03 July 2024

Down Bad

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

Have you ever related to a breakup song not because of a past romantic relationship, but because of the relationship that you had with one of your own fictional characters? No? Just me? Well, buckle up! 

Yes, I'm talking about a Taylor Swift song. Again. 

The song is called "Down Bad," and for the first few weeks of listening to it, I didn't think I related to it at all. Other than my husband, I only had one boyfriend for a couple months in high school, so I generally don't relate to breakup songs at all. I just don't have all that much experience. 

This song uses an alien abduction as a metaphor for being swept up in an intense romance that feels other-worldly, and then being left suddenly, stranded like none of it ever happened. 

Funnily enough, the connection hit me while I was at the gym (the first line of the chorus is "Now I'm down bad crying at the gym"). I've been in a writing rut for several years, so I'm not surprised I didn't pick up on it right away. So long, in fact, that if you're new here or just stopping by from the IWSG list, you probably don't even know what I'm talking about. But I realized I felt exactly the same way about my relationship with Jordan, my main character/muse from my novel Uneven Lines (that I've been off and on working on since 2011). 

I remember those first days of writing this particular story. The idea hit me out of nowhere, and the need to work on it was so intense that I would forget to eat or be physically bothered by the fact that I wasn't writing. I was obsessed with this story, and continued to be obsessed with it for years. Life, time, and energy always kept me from finishing it as quickly as that first short story. Turning it into a novel was a daunting task, but it was still an obsession. 

I also truly felt like Jordan was practically a real person who I had this intense relationship with that can really only happen with your own characters. It's some weird combo of best friend, brother, son, and arch enemy. I would talk to him. I felt his presence. I wanted to finish this book so badly and get it out into the world. 

But then one day it all kind of went away. Maybe it wasn't all at once and was more gradual than just being dropped in the middle of a field from an alien ship. But it definitely felt like being stranded. I felt like Jordan had left me. I felt like this story had left me. I loved working on it so much and I still long for the days where everything was intense and the ideas and the words just flowed so easily. 

One of my favorite lines in the song is: "Like I lost my twin." That's what it feels like. 

I feel like this post is getting more depressing than I intended. I just miss that feeling of wanting to work on something every second I could, because it's been so long since I've wanted to really work on anything at all. I don't know how to get that feeling back.

I guess I'll just keep staring at the sky, hoping he'll come back and pick me up. 

**here's the song if you'd like a listen, but just a warning, there are many many many f-bombs**

05 June 2024

Deep Cleaning

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

I've been on a cleaning kick lately. My apartment tends to get dusty very easily and I'm determined to do as much as I can to make everything cleaner and neater. I've been deep cleaning the bathroom currently. Yesterday I scrubbed all the rust and dust off of a light fixture that I'm not sure if I've ever really cleaned. I want to tear apart my closet and find different storage bins to put all of my junk in so it won't get covered in dust. Basically, it's been quite the deranged mission for me lately.

What does any of this have to do with writing? WELL...nothing, really. But I couldn't think of a single thing to blog about and it was on my mind so I thought...I will ramble about this until something makes sense. 

I suppose the simplest correlation is that if I'm happy with my living space (which would also be my writing space if any writing were to actually happen), maybe it'll make writing easier. Maybe I'll be more inclined to focus on my writing if there wasn't a layer of dust piling up around me, or something that desperately needed scrubbing. I'll usually find some excuse not to write, and something like cleaning or dishes is usually the culprit. 

I'm also thinking about how my mental/creative energy functions. I know cleaning isn't all that creative, but I feel like the way I'm approaching it takes some creative thought. I'm thinking about different ways I want to organize and change things around my apartment. 

But maybe the main takeaway is that I think I have a hard time juggling multiple projects at once. On top of a full time job and just general life taking up time, if I have something like this that I really want to get done, I'm probably not going to force myself to try writing unless the inspiration really strikes (can it?? Please??? No, really, I'll stop cleaning). 

I do tend to get overwhelmed when I have too many things lined up. Even with my cleaning, I was all over the place until I decided to just focus on the bathroom for now before moving on to some other part of the apartment. I guess this explains why it's hard for me to work on more than one writing project at once. I need all of my focus to be on one thing so I can get it done properly and not get distracted. 

Anyway, I've rambled enough. I have no idea what point I was trying to make, but hey, I wrote something! Maybe I need to deep clean my brain...

01 May 2024

Ooooo Something Shiny!!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question: How do you deal with distractions when you are writing? Do they derail you?

I'm definitely someone who gets distracted easily when I'm writing. Do you know that feeling when you sit down to write but you're pretty much doing everything BUT writing? You're listening to music for inspiration, mapping character arcs, reading writing books or blogs, watching writing videos, tweeting about writing (when I used to do that...), but not, you know, actually writing the words? That's always been me (when I was actively writing, at least). It's almost like I was always getting ready to write, but had a hard time actually getting a word count on most days. 

There are also those times that I will avoid the dishes all day but once I sit down to write suddenly I feel like it needs to be done now! If writers love writing, why does it always seem like we're trying to avoid it? 

I don't really have an answer. I don't think distractions are my biggest enemy. I struggle with time, energy, and inspiration. I also have a hard time forcing myself to write unless the sentence seems perfect in my head first. I spend a lot of time staring at the blank screen instead of just putting something there and getting on with it. I guess that means I'm distracted by my own perfectionism? I need to learn to just get the words down and fix it later. Writing some crappy words is better than writing no words. 

So, about the whole "actively writing" thing...I kinda...sorta...am?? I don't want to get ahead of myself here, but for some reason lately I couldn't stop thinking about a particular story idea I came up with a few years ago. And by a few, I mean seven. I initially called it Shiny New Story, since it was a brand new idea distracting me from what I was supposed to be working on. And, well...I still call it that, even though it's definitely not new anymore. But I do think I could once again classify it as Shiny!

I started reading what I had written for it, and well...I started writing it again. I had a lot of little snippets scattered throughout the book, so I just started a new document and I'm working on Chapter One right now. It's a little slow going (because of the aforementioned perfectionism...) but I want to keep pushing myself to work on it as much as I can so I don't lose that inspiration.

Hopefully I can stay on the shiny path for the foreseeable future. 

03 April 2024

Everything Has Changed

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: How long have you been blogging? (Or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram?) What do you like about it and how has it changed?

I had to actually look back through my blog archive to remember how long it's been since my very first blog post. I started this blog on May 26, 2011. So, we're creeping up on 13 years, which many people may see as unlucky (unless you're a Taylor Swift fan). My very first post was not only about starting the blog, but also the decision I'd made to develop a short story I'd written into a novel. Well, 13 years later and said novel still isn't done. So, yeah, not feeling the luck. 

But I digress. 

I've always liked blogging because I can talk about the writing process, whether that process is actually happening or not. We can share our frustrations and successes, and interact with other writers. Finding a community of writers to connect with has definitely been the best part of blogging, and the IWSG is a huge part of that. Without these monthly posts, I probably wouldn't be blogging at all. Maybe if I was actually writing I would have more things to blog about, but it's nice to have this monthly staple to keep me going. 

For me, blogging used to be way more involved. I remember a time where I was blogging three times a week, taking part in numerous blog hops (and even creating my own!) and book tours for other authors. Like I said above, now I only post once a month. I think a lot of bloggers aren't as active as they used to be. I couldn't really say why because I have my own personal reasons for not doing it as much, mainly creative burnout and lack of time/energy. I don't keep up with others' blogs as much as I'd like, either. 

It does make me a bit sad to think of how fun and involved blogging used to be, but I know at least for now that I don't want to give up on it completely. So I guess I'll see you next month! 

06 March 2024

Lists Upon Lists Upon Lists

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

How is it March already? How am I so behind on my goals for the year?? I got a fancy new planner for Christmas and I've barely used it, even though I swore this would be the year that I stuck with it (who was I kidding?). Well, I'm determined not to give up, even if I hit a few setbacks. 

This week I dove right back into the planner. I really have to focus on losing weight, so that's the majority of what I'm doing, but I'm also writing down goals for the week, whether that's errands or cleaning or doing my taxes (I've never been this late doing them...I usually get them done the second we get our W-2s), and making sure I read at least 30 minutes and floss my teeth every day. So, it's a start!

Of course, I'd like to add writing (or at least writing related activities) to my planner, but where to start? I've had so many different ideas and goals that I don't even know what to focus on first. 

Well, since I could easily work this into my planner, I think I need to make some lists! Making lists is easy! It's doing them that gets trickier. But the first step is to make them! 

I know I want to go through my past blog posts and make a list of all of the ideas I've had to get myself back into writing. That's probably where I need to start. But then all of those ideas could probably spawn lists of their own! Soon I'll have lists of lists of lists! 

But seriously, I think if I actually write down my goals, it will help me to be able to accomplish them. Instead of just having all of these ideas and this pressure floating around in my head, I can actually have something in front of me that I can look at and choose what to do next. I think part of the reason why I haven't been doing anything creative is that I feel overwhelmed. If I can focus on just one tiny task at a time, it might actually lead to some productivity. 

Now the next step is to actually do it! Instead of just saying that I'm going to do it...I should probably write it in my planner. 

Do you make lists to help you with your writing goals? 

07 February 2024

Plans? What Plans?

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

Oh hey, it's February. I guess it's time to reflect on everything that I accomplished in January. Oh wait, except there isn't anything to reflect on. 

I think it's safe to say I am just unable to hold onto the urge to be productive. I just feel like I'm exhausted all the time. It's hard after working all day to come home and do anything besides sit on my bed and watch TV or play games on my phone. There are just so many things that I want to accomplish on a daily basis that I just never have the time or energy. 

I got a new planner for this year, and I swore I wasn't going to let it go to waste. It always seems like I try really hard in January to stick to my goals, and at some point I just stop using the planner altogether. I'm not giving up yet, but I'm also not doing as much as I'd like. Sometimes I'll want to write as many goals for a week as I can, but I never seem to get them all done, so I don't write any. I try to read every day, floss my teeth at night, and go to the gym at least 5 times a week, but even those daily tasks can seem like too much sometimes. 

And don't even get me started on writing! I haven't been reading as much as I'd like, but I did notice that when I do read, it does spark some inspiration for my own writing. So if I keep trying to read every day, it could be a win-win situation. I want to make more conrete writing goals but I just don't feel like I'm there yet. I don't have the desire to work on anything, and if it's hard enough for me to make myself do even smaller goals, I know it's not going to be easy to force myself to write.

I do have one "writing" goal for the week, and that's to watch a YouTube video I found on "Getting Back to the Joy of Writing." That's definitely something I could use. 

Anyhoo, as usual, I'm taking it all one step at a time. 

03 January 2024

A Year of Being Creative

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

I always look forward to a new year because it usually provides motivation to make some changes. Sometimes that motivation only last a few weeks, but it's there nonetheless. And while I want to take advantage of that feeling, I know pushing myself too hard could lead to more burnout. But I've been lacking in creativity for so long that I feel I just have to try to make some changes this year or I could be stuck in this creative limbo forever. 

While this certainly applies to writing, I'm also thinking of other outlets to try to spark my creativity again. I know that writing and reading go hand in hand, and I haven't been doing much of either for quite some time. I'm hoping if I get back into reading, it will inspire me to get back into writing. I certainly have enough unread books on my shelves to get me through the year. 

I want to do other things that I've enjoyed in the past, like making jewelry and doing puzzles. I also want to listen to more music, both albums I've never heard before and ones that I know I love but haven't listened to in years. I find music usually inspires me to write as well, so this could be helpful. 

I've recently gotten into Tiktok, which for me, at least, is a creative outlet. I think I've enjoyed it so much lately because it's the only creative thing I've been doing for months. That being said, I do need to spend more time actually making my own Tiktoks and not just mindlessly scrolling for hours. 

Another goal for this year is to eat healthier and exercise more, and I can bring creativity into that by cooking more. I have a lot of healthy meal go-tos in my arsenal, but I want to try new recipes as well. My goal is to try a new one every week. And I can listen to lots of music while I'm exercising. 

All of these ideas can feel a bit overwhelming, but I just want to take it one day at a time. I got another planner this year that I swear I will actually use and not give up on after a month or so. Really. 

So here's to a year of being creative, whatever that creativity may be!