The obvious choice is the election, until I looked at my calendar and realized I will be blogging about that next Monday. Then I thought about writing about writing, of course. But I recently wrote about Preptober and my future poetry path. So, I figured I could write more specifically about NaNo, but then looked at the calendar again and realized I’m starting my weekly updates on that next Thursday, anyway.
I scrolled Twitter for a while, hoping to find an interesting question or topic. Unfortunately, today is a PitMad event. This is a complicated thing to explain but the basis is that you pitch your book via tweet to editors and agents. So, my feed is clogged up with book ideas…some are great, but there’s not a lot of varying topics.
I could write about my weekend. On Saturday, I took L fishing, and it was the first time we really hung out one-on-one. At first, he seemed bored, but once we found some fish hiding under the dock, he got into it. On the way home I mentioned an action scene in my novel that I am planning, and having some trouble with. We spent the next hour or so discussing weapons, stealth tactics, armor, etc. It was good bonding time, and it thrills me whenever the kiddos take an interest in my work.
On Sunday I woke, sick. Off to the ER. I don’t remember much…it’s all foggy. I know that the intake nurse said “Hey, I heard you are an author” and I said “Yes I am!” and then threw up. I don’t know how she knew that.
Bernie picked me up after a few hours and was told to take me home but then I found out that my people were all at my mom’s house: parents, husband, Kev, Sharon, and L. So, I demanded she take me there. She bought me a smoothie from McDonalds that I drank while everyone else ate chili, and then drove me home. I think I may have dozed off at the table.
Today I feel good. Healthy and happy and doing fine. Except for I don’t know what to write about.
They say when you are in such a predicament, that you should write about exactly the dilemma: that you are stuck, or wordless. This was my attempt to do that. I don’t know that anything really came of it. I do know that after today I am booked up on blog topics for the next couple of weeks, so that’s a satisfying feeling. This? This is just filler.
Literally the only thing on my mind today is writing. So, I’m going to write about that.
There are three main things I work on daily. One is my blog…I may not type it up until Monday or Thursday morning but I am thinking about it all week long. I try to come up with a topic early so I can ponder it on non-blog days and have it ready to go when it’s time. The problem lately is that I haven’t got much to say. Sometimes 45 or someone does something utterly crazy and I want to write about that…though I often deter myself because I don’t want to give that man any more time in the spotlight than he deserves. Sometimes I will have a tale to tell about my weekend or the kiddos or Hubs. Sometimes I will think about writing about my fishing expeditions, as I learn how to master the craft. Most of the time, though, I have so many thoughts that it is hard to choose just one.
The second thing I contend with on a daily basis is my novel. I will admit I have not touched it since December, and really need to get on that. It’s in its 4th draft. I sent it to some folks to read but haven’t really gotten any feedback. I am thinking screw it…just do another edit. Add some stuff that you’ve made notes on in the past few months. Take out what you feel weird about. Hope it’s still long enough, and then go find yourself a publisher!
Publishing, to me, is a slightly less daunting task than it was 2 months ago. I know a novel is a whole other situation compared to a poetry collection, but I have a very “I did it before, I can do it again” mentality going.
Finally, there’s poetry, my first true love.
I haven’t written one in weeks. Not for lack of trying, it’s just that I am not feeling that poetic inspiration right now. Most of my daily poetry work has to do with hyping my book on Twitter and begging people to leave reviews. My book, I hope, is doing well…three 5-star reviews in a month, which is nice. I get my report at the beginning of July, and am realizing I’m more excited to see how many copies I sold than to get my check. I just want my work out there. Money is a secondary gift.
Oh, but I did have FIVE poems published this week and you should definitely check them out here.
Anyhoo, next to my desk there is a table. On that table is something my dad made me: my first paycheck, framed, with the book cover in the background. My final proof sits next to it. I look at these items and remind myself that I can do this. I have always had the talent, and now I have the drive, also. My first collection is about how mental health has affected me over the past twenty years. But the biggest thing it did was shut down my writing: long stretches of block due to meds that worked wrong…and that ever present voice whispering “You’re just not good enough.”
Now, I have slayed those demons, and while their injured voices still appear from time to time, I know I am stronger than they are, now. The proof is in the proof.
Anyway, happy Monday. And happy writing, to all those struggling with thier pens right now. You can do it, too.
For the entire month of November, I was able to follow a strict writing routine. Of course, I then went AWOL from the craft due to spending 30 days in the book bubble. Then, the holidays. Then, the stomach issues. Now, I’m back, I’m here, I’m ready, but it isn’t. It being the muse.
I have several ideas, mind you. I have lots I could be working on, but nothing I want to work on. Nothing is kicking me in the head, which is a prerequisite for me to get any real work done, aside from my blog, so here I am. My blog is encouraging me to write about this, to write about anything, to just write, damnit, and something will come…or so they say. I have a journal that I keep, and I have done some free typing there, but nothing is coming from it. No characters pestering me to tell their story.
Lies, it’s all lies. I have characters in my head all the time, they just aren’t giving up the ghost right now. I have two characters waiting for their sweeping love story to be actualized. I have a gang of ten imaginary folk waiting to overthrow a corrupt government. I’ve got a little girl who wants out of the foster care system. I’ve got a teddy bear with two or three more tales to tell. But no one wants to come out and play.
So, I turn to poetry, which is my first love, and I started editing my stuff that I sent out this month because it feels a little flat in some spots. I prepped my submissions for February. I pecked out a sad little poem about the agony of forgiveness. Then, the well was dry.
So back to the blogging board. I figured I could get a jump on my posts, and store some up for sick days, but then the topics I thought of earlier evaporated. I should have written them down right away, but I only manage to do that when I have a really good idea: not when it’s important pieces of information.
Anyway, my writing routine was wonderful. I would make my coffee and grab my phone and take the long commute to my office: three whole rooms away. Then I would settle in, check Twitter and Facebook, and open my Word file. And it was off to the races.
Now I find myself staring at that little blinking cursor with fury. It taunts me.
I’m going to go on Pinterest now and make character boards. It’s literally the only thing I can think of to be creative today. Then I’m going to hang out with the kiddos who don’t have school today, and maybe finally take down my Christmas tree. All the while, hoping that the muse will strike.
I will be frank. I kind of think awards like this are the chain letters of the blogging world. I mean, there’s no real award. However, it is a great opportunity to boost up other bloggers and write about your own blogging career, so I will take the bait.
A big thanks to Recreational Hobbyist for the nomination. She writes about all sorts of hobbies, including book and movie reviews. Go check her out!
Now, the rules.
Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging site.
List the Sunshine Blogger Award rules and display the logo on your site.
Answer the Sunshine Blogger Award questions.
Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
Notify the nominees about their nominations.
My question and answer session:
What is your favorite time of the year? Autumn, by far. Of course, here in Buffalo that lasts about a week and a half. I cherish it while it’s here, though.
If you could travel to any country, where would you go? I suppose I would go to Ireland first, as it is the country of my people. My parents have always wanted to go and hopefully one day I will win the lottery or publish a best seller and be able to fulfill that dream for them.
What is your favorite TV show you are watching right now? I literally have Parks and Rec going in the background right now.
How often do you write other than for blog posts? Well, my blog posts are twice a week, on Monday and Thursday. I also just finished writing at least 1667 words a day for NaNoWriMo. Add to that my poetry and a short story I’m toying with.
Coffee or Tea? Coffee is my favorite, but tea is an acceptable substitute.
What is your all-time favorite book? It by Stephen King, followed by Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Very different styles, but both tales that touched my soul.
What is your favorite blog post? Hmmmmmmm…I don’t have one. I love all my babies equally. But you should check out Poetry Month.
What is the one thing you love about blogging? It lets me share my opinions, and keep track of my thoughts.
What is one thing you can’t live without? My computer.
What is your favorite food? Ice cream in all its forms and flavors.
What is your biggest blogging accomplishment? I haven’t got one, really. I just want people to read my stuff and find some sort of meaning in my words. If you read a post and think “gee, me too!” I’ve done my job.
After reading some new work lately, I nominate the following bloggers & their blogs:
Last Thursday was Halloween. I went and handed out candy at my mother’s
house, then came home and watched TV with Hubs like the thirty-something’s we
are. On Friday morning I awoke at 5am,
unable to sleep due to bad dreams, which have been plaguing me lately. I’ve been very stressed out so I’m sure this
is the reason, but alas, I haven’t been sleeping well. So 530am found me at my computer, retyping
half of the first chapter of my novel. I
could easily have finished it, but I was pacing myself. 1667 word a day is rough. I didn’t want to get too crazy. On Saturday morning I finished the chapter
and felt very proud of myself. Only like
14 more to go.
Day three was a little
trickier. There was much research of the
Eastern Meadowlark, as well as me trying to peck out a couple hundred extra
words when I came up short. I wasn’t
discouraged though, and sat there typing away while my husband watched the
football game. Every once in a while, my
click-clacking was interrupted by a holler from the other room. I could tell the Bills were winning.
Monday found me on my sofa not wanting
to move. I had to update the blog as
well as do NaNo, and I am running out of blog posts. All my writing thoughts have been about the
WIP (work in progress, for future reference,) and I have thus been neglecting
my blog. I mean it’s easy right now to
do NaNo updates on Thursdays, but Mondays are looking pretty bare.
Anyway, I wasn’t feeling it, and
then Hubs send me a text saying “break a leg on your writing today. You got
this.” That got me off my ass and into
the office, where I finished up a blog post and got it out, then did 1500 words
on the WIP. A little encouragement goes
a long way. I told him so, and therefore
on Tuesday I woke up to “never give up on your dreams, you’re an awesome
I went to the office and did 1800
words, then 2000 words of a short story that was taking up space in my field of
vision and needed to disappear. I felt
that if I could get it out of me quickly then I could continue focusing on my
WIP, which was getting away from me because of a stupid ghost story idea.
Yesterday I dropped another 1700
words which took me over 10k total. I did
another 2000 in the afternoon, and today I did 2400, bringing my total up to
Pretty good start for a week.
Of course, everything I have done
so far has been meticulously planned and many scenes were already written in
bits and pieces. In a few days, I will
be writing without a net, so to speak; I have less material and notes for the middle
and end of the book. I know where I want
to go, but we shall see what path I take to get there.
In a few days, my friend Sahar
will be in town, and we are planning an epic 24-hour write-in. I am both excited to be working alongside my
friend and terrified that she will be typing away while I stare at the ceiling
trying to peck out 100 words. This is a
stupid fear of course, and I will do everything in my power to ignore it, but
it’s symbolic of how I feel without having so much material to work from. Still…I got this far. I wrote this much. I can do this, right?
And so, week 1 comes to a close,
and we move on to week 2. I am on the
end of Chapter 4 currently, and am excited to see where I will be in another
week, even if I am terrified that I will run out of words. To my fellow NaNo buddies, keep plugging away! I promise to do the same.
I was just nominated for something called the Mystery Blogger Award. It should be noted that I have no idea what this is, and you, my reader, are finding out with me as I write this.,
The rules are stolen directly from the creator’s post, Okoto Enigma:
WHAT IS MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD? “Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion. – Okoto Enigma
Put the award logo/image on your blog
List the rules.
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
Share a link to your best post(s)
1 and 2 are done, so I must now thank the lovely Chapel Orahamm of the Kavordian Library. She writes books about fantasy, sci-fi, romance, and the LGBTQ+ community. Check her out on Twitter at @ThorntonGibsonK.
Now, I have mentioned the creator and provided a link above,
so I must tell you three things about myself.
Interesting facts are not my forte, but I will try.
For one, I have been writing for nearly as long as I can
remember, and I write everything-I have no genre. I do have a soft spot for
poetry, however, as that is likely my first love.
Another thing about me is that I am very person-oriented. I love my family, which exists of Hubs and my 4 step kids, as well as my mother and father and sister Bernadette. I love my friends as though they are my family, fiercely and loyally. I love strangers, even, until they give me a reason not to, that is.
Hmmm…a third thing. I
once convinced a cop I was a paranormal psychologist to get out of a trespassing
ticket. Good times.
Now lets see…nominate 10-20 people! Well, I suppose I can try. I’ll be honest, I don’t read blogs that don’t
interest me, so there’s not a lot that I love, but those I do shall certainly
receive the recognition. Let’s go with
those on my blogroll that haven’t been nominated yet, and a couple I like to
keep up with:
Ask your nominees any five questions, and answer the
questions presented to you by the person who nominated you. Well, first of all:
When did you discover a love of writing?
How long did it take you to find a niche in
Where are you from and what is one interesting
fact about that place?
What is your definition of success?
If you could cast anyone as the lead in the
movie of your life, who would it be?
Now, the answers to my five questions:
What major event made you realize you wanted to share what you do on your blog? I’ve been blogging since 2001, and the event that made me start was beginning college. I wanted to keep a log of my time there, and I’m sure glad I did because I don’t remember a thing. Also, it started my love of blogging, which has been going strong now for over 15 years.
What is your top piece of advice for your 15-year-old self and for yourself 25 years from today? 15-year-old needs to go to therapy STAT. And put down that cigarette, damn. 61-year-old me better have copy of our published novel on her shelf.
What is your YouTube guilty pleasure to watch? Irish People Try on the try channel. And Zack Morris is Trash on funny or die.
What is the most pressing issue in our world today and what do you do daily to contribute to fixing it? Climate change is our biggest global issue and I do my part as much as I can, but what I really like to do is yell at others to get their heads out of the sand and realize what an issue this is.
Give me your favorite symbolism from a book or anime you’ve read/watched and why it has impacted you. Pennywise the clown. Terrified me as a child, not so much as an adult. Which perfectly blends into the symbolism of him being a terror to children. I love that he is less powerful to a rational adult than he is to a fear-stoked kid. Shows the difference between the innocent and the damaged.
Hmm…share links to your best posts. Well I guess we’re gonna have to dive into WordPress analytics for that one.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I have been using it as a way to fight my anxiety. You may also know that I have been working on expanding and promoting it. This, my friend, is where the anxiety part really comes into play.
I have read a bunch of articles regarding promotion, monetization, and creating one’s “brand” and all I have to say is that I hate it. It takes so much away from the writing, which is why I have this blog in the first place, and it puts a microscope on myself. Example: there is not yet anywhere on my blog that features my full name. This is for one reason and one reason only: I still need to work. If a client puts my name in a search engine, I do not want them to judge my childcare abilities by my writings. I might drop some f-bombs in my blog but I won’t be swearing around your kid, you know what I mean? I might have a political or religious view that bears no weight on how well I change a diaper but may affect whether someone wants to hire me. Now, I’ve got some poems that are coming out soon, or are out already (see Potatoes, up at the top,) so I know that my search engine results will soon change, and I will indeed be judged by my words. One of these poems is about smoking pot. I’m not exactly thrilled that a possible employer may stumble upon it and not hire me, but also, I’m not thrilled by the idea of censoring my true passion of writing for my day job, either. I try to tell myself that this is just my anxiety, but I know it’s also a rational concern, so I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place.
It is this microscope on the writer that causes anxiety for me. I am not good at bragging about myself, for one. I’m a fairly humble individual. Back when filling out profiles on dating sites, I was always unsure how to describe myself. I was never good at listing my qualities. When asked in interviews what assets I can bring to a job, I freeze up. I need someone to tell me I’m good at something to make it real, and even then, I don’t always believe them. This is juxtaposed by a crazy high self-esteem wherein I believe I can do anything. It’s a dilemma.
Let’s take Facebook and Twitter, for example. On Twitter, I never shy from anything. I always write exactly what I think. On Facebook, however, I am more reserved. Why? Well, I have significantly less Twitter followers than Facebook friends, and I think that has something to do with it. Maybe it’s the fact my grandmother is on Facebook? And my parents? Maybe it’s because there’s strangers who follow me on Twitter, and I know all my FB friends? I have more questions than answers, but I know I behave differently on different sites. For instance, I always post my blog on Twitter, but rarely on FB. For some reason (and yes, I am aware this is the crazy anxiety-ridden side of my brain) I think that people don’t care. Mind you, these are people I know, personally, and who seem to enjoy me as an individual, enough so as to send me a friend request. These people are the most likely to care, and I can’t convince myself of that.
That’s what it really comes down to. I look at all the followers I have acquired on my blog in the past year. Like 150 people, complete strangers to me, who decided to follow my blog because they saw something they liked. Yet, I think that if I share my blog with friends and family, those people will not see anything they enjoy. I know I’m wrong. I know I have people who read it, who follow me on social media, who could easily unfollow my ass if I got too boring, but no one does. Still, my anxious brain senses that I am simply wasting peoples time. Rational brain knows that’s a lie, because I like your posts and pictures as much as you like mine. Still, it holds me back from expressing myself, which is what I truly hate.
Right now, I am debating whether or not to share this post on Facebook. I am thinking of what kind of tweet I can write about my it. I am considering starting an Instagram challenge to promote my blog. I am streamlining my accounts to fit my “brand,” a word I still can’t say without the implied quotation marks. I am doubting all of it, and I wonder if I always will. Still, I take those little times when someone did say “Hey, I liked that thing you wrote,” and I keep them very close to my heart. I remember them in my darker moments. These little instances are what keep me writing, and make me feel like I have something worthwhile to say. Everything else is just roadblocks.
It’s probably my one great tragedy, aside from having a flat singing voice. I just cannot expound about something, no matter how hard I try. Eventually it becomes dull and I get bored, as I often got bored as a child reading the classics. I simply do not need a page and a half description for a ray of sunlight, no matter how beautiful it is. Also, I simply cannot write a page and a half about a ray of sunlight.
As a person, I am almost never jealous, but two writers I know are really flaring this emotion in me at the moment. One is doing a thirty-day writing challenge and nailing it. Another drops 9,000 words a day into her memoir. Both are, through no fault of their own, killing my soul.
I think this may be why I have always gravitated to poetry. Most of my poems are less than 50 lines, and I do believe that’s enough space to describe that ray of sunlight perfectly. Then I think about my past, writing plays. I did maybe six or seven, and three got produced in some form. These were decidedly longer pieces, ranging from a short children’s play to a three-act opus for my high school love. I love writing plays, but I have been out of theater for a while and honestly haven’t had the inspiration to write one. What I really want, the gold ring of writing, for me, is a novel.
I started four and finished none, because I am not verbose enough. I get halfway through my tale and realize I don’t have nearly enough for half a book and way too much for half a short story. My max output is 4000 words in a sitting. My max sitting for my novel is twice a week. It’s just not enough. I need three or four days after just to gather enough details to sit down and pen what I’m trying to say again. Sometimes I get frustrated because I can see it so clearly in my mind, but on the paper it sounds terrible. Dialogue is tricky, because I am very good at that bit, but sometimes my writing relies on it too heavily and I have to go back and describe that ray of sunlight and then everything falls apart.
I wish I could sit at the keyboard and pound out pages and pages of words. Good or bad, it doesn’t really matter because the editing process is a whole other thing. My blog remains the one place where I do get wordy on occasion. Here I am updating two days in a row. Why? Because I need to increase my output. I need to keep myself writing even if I can’t sit down and work on my book at the moment. I’ve got a novel that needs thousands more words, a poem that only needs maybe fifty, and a blog that has no expectations of me save a Monday deadline that I impose on myself. I’m stuck elsewhere, so I come here.
I am not verbose. I cannot pen pages about a ray of sunlight. But I can drop a couple hundred in my blog and feel good about myself. So here we are.
When I decided to get a “real” blog, meaning something that was not a LiveJournal, I did a little research and heard great things about WordPress. So naturally, I went to wordpress.com and signed up. This was my last blog, mind you. Then when I went for a revamp I moved over here, still content in my ignorance. Recently I decided enough is enough, I need to make some money here, so I looked into purchasing a plan to sell ad space and get a domain name and Google analytics and all that jazz. It’s about 100 bucks a year to do. Fairly reasonable, less than my gym membership. Then I looked into things a little deeper and discovered that…
The WordPress everyone was telling me about? WordPress.ORG. They have domain hosting and plug-ins and everything I’m looking for and some reports say you can get a blog started for only 50 bucks a year and now I have to re-do my entire blog from scratch over there because I am NOT paying twice as much for half as much!
So, new blog to come in January. I will be keeping up this sham of a site until then but will definitely be moving on to greener pastures at wordpress.org come winter.
Update, later that day:
No, I probably won’t, and here’s why. I have no idea what open source database means. I do not know what Apache is, or a text editor, or an FTP client. I need to take a small course in web design first, or find someone who has some knowledge of these things to help me out. Anyone out there understand any of these words? I will pay you in poems and cookies.
I sat down to write a blog that had been ruminating in my mind for maybe a week now, and when I tried to get it into words, it fell apart. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes the words just aren’t there, or the thought isn’t cohesive enough, and I just can’t make it sound the way I want it to in my head.
I’ve had a few rough days. On Friday, I went to a sunflower field. It was lovely to stand surrounded by my favorite flower, looking at all the varieties and watching the bees hard at work, but my depression was creeping in and I could feel it. By evening, when I found myself at the Irish Festival with my parents and husband, it was starting to manifest itself into a panic no Guinness could cure. On Saturday, Mark suggested a long drive to take my mind off of things, and that worked for a bit but when I came home I sunk into my sofa, and had to drag myself to the kitchen to make dinner. Sunday was no better. Today I feel a little cheerier, but I certainly don’t have the energy and concentration to pen the long blog I had been planning on earlier in the week.
Somedays depression kicks my ass. Somedays it doesn’t. Just gotta keep pushing on.