Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fairy Tail and My Creative Journey

One of the most difficult things I've found in the creative process is digging out of a slump. It's often the case of "oh I can just a little here and a little there" and be just fine, eventually you'll strike home and the ship will be righted. Except, that's not true. At all. The creative drive is different for everyone and in my case it'd just been something that came to me naturally. From elementary school through high school I wrote and wrote and wrote to varying degrees of success. Sometimes it wasn't complete stories, it would just be long summaries. Sometimes it was completely rewriting something that'd taken me years. But it was fine, because there was a flow. And then, all of a sudden, there wasn't. The well ran dry. And then I found Fairy Tail, and haven't really looked back since.
I should put a little context. It wasn't like I saw Fairy Tail on Netflix and thought "oh wow I should something just like that!" because, in all honesty, I haven't been "inspired" by Fairy Tail so much as the series has inspired me, and somehow ignited a flame within me to push forward as a creator.

Before I watched Fairy Tail I had dozens of shows that inspired me and that fed me knew thoughts and ideas to incorporate into whatever I was creating. Somewhere along the way, I think during my first couple years of college, though, that ran dry. There are myriad factors as to why that happened:

Maybe it was because all my schoolwork distracted me. Maybe I just felt that the writing I was doing was inconsequential to the real life I wanted to have. Maybe I just got bored of it having experienced a brand new environment--college--something I'd never seen before. I can't say for sure, but all of a sudden, it just stopped. I couldn't create anything anymore, I couldn't put word to paper. Not that I thought I was finished as a creator, but I just lost that edge.

Think of it like Rocky III. He's been fighting all his life and then something happens (for me, it wasn't the death of a loved one, but I'm just rolling with the metaphor) and he stops. He can't do it anymore, and he can't seem to get it back. Now while in Rocky III that came in the form of Adrian giving him an inspirational speech on the beach, for me that came on a couch watching Fairy Tail as a band of misfit wizards went on harrowing adventures across a kingdom named Fiore.

That was what I needed.

Keep in mind that for a while, everything in television and film was "dark and edgy" and thank GOD we're finally getting over that phase. It was hard to look anywhere and not see something dower or gloomy, without a sense of fun. I liked to write stories that were, while full of action and had some sense of gloom and doom about them, were fun. They were silly, they were goofy.

My biggest early inspirations for wanting to tell stories were, quite strangely, Lord of the Rings and Dragon Ball Z. I wanted to make a world like Tolkein's, something big and large and lived in. As if what we were seeing was just a blip in the history of the entire world. But as I found my niche, I found that I liked writing action, and what series does epic action better than Dragon Ball Z? Eventually, though, as I matured, I found that I wanted to write less action and write stories that mattered, that were less about characters throwing fists and powering up.

But I couldn't. I tried but it didn't feel write. Something was missing. Humanity was missing. Whatever I created felt hollow, and I couldn't tell until I finally got around to watching Fairy Tail and I saw Natsu, Lucy, Gray, Erza, Happy, Wendy, Carla and all the others be filled with such passion and sense of adventure and how much fun it was to watch them that I realized that missing ingredient.

And suddenly, I was filled with new ideas. I got back to writing, I was able to go back to a well teeming with water and I didn't have to reach for anything. I was having fun, and I was coming up with new ideas and scenes every single day while I was at school.

Fairy Tail isn't really something you want to base a story off of. It's pretty shallow in terms of plot and all that. But it's that feeling you get when watching something that just opens up a brand new world that inspired me to be better than someone who couldn't write their way off a piece of paper.

From then on I've always attributed Fairy Tail to a creative renaissance of sorts for me, personally. I attribute a lot of who I am today to what that series brought to me. Perhaps in another world there was another series that hooked me and I'm celebrating it as much as I am this one, but that's not the world we live in. I understand the hate that this series gets, I understand how people ridicule it and think it's a piece of garbage. I'm not blind, I see the glaring flaws.

But it bothers me to no end when someone says there's nothing good in this piece of fiction, because it is inspiring and it is imaginative. The final chapter left such an impact on me because it's the end of the story that got me going again, and now it feels like I don't have a crutch to fall on if I stumble again. I don't have a new part of the story to look forward to, but that's okay. I have the memories of how much joy the series brought me to push me onward.

Everyone has their creative roadblock. For some it lasts only a few days, and for others like myself, it can last for months, and at times it feels impossible to climb out of. But there is an end to it, there's no reason to give up on the dreams you've held onto for so long. If I've learned anything in the years I've been reading and watching Fairy Tail is that the most difficult thing to do in the world is the thing you want to do most. Stick to your guns and don't stop. The only thing keeping that block in place is yourself, and you just need to find whatever method there is to remove it and forge onward.

Take care of yourself, and I look forward to seeing what we can all do as creators of the future.

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