Rebirth of Raijori (again)

It had to happen.

Otherwise my sanity would find another home.

I’ll try to make it short but let’s start from the beginning.

Raijori.com is only one year old. It was made with only one purpose in mind. To share three things that ate me alive from the inside for at least ten years. No matter how much personal work I did I couldn’t get rid of them. Writing them without pulling any punches was challenging. That’s why I put them under the word therapy. That page doesn’t exist on the website anymore. You can still access it, though.

Sure, I could have published them somewhere else. Like on already established blogging platform. That idea never felt right. So I required my own internet space. My second attempt to have my own website. First one was a cosmic scale disaster.

So I built it with a concept that felt right at that moment. Personal development website with fictional stories. Basically I wanted to write articles about personal development since I had a tiny eight year experience. Nowadays of course it’s over-saturated with personal development “gurus”.

That’s why I had a great idea.

Hey, I have a messy fictional universe in my head but I’m too lame to share it. I know. I’ll simply practice writing random stories and then someday I’ll reveal my universe with a bang. It will also make my website to stand out. Hoho, such a brilliant idea. You come for serious personal development articles and there in the behind are super duper awesome short stories. With this in mind I designed the website. I’m not a professional web designer. I just like to learn and do things myself. It’s also fun.

I designed it. Published my Therapy stories and tried to fulfill my amazing idea. It worked well for a while. A very short while. It’s freaking weird how my perception changed when I published these stories. It really was a therapy. I felt so much lighter. And no one even read it yet. Later after some noobish marketing attempts few people found these articles. To be honest I had no idea what to expect. I just hoped that if more people will read it I’ll feel better. Even without others reading these stories effects kicked in. Intention and execution. That’s what counts. By writing and publishing them I pushed these feelings and emotions out of myself. That created emptiness that had to filled again.

That’s where my perception changed. This website had done it’s job. It already felt old. Imagine, you slaved for four months to build it. You launch it happy. And it serves it’s purpose after two months. Infant website aged in two months. It didn’t even learned to walk. I dragged it for the rest of the year. One story here. One article there. Played around with ideas. All that while thinking about redesign. About it’s real purpose. There was an itch in me that knew a much different path for this website. Too bad I didn’t knew it. I had to learn and mature more. While I was doing that, raijori.com became stale. You might say, hibernating.

Then it clicked. Turn it upside down. Focus on stories not personal development. It was nudge in the right direction that was missing a lot of puzzle pieces.

There is something I’m starting to believe in more and more. Laser-focused attention/concentration. When you constantly focus on something, you will start to see a solution to a problem. It’s like everything falls in their places. Creates understanding of the problem you are focusing on. In a way by focusing on a single point you are giving Universe a signal that this must be resolved. And it will happily provide you with solution. Sometimes it takes longer, sometimes solution comes quite fast.

With website it took a while. So many directions to choose from. None of them were right. For those directions which felt right I had to grow up. Can a grown up still grow up? You bet. Even at 120 I’ll be a child who knows nothing.

Enter my fictional Universe

With a deep self-inquiry. It’s fear. Dumb perfectionism which comes from nowhere. Probably not true. If I would ask myself, answer would come right away. I totally had to change how I think about worldbuilding. In a most logical way worldbuilding is something that lives in a background. Behind stories. So I thought that before I tell stories I must build a completed world. It’s a twisted thinking I have a hard time to put in words. Along the lines where I want to tell stories but the world is incomplete. I can’t share this world because it’s incomplete. I can’t share it because people will steal my idea. Procrastination. Insecurities. All kinds of bullshit like that. Conclusion is this. With that kind of thinking, I, on my deathbed will still have a half-assed creation that has no end. On top of that I feared telling others that I’m building a universe. See, I’m building a fictional universe, blablabla. Not hard. I know, it’s a partial fear of responsibility. Also a fear of actual success. It’s a thing I must deal with. What else? Accountability. If I tell it to the world then it takes a physical form. Which means I need to see it through. Where is a problem, since I’m thinking about it every day.

Anyway. My fictional universe is incomplete. Like really incomplete. I acknowledge it. You know it too now. I have big plans, ideas that come in waves. If I don’t talk about it and if I don’t act then why the hell I am doing it. Bit by bit new perspective gears began to turn. I asked questions. I answered them. A time came when I knew in which direction I must go. In a way twitter played a role too. Writing stories there helped to boost my confidence in myself. I’m far from great but let the lighting strike me twice if I am not capable of writing stories. No lighting? Thought so.

With new gears in action that idea about a website focused on stories became really loud. Not just any stories. A special breed of stories placed in my universe. I should probably say that I exercised this idea from the very beginning. It was just super messy. That why in the midst of redesign I also reworked the origin and rules of my universe. Plus origin of Dragon People (that’s how I call humanoids that live on Dragon Planet. Yeah, I’m not original. That’s a placeholder anyway.) Their first origin involved humans and DNA fusion. Pretty complicated. Now humans are not involved. They are nowhere close. That creates their origin easy and straightforward. Contained on their own planet. Oh yeah, I had to remake planet too. Actually lots of things happened. Sorry. My point is, where before I wanted to tell stories all over the universe except Dragon Planet, now focus will be on dragon people. They are the main reason why this universe exists in the first place. It really makes no sense to hide them. It made sense before though. I’ll tell stories about everyone else while secretly building their world. Then with a big bang I’ll reveal them as something extraordinary. I would do that in my old age most likely. This is why I also stagnated with story writing. There was a pressure where I had to write stories in messy worlds when in reality I wanted to work on dragon people. But they were a secret…shhh. Pretty much I wanted to work on six worlds simultaneously. In a very wrong way. Damn, it’s actually awesome to be able to talk about these things.

So, focus on this website became quite narrow. I will publish stories that take place only on Dragon Planet. Nowhere else. That doesn’t mean I don’t intend to work on the other worlds. I will but that will be secret…shhh. Ok, not so secretive probably. What happens outside Dragon Planet you will learn from dragon people perspective. Stories on dragon planet about dragon people. Check.

Personal development?

It’s a thing that will never go away. Blog part of the website was also a real thing. I played around with an idea to eliminate it. Nop, it stays. Where else I’ll be able to ramble about things. One thing I embraced was to put blog as far in background as I could. It’s not a focus on the website. Blog is more like a bonus. I don’t even know what I will write there. Most likely whatever I want. Hidden personal development part of the website. Ha. I might put poems in there that doesn’t belong to Dragon world. Because Gutenberg blocks has a block where I can write poetry and it doesn’t mess with my current paragraph formatting.

Another new feeling I had walking in this new direction was that previous design was bland. No pictures. I like simplicity. No pictures worked for previous design. For this not so much. So I learned more about inkscape (a free vector program). “Stole” front page design from magic the gathering website. Wanted to steal more but my coding skill goes only that far. Seeing that I can actually work with inkscape I revisited an old idea about having pictures for stories. Not any pictures. Only my own. Within stories it was still a no, but as a cover image it could work. That’s where an idea about cards surfaced. I haven’t played MTG. When I was younger I played Yu-Gi-Oh. Card games are fun. This was a fun idea. I tried different combinations with images and text. Only images. There was a cool idea I saw where you hover an image and text appears. I couldn’t pull it off, nop. Gaming cards was the best I could do. At that time I also developed ideas how to show to which faction (nation?) stories belong. There are four. About universe page has more info. There was also an idea about phases how I could develop my world. Blame Marvel for that. To give myself permission to mess around and fail as many times I want pre-phase was born. Therefore I created symbols to put on cards. Unintentionally all symbols worked together really good. Voila, main image for the front page.

Color scheme is a pain in the ass. I’m sorry but it is. In previous design it was more bluish with red accents. I spent one or two weeks last time to find colors I liked. This time I totally didn’t want to do that. My favorite colors are Black, Red, Blue. Last time I was afraid of using too much black and red. Too dark would scare people away or something like that. This time I said, screw it. Black and red are the dominant ones. At least on the front page. It’s like a gate. If you don’t like it. Not my problem. Inside is less dark. It’s intentional. Sooo, I basically kept previous colors just turned red and black up a notch. Colors for story cards most likely will change the most because I’ll play around with them at some point.

Email list.

It’s a thing. I could’ve just put opt-in and be done with it. Good thing I read a lot. For the old website I made one ebook from Instagram stories (I wrote them for inktober) as an incentive for subscribing. This time I had hundreds of twitter stories. Collection of them created two volumes. Both of them double the size of that puny first ebook. Not bad. Cover for the first one sucked hard. I had no idea what I will create for these two new books. I can hear you say, “just go to fiverr and get a cover for five dollars.” Yes, but where is fun in that. Title choosing was fun too. Had to ask for help on twitter. It worked. I don’t like to ask for help. I’ll leave it here because I need work on that. Covers I made in inkscape. Random shapes. Random designs. Then I drew one idea on a paper Remade it in inkscape. Showed it on twitter. It sucked bad on the next day. I unlocked better ideas (borrowed from Legendary Moebius). It’s so easy to make his color schemes with gradients. I was shocked. Showed on twitter again. Got some feedback. Change some colors. Just like that it was done. Plus this gradient skill will allow me to make better story cards. I also remade first ebook’s cover to match the new ones.

Then I went one step further and learned how to make 3D books in Gimp (free photoshop-like program). At that time I was so sure I need a landing page. And a landing page needs a 3D book mockup.

Landing page was the next one. Tried to keep it simple. All information in one a glance without scrolling down. Copy was tricky. I had to work with very small place. That meant very short copy that explains what are these books. What are the benefits. I tried to be serious. I broke and went the fun way. I don’t care. I couldn’t even write a serious call to action. I dismissed email sacrificing twice. Nothing else worked. And let’s keep it real. These ebooks everyone is marketing as free. They are not free. It’s a barter. Your email for ebook. That Is Not Free.

Email sacrificing it was. Of course I had to go deeper. It’s one of my characteristics to go as deep as I can with things I enjoy (before I’m distracted by something else). Subscription process goes through three pages and two emails. To make it less bland I expanded email sacrificing to summoning. You sacrifice your email to summon two ebooks. It’s a little two-button-interactive mini story. Starting with landing page or in-website opt-in continuing through emails. It continues with unsubscribing too. I hope it’s fun because it was fun to make it.

A little thing about website opt-in. Pop ups are annoying. You won’t see them on my website. Another thing. I’m doing stuff upside down. Most websites are littered with opt-ins. It’s the first thing you’ll see when visiting them. Lists are important. I get it. I don’t care (once again). When you visit my website, I want you to read my stories. That’s the first thing you’ll see on the front page. I don’t want for you to subscribe just because. Subscribe only if you are enjoying my stories or other ramblings or you are interested in my fictional universe. I hope it’s clear on the website. Opt-ins are only at the end of stories and articles and on few specific pages. Nowhere else. I invite you to subscribe only if my writing makes sense to you.

At some point I had to finish it. I could probably tinker with the website forever. Little thing here and there. More or less it fits how I imagined it. It’s far from perfect but it’s functional. Looked and worked good on mobile (mine at least). On laptop it also looked fine. All I needed was a new content. Some of it I already wrote before. About universe page, about website page, new about me page, for example.

Talking about “about” me pages. Why writing it in a third person is considered more professional? It’s cold and creates a distance. In short, I read how to write professional about page. I ignored 90% and wrote my non-professional about page.

All of my content is old, very old. To open website again I had to write something new and fresh. I gave myself week for that. With this new mindset and perspective it was a breeze. It only took two weeks.

Looking back it’s quite a journey. Website is truly upside down. Personal growth tremendous. And this was only a preparation for the real work.

Now that I have switched from “not talking about my fictional universe” to “talking about my fictional universe”, it most definitely will change many things around and inside me.

This has been brewing in my mind all this year. I’ve been rethinking/overthinking why do I live, what I want to do, why I do things I do? It always came back to “build the fucking universe”. I’m most likely repeating myself through these posts over and over again. But still. Everything I do. Everything I want to do. Revolves around enriching my storytelling skills and my fictional universe. There is no other way to see it from my perspective. I also understand that this is only the first step. To acknowledge and embrace my needs and wants. To acknowledge and embrace everything I am. To not judge myself and walk my own path.

What will happen if I’ll consciously take the first step with focused intention and say out loud that I will create a successful fictional universe where I will tell stories at my best capability and beyond?

I have no idea. But it will be awesome.

A penny for your thoughts