The Tools to Write.

“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or tools) to write. Simple as that.” ~Stephen King

I’ve been meditating on this line from Stephen King today. If you don’t give yourself time to read and write daily, then you’re just not going to write (or write well) at all. I’m not sure how I feel about this to be honest. I don’t exactly write daily (though I have done so more in the past couple months than I have in the past couple of years.) If Stephen King saw me slacking, he would tell me that I’m just not cut out to be a writer.

It’s important to read and write regularly, this I’m fairly sure of. If you don’t read regularly, then you’re not expanding your mind to new ways of writing and new ideas that could be expressed. And if you’re not writing regularly, you’re not improving the way you write whatsoever.

But when you think about all the things you have to do in your life: working, paying bills and gas and spending time with friends occasionally, it’s a wonder you go at all. Stephen King was able to do it. So has any number of writers who have become successful.

It’s just hard for me to wrap my head around trying to set a routine for writing so that I can improve myself. And read. And go to work. And exercise.

It’s hard.

How do you balance everything? Maybe writing daily isn’t the answer for me. I’m sure it works for some, but maybe three times a week? This seems reasonable write?

I contemplate this, but in the end, I’ll just do what I want. I always do.

And this is probably why I haven’t become a famous writer yet.


On 400 Followers.

I need to acknowledge that I’ve reached 400 followers.

I find it kind of amazing that I’ve actually reached that many people. Some of you actively read what I write on a regular basis even when my posts have been less than regular. Some of you are casual readers and others…I don’t know why you are still following if you’re not even reading what I’ve posted recently but thanks anyway?

When I first started blogging here 6 years ago, I was all gun-ho about posting and wanting to reach people. I tried creating a niche because that’s what all the advice blogs said. I got burnt out, switched to another topic and kept going until I got burnt out again.

Then I’d stop writing altogether. Because I wasn’t growing as much as I thought I should. I stopped because I got tired and a little nervous that nobody was reading my blog because I wasn’t being consistent in keeping a niche and sticking to it.

And then a weird thing started happening.

I just kept writing. Whatever made me happy, I wrote it. I stopped trying to write blog posts on topics I wasn’t interested in just because it was trending or because I thought I’d get more likes, comments, and follows from it. I am a creative writer. Have always been a creative writer. So I just started writing creatively–memoir, nonfiction, poetry, fiction, snapshots of my life. You name it, I just wrote about it.

Because it made me happy to write about it.

It’s still hard for me to write this way because I still think about how I should write in order to reach my audience. I still fell guilty for not following a formula that would get me blog famous. I still feel guilty for not having a niche.

The other day I was thinking about how I’m a casual fan of certain things and not exactly a hardcore fan. I’m a casual fan of Irish music because a friend introduced me to it and I happened to enjoy it because it sounds like country music. I’m a casual fan of horror but I’m not an expert in it. I’m a casual fan of most genres and hobbies. I like the idea of games but I don’t actually play video games or even computer games anymore. I like photography and film editing but I rarely do either these days.

I’m not saying it’s not a good thing. Being casually interested in a variety of things allows me to have a conversation with a lot of people and pretend to know what I’m talking about. But I’m not intensely interested in any one thing and therefore I can’t give an expert opinion about it. And that’s how I feel about my blog. I want to have a niche. I want to be able to write well and talk about one thing with expertise.

But I can’t. I get bored if I write about the same things all the time.

So what does this all have to do with what I wrote about earlier? I’ll tell you why:

Because no matter how many times I’ve changed my mind on what to write about, no matter how long a time it is between posts, you all love my writing. You’re still following my posts. And you’re still interested what I have to say even if I’m not writing in a niche.

Thanks for sticking with me and here’s to another 6 years and 400 followers.

Life, Postaday, Writing

Difference of Being.

Sometimes I don’t like to write and I do it anyway.

I struggle to write and I try to fill the pages of my journal and I hate myself.

Why am I doing this when I don’t want to write? Every word I put down feels insincere, an extraction with nothing to numb the process. I scream in frustration. I scream at myself. I hate myself for forcing myself to continue writing when I don’t want to write.

Writing when you don’t want to only breeds resentment. I tell myself to take a break and then I’m thinking about it. I still hate it, but I feel guilty for not writing. You know?

I’m good at this thing I do. I’m good at writing. I keep writing because I know that I’m good at it. I keep writing because I know others know that I’m good at it. They think I enjoy it and I’m not really enjoying it. I want it to stop. I want to throw away the expectations.

I want to take a break.

Maybe not forever, but I want to step away from it all. I want to stop doing the things that people have put on me as sticky notes.

This is her. This is what she likes to do. And I’m too afraid to tell them differently. I don’t want to disappoint them. I don’t want to have them see me in that way. Because really, they don’t want to see me change. They don’t want to see me as something other than static.

And it hurts.

It hurts to know that no one wants me to change. No one wants me to spread my wings and fly. Is it so hard for someone to understand that they want to be somewhere different and change me? My preferences aren’t the preferences that I project. I’m a certain way because the expect me to be a certain way and its tiring to pretend.

It’s tiring to be someone I no longer am.


Writing Down My Motivation.

What motivates you to write?

To be honest, I don’t quite know. When I was a wee lass, I wrote because I enjoyed it. These days, I write because it’s the only thing I’m good at and I’m not quite ready to give it up. Not to mention that there are people out there who know I like(d) to write and to stop writing would probably surprise and even disappoint them. So I write because it validates their expectations of me writing.

My writing has changed over the years, of course. I used to write fiction, short stories mostly, though I aspired to write novels one day. Then I went through a period of poetry writing. Not because I particularly enjoyed it, but because it was easier than writing a longer piece of fiction.

Now I write short pieces of personal thoughts and muses. Essays and memoirs, one would say.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. I never thought about writing memoir and essay, to be completely honest. I always thought fiction was where it was at. But now that I’m older, I’ve discovered that there’s some delightful stories that people have written about their travels, their lives, their thoughts about certain things. They’re well written, intriguing, easily to get lost in.

As I’ve blogged, I’ve realized how important it is to share my experiences with others. How I’ve lived may not be original to the eyes of the world, but the world hasn’t seen life through my eyes before. And that is what makes it original and different.

I’ve become more confident the more I write. I’ve noticed more interaction, more likes and discussion. And that makes me happy, to my astonishment.

And perhaps that is my motivation, this response that others have. How I feel and what I think can draw people in and this is a power I can wield for good. And it feels good to create a positive response in others.

And that is something we must all strive towards. After all, the pen is mightier than the sword.


It’s Okay to Rest.

I don’t always have something to say, and that’s okay. We get caught up in the pursuit of goals and ambitions that we forget that it’s okay to take a step back and breathe. Sometimes good things happen in the restful moments between ideas, thoughts, and progress.

I once read a post about why the author didn’t participate in National Novel Writing Month. He compared it to running a marathon every day for thirty days. You might be able to run the entire length of a marathon for a few days, but eventually you’ll get tired. You’re muscles need ache, and problems begin to arise. By the end of the month your body is worse than what it was at the beginning.

This is how I feel about writing and blogging. Of course we need to have a schedule, a routine to stick to in order to get through the projects we aspire to. But I don’t think having an intense session on a daily basis is right for everybody. Having a break is necessary for everybody; the brain can’t always work on the treadmill. It’s okay to do things that we wouldn’t consider productive.

Would you want to work 18 hours a day?


Should I Care About Dating?

A person’s life never turns out the way you expect it to. There was a girl I knew in high school who was very academic minded and always seemed to be in career minded way. She got her bachelor’s degree, but she married halfway through her studies. After she graduated she became pregnant with her first child; now, she’s a stay at home mom with three children as well as homeschooling the two eldest. That is not how I expected it to be for her.

As for me, I thought I’d have a steady boyfriend by the age of 24 in the very least, maybe even married. I’m several years past that age without ever having a boyfriend or a gaggle of boys looking wistfully back at me. A few years ago, I watched as my friends went from one boyfriend to another before each one dropping off into the land of marriage, feeling a pang of jealousy at the very thought of it. Oh, how it made me lose sleep sometimes!

Now I look at this time and just laugh. Oh, what a lark I was! How to ever think that dating would ever solve my problems.

I don’t feel this jealousy anymore. Maybe sometimes, but not really. I am me and being me allows me to come home and read my book without feeling obligated to call up my man to see if he wanted to make plans for the evening. I don’t have to feel guilty for not wanting to go out.

I’m not perfect, you know. Sometimes, when I’m snuggled up in bed waiting for a wave of sleep to overcome me, I feel a pang of loneliness. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to snuggle up to and feel safe? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a night where I didn’t have to watch a movie alone or confide my thoughts to a diary? Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone who could tell me what they think of whatever it is I’m telling them? Sometimes those little moments of company would be grand.

But I don’t let it bother me too much. I indulge it for a while, a day or two, but then I push it away from me. Thinking about what I can’t have, what I generally don’t want isn’t going to change anything. Making myself sick with longing isn’t going to make a man jump out in front of me with all the whimsical nonsense of new love.

I made a realization the other day that I don’t have a crush on anybody that I know personally. I don’t remember ever having a time when I didn’t have a crush. Surprisingly, I’m not bothered. Having a crush hurts, you know? You like someone and you’re at the whims of whether or not they like you back. Sometimes they find out, but a lot of times they don’t, and when you don’t, you keep it secret because you don’t want them to find out and crush your dreams.

I’m probably growing older. The impulse of wanting to have it all no longer hovers over my head. My priorities have changed. I’m no longer going hold onto the hopes of what might happen. I enjoy my life and I enjoy being single. I’m tired of getting men “to like me.” If there is a man out there who secretly likes me, then I hope he’s got the courage to ask me out as I’m generally oblivious. And I don’t want to make the effort if they’re going to pretend it’s not worth it.

I’m probably not making much sense. But sense is for the senseless and I’ve got other things to do.


Fooling Myself.

I think writing is difficult. I enjoy it, but I think it’s difficult all the same. I don’t think it’s difficult because of the subject matters that I write even though I think it can be a factor depending on what it is you’re writing about.

I just think that the actual process of writing is difficult, you know?

How should I start? How much should I write? Is it too much or too little?

Am I writing too much exposition? Am I putting in too much dialogue? Does the dialogue feel and flow naturally? Should I put in more dialect? Or should I stick to what I know?

Where should I start the story? Is this a good enough topic? Do I like what I’m writing? How often should I write? How many words should I write per day? How much should my favorite authors influence me? Would they accuse me of plagiarism? Am I taking something old and making it new in my perspective?

Does the story just work and flow in general? And does my ending fit or does it seem stilted?

All of these things run through my head constantly. And then when I feel paralyzed with fear on what to write, I fall back on old stories I’ve already written and try to edit and re-write; then I feel guilty for focusing on something that I can’t re-do instead of just trying something else for a change.

It kind of sucks.

Sometimes I wish I took more writing classes. If I did, I’d have more variety of stories to share with the world, more stories to work and and put out into the world. Instead I have the same two stories that I keep coming back to because I’m to afraid to write something new in fear of it being dumb.

I write almost every day these days. Some poetry, my journal, and even on my blog. I keep pushing myself to write because I think that if I keep making myself write then the ideas will eventually come.

I think I’m fooling myself.