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20 Things Writers Do

29 Jul

1. Fall asleep thinking about characters and plots, but be too lazy to find a pen and paper and scribble it down because you’re just about to go to sleep. Wake up the next morning and forget about it, and have it haunt you all day.

2. Ease drop on other people’s conversations to get novel research.

3. Keep notebooks with tons of random facts in them. If you’re ever murdered and the police go through your stuff they will think you were crazy. Then someone will tell them you were a writer. OH.

4. smile randomly in public because you’ve just figured out your plot hole!

5.  Jump around the house and dance because you’ve finished your first draft! OMG It’s done!

7. Stare at the computer from across the room, and then never get up.

8. try to flatten dog-eared page in library books.

9. Look at baby names sites for hours and not be pregnant.

10.  Keep checking your word count. No. No, it hasn’t changed

11. Write a sentence. back space. repeat.

12. Kill people frequently… fictional people of course! … O.o

13.Embrace imaginary friends.

14. Space out. A LOT.

15. Let coffee/tea/soup/and food in general go cold if you take it to your desk. The computer is enough to fill anyone up. Not realize it and thirty minutes later take a sip…. ICK!

16. Miss major events in the world. Oh there an African-American president? Oh a guy just shot up the batman movie? Sorry! I was in a writing comma.

17. Yell at inanimate objects. Books, computers, imaginary people in your head.

18.Hoard notebooks.

19. Talk about writing to anyone who will listen. If they don’t who cares! Go on to forcibly tie them to a chair and tell them about writing anyway.

20. Not write,  make a blog post instead. Like this one.

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Just Add Water and a Fun House Mirror!

15 Jul

So yep… here is me. Back from my FINAL vacation this summer, I SWEAR! This was the last one. And the last prolonged blogging absence I will have in the coming months! So yeah, vacations over!

Wow… that sounded like an oxymoron.

Anyway, I decided to tell you all that vacation is a good thing for writers. Especially ones who don’t write on vacation (like me). Why? That sounds even more like an oxymoron than the last one.

Because we need brain food. Seriously.

Where do you think you get all your ideas from? They aren’t coming out of thin air despite how it may seem. All ideas come from other ideas. Everything you’ve ever written (and will write) is a collection of every movie you’ve ever seen, every book you’ve ever read, every piece of art you’ve ever seen, and every experience/conversation you’ve ever had.

And since we writers write everyday (ehm. Yes everyday… *cough*) we are constantly pouring out those experiences and taking less of them in by comparison. Things that we do everyday like go to work or school, eating breakfast, or riding a bike, those often times don’t give us any new information. Without new information how can you create anything new? You are drawing from the same stagnant pool of ideas 24/7! Without any new flow of information to mix up the waters (shall we say) you end up with a bunch of new but similar ideas or rewriting old ones.

Not good.

That’s why it’s important (in my opinion at least) for writers to be getting as much new information as possible at all times. And it doesn’t have to be something big. Sure, going on a weeks long vacation to Oregon (a place I’d never been before) that is great! Fantastic! But, you can’t do that all the time. So, getting new information needs to be more accessible, and you can make it that way just by enacting small changes in your life.

For instance:

Instead of watching an old favorite switch on a new movie or show

Likewise for books and music

Take a walk/ride your bike to a neighborhood you haven’t been in before

Try something new: pick up a guitar or play a piano, take some photos,bake something, play a sport, or get your hands on a sketchbook

Re-paint your room to give you a new outlook on your life

Clean out a bookshelf

Try reading a different genre (you might just like it!)

Basically, just do something new, something that will spark new neuron pathways in your brain because it hasn’t experienced it before!

Being creative is about taking in as much of your surroundings as possible and then warping them into something else entirely. Like fun house mirrors! So, there you have it, your job is to become a fun house mirror!

So what have I done in this post? Mostly I’ve made myself feel better about not writing, and you know, maybe I imparted some useful advice. Maybe…

It Isn’t Too Late

29 May

he piece below was written by Marina Keegan ’12 for a special edition of the News distributed at the class of 2012’s commencement exercises last week. Keegan died in a car accident on Saturday. She was 22.

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life. What I’m grateful and thankful to have found at Yale, and what I’m scared of losing when we wake up tomorrow and leave this place.

It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four a.m. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.

Yale is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cappella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers — partner-less, tired, awake. We won’t have those next year. We won’t live on the same block as all our friends. We won’t have a bunch of group-texts.

This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse – I’m scared of losing this web we’re in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.

But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn’t live in New York. I plan on having parties when I’m 30. I plan on having fun when I’m old. Any notion of THE BEST years comes from clichéd “should haves…” “if I’d…” “wish I’d…”

Of course, there are things we wished we did: our readings, that boy across the hall. We’re our own hardest critics and it’s easy to let ourselves down. Sleeping too late. Procrastinating. Cutting corners. More than once I’ve looked back on my High School self and thought: how did I do that? How did I work so hard? Our private insecurities follow us and will always follow us.

But the thing is, we’re all like that. Nobody wakes up when they want to. Nobody did all of their reading (except maybe the crazy people who win the prizes…) We have these impossibly high standards and we’ll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that’s okay.

We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lay alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out – that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.

When we came to Yale, there was this sense of possibility. This immense and indefinable potential energy – and it’s easy to feel like that’s slipped away. We never had to choose and suddenly we’ve had to. Some of us have focused ourselves. Some of us know exactly what we want and are on the path to get it; already going to med school, working at the perfect NGO, doing research. To you I say both congratulations and you suck.

For most of us, however, we’re somewhat lost in this sea of liberal arts. Not quite sure what road we’re on and whether we should have taken it. If only I had majored in biology…if only I’d gotten involved in journalism as a freshman…if only I’d thought to apply for this or for that…

What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.

In the heart of a winter Friday night my freshman year, I was dazed and confused when I got a call from my friends to meet them at EST EST EST. Dazedly and confusedly, I began trudging to SSS, probably the point on campus farthest away. Remarkably, it wasn’t until I arrived at the door that I questioned how and why exactly my friends were partying in Yale’s administrative building. Of course, they weren’t. But it was cold and my ID somehow worked so I went inside SSS to pull out my phone. It was quiet, the old wood creaking and the snow barely visible outside the stained glass. And I sat down. And I looked up. At this giant room I was in. At this place where thousands of people had sat before me. And alone, at night, in the middle of a New Haven storm, I felt so remarkably, unbelievably safe.

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I’d say that’s how I feel at Yale. How I feel right now. Here. With all of you. In love, impressed, humbled, scared. And we don’t have to lose that.

We’re in this together, 2012. Let’s make something happen to this world.

http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/may/27/keegan-opposite-loneliness/?cross-campus

 

She’s right. It isn’t too late. It’s not to late to become a writer, or finish that novel,or send that manuscript at the bottom of your drawer out to a publisher… Even if you aren’t a writer it isn’t too late to do what you love. What I love is writing, but there are a thousand ‘too lates’ that don’t exist for a thousand things. Don’t fool yourself. I know I have, and I will, and you will and have, but stop it now. Stop telling yourself its ‘too late’ and do something.

RIP Marina Keegan

Please re-post don’t let her words go forgotten.

After You Read THE HUNGER GAMES…

19 Mar

After you read the hunger games a number of things happen that you can not seem to control.

1. Every time you see a girl with a braid your thinking “Katniss!”

2. For the rest of your life you will think of Peeta (the guy) whenever anyone mentions Peta bread. It’s inevitable, because not only is his name Peeta, but he actually makes bread too, so… yeah.

3. For a brief period of time you actually begin thinking that a real Hunger Games would be epic. Then you realize what you’re thinking and secretly beg Katniss for forgivness.

4. Every time you see a bow and arrow you think ‘Katniss’.

5. You forever associate mockingbird with mocking-jay. A fatal mistake, because despite how much more awesome To Kill a Mockingbird would be if it was titled To Kill a Mocking-jay you would ruin some American literature.

6. If you ever catch your hair on fire you will refer to yourself as the ‘girl (or guy) who was on fire’….. okay maybe not everyone has done this, but one time when I went to blow out a candle my hair caught, and  it was a perfect excuse to say that.

7. Every song you hear for the next week will be in some way associated with THE HUNGER GAMES. I’ve tried to stop it. Doesn’t work.

8. For about a month after reading you will desperately want to learn archery. DESPERATELY. Because if Katniss can do it, you can too, right? And how hard can it be? I mean, you just pull the string back and… zinnngggg! Maybe not, but I really do want to learn archery now.

9. Whenever you go out into a wooded area (for at least a week or two after reading) you will be scanning the area waiting for Cato to come out and club you to death.

10. You will want to learn to swing from tree to tree like Rue. I cannot imagine how totally fun that would be! climbing trees, swinging from branches. Yep, they all seem like good options after reading THE HUNGER GAMES. That is, until you get two branches up and realize how very far away the ground is and that your stuck.

That’s what happened to me after reading anyway. Anybody else have a similar experience? Did I miss any big ones?

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Inspiration Compilation

7 Mar

Hey all, I know I haven’t been around lately, but to make it up to you I’ve thrown together a little thing I call an “inspiration compilation”. It’s basically a bunch of photos and quotes I’ve found on the net that I think will help get your creativity going. So, without out further ado enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I DO NOT OWN ANY OF THESE IMAGES AND GIVE FULL CREDIT TO THEIR ORIGINAL OWNERS*

What do you all think? Feeling inspired?

 

 

 

 

Novelist? Nah, I’m a “World Traveler”

17 Sep

Every time you sit down at your computer/notepad/brown paper napkin and place your hands on the keys/pen/crayon you are practicing an art. I know a lot of people will argue that writing is a skill, and sure, I can see where they get that. Actual WRITING, the way words are strung together is. It can be learned formulated, and shoved into a lovely little grammar book that any one with a highschool education can comprehend. But, writing, the poetry of description, the way the sentences flow into on another, and form a story. Nay, a reality, something that grabs you by the throat and makes you visualize, and become part of a world created solely by the author. That is an art.

The fact that writing is an art makes it unimaginably difficult. Because, artists never really know what they’re doing. Okay, that didn’t really make sense. What I’m trying to say is that art is a free form of expression. Often times it’s raw and messy. It tends to wind down side paths and under logs, and over brooks until we finally come to realize the point. Or what we had begun in the first place. In other words art is never fully realized until finished. We never understand the path we had to walk down until we look back behind ourselves.

You’d think that after the first time we sojourned down this road we’d get it. We’d have our path all set out for us. So, the next time we wrote or drew or composed we’d know exactly how to do it, and how to accomplish the finished product in the most efficient way, but we don’t.

Every novel, is different. There is no certain way to cover the terrain in a direct route. In a lot of ways its like being a world traveler. Every country is different. You don’t know how to communicate in every language, you don’t know what the hotels/restaurants/people will be like! Every place you go, every novel you write is different. There is no certain way of determining the best places to stay, or the right things to write. You have to revisit the place (draft the novel) over and over again to get a feel for the terrain. Then, when you write a different novel you have to start all over again!

The important thing is that you do go back. The first time you write a novel is tough. You don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t have any idea why the thing is so crappy when your working so hard. Just like going to a new country can be frustrating and confusing, but you still go. Why? Because you love it. You love to travel and see the beauty of exotic places. Just as novelist love to write no matter how greatly it frustrates them.

Don’t give up on your novel when it gets tough. Just like there are rough neighborhoods in every city your novel will have rough patches. Things that make you despise the whole thing, when, in reality the entirety of it has the potential to be good.

In other words keep traveling friends. I’m sure you’ll find you love your city. And your novel.

PS: Sorry this post is late I tried to post yesterday but I was staying out in the country with my grandparents and lo and behold no wifi was to be found!

An Interview with Ally! (via Of a Writerly Sort)

16 Aug

I know I don’t post today, but I just wanted to direct you guys over to my interview on “Of a Writerly Sort” (an amazing blog!) Check it out 🙂 See you tomorrow!

Ladies and gentlemen! Today I bring you an interview with the amazing Ally Sestito from the blog Novel Ideas: Life of a Teen Writer, which chronicles her journey from “caterpillar writer to butterfly author” 🙂 So without further ado! How'd you get started writing?  Ally: I guess I’ve always been a writer. When I was little I had this insane imagination that often got me in trouble, whether I was imagining the stair way was a toboggan run (that e … Read More

via Of a Writerly Sort