Welcome to the new format! Better Zombie has changed significantly since the last Betzom update. Now that I have an average of 15 essays scheduled to publish, I have more lead time before each essay publishes to be more ambitious with the content or structure. More importantly, I’ve more fully realized how this website can help me achieve my goals: now, I’ll publish two short stories each week, along with two brainstorming updates to “The Story!”
It’s been fascinating considering my writing evolution. This website’s first essay, “Twenty-Five Cent Screwdrivers,” was written in the only style I knew how to write – a hold-over from the cadre writer’s group A Nerd Occurrence of Internet friends writing about nerdy stuff – a love-letter to materialism, thrifting, and collecting random junk. Now returning to Rummage Around is almost disappointing, because it’s no longer magical, or maybe I should say: my interest is elsewhere.
I’ve more fully realized my love of writing itself now.
There is no greater feeling for me than expressing myself. It’s a sensation that I’m relieving some inner thought, and writing it publically is just a nice way to get it out there. I actually have fewer readers now than 70 essays ago, but the thing is, I’m not worried about that. It’s vain to follow that stuff in close detail because what ends up happening is that you forget your trajectory. Let’s say I wrote a concert review that got really popular. I want to write “The Story,” not reviews.
Why not write more stories?
The thing about having an ambitious project in your mind is trying to figure out how to realize it. I’ve been realizing it by just getting in the habit of writing every single day. At first, all that meant was just thought pieces, essays about my opinions that I’d share with friends or family anyways. Easy stuff. Fiction was always difficult for me, so it took a few hundred uploads before I started to get a good rhythm going. Now, I can crank out short stories in less than 1 hour.
They may not be great, but I’m not focused on that.
The speed and consistency build up a momentum. I’ve written just over 50 short stories since August 12th, 2016. The first twenty of those were probably the most difficult pieces I’d ever written because it’s a shift from this first-person writing to something more external. With more practice in writing in general, it became easier for me to shift that focus away from myself and onto these random characters. Now’s the time to gamble on the promise of “The Story” even further.
If it fails, at least I have my day job.
If I succeed, then part of that success will be having Better Zombie, or: a comprehensive look at how I became the writer that wrote “The Story.” Who knows when, if, or how long that will take? The more I write, the closer that’ll happen. Because let me continue with another idea: I’ve burned off the notion of polite romanticism that comes with entering a new field. I’m spent a vast majority of my free time writing, which has enabled me to disregard many things I’d otherwise dwell on.
The question I ask is: will this help me toward my goal?
Sure, there are certain frivolities that are nice, and some are even fun. Thrifting was a way for me to see the world and collecting stuff was my way of having mementos of those times. My writing has taken that place. I can capture a moment in an essay, take a photo either directly or indirectly referencing that situation, publish it, and move on. Just as I would any thrift store purchase, which would just collect dust in a random area in my living space, seldom interacted with…
I’ve learned not to be too single-minded in this focus.
Some of the worst people I’ve met are good and decent people, but with a self-fervor that you know as arrogance. They are people so concerned with completing their life’s goal that anything in their way is a hindrance. I have traits of this, but through seeing people like this, I know to limit myself. My writing should, then, be balanced with exploring the world. I’ve been learning to turn off my computer or writing device when the words don’t flow naturally and clearly.
I’m also less romantic to materialism.
Objects still have value and a personal weight to them, but I think through writing about so many different topics not just over the last 70 but 500+ essays, I’ve come to realize that even these words aren’t the focus. Words are the vehicle of the message you’re trying to convey, and it doesn’t matter if you take the bus or drive a sports car to arrive there. Some forms of transportation and some word choices do stand out more. It’s liberating as a writer to focus on more important elements.
Applied to reality, that means eliminating the unnecessary.
I’ve learned to limit the value of the external opinion. By focusing on what I want in life, I don’t invest as much effort into things that don’t make me feel alright, and by trusting myself more, I can decisively go in directions that will lead me to where I want to go. Instead of waiting for life to hand me a snack, I’ll work toward getting a meal. It may mean a harder day, filled with more work, but that’s the route I want to go over the easy life where I have to compromise on many things.
There’s one more thing I’ve been thinking about.
I’ve published over 250,000 words on Better Zombie. A quarter million. What’s fascinating to me about this writing voyage I’ve just begun is that I’ve seen a decisive improvement in my writing, along with my overall happiness, and willingness to get out there more.
I’m starting to realize the dream through unrelenting effort.
|Quotes:  Puppet Master.|
|Sources: My writing experiences.|
|Inspirations: Just a quick essay about my thoughts on writing.|
|Related: Other “Betzom” essays.|
Above: I reflect upon my older essays this way.
Below: My Trello style is becoming intense.
|Written On: June 9th, 11th, July 4th|
|Last Edited: July 4th|