Learning Something Every Day

Learning, thinking, dreaming–these are some of the things I’m doing every day, and I believe they’re helping me to become a better writer. Even when I’m writing fiction, my life and experiences are a part of the world I create, the characters I write about, and the experiences those characters go through. I found two quotes that reflect this much better than I could.

The first is by William Faulkner.

“A writer needs three things: experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times, any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.”

The second quote is by John Jerome.

“Writing, I think, is a kind of debriefing….There’s a great deal more experience in our lives than we ever succeed in knowing. Writing is an attempt to acquire more of it.”

For me, the last quote is especially telling. I have read many authors’ works where the characters and the worlds were so elaborate I thought there would be no possible way for me to create that kind of setting. I realize now they were bringing their experience and knowledge to their world and their characters, and I can do the same with the worlds and the characters I create.

Until next time, be real!

Hope Through the Dark Times

Writing can be a solitary occupation a lot of the time which is why it is important to seek out people to commiserate with, to share things with. I have found that community is the most important thing for me to get through any dark times I might have–in writing or in life in general.  My faith and my community of faith also helps with this. I find it very sad when we can’t trust each other to lift each other up. I think that’s also part of why our society is in such a bad place (in the United States). We are not willing to reach out to other people and help them when they need it. I don’t know if that’s because of an overemphasis on individuality or because we’ve been taken advantage of in the past, but that’s not what I want to be remembered for. I want to be willing to accept help when I need it, and I want to be willing to give help when it’s needed. I would hope all of us would do the same.

Until next time, be real!

First Things First

It’s time to write. This is feeling more and more natural to me. Every morning after I work out and get ready for the day, I do my warm-up writing by completing an entry for this blog. I like what I read in my writing inspiration book this morning. It was a quote by Joyce Carol Oates.

“Only have faith: the first sentence can’t be written until the last sentence has been written–only then do you know where you’ve been going, and where you’ve been.”

To me, that sounds suspiciously like having faith in yourself which is where I’ve been lacking lately. When I’ve actually been sitting down and doing the work though, the ‘having faith in yourself’ part just seems to come. Time to keep moving forward–one step at a time.

 

Until next time, be real!

Starting the Week with a Book Review–The Ragnarok Conspiracy

This book is by Erec Stebbins and is the first book I have read from Seventh Street Books. I thought it was quite good. It was fast paced, and I was unable to put it down. The book follows a FBI agent and his team as they investigate a series of attacks on Muslims around the globe. The head FBI agent and his nemesis both lost someone in the 9/11 attacks, and I thought it was an interesting study on how the temptation to go to the darker side of the human psyche was prevalent in both of them even though one ultimately chose good and one ultimately chose evil. While I know the book is fiction, it also seemed that the author was thorough with his research which I also appreciated. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the thriller genre.

Until next time, be real!

Failing Better

I like this title because even though you might have to do something over and over, each time  you get a little better at it even if the world still considers it a failure. Unfortunately, this is something that is not taught in our society today. People think they have to succeed at something the first time to be considered worthwhile– i. e. the tendency to give every child a trophy even though they haven’t earned it. Last year, my older son played for a rec baseball team. They only won one game, but I consider that one of the most valuable experiences he has ever had, and the men who coached the team treated it the same way.

Here’s a quote on failure by Thomas Edison:

“I didn’t fail one thousand times. The lightbulb was an invention with one thousand steps.”

I think I”m going to print that out and put it up on my wall as a reminder. Anything worth doing right is worth failing at first.

Until next time, be real!

Time to be Stubborn

The quote in my writing inspiration book was apropos for me this morning even though the title of the reading isn’t a part of my writing experience since I’m not writing while I’m being drooled upon. First, the quote by M.F.K. Fisher.

“Of course it I were a real writer, predestined, dedicated, I’d work in the face of everything…But as it is now I feel almost hysterical at the thought of concentration on one thing. I am never without interruption.”

This quote was related to the reading which talked about a mom with young children and pets who was trying to write too. I don’t have young children anymore, but sometimes I feel the last part of the quote deep in my bones. With all the roles I have in my life, time to concentrate on just one is always at a premium. I know it’s important to be able to work through interruptions like I’ve talked about before, but that has required focus I haven’t had in the last few weeks. So, since I haven’t had focus, I’ve decided to adopt stubbornness. My writing time is a part of me just like the rest of the parts, and I have to nurture it just like I nurture the other parts.

Until next time, be real!

How does Writing become an Automatic Habit?

At the end of last summer, I was inspired, and not in a good way, to start walking every morning before the sun rose. Now, you’re probably asking what inspired me. Well, it was that number on a scale so to speak. It was not where I wanted it to be, and I decided I needed to do something about it. Since then, I have missed very few days of doing this, mainly when it’s been raining or very cold. And I can feel it when I miss it, physically and mentally.

What does that have to do with writing, you ask? My new habit for physical fitness has become relatively automatic for me. My alarm clock goes off. I get up, put on sweat pants, t-shirt, and sweatshirt, stretch out, and go on my walk. The only allowance I give myself is to start this routine thirty minutes later on the weekends. This type of automatic habit is something I am working on transferring to my writing. I’ve done pretty good with this blog so far. My goal on New Year’s Day was to write something in it on every weekday, and I have. What I need to add-on to this is working consistently on my other projects. I do feel some of the same things when I miss writing that are similar to when I miss walking. I just need to amp it up. As my friend who passed away a few weeks ago would say, I guess I need to #crushit.

Until next time, be real!

Fulfilling your Dreams

Why do we always let our dreams come last? Is it because of the busyness of life? Is it because of the obligations we have whether it be job, family, friends, (insert whatever other things might be important)? Or is it the guilt that others make us feel because we are following our dreams? If their needs/wants aren’t being provided for, then we aren’t supposed to do what we need or want.

I believe there needs to be a balance. If a person who wants to write is not given the time to do so, their imagination, their will to write stagnates, and it becomes just that much harder to find words.  That being said, how do you find that balance? What I’m trying to do, and not always succeeding, is to carve out time each day to write where I turn off my phone and tell my family that I don’t want to be disturbed. Working on learning how to do that without guilt.

I read a friend of mine’s blog earlier, and she had the perfect quote that reflected how I felt about it.  (Thanks MarinaSofia)

“So this blog was my little stake of selfishness that I drove into the permafrost of obligation and strict scheduling that my life had become.”

I guess that’s what I need to learn. That it’s okay to be selfish for me.

 

Until next time, be real!

Writing is Not Easy

There are a lot of people who think the words come easily for writers. They read articles from magazines or read books they have chosen at the bookstore or library and think the words just appear like magic. I’ve learned a lot about the writing business this past year, and I can say for sure now that writing is definitely not easy. Even when a book is finished and is in the process of being published, there is more time taken to make sure the book is the best it can be. So, if you want to encourage a writer, take the time to review their books, interact with them on Facebook and Twitter, and let them know their work has impacted you.

Here’s a quote from Truman Capote that demonstrates the difficulty of writing:

“It’s a very excruciating life facing that blank piece of paper every day and having to reach up somewhere into the clouds and bring something down out of them.”

If that doesn’t demonstrate the difficulty of writing, I don’t know what does.

Until next time, be real!

Time for a Book Review–The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire Book 2)

I thought this was an excellent book! It continues the series begun in The Greyfriar nicely. A few months have passed since the end of events in The Greyfriar. It is almost time for Adele’s marriage to Senator Clark although she keeps trying to put it off because she doesn’t want to marry him. Finally, though, the wedding is scheduled, and she is going through with it. However, the wedding is interrupted, and she leaves which starts the events of the book.

Adele’s development as a strong female character continues to be done well, and I liked it when she asserted herself as empress and left no doubt that she was the one in charge. I also liked that even though she is strong, she still needs others to be around her supporting and encouraging her.

The Greyfriar fulfills this role well encouraging her when she needs it and letting her do what she needs to do though his instinct to protect her is very strong.

The final book to this series promises to be quite good, and I can’t wait until I can find it so I can read it. Nice job!

Until next time be real!