The Ebb & Flow of Writing, of Life

In the past month, I haven’t really thought much about writing. Sure, there were times when I decided I wanted to write a little something, so I fired up my NEO AlphaSmart and just typed away. But, these were just rare occurrences. I found myself focused on GMAT and on other aspects of my life instead.

And now, with the GMAT completed and all the free time in the world for me again, I sit here and just ponder. A part of me feels like I need to hurry up and get back to my writing, but there’s a whole part of me that just gently nudges me and says, “Well, take your time. You don’t need to be in a hurry.”

During these past three years, I’ve seen my interest in writing go up and down a lot. There are periods of time when I feel like it’s all I can think about, that I can only focus on my novels or my short stories and devour everything I can when it comes to writing reference and self-help books from the library or the bookstore. And then, the complete opposite happens: I stop writing, I stop reading, and I’m just befuddled as to what to do with my time.

That’s just how it goes. And right now seems to be a period of nothingness after all the rollercoaster feelings I’ve gone through over the summer. Perhaps I’ll find that passion for writing again. I know I will, but I suppose I can’t always expect life to move so quickly with everything I want to do. Just take it all one moment at a time.


Waking Up Writing on a Monday Morning

My brother had said something on Sunday evening while I was cooking: the timer on the stove was on, and it was ticking down 30 minutes. He looked at the timer and said “Wait a minute, there aren’t 29 hours in a day.”

Yesterday morning, I woke up and had this thought in my head…and I immediately got down to writing after I finished breakfast. Funny how inspiration just lands right in my lap.

My AlphaSmart NEO (pictured on the left) has been my lifesaver these past few months. I first heard about this little machine via NaNoWriMo and finally decided that I needed to get one when I realized how distracted I become while on my laptop. The NEO is only an electronic typewriter (in some ways)…but hey, it gets the writing job done for me! I can just take it into the kitchen and work on it with no distractions from my laptop.

It’s also good for taking notes in a class, but I have yet to try that. I’ll try it soon enough.

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#amwriting Busride Observations featured Slice of Life

Week in Review: Zero writing but the schedule is coming along

The 4-Hour WorkweekImage via Wikipedia

Oh, it’s the end of the week? Well, it’s the end of the work week for 9-5ers. For me, it’s just my Tuesday. It’s been two months since I decided to really focus on my writing and check out freelancing, but gee, it took me all this time to finally figure out some sort of comfortable schedule.

I had read in a few books and articles about how first-time freelancers/writers going full-time find it hard to really balance out their time for work and play. I knew this was going to happen to me, but I didn’t completely believe it either until I experienced it myself.

Usually I’m pretty disciplined with my time, but a lot of changes were going on around me that it was hard to really set the schedule down. Plus, it’s not like I really need to work on a rigid time schedule these days–I just have to get my hours in somewhere along the week: this many hours for studying GMAT, this many hours for my health/fitness (gym, Wii, etc.), this many hours for spending with loved ones, et. al.

It’s safe to say that my “weekend” now occurs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which normally would be just fine by me. But since my GMAT class just started this week, I found myself steeped in homework problems yesterday morning before my class. That’s what I get for taking those two days off! But I’ve learned my lesson and will budget my time more wisely for these next three weeks before my test.

In other news, another Muni Diaries feature today: Learning West Portal the Hard Way

Editor/friend Jeff said I bookended the blog this week with my stories of getting lost on Muni. Nice way to start/end the regular workweek! Now, I must get back to some online drills.

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Practicing First Person Writing

Title page of Three Hundred Aesop's FablesImage via Wikipedia

Oh, the title might not be what I mean to say–I’m always writing in first person through my blogs, Facebook, Twitter, my personal diary…I don’t need the practice of writing in the first person necessarily.

But when I write flash fiction, short stories, etc. in the first person, I feel very strange and unnatural. As I’m writing, I can’t help but feel, “Wait, am I writing the truth or is this all a foray into my creative thoughts?”

I write, and I write, and I write. And the more I write in the first person, the more uncomfortable I feel. I don’t like feeling like I’m projecting my personal thoughts out onto my protagonist; I mean, I don’t want readers to think that I really have these pre-meditated thoughts that my often-twisted characters have. Oh…but then I stop and realize, “Hey, don’t take it all so seriously.”

Another reason why it might all seem unnatural to me is because my protagonists tend to be men. I don’t like writing with female protagonists, because I always make them sound too whiny, needy, girly, etc. The theme of the lady in distress finding her place in the world–it seems so overdone these days. I’d rather not add another story to that pile. And I’d rather not be marginalized to a certain genre.

So that leaves me with wanting to change my stories to the third person so readers feel more omniscient with all that’s going on. At least then I wouldn’t feel like my voice was coming through the story with first person.

But somehow these days I’m always drafting stories in the first person. Perhaps the subconscious is wanting to leak out that first person voice and strengthen it.

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Week in Review: Steady Fiverr Gigs & Organizing Goals

This past week went by very very slowly. I’m wondering if it’s because I took the time to really enjoy each moment and not worry so much about the present.

I joined Fiverr a couple weeks ago after hearing about it from my sister-in-law. It’s an interesting concept: people do anything for $5 (well, net $4 since Fiverr takes $1 per sale). Some users on the site offer very usable skills and services, but most offer just frivolous services such as writing something on their forehead for $5. I wouldn’t pay the money for that unless I was really bored, had a lot of money to spare, and found that at all amusing.
Anyway, I’ve posted gigs on there, mostly writing-related. At first, nobody was biting (I’m offering skills that many others are also offering after all), but this week I’ve seen a steady stream of orders. It’s good to exercise my writing muscles in other ways.
Last night, before I went to bed, I organized my goals for the summer (in terms of writing). There are a couple of literary magazines I’d like to submit to, and one writing contest I was notified about via Facebook. Now, I have to go back and look through all my short stories (ones written from 2008-2009) and see which ones have potential of being polished in a timely manner.
This week was the first real week for me to have some semblance of a “regular” schedule since things are slowly getting back to normal around me. I don’t have as much of a structured week though, so my days off are whenever I feel like it for the time being. Of course, I’ll need to figure out a better outline of a schedule as time passes; it’s hard to really enjoy time when I feel like I’m on-call the whole time.
In other news, I just now went through my labels/tags for this blog. Gee whiz, I have a tendency to be too broad yet too specific at the same time. I guess it’d help if I had more of a focus for this blog. I only say this now because I’m taking a class on blogging via Gotham Writers’ Workshop. Even though I’ve been blogging for many years now (probably about ten!), I figured it was time for me to learn to refine my blogging skills. In general, all my Internet skills have just been trial-and-error over the years, but I feel more confident if I have some sort of foundation. I have more blog ideas incubating in my mind since I’ve started the class, but those ideas will have to wait until I improve my current blogs (this one and Cinnamon Juice…oh, it’s so quiet over there!).