Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG: Plan? What Plan?


Happy New Year! It’s time for the first post of 2018 with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and we share our posts on the first Wednesday of the month. We are given an optional question to answer each month, and this is the question for January:

What steps have you taken to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

            That is a very convicting question. What steps have I taken? What plans have I made for writing? I certainly did not have a schedule or plans in place last year, and I haven’t gotten very far with my writing. I’ll be honest, there are many moments when I don’t feel like much of a writer at all. I rarely have the energy or the patience to sit down and write most days. As an introvert working in an extroverted environment, I usually feel so drained at the end of each day. I can’t concentrate. I can’t recall my ideas. I can’t write. Believe me, I have contemplated quitting my job and diving into an entrepreneurial lifestyle many, many times. I stay because I’m scared of losing my financial security. Other part-time writers somehow manage to balance their time, and I do not know how they do it. I have tried different methods and nothing seems to stick, except journaling. I do tend to write out my thoughts, prayers, and feelings on a regular basis. The problem is that those journal writings are deeply personal, and I’m not comfortable sharing most of them. But, at least I have been getting some writing done.

            As the New Year was approaching, I was thinking about my current works in progress. My “quiet book” is still on hold right now. I have a handful of short stories that I have started, and one story I would like to fix up. I also have some non-fiction writing and poetry I could work on. It’s not the ideas that I’m lacking. It’s more of a lack of motivation to sort through it all and get those ideas in a presentable form. What are some methods you use to motivate yourself when you lack the energy to write?


“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” –Neil Gaiman

“If you have other things in your life—family, friends, good productive day work—these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer.” – David Brin

Friday, December 29, 2017

Flashback Friday: When the Magic Fades

           **I have not done a Flashback Friday post for a while, but I was thinking about this subject while I was at work the day after Christmas. Then, I realized I had already written a post about it before, so I thought it was worth a reshare.**


When the Magic Fades (Originally published on December 31, 2012)

         Christmas can be a magical time of year. Children are excited, the weather changes (for some), beautiful lights and decorations flood the stores and streets, and many people seem to be in a merrier mood. Of course, this isn't always the case. Some people do not enjoy this time of year-and to them I say bah humbug!  For those of us who are Christians, we have an even greater reason to celebrate. I know we have all heard this a lot, but it is important to set aside time to remember how God sent His Son to earth to take on an earthly body as a little baby boy, knowing He would one day sacrifice that Son to save us.
This year brought an amazing Christmas Day for my family. After a fairly hectic month with work, doctor appointments, and crowded shopping, that day was so peaceful. My brother and I took charge of making the dinner, and he even ground up the turkey and stuffing so my mom could enjoy it since her jaw isn't fully healed. We enjoyed gifts and filming the cats (our children) with their new toys. Then, as my dad was reading about the nativity, it started snowing! It was a great day that we did not want to end.


Christmas Day 2012

         After such a wonderful day, I was deeply saddened as I started at work the following day. Despite the weather, many people decided to take advantage of the clearance sales, so the store was crowded. But I expected that. What really got to me is that after such a magical day, everyone was carrying on business as usual. Customers were frantic and impatient. Drivers on the slick roads were the same. My coworkers were discussing grievances about the job. It was like time was frozen in the snow that one Christmas Day, and then it unfroze and life forgot it. It seems that the music, lights, joyful spirits, and goodwill all faded in an instant. Why do people allow themselves to forget so quickly?  Why do we change back to our normal glum selves when the family goes home and the decorations come down?  Shouldn't we have those joyful feelings and kindhearted nature all the time?  And what about those who don't feel that way even on Christmas?  I don't believe God meant for us to get so caught up in our day to day busyness that we become grumpy, depressed, stressed-out, or inconsiderate.  We need to not only look at Christmas through the eyes of a child; we also need to find that childlike faith all year long.  So, as we enter a new year, don't allow the Christmas spirit and its true meaning to fizzle out. If you are too busy to reflect on the joys of each day, then you are too busy!  Let us not forget the things God has blessed us with. As my pastor says, if God doesn't bless you beyond your salvation, you still have a reason to thank Him. And if you are not saved, please consider God's gift, it's the best Christmas present of all! 

“But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’”   Luke 18:16-17 (NIV)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Very Merry London Christmas

            This past month has been amazing! London was not the only wonderful thing that happened recently, but it will be the focus of this post. If someone would have told me at the beginning of the year that I would get to go to London in December, I would have thought they were high. Something that I have prayed and dreamed about since I was a teenager has finally come to pass, and I thank God for providing the opportunity. Even though I only got to spend a week there, that trip helped make 2017 a great year for me. And going in December with Christmas right around the corner made it seem even more magical! I thought I would share a fraction of the pictures I took during my trip. I hope you enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas!

(Note: I have never used Flickr before, so I'm not sure if my album will show up properly. If you have any trouble clicking through the photos, let me know and I will try to fix it.)

London 2017

Thursday, November 30, 2017

IWSG: Reflections on the Year

           

            This is my post for the December 6th IWSG Day. I am posting early because I will be taking a trip to London next week! The Insecure Writer’s Support Group was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh for writers to share their insecurities and encourage one another. We are given an optional question to answer each month, and here is the question for December 6:

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

            I could discuss other areas where I have reached my goals, but this post is meant to specifically address writing. I would have to say that as far as writing goes, 2017 was not the best year for me. I nearly abandoned my blog and followers a couple times (sorry guys!), I did not participate in the IWSG Anthology contest this year, and I did not listen to my own recommendation to discipline myself and write every day. As for NaNoWriMo, I will probably fall somewhere between 3000 and 4000 words by the end of the day. I was not aiming for 50,000, nor was I working on a novel, but I did hope to get a little more written. I guess I had some distractions this month, including London planning, so I’m not entirely disappointed with the results. It will make it easier to beat next year! I had fun with the little projects I was working on with NaNo, so it was a good experience.

            If I could backtrack, I would probably not only say I want to be more disciplined in my writing, but I would also take the time to plan out writing sessions and stick to them. I’d put my words into action instead of just thinking about it all the time. I would have planned time for my blog posts and visits instead of handling my blog with the casual disregard I’ve had most of this year. There are probably many other moments when I could have been writing this year, and I will need to work on those things that I allow to divert my attention in the year to come.

            Congrats to the NaNo winners out there! You have accomplished a great feat! 

https://memegenerator.net/instance/35926313
Now it's time to finish packing!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

IWSG: The Write Time




            Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month.

            I keep meaning to do an update post, and the next thing you know another month has gone by. I find myself constantly caught up in other things or just downright tired. I have bits and pieces of writing that I have done over the past few months, but nothing substantial. I even started a mystery/crime short story for the IWSG anthology contest, but then I decided that I am completely terrible at writing mystery/crime and probably have to read more in that genre beyond Sherlock Holmes.


            The optional question for this month is: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?
For my non-writer friends and those who are new to the online writing community, I was in your shoes two years ago asking “What is NaNo?” NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place in November. In order to “win” you must write 50,000 words of your novel. When I first heard about it I knew that I would eventually make an attempt at participating. Last year I was not ready, and I’m not ready this year either, but I did set up an account under a pen name. I have some other projects and preparations to work on this month, so attempting to win NaNo would not be an obtainable goal. I have decided to use this month to work on getting into a better writing habit, and the word count feature is nice to see how much I get written. I’m probably not going to work on one single novel. I have a few ideas for some short stories that I would like to work on and other bits and pieces I’d like to dive into. According to the forums on the site, I would be classified as a NaNo rebel since I'm working on multiple pieces, which is fine with me :)


For those who are in it to win it or at least making an effort to finish a novel, I commend you. Happy writing! 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

October IWSG

           

            Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month.

October’s question is: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

The story I was working on had a version of myself as the main character, and I had a hard time with it. That is the primary reason that I put that particular story on hold. It felt too open and vulnerable. I think backing away from myself and writing about characters that have different flaws and characteristics makes the writing more fun and inventive. I have written scenes that are similar to awkward encounters I’ve had, and those are usually on purpose. Also, my personal values and beliefs usually show up in at least one of my characters.

            I tried to get a photo to show my writer insecurity with IWSG logos, but neither my hair nor my cats were being very agreeable. I do have this picture of Sawyer with some writing inspiration that I took a while back. It is a reminder that creating "still life" is not my specialty.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IWSG: Unplanned Absence

            Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month.


            I’m not sure how to start this post, but I guess I will just jump right in. First of all, I would like to apologize for going completely MIA from this blog and not posting for last month’s IWSG day. This summer has been entirely overwhelming and my computer and the internet were lowest on my priority list. I had every intention of posting for August IWSG, but ended up with only a 24-hour period between getting home from a Mexico mission trip on Monday and leaving for a youth conference on Tuesday, and I spent most of that time catching up on sleep and rearranging my luggage. I could go into more details of the ups and downs of the last two months, but I do not want to get too far off topic.

            So, this month’s question is a good one: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? (For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in?) Yes, and yes! Before the IWSG started its annual anthology contest, most of my writing was personal narratives, devotionals, and an occasional dabble with realistic fiction. Then, I decided to enter the past two years, and it was an enlightening experience. I am looking forward to finding out this year’s theme (today!). In 2015, I experienced first-hand what it is like to have a character take over the story. Before that, I thought it was a mythical experience and never conceived that it would happen to me; but it did, because a minor character redirected my plot line and became a major part of the story. For last year’s entry, I found out that I enjoy writing fantasy (at least in short story form). Honestly, I was afraid to touch it. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to read and it has always seemed way too intimidating to attempt to write. And though I may not be writing some brilliant, epic fantasy, I did expand upon my short story a little bit since the contest. One day, if I would actually put some more effort into it, I could find a home for that story.

Happy Writing!
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