The Price of a Dream · 6:50am
Hey guys. Been a while hasn't it?
I guess I'll let you guys know in advance, this is more of a venting entry with some tidbits of my current status, and the status of my seemingly-abandoned Price of Loyalty.
To open, I must ask the following question:
When you make sacrifices to achieve a dream, what happens when the cost might be the dream itself?
This is something that has grown to weigh on my conscience over the last couple years of my life, and the many chapters that have happened during it. The two main factors are my job and my education.
Since Spring 2014, I began life as a college student at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana, and in March 2015, I began a career at Speedway. For those of you who live out west that never heard of it, it's a convenience store/gas station that has a huge chain growing in the eastern US. I got promoted to my first-ever management position three and a half months later, and today I still hold that position. However, what I never realized that beginning a full-time job and college, as well as moving into an apartment as of October 15th, did I even come close to realizing how much of a mental, physical, and emotional toll it would take on my body.
My life's dream is to one day be a game designer, and create games, or stories, the world will remember. In a sense, my dream is to become the next William Shakespeare.
This is where we get to Price of Loyalty.
When I discovered FIMFiction, a flurry of creativity and inspiration, as well as the willingness to write for the first time in several years, hit me and got me to want to finish my first story. Two short stories came out of this initial springboard, but the most important one was what was originally called "A Tale of Two Nations." The story began initially as something to get me writing, with a core to write around. This, pathetically enough, was a rather stereotypical romance fic between an OC and Rainbow Dash, my favorite character from FiM. But I wanted to play with one single idea: "What's the world like outside of Equestria?" Another goal eventually formed, and that was taking on the challenge of taking a bat-winged alicorn pony OC, and turning it into a character with depth, flaws, and... well... character. Ambition eventually drove me to the point of starting the entire project from scratch, now under the name "The Price of Loyalty," and this new version of the story was meant to achieve great things and establish some kind of name and standard for myself, and for FIMFictions, and prove that good stories can come from unlikely places. Not only that, Price of Loyalty was meant to be the first rung in a ladder I'd climb toward achieving my eventual dream.
But as most of you know, the story rarely updated, and let's be honest, it's a very poorly told story, and that's something that's made me want to write less and less every single day.
The irony behind PoL is that I've spent almost every day since Chapter 2 was released planning the entire story and its' two "non-canon" sequels and parallel timelines, and to this day I've still continued to plan and imagine entire scenes and character arcs through music I zone out to, or during work in moments of intense stress, and even when I watched Season 5 of FiM and had to pry away for a few seconds and imagine something darker and more mature to level out the silliness and girliness of the show.
Of course, as we know though, I haven't written another chapter in over a year. In fact, I've barely even touched the story until just recently. So we come full circle back to my job, school, and the question I posed at the start of this blog.
Since Journal #3, I've done nothing but work, watch "award-winning" films, study critiques of said films as well as games, work, watch educational videos on game design, work, do school, and then work some more. For every day I could have written, I wanted to relax from my hard day and zone out to movies or random YouTube videos, or just play some stupid game to entertain myself. Or in worse cases, RP. But I digress.
From the start of my job and school, I thought that if I sacrificed my free time toward a "successful future," I could find the will to write more and become better at it, and advance a career that could get me toward my dream college that would then get me going toward the game designer goal I've been after for years. However, I was wrong.
I work 40 hours/5 days a week on 2nd Shift, and spend one whole day at school, with only one single day to myself, usually right before my school day where I'd have to get up in the morning when my body is used to getting up in the evenings, meaning I get next to no sleep at all. Something I never anticipated was how much of a social deprivation my job would have on me, as I rarely get to see any of my real life or online friends due to conflicting schedules. My job is also extremely high-volume, high-intensity, and high-productivity, meaning I get no breaks, no downtime, and no chances to simply unwind or slack off without fear of being written up or losing my job. I've broken down at home several times out of loneliness and stress, and recent developments in the last few days haven't made anything better. With my emotional state never in the right place it needs to be to write various scenes in, say, Price of Loyalty, it makes it hard to get in the right mood and tone that is both inspirational but also mentally immersed in the moment of the story. On the school front, I got invited to an Honors Society, but I haven't had any free time that lined up with the society for my induction into the group. I've had to spend less time in my campus' two clubs I interacted with; a drama club and a gamer club. I see the gamer club on my class days, but it's becoming segregated and full of unfamiliar faces. As for the drama club, with work, I can't participate in any of their productions anymore. Lastly, confidence has continued to take hits every day with rude customers, co-workers that I have difficulty figuring out how to lead or inspire, and managers who seem to care about me more as a body than a driven and ambitious individual. I can't even find the willpower to quit this job for fear of being unable to find one with equivalent benefits, pay, and improved time for school or writing, plus losing all the progress I've made as a manager. Management, after all, is a skill I need to master if I want to design games one day.
All of these are factors that have prevented any and all progress on my fics, or even working on original ideas to break away from PoL and get practice before jumping back on that project. It's rare that I even can generate any original ideas anymore to jot down in my phone, not even during downtime on off days, because all I can think about is paying bills, how late my class assignments are, fires I have to fix at work, and what game to play to make all this stress go away.
I hate my life. I hate where it's going, and I hate what it's done to the things I care about. I can't enjoy games anymore, and I can't stand (my own) writing. I hate that I had to give up friendships and even time for relationships to try and advance in my career, but I also hate my job and how much I've gotten screwed over by my corporate higher-ups. I hate talking to my parents, who want to help without really listening or understanding my problems or passions and think more about practical parts of life. I hate spending time with my roommate who hogs my game consoles and spends far too much time pressing me to waste time watching complete nonsense like the 900th Game Grumps video, forcing me to lock myself in my room and get on my PC instead while feeling guilty for ditching him. I hate not being able to enjoy time with the college's gaming group and the few extra hobbies and card games I've picked up since I get next to no opportunities to play them. I hate feeling alone, miserable, and going nowhere with my life.
And the worst part? I may not be able to start making games and/or get into the industry until my late 30's, at the rate I'm going, and it wouldn't be as the game designer I've wanted to be. Plus with the gaming industry getting so overwhelmingly oversaturated, business-driven, and overcritical, it feels like achieving the dream how I want to achieve it is impossible.
It's gotten to the point where I feel like I should abandon writing... and abandon The Price of Loyalty.
(Hell, I might already have, with this being the first time I've been on FIMFiction in 6+ months...)
...and that's the worst feeling in the world.
So here's where I stand now. Price of Loyalty is still not officially cancelled, but I'm still never going to be able to guarantee the release of any chapters or even the time the story will finish. Over the past couple days, I've added around 500 words to a new version of Journal #4 as part of some initiative the president of the aforementioned Honors Society recommended I try, and as part of this year's NaNoWriMo which, at the rate I'm going, will never achieve the 50,000 word goal the group challenges every November. Optimistically, I want to say it's a first draft with no "artistic writing" as of yet, however... what is being written is coming out forced.
With my job, as of tomorrow I'm being transferred to a new store. I was previously in a store less than 10 minutes from my new apartment, but now I'm going somewhere over 40 minutes/30 miles away, excluding traffic, which will mean I may not get home until 11PM or midnight. I will be stuck at this store indefinitely until (hopefully) a replacement comes and takes the spot I'll be holding. I also got cheated out of a raise I should have gotten in the store 10 minutes from home, and bumped up to that amount (plus a quarter) just after this transfer began to take place. I even found out I only made $0.10 more than the entry-level cashier position did, and I'm their manager. Work has gotten to the point that, even where I got a massive bonus on top of my fairly good weekly paycheck, I felt disappointed and could only think about having to ration that bonus with the doubled amount of gas I might have to be spending and pay for the bills.
As for school, even though I have two classes, I have an essay due next Thursday that I haven't even started on in one of them, and the other is a class I can only do work while I'm on campus (Graphics Design) and I'm waaaaay behind on three major projects and 5-6 small projects. In the Graphics Design class, I even missed the mid-term, and in the former class, an Art History class, I haven't caught up to the material we've been reading on.
Lastly, in my personal life, I barely see my family, I still hardly get to see my friends, and online I spend time with some people I can barely care about talking to and miss the people that I do care about talking to.
That's my life right now. And I'm trying to gain some kind of reign on it. I guess that will have to start with stopping this blog, going to bed, and getting ready for my first day at the new store...
So folks, until the next novel-length blog post... this has been M1SF0RTUNE...
And I hope one day I can finish what I started.