The Work of the Writer Never Ends
You Write or Not Write
and Love and Hate in the Same Breath
Sometimes you have to talk about writing whether good or bad, exciting or dull, advice or nothing of the sort. This is about all the above and more. It’s basically everything about writing minus any actual writing or rewriting. It’s about quotes, book recommendations, short reflections, and the occasional journal type entry. I’m working to fill this with more content this year. Happy writing everyone.
April 14, 2018: Three Writing Quotes From the Book I’m Reading
March 27, 2018: Write Simply or Like You Walked Out of a Thesaurus?!
“I tell my students that when you write, you should pretend you’re writing the best letter you ever wrote to the smartest friend you have. That way, you’ll never dumb things down. You won’t have to explain things that don’t need explaining. You’ll assume an intimacy and a natural shorthand, which is good because readers are smart and don’t wish to be condescended to. I think about the reader. I care about the reader. Not ‘audience.’ Not ‘readership.’ Just the reader.”
This quote by Jeffrey Eugenides, which he tells his students in his creative writing classes begs the question of how smart exactly is the average reader. I would like think the average reader is smarter than most, even me. I mean I’m average in so many ways, and not ashamed by it. I’m an Asian un-gifted in the math and sciences. This is why I’m not a doctor or dentist or anything related to medicine. If I was, guess what? I’d probably be somewhere walking down the halls of some hospital or clinic, maybe wishing I was doing something else. There were no brainy individuals in my bloodline, and accepted this a long time ago.
This doesn’t mean my biological parents didn’t give me anything. They gave me other things besides a brain that belongs in Mensa or near Mensa. You might say I’m viewing myself as stupid, but that’s not the case. I’m seeing myself as realistic. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve adopted realistic goals and centralized viewpoints with many different topics. Basically, I’ve become less focused on how others view me and more on what I can do improve myself within my own life. I’ve become less competitive with others including myself. Unless you’re writing in the academic world or for a specific age group (preteen or teens), I think a happy medium should be adopted when you write the average novel.
I’ve purposely left out things in past stories or scripts to not hit the reader over the head with the obvious. This led to my roommate, often my guinea pig, to say what are you trying to say or do in this paragraph or description. I learned when you border on being cryptic, misunderstanding can occur and does as the pages increase. Therefore, I have added necessary information to the reader so there is no guessing for the reader in my current rewrite. I suspect I’ll learn even more as I rewrite more, and hoping my next rewrite doesn’t take as long. Writing should feel as natural as can be, but still keeping objectivity as much as possible. I suspect most of us are smarter than we let on in some cases, while in others we play stupid silly. This is all I have to say about this for now.
March 22, 2018: Update on My Writing
I’ve been spending more time on my rewrite. I guess this is a good thing. After talking to my roommate/partner, he told me that the reason one of my main characters decides to do X is not very strong. In other words, it needs to be more compelling so I’m going to add in another scene that drives the arrow straight into the target. I’ve said it before that I can’t wait to finish this rewrite, but I’m done apologizing for being a slow writer. This is just who I am. I hope all my learning and relearning paves the way for a quicker write next time, but even more a quicker rewrite. I have a few guinea pigs willing to read my story when it is done to see how they like it. I’m eventually going to self publish it when the time is right. I hope everyone is doing whatever that makes them happy in this often crazy life.
February 27, 2018: Two Quotes by Writers
January 7, 2018: OFF WITH A BANG
Get a New Hobby
Spend Time with Family
We’ve all heard the common New Year resolutions. Every year they creep into our minds only to leave our minds before January ends. It looks great on paper. Some even write them down. I do before the New Year hits, and then every month to see if I’m on point, and 2017 I was off point more than on. Yes, things happen to get in the way along your path, but as we all know, you must keep moving forward. While I will always have specific resolutions and/or goals, I realize there’s something more important to focus on and it’s something within myself in 2018.
Because I’ve done quite a bit of promising something over and over and over again and often not committing to it or doing it in a timely manner, I realize I’m married to the word “promise” instead of the word “performance” when it comes to my personal life. I’ve done mind games, if you will, to shock my brain into a new way of thinking, in the hopes I will be able to view the action it takes to achieve my resolutions/goals as something natural and essential versus something forced and pointless. There are times I feel as if I’m a robot just going through the motions to get to my goals. I’d like to get away from this feeling completely, but being a human being comes with stubbornness. It takes time to change the way one thinks.
People often need to hear more than “take control” or “just do it” for it to sink in and then set in permanently. People have such a hard time with the top two resolutions of losing weight and exercising because the mental urgency and necessity isn’t there even when our body appearance and ailments tell us otherwise. It’s as if many of us are just trying to hang onto life by a thread, and therefore, junk food and sugary drinks are the only things bringing us the little comfort we seek. Yet, in the long run it proves to be more troublesome. Instant gratification comes to mind. We live in a society of “I want it now” instead of “I want it when the time is right.” I’ve done this before, both bad eating and impatience, when I’m not in the right mindset. Most all of us have all been there because humans are complex.
Resolutions and goals are good tools to use, but using them in the right way is necessary if they are to work at their best optimum. We walk a fine line between hopes and dreams on one side and despair and heartache on the other. How do you navigate when mentally you see parts of your life resemble a scene out of a bad horror movie? How do you pull yourself up by the bootstraps and not just live but really LIVE? How do you prevent falling further into the traps of the past? These are the questions I ponder as I’m gaining another year. I offer no easy solutions because there are none. Yes, there are some anomalies, but most of us are in the middle of the pack.
Life has never been “easy” for me. I’ve been through hell and back, and this was all before I was even adopted. Then, I spent the next thirty years trying to get back what I lost as as child, regaining some back, and other things will never be restored. The last eleven years is when I did the most personal growth, but it’s been hard at times. It takes damn hard work to be brutally honest with yourself. It takes even harder work to realize it isn’t all one person’s fault. There comes a time when you need to take responsibility for your beliefs and actions. I’m gaining even more acceptance of my shortcomings, forgiveness for those who betrayed me, and distancing myself from people and/or places that are toxic. As my head rests on my pillow, no one knows what is best for me except me (to an extent).
While there are some goals I didn’t accomplish in 2017, I intend to work weekly on them to get to that point of completion in 2018. Wishing and wanting something fall into your lap without any kind of work isn’t how it’s done. There are times what you want doesn’t happen. There are times what you try to prevent does happen. You need to be prepared for disappointment. I definitely learned this and accepted it (to an extent). You better love doing whatever you’re doing because the ultimate reality might be different from your vision. Let’s face it that life is tough, but this doesn’t mean you don’t go out there and give it your all. You should for many reasons. I know I am in 2018.
I leave this on a lighter note with a fashion no no. I learned while watching the news of a trend in 2017 I hope turns into a fad really soon. Since I’m past 40 now, fashion has to be practical for me, but not that I was ever a fashionista. These jeans aren’t practical. The Clear Knee Mom Jean? This is just stupid. Please make these plastic jeans go away. They aren’t attractive by any means. Now that I’ve said my peace, go out and by some jeans, but please NOT these.
January 3, 2018: Rewriting Quotes
December 3, 2017: Looking Forward
I’m looking forward to visiting the Midwest in January. I plan on taking a trip there to surprise, at least, one of my parents. I also get to take pictures of my old journals from 20+ years ago. I get to see my parents’ new dog I haven’t seen. I hopefully can visit some friends who are near and dear to me. It will an eye opener as I haven’t been back to a true winter of snow and ice and negative degree weather. I can’t wait.
November 11, 2017: Thought on my Brain
I’m thinking about starting a thought blog and just write anything and everything I feel in any given week. It won’t be long or formulated. I will just spew nonsense out. I’m going to give this more thought. I’m not sure people will read it. Just have to see, but I feel as if I’m becoming more interested in keeping up with blogging than rewriting and writing. Hmmm, I need to think about this. I think I need to subtract instead of add.
September 23, 2017: My Thoughts About Life This Week
I wake up, go to work, leave work, sometimes work overtime, and on my drive home I think I’m going to write for a few hours. Then, I think about everything else I have and want to do. Jog, lift weights, and crunches to lose weight I’ve been trying to do forever. Jeez, the dishes are piling up again in the sink even though there is a dishwasher. I need a deeper sink or a larger dishwasher. This is not working for me. I need a bigger apartment. It would solve a lot of my problems. Maybe, not all, but some. I feel as if the little space I have is built like New York City. My things are stacked on top of each other. Then, there are other things pulling me away from my goal of writing. Man, I haven’t worked on puzzles in a long time. How about pulling out a puzzle and trying to finish it in a few days? I want to do it so I can accomplish something in my life, even if it is only a puzzle, because my writing isn’t going anywhere. Then, I think this won’t bring me closer to my goal of being a person who writes consistently. But man, that puzzle is a nice diversion. This rewriting process is long and tedious. I’m not sure if I have it within me to be a writer crosses my mind as I wait in traffic. I flip through the radio stations when the Woody Show isn’t all that interesting, which is rare. I’m trying to find new ways to write faster, but then I feel if I rush myself, I’m not being honest with my own process and who needs or wants that.
I get home and change into more comfortable clothes. I slip my gnarly looking feet, description by my roommate, into my flip flops I shouldn’t be wearing. My ankles continue to hurt and tingle. Damn my lack of blood circulation in my legs. I should have that checked out again to make sure it isn’t something more serious. Frankly, I just need to lose weight. It would take care of a lot of your problems, Kim. How backwards things have become when I grab the Apple remote and watch a little bit of Netflix before deciding what I want to really do. I know what I want to do: WRITE. I still think about it. My choices are so many. Do I exercise, read, color, blog, or something else? What should I devote my time to on the weekend? More exercising, reading, coloring, blogging? Or maybe watching a few movies on my shelves? Or seeing one in the theater? Or working on my puzzle and trying to find past photos of finished puzzles so I don’t have to do them all again? The possibilities are limitless. I should be doing a quiet meditation to calm my mind before I do anything else, but I don’t after work. I’m not spending enough quality time with myself to be really still with all parts of myself. I’m trying not to use the word should or need or have, but sometimes it is necessary. I should be doing more yoga. I need to in order to calm my mind. I have to to make my body stronger.
There are times all I do is watch Netflix and go to bed. I don’t even have the motivation to write my thoughts in my journal although I know it would help me to process things better. Sometimes, being a couch or bed potato is all I can muster. On a high note, as much as it felt like I was in a new world, I recently spent time working on myself in a mental and emotional kind of way. I laid it all out before me. Time was not a factor. I was done when I felt in it my body. I was done when my spirit had accomplished all that it could do for that day. I’m hoping to translate this into all areas of my life I’ve tried desperately to incorporate in the past. It felt like I was pushing a square object into a circle opening much too small. I’m conscious of the fine line between motivation and being hypercritical of oneself. This awakening gave me a new way of looking and thinking about things, which is the whole purpose of living. I’m adapting to living a more peaceful and calm life instead of just wishing or wanting it to happen. And despite me feeling like a semi-failure for not having the discipline to write consistently the past few months, I’ve gained other things that are just as valuable. I’m more than cells and flesh. I’m a lot more. Trust me on this one.
September 9, 2017: How I’ve Been Feeling Lately
August 23, 2017: Stephen King Quote
July 21, 2017: Advice for Writers who are Stuck at Times
Write anything. Don’t sit there. Just write.
Who cares if it sounds stupid to your ear or doesn’t make sense. No one has to read it if you don’t want. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
The thing troubling many of us, I believe, is self doubt and fear. It creeps around us morning, noon, and night. The irritation of not writing more in those hours we set aside while bad posture remains to be a source of discomfort for some as the next day approaches.
We realize writing something, no matter how bad, is better than nothing when trying to fall asleep.
We try so hard to make it the best we can while we punch the keyboard, forgetting the expectations we place on our shoulders, and other times not so successful.
So yes, write anything. Don’t sit there. Just write.
(I can hear my inner voice now.)
(Thanks for the advice. As if it were this easy.)
July 4, 2017: Robert Frost Quote
July 4, 2017: Keep on Keeping on with Rewriting
I’m in the process of still rewriting my love story. I’ve said it will be the death of me for many reasons. I feel rewriting is a much more lengthy and time consuming process. My roommate agreed with me. The thing is if you are a person who has a tendency to be a perfectionist such as myself that most things seem to take a little bit longer. I made the mistake of looking at how to make my writing better from widely known authors I feel really have a superb command of their craft. This is a blessing and curse at the same time. I’m learning some new stuff, but then I think while reading it, well I have another rewrite after this one to look forward to. Jeez, will it ever end so I can work on my trilogy? I’m learning to keep the pressures I place on myself and emotions I’ve been feeling throughout this whole thing at bay. There are times I need to remind myself that one hour of rewriting is better than nothing.
June 11, 2017: Elmore Leonard Has Some Advice
Information by Naked Authors/Quote by Write to Done
June 11, 2017: Writing Quotes
June 9, 2017: Half of the Month Gone… Almost
I can’t believe it is almost July. This will make it officially half of 2017 is done. It is off to the races so to speak. I recently commented on my private FB page that the weeks are all blending together and the months are zooming by at a fast pace. I also commented that life is one big test, which seems to have many small quizzes from year to year. I wonder what my grade will be by the end of the year. I truly hope it is above satisfactory, but only time will tell. I’ve definitely worked on improving certain personal areas of my life so this does make me know I’m partially on track. I hope to get to excellent when my time is really done on this planet. I know my hair will be completely white because I’m finding more and more of them as the days go by. I’ve made some strides in my rewrite and will get more done this weekend because I owe it to myself. My mantra lately is if you continually make your life worthwhile by working on overcoming the hurdles in your path, then you are doing exactly what you should be doing. I’ve realized life seems to get more complicated as you get older, and believe a part of it is because I’m viewing things in a much different light. I’ve also realized slowing down, at times, is necessary to rejuvenate a person so I am on a Friday night.
May 27, 2017: Quick Reflection
I’ve spent the last week rewriting my love story. I project it will take me the end of the year to finish it. If I get it done sooner, I’ll be happy. If not, oh well. I’ll get it done. I’m learning to relax more when I’m writing. I’m letting it more easily flow from my fingertips. The great invention of the computer. I wonder if past writers would be jealous. I’m planning to write a short story soon. I’ve said before there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete my long list, but picking and choosing is what busy people have to do, and then be okay with it. These are my words of wisdom on a early Saturday when I should be sleeping. My eyes are tired and the screen is blurry. Writers write even if it is random stuff such as this. Cheers.
May 14, 2017: Stephen King Quotes
May 14, 2017: Book Recommendation about Dialogue
I think one of the hardest aspects of writing is the dialogue. I’m currently reading a book with an enthusiastic ten fingers in the air. It has some good, solid advice in it. It is only 135 pages long so it won’t be a daunting task to read. I would advise reading it twice or maybe three times. I know I will, at least twice.
The author, James Scott Bell, says reading dialogue in screenplays will increase your knowledge. He uses examples from Maltese Falcon, which is a great screenplay. If you have a great screenplay, it more than likely will translate into a great movie. Yet, novel writing doesn’t have the same format as screenplays, but dialogue matters in both.
So for the purpose of focusing on improving your novel writing via dialogue, check out the book How to Write Dazzling Dialogue. Bell describes examples of poorly written dialogue, mediocre dialogue, and well-written dialogue where it is understandable. There are exercises you can do to improve your writing, which is also handy. I hope you find it as informative as I have so far. Cheers and Happy Writing.
April 11, 2017: Book Recommendations about Writing
I came across some books when I rearranged my shelves that might help writers improve their writing if you are up for the challenge. It dawned on me how much of this material is common sense and quite simple when you read it. The hardest part is translating it onto the page while you are actually writing. Some of these books are geared toward script writing and the rest are for fiction writers. They all have good information and some are interchangeable.
There has been an ongoing debate of whether the people writing these books are bona fide to comment on the structure of writing and the tools important to make a good story great. I don’t think it’s a prerequisite to write stories and/or scripts to make worthwhile contributions for those people crazy enough to write them. I’ve learned if you abide by all the rules set in place in the writing world, no one would write a book considered worthwhile upon any review. It can be daunting because I haven’t touched my rewrite in a few months. I’ve passed my deadline for many reasons.
People who write walk a fine line between being disciplined enough to make progress and only writing when they feel the need. I’m straddling somewhere in between and never really committing one way or the other at the moment. I think fiction writers have more avenues to entice them when compared to screenwriters. They can get inside people’s head and express their characters through raw emotions much easier.
Bottom line is the fiction writer can be wordy and exhaustive on the page where a screenwriter has to keep more of a watch on keeping dialogue within reason and action is more important than not. If you don’t have a lot of white space on the paper with a script, you might have a problem. On this ending note, I leave you with these book suggestions. Take them or leave them as the choice is always yours and good luck with your writing.
April 4, 2017: Herman Melville Quote
March 22, 2017: W. Somerset Maugham Quote
March 17, 2017: Want to Write Better?
My Journals: Missing a Few, but Here’s Most of Them
“For the sake of the one’s sanity, one should always use the journal as a way to destruct, destroy, demand, and detect certain things within oneself; but then on the next page use it to celebrate, connect, continue, and commit because without this process, one will be something less than within the soul.” -Pisaries Creator-
I went home home to take pictures of my other journals. I didn’t get them all because some were M.I.A. I ended up leaving my current journal behind. You win some and then lose some. I actually have a few more, but couldn’t call them actual journals. When I hit a certain point in my life, I plan on burning all of them in a big bonfire, but time will tell. The original dates were from 1990 to current times, but these listed below start in 1992 and progress onward.
March 17, 2017: Future Burning Bonfire!
People who have the need to create tend to be able to be alone for long hours and lose themselves in their own little world. They often construct different lives and scenarios in their heads. This information finds itself woven into their stories or becomes the basis of their creations. Writers are no different. I can get very excited about a story idea and so energized by it where I feel the strength behind it. The force is strong where I could move a stalled car. This is the feeling where if I don’t create something, then my body will feel numb, and my mind will feel restless. Or is it the other way around? My body will feel restless and my mind will feel numb. Either way, both don’t bring me any kind of peace.
Writers don’t have the write. Instead, they need to write. They need to write because if they don’t, a part of them slowly dies, and so diminishes why they exist in the first place. Certain people are born writers. I believe it wholeheartedly. Other people are born athletes. I’m not one of them. Some people are born musicians. I’m definitely not one of them. Writers are as varied as athletes and musicians. Writers are as varied as teachers and police officers. Anyone remember Janet Evans? Her often cited unorthodox swimming stroke during the Olympics was a hot topic, and not every swimmer is tall and muscular. I’m a slow writer. Wish I was faster. I’m a thoughtful writer. Wish I wasn’t so much. I’m a perfectionist writer. Definitely wish I wasn’t this. If I’ve learned anything, you recognize your talents and try to capitalize on them in your personal life, and work toward accepting them.
Writers keep their minds rational through personal writing. This reflective writing often happens within their journals. I am currently on my 102nd journal. Many ideas and thoughts for my writing end up in them along with my random and recurring dreams, as well as other thoughts. It is important for writers to get out their frustrations, motivations, inspirations, and any other feelings that might inhibit their writing. I plan on burning all my journals when I reach my next stage in life. I hope it happens sooner than later, but if it doesn’t happen, the bonfire is happening anyway.
The worst thing a writer can do is to infect how she or he feels within a character that clearly is NOT him or her. There’s a fine line between writing what you know, but a male with chauvinistic behaviors is not the female writer who is a feminist. You might ask yourself why would a feminist write about a male with chauvinistic tendencies? I believe the mark of a good writer is being able to write about a character so unlike him or her, but be able to write it in such a way that readers are amazed the person is not what they envisioned him or her to be. I think variety is good for any writer. Challenge yourself as a writer. Challenge your characters. Challenge your comfort levels. Challenge your skill levels. But most of all enjoy all of the challenges along the way as a writer.
March 17, 2017: A Writer Does Two Things: Read and Write
I was drawn to writing as long as I can remember. I enjoyed reading too and wish I could finish books like I did when I was younger. No longer does Sweet Valley Twins and Babysitter’s Club hold my attention nor would I find them all that interesting today. The books I’m reading now are thicker with a lot more complexity. I used to read about five to ten books at one time, when I wasn’t jam packing a to-do list with 15 items on it each week. Now, I’m lucky to get a book read in six months but reading something is better than nothing.
I looked at my mini book collection, as most of my books are still in the Midwest, collecting dust in my bedroom. The books I recommended will help you become a better writer. Yes, most of this information is common knowledge, but the hardest part is translating it onto the page as you’re writing. People know the hardest part of the writing process is the dialogue. It is the hardest to excel at in any form of writing. A movie can be forgivable with mediocre writing, but great writing is what makes audience members be able to sit through a movie without looking at their watches or shift needlessly in their seats.
There is something inherent about great writing, but there are critics everywhere. What one views as great writing, another will view as only okay. Some might prefer wordy writers, while others enjoy writers who use less description and more action. Most readers like writers to get to the heart of the story as quick as they can without sacrificing the story. I feel belaboring the points is as deadly as going too fast into a scene and moving out of it even faster.
Writers learn by using all their five senses. They also learn whether through reading about writing or writing itself. The bottom line is that any person who wants to be a better writer should be reading all of these books, and then read them again as I need to do. I have included another book in the Write Great Fiction series that I still need to read, Revision & Self-Editing. If anything, these books might incite writers to be motivated and invigorated again. It’s good to feel hurt fingers once in a while or in my case carpal tunnel, but whatever physical ailment you might have, it isn’t as painful as suppressing your desire to write or stunt your skill level.
Check them out at Amazon
March 15, 2017: The More You Know
Image by Echo Lit
March 1, 2017: E.L. Doctorow Quote