Popcorn for Lunch

I had popcorn for lunch. Because I’m an adult.

I watched Julie & Julia. Again.

Hours later, I’m still here on the couch, watching football and finding kernels stuck to my shirt. And wondering why it’s been almost 2 years since I touched this blog.

And wondering if I’ll ever really get back to it.

And wondering why I’m still not writing even though I’m reading voraciously and dreaming about all the things I should be writing.

image

Things I should be writing. Because the whole goal was to get my life back on track so I could make the time to write. So, now that I’m back on track, how do I make the time?

This is where I’m supposed to teach myself about work-life balance and learn that there is always time when you are truly passionate about something.

And I am. So I will.

Paradise Lost

I remember when I looked forward to writing. I’d sneak it in whenever I could…in random notebooks, on various Word documents scattered in my laptop, even on PostIts.

But I haven’t actually written much of anything in a very long time. I’ve let work consume me, and in turn, forgotten what I was actually working towards. 

I miss it. My brain misses it. My heart misses it. And whether or not someone out there is going to read it, I have come to the conclusion that I need to force myself to find the time for it. 

To be continued…Image

The One Where I’m an Idiot

I’m an idiot.

Okay, in reality, my trying to foster the right type of mood for the writing I was working on was headed in the right direction. I consider myself pretty self-aware and know what changes my moods. Like my sister and a good friend both mentioned in the comments, music can be very influential. I couldn’t agree more. Music has soothed my soul for as long as I can remember. Even before I can remember if you want to go by my mother’s account of the excitement I expressed when John Denver would come over the radio.

On Monday I was way too chipper. The weather was sunny and fairly warm. I had lots of errands to take care of and the day went way too well for me to flip the switch to somber. Tuesday didn’t look any better. I was starting to hunt for the right CDs to edge me into a darker tone. Maybe I could draw the blinds and eliminate some of that glorious sunlight. 

And then…

Then the rain came. The gray, chilly rain. This seemed promising.

You might be wondering where I realize I’m an idiot. It’s about to happen.

I put on my favorite sweatpants. I make a cup of tea. I grab a blanket and the remote and get comfortable on the sofa. I found a movie on the Sundance channel that I had missed once before and as I watched, felt the clouds gathering over my head. Then it hit me…MOVIES. All my life I have wanted to act or have some involvement in the entertainment industry. Just like reading a book, you are watching a story unfold in front of your eyes. Your emotions are manipulated by what you are seeing and hearing. When I leave a movie theater, I feel like I was a character. My mood is fully enveloped in what I’ve experienced.

How did I not think of this first?

Between the rain and the movie, I felt myself sliding down a slippery slope to gloom. I opened my laptop and the words started to flow. New ideas struck in intervals along the way; the lightning that sparked my character into motion. It felt good to get all those scattered thoughts I had been having come to fruition.

I’m not sure if I’ll have to wait to be wholly inspired to work on this piece again, but at least I know what can nudge me into the right state of mind now. The facepalm from not using what I’m so passionate about in the first place was enough to knock  the sense into me. 

 

Brewing a Storm

Recently, I started writing something I didn’t expect to write. I was thinking and my thoughts seemed like an nightmarish movie playing in my head. I wanted to get rid of it so I did what I do to cleanse my thinking palate, I put it on paper….well, sort of. My thoughts poured out out of my fingertips, furiously typing to drain the storm cloud over my head. When I finished, I had what seemed like a few pages of a good idea for a book. 

Rainstorm Over the Sea by John Constable

I tucked it away in my documents folder for another rainy day. It’s been a few weeks and lately I’ve been feeling anxious to work on it. More ideas have been stirring on how to shape it and where it will all lead. The inspiration is brewing, but what I really need is another storm.

Every day brings different emotions in varying depths. Whether I’m up or down or pensive or dreamy shapes how my writing develops. However, never have I intentionally looked for a dark mood to come to create an intensive writing environment. This week will be my trial. In the past few years, I’ve made it a habit to wake up deciding to be happy. So, this week, I’ll decide to be sad. Sad and morbid with my heart heavy.

It’s a path I haven’t taken before, but I’m interested to see its effects on my project and my life. It should be a strange week, but hopefully a productive one.

I’d love some advice from other writers on how you “get in the mood” to write darker pieces.

Know Your Story, Know Yourself

My blogging has dwindled because my writing has dwindled. I have put everything on hold to find a steady job instead. Notice I say steady because freelance really isn’t when you’re a novice. However, to help myself, I asked for a voice recorder for Christmas which I’m dying to use. My husband though he was buying me a device to help me remember things like grocery items. Bless his heart.

Why would I be so practical?

My objective was to be able to be more free in my writing. It’s been difficult to allow myself time to write when I have other priorties looming. When I finally find time to sit and focus, I have to hope that I’ll be exorbitantly inspired in those few moments and hammer out some thrilling work. I think it’s safe to say we all know that inspiration has no intention of being convenient.

My brain would rather write as I speak, so this recorder could be the key to me producing more organic writing. I can carry it in my purse and whenever an idea arises, I push one button and blather on until I’ve gotten it all out. Then when the time comes to sit down and write, I already have the material. All that’s left to do is transcribe. It may be more work in the end, but I think it’s a smart way to get more quality writing.

Discovering the ins and outs of what works for you is integral to creating successful writing. As writers, we get to know our characters or topics or plots, but we should never neglect to get to know more about ourselves. There are factors that we can manipulate to get the best from ourselves like the time of day we work best, or what our environment includes. A quiet room or a park bench can have different influences on what we are working on. Realizing that a voice recorder could help me get my ideas down sooner should be a big help to my time management.

Now I just have to find the time to learn how to use it.

Pushing Boundaries

Let’s just ignore the fact that I haven’t blogged in ages. Deal?

Deal.

Moving on…

I’ve been trying to push the boundaries of my comfort zones in different aspects of my life. With any task, I can usually go only so far and pinball around in my own small space of familiarity. I ricochet off the same ideas over and over. But, how long before I hit TILT?

I’ve always fancied myself a bit of a chameleon. I take bits of what I see and know to help myself evolve. The problem is, I’m not finding my own way. When I recently started a project journal, I decided to stop allowing the lined pages confine me. I’m varying the size of my print, the margins and using words to carve pictures. For every little step across a line, I feel a little more liberated. And also a bit more inspired.

Creativity is something I always envy in others. Whether it’s writing, art, cooking, fashion, anything really. I’m always thinking, I wish I had that ingenuity. Now, I do think that this is not always a learned thing. Some people are just born with that door open. However, I don’t like limits and I do believe that you can be taught, conditioned, to a certain degree.

So this is my current self-improvement project. Pushing my boundaries. Letting my brain forget about common practices and finding what works for me. I’m hoping to pick up some forgotten art projects to give me a push in the right direction. That was actually one of my wants in a previous post. And as an update, numbers 2 through 7 I’m doing well with. I’m still working on 1 and 8.

Even if your goal is to write, exercising your mind in other areas helps you branch out. If I can pick up an old craft project, I can look at it and see how to make it better. I can dig in and clip here, add there. The same goes for my writing. Editing is like pruning the rose bush. Or adding a red stripe to that abstract painting. And the more I push my creativity, the better that final product is going to be.

*Please feel free to share how you boost your creativity in the comments. I’d love to hear your ideas!

Ink Stains: An Ebook Review

I’ve told you before about author Lara Zielin when I reviewed her book Donut
Days
. Well, when she asked me to review a new ebook, Ink Stains, which she
compiled with eight other authors, I jumped at the chance. Between these
authors they have more than 25 published books, so it’s only natural that they
would have some great advice to share with other writers.

The career of a writer is often an uncertain one.

Will I ever be published?

Will anyone buy my book?

Is it even worth the effort?

We ask ourselves a million questions and doubt ourselves a
million times. Rejection and criticism can hail down on the delicate surroundings
we’ve built with our words. It’s hard to stay motivated and focused when
there’s a cloud of doubt raining over your thoughts. So, let Ink Stains be your
umbrella.

With each author’s contribution, you’ll gain insight into
dealing with some of the most common worries that writers have. Questions you
may have posed to yourself, they have asked themselves already. Bumps in the
road? They have had the same ones to cross. Topics like the time spent on your
work, how to handle the criticism from editors, writer’s block and even how to
answer the ever-popular question “Am I a writer?” is addressed.

Each entry is told in a conversational tone, so it’s like
you are sitting with the author in a one-on-one interview. All of which are
easy to relate to because these are real people with the same problems every
writer has experienced. Whether you have already published, or this is the
first time you are putting pen to paper, this is a great read.

Ink Stains isn’t a tell-all novel with every tidbit about
writing you have ever wanted to know. It’s a quick read with honest opinions
and personal accounts from published authors. After reading it, you’ll feel a
renewed inspiration for your writings. But make sure you keep it on a nearby
shelf because picking this up every so often for a reread just might do wonders
for your progress.