Chaos in Print

My writing tends to come to me in ebbs and flows. When it’s flowing, I’m on fire! I’ve got a hundred good ideas for columns and I can sit in front of my computer for hours pouring them out. And the ones that I don’t have time to write, well, I jot a quick two-sentence summary in a special scratch pad with the idea that I’ll write them later. The words are screaming to come out of me and if I don’t write them down, I’ll explode. And then, there are the ebbs. Like the past few weeks. I know I have to write something, but I’m playing Bomberman. Or I need to fire up my DVD player and watch Pokémon 3 again. I’m just out of ideas, so I avoid sitting and writing at all costs. It moves from being a joy to a chore. I wonder if this is what writer’s block feels like.

When such occurrences happen, first thing I do is go back to that scratch pad file and start looking over my previous ideas. Perhaps one of them could spark my interest and get me going again. But then, I look those over and I think, no. They are such good ideas. I shouldn’t waste them now, when I’m struggling for an idea. Wait for when things are flowing, because then, they’ll be good! If I venture to write them now, they’ll just turn out to be horrible. The only problem with that is, when I’m flowing, I’m too busy working on my new ideas to work on my old ones. A few ideas in that file have sat there for almost two years now. And there are a couple that are so Japan-specific that I just can’t even try to write them now. Although, that’s not my fault. I would have written them if it weren’t for the catastrophic failure of my laptop that happened almost a year ago in Japan.

No, in situations like this, I just start writing, and more often than not, I start bitching about little things that bug me. And I really don’t like writing about those things. That’s part of the reason why I set up the blog. The blog is there to absorb the blog aspects of my column so the column becomes a creative writing exercise. That’s all fine and dandy, but then I have nothing to write about when I’m blocked.

And I’m easily distracted in these situations, too. Like this, another project I’ve been putting off for far too long. I’ve talked about this in the column and blog many times now. Anyone out there remember T.H.I.N.G.S.? This was a series of games put out by Milton Bradley in the late 1980s. They had little wind-up motors in them and as the little doohickeys moved, you had to complete the task before the wind-up motor stopped. Anyway, I loved them and managed to get all of them. And with a great deal of websites devoted to toys of the 1980s, I can’t help but notice there’s nothing for T.H.I.N.G.S. So I want to create a T.H.I.N.G.S. gallery for the website. The catalyst to finally do this was an e-mail I got about a week ago. Someone surfed into my website, read a musing similar to this about how I should do a T.H.I.N.G.S. gallery, and told me that’d be really cool. So I’ve borrowed a digital camera and I’m hoping I can get things photographed really soon.

And my mind turns to other projects. Here’s another thing I’ve ranted about. This past year at school, one of the most hated classes has been Promotions & Marketing. Since NAIT’s broadcasting program prides itself on being hands-on, the whole course tends to revolve around designing and executing a promotion for NAIT’s on-campus radio station. The promotion I did in first semester had somewhat mild results. And the one I’ve been doing this semester, well, my group members couldn’t find their asses with two hands, a flashlight, and each other’s help. While I have enjoyed the challenges involved in such group dynamics, I’m starting to feel the same way Andrew Stanton felt. Yeah, you’re good people and all, but I want to see what I can do on my own. When Stanton made the proclamation, he went and made Finding Nemo. So, I’m ready to do my own promotion; all by myself.

Thing is, though, the third semester of the program doesn’t have a Promotions & Marketing class, so anything I do will have to come out of my own time. I’m down with that. We’ll go completely independent then. This won’t be for the station, but for Chaos in a Box. I’ve already got a great idea, and it shouldn’t require too much effort. It goes down like this:

1) I enjoy playing “Weird Al” Yankovic songs on my show.
2) Weird Al made a movie: UHF.
3) NAIT has a theatre on campus.

I want to have a screening of UHF in NAIT’s theatre. And if that goes well, a couple weeks later, we’ll do The Transformers: The Movie.

This is simple mainly because of one thing: minimal sponsorship required. What’s always gone sour with the promotions I’ve done so far is the more sponsors you get, the more people you have to keep happy, and the more people you get mad at you if you forget one tiny detail. With this, I’ll only need one sponsor: NAITSA, known to you outsiders as the NAIT Students Association. They manage the theatre, plus they have what everyone at NR92 wants when promotions time comes around: a printer capable of making movie-poster-size posters. All I need is their theatre and a couple of their big-ass posters to hang around campus, and I should be set.

I’m already hammering out a potential timeline and all that. One thing that has also gone wrong with my previous promotions is that we never approach the sponsors early enough. I want to do this around the middle of the semester, right before the Promotions & Marketing classes get to work and start flooding the market. For my screenings of UHF and The Transformers, I’m already looking at October 15 and 29, respectively. That means I want to start talking to NAITSA at the start of September at the latest; as soon as I get back. On that first day back, it would be perfect if I could have my little “welcome back” orientation thingy in the morning, and my meeting with NAITSA begging for the involvement that afternoon.

That’s the rough plan, anyway. We’ve always been told that the big plus to doing our own show on NR92 is that, once we get out into the corporate world of radio, we’ll never be able to do a radio show where we have 100% creative control. Why should that involve just the show? Why not expand it to include things like promotions projects?

This is pretty much the only good idea I have floating around in my brain right now. So, I guess it’s best to write about it and get it down on paper. I’m still blocked, though. I probably have a few weeks before I get anything good on paper yet. That means it’s time to work on other projects. Perhaps that’ll get things flowing again.

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