Category Archives: 5 Things

Writing Against the Bad Tide

Despite how much solitude involved in this kind of craft, writing is also very much plugged into working online. There’s the social media aspect, networking, blogging, posting pieces for people to see, all that good stuff.

And right now, the entire Internet can be quite…

Draining.

And that’s putting it lightly.

Scary shit is happening in the world. We are perpetually bombarded with new Bad News about what certain high-powered individuals are doing to fuck over the population. And as if the news itself wasn’t bad enough, there’s also seeing the reactions and horror stories and opinions, and the responses to that, and…

Now more than ever, it’s important to understand balance and taking care of yourself.

Here are a few tips I’ve been using to help stay productive while also staying informed about current events:

  1. Decide when and how much you are going to expose yourself to the news: I am trying to limit myself to one particular point in the day to get a rundown of my news around the world. I’m also trying to move away from first thing in the morning, because it can easily set the tone for the day.
  2. Recognize when it’s time to unplug: You may need some time completely away from the computer, the phone, etc. Fall back in love with the pen and paper. Or…
  3. Disconnect from the Matrix: Sometimes it can be as simple as losing your Internet for a while. Check out programs like Freedom to allow you to work without the temptation of surfing.
  4. Mind your physical traits: eat, sleep, drink water, meditate. Go outside and stand in the sun. Even if it’s cold. Make yourself exercise (I just got a small fitness stepper for my office and it has been awesome).
  5. Keep creating things: just by putting things out into the world, you are doing a great service to many. People need art right now more than ever. People need to escape. People need to be inspired and to see characters doing the things that they may not be able to. Don’t stop. Don’t give up.

5 Thanks

Before the holiday sets in, I’m taking the opportunity on both of my blogs to acknowledge things for which I am grateful. This year has been rough, and I can’t even just say that in the greater sense. I’ve been working all year. My social life has suffered because things have been constantly busy. I lost 2/3 of my rat boys. But every time I stop to say, “Fuck this shit, I’m out” I also consider things for which I am grateful. Specific things. Like…

  1. The friends I’ve made online this year. In January, I posted a fun little story on Tumblr. Eleven months later, over 1200 people are reading other fun little things I write. And I consider a lot of them real friends, and that is freaking awesome.
  2. Pokemon Go. Silly, I know, but it’s been real fun, coming together and bonding with people over a game that was a part of so many childhoods.
  3. Art. In spite of everything, I’m still making it happen, a little bit each day.
  4. Good shows, good books, good games. And good people who make both.
  5. New York. Yeah, yeah, I know, broken record. You don’t understand how much I needed to spend two days alone in the most crowded place on Earth.

Take a moment to consider what you are grateful for. It’s hard to find the gold hidden in the pile of dung, but try. You’ll be glad you did.

5 Thanks

Before the holiday sets in, I’m taking the opportunity on both of my blogs to acknowledge things for which I am grateful. This year has been rough, and I can’t even just say that in the greater sense. I’ve been working all year. My social life has suffered because things have been constantly busy. I lost 2/3 of my rat boys. But every time I stop to say, “Fuck this shit, I’m out” I also consider things for which I am grateful. Specific things. Like…

  1. The friends I’ve made online this year. In January, I posted a fun little story on Tumblr. Eleven months later, over 1200 people are reading other fun little things I write. And I consider a lot of them real friends, and that is freaking awesome.
  2. Pokemon Go. Silly, I know, but it’s been real fun, coming together and bonding with people over a game that was a part of so many childhoods.
  3. Art. In spite of everything, I’m still making it happen, a little bit each day.
  4. Good shows, good books, good games. And good people who make both.
  5. New York. Yeah, yeah, I know, broken record. You don’t understand how much I needed to spend two days alone in the most crowded place on Earth.

Take a moment to consider what you are grateful for. It’s hard to find the gold hidden in the pile of dung, but try. You’ll be glad you did.

5 Writer Reminders

  1. Not everything is going to be awesome. Still keep writing, though, anyway. You never know when one of those rocks is going to be a gem.
  2. Look at the world through the eyes of your pen. Make note of how things are, how things make you feel, and then put it into your work.
  3. If you are writing anything, you are doing more than a huge population of people in the world. Perspective: appreciate it.
  4. You can’t write all the time. Still try to.
  5. You are your own worst enemy. Worse than the rejections, worse than the critics, worse than all the people who smile and nod at you. Because they get to be outside of your head until you let them in.

How to Survive Bad Work Days

  1. Remind yourself that it is only a temporary badness. Nothing bad lasts forever.
  2. Acknowledge that you do not deserve to feel bad just because something bad is happening around you. Your feelings are valid, yes, but it’s not somehow ‘coming to you’ to feel that way. You do not ‘have’ to feel that way.
  3. Love the good things in your life. Count them. Say ‘thank you’ to them. Focus on them.
  4. Find something to do with your hands. Whether it’s squeezing a stress ball or doodling or writing, move your hands and focus on that instead of the world.
  5. Once it’s done, let it die. Tomorrow is another day.

5 Ways to Improve Dialogue

1. Go outside and listen to people talking. Restaurants, coffee shops, shopping malls and sporting events are all great places to see how people interact naturally. Make note of their emotional states and patterns of their speech. Do they pause at certain points? What words make them slow down or react?

2. Decide where your character is from and then seek out material from those locations. Youtube is a great resource for this. If it’s a language you know, listen to the radio stations for that area. If it’s a completely new place (a fantasy land or foreign planet) get a few ideas of what earmarks their local language may have.

3. Read your dialogue out loud. With others, if possible. You can usually tell immediately if something sounds contrived or unnatural. Is the emotional force of the scene being communicated in the words, or is the conversation too flaccid? If you can, try to improvise with people and record what works.

4. Learn how to format dialogue in prose. This may sound like a ‘duh’ but I can’t tell you how many issues I’ve seen that have been caused by lack of clarity resulting from poor dialogue tagging and misinterpreted writing.

5. Tap into how you feel. When two lovers are talking to each other, do you get warm fuzzies? Do you get nervous when the hero and the villain are at each other’s throats? Do you get teary when characters are saying goodbye for the last time? Even if you aren’t having a dramatic response, your heart should have some sort of reaction to your writing. If it’s not, ask yourself why.

5 Reminders for Both of Us

  1. Don’t fight against fear or anxiety or depression. The children that reside in your mind will never understand what you’re saying and will just scream louder. Find things to distract them and go about your business.
  2. Ignore perfection. Complete your daily tasks even if they do not become the stuff of legends. Then get up and do it again.
  3. Saying “I don’t care” is easy. Saying that you will continue to care when it is the hardest option and smiling despite all pains is a miracle. Believe in miracles.
  4. Fight on. Fight hard. Never surrender. Life is an action movie that we think is a rom-com.
  5. When in doubt, carry a supply of sweet treats. Sometimes reinforcements will be necessary.