Posts Tagged ‘ writing ’

Putting Thoughts on Paper

I can’t be the only one that feels as though her thoughts organize and manifest differently when tying on a computer versus writing on paper. I know that there’s a difference in which parts of the brain are accessed, and I feel like it has a profound effect on my own creative process.

Sometimes, I sit in front of a blank screen, empty Word document glaring at me in its pristine digital white, and can’t conjure a single sentence only to pull out a notebook and let endless streams of thought dump from my mind onto paper in a scratchy, scrawling hand.

Somehow, my words are more refined and poetic, a garden of flowery prose, in the digital. On paper, the words are more raw and uninhibited. They’re far from pretty but they drive to the point of the plot, and pounce forward. I get my thoughts down quick, my fingers fly across the keyboard and I don’t have to dwell on what’s popping up on the screen. I linger when handwriting, it’s a skeleton without flesh and features, and I’m not concerned about structure, aesthetics, dreaded word count and number of pages, proper formatting, and which font is prettier.

Sometimes my keyboard sticks, my computer fails me with the distractions of other applications, music, online web-surfing, and video games (I’ve got cities to conquer and puzzles to solve, it’s all more important than putting to word the stories flitting about my mind drowning me in their design). Sometimes my hand cramps, my pen runs out of ink, and my papers become a mess, I can’t read my own writing or stomach looking back over it to type it up , it wasn’t pleasing the first time, the digital won’t make it anymore pleasing when I can actually see on screen what my mind is saying on paper.

Higher Intelligence = No Emotion

Lately I’d been doing a lot of reading on “Theory of Mind” for school, and for whatever reason it got me thinking about a popular trend in science fiction stories. Whenever characters are supposed to be of higher intelligence, it’s suggested that in trade they give up empathy and in extreme examples lack emotion altogether. Take for example, Vulcans in Star Trek, the Observers in Fringe, there was an episode in the last season of Eureka where Jack is given an “intelligence serum” by Kevin, and as his intelligence grew, his emotional capacity shrank until all he cared about was being smart.

The reason I got to thinking about this in conjunction with my Theory of Mind readings is because their storylines are contradictory to everything people actual science, particularly social science, are proposing in regards to cognitive thought. Emotion and being able to empathize with others is considered to be a process of higher thought, not lower. an ability to think about others emotional states and to read others emotions and respond accordingly, to see others as comprehending beings is a sign of heightened intelligence. 

I guess I don’t understand why the opposite is taken as truth in science fiction — aside from Vulcans becoming the standard model for a higher race of intellectual beings.

Proof, Proof, Proof, or Prove that You’re Human

We’re all guilty of it.  I anticipate doing it as I’m writing this post, and catching it shortly after I publish.  

We make mistakes in our writing, be they typos or simply grammatical kerfuffles that we overlook because our brain is mush, bashing out words without taking care to ensure they all fit harmoniously together.  Sometimes it’s because we’re in a rush, other times because we just didn’t know any better, and usually because we’ve been reading and re-reading the same passage over and over and over again that we’re just skimming things now.

People have written about how you should always proofread, always, always, always.  Go ahead, type “should I proofread” into Google and see how many articles you pull up.  A lot of them will tell you never make a mistake.  Polished pieces of writing don’t go out with mistakes.  Of course, that’s not true, sometimes they do.  The really honest articles will tell you to just try not to make a mistake.  Proofread your work several times and then have a few friends proofread it too.  I always grab my sister for my editing needs, she’s a proud grammar Nazi.

As writers, we should strive for our writing to be as polished and perfect as possible before sending it out the door.  We tout ourselves as professionals at this, so everything we write should be par excellence.  Right?

But sometimes, we don’t have the time or it just isn’t logical to proofread something we’ve written that many times. I will admit it, I have sent out Tweets on Twitter that were garbled messes it’s a wonder readers were able to begin understanding my meaning (but they do!).  I mostly blame my “smart” phone and it’s oh-so-awesome autocorrecting technology (yes, that sarcasm is dripping).  Ultimately, we’re only human.

So what is the solution? Does it matter all that much that the blog post I hammered out between homework assignments in an effort to remind the digital abyss I still exist is littered with typos that should’ve been caught my third draft were it a manuscript?  Is it hurting my reputation as a storyteller that I tweeted “twat” instead of “twit”? 

Oh well, it’s what editors are for.  There are a lot of other things in my writing that people will have problems with outside of that silly typo that slid right by.

Will Fantasy Casts Always Be Just Fantasy

For the first time yesterday, I fantasy cast a character in a story I’m working on.  I wasn’t going to mention to anyone my current writing project, at least until I finished the first draft, because I’ve been doing so well on it and talking about how well I’m writing something tends to be the nail in the coffin of that trend.  Therefore, I won’t mention how many words I’ve written or give too many details.  

The only thing important to note is that I fantasy cast a character in the story.  Well, he won’t appear until the end of this book.  It’s a serial fantasy story. He’d feature predominately in the second book.  

If you’ve never fantasy cast before, and have no clue what it is, well, it’s sometimes recommended as a cure or preventative measure against writer’s block.  Basically, you think about your story hitting it big, being made into a movie, and cast Hollywood actors into the part.  Some writers fantasy cast as a part of their character development, give them an image/personality/attitude/speech style/etc. to model their character off of, but that’s not something I recommend doing.

Like I said, I’ve never done it before.  I don’t like doing it, because I don’t like the potential of associating a celebrity to a character and influencing the way I write that character.  I don’t want to limit myself, I want a blank canvas.  

Yet, out of the blue yesterday (or maybe not, roommate was watching “Perks of Being a Wallflower”), I realized I would really like to see Ezra Miller as the primary form of a shapeshifting character referred to in the story as “Morpheus” — which I anticipate that reveal getting me all kinds of flak and eye rolls, to which I respond, don’t judge a book by the name of a character in it

Anyhow, Ezra Miller actually has the look I wanted for the character, dark hair, dark eyes, sharp features, a kind of melancholy beauty.  I know, it sounds generic at this point, but the features are meant to contrast with another character who he’s most closely affiliated with throughout the whole story, that other character has more of a rugged look with golden hair and stormy eyes. Why am I defending this here? Need to get over the writer self-consciousness issue. I don’t need to justify anything to you people!

Back to Ezra, he’s a great actor.  His personality as Patrick in Perks of Being a Wallflower wouldn’t really fit my character at all and I haven’t really seen him in anything else so that’s all I’ve got to base this critique off of, but I thought to myself deep in the fantasy…er, or as deep as I’d let myself go without actually starting to visualize the actor playing my character for fear of perverting my original vision, I thought it would be interesting to see what Ezra Miller would do with the role. 

Anyhow, not long after making this decision, I realized, by the time I finished writing the book or how ever many of the books it takes, begging a publisher to publish it, getting it popular or noticed enough to be made into a movie, the actor would be too old to play the part. This is, of course, not even bothering to dwell on the very likely probability that none of what I mentioned ever happens (no publishing, no popularity, no one seeing it as a viable movie), or the less likely probability due to the high likelihood of the former probability, that he might not even want the part if it did happen (given his filmography, I don’t see him interested in getting into a genre movie). 

Of course I was depressed.  What’s the point of fantasy casting if it’s only ever going to be a fantasy?

I don’t know. I think I’m done playing that game. I’m just going to get back to writing.

School, Writing, and ‘Totes’ is Apparently a Word

I should probably start thinking of some good quality content to put on this blog after school ends. The semester has only just begun but when this year is over, well, then it’s over. Unless by some miracle I apply and get accepted to grad school, and that’s when things get really serious and time will no longer be a concept I can believe in.

Not that I really believe in it now, either.  I’m almost done with my second week of the semester and I already feel as though I’ve fallen so behind…whatever possessed me to save five anthropology classes (four 300-400 level) for my last semester…though it probably doesn’t help that I seem to have a strong case of senioritis that leads me to mistakenly believe I can easily do homework while drinking beer.

Just got to keep pushing to the finish line, though, right.

I’m scared to bits and pieces at the prospect of asking professors for grad school recommendation letters once this is all over.  I’m expecting the responses to be a toss up between, “who are you?” and “I don’t know if I’ve anything good to say about you…”maybe try someone else.

Oh grad schools, why do you need recommendation letters?  I can’t form social connections to save my life.  I was raised in the emergent digital age, I interface with computer screens and emoticons, not living people.

At least I have my writing to fall back on, is what I keep telling myself to my own maniacal laughter.  Writing is a career you pursue relentlessly while keeping a day job to pay the bills (and slowly suck out your soul, and crush your spirit, leaving you a sullen husk silently holding on by that thread of hope that one of your stories will sell like Harry  Potter one day — sorry to spoil it for young, beginning writers brimming with idealistic ambition), anyhow, it’s definitely not Plan B.

That’s why I need to finish writing something and how.  We did intros in one of the classes, stating our name, major, year, and something fun/interesting (it changes as we were moving through the class) about ourselves.  The first guy who went said he was a writer, and I was like oh-fuck, stole my interesting about me, then finished up that he worked on fantasy novels and had two manuscripts finished and I was like, well shit, now I’m just a wannabe and he’s a dedicated professional.  Of course it gets round to me and I’m like, yeah, I also write, then sadly admit, though I haven’t finished a manuscript yet.

The professor, who is also the class clown, was bantering and laughter, and he made some offhanded comment that we can network (the other writer and I) and that guy’s is all scoffing, “she’s not even in the editting stages yet”, but then the prof was kind enough to acknowledge, “but that’s not really something funny.  That’s a serious endeavor, and should be commended,” because he’s actually a nice guy- much better than other everyone-should-be-loud-and-boisterous type teachers I’ve had in the past, then he brought it back around and instructed me, “Now tell us something funny.”

To which I quipped, “Something funny” because you know, no ones ever heard that one before.  People laughed and he was like okay, whatever, moved on to the next person and immediately I thought of a million interesting/funny things I could’ve said about myself instead.

Anyhow, I guess I made the decision then that I need to either work on finishing a manuscript (and then another one and another one and another one) and getting published (my stories anyway, company blog totally does not count.  Side note, WTF is with the word “totes” all of a sudden.  First time I heard it was in the Malcolm McDowell and James Earl  Jones commercial and I’m like, “kids don’t talk like that”, come to find out, they do) back on topic, though, decision: either write something or stop telling people I’m a writer.

I think I’d die inside if I had to stop telling people I’m a writer, as though my spirit were suddenly severed from my body.  Writing is the first and foremost thing I’ve wanted to do going way back to when I was like ten years old and a teacher told me I should be a writer, and I was like, wait, I can do that?  As like, a for real profession, just tell stories all day? Yeah, I totes want to be a writer!

Okay, yeah, totes is the stupidest word ever. Jeez what is wrong with kids these days? Let’s just pretend it doesn’t exist and the people that use it, we’ll pretend they don’t exist either.

Right.  So, unless I want to be a spiritless automaton, going about my life, rank and filing bones, pretending I know something about anything science-y like, which I only partially do, I guess I have to get something accomplished, finito, published, and voila, me writer.  Yeah, I had a beer while reading about entheseal change earlier so I’m a mite loopy, apologies.  Probably start small, short story or something.  Move my way towards finishing one of the plethora of novels I’ve started but for some reason or another dropped, only to start a different novel altogether.

I’m going back to homework now.  Don’t use the word totes.

Renewed

Just renewed the domain name, and it’s my blogs anniversary.  Yay!  Happy anniversary, blog!

I haven’t posted anything in awhile.  Been busy writing, doing side projects, and working (which now includes a hefty amount of writing).

Work, so far, is going surprisingly good.  I’m still trying to figure out ways to direct traffic to the site, but the boss likes me well enough.  He seems to think I have a good attitude and the perfect personality for the job.  I sure hope he’s right about me.  A lot of people are counting on me to be successful.  They’re not counting on just me, thankfully, but enough of it relies on my ability to generate interest in the company for me to be extremely stressed.

In the meantime, my personal writing is divided between a script for a comic/graphic novel I’m collaborating on with an artist friend/former co-worker of mine, brainstorming for the game I want to develop that I mentioned last post, and working on a short novel I’m hoping to get finished within this coming year; working title is “White Rabbit”.

On another post, I talked about my DIY projects.  This holiday season, I made laundry detergent, lotion, lip balm, bath salts, and a sugar scrub.  I’m most satisfied with the laundry detergent, lip balm, and bath salts.  The sugar scrub was pretty decent, but I would have to use it long term to determine if I like it or not.  I had a small breakout by the corner of my lip, and I’m suspicious it might’ve been the scrub.  Of course, I could just be seeing the consequences of this past couple months’ major stresses, too.  The bath salt was wonderful to soak in, though, very relaxing, left my skin feeling really smooth, and was so easy to make.  Took maybe 5-10 minutes to mix together.  Sort of used Lia Griffith’s Homemade Lavender Bath Salts and Martha Stewart’s Homemade Bath Salts recipes as guides, kind of borrowing from both and streamlining the ingredients.

My Bath Salts

2 Cups Epsom Salt

1/2 Cup Himalyan Pink Sea Salt (bottles of this are available everywhere now, I’d never even heard of them before.  They give the salts a pretty color, but you could prob sub regular sea salt or just omit it altogether)

2 tablespoons Coconut Oil (though you could probably sub any vegetable oil here, like olive oil or jojoba oil)

5-10 drops Lavender Essential Oil

5-10 drops Eucalyptus Essential oil

Directions: Combine epsom salt and sea salt in a large bowl.  In a double boiler, melt coconut oil (I just put the oil in a jar, then put the jar in hot water from the tap, mixing it until fully melted.  Pour oil over salts, add the oils, and mix until fully combined.  Store in a sealed container (I put mine in glassware with a silicone seal lock-and-lock lid that I got at a home goods store for cheap).

To Use: Add a few tablespoons to bath when you first start running the hot water, and use your hand to stir the salts in until the sea salt is fully dissolved.

I worried after I’d first made the salts that I might’ve put in too much of the eucalyptus essential oil, because it smelled overwhelming in the mixing bowl, but the bath water diluted it a lot.  The Himalyan pink sea salt gave the bath a kind of peppery smell, which was interesting but nice.

As for the lotion, I colored it with powdered raspberries, and that didn’t work out so awesome.  It’s alright, but a bit gritty, so I have to figure out a way to get that pretty pink color without the grit.  The lotion itself was very oily — which the recipe’s author had forewarned, so I already knew it would be — but I think I’ll try out a less oily lotion next time.  It turned out very liquid-y,  which the author had not forewarned about but I think might be due to the oily-ness, and I don’t like it’s consistency much at all.  I want to try making a lotion for my face, my skin gets really dried out.  I started using diluted apple cider vinegar as a face toner after my cleanser a couple days ago.  I haven’t noticed anything testimony worthy yet, but I will say that it does significantly reduce redness after application, but I think that it’s contributing to the dryness of my skin.

Next on my DIY To-Do List is shampoo and conditioner.  I decided I would try out these different “recipes” for a month, recording my results.  Unless, of course, I immediately see drastically horrific results.  I’m thinking I might start a blog about it, but not until I’ve got everything made and have been using them for awhile, so I actually have something worth blogging about.

And that is all for today.  Yup.  Back to writing.

Put me in a hole, bury me to my neck…

Recently I pitched to a friend collaborating on developing a game.  I’d tried convincing my sister to work with me on it, to no avail, but it looks like the friend is interested.  Originally, I’d envisioned my sister doing the graphics because she’s a kick-ass artist and I’d do the programming because unlike my sister, I can program my way out of a box.  When I mentioned this to the friend, he was taken aback, stating “I would’ve thought you’d needed help with the programming”.  I was like, well, yeah, that’s what you’d be doing because, honestly, he can barely draw a box but at the same time I’m going “Uh…I do know how to program.”

The problem is that I get pigeon-holed.  It happens to everyone, but I’m getting so sick and tired of it.  People attach labels to other people and fail to see them as capable of anything outside of that label.  I’m an artist so I can only do art. I’m a writer, so surely all I do is write.  The thing is these are just skills, and more skills can be learned on top of them and, well, I love to learn.  I get bored having only one skill and knowing how to do only this one thing.  I’m not alone.  People have hobbies that don’t fall immediately into their primary skill-set, or they take classes, read about things they didn’t know how to do before.  We’re curious critters, us Homo sapiens.  It’s called personal growth, and smart people strive to do it on a regular basis.  

Just because I want to be a writer, doesn’t mean that’s all I can do.  If anything being a writer means I need to know how to do more.  I’m also an artist, a programmer, a gamer, a singer, a knitter, a crocheter, a baker, a philosopher, a chef, an anthropologist, a student, a friend, a bonafide DIY-er…the list goes on.  These are things I do, they aren’t who I am.  They don’t define me. And just because these are the things I do now does not mean I cannot and will not do so much more.

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Quick Updates

Work is going well.  So far, the boss likes me.  We had an employee assessment recently, and I scored much higher than I thought I would.  Seems I won’t be shown the door as soon as I thought I would be.  Yay.

On another note, my personal NaNoWriMo is going well, too.  I’ve been working on a new-ish story.  It’s a plot I’d been dwelling on for a while, but hadn’t gotten around to writing yet.  I really want to work on that sci-fi that I’d intended to do during the actual NaNoWriMo, but I guess I’d rather not do it in a rush.  I want to work on something that matters a little less to me and is easy to pen over the course of 30 days.  Anyhow, back to some productive writing.

Professional Blog Writer

Today I am officially a professional blog writer.

My first post went up for the company blog.  Check it out!

I’m nervous about it.  I know it’s not a great post, and I’m hoping I’ll get better with time and the more I settle into the position.  At the moment I’m working on several other posts about food, recipes, and other products that we sell.  I’m kind of on a homemade kick, everything from scratch (sort of) but in the easiest ways possible and with tips to make eating homemade simple and muss free, so that may be what a lot of my blog posts focus on.  Did you know how easy it was to make your own dressings and condiments from scratch?  I’ll be posting about it within the next few months on the company blog, so maybe bookmark the page or sign up for the newsletter to get updates.

Semi-unrelated, I’m also planning on slowly learning to do homemade lotions, soaps, skin care, shampoo, hair conditioner, and cosmetic products.  Yes, I’m looking at becoming a hippie, except I want to be very scientific about it, track how well things are working, shelf life, etc.  I just need to come up with a recording system, and also run 0ut of the current products I’m using.  I’ve already got plans to make some lotions, sugar scrubs, maybe lip balm, and laundry detergent for the holidays — give some as gifts 🙂 !  Though I’m a bit wary of giving things to my loved ones that I haven’t tried on myself yet.

I might start a blog to post my results on everything.  We’ll see how that goes.

Back to the professional blog writer thing.  Yeah, come by and take a look at the post.  Tell me what you think, because I could use a few tips, pointers, lot of feedback.  Final note, I made breakfast this morning with the product I blogged about.  It was so much easier to use than I thought, though I totally missed the instruction to cover and lower the heat (I covered, no lowered heat…didn’t ruin it too much and I caught it eventually).  Here’s a pic.

20131216_080149

I suggest purchasing one soon. It’s a limited time item.

 

School’s Out, Time to Write

As of this past Thursday morning, my school semester is over.  It was a long and hectic year that ended on a few high notes.  A few good grades and good praise from my teachers, met some interesting people that were far friendlier towards me than I probably deserved.  In personal life, I got a new job and a new car.  The job seems to be going well, which could mean it really is going well, or I’m delusional in my hopes that it works out.

My first blog post for the new job goes up on Monday, if you would care to check it out, here’s the link.  It’s not the best thing I’ve ever written, by far, stifled by the pressure of it being my first paid writing gig and trying to situate myself into a position whose previous occupant left a severely sour taste in the boss’s mouth.  While you’re perusing the company blog, you can read some of the old blogger’s posts as well.  I’m not entirely sure how long we’ll be keeping them up, but I’m petitioning to get them removed as soon as possible.  I’d like to distance myself from her work as much as I can.  One of the earliest bloggers had some decent posts, and I’d like to spruce them up a bit, but I guess there were complications during her employment so her stuff might get removed too, we’ll see.  We’ll also be getting a freelance blogger (who I’ll be semi-managing) to write content for us.  She’s got a lot of writing experience, and thus far in our email correspondence she’s been super nice, so I’m excited to be working with her. I’ll let you know when her stuff goes up as well, let you take a look at it.  Also, you know, buy something from the store.  We’ve got cool kitchen gadgets, the kind of stuff that makes me go, “I want that…and that…and OH MY GOD THAT!”

As per my previous blog (in which I complain about my own failings during NaNoWriMo and hope the readers will take pit on me), I’m going to be doing my own version of NaNoWriMo…apparently, starting today.  Woohoo! Got to write 1600 words today.  I can kill that easy, just need to pick a story to work on.   A little torn between the one I was trying to write during NaNoWriMo and a completely different one.  UGH, I’m already sabotaging myself.  I’m just going to open a word doc and start writing, whichever story comes out is the one I’m going with, so there, take that self-imposed writer’s block!

Right.  Off I go to get some novel written.  Enjoy this picture of the kitten that wouldn’t let me do my homework.

He's a little sad about classes ending because it means his favorite napping spot - my books - is going away for a time.  Back to sleeping on my shoulders, I guess.

He’s a little sad about classes ending because it means his favorite napping spot – my books – is going away for a time. Back to sleeping on my shoulders, I guess.

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