Tag: creating

Finally Summer.

This semester is finally over! I’m thrilled, to say the least. It’s funny, I couldn’t focus on writing with school stuff floating in the back of my brain, but the last two weeks, I’ve been feeling the writing itch going stronger, so I know the Muse is ready to get back to work. And so am I. This first “off” week, I plan to get everything situated and organized, and figure out exactly what I intend to work on this summer (Yes, I have to have a plan.). Then I’ll get started.

I can’t wait.

Currently…

So, finals are next week, which means I’ll (hopefully) getting back into the writing thing in a couple of weeks. Until then, I have essays to revise and a portfolio to put together. Eep.

It’s strange, considering I’ve never thought about a piece of writing as representative of my capabilities as a whole. Perhaps that’s because I generally write novel-length fiction, not short pieces. Long pieces of writing are easier to see as a whole, not as pieces of a whole, so looking at my writing in that slightly different way has been a learning experience.

I’ve finished the first draft of my long final essay–about my feelings on organized religion and why I feel the way I do. I’ve selected two essays to use in the portfolio–one a fictionalized account of two brothers in Hurricane Katrina, and one an account of my experiences with race in my hometown. (That one is pretty personal, but I am so happy with how it turned out.) I have to pick at least one more piece to include, which will probably be a literary analysis. Then I have to revise all of them and put the portfolio together.

So, I’ve been doing writing. Just…a horse of a different color, if you will.

My Muse Left for Bora Bora

(I do not own this image. Image by Alquiler de Coches courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.)
(I do not own this image. Image by Alquiler de Coches courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.)

It’s funny to me, just how big an effect your brain can have on the creative process. Like, I have no problem at all with conjuring up worst-case scenarios. They often keep me awake at night, actually. You would think that being in a mental funk wouldn’t interfere with the brain’s ability to be creative, since it’s so good at picturing horrible things.

But that’s not true. Instead, for me, it seems to have the opposite effect:  if my mental state isn’t optimal, I can’t be creative to save my life. It just isn’t happening. The Muse goes on a (mental) vacation, and is not available for comment.

Currently, my Muse is probably on the beach somewhere in Bora Bora. Hammock. White sand. Blue water. Refreshing drink. Sounds about right…

Glad one of us is enjoying ourselves.

A Little Bit of Inspiration

So, I’m taking a short break from writing because of work and school. This session, I’m taking American Lit (blech) and The Art of the Essay (required for English/Professional Writing majors). I was not thrilled to be taking the class, as I’m really more into fiction writing than anything, but it hasn’t been so bad. We’ve read a few interesting selections, including “How it Feels to be Colored Me,” by Zora Neale Hurston, whom I’ve never read before. (No, not even Their Eyes Were Watching God. But guess what’s on my Kindle now…)

Obviously, we have writing assignments every week in this class. The normal, literary analysis-type assignments I don’t stress about, but a few weeks ago, the assignment was to write a short essay, emulating the style of one of the writers we’d covered. Suggestions for topics included issues in popular culture and natural disasters. My Muse grabbed onto that idea, and since I’ve lived near New Orleans, naturally Hurricane Katrina was my topic of choice.

So, I wrote my short essay about two brothers who didn’t evacuate before the storm, and who are now trapped in their house, listening to nature rage outside. I was pretty happy with the essay, but completely unsure what the professor would think of it. I’ve been waiting for the grade for two weeks, and I finally got it back.

I made a fantastic grade, which is awesome, but the professor’s feedback was even better. He said, “My goodness this is great. Homerun! What a terrific writer we have amongst us. Again, you have a unique ear–an ear that all great writers need to have. Nice pitch, tone, vocab decisions. Impressive. ” And, also, “Wow! impressive opening. You really have an ear for narrative voicings.”

Obviously, I’m happy with the grade, but the encouragement I got from the professor’s comments is even more valuable to me. I’m totally inspired now!

Vacations are Good for the Soul (and the Muse)

You know how I’ve decided not to worry about writing at all for the next four weeks, until the semester is over, so I don’t risk a brain meltdown? Turns out that taking an “official” break from writing has my Muse playing with story ideas.

Yep. True story.

Apparently, my Muse can’t wait to get back to work on Witches–which I haven’t looked at in years, and Chasing Shadows, which is more recent, but still not something I’ve thought about in like a year. Looks like I’ll be taking those two stories apart and revising them this summer. Plus working through HTTS with The Fall. I’m actually really excited about working on Witches. It was the first thing I started writing. I love the characters to pieces. I love the world. I love the plot. I even have the first draft of the second book written as well. I think the draft of Witches I have is over 300,000 words, though, so clearly there is a lot of work to be done, sigh.

But the Muse is stoked, and already at work in the back of my mind.

I can’t wait for the semester to be over!

Two is Better than One

Good morning. I’m just working through Holly Lisle’s How to Motivate Yourself workshop a bit this morning. She always has such interesting videos, like the one I just watched about communication between the right and left brains (and what happens when that connection is severed). I think my right brain influences me a lot. That would be my instinctive reactions, my desires, my hunches. My more introspective side, if you will.

Two people I’m close to are strongly left-brained, though. One of them…I don’t think his right brain gets much say in his life at all. The other, well, I think her right brain holds some sway. It’s interesting, actually, considering the differences. It’s like having two different people in your head.

I’ve always said I had two personalities.

Now I’m off to ponder my results from this morning’s exercises. And see if I can strengthen that connection between my brains.

How Writing is Like Scaling the Grand Canyon

You know what I haven’t been doing lately?  Writing. Or anything writing-related. I’d like to be able to blame it on school stuff, but that would (mostly) be a lie, soooo…..Yeah. No writing here. Instead, for the past three days, I’ve been wincing in pain every time I move. Did you know that hiking 9 miles makes you pretty darn sore?  Take my word for it:  it does. That excursion was part of my training for the Rim to Rim Grand Canyon hike planned for the end of May. I realize there is no way to actually train for scaling one of the greatest natural wonders of our country, but I have to at least put in some effort. Because I don’t want to fall off a cliff (and I’m scared of heights). And I don’t want to be so sore afterwards I’m unable to enjoy the rest of my vacation.

However, I need to treat my writing like my training:  Just. Do. It. Will it suck sometimes?  Probably. Will it be painful? At times. Is it worth it?  Definitely. Putting in the time now will make me feel so much better later.  And that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? Writing isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it’s sweat and tears and agony (I’ve killed off characters, thank you. I’m not GRRM, but still.). But if I put in the time now, training, making it a habit, in the end, it will come much more easily, and there will be less suffering (like the guilt resulting from putting it off).

Okay, so there’s not a looming threat of falling off a cliff to keep me motivated, but a future full of not writing and being miserable as a result is pretty darn inspirational.

Renewing my (Writing) Vows

So, yeah, I’ve pretty much dropped off the radar for the past few months (Off the radar, off the planet, either way…). I’ve been busy, yes. School and work can be pretty overwhelming, definitely, but my disappearance has just as much, if not more, to do with laziness. I just haven’t felt like doing a lot of things. I want to fix that, though.  Get my sh*t together. Get back in the saddle. You know, the usual pronouncements.

This week has been spring break for me, so I’ve tried to rest a lot. With my new set of classes gearing up to start on Monday, I’ll be super busy again, but I’m not afraid to tackle a towering to-do list (Ha! I do tend to over-commit, true.). I laugh in the face of busyness! I may end up curled in a ball, whimpering, but I do have a plan. Eight more weeks of classes, then no school until mid-August. And there are so many writing projects I want to tackle this year! (Drafting, revising, polishing, all are on this list.)

I can get this accomplished. I have priorities.

Work. School. Training for my Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike in May. Holly Lisle’s motivation class (SO needed.). Re-taking How to Think Sideways with this year’s only class. Blogging. Oh, yes, and sleep. I can juggle all of that, right? Right?!

Playing with the Muse

Despite the stresses of this week–my aunt was just diagnosed with breast cancer, one of my best friends had brain surgery today–I managed to finish the revision outline for the werewolf story.  It’s not very in-depth, only six pages long, but I think it will help me get organized to actually finish the revision (FINALLY).  I’m hoping so, anyway.

I wrote for 20 minutes or so yesterday on The Fall.  Only got a few hundred words or so, but that’s better than nothing.  Even better, I have an idea for part of the plot.  Well.  Kind of.  I think maybe it’s going to be super-important to the plot…but I could be wrong.  It has to do with an up-’til-now-unseen character that disappeared six months before.  I think I know WHY he disappeared…where he went…and even more importantly, how it ties into the larger story arc.  And here I thought he was just the used-to-be best friend.  Who knew?  My Muse, apparently….

I love the mystery and the surprises in writing.  It’s what makes the whole thing truly worthwhile and beautiful.  I love when the little things all come together and something clicks inside my head and it all makes sense.  (I just wish real life could make sense like that.)  I love when a tiny detail you thought wasn’t important turns out to be the key to everything.  I love writing.  I love creating.