Coming to Terms with Being in the Village

It’s been interesting being back in this village. I have lived here before, and as the seasons go on, it gets a bit grim. Work stops, people go home and stop visiting, and those who remain either spend all their time in the pub or stay indoors just trying to conserve their money and stay warm.

However, there are a few benefits of staying here for a few months. One of which being that I think it will only inspire my success at uni when I go this time next year. The other is that I can read all the assigned books for next year, and get a head start on it.

However, the other thing that I’m looking forward to being able to participate in is NaNoWriMo. I had given up on that, since I was going to be fully in school and working. But now that I’m just working, and I know the work isn’t going to be abundant, it gives me time to work on my writing, as is always the goal.

I’m tempted to continue on with my story that I started for CampNaNoWriMo, but I think that there is more that I have to experience to be able to make that happen. We shall see. It’s strange what I come up with as the days get closer to the start date.

That being said, I am almost finished editing my NaNoWriMo project from 2014, which was the first one I participated in while writing this blog. Once that’s done, I’ll be looking for Beta readers. It’s rather exciting! Once I get through a round of that, then I’ll try and find my publisher. I’ve got a good feeling about this particular story.

As for being in the village, the weather has been surprisingly nice, and warm. Today we are going to be going for a walk, somewhere. Not sure where. But as long as the sky is blue, we should definitely be taking advantage of it.

 

Impulse

I got a little weird earlier. Ok, not in a way that should be worried about, mind you. But just wait and hear the story, or read the story, rather, and then make the distinction of weirdness vs. good business choices.

As regular readers might have picked up on, I’m a little addicted to podcasts, especially as of recently. I mostly listen to philosophy and writing podcasts, but recently I’ve been trying to branch out, take recommendations of other people. And in doing this, I got the idea that my friend should do a podcast on tarot and that I would help her with it.

To help her design the podcast, i decided that I needed to research similar podcasts, which, of course, makes sense. I started listening to a few, but there’s on in particular that I’m fond of called “Rune Soup“, which a guy interviews authors and the like who are participants in the occult. The most recent one was interviewing a couple who started a publishing company in Northern England.

It was the weirdest thing: The more and more I listened to it, the more and more compelled I felt to get in touch with them. So I did. I just sent off the email, explaining to them exactly what I’ve explained here, and said that I was moving to Durham in less than a month, and that they should consider me for an internship. main-qimg-8fd7d9897448e44c84865aaa4dd64ee44

yep. that’s what I did. it is either weird or charming and bold. Either way, it’s an experimental first. I’ve never been so arrogant as to ask for an internship0–no, that’s not true. I asked for one when I was 14 at a local tea shop because I wanted to be an herbalist. They were rather rude about it.

Morning Pages Experiment

This is my first attempt at morning pages, sort of. I wanted to post what I wrote mostly for other people to sort of see what the process is like. So, here it goes:


I suppose you could consider this to be my first set of morning pages. I heard about it on a podcast this morning, and I wasn’t really certain what it was that they were talking about. Apparently, there is a way to get the creative mind going by writing three pages with whatever it is that you want firs thing in the morning. Well, seeing as I’ve been up for three hours already, it’s not quite first thing in the morning. However, I do want to start setting up my own writing routine. I’m not sure how I’m going to do that since I don’t’ have a set schedule at the moment, but I can certainly give it a go.

One other thing that I was listening about on that podcast was the idea of doing 25 minutes spurts, where you set aside 25 minutes for one task, you turn off your internet and phone, and do only that one task, and then give yourself a five minute break. It helps to keep you focused. Especially since the obsessions with Facebook and social media and having a smartphone which connects me to the world, I certainly have developed somewhat of an inability to stay on task for more than a few minutes. As it is now, I have to keep myself from looking at the screen. If I do look at the screen, then I’m going to go back and edit all my typos and the like, and then I’ll lose my train of through, which defeats the purpose

As it is, I’m writing in a font that my windows 10 deleted from my version of Word, which upset me. It’s my favorite font. I’m on the computer at the college, which still has this font. However, it’s very much smaller in size 12 than Times New Roman is. It’s about equivalent to an 8 point font. I’m wondering how many pages I should write if I’m typing this out just so. Granted, in the exercise that was initially set forth years ago, they were talking bout hand writing for three pages. Typing is very different. I suppose it would be advantageous of me to go for three typed pages, especially since my font size is so small. But I think that might just go for a full page of this small font. I do plan on going back and editing this entry and posting it as a blog entry. By editing, I mean fixing the typos. I’ll keep the words as they are. I mostly want to use this as an example of what can be done. I should have looked at the time before I started this. I think I did. I think it said that it was 9:21. At this point then I’ve been typing for about six minutes.

I suppose this isn’t my first free write like this that I’ve done. I have a few of them on my computer, where I told myself I would write for just fifteen minutes, about anything and everything. As long as it came to my head. It’s kind of like a meditation. You notice and express what’s in your head, but you are going through it so fast that you don’t have time to dwell on it. I suppose that the correlation to meditation is that during meditation, you’re trying to still your mind. But you don’t want to halt and stop any thoughts that are come thing rough and disturbing the stillness, but rather you just want to let them go, let them pass through. That’s what I’m doing. I’m trying to get my brain in the mind for writing, and thus I’m just letting whatever words I have pass through me. Who knows, maybe somewhere in here there will be some inspiration.

Damn, I’m running out of things to think about, or so I think. I think that I just finished that last thought and I haven’t given myself time for a new through to come through. Damn, I looked at the screen. I’m at just under 700 words and not even to a full page yet. I’ve been typing for eight minutes. That’s not really a good way of doing this. After all, as soon as I start looking at numbers, I’m sure that I’ll be debilitated by them, wanting to strive for something higher, feeling as though I haven’t really done as much as I have. But this isn’t a competition. It’s an exercise. It’s like stretching. There’s no such thing as winning at stretching—unless you’re in a yoga competition I suppose.

Man, my wrist is actually starting to hurt from this. I blame the school keyboards. They’re really stiff in the button area. They make it a little more difficult to type. They also have tall buttons. I think a lot about keyboards. There’s a lot of specifics I look for. I want a satisfying click. Sometimes, I want a different click than other times. That’s when it’s handy to have both my laptop and my desktop. Their keyboards click differently. It’s weird how that makes a difference.

I was thinking about that the other day, actually. I find that I’m very texture oriented. When I crave foods, I don’t actually crave the food itself, but rather the texture. For example, I often want crunchy things. When I think of tacos, I think of crunchy tacos, not traditional ones. And when I want them, really I just want the taco shell. I’m the same with pasta. I often crave the al dente texture of pasta rather than the pasta itself. It’s really interesting, since it comes through in my preferences and moods for writing. Sometimes I want to feel the smoothness of a pen on paper. Sometimes I want the slightly gritty feeling of a pencil on paper. Sometimes, I really want just a delicate tick of my laptop computer. I feel like the latter helps me to think that my thoughts are just being transferred by magic, since it’s so quiet and easy to type on, I can forget I’m doing anything other than simply thinking. And sometimes I just want that bold, loud tap of the keyboard that the school keyboards (well, some of them) give me, or that my desk top gives me.

Man, I don’t know what to do with my desk top when I move to England. I don’t want to let it go. There’s some software on it that was…gifted to me. Yeah, we’ll say “gifted”. But I don’t’ want to lose that software, and I’m too computer ignorant to know how to get it off the computer and onto another one. I wonder if I should sell it. I really like that computer. Other than doing some video editing, there’s not a whole lot that’s filling it. It’s a little bit older though, like 4 years. I keep thinking that if I should it, I probably wouldn’t get too much for it. I thought about donating it to a friend that would need it, but honestly, I kind of need the money. I don’t know, maybe I should sell it.

Alright, so I’ve reached about a page and a third. I’m at just under 1200 words, actually, more than that now since my word count is a little bit slower than I am. I’ve bene writing for fifteen minutes. I should probably stop. I want to keep going through. This is good, I like this. Thought because I plant to post this in my blog, for the sake of the reader, I should probably stop.

But should I stop if I want to keep going? If you’re jonesing to keep going during an exercise, should you interrupt yourself? Perhaps thought, putting those limitations, stopping at a certain time, is good for the discipline of it. Yeah, that’s probably the case. I should give it a go. I’m going to switch the font back to Times, see how far this writing actually got me. Maybe I did write the full three pages. I will say though, if I weren’t typing all this out, then my hand would be super cramped at this point. But then again, if I were hand writing this, I wouldn’t’ have written this much in this short of time.

Ok, seriously though, I’m going to stop. It’s going to happen. The problem is that I can see the word count out of the corner of my eye. It’s edging so close to 1500 words. It’d be really neat to get to 1500 words in 15 minutes. But then again, I have passed the 15 minute mark about three minutes ago, so I suppose I failed that. But then again, it could be a goal of mine.

Alright, for realsies now, I’m going to stop. I still have to edit this entry before I post it. Ok, here I go…totally going to stop…in eleven more words…I’m totally trying to get to that 1500 and there I go! Goal hit J

Also, I did get to the third page after getting to Times New Roman, but only about a fifth of the way down it. I’m not sure how much that counts though.


In case you are wondering, the ending word count for this, plus this entry is 1605. That’s nearly a day’s worth of writing for NaNoWriMo. Imagine how much you could do in an hour or two if you mastered writing fiction in this way!

Considering Poetry

As I’ve mentioned several times, I’m a podcast junkie. Especially since I drive so much for my goat cheese gig. One of the newer podcasts that I’ve come across is called Examining Ethics. I’ve only listened to about an episode and a half of it so far, and from my understanding is run by students at DePauw University in Indiana. The episode that I listened to in full was called “What Good is Poetry?” In it, they interview poet Tarfia Faizullah, who wrote a book of poetry called Seam. The poems are written about the women she interviewed in Bangladesh who were raped during their war with Pakistan in 1971.

After listening to this episode, I was completely blown away by poetry. It has never been my thing, never really been anything I’ve wanted to pursue (except when I was nine and wanted to be a singer and tried to write my own songs, but I don’t know how much that counts).  This woman told a story through her poems.

Of course, this is nothing new. I’ve taken plenty of literature classes that I’ve read old poems that were the telling of stories (“Epic of Gilgamesh”, “Beowulf”, etc). However, this was so different, so simple, so perfectly formed. I fell in love with it.

Seemingly separately, I posted on my author Facebook page that I wanted to write a page a day for August, since I failed so direly at my attempt at Camp NaNoWriMo (I think I only made it to 27k of my 50k word count goal). I sat down this morning, and decided I’d get going on that page-a-day goal. Except that I had no idea what to write. All I could think about was the half-written novels I’ve been working on, whether or not I should continue them for my page-a-day, or if I should start something new–and if something new, then what? I couldn’t really stomach working on my stories any more, not right now. I would get sucked into the editing of them rather than the continuation of them, and my most recent project is such a mess that I can’t bare to look at it.

But…

But…..

This poetry thing was kind of ringing in my ears.

I began thinking about the story I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2014, and my most recent project. There’s a shared theme to both of them…If I could only just tap into that….

Before I knew it there was a poem on the page.

Not a good one. Well, it might be a good one. I don’t know. I’m terrible with reading, writing and analyzing poetry. It’s never been my thing. However, I’m quite inspired by Tarfia Faizullah to try my hand at it. So my goal is to take my stories that I’m struggling with, and see if I can summarize each chapter into a poem. That’s my goal for the month.

And no, you can’t see the poems.

Applying for Writing Gigs…Kind of

I’ve been applying for editing jobs online, trying to figure out a way that I can keep my head in the game, and work toward building my resume for my potential job when I finish college. I’ve heard back from two, both saying that I’m hired. One asked for my wage and availability, which I gave them. They said they’d let me know when they had an opening for me.

The other one got back to me, sent me the tutorial that I had to complete, which was simple enough. It was basically going over the philosophy of the company, what it means to be an editor for them and so on. It’s everything I’ve been doing in the writing center any way, plus being able to edit the mistakes the writer makes, which is fine by me.

I have three sample papers I have to edit. I’ll get to do them after the previous one is reviewed. I just finished my first one. They told me I had nine hours to complete it–no problem. I downloaded it. It was a 12 page paper, a Nursing paper, and it was a Literature Review needed to be done in APA formatting. All of these things are my enemies. I hate nursing papers so much! And I somehow managed to get through all my classes to get my Associate’s degree without taking a class that required APA formatting–don’t ask me how I did that–but I did. However, end result, while I can kind of get through it, it’s really not my strong suit.

The paper took me four hours to get through–mostly because I had to keep double checking myself. Hopefully that intensity will literally pay off. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

How to Make Your Life Revolve Around Writing

As mentioned yesterday in my Declaration of Independence, my goal is to make my life revolve around that which I aspire to do most: write. And to do this, I have devised a plan.

  1. Write Every Day
    This might seem like a no-brainer, but is more to it than simply making sure pen meets paper:
    Journaling–A personal journal is something that I think is important for anyone and everyone, even those who don’t want to be a writer. It helps to organize thought and find out what you really think or feel. It can help you become more open to what you might be ignoring, whether consciously or subconsciously.
    15 Minute Writes–What I mean by this is turning off of covering the monitor of your computer and just writing for fifteen minutes straight. This is something my English 100 teacher taught me when I attempted college the first time ten years ago. What this does is helps you to write on command. You write anything and everythign that comes to your mind, without looking, without thinking. If you don’t know what you want to write, you write over and over again “I don’t kow what to write” until you figure out something you want to write about.
    Spending at least an hour working towards fiction–This is a huge thing for me. Either I’m all into fiction, or I’m far from it. So either I’m just writing blog entries/essays/journaling, or I’m just writing fiction. Considering that I want to be a fiction writer, this is something I need to work on.
  2. Schedule Time to Write
    By wanting to be a writer and get paid for my wrods, I’m basically making this a business model. I need to be able to have scheduled time every day to write, whether  it’s creating a new project, working on an old project, editing, journalling, outlining–whatever. I need to be able to schedule a time, daily, that I am not disturbed, that all I do is write.
  3. Read Every Day
    I am a terrible reader. I don’t read fiction, hardly every. And non-fiction I basically skim over. It’s not that I’m not a strong reader–I am. But I think that with technology the way it is (smart phoens), I just don’t have the focus or discaplin to stay interested in something to read it all the way through from cover to cover. I need to fix that.
  4. Be A Better Blogger
    Aside from the fact that I’m not a regular writer any more, I need to do other things to be a better blogger. This means reading other peoples’ blogs and interacting and promoting them. We are all striving for the same goal: to make money on our writing. By reading what they have to say, I’m not only supporting them with their taletns and ambitions, but I’m learning how to strengthen my own blog as well.
  5. Be A Better Reader
    As mentioned before, I have no ability to stay focussed. I want to start making myself read articles from top to bottom, reading blog posts in their full, as well as maybe even reading magazine articles. By being a better reader, writers can gain ideas and perspectives on how to improve their own writing as well as passing the karmic buck forward.
  6. Surround Myself with Writers
    I’ve started doing this, though vaguely. I do have a confession though: other writers scare me. I have always delighted in writing being solitary work, but really, I need other writers. This goes along side of being a better reader: I need to be able to increase my skill and find out my weaknesses. The best way to do this is to network with other writers who experience similar problems and might feedback.
    This doesn’t have to mean physical people in front of you either. This can be finding networks of writers via twitter, NaNoWriMo, WordPress, Hubpages, and so on.
  7. Writing Podcasts
    No, I am not creating a podcast. I went down that road for all of four seconds and it was just not for me. However, I want to expand the podcasts that I listen to so that they are mostly about writing. I’m doing a fairly good job of this so far. I only listen to philosophy podcasts and writing podcasts. But if I’m honest with myself, I’m more into the philosophy stuff than I am the Writing Podcasts. I listen to Writing Excuses and Writers on Writing–both are amazing podcasts that I love. However, if anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
  8. Find Alpha and Beta Readers
    I’m generally terrified to let people read my writing. But I am getting better at it. What I need is to find my group of supportive readers who can help me make my writing and story telling better so that I an eventually start submitting to publication. Without readers, I can’t submit anything. They will see that which I can’t see because I am too far into my own head. So I need to suck it up, and let some people read my work.

Making Independence Day About Me: A Writer’s Declaration

With all my time off, I’ve been able to focus on my writing, which has been a really productive thing. I’ve been participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, setting my own goal to be 50,000 words in July, and writing 15,000 in two days.

And today, as it is Independence Day, I’d like to celebrate not by chugging beer and barbecuing things and causing things to explode, but rather by focusing on my writing and celebrating my own Independence.

When I decided to go back to school, it was because I was tired of being laid off from jobs because I was disposable or the business flat out died. I also wanted to get out of video production, since that was just not my passion. I wanted a job that revolved around what I love: writing. So I disguised my education as something thoughtful and smart: a very useful and versatile English degree. But really, I just want to write, and have something to help me get my foot in the door of a publisher.

For two years I worked hard in school and took on two jobs outside of school. All my time went to studying and working. Sure, I wrote, and tried to participate in any of the NaNoWriMo events. But it was an activity divided between other obligations and distractions. As soon as I graduated from the community college in December, I picked up a job as well as kept my other two jobs, giving a grand total of 70 hour work weeks, leaving me too exhausted to even contemplate writing of any form.

Now I am down to two jobs again, one giving my only 4 hours a week while the other job is just on weekends. This has left me with ample time to think and discover what it is I really want. The answer to that is simple: to write.

And I have so much time to do it!

So this is my writing Independence Day. It is the day that I know my life needs to revolve around writing to get to be where I want to be. It’s the day I make sure to schedule time for my writing every day. It’s the day that I know that it is what is important for me to grow and to put that growth first. It is the day that I separate myself from the working world and the obsessive manner to which I participated in it. I am a writer, and thus my life will be about writing, from here on out.