Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Getting Rid of Time-Wasters

I run two blogs. I try to update this one two or three times a week, and I reply to all comments. My other blog, Kittens and Books, is updated five days a week. Blogging also involves reading and liking and commenting on other blogs, which I'm absolutely terrible at doing. Running my book blog takes more time than this one because it takes time to read books, and also because I post there more often and am more strict about my schedule.

I am also a writer. I am a writer who aspires to be published, so I try to write daily. Especially because I'm just getting back into it, I cannot skip a day of writing. It throws me off, big time. Along with writing, at least online, comes reading and commenting on others work. This includes finding the work I want to read as well.

I also have pets and family and, in my free time, I like beading and drawing.

If you've read all that (did anyone find all that worth reading?) and wonder why I'm sharing, it's because I also like to waste time. I don't have enough time in the day for everything I actually want to do, but I still play games on my phone. I am a silent reader on twitter. I have a Tumblr account that I am on far too often.
And, in case the above paragraphs didn't speak for themselves, I don't have time to waste time!

Having acknowledged all this, my goal is to quit procrastinating. This next week, I'm going to be a productive person - if only to see how it feels and return to my old ways. If only because I'm so behind in everything that needs to be done.

I'll let you guys know how this goes for me. In the meantime, let me know what your favorite way to waste time is! How many things do you need to get done a day, and how often does all of it actually happen?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Writing Is Social (For Me)

I know I've spoken a bit about my lack of writing in previous posts, but I'm not sure if I explained just how awful my 'writer's block' was. Beginning in March of this year, I was lucky to have two projects finished in a month.

This may sound like a good thing, but I'm a poet. I also write short stories. None of these 'projects' were novels. Most of them were under 500 words.

I'm not used to this. I am used to writing like crazy. Once I get into a story, it's easy for me to lose track of time and write thousands of words a day.

I did not write in August. Maybe I'm being a little hard on myself - I did write blog posts. But blogging and writing aren't the same to me. Writing holds an extremely special place in my life and fiction, especially, seems to be the only thing that 'counts' when it comes to the benefits I get through writing.

I knew this entire time I wanted to write again. I just didn't know how.

Recently, I decided to share my work online again. If you keep up with my posts, you know that I posted a couple of poems here on the blog. But I also created a new Wattpad account. And I joined Writer's Cafe as well.

On both sites, I posted an old post of mine called Weightless. It's a short story that I wrote in April, and it's a piece I am pretty proud of. At first, these writing sites consisted of distractions and my hopes that, slowly, I could get back into writing.

I wrote around 1,500 words today. My 'September 2014' folder, created yesterday, has four completed works in it. It took some pushing through, but it no longer seemed impossible. I am excited to write.

My point is, writing has to be social for me. I have to share my work. I cannot sit down and write a novel and think, after this has been written and edited ten times, I may be able to publish and share it with the world. Of course I would love to be published. Of course I want to write a novel. But I need side projects and discussions with other writers. I need critiques and sweet comments. I need that interaction in order to write.

I guess the reason is that I've always had that interaction. When I was very small, I would show my parents or grandparents. When my writing began to feel more personal, I stopped writing and my next 'big idea' was to draw and become an artist. And then I found writing sites online and began to write again, this time sharing with strangers.

This habit could be good or bad, but I'm not really speculating on that right now. I'm more happy that I found out what blocks me. I am thrilled that I have found my way back to these words.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Simple Blogging Tips

In these last few months as a blogger, I have noticed a few, very simple, things that some bloggers don't do. I can only guess that they either don't know about these things, or that they don't see the importance and how much easier things could be made for their readers.

I decided to share a couple quick tips in hopes of reaching those who might be new to blogging or maybe just aren't doing something I list. Hopefully it'll help at least one person!

1. Bloglovin' Buttons

If you don't know about Bloglovin', I really do think you're missing out. I have seen so many blogs that I would like to follow, but don't, and it all comes down to this site. Since it's my only way of following, I simply won't follow any blogs that don't have an easy to find Bloglovin' button.

Basically, Bloglovin' is a way of following blogs from several blogging sites, such as Wordpress and Blogger. It's a way to bring them together so you can easily see all the posts without using multiple sites to follow. I would recommend it for bloggers not only so people can follow you, but because it makes keeping up with others' posts so much easier.

It's pretty simple to follow once you sign up, but the link for the buttons are under your profile picture. The third link down says Bloglovin' button, and this is where you want to go and follow the instructions. Make sure you add this to your sidebar so people know where to find it!

2. Opening Links in New Tabs

This is is SO simple, but it's also very easy to overlook. I wouldn't be shocked if a bunch of the links on my blogs were missing this, as I don't test them all.

Basically, it's a check box. When you are creating the link, at the very bottom there are two check boxes. The first one says open this link in a new window, and will open a new tab when the link is clicked. This way readers can stay on your site and come back to it when they're done looking at your links.

What tips do you have for bloggers? Is there anything that bothers you, or that you wish more bloggers knew about?

Monday, September 29, 2014

My First Piece of Writing on the Blog (And a Bit of Panic)

I have tried posting my writing here since the very first post, but it's been a little intimidating. It's pretty silly for me to be afraid of posting my work on the internet - I've done so often in the past. I began sharing years ago and it's almost normal for me that strangers (not people I know - that still freaks me out!) read my work. From my many accounts on Wattpad to blogging itself; I feel like this should come easily to me by now.

But I have had such a hard time choosing something to post. Maybe it's because so much of my work isn't current enough - I really do need to get back into poetry, as well as writing daily. Or maybe it's just been too long since I last posted anything except blog posts.

Either way, today I have two poems to share with you guys. I would love any kind of feedback; good or bad. Let me know what you think in the comments, and link me to your own work if you'd like!


Leaves falling, falling
to their doom

While naked trees
wait and wait.

Spring will bring
fresh blooms.


Passenger seat,
seventy miles to the hour.
Hand out the window
easily covers car behind -
and I think:
that's how easy it can be:
Forgetting your past.

Friday, September 26, 2014

One Project at a Time

One thing I've never been good at is only working on one project at a time. Right now, I'm slowly getting back into writing and I'm only allowing myself one current work. I'm always filled with ideas and my usual way of doing things involves beginning ten projects at once and finishing one if I'm lucky.

The thing is, I want the work I do to be finished. I always look back on my unfinished work and think about how cool it would be if I actually had a complete draft. And then I think about finishing it, but I also think about finishing ten other things, and the cycle continues. Nothing gets done.

I don't know if I'm actually slowing myself down by working on just one thing, though. Although I've made the goal over and over, I haven't actually begun to write daily. Multiple projects might change that and make me more excited about writing.

One thing I know for sure is that my current story won't be completed if I begin anything else right now. And it's difficult to explain that - because I feel like it's an important thing for me to write. I feel like I need to have this story written, rather it ever gets past even the first draft. Rather I even ever piece it together enough or go back and fill in the holes where I've typed "(ADD SCENES HERE)" and planned to go back and fill in the blanks later. I don't know if any of that is important, but what is important is finding the end to this thing.

You would think something this important to me would be easily written, or that I would at least come back to it more often. But it's a huge change for me, a whole other style and new topics. And it's scary to write something so different, so I avoid it.

If you're a writer, what's the most challenging thing you've written? Do you finish your projects before beginning new ones, or do you have several that you're in the middle of? Are you any better at writing daily than I am?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Writing and Diversity

I was recently inspired by countless posts and articles to make a huge change in the way I write. To be honest, I have always been terrified of representing someone different from me in writing. What if I represent them wrong?

Failure is an awful (and admittedly ridiculous) fear of mine. Even if I'm the only one to see it. Even though I know that everyone makes mistakes, no matter how cautious. And even though I realize that it negatively affects my writing and, after all, words on a computer screen can easily be erased and fixed.

Anyway, I completely threw myself into this new project. In some ways it feels like a completely new way of writing, but really it's just a new experience. Right now it's a word document of random scenes that I hope will be turned to a novel. And every single character is different from me in major ways, most of them in more than one major way.

Before now, the most "diversity" shown in my writing was an occasional dual point of view that included a male character. Now I have a cast of different races, sexualities, genders, and personalities. The characters are interested in things I don't care all that much about myself. And it's not as difficult to write as I thought. But it is scary.

Things grew easier when I stopped trying to write a novel. Because even if this doesn't turn out to be anything linear or cohesive, it is an experience. It's a huge step for me as a writer. And I need these random scenes, whether or not they show up in any sort of final copy, to get to know my characters as people. To allow them to show themselves.

So that's where I'm at now. If you're a writer, how much diversity do you include in your work? Is it a struggle, or was it in the past? Do you have any tips?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On Doing Things You Love Daily

As a writer, I have always heard this advice: Write daily.

I have seen it extended to just about any kind of skill, really. Practice makes perfect. And the more practice, obviously, the better you will be. It's actually really great advice, especially if you care about doing whatever it is well or plan on doing it for others beside yourself. For example, if you wanted to turn something like writing into a career.

The thing is, I think there's another aspect to that as well. Because if you love something, if it's a passion of yours, then finding time for it every day is more than just helping you become better at it. For me, when I have written I feel better. Not because I have made progress strengthening that skill, but because it makes me happy and lets me put my feelings out there. It has a very positive impact on my mood and my life.

I forget this when I haven't written for awhile. If I'm honest I'm not sure how many days I go without writing something - a to-do list, email, or even blog post - but nothing seems to be the same for me as writing fiction. And it's super easy to forget this and go months without writing, simply because I didn't try hard enough to conquer writer's block or I finished my current work and didn't start another right away.

I just really wanted to point out that there are so many reasons to do things you enjoy every day. Make time for them, because there's a reason you love them. Some days they might feel like a chore, and there's nothing bad about stepping away for a day or two, but always step back. Don't let yourself forget your passion. You'll probably be worse for it.