Category Inspirational

Genre Shift – IWSG 06/01/16

We're here for you. It’s that time again, the time when we put ourselves out there, all our worries, fears and anxieties so that others may comfort us, and we, in turn, can comfort them. Theres nothing wrong with seeking comfort. In fact, it can be exceedingly useful, especially when one needs it.

In this case, however, the cause of my anxieties and fears come from within my own mind, and as my therapist continues to tell me, what FEELS true, often isn’t. Speaking words outloud, or in this case typing them down, often helps to change that mental and emotional lock.

So here goes.

I’m going to change genres. That’s it. That’s the source of my issue. You see, there’s quite a bit built up behind it, but that decision alone is what is causing a lot of my anxieties as a writer right now. It, of course, comes with a lot of caveats and changes and reprisals on all thoughts and functions of my mind, but in the most basic of senses, that’s it.

I’ll attempt to break it down for you, and for myself, so that I can work through the various issues I’m having. You see, I’ve always been a fantasy writer. My best works have always been fantasy. I’ve tried my hand at writing short horror stories, and found myself wanting. I’ve tried my hand at writing teen fiction, which kind of fell flat. The only thing other than straight, epic fantasy that I’ve written is fanfiction. And even that, well… Let’s just put it this way, I’m never going to give those accounts up. Over my dead body!

So when I say that I want to break out into Regency Era romance of the Asexual variety… Well, it’s a bit like saying, “Oh, I’m a fish and now I want to fly.” Technically it can be done. However, can it be done well?

Lookit this little guy. He tries so hard…

First of all, there’s the issue of the fact that I’m leaving a huge project, my nearly finished Kurylian Knight novel in the lurch by devoting time and energy to this other work instead. Then, on top of that, there’s the energy that will be taken away from managing this blog as well, and making sure it’s up and running. With my recent bouts of anxiety and depression, I’ve been having trouble with getting the basic energy just to apply to cleaning the house and caring for the children in my care. How am I ever supposed to split my energy even further to give this idea the time and care it needs to flourish?

Secondly, all of MY romances have fallen flat on their face and died, usually due to a disconnect over sex. So what am I supposed to do when writing it? What kind of romance author has literally NO successful relationships? Surely there’s someone more qualified out there to write these stories, right? But then again, this particular project has a tinge to it that’s entirely self serving that I can’t just leave to someone else. I plan on basing the first one off of myself, specifically, my life story. I can hear you now, “Really? You’re going to write self-insert fiction? Ugh. Those are the worst.” Yeah, I know. But… honestly, there’s just something about the idea that makes me want to do it. That and I watched Vanity Fair one too many times.

My third issue stems from the research required in order to try and even come close to tackling this particular genre with any sort of class or joy. Recently, it has come to my attention that I might have undiagnosed Adult ADHD. I came to this conclusion due to a sudden, and quite annoying, inability to focus on a book long enough to actually READ it. It’s part of why I’ve been having so much trouble in the first place. But the only way I’ve found to actually be able to WRITE a genre, is to READ said genre. It’s painful, but necessary. Which means reading a lot of really torrid romance novels for me. Again, where am I supposed to get the energy and time to devote to this?

The fourth problem stems from my inability to find a narrative link throughout this new project. All I really want to do is tell my biography, except set in the 1800s england that stood out so much when I watched Vanity Fair and Downton Abbey. Is that so much to ask? To set my ill-fated story in somewhere beautiful and tawdry? Possibly. But worse still, how do I break down 27 years of experiences into a novel, and have a point to it, a conclusion, when there ISN’T a conclusion to my life yet? There isn’t a narrative focus in my life, really, except perhaps finding balance where there is none, but even that’s speculation brought on by fortune telling. I could risk taking it aside, and just using bits and peices of my personal story, and not having it based entirely in my life, but then, I feel, it would lose it’s meaning to me. However, I fear that if I don’t, it won’t hold any meaning to anyone else, either. What to do, what to do…?

As you can see, genre switches, and starting new projects in general, are not fun, nor do they come lightly. It’s something I still have to muddle over and make a decision on. It’s something that will probably haunt me for the entirety of the time I write the book. I know that worries like this still plague me for my kurylian saga too. But what are we supposed to do with these worries?

Write through them. Push them to the side and tell the story that needs telling. Of course, that’s easier said than done, most often. Some writers I know have six or seven projects all open at once, and I find that if I so much as consider it, I become paralyzed with indecision. Which should I work on, which should I wait on, what should I be doing? But at the same time, the ideas come like a waterfall, no matter what. My therapist says that often times, what we can handle is more than we think it is, and then, even a little more than that. He’s encouraging me to take on more, emotionally and mentally, so that maybe, just maybe, I can grow stronger under the weight. So I think that’s what I’ll do here as well.

After all, if I don’t write the asexual regency era romance novel, who will?

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Tsundoku – The art of reading too little

Tsundoku: (n) buying books and not reading them; Letting books pile up unread on shelves, nightstands and floors.

Every writer has been given the talk about how in order to improve your writing you should do one thing above all else. Read, read, read. And how many of us end up in tsundoku? How many of us leave these words to sit on the page, undiscovered, untapped, unlearnt? However, I’m not here to talk about how much we should be read, read, reading. Today I’d like to talk about joy.

Specifically, the joy of discovering a new word. You see, I had never known tsundoku had an actual word tied to it. I had just thought that letting books you meant to read sit and collect dust required just the whole thing said as I have just said it. To have it broken down into three syllables, a few hiragana, a few kanji, and to finally learn it, it’s a sort of joy I’ve only recently found.

As with my absolute favorite word, sonder, I found a sudden sense of wonder at the world around us, and the words in which we use to describe it. Since, I have added a list in my bullet journal that I call ‘New Words’. In this, I have collected several words that have caught my interest and that I’m attempting to use in every day life and in my writing. Along with it, I’ve included a few other lists. “Word roots” to teach myself more about the roots of these beautiful words we use to communicate. “Daily details” to record the symbolisms and tiny beauties in my daily life. “Six word stories” to begin practicing brevity.

These are things I want to incorporate into my life so that I never lose the childlike wonder I had when I first cracked open a book and then devoured it in a single afternoon. I hope to never lose the wonder my child-self felt, but sometimes I feel it slipping away. In those moments, little discoveries like this bring it back forthwith.

I leave you with a list of places to search out new words:

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Distractions – IWSG 05/04/16

We're here for you. Things that Distract one’s Focus

  • The sudden and unexplainable urge to read something one has never read before.
  • A broken nail that begs to be filed.
  • Hair that must be plucked, brushed, tweezed, or otherwise groomed.
  • The click of a pen in another room.
  • The need to feed pets, children or a partner.
  • The need to bathe said pets, children or partners.
  • A sudden and inexplicable yearning to clean every inch of one’s house.
  • The pile of laundry calling, begging to be folded.
  • An old notebook found in the deep recesses of a closet.
  • The sudden and startlingly shrill scream of a child.
  • Especially so if that child is not injured in the least, but rather enjoying the startlement they have caused.
  • The ring on one’s finger.
  • The thought that one ought to be writing, but instead is doing something else.
  • The thought that one ought to be doing something else, and so therefore, should not be writing.
  • The glowing numbers on a clock.
  • The ticking of a clock.
  • The hush of rain outside.
  • The hush of wind through trees outside.
  • The sunshine streaming through the window.
  • The blackness of the night outside one’s curtains.
  • A reminder that one’s favorite program has come on.
  • A reminder that one’s bills need paid.
  • A sudden urge to check the mail.
  • The sound of a hamster running on it’s wheel.
  • The thought that you might have books to return to the library.
  • A rambling search for said books.
  • The library.
  • The siren call of someone messaging you.
  • A tangle of cords peeking out of a box.
  • A new idea where one was not before.
  • A new plotline for a part of the story one has not reached quite yet.
  • The thought that perhaps this story isn’t worth telling after all.
  • The gross misconception that one can handle writing three or more books at once.
  • A sudden, undeserved pity party.
  • A sudden, well-deserved pity party.
  • A sudden, and entirely deserved party.
  • Any sort of party, really.
  • Cake.
  • The Dog Park.
  • One’s own thoughts.
  • A game that one wants to play.
  • A chore one must do.
  • The irksome feeling of an unmade bed.
  • The act of making a bed.
  • The comfort that comes from sitting on a made bed.
  • Pictures.
  • Dreams.
  • The look on one’s face in the mirror.
  • Anything broken.
  • Lights flickering.
  • The ding of an appliance.
  • The hum of a refrigerator.
  • Eye contact.
  • The reward one has set oneself for completing the act in the end.
  • The idea that one must complete the act at all.
  • The uncomfortable tingle of a bladder over full.
  • The rush of a breeze over one’s arm.
  • Anything at all can be a distraction.
  • When you think about it, in the end, even what you’re writing is a distraction.
  • A distraction from all of these distractions.
  • The best sort of distraction is an entertaining one.
  • So make your distractions entertaining.
  • And then write them down.
  • And share with the class.
  • Who knows.
  • Your distractions.
  • Might become someone else’s.
  • And then.
  • The world will be a better place.
  • Or so this one thinks, anyway.
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IWSG – 03/02/16

A lot of writers will discuss ‘finding your niche’ as if this is some magical journey. As if that mythical ‘niche’ for which you search will set you on the track for results. As if that long-awaited niche will answer all your questions, and make it easier to understand yourself. A lot of authors attribute their success to finding their niche, and sticking to it, learning the trade entirely and devoting themselves to that long-awaited god named Niche.

I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit. It’s a lot like in real life. A lot of the problems that people have is that we’re all pressured to find that one thing we’re good at. That one ‘passion’ we have, that one great joy in our lives, is what we’re expected to cultivate and then unleash upon the world like an unholy tide of pleasantness. The thing is, and a lot of people are beginning to learn that now, that’s all a crock of horseshit.

There is no one end all, be all, of your creativity. You may never find that one job that you love forever. You may never find that one calling that you were ‘put on this earth for’. Your calling might be sitting in your pjs and making diagrams of buildings out of toothpicks. No one is really going to recognise you for your ability to eat an entire bag of potato chips without having to take a sip of something because of how salty they are. And I know for a fact that my odd ability to find and then binge watch anime and manga is not even remotely going to earn me money.

Or is it?

See that’s another thing a lot of people don’t tell you. Often times, niches, callings, and that one great passion, come out of a lot of practice and thought. It comes from writing those BILLION articles that mean almost nothing, and sound like an incoherent child’s scrawlings. It comes with time, and effort and energy. And yeah, you may never realize what your niche is. You may never realize that when you put those words to paper and out comes YET ANOTHER STUPID FAIRY TALE, that that is in fact your niche.

I recently had a sort of revelation. You see, ever since middle school, I had the uncanny ability to pick out interesting things to read out of the school library. And then, in highschool, I managed to find one interesting manga, or anime, or book, after another. I had, for a long while, lapsed in that talent. I focused on work, on trying to maintain school, on trying to focus. I focused on everything but this one talent that makes me happy. This consumption of stories. This absorption of plots and characters.

Recently, however, I have found a way to turn that odd talent, into something that motivates me to write here on this blog. That motivates me to do more with my life. I started my Writing Anime series. I meant it just to explore some of the lessons of writing that Anime have taught ME over the years. I meant it as a way to make use of the hundreds of hours I spend watching cartoons as a grown adult.

So it’s not an instantaneous thing, realizing that you’ve found your one thing. It’s not something that comes immediately. It’s honestly not even something I can see coming with thought or contemplation. I can only see the finding of your niche happening with massive work and effort. With a natural move that you barely even think about, that pushes you to work harder. So keep writing. You’ll find it eventually.

And when you do, it’ll feel like coming home, changing into sweats and putting on fuzzy socks after a long hard day. Difficult to do, but oh, so, worth it.

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IWSG – 2/3/16

We're here for you.Today I’d like to go into the idea of scheduling and how it can often go wrong. You see, I have fallen in love with a method called Bullet Journaling, and it’s pretty much the best thing I’ve ever had to keep me organized. (Not that even bullet journaling helps entirely, I’m an unorganized mess, and I know it.) So recently, I’ve been using this method to plan out my blog posts for the month, and it’s been… Well, sort of working.

My goal for January was in fact, SIX posts, not five. But I only managed five of them. However, I’m not counting this as any kind of loss! No, not at all. In fact, this is a major win, considering for the last six months before january, I hadn’t really posted AT ALL. You see, that can happen sometimes. Life gets in the way, and you just CAN’T sit down and write.

For those of you who are hardcore writers, people who want to make this a career, (and don’t get me wrong, I do want a career as a writer.) you know how easy it is to fall into a slump. Into that chasm and catacomb of ‘Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow.’ or ‘I can’t do it today, so maybe next week.’ And everyone’s advice is the same, WRITE IT OUT ANYWAY.

While most of the time I agree with this, I’ve also found that it can cause massive anxiety and fear for me, if I know I can’t do something, and still try to force myself to do it. Sometimes this anxiety can act as a catalyst, pushing me to greater heights. Other times, however, it can trigger something even worse. A deep depression. A ‘Woke Up Bad’ day. Or a level ten panic attack.

These sorts of things are to be avoided at all costs.

So I have given myself permission to say, ‘I can’t do this.’ Specifically, I schedule things for specific days of the week. And if it doesn’t get done? That’s okay. I don’t move it to the next day. I don’t make it follow me like some ghost rattling it’s chains of regret. I leave it. I move on to the next day’s list. Sure, I make sure it’s in next week’s list, so that it gets done EVENTUALLY. But I don’t stress over it.

Using this method, I’ve been able to keep up (mostly) not only with my writing, but also with my housecleaning. It’s a miracle, just being able to say, ‘Yeah I didn’t get to it. That’s okay.’ I never realized before how FREEING it is to just be able to say that, and move on.

So my number one tip to all you insecure writers out there? Give yourself permission to move on. Don’t let moving on turn into a slump, of course, but still. Know that you are human, and forgive yourself for your minor failures. Because honestly, only you have that power, and you should excersise it whenever possible.

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IWSG – New Years Resolutions

It’s January, and that’s the time to make new goals and to give yourself new resolution. Not only that, it’s the time of the year when people rest after lots of stressful holiday planning, and lots of gift-giving, and lots and lots of family interaction. It’s a time to retrace out steps, refresh ourselves with our successes and failures of the last year, and to plan out a new strategy.

Which, of course, means it’s time to break out all those old snacks and eat them already!

All joking aside, January, and new years in specific, are a very stressful time for me. I often find myself falling prey to my anxiety. In fact, I spent the entirety of the day of new years eve plagued by anxiety so intense that I literally couldn’t do anything other than  surf the internet. I had to fight myself for two hours to get out of bed. I was litereally paralyzed with fear at the thought of making plans and preparing for the new year. I couldn’t think of anything else.

Of course, it was silly, but when one lives with depression and anxiety, silly things tend to make your day worse. So, I ended up spending new years cowering, rather than partying. It was the lowest point I’ve ever experienced in my life. Okay, well, maybe not THE lowest. But it sure felt like it at the time.

Fully recovered now, I feel as though I have to work harder, to try and set up plans, so that if I feel like that again, at least I’ll have time to recover without also neglecting everything I’ve set up. Plus, with my medicaid now, I can afford the medicine that’ll help manage it. That will be nice too.

Basically, Finding ways to fill in for the gaps in my motivation and mental illnesses is first and foremost in my mind. I’m going to be attempting a lot this year, what with going back to school, and trying to save up, and I have to make sure that I don’t slack on anything. Which can be very difficult. Holding myself to a higher level is hard.

For anyone else who suffers through this, I wish I could tell you everything turns out okay. I wish I could take over for you when your illnesses kick in. I wish I could say that there was something to look forward to, a day when all of it would end and you’re capable of doing what needs to be done. For anyone else who suffers through this, I can only say, you’re amazing. I know you are, because I am, and I’m stronger than I think I am. I know you’re strong too.

If you want to see other posts like this, other posts from writers struggling with these sorts of feelings, go to the Insecure Writers Support Group. We’re all friends there, and I know we’ll welcome you too!

We're here for you.

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IWSG – The Green Mile

It’s the last bit of the book. The climax, the final battle. The most terrifying, wondrous conclusion of several years of your life, and you are shaking with excitement. Then, it creeps up on you. The fear. This is it. This is the end. You’re about to finish the last bits, and there is so much to be done after that, but it feels so… So final. You’re terrified.

That’s how I feel right now, actually. I’m at the cusp of my final victory, the triumph of finally finishing. And I can’t put fingers to keyboard without wanting to curl up in a ball and say No, it’s not done, it’ll never BE done. I think that perhaps that fear sits on me, crushing me. Worse than writer’s block, this comes right before a deadline, and locks me up.

The worst part is, it’s right at my worst writing too! An emotionally charged battle with dialogue. Yeah, I know, the bread and butter of fantasy, but I can’t help it! I’m still learning! It’s my very own green mile, the last long walk before the gallows of the public eye, and I’m sitting here terrified to take that first step.

What if it fails? What if my inability to write makes my words completely incomprehensible to anyone? What if all this time has been wasted? What if I could have spent it building models of airplanes and selling them on craigslist? What if, what if, what if?

Like many, I’m going to just have to move past it,  kick myself in the arse and go on trying. Because I can’t just let this die. Not after spending so much time and energy, so much blood and sweat on it. I won’t allow that to happen. And that’s the key. You can’t allow yourself to be your biggest enemy. There’s nothing worse than failure, except perhaps self-sabotage.

So buck up, self, and quit sabatoging! We can do this, and we are gonna knock their socks off!

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IWSG – Security

Security is a tricky thing. Some spend their entire lives chasing after it. Some are born with it, and retain it until the day they die. You can lose it, and you can gain it, as easily as the wind blows. There are a thousand factors to whether or not your are secure. Locks can help, or hinder, while hard work seems to attract and also abolish.

What I’m talking about is a complex thing. Something that everyone, I think, in their own way searches and yearns for. For some, Security can be a good paycheck and knowing where their next meal comes from. For others, Security can be the next road they intend to walk down, or the next turn on a map. For a few, security can be the end of a leash in another’s hands. For others, security is holding that leash, and knowing they could let go at any time.

It takes a long time to be able to determine what security is for ourselves. And once we do, we hold on to that definition, even after it becomes old, outdated, and chipped away. Human beings don’t enjoy change. We try to, we try to look at the bright side, and sometimes we fail. Sometimes, we push ourselves away from good change, cathartic change, in an attempt to force ourselves into a ‘security’ that no longer fits. False Security.

It takes work to define what Security means to you. It takes trying new things. It takes holding your own against those who would take your security away from you. There are steps that you can take to find and keep it. There are steps you can take to lose and break away from it. There is good security, and there is bad security.

But when security is found, when you really have it, it’s like the whole world is built just for you. You can be happy with what you have. You can set your sights on everything you don’t. You can tune out all those niggling worries, and focus on what is truly important. Security, beyond anything else, is what I crave most in my life. It’d be easier, of course, if Security weren’t as flowing as a river, and as flickering as a flame. But then, the journey for it wouldn’t be near as fun, would it?

So feel insecure. Feel downtrodden, and worry. All of that is work, towards the one thing you need above all else. Insecurity IS your security. Because you just have to let security in, to end insecurity.

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The Homestuck Finale

For those of you who follow my blog, you are aware that I am Homestuck Trash. Basically what that means, for the uninitiated, is that I read, almost religiously, a webcomic called Homestuck. And for the Purists, yes, I came in after the trolls were introduced, and I don’t care.

I started Homestuck when I was nineteen. A little old for the target demographic, but I instantly bonded with the characters. From John’s dorky love of ‘the animes’ to Jade’s amazing freedoms, I was reminded of myself at that age. In fact, I identified with them so much that they started me writing fanfiction again. (I’ll spare you the gruesome details.)

Homestuck is a webcomic of second chances. I started reading it six years ago, when it was new, and dropped it, like so many people do, before it got good. I picked it up a second time and discovered an amazing story. It got me to give Tumblr a second try. The fandom goaded me to try NaNoWriMo. Even in the webcomic itself, time travel and extra lives prove time and again that second (and third) chances are a universal thing, built into the fabric of paradox space.

Homestuck is about growing up, taking chances, making mistakes, and building your own world. Sometimes with your friends, sometimes with family, but always your world.

Through John, we learn how one simple word or deed can change everything. Through Jade, we learn how easy it is to let one bad friend influence us. Through Rose, we see how difficult it can be to pull ourselves back up from a fall. Through Dave, we learn many things, but most of all, how dangerous it is to live in the past.

No matter what though, my favorite character is Gamzee. He was born to high position. His life should have been perfect. But every step of the way was difficult, from neglect to drug addiction to hurtful friends, to hurting friends. Gamzee has a rough life.

And because of that, and because of his choices, he is an amazing villain. Unlike bratty Caliborn, who simply doesn’t know better, Gamzee had examples, his friends, and chose avoidance and worship of maniacal gods over change.

Whenever I find my fear of change hissing at something, the cautionary tale that is Gamzee’s life plays out for me.There is nothing scarier than change, except perhaps the idea of what sort of monster I might become without it. And whether he is redeemed at the end or killed or something else, Gamzee will always be my favorite for teaching me that.

Perhaps Andrew Hussie didn’t mean to teach that lesson. Perhaps he just wanted to make a story about kids playing a game. However, no matter his intent, he’s given the world a gift. He has taught a generation about persistence, perseverance, and acceptance. I hope, one day, to do the same.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here, reading the ending with tears in my eyes, a pen in my hand, and notes being taken.

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One Year Anniversary

You know, when a year goes by, and you realize that you’ve had something great going, you want to celebrate it, don’t you? There are only a few things I’ve ever actually managed to hold on to for a full year. I can only remember a few, anyway. A job. Once, a boyfriend. And now, this blog. This wonderful repository for everything I’ve worked so hard for.

To be honest, this blind sided me, so I didn’t have time to prepare something awesome for my one year. Instead, I’m going to plagarise a bit of what Chris Votey did for his, which is essentially the same as a christmas letter! I get one of those every year from a good friend of mine, and it’s always an interesting read.

First, some milestones. This past 365 days, I have received a total of 59 comments on this blog. Thank you all so much for keeping the conversation going. You’ve all been a huge inspiration to me, and I know I’ve learned a lot from the words we’ve shared. Thank you all for the 1448 views too! That breaks down to a little under four views per day! And even if at least one of those views per day was me, checking up on everything, that’ s still AMAZING.

To think, this all started with a post called “Hello World”, in which I introduce a little about myself. From there, I’ve grown to the point that I have a regular series of works called my “Weekly Writing Update”s In which I post my weekly writing goals, successes, failures, word counts, and reading goals.

I haven’t yet published any of the books I’ve spoken about, but I’ve been working on them for quite a while. Too long a while to quit now. This year will be much more favorable, and I’ll be able to actually get them published, I have NO doubt! <3

So thank you again, for your support, and for your continued watchful enjoyment, and I hope to see you again soon! <3

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