Saturday, October 15, 2011


Writing is a habit. I say this because I seem to have fallen out of it this past year.
It is so easy to say "I'll write that down later" or "if I put it on my desktop in plain view I'll get around to it for sure." What usually happens is that automatic dismissal of that project forms every time it catches your eye.

Here are some lessons I've learned (I re-learn them often.)

--Writing needs to be made a daily activity. It isn't a matter of fitting it into your schedule it's a matter of simply DOING it. Don't skip out on it if you are too tired that day or feel too busy. Not so easy, I know.

--The life of a writer isn't exactly cookie-cutter "go to work, get money, come home." It's: write, write, write, I-have-a-billion-other-things-to-do-right-now-but-I'm-going-to-write-anyway, write, write, write, research-publishing-companies-authors-and-writing-tips-till-your-eyes-blurr, write, write, write...

--Eating shouldn't become an option.
It's hard to write when you're thinking about how hungry you are, no matter how interesting a conversation your characters are having.
Some people find it motivating to write first thing in the morning with breakfast as a reward for their work. However, I have found that extremely unhelpful so I eat first.

--Grabbing the opportunity to write whenever you feel motivated is key to getting something written.
If you pass those opportunities off then you lose some of your most powerful writing.
When you are passionate and interested in something a reader will notice it.
Not to say that is an excuse not to write when you don't feel like it.

Is it October already? The 15th you say? Now I'm worried. It happens to be my birthday in a week and that always gets me into a reminiscing mood, thinking over the past year and what's been done in it.

Here is my list of accomplishments:

~ I resolved to edit/write more of my books (that was done in short spurts and for short times)
~ Started writing articles for a magazine (before this year I didn't think I had anything article-worthy but it seemed all that was needed was the right subject)
~ Planned a wedding (not on my own, thank goodness!) and got married.

~Started a writer's book club called "The Signature Literary Society" with several other writing friends
~ Moved out of home and into an apartment with my husband
~ Bought books
~ Got a part-time job
~ Decided cooking wasn't so bothersome after all!

In that order. Though, "bought books" MIGHT have been a "whole year" thing.

Next to getting married, my niece's birth was my favourite event of the year :D

I have some truly wonderful people in my life and a Father who loves me; this year was beautiful.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Worst Book I've Ever Read

I have torn myself away from the usual wedding preparations and evening's diversions to bring you a book rant.

I just finished reading a horrid book. I bought it a couple months ago at "Value Village" for $3. The cover was green and there was a dragon on the front, I figured I'd lose nothing in buying it. I was wrong.
The story was hard to follow and he (the author) jumped all over the place without warning or explanation.
Finally, at the end I thought it would all make sense. It didn't. I endured confusion, foul language and inappropriate scenes only to find I'd wasted all those reading hours. The main character was depraved and I could not connect with her on any level at all.

Now I can say with absolute certainty that "The Iron Dragon's Daughter" by Michael Swanwick is the worst book I've ever read and I (who love books with a passion) can actually say I hate it.
I usually try very hard to find the best in every book I've read; this one I cannot. The only credit I can give him is the idea of an iron dragon but even that idea's potential was ruined.
It annoys me further that Swanwick wrote it as homage to J.R.R. Tolkien, he the first and greatest of fantasy writers. The book also received three awards. Perhaps they were applauding his ability to disgust, shock and leave readers unsatisfied? "Look at the reaction he invoked! Let's award it!"
Part of writing is about making the reader react to what they are reading but just because someone accomplishes it by shock and twisted, corrupt ideas doesn't mean they have accomplished a high form of writing.

The one good thing I got out of the book was a clear picture of what kind of writer I do not want to be.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Money...? What Money?

There's something so wonderful and exciting about receiving a check for something I've written!

Sure, I've been paid much more for other work done but when I hold in my hands the proof that someone, somewhere is interested in what I have to say and believes my work worth paying for, well... it makes my soul glad. A part of me doesn't want to cash in those checks just so I can frame them and hang them on the wall. "See this here? This is the fruit of my labors and believe me, it was labor."
Writing is like giving birth, though it doesn't give you physical pain it certainly can inflict much mental anguish.
I can honestly say the only reason I want to be paid for my work is so I can live off it and have the opportunity to write all the time.

It's a well-known fact that writers aren't paid much unless they hit the "best sellers" list, but without those other, lesser known, underpaid writers there wouldn't be appliance manuals, interesting magazine articles, news papers, important letters (the sort the government send out to let you know that you've got tax returns) and a whole host of other written information we use every day.

I often get odd and worried glances from people when I declare that I am a freelance writer. I remember one lady lecturing me when I was fourteen on how unsuccessful and inconsistent a career that would be. Well, that may be but when you really love something and want it enough to push and force your way through the odds then perhaps you might just find yourself glad you never heeded their doubt in you.

Writing is always something you can improve on and it's taken me awhile to get to this point (though there are many more points to reach) and until a year or so ago I was hesitant to say "I am a writer." Instead, when asked, I would timidly glance around and mumble "I want to be a writer." Now I have proof to back me up, I am, indeed a published writer and my dreams are slowly but certainly coming true.
It will not be said that I have tried and failed because, in fact, I have already succeeded! Though not all my aspirations have been reached, those few that have been, are the growing foundation and stepping stones needed to reach the higher ones.

Here is a short pep-talk for you uncertain and insecure writers/aspiring authors: confidence is important to keep you moving forward! If you don't have it yourself, make sure you hang around someone who will give you some.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


What is the first thing that connects you to a person when you have just met? Similarities.

It is possible to maintain a relationship between two people that are very different from one other, but every relationship always has a foundation: something you have in common that you fall back on when things get hard. If you have nothing to fall back on, the relationship dissipates. Together you can keep a common interest alive. For this reason, many authors and writers strongly suggest keeping company with other writers as often and as much as possible. Sometimes they are the only ones who can give you the accountability you need to keep your writing on schedule and help you push through a writer's block.

I know from experience that it can be hard to get family and friends to understand why you are having a bad day when you cannot, for the life of you, come up with anything to write, or why you might burst into tears upon finding a whole chapter accidentally deleted, or why you would run around yelling at the top of your lungs when you finish a manuscript (the feeling is akin to discovering a cure for cancer.) To illustrate these diverse emotions I shall now share a link with you that might just make your day:

Though non-writers might do their best to sympathize and rejoice with you, sometimes the only one who understands a writer is another writer.

I am blessed to know several fellow writers, but they tend to be spread out through my life and I do not have the opportunity to visit with them often enough. For this reason I am starting a book/writer's club with as many of them as I can! For some time now I have been discussing the idea of starting the club with my sister in-law (she is a writer as well and recently had a beautiful baby girl, my first niece!) but we talked without doing much about it. However, this month, May, 2011, we have vowed to start it!

Having opportunities like these simply to talk about writing is enough to get me worked up with words. They beg, nay, they demand to be written!

Do you know any writers personally? Do you meet regularly with them or wish you did? Have you ever belonged to a club?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Era of Amusement

I have always enjoyed thinking, even if that "thinking" is nothing more than contemplating the flight of birds. If we only use 10% of our brains, why not use that 10% to its fullest?

Why does the human mind feel the need to be constantly entertained? Why has the demand for entertainment been higher than it was a hundred years ago?

My opinion is this: quick entertainment has become something like a drug.

When I was younger the simplest things kept my interest for hours on end; now I find myself groping around for something to keep me busy the moment I am not entertained. Why am I no longer content to think simply for the sake of thinking or be satisfied with having to do things that provide no entertainment value?

When I do the ironing or wash dishes I listen to my mp3 player and I find that because of that I do not use such times to think about things or form new opinions or gather new information of importance.

The main goal of writing is to entertain people; the whole entire point of an intriguing opening, a gripping plot a dramatic climax and satisfying conclusion is to entertain the reader. However, the difference between watching a movie and reading a book is that the book requires your mind to be engaged.
The pictures aren't flashing in front of your eyes and you can't go brain dead and still be able to understand it. A book is more of a suggestion, the description of a blizzard or a battle is there for you but your mind has to fill in bits of information, it has to think for itself and create the picture. It has to work.

The more movies and quick entertainment we use to fill in the spaces the lazier our mind becomes and the harder it is to get into deep thinking. Teenagers mature later and no one forms their own opinions because they never expose their minds to the suggestion that it is possible. They hear of something that sounds cause-worthy and run pell-mell with it and claim it as their own without ever thinking it through.

A book only has as much entertainment value as the reader gives it. Going brain dead and opting for easier entertainment will not give you the skills to think for yourself and adapt creatively to life.
Though, I am not saying there are no good movies, movies like “Inception” are hard to walk away from without thinking.

We are in an era of amusement just as the renaissance was the age of humanism.