SPREY Log #025 – Advent

I have a new blog entry to make and what a blog entry this is.

So last time I told you about how I cut back on social media. I didn’t have any dramatic reasons. I didn’t expect a specific outcome and the last thing I want is to sound like one of those clickbaity videos or articles about how quitting social media changed my life. But it did change my life. It’s uncomfortable to admit that. I decided to make a big step years ago and struggled to live as an artist since then. But even with being on the right path, something always felt off. My life felt spent, not lived. And I couldn’t have expressed it to you like that and did not know any remedy. Less social media did not cure me, but it gave me more time and energy to focus on working instead of worrying.

I worked my behind off and finally learned how to code. I wouldn’t say I’m good at it yet, but it is enough to help my husband out as a second coder (mostly bugfixing) on Your Land. This brought a lot of movement and change into my life. It seems that I became so passionate about it and about Your Land, that I even became more sociable instead of less. I know more people online than before and my Twitch streams are not empty. Coding also gave me a new, completely different perspective on art and visual storytelling. First of all I had an identity crisis because I found something that was more fun to me than making art. Seriously. The joy of seeing a problem fixed ingame or a new thing given to the players to enjoy. That was a threat to my art unheard of before. I know how it is to fend off things to make room for art. But how and why do you fend something off that you love more? Should’t you let more love in your life instead of less? After the first shock of two weeks I started drawing again, though, in small scope still, but artist Styxcolor is not a memory of the past. Coder Styxcolor is more grounded though which might be one of the reasons to more happiness from doing it. This is such an interesting change in perspective. For the longest time I was desperate to invent and tell really big complex stories but unable to write even a short one, and I knew there was something wrong but never got behind it.

Suddenly I’m coming from the other end where you’re happy you can make anything work and don’t actually dream about big castles made of code (at least I don’t). And at the end of the day, if you do your job well, you have something in your hands you and other people can enjoy. Art shouldn’t be different.

Also, my media consumption has fallen through the floor. I appreciate every work of the arts there is more than ever now..but I just cannot consume so much of it anymore, at least not in a binge. I also cannot literally eat so much anymore. I want to have the time and bandwith in my head to really experience something and think about it. No more background youtube, not even background music sometimes, and there is no ban on it, I just choose to focus fully on the work ahead. I have no trouble sleeping at night and no trouble getting out of bed at all. I’m eager to get out of bed and get to work.

As you can imagine this is quite a confusing experience. What if all of this doesn’t actually take away from artist Styxcolor but adds to my qualities? Apparently videogames are a good outlet for creativity in general and storytelling, too. If that is my way of grounding myself, may it be so. Also, in hindsight, I might always have asked the question wrong. Should I become a such and such artist? Should I focus on gamedev instead? But what about my own stories? When the actual question is, what are finished creative works that I can actually do and repeat the process so it’s building up a body of work over time? I wasn’t very good at consistency and finishing in the past for various reasons. I wrote two ingame books in Your Land that are a proof of concept to me that I actually can write and finish stories and that even a piece of atomic scope can be worthwhile. This is a new frontier and I’m researching with the passion and eagerness you know from me. Nothing is lost, all is won, and I’m entering a new phase in my life and creations.

Oh, and this is brand new – I can finally admit that I can’t write SPREY or maybe possibly anything else. I will have to break my universe down and make very small wrrks out of it to get them out at all. And this doesn’t even sound like a downgrade, more like an upgrade! I want it done and out! And you can be sure there will be substance when there is no need for any filler. I’m not even afraid that I will have to cut some if not most things. If this is how I make it happen actually, how I become a functioning storyteller, then be it so! What if I needed all these years of struggling to arrive at this point where my mantra becomes „Smaller/condensed is better“/“Say it with less“ because I know from my own experience how it doesn’t work the other way around?