My Writing Free on Goodreads!

There are some short stories and poems that (A) I don’t plan on submitting to contests, (B) have already won a contest, or (C) have already been published and the rights remained with me. I’ve been trying to think of a way to share them with you easily in one place and not need you to sign up for anything new. Finally I’ve discovered that Goodreads lets me post my writing – anything I want! I’ve already posted my poem “Words Can Form”, winner of the Steven Barza Collegiate Prize from the Poetry Society of Virginia in 2007. I also posted a short story called “Wisdom’s Creation” that I hope you’ll enjoy, especially if you love libraries.

Find my fiction creations here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/list/584058. I’ll post more shorties and poems, and maybe even a section from Locke and Keye closer to publication. Maybe haikus, or even Symbolic Experimentalism pieces!

Monday Thoughts on Creativity: Risk and Failure

Monday keeps coming around again, but I didn’t send it an invitation…

creativity-risk

This is so extremely true. Creativity isn’t about waiting for inspiration to strike, it’s about living in an inspired state. That’s how I see it. Some times are more creative than others, but if I don’t allow myself to live in my creativity, I start to lose my place in my writing. I literally can’t remember what I’m doing with a current work in progress.

That being said, taking risks and failing can be SO HARD! When you’re very attached to your work, it’s a part of you, so a risk is actually scary and a failure is devastating. This is what it’s like:

Risk: Let me try going in this direction with my story, I think that will work well. Yes, this is great, now I’ve spent a month on it and it’s really exciting. Oh wait, I hate it. Oh my goodness, it’s total garbage and doesn’t work at all. Oh no, now I have to start over!

Failure: I hate myself. I hate my writing. I hate everything I touch. I’m not worthy of a pen.

Yes, it’s that dramatic. But when we take these risks and we fail and we cry (and cry again), we also learn what went wrong and whether it could or couldn’t be avoided. We unveil another layer of our creativity, another secret to our inspiration. And finally, we learn that it’s worth it, through all that pain and torment, to do it again and again. And again.

Haikus on Pinterest

Let’s start this post with a side note: the plural of “haiku” is “haiku”. Very few people acknowledge that though, so I always say “haikus”. That’s what you’ll find in this post.

Now let’s get on with it.

One of my Pinterest boards now has original haikus by me!

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 10.10.54 PM

As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of the video game Morrowind. I have a Pinterest board of beautiful scenes from the game, especially from the graphics overhaul version, and these gorgeous scenes inspired me so much that I wrote haikus to go with them. See the gallery here. Some images have one haiku while others have more than one. I tried to stick with the subject of nature for the most part, since that’s what haikus were originally meant to be about. That’s a post for another time.

Hope you enjoy these snapshots of beauty!

Monday Thoughts on Creativity: Creativity is a Drug

Alright, Monday, let’s do this.

creativity drug

I think all creative people can relate to this quote from the incredible producer/director/writer/editor (etc.) Cecil B. DeMille. I find that even if my anxiety about writing returns, once I get going, I can’t stop, and then I can’t wait until the next time I can write, whether it’s in the next hour or the next week. I practically count down the hours until I can create again. That’s also the reason I take notes throughout the day on all my works, including current works in progress and ones far down the line. When I’m away from my computer, I take notes in notebooks, my phone, and voice recordings – whichever is most convenient. If I put off my ideas for too long, either they stop coming or I get into a really nasty mood that you don’t want to see.

Creativity is one addiction I will never let go. If I did, not only would I be permanently miserable, but I would have no direction to my life. It sounds extreme, but without the outlet of creativity, without imagination driving me, my sense of purpose would also disappear. Such is the life of a writer.

 

Monday Thoughts on Creativity: Ditching Clichés

Aaaaand we’re back from the weekend. Happy Monday!

creativity-think

I think this quote is true of success in general, but creativity in particular blooms from original thoughts about the same old thing. In particular, think about descriptions.

There are so many clichés out there, so many overused phrases that we accept in every single book. It’s really special when I read a description of someone frowning, or a gesture, or even a color in a way I’ve never read before.

As a writer, sometimes I think, “Well, how else am I supposed to describe a frown?” Really there is an uncountable number of ways, but we tend to automatically feel cornered into clichés like “brows knitted together” or “eyebrows drawn into a V” because they’re what we’re used to – pre-approved and always understood. Creativity is looking at simple things like that and turning them into something that works off the ambiance of the scene, the situation, or the personality of the character: “She didn’t frown – it was too harsh an expression for her, too base and unattractive. Instead, her face remained an unreadable stone, even blank where natural creases should have been.” Here we learn something about the character’s personality (self-righteous and cold), what she thinks of others who frown (vulgar), what she thinks of herself for not frowning (attractive and well bred), and her looks (wrinkle-free skin).

Creativity is thinking outside the box – way outside the box – so that everything comes alive in 3D ways you can practically reach out and touch.

 

Monday Thoughts on Creativity: Travel Through Imagination

Happy Monday! Ugh…work…let’s go somewhere else.

logic-a-to-b

I travel all over the place through my imagination.

When I’m over-stressed, I live in Morrowind. When I feel everything is too complicated, I live in the Victorian Era. And when I watch film noir movies, I live there for more than the duration of the movie. I get to be so many places I can never physically enjoy, all because of the power of imagination, and all those places can be what I want them to be. I don’t have to think about the constant threat of the cliffracers in Morrowind, I don’t have to think about the lack of equality in the Victorian Era, and I certainly don’t think about the health issues of all that smoking in film noir. I just live in my glorified paradise of imagination.

And sometimes, that’s what gets me through the day.

 

Writing Inspires More Writing

Truth:

the desire to write

I haven’t had time to write much this week, just some notes and the beginning concept for another piece that is thus far planned for the distant future. It always disappoints me when I don’t get the chance to write, and before you even think it, I definitely don’t want to hear, “But you need to make time to write” because frankly, sometimes there literally is nothing in my schedule that I can push around. That’s the way it works for everyone at times, and unfortunately, I’m also a person who needs a decent amount of sleep to (a) not get sick and (b) not fall asleep while driving places.

In conclusion: I don’t always have the ability to make time to write (this does not affect Locke and Keye‘s publication date). While I know that’s the case, I still become a weepy willow when I haven’t written in a little while, especially when I’ve promised myself I would and when I’ve been looking forward to it. I become demotivated and easily lose the need, the urgency to write. That need is crucial. It’s what forces scenes out of me when I’m not confident in them (an integral and vital part of my writing process). This weekend I’m going to have to put aside some time and just type, type type, whether it’s notes, informal dialogues, or actual scenes. I have to get my excitement back.

It’s a funny thing with creativity. It is always there, but if you have to push it away a few times in favor of taking care of other necessary things, its flow recedes far too quickly for my taste. I want it to always be there, even when I don’t have time for it. As crazy making as that feeling is, I love it. I think that means I’ll need to force myself to at least write a paragraph every day so I don’t lose my motivation ever again for the reason of lack of time. In the meantime, I’ll need a good binge write this weekend.

Happy Friday!

Monday Thoughts on Creativity: Writer Ingredients

Happy Monday! I hope you have a productive day today!

Here’s something to make you smile. Don’t you love this quote?

create7

 

Doesn’t this describe writers just perfectly? We are curious in our ideas of what could and couldn’t happen; flexible in our ability to roll with the creative punches and adjust where necessary, usually multiple times (and to sections we’re in love with); persistent enough to finish our works and then go back over them and over them (and over them) until they’re ready for publication; independent enough to publish what we think works well and believe in it fully regardless of whether anything like it has (or hasn’t) been written before; and without a spirit of adventure and play, how would we imagine the things we do?

If you aren’t a writer, I hope this gives you some insight into how we work. I’d love to see this written out for a painter, a sculptor, or some other creative endeavor!

Monday Thoughts on Creativity: DAY OFF!

Happy Monday! I hope you have a fantastic start to the week!

I’m lucky enough to have the day off today, so here’s my (day-off-appropriate) thought on creativity:

keep-calm-and-be-creative-1000

 

A day off means excitement, and I’m going to channel that into writing. Here’s my usual checklist:

Coffee – VENTI
Chocolate – NO LIMITS
I Love Lucy – ALL THE SEASONS

That’s it! I’m off to write!

Monday Thoughts on Creativity: What is “Wrong”?

First of all, happy Monday! I hope your weekend top notch.

I saw this image and it really struck a chord with me.

creative-ife

 

This couldn’t be more true! I used to be very afraid of making a mistake while I was writing, which used to stop me and actually put a stop to my creativity for a while. What happened? I felt miserable with all my pent up ideas and creative energy. I had no way to express it that I wasn’t afraid of making a mistake doing. I talk about my feelings of fear and anxiety here in my very first YouTube video from 2014:

I couldn’t live like that any longer. I knew things needed to change, and they needed to change ASAP. I had to force myself, and while that seems simple, it took more doing than I had hoped. First I had to not be afraid of writing the “wrong” thing down in my notebook. The only way I could do that was to write everything, which fed both sides of myself. For my creative side, I wrote everything down every time I thought of something, whether I was sure of it or not. For my fearful side, I wrote multiple synonyms when I wasn’t sure what word to use so I could cover all my uncertainties, and I wrote titles for pages where I felt afraid of starting the page “wrong”. That’s a tricky way of not having a blank page. For both sides, I broke the lines of the page, writing in all directions, so that my creativity could flow freely and to drive home the point that there is no wrong when it comes to creativity. So you spent time writing a book you hate. You got it out of your system and now you’re moving on to something new. Maybe the book went in a direction you can’t get it back from. Find where that started happening and reinvent, now knowing where you don’t want to go with it.

Since NaNoWriMo 2014, I continue to learn how to better keep my critical side quiet – that is, until the editing stage. You should too. Don’t let anything limit you.