WE WANT YOU (to get on with writing)!


(Remember what I said about all of you being seeds back when I started this blog? That’s you in the picture. You are small but growing and learning. But it’s not just you in the photo. So please don’t steal it–I ask this on behalf of the other seedlings out there. Thank you.)

So I said I’d do better today. I sort of did. I wrote, and what little I got done was pretty good. I’m writing a pretty callous character right now, so it’s pretty fun to have someone be casual about horrible, awful things. I’m looking forward to writing more of him.

But you know what? It’s not good enough. Remember when I was talking about “good enough” never being enough?

It’s still true. I didn’t write much. But I had time to write more. And in that time, I didn’t write. I’m lazy and stupid. And publicly berating myself. Because sometimes that’s what you need to do in order to make yourself be productive (hence the creation of the blog).

Here’s a good place for me to start making excuses. I had a headache that wouldn’t go away all day. I’m going to my youngest uncle’s commitment ceremony on Saturday. I have a vacation I’m leaving for on Sunday (more on that later in the post). Personal things are stressing me out. Upcoming college stuff really stressing me out. And so on.

Excuses are easy to make, aren’t they? But think about it: Haven’t you had a day worse than today where you still got more done?

I work really well under pressure. I spent a few hours in the hospital on a school day when I had my first kidney stone. And then I went and competed in an FFA competition that very night.

If I can do that, then am I not capable of writing more when physical problems are the least of my worries?

If you can take care of your physical needs, then the rest will come after. I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating in this context.

There’s still that guy I talked about who dictated a book by blinking one of his eyes. If he can do that, then surely I can do just as well without the handicap.

Surely.

Even then, I feel like I’m never good enough for anyone or anything. That crap can’t fly if you want to be a writer. Even if you suck or think you suck, you have to keep on writing if you want to have even the smallest, most minuscule chance of getting better.

Stop making “good enough” what you’ll settle for. (Man, I’m breaking a lot of accepted grammar rules in this post. And it feels great. If you can understand the English language really well, then you know exactly how to use it in an articulate way while not really breaking any actual rules of grammar.)

If you want to write, then stop letting things get in the way. This is your life. It’s time for you to start living it.

Speaking of life, I am going on a vacation and will be leaving Sunday. We are going to be in the car for a very long time, and Internet will be wired, so I may not be able to post that day. In fact, I may not be able to keep up my streak of posting every day. That makes me sad. 😦 But life outside of the Internet happens. Make up your own assignments on days I don’t post. I will definitely be doing some writing in my downtime, but please be patient if I don’t get in a blog post every day. Love you guys, but I do have family to spend time with. Hope to talk to you soon. 🙂

Your assignment: No matter how busy or awful your day is, make time for writing. Write when you wake up and before you go to bed. Write while you eat your dinner. Spend at least 10 minutes on each of these. If you spend more, then great! Keep it up. Don’t let the creativity stop! If you have to go to school or work or something, then make sure you get up early enough to plan for creative rushes. Don’t blame me if you’re late. If you eat with other people, then don’t write while you eat. But do it before or afterward. Just politely let them know that it’s something you need to do for yourself. If they can’t understand that, then maybe you need to reevaluate your relationships with them. Topics you should try to write about: a character who overcomes extreme circumstances to survive and/or succeed, a time when you found time to do something you enjoyed when people or life tried to keep you from doing so, and working under pressure. Okay, long assignment done! Get on with it! 

Derailment


(Mr. Cone says, “I am a picture of a traffic cone in some grass. Please do not steal me. 😦 That would make me very sad.”)

Sometimes, life gets in the way. Sometimes, it’s a good thing.

Today, it wasn’t a bad thing, but it, however, has left me a minimal window in which to write.

If it’s something good, then let it happen, and have fun!! Seriously, don’t get upset if you don’t get to write because you got invited to a friend’s house or whatever.

If it’s not good, then try to laugh it off and get back on track the next day.

I know life has a way of throwing things at you that are bad and unexpected and affect you greatly.

Life happens. Let it.

Your assignment: Write about two different times your plans got derailed–one for good things and one for bad. How did it affect you? Did you react poorly? Why or why not? Get thinking. And relax.

(My apologies for another non-writing post. Life got in the way today, but I had a lot of fun. 🙂 I will do my best to remedy the lack of work tomorrow.)

Derailment


(Mr. Cone says, “I am a picture of a traffic cone in some grass. Please do not steal me. 😦 That would make me very sad.”)

Sometimes, life gets in the way. Sometimes, it’s a good thing.

Today, it wasn’t a bad thing, but it, however, has left me a minimal window in which to write.

If it’s something good, then let it happen, and have fun!! Seriously, don’t get upset if you don’t get to write because you got invited to a friend’s house or whatever.

If it’s not good, then try to laugh it off and get back on track the next day.

I know life has a way of throwing things at you that are bad and unexpected and affect you greatly.

Life happens. Let it.

Your assignment: Write about two different times your plans got derailed–one for good things and one for bad. How did it affect you? Did you react poorly? Why or why not? Get thinking. And relax.

(My apologies for another non-writing post. Life got in the way today, but I had a lot of fun. 🙂 I will do my best to remedy the lack of work tomorrow.)

Zombie Days


(So this is a picture of a circle of clovers. The dirt patch looks kinda like a skull, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it be strange if your skull were to disappear immediately after stealing this picture? An odd thought indeed.)

Ummm, hey. Hi. *starts looking off in a random direction*

Oh, you’re over there.

Today was a Zombie Day. I didn’t accomplish much and didn’t leave the house. I haven’t been eating or sleeping much lately, and I guess today was the result of that.

Try not to let yourself get caught up in those downward swings like me. I feel like I’m sort of making progress. But I’m also rather caught up in all the crap that’s coming up these next few months. So please bear with me. Lots of college- and after-college-related things, among other stresses. Ugh.

Remember to take days off. I feel like I’ve probably said that too many times on here. But it’s important. If you’ve ever watched Dragonball Z, then you know that Goku takes a break every so often. Like, there’s a ton of stuff going on, and he’s fighting his butt off, and afterward, there’s a period of time where he just sits around and eats. It’s like that. Because even Saiyans know that you will burn yourself out if you’re always working. I know I’ve not been working a lot lately, but I’ve been stressing, and the two are often equivocal.

So let’s try to make sure we don’t burn out. Here’s a good place to start:
http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com/

Try it. I’m not gonna do it right now because I’m finishing typing this, of course, and then I’ll be heading to bed. But I’m gonna do it tomorrow. I’ll try to do better on writing and such tomorrow. I sincerely hope this entry makes some sense. I like being able to look at what I’ve done over the course of the day, which is why I do them so late at night. Here’s hoping I’ll be motivated enough to start this before I get terribly tired tomorrow.

Your assignment: Do nothing for two minutes. After you’ve successfully done that (Don’t stop until you do), listen to some relaxing music for a few minutes. See if it inspires any writing. If it does, then write something. If not, then just let the music roll over you until you’re relaxed. Sometimes relaxation is necessary before you can be productive. So just relax and follow the pendulum with your eyes…

Zombie Days


(So this is a picture of a circle of clovers. The dirt patch looks kinda like a skull, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it be strange if your skull were to disappear immediately after stealing this picture? An odd thought indeed.)

Ummm, hey. Hi. *starts looking off in a random direction*

Oh, you’re over there.

Today was a Zombie Day. I didn’t accomplish much and didn’t leave the house. I haven’t been eating or sleeping much lately, and I guess today was the result of that.

Try not to let yourself get caught up in those downward swings like me. I feel like I’m sort of making progress. But I’m also rather caught up in all the crap that’s coming up these next few months. So please bear with me. Lots of college- and after-college-related things, among other stresses. Ugh.

Remember to take days off. I feel like I’ve probably said that too many times on here. But it’s important. If you’ve ever watched Dragonball Z, then you know that Goku takes a break every so often. Like, there’s a ton of stuff going on, and he’s fighting his butt off, and afterward, there’s a period of time where he just sits around and eats. It’s like that. Because even Saiyans know that you will burn yourself out if you’re always working. I know I’ve not been working a lot lately, but I’ve been stressing, and the two are often equivocal.

So let’s try to make sure we don’t burn out. Here’s a good place to start:
http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com/

Try it. I’m not gonna do it right now because I’m finishing typing this, of course, and then I’ll be heading to bed. But I’m gonna do it tomorrow. I’ll try to do better on writing and such tomorrow. I sincerely hope this entry makes some sense. I like being able to look at what I’ve done over the course of the day, which is why I do them so late at night. Here’s hoping I’ll be motivated enough to start this before I get terribly tired tomorrow.

Your assignment: Do nothing for two minutes. After you’ve successfully done that (Don’t stop until you do), listen to some relaxing music for a few minutes. See if it inspires any writing. If it does, then write something. If not, then just let the music roll over you until you’re relaxed. Sometimes relaxation is necessary before you can be productive. So just relax and follow the pendulum with your eyes…

Poetry!


(This is a photo of a trashcan. Almost anything that has snow on it instantly becomes more interesting. Just like how interesting it would be if you didn’t steal this photo. :))

Poetry is pretty great. All the cool kids are doing it! But seriously. I like poetry. Don’t stop reading!

If you’re one of the many people who gagged when they saw that this post is about poetry, please relax. There are two types of poetry you may be thinking of… 1. MySpace/DeviantArt/LiveJournal/diary/whatever poetry. 2. whatever they made you read in school.

Not all poetry is crappy. Not all of it is self-loathing or depressing or about cutting yourself (or how you’d like to cut someone else). Not all poetry is pompous or about trees (Hey, I like reading about trees. But maybe you don’t).

Poetry can be as mouthwatering as a good piece of fiction, if done correctly.

Poetry is about finding awesome words to describe ordinary things. If you like reading awesome words, then you should probably find some good poetry. If you don’t like the classics, then just don’t read the classics. Find what you do like. If you like reading poems that are about death and decay, then go find some. It’s not terribly hard.  I’d suggest Edgar Allan Poe, but I have a feeling if you don’t like poetry, then you may have already gone there.

I’m not saying you have to appreciate poetry. But if you like writing, then you shouldn’t leave out this form of it. Poetry is streamlined and allows you a lot more freedom than a short story. You can’t only read books or only read short stories if you like writing. Immerse yourself in the world of literature. There is so much out there that you’re missing.

Your assignment: Find at least one poem that either intrigues you or that you like. Try to imitate its style in a poem of your own about something completely different. Then write a poem in the opposite style. If the author plays with punctuation and how it’s used, then only use proper punctuation. If the author uses proper punctuation, then try to use as little as possible! If the poem is short and simple, then try to write something longer and more complex (You don’t have to go crazy on this one). And vice versa. Don’t let yourself get caught up in only things you like–play with your own style and figure out for yourself what works for you.

Poetry!


(This is a photo of a trashcan. Almost anything that has snow on it instantly becomes more interesting. Just like how interesting it would be if you didn’t steal this photo. :))

Poetry is pretty great. All the cool kids are doing it! But seriously. I like poetry. Don’t stop reading!

If you’re one of the many people who gagged when they saw that this post is about poetry, please relax. There are two types of poetry you may be thinking of… 1. MySpace/DeviantArt/LiveJournal/diary/whatever poetry. 2. whatever they made you read in school.

Not all poetry is crappy. Not all of it is self-loathing or depressing or about cutting yourself (or how you’d like to cut someone else). Not all poetry is pompous or about trees (Hey, I like reading about trees. But maybe you don’t).

Poetry can be as mouthwatering as a good piece of fiction, if done correctly.

Poetry is about finding awesome words to describe ordinary things. If you like reading awesome words, then you should probably find some good poetry. If you don’t like the classics, then just don’t read the classics. Find what you do like. If you like reading poems that are about death and decay, then go find some. It’s not terribly hard.  I’d suggest Edgar Allan Poe, but I have a feeling if you don’t like poetry, then you may have already gone there.

I’m not saying you have to appreciate poetry. But if you like writing, then you shouldn’t leave out this form of it. Poetry is streamlined and allows you a lot more freedom than a short story. You can’t only read books or only read short stories if you like writing. Immerse yourself in the world of literature. There is so much out there that you’re missing.

Your assignment: Find at least one poem that either intrigues you or that you like. Try to imitate its style in a poem of your own about something completely different. Then write a poem in the opposite style. If the author plays with punctuation and how it’s used, then only use proper punctuation. If the author uses proper punctuation, then try to use as little as possible! If the poem is short and simple, then try to write something longer and more complex (You don’t have to go crazy on this one). And vice versa. Don’t let yourself get caught up in only things you like–play with your own style and figure out for yourself what works for you.

Feelings


(Another campus photo I took! I like how you can see the moon in it. :3 But just because the moon doesn’t belong to either of us doesn’t mean you can take my photo. Because it actually does belong to me. So please don’t. Are we on the same page? Gooood.)

Feelings can be a great way to get things written. If you’re in a good mood, then you’re more than happy to write about puppies that shed rainbows instead of fur. If you’re in a crappy mood, then it’s all death and darkness.

When are feelings a hindrance?

When they don’t match what you’re writing.
When they are too over-the-top to be even somewhat reasonable.

If you’re feeling pessimistic, then why would your hero find the thing that will help him most? Let him suffer a little. Everybody’s gotta deal with pain. Maybe kill off any remaining family members or friends or mentors (depending on who you’re running low on). Let him know agony.

If you’re feeling optimistic, then why would anything bad happen to the sweet princess who’s baking cookies? Everybody loves her, and her best friend holds a party in her honor just because she’s so gosh-darn sweet! And maybe she’ll get her first kiss, which will lead to happy-happy marriage and the cutest children ever!

See where I’m going? It can be hard to write when you’re feeling too much of any emotion. It’s great if you need that angsty monologue you’ve been looking for or the exact perk-up for your main characters who have been down on their luck lately.

But if you just need to get a conversation moving toward a specific goal, then you need your mind to be clear enough to get the right information out there for your readers and characters.

Well, I’ve got a headache that I’ve had most of the day, so I’ll continue talking about this another time. Let’s get on with what I want you to do today!

Your assignment: Write a scene in which something happens that goes completely against your mood. Spend at least 10 minutes on it.

If you’re in a(n) __(A)__ mood, then end your scene with your main character(s) in a(n) __(B)__ mood.

A. happy B. angry
A. depressed B. happy
A. lustful B. heartless
A. hateful B. loving
A. neutral B. passionate (Take this as you will.)
A. angsty B. family-oriented
A. unstable B. coping
A. silly B. sober
A. serious B. giggly
A. motivated B. lazy
A. angry B. exhausted
A. lazy B. responsible
A. reclusive B. excessively social
A. responsible B. reckless
A. cuddly B. detached
A. optimistic B. shell-shocked
A. pessimistic B. giddy
A. “so over all this”/“ugh, seriously?” B. listening
A. frustrated B. on to better things
A. lovestruck B. career-oriented 

Your characters can start at any emotion as long as they end on the one given. I know I didn’t cover every emotion, so if I didn’t include yours, then just try to do something very different from it. It doesn’t have to be a polar opposite–just make sure it’s drastically different from your own mood. Get going!

Feelings


(Another campus photo I took! I like how you can see the moon in it. :3 But just because the moon doesn’t belong to either of us doesn’t mean you can take my photo. Because it actually does belong to me. So please don’t. Are we on the same page? Gooood.)

Feelings can be a great way to get things written. If you’re in a good mood, then you’re more than happy to write about puppies that shed rainbows instead of fur. If you’re in a crappy mood, then it’s all death and darkness.

When are feelings a hindrance?

When they don’t match what you’re writing.
When they are too over-the-top to be even somewhat reasonable.

If you’re feeling pessimistic, then why would your hero find the thing that will help him most? Let him suffer a little. Everybody’s gotta deal with pain. Maybe kill off any remaining family members or friends or mentors (depending on who you’re running low on). Let him know agony.

If you’re feeling optimistic, then why would anything bad happen to the sweet princess who’s baking cookies? Everybody loves her, and her best friend holds a party in her honor just because she’s so gosh-darn sweet! And maybe she’ll get her first kiss, which will lead to happy-happy marriage and the cutest children ever!

See where I’m going? It can be hard to write when you’re feeling too much of any emotion. It’s great if you need that angsty monologue you’ve been looking for or the exact perk-up for your main characters who have been down on their luck lately.

But if you just need to get a conversation moving toward a specific goal, then you need your mind to be clear enough to get the right information out there for your readers and characters.

Well, I’ve got a headache that I’ve had most of the day, so I’ll continue talking about this another time. Let’s get on with what I want you to do today!

Your assignment: Write a scene in which something happens that goes completely against your mood. Spend at least 10 minutes on it.

If you’re in a(n) __(A)__ mood, then end your scene with your main character(s) in a(n) __(B)__ mood.

A. happy B. angry
A. depressed B. happy
A. lustful B. heartless
A. hateful B. loving
A. neutral B. passionate (Take this as you will.)
A. angsty B. family-oriented
A. unstable B. coping
A. silly B. sober
A. serious B. giggly
A. motivated B. lazy
A. angry B. exhausted
A. lazy B. responsible
A. reclusive B. excessively social
A. responsible B. reckless
A. cuddly B. detached
A. optimistic B. shell-shocked
A. pessimistic B. giddy
A. “so over all this”/“ugh, seriously?” B. listening
A. frustrated B. on to better things
A. lovestruck B. career-oriented 

Your characters can start at any emotion as long as they end on the one given. I know I didn’t cover every emotion, so if I didn’t include yours, then just try to do something very different from it. It doesn’t have to be a polar opposite–just make sure it’s drastically different from your own mood. Get going!

Word Aversion


(This is a photo that I took on campus. Stealing is bad. So if it’s mine and not yours, then there’s no reason to take it, right?)

Words!

People who love to read and/or write tend to love words. We love phrasing. We love usage. We love their sounds.

Oooh, how words sound.

I don’t have any words I have problems with, but sometimes I feel like I’m the only one. I can’t tell you how many people I know that have issues with the word “moist.” Recently, I came across an article on Cracked about words that people hate.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-words-we-should-ban-because-they-make-me-uncomfortable/

I’ve never disliked any of those words. The way they sound is exactly what makes them awesome. It’s good to be uncomfortable. If everyone lived in a happy little padded cell all the time, then life would be safe and boring. It would have the limited amount of textures that were in there with you, and that would be it.

But we have horror movies, disturbing books, creepy poems. Why? Because we as humankind love to be uncomfortable sometimes.

If every word was completely pleasant and unoffensive, then where would we be? Words have weight and meaning and texture. Life is not a clean sheet of white paper. It has twists and turns and colors and patterns and rhythms.

We need words that take us out of our comfort zone. I love words that make other people uncomfortable. (Of course, I love seeing other people feel awkward sometimes, soooo… I don’t know where that leaves me.) Without words we don’t like, where are we? Some bland place with no flavor or variety.

I’m no synesthete, but I think good writing is delicious. It can make my mouth water. I drink it up like it’s the first taste of liquid I’ve had in days.

I’m not averse to words. I relish them.

Your assignment: Make two lists: one of words you like and one of words you dislike. Try to have at least five words in each list. If you’re having a hard time coming up with words, pick words that feel bland to you, that seem too neutral to elicit any feeling (unless you realize that it creates the exact feeling of monotony that you were searching for, of course). Try to quantify what these words make you feel and why you think that is. Write something that uses all of the words. Can you use the words you don’t like to create an enemy for the words you do like? What common themes do you see among each set and how they end up being used in your writing? Let yourself get carried away with this one–it’s all about feeling.

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