlier in the week. I was frustrated for having not been able to write anything, and I decided that the most logical of all possible decisions was to tweet about my frustration. I had considered blogging about it, or even vlogging, but as I note, you can’t complain about something that’s your decision to do right?

No one’s forcing me to vlog, or blog, or even do a podcast, I’m sure several would even prefer I didn’t on all accounts, but I enjoy doing them. Love it even, so it’s something that I want to continue doing. Still, my novel took a bit of a hit for the team, and it’s become something of a frustration for me all the same.

I created a schedule for myself of when I should work on certain projects which got off to a rocky start when some sort of allergy/almost cold took over last week and made it impossible to get much done.

It’s not like I’m not writing anything. Obviously. But the novel, the one thing I thought more than anything I would never have to worry about falling by the wayside has. I’ve managed since that Twitter rant, and actually almost immediately after to do some small amount of writing and frankly I’m happy for any bit I can get done.*

I’m hoping my upcoming vacation will prove helpful to me in the creation department and maybe having the better part of a full week off will really help me get ahead of myself a bit more; in the meantime I just need to get into my creative schedule and hope that this could possibly help.

Anyone have any other suggestions? I love hearing from fellow writers and any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

*It’s worth noting and truthfully, I forget about it after the fact but I do have phases like this sporadically at least once a year, where I struggle to write and struggle to write, and then write like for six months straight… is that related? Maybe??

Shameless Self Promotion

I always thought I wasn’t the greatest at using hashtags to get anything accomplished, mostly because in spite of my near constant use of tags in just but everything I could manage, it never quite seemed to work out for me as it did for everyone else I could see using them. Perhaps it was that I was just slightly unnerved by ‘shameless self promotion’ that I viewed it as this thing I really didn’t want to be a part of. Except that I had to, and it works. The first time I learned how well it worked, was when I decided to self publish my first novel and came upon a website that was something like authors helping authors. You like as many as you can, you follow for follow, post a little note that that’s why you’re liking and following and you’d get someone following you back. Only it’s a frustrating way to grow your page to my mind and I ended up following pages that in the long run I didn’t actually want to see their content.

It was unlike Twitter where I felt my feed had grown so naturally (though I’ve been stuck between 199-201 followers for years now). I also learned that power when I first starting blogging daily and grew my blog a few years ago, up to 400+ followers from liking and commenting on other bloggers posts, in addition to creating my own daily.

Now that I’m vlogging, and doing a podcast, I’m starting to learn to use social media and tags to my advantage across platforms. I’ve been using Instagram to share a note about my latest vlogs with #vlog #YouTube #trans. These are all accurate to me one supposes, and it’s a way to spread myself further. One of the biggest things I’ve had to learn is to get off my high horse when it comes to self-promotion. It’s something everyone has to do and honestly it produces results. I’m not spamming people with FOLLOW ME, FOLLOW ME, FOLLOW ME, but it’s my social media which is there to help my brand, so I have to share myself in order to get more people interested in me.

Writer: Blocked

essayIt started unexpectedly as I was working on the sequel to my previous work-in-progress. I had accomplished a number of things already, I had written the better part of three chapters, I had outlined what the rest of the story needed to be, and I had titles and notes for the better part of the 30 chapter novel I was planning. Everything was falling into place, I was confident, and more importantly I was eager to get to work.

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The Evolution of Narcissa Deville: an essay

From a young age I was obsessed with dresses and shoes. I have always loved fashion and makeup, and once upon a time I had almost considered a career as a fashion designer, however short lived this dream was (due in large part to my poor drawing skills). I always had an idea of the sort of outfits I would want to wear if I were to wear dresses and heels. From the beginning I had an obsession with stilettos, something about the sharp points, and thin heel always screamed elegance to me even then. I liked to think of myself as a vintage style girl. Very Carrie Bradshaw meets Audrey Hepburn, and as much black fabric as I could get my hands on. Occasionally I imagined myself wearing ball gowns even to the most mundane job. My reasoning being, they say dress for the job you want, and I want to be on a red carpet, so, ball gown.

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On Design

days3One of my earliest goals for this website was to challenge myself as both a writer and a graphic designer.  Because I don’t work in my field, my design has to be largely work that I do for myself, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be somewhat limiting. It’s not for a lack of trying that I don’t work in my field either, immediately after graduation I applied to as many graphic design companies as I felt qualified for, and even some I felt entirely unqualified for, and most couldn’t even be bothered to send a form rejection letter. Randomly I had one actual interview with a graphic design firm that was local, four months after I got my current job, a few days before Christmas. I thought the interview went well enough, but being that it was a few days before Christmas they informed me they’d get back to me with a copywriting test for one of the two positions that was open. They never did, and wondering when they would actually be open again, I never ended up emailing them back either, and so nothing came of it. I later learned that a friend’s boyfriend had applied there with similar results (and he had actually called several times), so I didn’t feel too bad about it.

Graphic design can be a difficult field to break into, particularly if like me you tend to work more outside the mainstream bubble. The fact that I went against the grain and printed my portfolio with a matte-ish black background was a subject of excitement for many, and debate for others. It was as if no one in the world had ever considered the concept of a portfolio that rather than printed on crisp white pages, be printed on crisp black pages. I got loads of compliments from people, the most common of which being, I love that but I could never pull that off. There was nothing particularly special about using a black background versus a white background (though make no mistake, the background color absolutely changes the way you see the colors and you respond to the design), and yet perhaps this is part of the reason finding work in my field was particularly difficult. There were plenty of designers, less original than myself who managed to make it.

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I’m not bitter about not getting that job, or even not working in the field. In truth, though I enjoy graphic design, I view it as more of a hobby, a thing I do between writing projects to stay in the realm of the creative yet not quite writing. I prefer to continue to answer only to myself (I’m a harsh enough critic, thank you), than have to worry about getting approval for my designs from fifty thousand people, none of whom can agree on what direction they want to go in.