Writing

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.

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Life, Writing

Writing for Money and Enjoyment.

They say you should follow your dreams and do what you love. But should you follow them if what you love won’t make you money?

Someone lamented that some writers are leaving the field because they’re no longer making money. If they truly loved to write and they truly loved the genre they’re writing in, then why should they leave? They should follow it because they love it, not because it makes them money.

It’s hard to make a criticism in this situation. From my perspective, I love writing. I love creating stories for others to enjoy? It makes me happy, even if my mode of writing has changed over the years.

And it would be great to be able to get paid for what I’m writing, but that type of luck is rare and takes a lot of dedication and perseverance to even move an inch in the right direction. And perhaps some luck to get noticed by the right people (J.K. Rowling, I want your luck!)

This is why I don’t criticize those who decide to move away from the writing business. It’s great if you can make a little bit of money from it, but if you’re struggling to get it out there and make ends meet, then maybe it’s time to move on.

At the same time, writing is something that sinks deep into your soul. It lodges there and refuses to dissipate. To walk away means to leave a piece of your soul behind. I’d truly feel sad if I had to give up writing altogether.

So here is my verdict: If you truly love writing and if you want to pursue it, then keep on pursuing it. If you’re making money out of it, then that’s great, but if you’re not, give yourself permission to leave the field and pursue something else. You can still write, but maybe it’s a season of change and transition, a place to focus on other things and just write as enjoyment until you can make it again.

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Writing

The Introvert’s Weekend.

This is what I did this weekend:

  • I went on a hike on Friday afternoon after work.
  • I read on the back porch.
  • I worked on my writing. I ended up tearing out half of what I wrote, but it felt good to get back into writing.
  • I went on a couple walks around the block.

At the end of the weekend I felt peaceful and fulfilled about it all. I do this sort of thing almost every weekend, but I always feel tense about it, like I should be doing something more sociable and exciting and by the end, I feel exhausted in the effort in the inner conflict of what I think I should be doing and what I actually want to do with my weekend. The difference, I think, is that I actually gave myself permission to do what I want and not feel guilty over not doing anything according to my more extroverted acquaintances.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of a little book by Susan Cain called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, but I finished reading it on Saturday and I have to say that I feel validated by the book. In the book, Cain talks about the Western world’s shift to having a big personality and essentially being more extroverted while disregarding the makeup of introverted people at the cost of their health and even the cost of creativity and faith in religious institutions.

A lot of what Cain has written makes complete sense to me. In my own life, I’ve always felt a certain sense of guilt from others. Why aren’t I going out on Friday night? You should get together with your friends more, you don’t get out very much. You’re so nice, but you’re so quiet. These and other sentiments have built up inside me until I was a ball of guilt that my enjoyments weren’t nearly as important as being as outgoing and sociable as possible.

And to me, that doesn’t make sense. Why should we all have the same personality? Why is it necessary for me to have to pretend I’m someone I’m not just to make someone else feel good and to stroke society’s ego?

When I look at my life, I feel like there’s a balance. When I’m at work, I’m able to see and talk to me that come in and when it’s the end of my shift, I come home and decompress by reading and then working on my creative art. And sometimes I go out and spend time with friends for a little while. That’s all I need in my life, to be honest.

I’m not here to try and make a point. Nor do I want to disregard what extroverted people have done in the world. I just want to see a balance in the world. I don’t want to feel guilt for not wanting to get out as much as other people, that my focus is in my art.

I probably just summarized everything that Cain had written, but I think there’s truth in it.

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Writing

On Writing and the Expectations of Women.

There are people who write on a regular basis. I want to know their secret. Do they plan their posts out and schedule them, or do they write them as they go along? It’s always interesting to me that people can write long interesting posts on the fly and make it look like they knew what they were going to write the whole time. I’m jealous of those kinds of people.

The big advice that I know is to never force a topic. It doesn’t matter how trendy the topic is or how much I want to write about that particular topic, if I’m not feeling the topic, then it’s not going to come out on the page. I’ve tried to structure ideas like an essay but it always falls to pieces. Kinda like politics. (I should be sorry about that last line, but I’m not.)

There’s a topic that I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time, but it’s so abstract that I don’t think it will ever come to fruition. The premise of the topic is “the expectation of women.” It seems like we grow up as a society with certain stereotypes and expectations and as we grow older, they mostly solidify or evolve into other predictable expectations. For example, the popular girls seem to run around with the same people and have the same “basic” interests and crafty things to sell. Perhaps I’m too stereotypical myself and only see the sides that have always been shown to me, but I don’t know. The perfect girls with the perfect life.

And then when you’re an adult, it seems like women are expected to get married, have kids, have the perfect house and if you’re really ambitious, have the perfect career. It seems that everything eventually cracks because you can’t keep everything up. Something falls by the wayside.

These are partial thoughts and ideas, of course. There may be people who disagree with my concepts. But maybe that’s the whole point: We only show one side of ourselves to the world outside, the side that everybody else to see and then we start feeling frustrated when we stereotype them. Perhaps if we become more authentic and truly let ourselves be ourselves and not just certain sides, then people like me won’t have to make those assumptions.

Am I odd? I don’t know. Will I make a whole post dedicated to meditating on the expectations of women? Probably not; I don’t have enough material to write about it. My fragments can only be just that: fragments.

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Writing

I’m Still Here

The past couple of weeks have been busy for me. I started my new job on January 14 and have been trying to keep up ever since. I like the job because it’s keeping me busy, but at the same time I haven’t quite found my rhythm to the blues. I’m sure that finding my niche in my new job will come eventually, but as of right now, it just stinks because it feels like doggy paddling in the ocean with no land in sight. Give and take…give and take and I’ll get there.

The weather has been in a strange mood recently, has anyone noticed? Probably: people everywhere have been talking about it weather it’s with friends or on the news or online. Frankly, everyone’s tired of it, and so am I. If we don’t see anymore snow, it would be too soon. But that’s just me.

And just for the fact that I haven’t had anything interesting to share. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back on track soon.

Hope everyone is having a warm weekend!

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Writing

Disappointments

Sometimes life throws you a few disappointments in life. Some of these disappointments are worse than others, and most of them all come together at once. While nothing can ever be as disappointing as losing my father (more like devastating), today was pretty disappointing.

I’ve been subbing at a different library in the system that I work at. I’ve going over there not only because the library is in my favorite town in the county but because I’ve been getting extra hours and getting it close to the maximum I’m allowed to work every week. And who doesn’t need money in this day and age, right? Well, today I found out that I was no longer needed for two of the three days that I’ve been working there. The guy that I’ve been subbing for has been coming in two days a week that I’ve been going just because he wanted to get out of the house and the supervisor said she didn’t want to run out of shelving hours. While I understand where she’s coming from, I’m a little disappointed. I’ll miss the extra hours and talking to the morning shelvers.

I suppose one day a week over there is better than nothing, but it still kind of sucks. I’ll miss all the extra money. Maybe this means something better will come up, but whatever. Sometimes you’ve gotta take the good with the bad.

How’s your Halloween?

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Writing

Where Do You Go When You’re Lonely?

I’m going out on an outing tonight. With a guy. With just the two of us. I’m actually kind of excited about this because I haven’t been out on a date in a couple months, if this is considered a date. Actually, I haven’t been out with any kinds of friends in a couple of months, so I’m looking foreword to having a change of pace from the everyday.

The thing is, it looks like it’s going to rain and I don’t want it to rain. We talked about going hiking or going out for dinner and I’d really like to go out hiking, which would be virtually impossible if it started raining. I hope the sun starts to come out so we can go. If not, I suppose we’ll just be going for dinner.

Another thing is that we work together. He’s the new guy (started on Monday) and if things become serious, we may or may not be in a pickle. There’s this weird rule at work where family members aren’t supposed to work together. They can work at separate branches in the same system, but they can work in the same building. I don’t know if this extends to people dating or not, but if it gets to that, should I even dare? I don’t want either of us to be forced to leave just because we realized we like each other.

If we do end up being in a relationship, it might have to be kept low key while at work. I’m not even sure if I’d be able to talk about it on the Internet (except maybe on my blog) since I’m friends with some of my co-workers who might be able to influence the whole deal.

And what am I doing jumping the gun into conclusions? I just need to relax, enjoy the evening, and see where it goes from there. Whatever comes will come.

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