Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Words for Wednesday Week 4

Here is my contribution this week. Click here to see more.





This week's prompts are:
  1. abacus
  2. bookshelf
  3. cursory
  4. delicate
  5. eclipse
  6. finery

And/or

  1. gigantic
  2. healthy
  3. innocuous
  4. jaundiced
  5. kitchen
  6. linger 

It was a seemingly innocuous idea as Bob went into the antique store where he saw a variety of decorative things, including a gigantic abacus (which he could picture displaying in his kitchen at home), an old bookshelf made of delicate wood, an oil painting of an eclipse at night, an ancient finery for making wrought iron, and a plaster sculpture with many cursory details, including a yellow spot that made the figure seemed jaundiced. It was all too expensive for Bob, however, so he decided It was not healthy  to linger in the antique store much longer.  But one can dream, he thought as he left the store.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How Writing Can Change Your Life

From Writerslife.org:

How Writing Can Change Your Life - Writer's Life.org

Writing really is a gift, and doing so regularly can be cathartic, therapeutic and truly bring positive changes and benefits to your life and the lives of those around you. It also, of course, can bring great pleasure to the lives of those who read your work.
So how does writing help to change your life for the better?

It helps you make sense of the world
Is there anything more useful than writing things down to help you make sense of them? Whether its a logical problem, or an intense feeling that you can’t quite account for. If you are feeling angry, or overjoyed, or deeply sad, writing things down and exploring your emotions in this way can help you make sense of things and feel much stronger and more equipped to handle anything life throws your way.

Keeps you in touch with your creative side
When we were children our minds were so much freer. We didn’t censor ourselves, we didn’t feel embarrassed or silly for believing in magic. Writing helps us to get back in touch with that childlike self. When creating a story, you can be as imaginative as you wish and can conjure up worlds where magical, otherworldly, impossible things might happen. Being creative helps to make our lives more interesting, more satisfying. Through creativity, we can explore ideas, make connections and find deeper meanings, and writing helps us to exercise our creativity on a regular basis.

Writing helps you remember things
Writing can evoke all sorts of emotions, all sorts of memories. Even if you are not writing a journal or autobiography, looking back on your work, you can’t help but be brought back to the time you were writing it. If you write throughout your life, no matter what it is you write about, you have this wonderful, fantastical, detailed account of your journey that is truly amazing to look back on.

Writing helps you communicate your thoughts and feelings
There is nothing more frustrating than feeling misunderstood, or struggling with emotions, desires and thoughts that you feel you cannot clearly express. Writing helps you to share such things, to explore them, and to reach out and touch the hearts of people who are perhaps feeling the same.

Writing brings joy to the world
Reading is a pleasure that has been enjoyed for hundreds of years. If your writing touches one reader, inspires them, comforts them, makes them look at the world differently, or simply entertains them for a while then you are bringing something positive and wonderful to the world. The more readers you are able to deliver this to, the better!

Writing is rewarding
Writing is something that you have to work hard at. But in doing so you will see fantastic results. Not only will you get closer to your goal of finishing that story, but your writing will also improve. It’s incredibly satisfying to get better at our craft, and the sense of achievement you feel when you finally finish your story is something truly amazing.
Writing really can make such a positive and impactful difference in your life. The more you do it, the more you will learn how to use it as a tool to bring you happiness and peace. Writing helps your memory, helps you feel more positive, and helps you communicate and connect with others, as well as providing you with a sense of pride and satisfaction like no other. So next time you sit down to write just remember what good it brings you, and be thankful for that!

This I can say I agree with. I've definitely felt rewarded in working the long book I have been composing.  It's gotten my creative juices flowing.  I'm still wondering how much longer I can go and what I can do next. I do have another writing project started and want too get more done on that one, but the ideas for the memoir keep coming and I've gotten so into trying to get it done.  
I've gotten so into my writing that I need to find some time to find art ideas for work. I just did the following idea (click here for info).  As with the assemblage, I try to make examples at home so others will get the idea.
And I need to find some recipes to try for cooking class. Since Memorial Day Weekend is coming up, I might try to find something I can do then.

Paper Tube Daisy
For class, everyone chose a color for their flowers
and since I did not find all yellow buttons,
I allowed each of them to paint the buttons
with their desired colors.



Monday, May 22, 2017

More, Now, When, Where--To Be Added

six word memoirs:

As I continue my memoir writing journey, I still get somewhat frustrated about the word count. If you've read my blog regularly, you probably already know about this.  I've been told that that the effort put into the work is what should count and I agree with that.  Nevertheless, I still wonder how so many people have written such works of 70K words or more.  In some such works, I see many overly descriptive narratives. I've tried this, but maybe it's not exactly my style. and in general, I fell like I have don't a have a lot to say compared to those I have read. I know I shouldn't compare like this, but I get fearful of being told mine isn't long enough. I have been told conflicting stories that traditional publishers require a certain number of words, and have heard conflicting posts on just how many words.  And that it doesn't matter how long if you plan to self-publish, but I'm a bit ambivalent on the idea of self-publishing.

But now I find myself remembering more things I feel a need to add. I'm just not sure what chapter to add these things to, or if to start a new one altogether. I see nothing wrong with the latter idea.  It's all just a matter of decisions.
 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Prozac Nation Quotes

With Mental Health Month coming to a close, I decided to share some quotes on depression from Prozac Nation. I think you can see how that book and movie influenced me 🙂


“That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.” ― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation



“That's the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it's impossible to ever see the end.” 
― Elizabeth WurtzelProzac Nation





Thursday, May 18, 2017

Merging Your Fiction Writing With Real Life Experiences

From Writerslife.org:

Merging Your Fiction Writing With Real Life Experiences - Writer's Life.org


We are always told to ‘write what we know’ but what does that really mean? If you don’t have any desire to write an autobiography or can’t see how a book about your everyday experiences or the past is going to knock the socks off your reader, how do you use what you know, what you have experienced, and what you are passionate about, in your writing work?

I was told this many times, and was almost certain I was going to choose to write a novel based on my experiences with depression. But as I began writing notes, it began to sound more like memoir, so that is why I went with that.  Having been influenced by another person's memoir on the same subject may have been why I found myself writing my notes that way.

Whether I had chosen to write fiction or a memoir, I was apprehensive of using other people's real names or using their characteristics to define a fictional character.  I've seen this used as a gag on TV shows: Someone is trying to write a story and someone else tells that person to "Write what you know." The would-be writer takes this advice and ends up penning something that leads the other characters to say "This story is about us!" Now I wonder how many real-life writers have had this happen to them. 


Keep your eyes open
Magical, unusual, beautiful and horrifying things happen all around us all the time. Keep your eyes and ears open to them and soon you’ll start to notice things that you can use in your writing to make it more believable, exciting and unique. Next time you go for a walk or sit on a bus, really look at everything, immerse yourself in the moment - and make sure you bring a notebook so you can capture everything that strikes you there and then.
Say yes to more things
It’s hard to have real life experiences worth writing about if you never do anything or go anywhere. Sitting inside on your sofa or staring for hours on end on your computer screen will get you nowhere. So make a real effort to be a yes person and you’ll find your life becomes richer, more exciting and more unusual - all of which are excellent fuel for a great story.

I'm not sure how, if at all,  either of these two above have worked into my memoir writing. 

Be brave
Doing things that push you, that take you outside your comfort zone and that scare you a little will help you find inspiration in your real life experiences. Those things that make us nervous, make our palms a little sweaty, make us get butterflies are usually the things that make for good stories. So the more you are willing to take a leap of faith and to have the courage to simply go for it, the more fuel you will have to merge these experiences into your work.

I guess I was brave to have looked in my old journals (see below) to find out something I wanted to add. There were somethings I didn't want to be reminded of and many of these I already remembered even without looking at the journals. But there was something I wanted to know for sure, so I had to look the journals to know. I now also think some of the things might have worked for a fictional novel.

Talk to people
OK so you might not have a great many stories of your own, but the more you talk to people the more you will learn about them, their lives and the tales they have to tell. You never know when someone might tell you something beautiful, interesting or hilarious so always open yourself up to people of all ages and from all backgrounds. Learn what you can from the. Gather stories and use them to influence your work. The more people you meet the more likely you are to find those with great stories and can use them as the basis for many of your rich and interesting characters too.

The closest I came to this one as far as memoir writing goes is when I recently asked my mom if she thought I could have been considered a precocious child. She told me some thing I was too little to remember for sure--I taught myself to read and was drawing perspective at a young age.  And she reminded me of an ability I had a child--if she or another adult asked me what day of the week a date in the past fell on, I mostly could answer this correctly. I seemingly memorized the calendars that was in the back pages of the old telephone directory (anyone remember seeing that calendar?)  I now think these characteristics would work well for a fictional character. 

Research your past
Talk to your relatives about your history, ask them to share their stories and really explore your memories of what it was like growing up. The places you’ve lived in, the holidays you went on as a child, how you felt on your first day at school. You have a whole life’s worth of experiences in your past, so take your time to think of them and see how they could influence your writing.
I've been doing this one, well sort of. My current treatment on antidepressants wasn't my first.  It had been years since I first did so, then left suddenly. During that time, I'd been asked to keep a journal and had three of them. The other day, I went to find them in my storage shed to see what info contained in these journals I could use. 

There was one thing I remembered before evoking at the journals. Turns out I remembered the date incorrectly (according to the date of this detail in the journal), but decided not to try to correct it. I'm probably the only one who remembers this one particular incident and if no one else knows for sure, then I see no reason to be too factual. In this way, I'm kind of fictionalizing some facts. It has seemed to work better this way. I have noted in my prologue that some events have been jumbled or combined, but are true and accurate for the most part. This, I presume is what a "fictionalized memoir" is.

Immersing your real life experiences in with your creative writing can be a wonderful way to explore your past, to really get in tune with the world, and to create some meaningful, beautiful, real writing that feels true to you and will connect deeply with your readers.

So next time you sit down to write, think about how you can use your past, your present and the people you meet each day to help make your writing even more special and unique!
I'm definitely taking all of these ideas into consideration if I ever should write a novel.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Words for Wednesday #3


Here are this week's prompts. Click here for more info and to see others' contributions this week.






This week's prompts are:

  1. agile 
  2. blast 
  3. cacophony 
  4. desire 
  5. eager 
  6. flirt

And/or

  1. ground 
  2. hidden 
  3. injury 
  4. jealous 
  5. kindliness 
  6. lament

And this week an image as well which you can use or ignore


Looking out the window, I saw the cloudy sky with a strange man's image hidden somewhere among the cloudiness. I could not tell much about this mysterious man, but some things seemed to be that he was not the jealous type or the kind ridden with lament over some lost desire, nor the one to add an insult to this sort of injury. Rather, he seemed like someone agile, with an eager desire to flirt. I could see that there was some hidden kindliness in this mystery man's face. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Discovering New Favorite Authors

We all have that/those author(s) we had to read in school and just maybe ended up enjoying and calling them  favorite authors. Being from California, I had to read at least one John Steinbeck book in high school (I live only about 40 miles from his hometown of Salinas). We just may want to read more of that author or re-read what we've already enjoyed. 


Wallace Stegner

Sometimes however, we may just find a favorite author that we never heard of. One day last year, while scanning my library shelves for something to read, I saw some books by an author named Wallace Stegner (picture above).  I'd never known about him until then and no one I know seems to have heard of him. But once I read a collection of short stories by this author, I decided to read more of his work.  To date, I've read the following books of his: 

Collected Stories
Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs
Angle of Repose
The Big Rock Candy Mountain
The Spectator Bird (currently reading)


And at home I have a used copy of this one, found at a local thrift store:
All the Little Live Things

I've enjoyed all the ones I've read so far and am eager to keep reading more. I definitely recommend his work to those who have never heard of him and/or who are curious now that you've read this. Sometimes when you discover a writer you've never heard of, you find someone and something you like to read.  FYI, Angle of Repose was a Pulitzer Prize winner, and The Spectator Bird a winner of the National Book Award.

Coincidentally, I discovered another author named Wallace--Wallace Thurman (below). To date I've only read one of his books, The Blacker the Berry: A Novel of Negro Life, a novel from the Harlem Renaissance era.  I enjoyed this one as well and recommend it to those who don't already know about it. Again, no one I know has ever heard of this author.

Wallace Thurman



And I like to read poetry as well, and I recently discovered the poet named Wallace Stevens. Gee, what is it with the name Wallace?  I read The Collected Poems, which won the Pulitzer.
Wallace Stevens
Wallace Stevens.jpg



And this is just the tip pf the iceberg of new favorite authors.  I'm sure I may just find more little-known authors that I will end up wanting read more of. How about you? Have you discovered anyone knew to you that you found yourself really liking to read?




Sunday, May 14, 2017

Something Begging To Be Told


Yes, that pretty well says it about everyone.  

I still have yet to work more on my new story even though I have the idea in my head.  Still finding more to add to my memoir, and I want to find some old journals of mine with info that I know I can add to it.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

What To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up

 What To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up- Writer's Life.org
No one ever said that writing was easy, and as writers and authors, we know better than anyone that writing requires dedication, determination and perseverance even when we feel like we are getting nowhere at all.
If you’ve been writing for a while, you’ll no doubt have had low moment, ones where you just can’t think how to get over a writing hurdle, where you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do, where you feel you aren’t good enough and you just can’t bring yourself to sit down and get on with it anymore.
In short, we’ve all felt like giving up once in a while.
It’s important, however, during these moments of despair, to keep on writing, This may be easier said than done, but there are ways that you can help yourself to get over it more quickly. So next time you feel like giving up, try some of these:
Take a walk
Sometimes you end up spending hours cramped over your desk, having consumed so much coffee you don’t know what’s going on. Doing something simple like taking a walk in the fresh air, somewhere beautiful, having a good stretch and getting a little exercise is all you need to clear your head and make you feel ready to sit down and start work once more.
I need to do this more often, or at the very least, step outside. I'm not a coffee person, but i drink caffeinated soda in the same manner others drink coffee. 

Seek advice
If you are suffering from a writing problem why suffer alone? We wouldn’t with any other difficulty we face so why do we feel as though we must work through our writing problems all by ourselves? A family member or friend, a fellow writer, a mentor, or an online group - you can easily find people who will be willing to help you and encourage you if you are stuck with your writing, and will help you figure a way forward.
This is why I have been wanting to find others to read and critique my writing. I haven't tried an online group either, but I really want to have someone do this in person.  

Try a new project
If you are finding yourself losing interest in a particular writing project, set it aside for a while and work on something else. The key here is to keep writing, make that a priority above all else and you might find that when you return to your previous work you look at it with a fresh pair of eyes and can see how to make it work once more.
I have begun writing a new story, but I haven't made any progress on it recently.  But I know what I plan to do.  And I may just try more journaling. even some poetry writing. I've been ding the Words for Wednesday meme at this blog since the beginning of the month. It gives me a chance to write something small for practice. And so far it's been fun.


Remember everyone fails
Take solace in the fact that it is rare a writer won’t feel full of self-doubt and crippling hopelessness at some point during their career! It’s easy to find stories of multiple rejections, of writers struggles, of times where even the most famous and successful authors wanted to give up - but remember that they didn’t, and neither should you.
I haven't finished yet, so I don't yet know when I'll be seeking an editor, then a publisher.  But I know to expect some rejection at some point.  But I will not give up, once this time comes. 


Get to the root of the problem
Sometimes we can feel so overwhelmed by our writing problems we can’t clearly see what they are. It might be that there is just one specific thing you need to change or rework or figure out and then suddenly that doom-like cloud will be lifted. So next time you feel like giving up really search for the root of the problem and then tackle it head on.
I'm not sure if I have really dealt with this particular problem. But now I know how to solve it if it ever occurs.


Step away
Sometimes you need to detach yourself from your writing and gain some perspective in order to see it in a new light. This is particularly helpful if you find yourself feeling negative about your writing. Step away, leave your project for a while and go back to it when you are feeling more positive. Learning to manage and regulate your emotions and look at your work objectively and with a clear head can be so helpful.
I always do this. There will be times when I'm too overwhelmed to work on my story, but I will not let that get in the way of my finishing it, whenever that will be.  It's always good to take a break from anything you love.


Know what motivates you
Understanding your writing motivation can be so helpful when you feel like giving up. It might be that you need to reward yourself, it might be that you need to join a writing group so you have the support of others, it might be that you need to simply remind yourself of why you love writing in the first place. Read over old work you are proud of, remind yourself of your previous success and use these to keep you motivated.
All good ideas, though I'm still at a loss for finding a group nearby. 

Stay positive!
It’s so easy to get into a cycle of negativity when it comes to writing. If you feel yourself full of self- doubt, try to break the cycle as soon as possible. You aren’t helping yourself by being negative. be open to learning and improving for sure, but try to change your behaviour, complement yourself, big yourself up, become a fan - more than anything we need to believe in ourselves so try to stay positive and suddenly things will seem a whole lot better!
Definitely good advice to follow.


Remember, we’ve all felt like giving up at one point or another, but think about how many writers have regretted persevering? Don’t be a writer that ends up full of regret because you gave up - keep writing, stay positive and soon you’ll be back on track!

I did at one point get discouraged, regarding the length and word count, but I have kept on going. But I now know what do if I should feel like giving up. But I will try not to feel that way.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Words for Wednesday

My second attempt at this weekly meme on Elephant Child's blog. Click the link to see more. 






This week's prompts are:
  1. Apple
  2. Balcony
  3. Catastrophe
  4. Deep
  5. Evil

And/or

  1. Fly
  2. Ghastly
  3. Heart
  4. Illuminate
  5. Jest 

A Fairy Tale Retelling:

While the evil queen prepared the poisoned apple, catastrophe hit. A ghastly raven landed deep on the balcony. He flew into the castle and stole the apples. The queen was powerless to stop him, and he flew around, dropping the apples. He then grabbed one of the apples, which unbeknownst to him, was the poisoned one. He passed out instantly, and the queen was furious that her plan was being thwarted.  She felt like her heart was going to fall out, though it always seemed that she had no heart.  The ravens then illuminated the forest as they stopped to mourn the fallen one. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Who I Really Am Inside


I know many of you will agree with this one.  In penning my memoir, I have found myself saying things I never thought of before, wondering how things might have been different, how I really felt about some incidents, among other things. Some things that occurred to me I chose not to include, however, deciding that those details either don't fir what I am trying to say or What I feel I do not want to share. There is such a thing as TMI or information overload, and I'm trying to avoid that sort of thing. I'll say what I want and need to say :)

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Magic of Writing






Yes, I believe there is a kind of magic in writing. It allows you to create something that previously didn't exist. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

8 Tips To Instantly Improve Your Writing


When it comes to improving our writing there is always more to learn. Be it understanding how to structure a plot, how to write great characters or simply how to get stuff done, there is always more we can do, and a wealth of tips and information out there to help us.
With this in mind here are 8 quick writing fixes!
Don’t write lazily
It’s important to understand the difference between silencing your inner critic and writing without paying any attention at all. Good writing requires effort and concentration, and while our first drafts are never going to be our best work, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t give them our all. Pay attention to how you write and always sit down with the attitude ‘I am going to do my best today.’

When I began my rough draft over a year ago, it had been some time since I had attempted to begin such  lengthy work. But I remember how I had sone it in the past, and gave it my best effort.  Sometimes my ideas came while I was lying down or in bed. I took them down, so I would have them, knowing they would be revised and expanded upon later.


Be observant
Good writers notice things. Make sure that you tune in to the world around you. It’s full of exciting and inspiring things that can really boost our writing. The best work makes clever observations about the world and the people within it and so make sure you watch people, read everything, eavesdrop on conversations, and look up more.

Still haven't made much progress in this area. I went for a walk this past Sunday, wishing I had brought my notebook with me. I now know to try this next time. 


Learn more words
The better command you have of the English language the richer and smarter your writing will be. Use a dictionary and a thesaurus, if you are looking for an interesting or unusual description check out the synonyms of more common words. The dictionary is an amazing resource that not many writers actively use in their day to day writing, but getting into the habit of doing so can improve your command and knowledge of language and help you craft sentences and arrange words in surprising and original ways.

I have often wondered if I have overused some words or phrases and what  I could use instead. What I could say instead of "eventually." a word in noticed I and used so many times?  I now need to start investigating this point more.



Always read your work aloud
If you want your writing to be effortless you need to make sure your reader doesn’t have to make an effort to read it. Reading your work aloud can really help writers to gain a better insight into how their writing flows and will highlight any parts that sound awkward or uncomfortable.

I still haven't tried doing this. For one thing, there is a lot to read from my memoir as the page and words counts have increased since the first printing on my old computer and printer.  And it just keeps getting longer! Also, as I said in this post, I have tended to be nervous about reading anything outloud, and have tended to make it hard for others to hear what I am reading. For someone who tends to be quiet and shy, reading outloud and giving speeches can be a trigger of anxiety. This is something I need to work on.



Avoid clichés
We are all guilty of including cliches in our work from time to time. The important part is to learn when you are doing it, and make sure that you go back and revise these parts of your book to make them more interesting and unique. Readers should be impressed and surprised by how you capture imagery and emotions by using language in a way that isn’t usual. If you describe things in ways that have been done 100 times before it’s easy for readers to quickly become turned off and bored with your writing.

This is something I have not been looking for. In going over what I have written to date, I've noticed I haven't used a lot of phrases along the lines of "Like that old saying goes..." Though I haven't been all that conscious of this idea.




Try writing by hand
Many writers may baulk at the idea of writing by hand, however doing so makes the whole process much slower…which can actually be a good thing. We spend so much time on our computers these days we can almost type without really thinking about what we are writing. Going back to hand written work can help writers pay more attention to the stories they are crafting - just make sure you store the paper in a safe place!

This was how I began taking notes for my memoir. At the time, I still had my old computer (I got my new one last December) and my printer seems to be going haywire. Also, as I said above, I sometimes found myself with writing ideas at night time, before I went to sleep. Writing them on paper is good to do then.  


Always write with the reader in mind
A good story is all about communicating something to the reader. A good communicator is a translator, they will almost remove themselves from the process as they try to explain themselves to others. They will acknowledge that the way they understand and see the world isn’t necessarily how someone else will and in order for them to be understood they must be able to express what’s in their head in a clear and relatable way.

How exactly does this apply to memoir? I don't have an exact answer to that, but from those I've read, it has appeared that the writer has tried to share what they think the reader needs to know about the story. This is what I have been trying to do, and as such, trying to decide how much detail and what I feel is necessary to what I have been trying to convey.  



Don’t be too hard on yourself
Many writers spend their whole writing career criticising themselves, riddled with self-doubt and of the opinion that they are talentless time wasters who should get a ‘real’ job. It’s important to remember that tenacity, perseverance and a strong will are as important in the writing game as raw talent is. Writing is an art, and therefore there is no right or wrong way of doing it, and you can always, always get better - it’s just about not giving up and putting the time and effort in to do so!
I haven't tried writing full-time, as I have just gotten back into the mode. But I have been persistent in trying to finish my story to my content. I have been putting lots of work into doing just that in the last several days.