Tag: doubts

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!

Vacation Needed

I’ve decided to give myself a little vacation. A mental vacation, actually. I feel like I’m on the verge of one of those burnouts where I can’t focus on anything and give up on everything, so it’s best if I put some things on the back-burner for the next 5 weeks or so (until the semester is over). There’s too much going on, and I can’t seem to focus. I can’t afford to let school slide–or work–so it has to be writing.

I’ve been trying to get to work on How to Think Sideways and Holly’s Motivation class, but I keep getting busy with other stuff, then stressing over not doing the writing stuff, so until I finish out the semester, I’m giving myself permission to not write. I still intend to blog some, but my brain can’t handle anything else right now.

When the semester is over, and I have no school work to distract me, I’ll tackle HTTS, the motivation class, and probably HTRYN as well, for a solid 3 months. Until then, I’m just going to hang onto my GPA–and my mind. (Maybe write some free verse poetry in there, too.)

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?!

The Muse has been Blocking Me

I haven’t done any writing for the last couple of weeks, and yesterday I realized why:  I’m not happy with my setting/society in The Fall.  It’s a dystopian zombie story (although the zombies are more of a side note than anything), and my society seemed too bland and smooth. It’s been bothering me for a while–I have a few handwritten notes about it–but I read a couple of books last week that sort of solidified my feelings about it, so now I have a better grip on what needs to be changed before I get any further in. The setting is very important for this story, and the society is part of that, so I think that’s why I’ve been having problems writing lately:  The Muse wasn’t feeling it.

However, the Muse is quite happy with the stream-of-consciousness thoughts about the setting I’ve been getting down today, so I’m going to continue on with that.

Anyone have suggestions for naming a walled-city after the world ends?

Writing Inspiration: (Or Lack Thereof)

So, last week had its ups and downs.  Up:  Hit my (small) page goals and my blogging goals on Tuesday and Thursday.  Down:  A computer update resulted in me being unable to get online on my desktop computer on the weekend.  (And since using my laptop bugs me when it comes to most things, I didn’t get online.  The horror.)  Happily, through sheer luck, I have managed to get the issue fixed and am now happily using my desktop.  (Yay!)

This week is looking to be emotionally challenging, so we’ll see how it goes.  I haven’t finished my school stuff yet, so my page goals haven’t happened yet today.

So here are some writerly pins I found (and appreciated) on Pinterest:

(Ah, yes.  If only it were that easy...)
(Ah, yes. If only it were that easy…)
(Sometimes I feel like this is the most evocative thing I am capable of writing.)
(Sometimes I feel like this is the most evocative thing I am capable of writing.)
(Yes.  This.)
(Yes. This.)

 

(Mine are currently only semi-ignoring me.)
(Mine are currently only semi-ignoring me.)
(True.)
(True.)

Any writing words of wisdom and/or inspiration today?

Happiness Is…Words on Paper

You know what’s awesome?  Writing.

Do you know how long it’s been since I wrote anything besides random emails and interminable school papers?  At least three months.

Do you know how happy writing again makes me?  Extremely.

Granted, I didn’t write much.  But school started again this week, and I decided that, in addition to my piles of school work ( I feel like a fifth year at Hogwarts), I would make time for writing.  And blogging.  No exceptions.  No more procrastinating.  Just me and my characters and heaps of trouble.

And you know what?  Once I made myself start, it felt fantastic!  I’ve missed writing so much.  I can never not write this long again.  It’s unacceptable.

How else am I going to capture the magic around me, if I don’t write?  Besides, I have to keep my characters safe from the zombies.

 

Feelings of Inadequacy

When I’m writing, I have this wonderful, magical story in my head. The characters are fantastic. The conflict is intense. The world is beautiful (or at least beautifully realized). When I sit down and put my thoughts on paper, though…it’s just not.

Yes, I know it’s just first draft, and that revisions are for making it pretty and shiny. But I still want to capture the essence of that vision I can see in my head. This failure to adequately portray the true beauty of the story makes me feel inadequate, and induces what I can only call writer’s block. If I don’t write it, I’m not failing my vision of the story. Therefore, it’s safer not to write. Obviously

Except, you can’t edit a blank page. You also can’t read it, but that’s another thing. No one can appreciate the beauty—or the humor or the wonder—of a story that hasn’t been written, a character that hasn’t spoken, or a world that hasn’t been explored. So not-writing kills the story entirely, takes away the character’s breath, poisons the world.

Do you want to be responsible for that? No? Then write.

It’s Not Really Procrastinating if You’re Exhausted

 

busy

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there hasn’t been much going on around here except for the occasional book review.  That is mostly true of my life of late, too.  It’s been 9 1/2 months since my stroke, and I’m still not 100% yet.  To be fair, I may never be 100% of what I was, so I just need to adjust to my new normal.  That has been…harder…than I thought it would be.

Yes, I still work three days a week (3 days that are 11-16 hours each), on my feet in a fast-paced environment.  I love my patients, but it’s overwhelming at times.  Plus, I go to school full-time (online at Regent University now).  I’m taking some great classes, but it is a teensy bit exhausting at times.  I’m trying to start working out again (right now, “working out” means some light walking and strength training).  Writing hasn’t sorted itself completely yet.

I’m trying to blog on something like a consistent schedule (which, let’s face it, right now, that’s once a week, if I’m lucky).  I’m also trying to work my way through Holly Lisle’s Create a World Clinic to get the writing juices flowing again.  But it’s hard.  So hard, sometimes.  Some days, dragging myself out of bed is a monumental task.  On my days off, I should be able to sleep in a bit (where “sleep in” means staying asleep until after 6 a.m.).  But no.  This morning, I was awake before 4 .m.  Seriously?

But yes, that’s my goal:  one blog here a week, and I intend to have some sort of writing progress to report weekly.  And, if anyone has any sort of suggestions at all….I’m all ears.