art, inspiration, Uncategorized

Never settle for unruly passengers

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Poetry, Writing, Writing challenge

[Five Minute Poetry] watermelon + goddess + photosynthesis

She lies in the garden somewhere between delight and passivity

Soaking up sun like sweet cream against her skin

She breathes in the honeysuckle and the meadow-born fragrances

And though the life she has lived has made her hard on the outside

Thick and defended, a layer of skin and flesh that is marked

By doubt, regret and indiscretion

Inside, she is sweet

And the rays of the afternoon are hers to feed on because

She has the glow of her solitude

The goddess of utter abandonment

Who wants for no man, no company,

Save the whispers of the orchids

The melon knows not that she is anything but plant life like the rest

Summer goddess of the passing breeze

Like the rest

And the flowers do not disappoint

As everything else has in its way.

Writing, Writing Tips

Paper: It’s Not Just for Wrapping

So this weekend I did something that I never thought I would do.

I printed the entire draft of my novel.

Well, I didn’t print it. I had it printed at Fedex. I got it 3-hole-punched and then I purchased a binder for it to live in. I also double-spaced the draft so I had room for notes and line-editing.

And y’all. Y’all.

I will never not print my first draft of anything ever again.

It’s so satisfying. And not because of any sort of aesthetic, like the feel of the paper or the scratch of the pen, although those things are very nice. No, it’s because I’m not seeing it the way I see every single other part of my day: on the other side of a screen. I don’t find myself going cross-eyed at walls of text. I’m not terrified of cutting and pasting chapters because I think that at that moment my computer is going to crash or Internet demons will steal my words away into an oblivion of deletion.

If I want to move a chapter, I literally pick it up and rearrange it.

If I like a passage, I can draw a giant smiley face.

If I hate something, I can punch it without replacing my monitor.

Try it. Print out a short story or a poem or a blog post. Look at it with a pen in your hand. Really read it. Write on it. Cross shit out. Underline words. Doodle in the margins.

It’s a completely different experience.

Creative Advice, Writing, Writing Tips

FINISH HIM!

Not too long ago, I asked a friend what he would be interested in seeing me talk about on my blog. And he gave me a very good topic. He asked me what I do when my inspiration runs dry mid-writing or when another idea comes along that captivates me despite being in the middle of something else. Do I shelve my current project? Come back to it later? Or what?

The answer to that is really that it depends.

It used to be that I would have multiple projects going all at the same time, but I found over time that it stressed me out. I would realize that nothing was finished – I couldn’t put any one thing out because they were all in states of incomplete-ness. I would find that I was generally just so easily distracted that I could go on and on and stockpile a million works-in-progress. I would have this on-again-off-again relationship with all of my work — I would love it one day and hate the sight of the next. Ultimately I found myself accomplishing…very little.

Now, I try to finish things. Or I at least try to get things broken down into pieces that can be ‘finished’ for a time so I can do a little bit of something else and then come back to it. Or, if absolutely necessary, I finish it even if it means it isn’t absolutely perfect. Perfect is an illusion anyway.

Mostly, though, I do try to balance. For example: I have a several things I’m writing while I’m also working on editing my novel from NaNoWriMo. I know that I cannot do this all in one sitting and I also know that I will lose interest if it’s the only thing I’m doing. So, instead of focusing on just that for as long as it takes, I’m doing it in chapter chunks. That way, I’m satisfied with my progress while balancing out my wandering interests.

My recommendation if you find yourself getting burnt out in the middle of something and getting drawn to something else is this: give it 24 hours. Make a note of this new fantastic idea and sleep on it. If it’s still amazing the next day and you want nothing more than to sink your teeth into it, set a date for when you are coming back to the project you’re currently on. Literally. Get a calendar, plot out how long you think this awesome new something will go and then say, “Okay, on May 1, I’m going to pick this other thing back up.” You’ll know two things by May 1: if that new thing was really as great as it seemed and if the original project is worth going back to.

Are you a starter or a finisher? Do you chronically collect works-in-progress, or do you try to finish anything you start, no matter how crappy it gets? Tell me about it on my Facebook!

 

How to Have a Day Job

[How to Have a Day Job] 5 Ways to Survive Overtime

howtohaveadayjobsnow

Oof, there’s that word. No one wants to hear it, but chances are good you’ve been told that it’s going to be a part of your day job at one point or another. Overtime. Wherein your 40 hour workweek becomes…well, more than that. And that has been the case for me recently, which is why I want to share with you 5 ways you can keep yourself from drowning in the wake of the overtime tsunami:

  1. Take breaks: make time to take breaks throughout the day. Know what you’re entitled to and take advantage to avoid burn-out. When you’re taking those breaks, get up and move away from your desk, out of line of sight of whatever work you have. Don’t answer your phone.
  2. Sleep, eat, drink: it’s the big trifecta of not ruining your body, and probably one of the top reasons that people get so sick during ‘busy seasons’ at work. Go to bed. Eat some damn vegetables. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Have options of healthy snacks and easy meals.
  3. It’s over when it’s over: this one is kind of tricky, but after you clock out – whether that be for lunch or for the end of the day – tell yourself that the work day is done. Don’t think about it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t complain about it (or if you must, set a time limit – allow yourself to only vent for 30 seconds or 1 minute). You aren’t getting paid for the time you’re spending dwelling on it, so you may as well not do it.
  4. Make plans for the rest of the time: when overtime rears its ugly head, it’s easy to just vegetate once the workday is done. It’s been a long day; you deserve several hours in front of the television, right? Make plans to do something else. Start a creative project. Take walks after work. Don’t let these extra hours define you. You are more than these repetitive daily tasks.
  5. Don’t close yourself off (except when you need to): I am a social introvert. I recharge on my own, but I regularly surround myself with friends for fun and shenanigans. It’s easy to just shut down when I’m stressed out and see no one, and ultimately I will suffer for it in the long run. Make sure you schedule time with friends and family with the same regard you would for, say, a doctor’s appointment.

How do you survive overtime? Tell me about it!

Poetry, Writing, Writing challenge

Lead + Shadow + Gravel + Blue

[This one was 4, but I was like…”I’ll take it!”]

At the end of the world, there is a single darkness

It is round and perfect, and it waits for everything

And inside

Its metal body is gray, its dusty age a testament

To all mankind

It sits on a throne of rocks

The mechanical man with his azure eyes

Both the first creation and the last

And he casts a his hand out, a shadow that makes its way across the earth,

Never stopping, it comes in contact with each heart,

Travels over and is away

It mercifully poisons, it draws like a pencil through the words that are

Life

Love

Loss

And it pulls everyone back to its home in the end

Because Death wants what anyone wants

And that is to not be alone

At the end of all days.