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!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July 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.

            How kind of the IWSG to come and celebrate my birthday with me on this day after Independence Day. What’s that you say?...Oh, it’s the first Wednesday of July, I guess you’re not here for my birthday after all, but that’s alright. I’ll keep it short today for those, like myself, who may be still celebrating the holiday. Let's look at July’s question:

What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

            Only one valuable lesson? I feel as though I have learned many throughout this writing journey and I have much yet to learn. Something that seems to stick with me is that writing requires endurance. You cannot just sit down and write something great within a few minutes, unless you have immeasurable talent. It takes time and practice and editing. There will be moments of writer’s block, rejection, or lack of focus, but great writers keep striving for the finish. I am currently fighting a short attention span due to some other life issues outside of writing, but I know that when I choose to discipline my time better, I will be able to pick up that pen again. As I said last month, don’t quit!
I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th!

Friday, June 30, 2017

5 Weird Things About Me

            I’ve said this before and I’m saying it again: Where does the time go?! I think this heat and humidity is really getting to me. I constantly feel lethargic and am unable to focus on anything for very long. I honestly don’t think Twitter has helped very much. It’s just another distracting feed like Facebook, so I have added it to my “distractions to avoid” list, which includes most of the internet. Speaking of the internet, my computer decided to do some avoiding for me and would only load email and a couple other websites no matter which browser I was using. After over a week of being unable to visit many sites and giving up on my computer time most days, I finally researched my problem on my phone (since Google results could not load on the computer). I had to do some high tech computer manipulation with the command prompt, but I got it working again, at least for now.

            Anyway, Barbara from Life & Faith in Caneyhead has challenged me to name 5 weird things about myself. So, no Flashback Friday today, and sorry Barbara for my delay. I sort of had a hard time narrowing down my list, because being introverted and geeky automatically adds a lot of weird quirks, but here are the things I have chosen to share today:

5 Weird Things About Me
  • When I was 5 years old, my dream job was to be a mom. I considered a couple other options in my teen years, but since then, being a stay-at-home mom has still been my dream.
  • I enjoy playing video games. I have logged the most hours with Legend of Zelda and Star Wars: The Old Republic.
  • I absolutely hate making phone calls! I sometimes have a hard time talking myself into calling my best friends, and if I am forced to call an insurance company or patient at work, I nearly have a panic attack.
  • I live in Oklahoma, but I don’t like biscuits and gravy or Dr. Pepper, which apparently makes me weird in this state. I guess it’s because I was not born here :)
  • I have an eclectic assortment of interests and I tend to have a hard time picking favorites. For example, if you ask me my favorite movie/book/song/pastime, I’ll ask you to name a genre, and then if I enjoy that genre, I’ll name at least three things that I like in that category in no particular order.

Since I’m joining in a little late, I won’t tag anyone else, but feel free to share your own oddities in a comment or let me know if you have already participated.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG: Don't Quit



            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. The IWSG poses a question for us to answer in our monthly posts. Here is the question for June:

Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

            This question is so relevant to my state of mind lately that it was hard to answer. In fact, I have been procrastinating this post. When I sat down to write it Sunday afternoon, I ended up joining Twitter. I have been avoiding Twitter like the plague, but I also knew that it may eventually be a useful tool to promote my writing. Since I was avoiding this post, Twitter all of a sudden had this unheard of appeal for me (that or I wanted some extra entries in a raffle contest). Look at me talking about Twitter like I understand it (I don’t!) and continuing to avoid the topic at hand. 
            I never officially threw in the towel with writing, but I certainly do procrastinate an awful lot. I go into cycles with my writing. First, I start building up momentum and the ideas are coming in faster than I can get them down on paper. Then, I am highly motivated and write constantly for one or two weeks straight. Then, I either hit a huge roadblock or I come to a conclusion with the story/post/section. After that I enter this state of “What do I do now?” or “How do I move forward from here?” and writing suddenly becomes this evil beast that glares at me through a white screen with a blinking cursor. That is when the procrastination begins, and suddenly, there is never enough time to write or my job is too overwhelming or I make other excuses. I never know how long this stage will last, but eventually, I will find my way back to the beginning of the cycle. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
            In case you haven’t guessed already, I have been stuck in the procrastinating stage for a while. In fact, a couple weeks ago, I actually found myself asking, “Is it really worth it?” I keep questioning my ability to “moonlight” as a writer because it truly is hard to find balance. What’s funny is that the thing that made me come back this time was something I wrote about before. I was looking through my old posts to find one to use for Flashback Friday and I came across this post from my blogging comeback in 2015. I had quit blogging (not writing entirely) and that was my first post after a 15-month absence. Reading something I wrote during a high point, helps me remember the joy and inspiration that writing brings. In that post, I wrote about learning and seeking out the things that bring encouragement in my life. My suggestion to myself and anyone else who may be going through a writing slump is to learn new things, find your inspiration again, and don’t give up!

P.S. For anyone interested, you can now find me on Twitter @ElizabethAOtten (don’t forget the middle initial). I still have no idea what I’m doing there, so forgive me if I don’t follow proper etiquette or don’t tweet enough or commit other noob failures.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Flashback Friday: Breaking the Silence

           **It's the last Friday of the month, so it's time for Flashback Friday! Participants repost an old post that needed more attention, that you're very proud of, that you think is still relevant, etc. It was hosted by Michael G D'Agostino, but he has opted out. You can still find a list of previous and current participants on his blog. The month of May sort of just vanished for me, and it seems my priorities have been shuffled around more often than not the last few months. I thought this post was an appropriate reminder for me. When I posted this, I had just come back after not posting for a year and a half. The blogging challenge I mentioned was the 2015 A to Z Challenge. I had no idea what I was getting into when I wrote this post, haha, but I'm glad that I got involved with the blogging community. Reading this again reminds me how much I enjoy writing (and learning) and I'm sorry for my blogging negligence lately. I know that I don't want to repeat a long term blogging absence, so I'm working on budgeting my time a little better. And now, the flashback post...**


Breaking the Silence (originally posted February 19, 2015)

           It has been quite a long time since I last posted anything.  I feel as though time has been against me, but I haven’t really been busy, at least not busier than normal.  I guess I’ve been sort of stumped for writing ideas and I really haven’t felt like writing a lot lately.  I have not even been journaling as much as I used to.  My creative side does not want to allow this to keep happening, so I am beginning again.  It is about time I dust off this old “pen” and take it up again.  With a new year already well underway, almost 2 months in, to be precise, I have felt inspired to make my own resolutions.  There have been many inspirations over the last couple months prodding me back to writing.  I recently finished a Bible study in Colossians which helped renew my prayer journal.  I came across a Great Courses catalog last month and ended up ordering some courses, including a couple on writing.  I’ve watched 2 lectures from one course about the way we structure sentences, and it has been enjoyable so far.  I’ve felt inspired in other areas as well.  I have always been excited about learning new things, so getting these courses has been encouraging.  I have also been studying Mandarin Chinese with Rosetta Stone, which has been tough but interesting.  I have been reading fiction on a more regular basis again.  All of this has helped me to feel renewed, inspired, and ready for some positive new beginnings/changes in my life.

This may not sound interesting to you.  Maybe reading, writing, learning, and Chinese sound too boring or too difficult.  My point is this: do whatever it is that inspires you.  Seek out ways to renew your interest in life.  Seek God above all else, because He is the ultimate source of inspiration and redemption.  God doesn’t want us to mope about in a pity parties about the state of our lives, our economy, or our country.  We need to go out and make the most of the time that’s been given to us. 

I hope to write more often.  In fact, I’m thinking about participating in a blog challenge and I will provide more details if I do decide to take part. I also hope to make a few changes and updates to this blog and those will come as time allows.  Until then, it has been nice to come back and I hope those of you who read this will enjoy whatever comes next :)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

IWSG: Useful Distraction?


 
            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.
            My focus has been so far off lately. That is why I can’t seem to get anything done. Lack of time is not the problem. It’s complete lack of motivation, discipline, and focus. My mind is constantly going in ten different directions and I never know which lead to follow. Sometimes it’s with writing: should I write a blog post? Should I be working on a short story? A novel? A children’s book? I have all of that floating in my head that needs to get out on the page before it all dies. But, this goes far beyond writing decisions. Getting myself to sit down and write is a chore in and of itself. Ever a distracted procrastinator, I find everything else to do and I start random crafts or projects. I actually did finish a couple long term projects this last month, which was nice. I suppose I need to find motivation in those moments of accomplishment, even if it’s not with writing. If I could get more of the organizational projects out of the way, I may be able to focus more on my writing (or so I tell myself). One of my finished projects involved creating a significant amount of storage space in my room, which allows me to FINALLY clear off the random books, crafts and sewing supplies on my desk. That is my next project, to sort and move that stuff so my computer can have its old home back. My current set up in the living room is too full of distractions like the TV, large window, and cats. I have read that it’s helpful to find a place to get away from distractions, so I am working on creating that space.
My current "writing" spot
 
In the midst of the storage wars, I did manage little bits of writing here and there. One day, when I intentionally sat down for ten minutes to write, I wrote 350 words. Now that may not sound like a lot, but I did the math :) If I only wrote 300 words per day, every day, I would have 109,500 words by the end of the year! I know more experienced writers probably manage a lot more than that, and then there’s the editing and revising stages and beyond, but that still looks like a good number to start with for a beginning novelist like me, especially in only ten minutes a day. Feeling motivated yet?
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