Writing

Life is Like Editing…Live, Die, Repeat

Life is Like Editing…Live, Die, Repeat

Living life is so much like editing a book.

Here’s why…

It’s been a slow go today.

Actually…a slow go the entire past month.

Why? Simple…

Editing.

Ugh!

Don’t get me wrong, I love to write. I write every day in my journal—things that may never be published; and, some that will. Who knows for sure?

However, editing is a much different beast than simply doing AIC (Ass in Chair) time and going at a fresh blank screen with the creative juices flowing.

Editing is like taking on the beast you’ve created. An unruly beast at that.

The project at hand? Book 2 in the Catharsis Awakening Series. I just made it into Chapter 5 today; editing that is.

Speaking of beasts…

Ever see the Tom Cruise movie Edge of Tomorrow?

The tagline goes like this: Live, Die, Repeat—and that describes the editing process perfectly.

It’s a kickass movie where Cruise plays a military officer named Cage that’s never seen combat, and the whole world goes to war against an alien invasion.

Cage is forced into a combat role but it gets worse: every time he dies, he starts over and repeats the day he enters combat.

The upside of Cage’s situation is that he remembers the previous day and how he got killed on the battlefield, which he learns from his “mistakes” and avoids repeating the same thing over…um, getting killed.

The cool thing is, once Cage learns how to avoid a bomb blast, gunfire, or just simply being eaten by a mob of aliens, he moves ahead in the story to the next day.

Each time he dies, he learns, and he moves on, eventually to lead his troops to victory and saves the world in the end.

Whew.

Like I said, kickass movie.

Editing is kickass. Um…actually, more like kickin’ my ass because it feels like I die every day I look at the manuscript.

I read the text, then I rewrite, only to find out that I need to rewrite a section far earlier to explain what the heck I just rewrote. It’s like Cage being gobbled up by aliens.

Then, it seems like I’m stuck in the same place in the manuscript, just like I’m starting out on day 1 of the battlefield.

I tell ya…writing is a lonely place!

A lot like life.

Waking up and trudging through the same material just to rewrite it over and over and over, then to rewrite something else to help make sense of the thing you rewrote.

Does that make sense?

Each death we incur brings us a little bit closer to conquering our alien world and hence why the tears when an author finally holds up the first copy of their work at the end.

But this isn’t just about writing. It’s about anything in life you’re fighting.

Like when you conquer some nasty alien you’ve been fighting what seems like for a whole lifetime, no matter how small of a victory.

We make mistakes, we learn, we pivot, we change, we gain ground…no matter how incremental it is.

Don’t give up!

Keep at it.

We need you.

The world needs you.

For heaven’s sake…don’t quit!

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Living Better, Reinvention, Self-Improvement, Writing
A Short Story About Reinvention

A Short Story About Reinvention

It’s probably a little silly to share this. Maybe a bit juvenile?

But…

When I dive into the dark depths under my surface, wrangle the beast within, victoriously grab the bastard by the throat and surface again with its corpse; I feel like I’ve conquered and taken another step forward.

Sometimes, my steps sort of, you know, slide backward. Instead of rocketing to the surface, breaking the water line a few feet in the air with prey in hand, it’s more like my bloated self slowly rises from the deep, sloshing back and forth as the tempest swirls around and the dorsal fin of the beast that just took me out circles my carcass.

Pretty dark.

Reinvention is like that sometimes. Take a couple steps forward and feel great. And then, we slip and fall back a step.

It feels like a mile backward for every one step forward.

Objectively, that’s not reality. When you set out on transformation—no matter how big or small it is—just the fact you’ve begun a journey of change is absolutely incredible.

Of course, it’s all in the way and how we see, and not just what we see, of our particular circumstance.

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As a writer, I focus on the metrics of a website to the point of obsession, and then wonder if the changes I’ve made were worth it. So much of the ego is tied up in metrics.

Those stinking data marks that tell us numbers but gives no details about the quality of anything.

There are writers out there that don’t worry about such things—what people say about their articles and books, or what the metrics look like (how many folks hit the ‘Like’ button on their published content).

But from what I’ve seen and experienced, we all do…fret over whether or not we’re accepted and loved.

Doesn’t matter what position or title or rank you hold in life.

We place too much emphasis on that damned ‘Like’ button instead of just being authentic with ourselves.

And, living an intentional and authentic life isn’t about pleasing people around us.

As a matter of fact, when we follow our convictions and finally cast off the garb that others have put on us as to what and who we are and where we should be, then we finally come into rhythm with our true selves.

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I recently joined a writer’s group. At the beginning of our meeting we have a short assignment. We all write for 15 minutes about what the group leader reads out of a writing prompt booklet.

This exercise directed us to write about an inanimate object in first person and bring it to life.

Halfway through writing this piece, I stopped and thought, “My God, is everything so dark with me?”

I pasted the copy of what I wrote below so when you get about halfway you’ll see what I’m talking about.

I mean, I’ve really focused on things under the surface and shifting my outlook to being more positive. But, as I thought about what I was writing (below), I couldn’t help but think, “Great, and here I thought I was making real progress.”

Then it dawned on me…Psst, you’re NOT done yet!

So, I followed that small voice into the depths for a moment. Time was ticking and I didn’t have the luxury of doing what I normally do: over analyze the crap out of everything.

I didn’t fret about the timer. I took a quick glance around where this little story was going and I found that it was not as dark as I thought.

The key here? Not fretting and worrying and definitely not over analyzing. Just allow a brief moment to reflect and then…

Keep writing, you’re not done, said the voice in the depths.

I felt the current flowing inside about where to take the story and thought, Wow! Amazing.

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Psst…

You…not me…but you, reading this, yes…You. Are. NOT. Done!

Keep working through what you’ve started.

Keep pressing forward.

Keep working on your dreams, your goals, getting out of debt—wriggling free of the cocoon around you and don’t stop until the fence of the corral is shredded.

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A Short Story:

The roof opened and a stark stab of light shone through the cylindrical ceiling. I squinted but I’m afraid it was no use, the warmth surrounding me began to escape in vapors that swirled around and up and up and up it went. The heat that encased me and gave me a feeling of well-being disappeared into the brightness above.

Whoa! I sloshed against the side of my home, tilted on end, and as I surged in my round sphere I lost my equilibrium and now, not only did I feel the cool air sting my face, the vertigo was too much to bare. The jostling stopped as I felt a hard thud below me. The plunge to the bottom and the sudden stop sent round ripples shimmering across my face and then, as quickly as the stab of day struck me moments ago; the ceiling instantly covered and the darkness returned.

The cool air above was now trapped under the roof that now was solidly in place. Suddenly, drip, drip, drip came from the ceiling above back down upon my face. Steam filled the vacant space between my surface and the roof above, and I finally warmed from the depths below. Thankfully, the ripples subsided, the vertigo eased, and I settled once again into a solemn state.

I’ve heard it said that such an owner will introduce another embodiment here, but I am fortunate; this owner likes me the way I am: dark, hot. Here I sit to fulfill my destiny, remaining as calm as can be, ensuring I don’t spill over the roof when the time comes to be sent forth into the depths of my owner; to warm, to console, to excite, to inspire, to ease the tension by creating an awareness and an awakening from within another body.

I am appreciative that they, whoever they are, have named myself and my kind…coffee.

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Well, the story’s a bit different and maybe a bit silly.

But, maybe not.

A lot can be learned from a cup of coffee.


Photo by MaxPixel

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Reinvention, Writing