What If There Was No Internet?

 

What if there was no internet?  Whether it crashed due to an electromagnetic storm, or a massive meteor shower took out most of the satellites…and the internet is now GONE.

As a writer, how would you function?  How would you go about sending out your stories to the world?

Would you still keep writing?

So many completely rely on technology (namely internet) to get things done, and to communicate with others.   Would we be able to revert back to the “old” ways of doing things?

Scary thoughts?

 

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What If My Writing Isn’t Good Enough?

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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?

“Fan”tastical Friday: Helen Keller

 

I’ve never really gave much notice to the term “fandom” until I looked up the meaning of the word in a dictionary:

-“the state or condition of being a fan of someone or something.”

This definition made me chuckle as it sounds like something out of a psychology textbook.  So, I looked at what Wikipedia had to say:

-“a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of empathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest.”

Meaning, you can be a “fan” of not just individuals or movies or a particular kind of music; but, also of an ideal, an interest, motive, etc..  I think you get the idea.

I suppose now that I’m thinking (oh, so dangerous) I am a fan of multiple things.

For today, I will focus on one of them.

Women with great inner strength.

Helen Keller.  Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell. Mother Teresa. Anne Frank. Maya Angelou.

There are just too many to list here but the one who has been the greatest inspiration to me was Helen Keller.

Although I am legally blind and deaf, I still have enough of both to manage.  But Helen had none of both and she still got around!  There are days when I get frustrated at my shortcomings and limitations to the point I just want to quit and throw in the towel (and I’ve done this before which brought only misery for me),  but I have to remind myself that there are (and have been) others who persevered and thrived despite their disabilities.

Which gives me hope.

And some days, that is all I need to continue on.

 

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

-Helen Keller

 

 

You Tube Tuesday: Stephen King

 

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

 

I came across this video recently and loved how he presented some of the tips as well as how he came up with the story idea for Cujo.

Have you read any of his books?  Which one is your favorite?

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.

One-Liner Story Saturday: This Thing Called Life

 

 

A young woman who lost her parents, one to infidelity and the other to a war in some foreign land, must choose between a childhood dream and her familial responsibility…real life sucks.

What Happens When A Writer Stops Writing?

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This month’s question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

 

I wrote an essay on this last year, and today I took and created a video from it.

 

 

 

 

Guest Post by Simone Lisa: Heart Open Please Enter

*As we continue our Mental Health discussion, here’s a post by a very special guest, Simone Lisa.  Thank you, Simone, for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us! 

 

There’s a little glimmer of warmth, burrowing into my chest. And a chink of light, peeking into my spirit. If I listen carefully I can almost hear a heart-warming song. It has taken me awhile to recognise it – the song of hope. Unfamiliar. Really scary. Really positive. Hope.

Hope has a few different acronyms:

  • Hold On Pain Ends
  • Have Only Positive Expectations
  • tHink pOsitive oPportunity comEs
  • Help Open People’s Eyes
  • Hanging Onto Positive Expectations

But I think my favourite is…

  • Heart Open Please Enter

I have had years of being knocked over and having to pick myself up again.

  • Grief after eight different family members died.
  • Worry as my teenage boys dabbled in the risky behaviours so many indulge in as they grow into adulthood.
  • Sorrow as my marriage started to crumble.
  • Stress as my elderly grandmother became more and more dependent on me.
  • Fear as my body aged and my youth disappeared.
  • Pain as my back deteriorated.

Coupled with a lifetime of burying emotions and not dealing with personal issues as they arose, it became too much for me to cope with and I crumbled. Every time I thought things couldn’t possibly get worse, I was wrong. Every time I tried to stand up and move on, another phone call came in. Someone needed me again. Someone wanted my help. Someone else had died. Another problem arose. Too much. Endlessly and relentlessly battering me to the ground, and in 51 years I had never learned positive mechanisms to deal with stress. The past two years have been eye opening and debilitating, and while I went a long way backwards, perhaps that is the direction I first needed to travel before I could embark upon a different path.

The past few days I have felt hopeful. Every time I become aware of that sense of positivity, that I may have a future and  things will improve, I worry I’m going to be battered to the ground any minute. The phone will ring and I’ll be given bad news. Again. I’ll be needed. Again. The phone will ring and I’ll be forced to choose between doing the right thing by family or the right thing by work. I’ll be put in lose-lose situations. Again.

But you know what 2017 has shown me so far? Nothing but positivity. Sure there are major stresses I’m still dealing with – but they are last years’ stresses and we’re working toward positive outcomes.

  • My teenage boys have grown into beautiful young men.
  • My marriage is receiving some tender care with tentative hope for the future.
  • Nobody else died.
  • My grandmother is being cared for in the nursing home.
  • I love my job. I love my friends and family.
  • My physical health is good and my mental health has improved.

You know what else? I found myself singing in the car. Singing!! I love singing and I’d stopped years ago. It is so good for the soul. Like alcohol however, I can’t indulge when I’m sad and stressed. I don’t drink to cheer myself up – I drink because I’m cheery. I don’t sing to cheer myself up – I sing because I’m cheery. When I realised I was singing, I realised I must be cheery.

So it turns out I have hope.

  • I am hopeful my beautiful boys will be okay – they will grow into the wonderful young men they are destined to be. They will experience love and happiness and success. They will contribute. They make me proud.
  • I am hopeful our marriage will continue. Hovering on the brink of separation has taught us both we’re not ready to throw in the towel. We value what we have enough to put in the hard yards.
  • I am hopeful my mental health will improve. My depression and anxiety are alleviating. I recognise them for what they are and have strategies in place to deal with signs and symptoms as they arise.
  • I am hopeful my life will go on. My story isn’t over yet. I have the opportunity and means to contribute financially to our family and meaningfully to society. I have abandoned plans to end my life and instead accept I have a lot of time ahead of me.
  • I am hopeful my elderly grandmother and ageing father are in safe hands. Their health is good and they are well cared for. I also accept that yes, I will have to farewell them both in the future, but they have had wonderful, happy, long, productive lives and I have support to deal with the grief when it inevitably strikes.
  • I am hopeful my back pain will go. I am thrilled about this in fact. I finally have a diagnosis and treatment plans and it is not major or degenerative and I will once again be able to exercise pain free.

More significant than all of these put together however, I am starting to feel a small sense of hope my eating disorder will improve. I won’t say disappear. Or aim for full recovery. I would be glad of those things – but so early in the phase of recovery (I may have been doing this a long time, but I went backwards before I moved forward. It’s a long and winding road…) I don’t want to jinx myself with unrealistic expectations.

You know what else? Without hope, I can’t recover. Without hope it is an intellectual exercise. Without hope I won’t make the right choice when faced with a difficult situation – I will make the most familiar and immediately comforting choice. Even if that decision leads to a poorer outcome. Because without hope, recovery is pointless. It feels temporary. Why would I make a good choice today if tomorrow it’s all going to fall apart anyway? I may as well eat a box of chocolate and be happy for five minutes.

Recovery is reliant on hope. Recovery needs my heart to be receptive – not just my head to be willing. So for today I want to say, my Heart’s Open Please Enter.

 

(Post originally appeared on Simone Lisa’s Blog )

What Does Writer’s Block Mean For Me?

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It’s that time of month again 🙂  The question for April is: what does writer’s block mean for me? 

First of all, let’s define this term.  Dictionary.com defines writer’s block as “a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work.”

Writer’s block means different things to writers.   Some writers know exactly what’s causing their condition; others have no clue.  Either way, it’s a distressing feeling NOT being able to create.  In many cases the more frustrated one feels, the worse this condition becomes.  And If you have no idea what is causing this creative blockage, it can last for months or even years.

Yeah, distressing.

It took me a long while to put names to what cause the writer’s block in me.  There are three that come to pester me from time to time:

  1. Procrastination: This is by far the most common one for me.  They should probably create a professional procrastinator field because I would easily excel at it.  I just love putting things off.  You can call me laid-back, or just plain lazy—it means the same to me.  Things eventually get done, but it’s usually at the last possible moment.  Nothing like a little stress to keep the blood pumping hard, eh?
  2. Distractions: Most of my distractions come via the internet like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest as well as YouTube, Pandora, Hulu and Netflix.  The others are the mundane house chores, paying bills and balancing the check book…you know, life in general.  I call these my distractions because they are just that since they keep me from writing.
  3. Mental Disturbances: aka depression and anxiety.  There are so many layers to these so I don’t even know where to begin.  Depression is like having darkness filling your inner most being and thoughts ’till you don’t care or have any energy to muster up anything creative.  Anxiety for me fills my mind with negative thoughts that I am inferior and can NOT produce anything of value so I don’t even try.

Well, that’s writer’s block for me in a nutshell.

What about you?

 

My Own Battle With Mental Illness

Doll Hospital is an art and literature print journal on mental health

Just a little blurb this week about an essay I have published with the current issue of Doll Hospital Journal.

In the essay,  In Search of Hope, I recount my struggles through various losses and disabilities that brought me close to suicide as well as my battle with anxiety and depression.   Mental illness also runs in my family.

What helped me through all these?

Writing, and the love for my family.

For those of you struggling with mental illness, just know that you’re not alone, and to never give up!

*To read this digital issue, click on the Doll Hospital’s image on top and this will take you to the site to download the item.  It will ask for $5.00 but this is only a suggested donation amount. 

The Journey of Rediscovering a Lost Story

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

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

 

March IWSG Day Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Over the years, I’ve written several stories (both short and book-length), and for various reasons, I set them to one side never to go back to them.

Time passes…

Voices of one of those abandoned projects begin to cry out to me…

Please tell my story.

Complete me so I can rest in peace.

Finish what you’ve started so that the world may know what happened.

Someone somewhere need to hear this.

Come back to me.

Eventually, I give in.

I have to.

These voices give me no choice; just an ultimatum.

Write, or completely lose my mind.

Or, my soul.

Both are bad in my opinion.

The challenges?

Choosing which one to pick up and continue.

And…

How should this particular story end?

Especially since I may not have set eyes on it for a number of years.  I find that I have to get to know the character(s) all over again (which isn’t necessarily a terrible thing).  I enjoy rediscoveries.  Sometimes I look at a story and ask myself-what was I thinking of when I wrote this?  Was I possibly possessed????

Nah, someone else wrote this one.  Couldn’t be me.

Then slowly, the memories return as well as the excitement.

I pick up the pen, and begin once more.

*To answer the question above…I am currently working on an old story with the hope of one day finding a “home” for it.

What Will I Write (in 2017)?

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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?

Blogs and Blogging (What attracts you to them?)

blogging

 

For a while now, I’ve been debating on starting a new blog (aside from this one) but am trying to figure out which side(s) of me to portray in it.  Hence, this poll.

I’m considering showing more of the “real” me; but, would this be attractive to readers?  Would they be interested in what I have to say?  Hmm…

What about you?  What draws you to some blogs more than others?

 

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

 

Getting Out of My Own Way: Building a Writing Life By Samantha Bryant (Guest Blogger)

samantha-bryant-pic

 

 

I’ve had it pretty easy in my writing life. Grammar and syntax come naturally to me. I had great English teachers who praised my creativity and encouraged me. My mother was a reader who indoctrinated me early in the joys of fiction, with the help of a great library. No one suggested that writing wasn’t a good career choice, or that I needed to be more practical. I’ve had support out the wazoo.

So far as a crucible to forge a writer in, my childhood was a good one.

Many writers have had more to overcome—unsupportive or outright abusive families, second languages, mental health issues, political persecution. All that is to say that I know I have very #firstworldproblems when it comes to my writing life.

See, I was always going to be a writer. Ask people who knew me in first grade. It’s always been on my agenda. An assumption, like being a mom and a teacher. A given.

As I grew up, I used to talk about writing a lot. I’d get all dreamy and imagine my future career as a world-famous novelist. But it was always a hazy dream, filmed through Vaseline so you couldn’t see the harder realities of it: the actual work. It was “someday.”

But I wasn’t doing anything to make it happen.

Sure, I wrote. Once in a while. When I felt inspired. When I was in the mood, or when one of my ideas was just so tenacious there was no escaping it. But I didn’t take myself seriously as a writer, and neither did anyone else. Why would they? It was like I thought some big publisher was going to somehow just find me and pay me to write without my ever having proven I could even do it. A fantasy discovery scenario. Not a career plan.

Then, I was turning 42, which Douglas Adams taught us is the answer to life, the universe and everything. It was my crisis moment. I told myself it was time to give writing a serious attempt. There was a lot less “someday” left than there once was.

The obstacles in my writing life were all internal. Setting priorities, finding focus, making time. I was my own worst enemy, putting my own dream last on the list of things I would spend my days and hours and years on.

That’s when I committed to a daily writing habit. It was a game-changer for me.

It was harder than that might seem. At age 42, I was in the middle of a teaching career and a marriage. I was parenting two daughters and a dog, maintaining a house and household, fighting the battle of the bulge, and trying to have some kind of social life. There were a lot of pulls on my time. And I’d made a habit of many years of giving my time away.

But, I started to insist on writing time. Slowly, over the course of a few months, I renegotiated my contract with life, and made sure there was room in it for writing. I gave up things that I could: television, social opportunities that I didn’t want badly. My initial goal was 250 words per day. Just one page. And I struggled to put down that many words. It took me two or three hours some nights. It was hard and frustrating.

But I am stubborn. And it got easier. Soon, I could write 250 words in half an hour. I learned that the words didn’t have to all be keepers. That sometimes, I had to write garbage to get it out and get to the good stuff underneath. I learned that if I could just get something on the page, I’d be able to make it better in the next pass, but that I had to give myself something to work with.

Now, I can’t imagine a day without writing. I write somewhere between 800 and 4,000 words a day, depending on other life demands. A day when I only write 250 words is a day that was full of lots of other life—parties, sickness, travel, or something—and a decision I made about my use of time.

My family notices when I haven’t written. They see me getting grumpy and say, “Hey Mom, did you write yet today?” the way other families might suggest you get a sandwich, take a nap, or take your meds. It’s that important to my equilibrium.

And because I’m writing every day, I’m getting better at it. I have flow. I’m finishing things, revising and polishing and publishing things. People are reading them. Some people even like them. This summer, I sent my third novel off to my publisher. I get to say things like “my publisher.”

So all this is to say, if you want to be a writer, you’ll have to write. Look at your life. Figure out what’s in your way (even if it’s only you that’s in your own way). And find your way around those obstacles. You can’t ever get there if you don’t start the journey. And it’s quite a trip!

 

 

 

s-bryant-books

Samantha Bryant is a middle school Spanish teacher by day and a mom and novelist by night. That makes her a superhero all the time. You can find her Menopausal Superhero series from Curiosity Quills on Amazon, or request it at your favorite independent (or big box) bookstore. You can find her online on her blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Goodreads, on the Curiosity Quills page, or on Google+, and now on Tumblr.

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