Writing: Daily Word Count (Poll)

Stephen King in his famous writing book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, has this to say about his daily word count:

“I like to get ten pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words. That’s 180,000 words over a three-month span, a goodish length for a book — something in which the reader can get happily lost, if the tale is done well and stays fresh.”

Wow…that’s a lot of writing!

What about you?

Writing: Moments

 

“Within seconds…”

“For a moment…”

“In any given moment…”

“Seconds later…”

“After several minutes passed…”

There are times, certain thoughts pass through my mind about writerly stuff and this morning was no exception.  I’ve been writing for this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo, and I love using the above phrases and word selection.  However, this morning, I thought–

“What exactly is a moment?”

Is it the same as minute or even second?

Or, is it something deeper?

Your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too Much Time On Hand=Lack of Focus

Photo Credit: wastedwriters.com

Photo Credit: wastedwriters.com

 

A few weeks ago I blogged about having too many creative ideas, but with no clear direction to take.

This past week, depression settled in as well two severe migraine attacks sapped the energy to do anything out of me.

It’s been a long winter thus far.  I’ve been pretty much house-bound since late November, and it is starting to wear me down.

For those of you who may not know, I “retired” from the workforce two years ago (I’m only 46) due to a progressive disability (Usher Syndrome).  Because of this disability, I’m unable to drive.    We moved to a rural area north of Grand Forks, North Dakota.  Rural in that I am at least 15 miles from the closest town, and closest neighbor over a mile away.  There is public transportation which I use on a weekly basis so that’s been good.  But with no friends or church (yet), I’ve been pretty isolated and alone most of the time (outside my family).

I hope to change this once Spring finally arrives.

Anyhoo, with all this “free” time on hand, believe it or not, I have NOT been very productive with ANYTHING.  In fact, I got more things (including writing) done back when I was working full-time.

Funny.  When I worked, I used to dream about being home and writing full-time.  Now that I’m in that situation, I’m finding it difficult to focus.

Anyone have this experience?

I’m wondering if I set up a schedule, would I stick to it?

Bottom line, I’ve noticed a trend since I left the workforce, and it’s disturbing as I really don’t want to admit it.

I lack self-discipline.

There, I said it.

Whew…

Now, just need to figure out the accountability part.

 

 

 

Writing: Take the pressure off yourself, and relax!

woman-feet-up-relaxing-alone

 

 

 

Every year right about this time I fall into a writing slump.

Burned out?

Hmm, nah I don’t think that’s it.

Writer’s block?

No, not that either.

January is usually a good month to sit back and review what the previous year had brought, and plan for the upcoming one. The thing is I have so many ideas and plans, I find myself “frozen” in place.

Indecisive as to which project to tackle first.

Ever find yourself in that position?

With the month more than half over, and I’ve yet to start on anything

I’m growing more frustrated with myself.

In come the comfort food…well, at least making sure I’m well-stocked on coffee, and hello Netflix, and let the binge watching commence.

Am I procrastinating now?

Hmm, perhaps, but I like to think I’m taking a break while allowing the Muse to percolate (so to speak) on the many ideas I have.

When she’s ready, I’m sure I will know it.

Writing: Reality Versus Imaginary World

surreal_world_by_mohn_blume-d9y58lh

 

Ever have times when you prefer to stay in a world of your own creation?

Or, find it difficult to distinguish from what’s real and what’s not?

I’m battling this at the moment.

Does this mean I’m mentally ill or insane?

Will writing these imaginary worlds down help me get back to MY reality?

Being artists, are we hopeless causes?

Hmm…

What Will I Write (in 2017)?

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

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


*This post is written for this month’s BlogHop for The Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

what-year-is-this

For many I’m sure that the New Year is to be celebrated.

For me?

It’s a time when I tend to freak out.

I’m getting ready to start the second half of my forties, and with each New Year that passes, the ticking clock grows louder.

Throughout my life, I have experienced variety of losses.  And because I am acutely aware just how short life really is, I can’t help but to feel that I’m somehow missing my calling.

A calling to what???

That question has haunted me for many years; and, I’m no closer to the answer now than I was a year ago.

There are clues though.

I’m certain it has something to do with writing, and with helping people.

But, that’s all I know.

I keep writing stuff, but I’m hopping from one form and genre to the next with no idea of which area should be my specialty or niche.

I’ve opened my blog to try and help struggling and/or new writers gain more exposure but feel I should be doing more.

But, what?

clock-animated-gif-18

Now, I’m looking at yet another New Year.

And I’m really freaking out.

What should be my writing goals?

What should I be focusing on that will bring me closer to whatever my calling is?

Is there any point in trying?

which-direction

Writing: Looking Way Ahead

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

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

The question for December: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

Wow, my first month with the group and they just had to ask this question.  What is a writing career?  I have always considered a career as something you get paid for while you pursue a passion or an occupational path which leads to promotions and higher pay grades.

I have hung up that “hat” in January 2015.  You see, I have a progressive disability called Usher Syndrome (where I’m slowly losing my vision coupled with moderate hearing loss); and because of this, I “retired” and went on Social Security.  And because I receive the SS disability benefits, I’m not to earn an income.

I’m only 45.

And believe me, I still have lots to live for!

So, back to the question.

In order to clear my conscience and help me figure out my answer, I consulted a dictionary and here what it had to say about the word, career:

“An occupation or profession, especially one requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework.”

Hmm, still having trouble with applying this word to my situation.  Let’s see what else I can find.

“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.”-Maya Angelou

That’s it!  A writing career to me isn’t about “making a living” but “making a life.”

Now that I’m feeling better about things, let’s move on.

For the first part of the question: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now?

Though I’ve been regularly writing and publishing (short stuff) since 2007, I still haven’t found that niche. I desire to have a book of some sort traditionally published in five years, but whether it’ll be the fiction or nonfiction sort, I haven’t a clue.  I have dabbled in all forms and nearly all genres, and I’m still in the dark.

Does this mean I should try to be one of those multi-genre/format kind of writer?

Or, should I continue to try and narrow down the area or areas of “expertise” for myself?

I’m starting to wonder if maybe I need to find a mentor to help guide me on this journey.

Sheesh, I’m all over the place.  See what you did, IWSG?  😉

On to the second part of the question: what’s your plan to get there?

At this juncture, I plan to continue what I’m currently doing: craft the kind of fictional stories that I’d want to read, and then find a home for them; plus write micropoems and essays about my various life experiences (have been dealt with a lot of losses that I’m still trying to work through).

Whew.

Survived this one.

What about you?  Where do you see yourself, as a writer, in five years?

 

 

Gratitude (Happy Thanksgiving!)

thanksgivingsubwayart8

 

Gratitude: “the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.”

A step further…grateful is being “warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received.”

So…

i-am-grateful-for

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Family (and sharing the memories of those who have passed on)
  2. Home (it’s been a challenging year with our farmstead sustaining nearly $30,000 in damages from the summer storms, but we still have a roof over our heads, and all of our animals)
  3. Friends (including all of you!)
  4. Writing (can’t imagine life without my characters filling my mind with images and stories)

 

What about you?  What are you grateful for?

NaNoWriMo: Why Do It?

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_participant

 

Why do I take part in NaNoWriMo each year?

  1. Gets my butt in gear (er, in the chair) and fingers moving
  2. By announcing to the world (aka twitter-verse or Facebook-world or even on my blog) that I’m doing this thing actually makes me feel liable to my followers/subscribers to at least ATTEMPT to reach the end-goal
  3. If I don’t WIN,  heck I’d at least feel productive that I’ve done something with an idea
  4. It’s not about the quality, but physically PUTTING the words down  (many famous writers have said that the first draft will always be crappy, but you won’t have a draft if you don’t do anything about a story that relentlessly keeps you up at nights)
  5. Mainly I do it because I’m a crazy writer who likes to torture herself with an insane deadline (for instance, 50,000 words in 30 days or less)

 

What about you?  Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year?  If so, why do you do it?

 

 

 

 

 

Writer’s Block: Does It Really Exists? (Poll)

Here’s your opportunity to voice your opinion in regards to this frustrating subject.  Many believe it does exists while others do not.  Which side are you on?

Why Do You Write? (The Madness Behind Being a Writer)

insane

Why do writers write?

The answer seems obvious, and the reasons are similar among most writers.

It’s because we must.

It’s who we are.

We have no choice but to write…

or go stark, raving mad.

There has to be more to it than that.

In my mind, at least.

We must dig deeper.

There is a reason other than the ones we give to people (even to ourselves).

What is it?

Be honest.

Why write at all?  What’s the true driving force behind this passion? This innate desire to put words down? To create?

There has to be more than just “I need to write.”

Is it because we are already mad?

Insane?

Mentally ill?

Perhaps we need to be crazy enough to dig deep into our minds, the deepest, darkest parts of our psyche in order to pull out our masterpieces.

To share openly with the world.

To be willing to be criticized and ridiculed.

But why do all this?

For what?

Eternal glory?

Fame?

Acceptance?

Writers are an eccentric lot.

Complex.

Which means…

the reasons behind the why of what we do are infinite.

To try to even understand us is…

madness.

So, don’t bother.

Just accept us for who we are.

Just accept yourself for who you are.

And write.

The Magic of Writing (A Tale of Rediscovery)

book-magic

 

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”-Stephen King

Why did you fall in love with books?  How about with writing?

For me, it was the ability of books to transport me to other worlds; to meet new and interesting characters, to explore exciting and wondrous places and creatures.  They took me away from reality and I discovered the magical realm of imagination.

In time, I learned to transform those fantastical worlds in to words.

Magic was real to me.  I believed in impossibilities.

Myths and legends.

In dreams.

I’ve been called naive for most of my life.  Probably because I choose not to see the world in its present state (dark, ugly and full of chaos and violence); but with possibilities and potentials.

Hope and beauty.

I choose to look at the world with a child-like view.

Hence, I still believe in Santa Claus and elves, and knights in shining armors.

Does this make me silly?

Maybe.

It’s how I survive in these ever darkening times.

However, for the past several years reality has been slowly poisoning my mind.

I wanted to write darker stuff.  The media is full of these kinds of images and messages.

My inner being grew more hollowed.

Depression and negative thoughts settled in.

These writings that I could never seem to finish made me feel so…so empty.

I began to doubt myself as a writer, and even considered giving it up completely.

Then yesterday I sat down to watch an old favorite movie; one I hadn’t seen in several years.  Actually, I watched the first two back-to-back:

harry-potter-chamber-of-secrets

I felt like a kid all over again.  My mind full of magical things.

Ideas.

The same ideas I had many years ago but have shelved them.

No more.

It’s time I honor the writer I truly am.

“I want to be magic. I want to touch the heart of the world and make it smile. I want to be a friend of elves and live in a tree. Or under a hill. I want to marry a moonbeam and hear the stars sing. I don’t want to pretend at magic anymore. I want to be magic.”-Charles de Lint

 

Writerly News

being-writerly

 

Hard to believe that we’re heading down the final stretch of 2016.   The holidays are just around the corner.

Yikes.

Speaking of holidays…have you noticed that several stores have put out their Christmas decorations already???

Let the craziness begin.

I’m glancing at my remaining writerly agenda for the rest of the year, and it looks to be a busy one.

Awesome.

I learned that two of my poems will be published in a literary zine; and a nonfiction piece with another zine.  My novella, Tomorrow Falls (part one), is currently being published with Piker Press in weekly installments.  I’m working with various places as a contributor/interviewer/poetry consultant.

In November I plan to participate in National Novel Writing Month to write the second part for Tomorrow Falls.

Whew.

What about you?  How’s the rest of the year looks for you?

Your Creativity and Parenthood (Poll)

 

When your children arrive, the best you can hope for is that they break open everything about you. Your mind floods with oxygen. Your heart becomes a room with wide-open windows.”-unknown

The Price of Not Writing

(Essay first appeared in the Why We Write section of 1888 Center web site on July 11, 2016.)

the price of not writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do writers write? Fundamentally it’s pretty much the same. We write because we must; because this is who we are. I could say the same for me, but I prefer to look at this from a slightly different perspective: what would happen if I didn’t write? 

I’ve done it before. This “hiatus” lasted for nearly ten years and I felt the consequences of my writing inaction.

Misery. Pure, pure misery.

There was also hate there. And anger. At what? At myself. At life. At various people.

During this period, I dealt with a lot of losses. My vision and hearing due to a progressive disease. The death of my first husband at the age of 25. A miscarriage. Nearly losing my second husband to Pericarditis. Job loss due to restructuring. My father to an aggressive lung disease.

You know, life.

It’s something we all experience. We get up each morning. We breathe. We eat (except for those who live solely by coffee). We go about our daily duties. And for those of us who can, we sleep.

Day in. Day out.

As humans, we’re survivors. I mean look at the history of mankind. It’s a miracle that we even exist!

So, that’s what I did. I strived to survive. Only it wasn’t enough. Anxiety and depression slipped into my life. I felt I was slowly losing myself. Heck, I wanted to lose myself! I mean why did I keep fighting to live? At some point in our existence, we all die.

Right?

Something was missing. A piece of me was missing. I just couldn’t figure it out.

My second husband, Jay, presented me with a gift for no special occasion. It was out of love he gave me this precious item, and because he knew me better than I did.

A journal.

A beautiful leather-bound book full of white pages.

Blank pages.

I instinctively knew what I had to do. I took a pen and painstakingly filled each page with words. As Hemingway so eloquently said years ago, I bled on those pages.

I’d found the missing piece of myself.

My writing soul.

So, whenever I’m asked, why do I write?

I write because the price is too high NOT to.

Exploring Nonfiction

darkwoods

 

 

I’ve been writing (somewhat) regularly since 2007; so that’s about nine years now.  Most of this time I focused on fiction (of supernatural or apocalyptic nature) while occasionally dabbling in poetry or essays.   While fiction is still my first love, I find that I am being pulled more and more towards writing nonfiction.

Wait a minute.  Hold the phone.

What exactly is nonfiction?

Here’s my favorite word: research.

Nonfiction (according to Dictionary.com): is “the branch of literature comprising works of narrative prose dealing with or offering opinions or conjectures upon facts and reality.”

Some examples are:

academic paper, autobiography, biography, book report, creative nonfiction, diary, dictionary, encyclopedia, essay, handbook, journal and memoir.

I looked at a few of these examples a bit further.

Essay (Dictionary.com) is “a short literary composition on a particular theme or subject, usually in prose and generally analytic, speculative, or interpretative.”

This would include: “literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author.” (Wikipedia)

Essay can take on other creative forms:  film essay or photographic essay.

Memoir Versus Autobiography: are very similar to one another in that they give intimate details of one’s life.  What are the differences?

Autobiography focuses more on chronological events, and deals mostly with facts and reality.  Memoir, on the other hand, is less obsessed with facts and more about emotional truth.  It generally has a subject of focus rather than detailing all the chronological events of one’s life.

What if I don’t want to deal completely in the nonfiction and yet don’t want it to be all imaginary either.  What other options would I have?

Semi-fiction is “fiction implementing a great deal of nonfiction such as a fictional description based on a true story.” (Wikipedia)

One example of semi-fiction would be an autobiographical novel which is a form of novel that merges elements of fiction with autobiography.

At the age of forty-five, I am finding it increasingly difficult NOT to write about my life experiences.  Some of them however are still painful to me today, or I am afraid of hurting loved ones, so I tend to stay away from anything truly autobiographical in nature.   Yet I don’t want my work to be based entirely on facts or reality either.  I want to explore the emotional truth of my life experiences so memoir and essay are attractive to me.

The only way to honestly find out is by writing them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing and the Five Senses

five senses

 

 

These are questions I have posed in today’s Thursday Talk Shop over at We PAW Bloggers on Facebook.

They’re serious ones.  Thought-provoking.

Dare to continue?

If you lost one (or more) of your five senses, would this affect you as a writer (or as a poet or blogger)?  How so?

The loss of which sense(s) would you consider to be the most detrimental to you?

Could losing this sense make you a better writer (or poet or blogger)?  Or, worse?

Lets try an experiment.

The sense you deemed as essential NOT to lose…vision-blindfold yourself; hearing-wear earmuffs or plugs; smell-place a tape over both nostrils; sensation-wear thick clothing on your body (or anything that would dull the sensation); taste-nothing goes in your mouthenvision yourself without this particular sense.  Would you be able to write or blog WITHOUT this ability?  Would something be missing from your stories, poems, or articles?  What ways would you be able to compensate for this loss?

Now, find an artist, or any person of interest who is missing this sense…how did he or she overcome this “disability” and succeeded in spite of it?

 

“There are two kinds of ‘disabled’ persons: Those who dwell on what they have lost and those who concentrate on what they have left.” -Thomas Szasz

As a Writer: To Specialize or Not

frustrated

 

Why is my blog titled “a writer and her adolescent muse?”

The title represents where I am as a writer.  Even though I’ve been writing on and off since I was eleven years old (in serious mode for the last nine years), I still consider myself an apprentice to the craft as well as a novice.   I am a published short story writer, poet, and essayist.  I enjoy writing stuff about zombies and various end-of-the-world scenarios.  I also find that I need to write about mental illnesses, disabilities and losses.  I am a sucker for all things romance (the clean kind), but have yet to write any true romance stories.  I’ve dabbled in screenwriting which came easy for me, and I found it very enjoyable and stimulating.   In the past three years, I have taken particular citizen journalist assignments which I found very exciting and enlightening.  I love blogging about all kinds of creative topics.  And lately, I’ve developed an obsession with Fanfiction.

Quite a variety, huh?

Variety is the spice of my life; however, I’m starting to wonder if I will ever specialize in a given form or niche; or will I end up being a sort of a “Jack of all trades and master of none” kind of writer?  As  I’m approaching mid-life, these thoughts are coming more often than not.  It’s down-right distracting.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

What do you think?  Should all writers specialize?  Or is it okay to have various writing experience and skills?

 

 

 

Writers Need Therapists Too!

anger

Now that we established that writers suffer from all kinds of maladies and creative disorders; wouldn’t you think they have created a professional therapy field just for writers?  Or for all artists in general?

If there is such a thing, please do tell!  I think I need help!  😉