Wednesday, October 16


I'm writing!  I'm writing!  For the first time in months!  Dare I say this means it's acceptable to shove off the to-do list for a few hours?  I vote yes.  Indeed it is.

Tuesday, August 20

Honeeyyyy, I'm Hoooommeee!

You know that moment when you take the first step through the front door into your quiet, recently abandoned home after a trip or vacation?  Everything is still, exactly where you left it, and the sense of familiarity mingles with the hint of disappointment that the "fun" is over, but mostly it's relief at being back where you belong.

Clicking on my "blog" link in my favorites bar, and opening up a new post after so many weeks, I feel like I've just stepped through the front door after a long trip away and now I'm home again.  I plan to stop by and visit everyone's blogs as soon as I can, though I suspect it will be a slow process; I want to re-familiarize myself with this place and all of you.

When I last wrote I had just started working two jobs, and life was on the brink of turning crazy.  The weeks that followed found me working 50-60 hours a week, some weeks with as many as four double-shifts, the worst of which spanned from 7:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m.  Between work, eating, and occasionally sleeping, my writing time dwindled into obscurity.  My promise to myself to continue writing no matter what curled up on the shelf and accepted it's blanket of dust, but NO MORE!  I have recently been promoted to Shift Supervisor at Starbucks (yay! *throws confetti*) and will be spending my last couple of weeks working both jobs before I focus solely on my coffee career, and consequently gain a little bit more free time.  I have a thousand and one projects to work on--in the house, art projects, and about a dozen different writing endeavors I want to get back to or get started on, but I'm recommitting myself to my goal of writing more consistently.

At the end of June my boyfriend and I visited his family in PA and took a day trip to NYC.  There I got to meet up with one of my childhood best friends; a bubbly, fast-talking, classic NYC girl who I hadn't seen in years but reminded me of how some things never change.  Discussing careers she asked me why I hadn't considered writing as a career.  "You love to write--and you're so good at it."  "I'm not that good," I protested, "I don't have any sort of [writing] degree, and I break lots of writing rules all the time..."  She shook her head.  "You don't give yourself enough credit."  I still think she might be a little biased, but she planted the seed, and it made me realize if I ever do want to write in ANY sort of professional sense, that I would have to be more dedicated and focused about writing.  If I could work 50-60 hours a week, surely with a 40 hour per week job I could dedicate at least seven hours (an hour a day) to writing.

So that's it.  I've said it.  You all have heard it.  Now I HAVE to do it.  The end.

Thursday, May 9

How Perfect is Too Perfect?

So, I picked a friend up from the airport yesterday, and while we drove she started telling me about a new series she was reading.  The books sounded right up my alley--supernatural, character self-exploration and discovery, a juicy love triangle--exactly what I love in a book.  But the more she described the main character, the more skeptical I became.  The fantasy world that the author has created involves a large variety of supernatural characters with various talents, powers, and challenges.  But the main character has a little bit of everything (remember, I'm going off of a casual retelling), and I think absorbs powers from the people around her.  Sounds cool, but it also makes her pretty damn powerful.  And she becomes highly sought after in the story for obvious reasons.  And I started to think, Okay, but maybe that makes her TOO perfect.  A main character who has EVERYTHING quickly starts to become boring again because she is so highly unattainable.  (WARNING::I'm about to make a Twilight reference, please forgive me.)  I think so many girls related to Bella because she was presented as flawed and entirely average--but when she becomes a vampire and is SO PERFECT it was sort of like a slap in the face.  She went from being someone the reader thinks she could be friends with (or thinks she could be) to someone entirely unattainable and quite literally "perfect."  (Or so the vampires seem to think).  And that just plain ole irritates the crap out of me.

I have one character from one of my stories that I have struggled with, wondering if I'm making her too powerful--she is an empath of sorts, and involuntarily sees a person's memories/thoughts when she touches them.  But she struggles with this "gift" tremendously, learning to control it, fighting with it as it evolves, etc.  That struggle is how I balance her being powerful--her inability to completely harness that power lessens it and to an extent causes it to become more of a liability than a gift.

And this whole thought process led to thinking more in depth about the characters I create.  When I listed out my characters from the 2-part story I'm working on in my last post, I realized they are quite a damaged cast, yet the people who did respond to that post seemed to respond positively to them.  One of my other stories I'm working on (remember I have several between which I flip flop) also involves two rather damaged characters learning to cope with themselves and each other--in turn helping one another heal.  Most of my characters/storylines echo that same trail--broken people struggling to help each other adapt and survive.  As someone who has struggled with my own internal demons, I think I relate to characters like this in movies that I watch or books that I read, and it leads me to write these characters also.

But it also makes me RATHER intolerant to "perfect" characters--or even characters who have sort of surface flaws rather than internal, deeper wounds.

Do you have a preference for the type of main character in a story?  Does perfection, or unevenly stacked powers/traits/etc. drive you crazy or does it make no difference to you?

Wednesday, April 24

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I'm back!  And I have a confession... I've been avoiding blogging a tiny bit because I knew I needed to write this post, and I feel very undeserving of this award.  I'm still a fairly new blogger (at least THIS blog is rather new), and I have been very sporadic at actually posting.  Even more than that, I feel like I never really say much of consequence--just ramble about writing related thoughts tumbling around in my brain.  So I was not only shocked when Shell Flower of Tangent Shell nominated me for this award.  I'm honored, and I love the little banner--so pretty!

Okay, so here we go.  First, the rules:

  • Display the award logo on your blog post. 
  • Link back to the person who nominated you. 
  • State 7 things about yourself. 
  • Nominate 15 bloggers to the award. 
  • Notify those bloggers of the nomination by linking to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back and you can also go comment on their blog.
Everyone was doing really creative things for the seven list rather than just stuff about themselves so I think I shall follow the trend of doing something writing related and introduce you to seven characters in the story I am working on right now.

  1. Andie :: a sassy, belligerent high school senior whose loud music, dark clothes, and attraction to girls completely contradicts all of her stepfather's conservative beliefs, with her mom caught in between.  She sings, plays her dad's old guitar, and tries to avoid being home as much as possible as long as "Lucifer" is around.  She is haunted by her horrendous sophomore year of high school and the events that happened that year.
  2. Nate :: Andie's slightly more straight-edged best friend who acts in the school plays, tutors in math and science, and since Andie "broke his heart" when they became friends sophomore year and he learned she was gay, nurtures a giant crush on his blonde, dancer, lab partner, Phoebe.  His level-headed nature balances Andie's fiery attitude, keeping her in school and out of (mostly) trouble.
  3. Olivia :: at 21, she is finally legally able to drink--though she has been working in a bar since she was 16, and is a recovering alcoholic.  She and her older brother barely made it through high school living on their own together, and she's still caught up in the cycle of just trying to keep her rent paid and electricity on.  All the while avoiding her abusive ex, who wasn't able to escape the lure of the liquor when she did.
  4. KJ :: when Andie's sophomore year of high school shattered into pieces when the school found out she was dating another girl, a popular football player secretly befriended her--keeping his friends away from her during gym class, and keeping her secrets when she confided in him.  What Andie didn't realize immediately was that she had befriended her best friend's little brother.
  5. Cory :: Olivia's ex-boyfriend who has a love of Whiskey and redheads, and a lack of self-control.  When Liv pulled her life together enough to finally stop drinking, and Cory refused, the drunken fights grew even worse until Olivia ended up in the hospital and kicked Cory out.  He's been trying to fight his way back into her life ever since.
  6. Kacie :: Her daughter had always been Daddy's Little Girl, but when her husband died when Andie was 12, instead of it bringing them closer together, it began a downward spiral.  When she unexpectedly fell in love with Ian a year and a half later and married him, the tenuous relationship with her daughter shattered.  Now, she is caught trying to understand her daughter enough to reconnect while trying to balance the volatile relationship between Andie and Ian.
  7. Ian :: a Southern conservative Christian who made the unusual choice to relocate north when his ex-wife took a job in New York and threatened to take his daughter away.  Now, Natalie splits time between his house and her mom's apartment in the city, while he tries to deal with his stubborn step-daughter who has hated him since the first time they met.
Wow, that's a really dramatic cast when I put it like that... but I love writing how their lives have intertwined, and how they work to heal each other from all of the damage their pasts have wreaked.

And now for my nominations.  I'm not going to do 15, because that's a rather large number comparative to the number of blogs I follow, so instead I am just going to nominate the blogs I draw the most inspiration from.
  • Hart Johnson at Confessions of a Watery Tart -- other than the fact that Hart has been sort of my writing mentor for quite a long while, her blog is insightful, hilarious, and chock full of useful writing related things.
  • Amber T. Smith at Princess of Procrastination -- another person who has encouraged my writing for a long time, but is also laugh out loud (the REAL laughing out loud) funny, and is ESPECIALLY inspiring because her first novel releases NEXT WEEK. *excitement*
  • Pk Hrezo at Pk Hrezo - fearless fiction -- I always enjoy reading her blog, and I'm totally in love with her "good vibe guardian" pixies.  Awesomeness!
  • Elizabeth S. Craig at Mystery Writing is Murder -- absolutely the most helpful, informative, thought-provoking writing blog that I follow.  I also love reading her kind, encouraging replies to all of the people who comment on her posts.
  • Sarah at Fanatic for Fiction -- I know when I was in college it was a huge challenge to dedicate time to writing, or to even find the inspiration to write after writing so many boring papers, so I find it very inspiring that she is writing AND blogging while still going to school.
  • Mel Chelsey at Writings, Musings & Other Such Nonsense -- her blog header's tagline says it all: "If you like dark, sarcastic wit and want to know more about my fantasy writing..." Boom. I'm sold.
  • Stina Lindenblatt -- from whom I always learn so much, and whose posts always inspire me to click past the little blurb on my dashboard to always read the full post.
*claps* I think that's all for now.  I love all of the blogs I follow and read, but these were the ones that instantly came to mind that keep bringing me back to read and learn from some more.

In other news... I've been writing a bit again.  Working 40-55 hours a week has taken a toll on my writing, but I'm scaling back just a little bit on the work, and trying to squeeze in a bit of writing before I fall asleep on top of my laptop every night. ; ]

Monday, March 25

An On the Brain Update

Despite the fact that work has been sapping away my time and energy, I've actually had writing on the brain quite a bit.  First, my boyfriend and I are working on finally putting together our office room.  My dad and I painted it a bright bold teal a couple of months ago, and we are narrowing down our decisions on furniture.  As of now we basically use the room as a laundry drying room--though the closet is also full already, but I am hoping to sort of commandeer this room at least a little bit as my own little inspiration room.  He's letting me hang some of my fairy prints on the wall (he owns the house so final say is his ; ]) and I plan to also hang either a white board or cork board so I can story board like I used to in college.  I know it doesn't exactly work this way, but I am sort of hoping that having that space where I can sit in the quiet by myself, or stare out the window, or listen to music while I write might help me to write a little more.  That maybe having a space to go that is "writing space" will encourage me to carve time out of the busyness.

The second reason I've had writing on the brain is because of a special little project I'm just beginning.  I'm hoping (because it needs to) that it happens like I want it to and wraps up rather quickly, but for now it needs to stay a secret project because nosy kittens like to play in these here parts and I can't have them unravelling the ball of yarn just yet. [/stretchedmetaphor]

I have not yet decided whether I want to participate in April's A-Z challenge.  I attempted it once when I blogged a few years ago and I did not do so well.  I just can never seem to keep up with blogging every day.  But I haven't ruled it out just yet... so maybe.

Last, I want to give a gigantic thanks to Shell Flower for nominating me for the Inspired Blogger Award.  I promise to actually do the Inspired Blogger post ASAP, but alas as it is past midnight and I am actually quite sick right now I shall save it for a time when my brain is more coherent.  At the moment I am finding it difficult to even fathom how my blog could possibly be inspiring, but I'm super duper stoked about it nonetheless. : ]

Thursday, March 7

I have such good balance the floor and I often high-five...

I've never been very good at balance.  Of any kind.  I once had a doctor tell me, after observing me trying to stand on one foot, "No one your age should have that bad of balance."  When I manage to drag myself to yoga class, I am always the least balanced by far.   Maintaining balance in other aspects of my life has also been consistently challenging.  Throughout college I would spend three days straight writing one paper just to have to scramble to get another assignment done that I had "forgotten" while doing the first.  The lists (for the ADHD) helped with this a bit--reminding myself I had many things to attend to--but still certain things often slipped through.

Writing has always been one of the first things to go.  I used to go through periods where I would write all of the time, every day, at least a couple of hours a day.  Then it would be months since the last time I had picked up a pen and notebook.  I started this blog as a challenge to myself to not allow the second to happen when the most recent period of the first had faded.  Since returning to work my writing time has dwindled faster than a birthday candle, and my muse has hidden herself away in protest of my instant neglect.  My brain has still been processing and imagining what I plan to write next, but I haven't actually sat myself down and written anything for days.

Next week I am starting a second job.  Chances are high that between both jobs I will end up working over 40 hours a week.  As aware as I am that many people work this much, as a person with terrible life balance I'm not yet sure how I am going to handle it.  I am fully preparing myself for it to be a disaster.  I am hoping the two jobs is not necessary for too long, but for now, it is.

Last week I celebrated my 24th birthday, and over the weekend lived out a childhood lifelong dream of having a Harry Potter birthday party.  My incredibly attentive & amazing boyfriend got me all kinds of Harry Potter things and even put them in this amazing little trunk--a mini-HP trunk.  But because I (gleefully) immersed myself back into my first writing inspiration for most of the past month preparing for my partay I have been thinking about all of my unfinished fanfics much more.  Now, I know that writing fanfiction is not necessarily productive per say, but writing in general can only strengthen my writing skills, right?  I've been thinking about using my fanfics as sort of writing exercises when I am lacking particular direction or inspiration for my originals.

Questions for those who may have made it this far.... How do you balance life with writing?  Do you ever do writing exercises of any kind?  For fun?  Practice?  Another reason?  I always love to hear your thoughts and advice.

Tuesday, February 19

Listing for Focus

You know the saying, "You would lose your head if it wasn't attached"?  Well, that saying was quite possibly designed for me.  I have often argued that there's some sort of "faulty wiring" in my brain... where it makes certain kinds of connections, it just doesn't quite fire properly.  As a kid, I constantly forgot my school stuff at home--gym shoes, gym clothes, homework assignments, papers printed and left on the printer, textbooks, lunch.  Everything you could possibly need, I forgot at least once.  Throughout middle and high school my mother would run stuff to school with a glare and a scolding, wondering how I could possibly forget such things.  Thankfully, I went to college only an hour and some change away, so when I would come home to visit and leave medicine, glasses, my phone... my parents would again, with a sigh and roll of the eyes meet me halfway to get me my things.

Psych majors are always diagnosing ourselves.  My best friends in college and I even laid around one evening when most of us were currently in Abnormal Psych and assigned ourselves each with a personality disorder--hey, it helped us learn the material!  But I also realized (as I had considered through high school as well, but my mom adamantly disagreed) that I might, in fact, have ADHD.  My mom thought because I wasn't hyperactive, I didn't qualify.  In my junior year of college I took her to a seminar on adult ADHD and throughout the entire thing she would look at me with wide eyes and knowing looks.  I never got officially diagnosed, but I started trying to find ways to cope with it, one of which was to start making lists.  I don't always necessarily follow my lists, but writing things out, detailing what I need to do, or should bring to something, or absolutely have to remember seems to help that faulty part of my brain work more like it should.

I suspect my difficulty focusing on any one thing for long periods of time contributes to my shifting attention in my writing.  I know several people encouraged me to force myself to focus on one story until it's completed, but trying to do so frustrates me when I get bored or stuck.  I think switching between my different worlds will work for me so long as I continue to make progress on each and provided I don't start anything NEW until I complete one of the stories I am working on.

So my writing list for today:
  • Read the beginning of a story I am reading for a friend.  I am considering this as part of my writing list because I need to include more reading into my free-time schedule.  I used to always be reading some book or another, but in the past few years I barely read three books in a year and I think my lack of reading has affected my writing skills.  So incorporating more reading into my life should hopefully give my writing a little bump.
  • Outline the rest of Story#1.  The first maybe third of the book is written, but I think making an outline (like my lists) will help me focus on where the story needs to go to get to the ending that is already partially written.
  • Continue setting up Story#1 in Storyist.  Storyist is an amazing program that I would encourage all Mac-using writers to look into.  I am a very visual person and it allows me to create character profiles and set images for each character, outline using "notecards," and it even gives you tips on how your manuscript should be setup for publication submission.  As a still rather new and young writer, I find the program to be extremely helpful.
  • Finish typing what is already hand-written for Story#1.  I very much prefer to write by hand.  I don't always, but whenever I do hit a block typing, I sometimes switch to pen and paper and that helps.