#IWSG: The Ultimate Writing Goals

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This month’s question: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

 

Ultimately, like many other writers, I’d love to have a book published. But, fearing that I’d be penalized by Social Security (am on disability benefits for my progressive vision loss-called Usher Syndrome) I can’t earn very much so I’ve tabled that…for now.  In the meantime, I write poetry and short (as well as flash) fiction of which some are published in various zines.

Another one of my goals is to learn the playwriting craft, and attempt an one-act play.  I already have a title, just need to write it.  I then would love to see it performed through a local Council for the Arts performance group. Having moved to North Dakota back in 2015, I haven’t made too many friends yet; I figure what better way to get to know people in the community than through the local arts.

I don’t think my writing goals have changed much over the years (started writing seriously in 2007) since they usually involve being published in some capacity which I have done with several of my short works.

 

What about you?  What are some of your biggest goals that you would like to fulfill?

 

 

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#IWSG: Book Titles Vs. Character Names

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This month’s question: What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

 

For me, the book titles (or for any type of stories, short or long) are more difficult to come up with.  A title has to encompass the theme and message of the story, giving the reader some idea of what it may be about.  Because of this, it takes a while to come up with a title that “feels” right.  Many times I end up giving a story a working title until I can come up with a better one.

With some stories, any title I gave never felt right.  For these, I usually set them to one side for a while in the hope that the right title will magically pop in mind.  It does happen, but rare.  I’d end up settling for one that I could live with, and move on.

What about you?  Which one is more difficult for you to come up with a name?

IWSG: Do You Still Create During Sickness?

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This month’s question: How do you find the creative energy while sick with a cold?

 

 

This week I’m sick with this nasty chest cold.  I’m suspecting it’s bronchitis and have a medical appointment this afternoon to be evaluated.   In the meantime, I have zero energy to do anything.

So, it brings a question to mind: do you still try to create while sick?

I’ve spent a better part of the past two days lying in bed, and resting.  I’ve had no desire to sit up, and create.   This is making me feel a bit guilty in that I’m doing nothing.

Am I really doing nothing?

Not really.  I’m taking this time to listen to Pandora, to relaxing sounds of nature with music as I let my mind wander.

My hands may not be currently creating, my mind is.

 

What about you?  Do you still try to create when you’re sick?

#IWSG A Rainy Day For This Writer

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This month’s question: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

 

Photo Credit: Alexander Tayson

 

I’m experiencing this weather phenomenon right now.  If you look out my window, you’ll see the partially bare ground laced with dirty snow.   The air is frigid as the arctic breeze sweep through the barren trees that pepper our farmstead.

It’s April, but winter is sticking around.

I’ve been cooped up indoors for months.  I leave the house only once a week for grocery shopping, and that’s it.

No fresh air.  No real exercise (the treadmill only goes so far).

Depression is settling in heavy, and affecting my writing life.

With several projects lined up to be worked on, all I’ve done is watch medical dramas on Hulu.

I feel the dark clouds billowing over my head as I ignore the jabbering of characters in my mind.   Rain comes in form of tears as the frustration (with myself) grows.

I must find a way to jump-start my writing.

Writing is my sun.  My fresh air.

But right now, the storm clouds are winning.

Bottomline, the problem is I’m a writer with very little outside contact (other than family members).  No one to spur me on with a pep talk or encouragement.  Being a shut-in (self imposed), there is no one to blame for my predicament other than myself.

Granted, I can’t just hop in a car and drive because of my blindness.

However…

There is this lovely thing called technology that allows one to keep connected with people from all walks of life.  This for me has been a blessing.

So, instead of wallowing in self-pity, I’m here, blogging, and in essence, writing which is all the kick in the pants I need for the clouds to roll back, and allow the sun to peek through.

 


 

#IWSG Quotes For #Writing Inspiration

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This month’s question: Do you have any quotes you use for inspiration?

 

Every once in a while I get stuck as a writer.  Whether the right words are being elusive, or I’m stressed over something from my personal life (usually over finances), or I just can’t get focused.   These are times when I look to quotes to help either jumpstart my creativity, or just get me in to a reflective mood which tend to get the words flowing.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

 

“The real story is not the plot, but how the characters unfold by it.”
~ Vanna Bonta

 

Writing is my time machine, takes me to the precise time and place I belong.”  ~Jeb Dickerson

 

“Not all those who wander are lost.”J.R.R. Tolkien

 

 

What about you?  Do you have any favorite quotes?

 

Writing: Favorite Story Type

Gabriela covers the story types in chapter eleven in her DIY MFA Book. Just click on the image for the book.

In this prompt: “Are you like me and a sucker for underdog stories? Do you love that classic boy-meets-girl Rom-Com formula? Are you crazy for epic quests about heroes saving the world? For today’s prompt, tell us which story type you love and why.”

Oh, this one is so tough as I enjoy all of them!  My writing background, so far, has been horror short stories (where many times the protagonist does NOT survive or win in the end), dark poetry, and dark fantasy stories (these would include the epic quest types).  Now that I’m thinking of it, for some reason, I’ve yet to complete a fantasy story.  Well, I do know the reason.  The stories tend to grow too big, too complicated, and overwhelm me to the point that I stop writing them.  These have all been written in the serial-format.  I’ve come to a realization that perhaps serial fiction may not be for me.  Not at this time anyway.

The only romance story I’ve written is a screenplay (“Storms of the Heart”) which I will be converting to a book this year.  This one has comedic scenes throughout, but probably not enough to be truly called a “rom-com.”   There are dramatic parts, and suspense too.  The heroine has both internal and external conflicts to wrestle with.  It’s a love story, and it’s a survival story.  It’s a story that keeps pestering me since it’s birth back in 2008.  It’s a story that will deal with PTSD.  And losses.

It’s the type of story that has won my heart.  And it is the one I will write in the coming months ahead.

So, to answer the prompt question above.  The type of story I love most is the survivalist kind, the underdog where the conflict/antagonist that the protagonist has to face is so much stronger than she is, but she’s determined to survive.  And this particular story also has a love story intertwined which makes it all the more endearing since I love watching something bloom between two people in-spite of all the roadblocks standing in their way.

Why this type?  Probably because I consider myself a survivor.  I’ve been an underdog all my life.  And I’m still fighting, and I suppose I always will, but that’s fine.  I don’t think I would have it any other way.  🙂

 

Writing: Using Fears as Your Compass

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Gabriela Pereira: “Share an example of when resistance has pointed you toward a writing project that was juicy and high-stakes… and maybe even a little bit scary. Did you face that fear head-on and overcome your resistance? What was the result of pursuing (or not pursuing) that project?”

 

This is a tough one.  I’ve encountered a lot of resistance to a lot of things for many reasons in my life.

Where to even begin?

There’s resistance due to having disabilities, and feeling inferior in that I don’t feel I will ever amount to anything.

There’s resistance due to experiencing verbal and emotional abuse as a girl, and then some as an adult, and along comes the feeling of not being good enough for anything or anyone.

These usually result in self-sabotaging myself so instead of succeeding in life, I end up failing or being bypassed for  career opportunities.

 I deserve to fail or to be ridiculed or be talked down.  I don’t deserve that promotion, or I’m not good enough or I’ll fail miserably at it.  So, why bother?  Who cares? 

A typical mantra I kept repeating and believing in.

And what did I end up with?

A lifetime of regrets.

Of what-ifs.

I could play the blame game, or a victim, but I won’t.

There are things I want to share with my readers, to let out, but I don’t want to hurt certain loved ones.  So, I thought about writing certain experiences in my fictional stories in hope that it will provide the cathartic healing that my soul yearns for.

So, I wrote dark poetry, and dark flash stories.  I journaled in notebooks now hidden away.  And as the years melted away, some of the pain from the past went along with them.

Now, I’m hoping to write my first book, and already I’m hit with fears and the feelings of inadequacy.  Why?  The book is a romance story with bits of comedy…what do I have to be afraid of?

That I want to be an author?  That I desire to be traditionally published?

That I want to be–successful?

Then an idea hit me.

Why don’t I write in certain subplots that involve abuse in relation to PTSD by using my own personal childhood and adulthood experiences?

Yeah, I think this might just work.

Stay tuned….

 

 

What Fuels the Muse?

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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?