This month’s question: How do you jump-start your writing after a hiatus?
I know. I’m a day late this month. I have a good reason.
It’s a reason, but probably not a good excuse.
Back in July I left North Dakota and flew down to North Carolina to spend time with my Mom. About two weeks worth.
Two full weeks without any substantial writing.
I had bought a 5-subject notebook with every intention of filling it up with written words.
Instead, I wrote maybe three pages of short poetry.
Nothing substantial at all.
Yesterday I flew back home.
Today, as I stare at the computer monitor I find myself wondering…where do I start?
When I left two weeks ago, I suddenly dropped all the projects I was working on and took a vacation. Now, I have no idea on how restart the writing process.
I have lists of what need to be done, but it’s like I’ve hit this wall that I can’t seem to break through to that creative well of inspiration and energy to get the imaginative juice flowing again.
What about you? How do you get back in to your writing groove after a long break?
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?
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?
I’ve long been a fan of the Star Trek television series and films, and out of all the Captains, James T. Kirk has always been one of my favorites. Although I do enjoy the version by actor Chris Pine, the one portrayed by William Shatner will forever be the best.
The most memorable quote by Kirk (Star Trek V The Final Frontier):
(The full quote: “Damn it, Bones, you’re a doctor. You know that pain and guilt can’t be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!“)
This quote resonated with me on so many levels both personally and as a writer. Our painful experiences deepen and enrich our lives, and make us the individuals we are. Without painful experiences, how else are we able to sympathize and empathize with others? They make us human. Our painful experiences also enable us to be better writers. To create real characters that our readers can identify with.
For me, on a personal level, I’ve decided to keep my pain instead of seeing shrinks to help ease them. Not (just) to punish myself (yeah, morbid), but they help me craft better poetry and disturbing stories.
Sounds so Stephen Kingish, eh?
This is probably one of the reasons why I write dark stuff although lately I’m attempting to write Romance (but of course they’ll have some dark qualities in them). Life is real, and it’s hard. Life isn’t all roses and sweet. But, it does have moments of hope and love and laughter.
Being human is complicated. Full of layers. Both good and not-so-good.
Like Captain Kirk.
What about you? Do you have a favorite quote that resonates with you?
Ever wondered where some of the greatest musicians get ideas for their masterpieces? Ludwig van Beethoven shed a little light on his creative process below:
Even for Beethoven, the creative process was a bit of a mystery.
Where do ideas come from?
From some unknown source in the deep recess of our minds?
Wherever the ideas truly come from, I welcome them!
I was almost six years old when I was diagnosed with nerve deafness. I received my first behind-the-ear hearing aid shortly after the initial visit with Ms. Audrey. The device helped as I was finally able to hear the sounds around me more clearly. I could finally hear myself talk as well as whoever was trying to talk to me.
I was now able to understand and learn in school.
It certainly was not a “cure-all” as I was still very much a loner. An outsider.
I spent the next two or three years attending speech therapy at a distant school. About twice a week, a transportation vehicle would come and pick me up at the tiny private school I attended, and took me fifteen miles away to a moderate size elementary public school where I met with my speech therapist for our one-hour sessions. Then I would board a public school bus with kids I didn’t know which took me home.
The speech therapy sessions helped, but I still spoke funny.
My accent was odd. Out-of-place.
People, kids looked at me with strange expressions.
I felt very much alone most of the time.
Imaginary friends helped me through this period, as they would throughout my life. Even as an adult, I still have imaginary friends.
Does that make me strange?
An outsider who’s not quite all there?
Hmm…yeah, I guess so.
And you know the funny part about all this?
I’m fine with it. Totally and completely.
Because I have an excuse to be strange and odd, and what’s that word that a coworker once used to describe me?
However, by the time I was eleven I’d developed a slight problem with having imaginary friends. I started to act out some of the things they wanted me to do or where they wanted me to go.
Adventures in other lands. Or, more like misadventures.
Like this one time when I was playing with my various superhero friends when one of them convinced me that I was Wonder Woman and could leap over a line of six chairs. I almost cleared them all. I ended up straddling a rocking chair and spent that evening in the ER.
When I was eleven my best friend was Melanie. She was a red-head with a fiery temper. I can’t remember what sparked the idea but she put out a challenge to see who could write the best short story. I took the challenge and wrote a story about a haunted house where a girl went in to explore and found a decapitated head in the fridge. Pretty morbid, but this particular challenge altered my life forever.
That day I learned there were other ways of participating in adventures with my imaginary friends; not to mention, much safer.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the writer within me was born.
Now that I’ve decided to write a memoir, I need to decide on a “theme” for it. Since I’ve experienced so many losses, I will do my first memoir around them.
Writing poetry has been so therapeutic in helping me deal with those losses, I’m thinking of including a number of poems in the memoir. In fact, I’m inclined to open each chapter with a poem, and then delve into details around a particular loss.
The title I think will be Life: Tears in the Rain.
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?
It’s Friday–FINALLY! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Hope your week has been productive, and fast. Mine was a bit chaotic with both hubby and son home sick for the past few days with colds. I had a MRI done on a shoulder, and the results were positive–no surgery will be needed. Just more physical therapy, but that I can handle. 🙂
Can’t help though but to feel a tad frustrated since I hadn’t done any writing this week. It’s not that I’m feeling unproductive, but if a day or more pass by and I hadn’t created anything, that’s where the frustration lies. I feel like an addict in that if I don’t get my fix (in the act of creating), I feel pent up, and agitated.
A question popped in my mind earlier this morning when I began thinking about Helen Keller (one of my favorite inspirational writers): how did she feel about poetry?
Reason this question came to mind is that I’ve been doing some soul-searching as I start to make plans for a memoir (which will be written around a series of poems I wrote throughout various parts of my life). A realization struck me in how important writing poetry was to my healing (and dealing with losses), and I’ve begun to look at the role of how poetry therapy played in other people’s lives.
I knew Helen Keller had written at least one memoir, and several essays, but I wondered if she ever wrote poetry. So, I hunted online to find the answer. Although I did find it, I also found this particular quote by Keller that I’m considering to have framed and placed on my writing desk:
Poetry is liberating. Writing poetry enable me to delve deeper in emotions and experiences that have been too painful to voice orally, and even openly about.
What about you? Have poetry been instrumental in certain aspect or time of your life? Do you have a favorite poet or poem?