Tag Archives: writing

Distractions

Lately I feel swallowed up by life. It keeps overwhelming me and there isn’t anything I can really do for it. Well I CAN but sometimes I just need to be grumpy. Don’t we all? I can be mopey and reserve my pity party of one. And sometimes I do. People who once supported me in my endeavors have faded away. And while I find myself sad by it, I have to realize I myself am the only who who can persevere through it. How? I honestly have no clue. The hands I held for security are gone. So I must hold my own. When you are stuck in a rut you may find yourself looking around for someone else to toss in that life jacket. I am slowly learning I have to learn how to swim. If you are lucky enough to find your saving grace you grab hold.

There are soooo many ways people tell you to hold your own. Don’t feel sad. Don’t be so upset. Cheer up. But while you flounder during your path to find yourself there are things you can do to cheer yourself up. For one, I read. Escaping in someone else’s world even for a while can help you push some of that negative crap away.

Take a drive. I find a neighborhood with those great old Victorian homes and I gawk. The architecture, the history…it is all.amazing to me. But don’t gawk too much. You don’t need to explain to the cops you’re just staring at people’s home. Akward.

Binge watch something. Sometimes you need to shut your mind off. Recommendation? My new Netflix fav “Nailed It!”

Arts and crafts. So what if you hot glue your fingers together? Go find your inner Martha and make something amazing. Or something awful. Just make something. Go to the dollar store and let go.

Bubble bath. Bath bombs are amazing. They are fizzy. They smell great. What’s not to love?

Cook. I recently baked banana bread. Grab a subscription (I love Blue Apron) and cook something. It occupies your time and you create a gourmet meal that’s insta worthy

Don’t count on other people to make you happy. It’s not cynicism. Ok maybe a bit. But YOU count too. It is OK to be a little self absorbed once in while especially when you find yourself stretched thin with work, the kids, and all those other responsibilities. Distract yourself in a good way. There is nothing wrong making yourself happy.

Torrent

It has been a while since I wrote poetry. People who don’t suffer from #chronicpain or #endometriosis or anything mental or physical don’t really understand how it feels. I can only express it through words.

“Torrent”

Five hundred 75 Thousand 600 minutes

The writers of the Broadway musical Rent got it right… We often measure our lives with time or crossing days off our calendars which let’s face it…can be extremely satisfying. When I write I often use spoons for amount of words I use. Sometimes writing to me consists of accomplishments I can do during the day due to my chronic illness endometriosis . I find myself struggling through the millions of words that can be rearranged in ways that educate or emotionally touch people . But I think we can all use some sort of gauge to mark the goals in our day and lives. My little stainless steel spoons mark a hundred words. The rubber-tipped chewed up spoons my children have used, I use for every 200 words. It’s easier for me to have a visual on my writing or even dealing tasks during the day. (If there is ever a time you struggle with writing I do recommend finding something to mark a specific amount of words for you pennies, pens, seashells etc), unless this adds extra stress to your situation then by all means don’t worry about it!)

For those who don’t know there are people with chronic illness such as endo, lupus, PCOS, aka “spoonies“. As a child I began a collection of little spoons in addition to tea sets. There was always something about usable tiny tea sets that I loved. Now I have a variety of large mugs I drink my beverages out of like coffee or Moscato. However, I still hold on to my little spoons. They have come in handy for more than just stirring tea in my tiny teacups.

Your day and your life are what you make of it. There are some people who walk around throwing time to the wind all willy-nilly. And good for them, I wish I could live my life that way. But I will remain true to my little spoons, marking the days off my calendar in thick black Sharpie. Perhaps it is a hint of my anxiety makes me mark specific tasks off because, by no means am I organized. I also find the dozens of brightly colored post-its stuck to every possible surface. Whatever helps you remember things or assist you with your own writing is all that matters.

Destress

Ask my husband-I am overly stressed. I mean I am driving him absolutely nuts to where he is scolding me to stop stressing out and it’s stressing me that he stressed. I am trying to do my work and the simplest thing is churning my guts. Usually he can calm me down but lately he can’t.

I get shaken easily. Maybe it is because the last professional writing experience left me doubting myself. The positive aspect I was told was “you are a good writer” so I suppose that is something. I wasn’t taught in a field I openly admitted to having zero experience. And I was told it was absolutely fine I will be guided through any mistakes I make. We all make mistakes, that’s how we learn. And as a self proclaimed nerd I love to learn. It won’t be perfect and I know that. But I want everything to go smoothly because who likes that acid bubbling in your stomach feeling? Yes…you know THAT feeling.

So I am taking my husbands advice and trying to distress. After my post the other day about story cubes I found these beauties:

(Flower and rocks not included). I bought them a looooong time ago but flipping through them I recalled my college days and those great creative writing classes I took. I bought these hoping, like the cubes, I would get some inspiration. Those post it tags say that I did.

  • Halloween
  • Magic
  • Urban legend
  • A poll about people contacting the devil
  • Writing from the POV of a murderer

Bit of theme there. But just flipping through those thick pages I remembered it isn’t about end of the journey. It is how you get there. No one wants to hear “…and I got to the top.” We want to listen to the adventures along the way. So we can write a story about a magician pulling a rabbit from his hat. But how did he become a magician? What kind of rabbit? Where did they first get together? Those rabbits are snarky little things. There is no way she came because she was told. Must have been something in it for her besides hanging around in a sweaty top hat.

I going to thumb through my blocky books trying to recapture that other feeling I get while writing: thrill. Maybe that will override the nervouseness I get while attempting to get it right. Although I mostly write fiction. If I don’t I guess I can just make it up!

PROMPT and Circumstance: Story Cubes

Story prompts…do you use them? Sometimes I like to gaze through a prompt book to give me some ideas. I don’t use the prompt itself but sometimes I will use the subject that the prompt is suggesting. There are many books out there on the market that give us ideas on what to write next. Venturing in Barnes & Noble one day I found these:

Just roll these dice and begin to create. It is also a good way to play a sort of “verbal pictionary” alone or with some friends. As you can see there are a variety of the story cubes and you can either use them separately or mix them together. Tomorrow is Friday night and what better way to celebrate then to make a bowl of popcorn and curl up with your favorite journal and pen and create away. This is also a great tool for you teachers out there. We know how much kids love working in groups 😐 Have them toss these down and together make up a fantastic story. Happy rolling!🎲🎲

How Many Notes Is Too Many?

I love researching things. When it comes to my writing or my freelancing work, I am always scribbling away in my notebook. To be honest I don’t even think I need to do as much work as I do but it comforts me. I always right a hard copy handwritten because anyone with a computer knows that at any moment that stupid thing could crash. You spend the next few moments with your heart in your stomach staring at the blank screen hoping something comes back on. My current laptop freezes and crashes constantly but due to lack of funds I cannot afford even the cheapest of models to replace the one I have. When I work on anything I do whether it’s a novel or currently my work in freelancing, I jot it in a notebook first. If for some reason my computer isn’t playing nicely I can at least take my notes and go to the library or a relative when I can and finish it. I have already had to wait for my computer to get up and run right to finish 2 articles. And long ago I lost my entire novel I wrote when I was in high school. It wasn’t very good but it was my first and I completed it so I was proud. When I lost it I stopped writing all together for months. I had spent every waking moment on that book and to know there was never chance of ever getting it back was devastating. I mourned over it. It still haunts me.

So how much is too much (research)? Is there such a thing? I am pretty sure I don’t need to fill up five or six college-ruled pieces of paper with one article I am writing, but that’s what I do to calm me about a deadline approaching. I think you need to decide if it is all necessary. If you are writing a historical fiction novel I believe a good amount of real life elements and events are crucial. It does not hurt to dive into learning about any subject. But if you can’t see the top of your desk due to all the History books you have for research then maybe dial it back a little. At least enough so you have room to work.

Having good websites at your fingertips in addition to those books is always a plus. Look for sites that have .edu .org .gov because even if it sounds offical is may just be some kid in their basement making crap up. You can also “sleuth it up” yourself and talk to people in that field by emailing professors at universities, or for example if you need medical information seeing if a doctor who specializes in what you were writing about in an email, facetime, call you etc . Make sure to site everything and give credit where it is due.

Sometimes I have to reel myself in. I could lose myself in a library for days or go broke at the book store getting research items..and let us not forget all those post it tags, highlighters and multicolored paperclips. Unless you like it simple, then get the standard silver ones and plain Bic pens. We know it is not what you write with but who does the writing.

Happy research!

Finding Your Muse

The short definition of muse is simple: a source of inspiration. When I personally think of a muse I think of a person who inspires me directly (your muse can come from anything including yourself). When I started to date my (now)husband my writing exploded. It was in a bit of a hiatus at that point. But we had a fast paced and passionate “love at first sight” relationship. It was hot and heavy, filled with desperate kissing, touching, anguish and obsession, nights of lusting after each other and hours of phone calls or texting. But then there were some nights that were painfully long after a terrible argument and consumed us with heartache. Now married with three kids there are nights that we both end up snoring on the couch watching “Suits”. But we are also lucky to still have those heated moments and nights that we had when we first met. There were an incredible amount of triumphs and failures we endured to get to this moment we are in now. We fell more times than we rose, but it was this end result we are most proud of. To be cliche, we walked through the fires of hell with each other. And our marriage and friendship is better for it. Needless to say, I have a plethora of steamy topics to indulge in. But that is where, for me, my poetry and torent love story muse is great for. When I am looking for that spark I need for one of my horror stories or manuscripts I need something different ( unless somebody leaves dirty dishes in the sink while the dishwasher is also dirty. Then my personal muse works both ways 😉)

As a writer we need to dig deep to get the story within. No matter the genre we leave pieces of ourselves in everything we write. Finding the right inspiration is more than just conquering a bad case of writer’s block. This is where is begins. You start toying with an idea, perhaps jot some things down. Then what? How do we find that motivating force to keep going?

Let’s Write A Novel!

Yes, the novel. So many people dream of writing the great infamous the next Hemmingway or Fitzgerald. If you haven’t heard of Nanowrimo or National Novel Writing Month (in November) now is the time to challenge yourself. Try to write a 50,000 word novel by 11:59pm November 30th. If you can’t don’t beat yourself up. I was inspired in 2012 by my love of “The Walking Dead” t.v. show and graphic novel to try a zombie book of my own. What the hell, right? I love genetics so I threw some of that in there with the usual people chomping and bloody mess that comes with an apocalypse. I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could write a novel or part of one in a month. I got to about 50,000 words Nov 30th with no end in sight. I would occationally pick it up but nothing substantial came. So it sits unfinished with no title with so many others. In this case my muse was the countless books and googling all different types of zombie books. I know where I could go with this book. I don’t know if I will any time soon. But it was a fun challenge and out came a character I love.

I have another book I was writing where the i inspiration came from a person I knew from years ago. The characters have a base in real situations and the feelings I had when they occured. The novel is fiction but the uncomfortable memories and feelings were real. My main character experienced them in a different setting but she she lived in the very awkward position as I did once. I dig into my past so my protagonist could show the reader in a realistic point of view what was going on.

I don’t think we necessarily need a specific person as our “muse”. It’s romantic to think there is someone out there who influenced our lifes work. We all love a good “based on true events” tagline. When people ask us where do we find our inspiration, a good story is always better than “uh…it just came to me while eating my bowl of soup at the diner”. I love a good bowl of soup 🥘. But listening to the story of an artist like Picasso find his muse or a writer having a tawdry love affair is far more interesting. It can help hear about it and draw inspiration from it. Can their muse be our muse?

The wonderful thing is that creative spark can come from anywhere anytime. But that can also be a downfall when we are staring at a blank page. As writers we have the ability to generate a world people want to escape in. Finding an idea which excites us enough to run with can be hard. But when you have it you will know; grab it and make it explode on the page before you.

Who or what is your muse? I would love to know. Reach out and share what inspires you!