What Fuels the Muse?

Click on image for link to the DIY MFA Book!

 

A thought-provoking question!  For Gabriela Pereira, author of the DIY MFA Book, she doesn’t believe in waiting on your muse to inspire your writing.

“I firmly believe that creativity isn’t something random that may or may not happen to us. I don’t believe in an uncooperative muse. Instead, I believe inspiration is something we make happen. Yes, there is something magical about creativity, but it’s also something we can harness, channel, even manipulate.”

So, how do I usually jump-start my muse whenever I need her?

*Music

*Walking/Exercise

*Daydreaming

Sometimes, I even do all three at once!  If I’m looking for a particular mood, I’ll select the type of music (via You Tube or Pandora) that fits the bill.  When I’m “blocked,” music or some form of exercise almost always work for me.  Other times if none of the above are successful, I’d take a short break and binge-watch a TV show in the genre I’m attempting to write.

What about you?  What fuels your creativity?

 

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How I Became a Writer

 

***Would you like to join in this virtual Book Club?  Click here.

 

Becoming a writer (for me) didn’t happen overnight; but, the seeds were planted at an early age.  As a young kid, I felt different, acted different, and was treated different.  Why? Because of my inability to communicate with the world around me.  In fact, my Kindergarten teacher approached my parents to have me pulled from school as I was deemed as “unteachable.”

This all occurred during the mid-1970s in rural upstate New York.  My parents had just spent two years taking me to various specialists all across the state as well as Vermont; but, no one could definitively find what was wrong with me.  In the end, they told my parents that I had behavioral issues which should be directed at a psychiatrist.

Faced with one school unable to teach me, they decided to have an audiologist, Aubrey, to check me out as a second opinion.  She discovered that I had moderate hearing loss in both ears (over 65% loss) due to nerve damage.

After being fitted with hearing aids, I spent the next two years attending speech therapy in an effort to get me “caught up” as I was quite behind in speech development.   School was still a challenge not just in learning; but with having friends.  As a loner with maybe one or two good friends, I spent much of my free time with imaginary friends and creating various scenarios and settings for myself.   The only thing these tend to get me in trouble; one time it actually landed me in the ER!

In 5th grade, a classmate challenged a bunch of us to a contest to see who could write the scariest story.  I concocted one about a girl going into an old house and discovering a decapitated head in a fridge.   Everyone seemed truly unnerved by that one.  🙂

Just watching everyone’s reaction to my story made me feel good about myself for once; like I was actually good at something.  I also found that writing enabled me to bring the stuff I had in my head to life on a piece of paper.  Not to mention that it was much safer!

This one experience planted the seed within me to become the writer I am today.

 

What about you?  How did you become a writer?

 

Rom-Com Genre: Is It Dead? (Poll)

#IWSG Best Ways To Start a First Draft?

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

This month’s question: What steps have you taken to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

 

For the past few years I’ve managed to keep a schedule of some kind for blogging.  This year, since I desire to convert a screenplay into a novel, I feel I need to set up a schedule for that as well.  Just figuring out the how part.

I joined a Facebook group, Finish Your Novel, a project really that’s dedicated to doing just that-finishing a novel.  It’s my hope that this group will help keep me accountable and moving forward throughout the year with my book.   I’ve been a writer for a number of years with short works published;  I’m ready to take the next leap to being a published author.

I think about setting aside three days each week to devote solely to writing the first draft.  Will probably do it chapter by chapter.  The challenge will be how to best incorporate the flash-back scenes since they will take place throughout the novel.  Also to keep me going forward, I plan to set a daily (or maybe a weekly one instead) word count goal that I can track via Word as well as a spreadsheet.

Now, the next question is–should I start by planning out the book (character development, outlining the story line/subplots, etc.) or just jump right in and start rewriting the story from the screenplay?

Hmm…

 

 

Another Year Is Ending

 

In review…

Now that’s Christmas is over it’s time to focus on the New Year.   2017 was a fairly good year overall both personally and as a writer.

I saw a few of my writings published:

The Hungry Chimera Literary Journal (two poems)

Doll Hospital Journal  (essay)

Motionpoems, Inc (film credit/interviewed both poet & film-maker)

Piker Press (poem)

 

I took on a role as a moderator (in a team of four) for Tuesday Serial; as well as a moderator for the weekly THURSDAY TALK SHOP over at Facebook with We PAW Bloggers (of which I plan to step down to a lesser role for the coming year).  I’ve created and am trying to grow (hopefully to add a few volunteers to help) Serial Fiction Digest (Twitter, Facebook, blog).

Looking ahead…

2018 is looking to be a year of crossroads for me as a writer.  I plan to work on a romance (clean) novel as well as continue to plan out another.  In the past, I’ve focused mainly on flash fiction, poetry and serial fiction.  I will continue with these forms, but gradually shifting some of my attention/time to writing a book-length story.  My goal is to be not just a writer, but an author.

I will be taking on a role as a citizen journalist for The Crossover Alliance (a Christian publishing company) of which I am very excited about.

 

What about you?  How was 2017 for you as a writer?  Have any specific goals for the new year?

(for each comment, I will stop by and read your most recent blog post! 🙂 )

 

Writing: Would You Do Things Differently If You Could Go Back In Time?

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

 

This month IWSG question is: if you could backtrack and do things differently as a writer, would you? 

 

Wow, this is a loaded question.  One I have pondered on and wondered about from time to time.  Who hasn’t?  Especially now that I’m in my mid (ish) 40s, this question keeps popping up in my mind.

My first inclination is to say “Yes!”

I’d have attended SUNY Potsdam (only) majoring in Journalism instead of bouncing around at least six different colleges and ending up with a degree in Physical Education (which I barely used).

As a journalist, I would have traveled the world.  In this reality, I’ve only visited one other country…Canada.

Perhaps I’d even started my own magazine or newspaper company.  Or, maybe even branched off into the publishing industry and became an editor or something.

And just perhaps I’d ended up living in Boston (one of my fave cities) where I’d pen my first and break-through novel that landed me on the New York Times’ Bestselling List.

If I’d done all the above, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

As a writer.  As a poet.

A mother.

A wife.

Living on a small farmstead in eastern North Dakota of all places 🙂  Writing full-time at home.

I’m richly blessed.  I don’t think I would give this life up to relive it as a different person.  It’s nice to dream about it, but that’s it, just a dream.

I like this reality better.

What about you?  If you had the opportunity to go back and do anything differently as a writer, would you do it?

 

 

 

Writing: Short Story Writer = Better Novelist?

 

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The next chapter for the interactive story is coming soon!

 

I’m currently working on the next chapter, and hope to have it LIVE in the next few days!

 

Thankful Tuesday

 

Hard to believe that it’s nearly Thanksgiving (US).  Where has the year gone?  Since I may go “quiet” here for the next few days, I’d like to list some of the things I’m thankful for.

First, the usual:

*Family

*Faith

*Friends/Community

Without any of these, I would not be where I am today.

 

Next, the more contemplative ones 🙂

  1. I am so grateful to be living in the rural country now instead of the city.  Here, my anxiety level has dropped dramatically, and I feel that my life has been more enriched and healthier.  I love seeing my son reveling in the freedom to play outside and not worry about various dangers.
  2. Here I can immerse myself in nature and the seasons which all fertilize my imagination, and allow me to create more abundantly.  No booming rap music next door.  No noisy traffic outside our front door.  No fighting neighbors over POA regulations.  Just peace and quiet.

Also…

 

My struggles fuel my writing.   They enable me to be a more compassionate and empathetic person.  To be more thoughtful of others.  They also help in creating more realistic characters.

In other words,

 


 

The next chapter of the interactive story will post on Friday!

December 1st!

Here are the two previous chapters:

A Snowy Reunion  (chapter one)
A Catch-Up Affair  (chapter two)

 

Thursday Thoughts: On Writing Life

 

Back when I worked full-time in the Banking industry, I used to complain how I never had enough time to write.  I’d get up each weekday morning by 4am to get myself ready first, and then get hubby and son up before hitting the road by 5:45am for over an hour’s drive (in 35 miles) into downtown Raleigh.  I’d work 7am till 6pm (most days).  By the time dinner and homework are done, it’s easily 9pm and by that point, I’m ready to crawl in bed.   Weekends were usually reserved for catch-ups, house chores, and errands.  I’d managed maybe an hour of writing time each week.

Now?

With being “retired’ from the work force (am only 46) due to disabilities, I have loads of free time on my hands.   I’ve discovered, though, I waste a lot of time doing pretty much “nothing.”

Nothing being spending way too much time on social media, and watching internet-stream tv shows and movies.  Well, these were what I was doing for the past year and a half before depression hit me hard.

Or, perhaps mid-life crisis?

I found myself looking back, and wondering what did I have to show for being here on this world?  I really didn’t find a career I enjoyed (long story) so ended up in the Banking industry for the last 15 years of my working life basically as a glorified paper-shuffler.

Family put aside, I had nothing tangible.

I wanted more.  I desired to leave a legacy.

At this point, I’ve published several short stories, essays, and poems; but 99.9% are online magazines.

I now want more.

Something solid, concrete.  Something I can hold in my hands.  And smell.

This means I need to get serious, and smart with my time management.  I figure a way to start doing that is by tracking every word I write.

Daily.

This means less time with social media and other forms of entertainment.

I value my writing gift, and feel I have at least one book within me, enough so that I need to start valuing my time more than I’ve done in the past.

So, this is where I’m at in my writing life.  At a cross-road, and I’ve decided on the path to take.  Now, let’s see where it takes me.

Got to love adventures, eh?  🙂

What about you?  Where are you at in your writing life?  Are you happy with it?  If not, what changes could you make?

 

Books and Reading and Reviews (Looking for Books to Read!)

 

I’m looking for one-three (clean) Romance books to read between now and January, and am open for suggestions!  I’d prefer it to be an ebook, but will take print versions as well.  If you’re an author of such book, please let me know a bit about your book’s premise to help me decide.   Whichever book(s) I decide to read, I plan to post a review on this blog by the end of January (if not, sooner).

You can let me know either via the comment section below, or through the Contact form.

🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Friday Thoughts About NaNoWriMo

“But I am learning that perfection isn’t what matters.  In fact, it’s the very thing that can destroy you if you let it.” -Emily Giffin

 

“If a story is in you, it has got to come out.” -William Faulkner

 

 

There’s currently an open debate about NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month).  Click on the image below to read about it:

 

There’s one post live discussing and debating about NaNoWriMo by Katherine Karch!

Want to add your opinion to this debate?  Follow the instruction above and we look forward to reading about it!

 

Difficult Writing Process (Poll Results)

 

The other day I posted a poll (both here and on Twitter) asking which part of the writing process was the most difficult.

Here are the results.

Twitter:

Marketing 51%

Rev/Edit 21%

Writing the story 21%

Coming up w/ idea 7%

 

Blog:

Marketing 56%

Rev/Edit 22%

Coming up w/ idea 11%

Writing the story 11%

Overwhelmingly, marketing seems to be the most difficult for writers.  The reasons?  There could be many.

One could be that the writer is an introvert, and finds the social media intimidating.  And speaking of social media, there are thousands and thousands of writers and authors on them trying to get their books and stories out in the world.  With all that noise, how does one writer or author find a way to stand out and be noticed?

What’s even more frustrating is that it doesn’t matter if you’re traditional or self-published, you’re still expected to do most of the marketing.

How does one even start?

Here’s an article I found that offered some insights: Marketing Your Books

 

According to these results, coming up with a story idea doesn’t seems to be that big of an issue for most writers.  I suppose what could be problematic is choosing which idea to use.  Which one will readers want to read?  Which one will I want to write a book-length manuscript, and not get bored half-way through?

For me personally, at this point in my writing career, the editing/revision is the most difficult part.  It’s like trying to get a donkey to do something it really doesn’t want to do.  Yeah, I can be that kind of a donkey.

Next!

Life Imitating Art (or is it the other way?)

Click on image for original source

 

The other day I posted a poll that asked a question on whether you believed life imitated art, or art imitated life.   If you like to voice your opinion, here’s the poll.

 

Oscar Wilde believed that-

“Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.”

But, I believe Fyodor Dostoevsky hit closer to the truth –

“At first, art imitates life. Then life will imitate art.Then life will find its very existence from the arts.”

Here’s what Aristotle had to say about this:

“Art not only imitates nature, but also completes its deficiencies.”

“Art completes what nature cannot bring to finish. The artist gives us knowledge of nature’s unrealized ends.”

 

What are your thoughts and opinion?

#ThursdayThoughts: What IS Success?

 

Many writers feel that touching even one life is success.  Not by how many books one published, or by how many awards one garnered; although these are VERY nice to have.

For some writers, writing goes much deeper than any physical items or accolades.   It’s about using their gifts as storytellers,  healers, change-makers for the sake of others.

Success is based on the number of lives impacted.

What about you?  How do you view success as a writer?

Fantastical Friday: Harry Potter

 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,  the first book in an iconic fantasy series, was released on 26 June 1997, and boy did it change everything.

Then comes the movie (released 2001) and a whole new magical world is opened up for both kids and adults alike.

 

I enjoy reading and watching series of all kinds, but I’m a HUGE fan of Harry Potter’s!

 

What about you?  Do you have a favorite book or movie series?

 

Writer’s Life: Back Home!

Just returned from a 12-day trip to the East Coast.  It was a whirlwind.

We drove from North Dakota to North Carolina in less than 30 hours (we did spend one night at a hotel near the border of West Virginia).  We went on to spend three days with my mother (NC), and then three days with hubby’s aunt and uncle in MD (just outside of Annapolis), and then two days with hubby’s side of family in western New York before driving back home.

Home sweet home.

Will take today to recuperate before diving back into writing/blogging tomorrow.  For now, here’s one of my favorite quotes by Hans Zimmer:

What If My Writing Isn’t Good Enough?

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

 

This month’s question:  What if my writing isn’t good enough?

 

This group (also endearingly known as IWSG) is all about insecurities; and gosh, I have a boat-load of them!

 

Where even to begin?

 

I’ve battled with insecurities all my life, and they’ve filtered over in to my writing life.

 

You’ll never be good enough. 

You’re worthless.

Don’t bother even trying.

 

There are so many ideas running through my head.  And I have written many of them…but, they usually die (or get placed in the trash).

I have published several items (all short ones) so that is something, I suppose.

 

But…

 

I keep feeling like I’m missing something.

Or, there is a story somewhere within that needs to be written and then released to the world.

 

But…

 

In the past, in my previous work life, I had this nasty habit of self-sabotaging myself.

Not allowing myself to experience success of any kind.

And this is quite prevalent in my life as it is in my writing life.

It’s like I feel like I don’t deserve it.

 

You’ll never be good enough.

You’re worthless.

Don’t bother even trying.

 

 

A lot of this stem from childhood abuse.  Others from a progressive disability.

Excuses, I suppose.

But they’re the Goliath in my life, and I’m the puny boy with no sling-shot or weapon of any kind.

Just a pen.

 

 

I’ve heard that a pen holds power.  I just don’t have any faith in the holder of this particular pen.

 

Am I good enough?

Will I ever be?

Do I even bother trying?

You Tube Tuesday: Glacier National Park

 

(*YouTube Tuesday idea originally came from the Martians Attack blog)

 

Last week, our family went on an adventurous vacation.  When I say “adventurous” I meant that practically everything was done on the fly.   Such is our life with my former-Navy-officer hubby 🙂

Originally we were going to spend the entire time down in the Black Hills region (South Dakota); however, the place was too mad with tourists.  We stopped very briefly at Mt. Rushmore, and then left.  We drove most of the night through the remaining sixty-plus miles of South Dakota, and most of the width of Wyoming, arriving at a truck stop just south of Billings (Montana) around 3:45am.  There, we slept for a few hours in the vehicle.

After a quick breakfast, we were back on the road heading north for Helena.  We ended up settling in at a KOA twenty miles south of the city in a nice cabin nestled close to Canyon Lake.  There we stayed  for three days before heading out for Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park is so huge, and incredibly beautiful!  You could easily spend three or four days exploring and still not see everything.  We were only there for a few hours; long enough to drive up a very scenic highway to Logan Pass which was where I took this amateurish video clip (using my Trio tablet).

I added music to it before uploading to YouTube.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

If you’d like to participate in YouTube Tuesday, post something from YouTube that you enjoyed and tell us a bit about it.  Don’t forget to include the link to this post in yours so I can check it out.  Also, if you’re on Twitter, tweet about it using the hashtag #YouTubeTuesday.

 

Favorite Friday: Ray Bradbury (on leaving behind a legacy)

 

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.” – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451