July 2, 2014

IWSG - sometimes you just need to laugh

my son and i are writing my novel as a team. the other day, we tried and tried and tried to work on a scene, but it was like pushing my Ford Excursion uphill. painful. clunky. tiring. we finally stopped. the next day, we went at it again. it gushed out like a flash flood in the desert during monsoon season. 

the difference? we found something to laugh about before we started. we found cheesy lines to laugh at during the writing. i know it's not always that simple, but sometimes that's all you need - to find something funny. to not take your writing so seriously. to get those endorphines going to free your brain. 

so, with that in mind, here are some things we laugh at quite often...

-- Calvin and Hobbes cartoons (we have 4 books of them)

-- funny videos - here are links to a few of our favorites

and finally, a picture that amuses me so much i've put it on my computer screen. 

for more posts to encourage you, click on the IWSG picture in my sidebar. 

now, even if you're not having writer's block, go find something to laugh about. it will make you feel better. 

June 15, 2014

the journey of a thousand miles

begins with one step.

or as William Hutchison Murray (Scottish author and mountain climber) said in his book, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition ...

 “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

June 4, 2014

IWSG - write like you

i'm cheating today.

life is a bit crazy, what with taking my son to physical therapy and other appointments and working on my novel and getting ready for a new animal around here (which i'll share when she comes). that said, i found a great post yesterday by one of my favorite authors, Robin Lee Hatcher, and it's called "No 'Right' Way to Write a Novel." i hope you'll check it out.

for other IWSG posts, click on the IWSG link in my sidebar. have a great day.

May 17, 2014

who wants perfectionism?

keeping with this serendipitous theme of fear i've been on, a quote from Anne Lamott, part of a facebook post she wrote on May 12th. 

Here’s how to break through the perfectionism: make a LOT of mistakes. Fall on your butt more often. Waste more paper, printing out your sh--- first drafts, and maybe send a check to the Sierra Club. Celebrate messes — these are where the goods are. Put something on the calendar that you know you’ll be terrible at, like dance lessons, or a meditation retreat, or boot camp. Find a writing partner, who will help you with your work, by reading it for you, and telling you the truth about it, with respect, to help you make it better and better; for whom you will do the same thing. Find someone who wants to steal his or her life back, too. Now; today. One wild and crazy thing: wears shorts out in public if it is hot, even if your legs are milky white or heavy. Go to a poetry slam. Go to open mike,and read the story you wrote about the hilariously god-awful family reunion, with a trusted friend, even though it could be better, and would hurt Uncle Ed’s feelings if he read it, which he isn’t going to.

Change his name and hair color — he won’t even recognize himself.

At work, you begin to fulfill your artistic destiny. Wow! A reviewer may hate your style, or newspapers may neglect you, or 500 people may tell you that you are bitter, delusional and boring.

Let me ask you this: in the big juicy Zorba scheme of things, who **** cares?

May 15, 2014

in good company

Sir Patrick Stewart
(this rambling was inspired by a post on February Grace's blog, entitled "What it is and what it is not.")

the other day, i was in the chiropractor's office and picked up AARP magazine. (sidenote- it's really strange to see actors i've "grown up with" on AARP's covers -- "how can so-and-so be retirement age?") this one had an interview with Patrick Stewart. being a Jean-Luc Picard/Star Trek fan, i was intrigued. as i read the article, something got my attention:

Far from the heroic, self-assured characters he's played — and the joyful person he is today (at 73) — Stewart was for decades a man plagued by fear and stifled by rage. The roots of his struggle go back to a difficult childhood, marked by poverty and abuse that took him years to understand. Having only recently opened up about the trauma of his early years, he now behaves as a person liberated, and eager, finally, to step out and join the party.

at first, i was surprised that a person who plays confident people would not be confident himself. he does such a good job of acting that i forget he's a real person with real fears. and i realized we can do that with other people -- believe that because they seem confident on the outside they're confident on the inside. 

truth be told, aren't most of us pretty good at putting on a brave face when inside, we're just scared?  

i for one certainly am (although, i don't know how confident i come across). the list of things i'm afraid of is pretty long. to be honest, i'm sick of living that way. i need to take my own advice and remember that "a life lived in fear is a life half-lived." and who wants to half-live? not me. i'm not saying it's going to change overnight, but i think admitting i have a problem is the first step to overcoming it. and honestly, i can't overcome it myself. i need Divine help. 

probably my biggest fear when it comes to writing is "will anyone like my story?" even as i've received a lot of positive feedback from readers of Eldala, one bad review or comment can send me spiraling downward because i'm letting someone's negative opinion be the final word on me. on the other hand, i'm giving just as much power to the positive comments to prove to myself that i'm a good writer. 

i suppose a lot of writers have this fear. when i think about it, a lot of humans have this fear. "will people accept me, warts and all, or will they reject me when they find out i'm not perfect?" whatever we do (writing, painting, song-writing, just living), we're all in the same boat, and all in good company. 

what would happen if we all stopped being afraid? how much of life would change if we were honest with people and didn't worry about being accepted? 

now i'm rambling. and realizing that the first step to not being afraid of anyone's opinion starts with being ok with myself for the warts i have. loving myself. admitting i have fears and tackling them. because i believe in the Divine, i'm going to ask for Divine help. 

if you want some inspiration on overcoming your writing fears (and on how to admit them), i'd suggest reading Bru's post

May 13, 2014


from Optimism Revolution on Facebook. these are as much for me as they are for my blog visitors.

May 12, 2014

something for my friends

please feel free to use this on your blog if you wish.

fantasy name generator

i was googling random name generators a while back and found this great resource for fantasy writers.

it's called Serendipity and it has:

City Generator
Stronghold Creator
Country Name Generator
Interesting Site Creator
Fantasy Name Generator
French Female Name Generator
French Male Name Generator
Japanese Female Name Generator
Japanese Male Name Generator
Medieval Female Name Generator
Medieval Male Name Generator
Fantasy Novel Title Generator

even if you don't need help with any of these, or you just want to put off your writing, it's kind of fun to just fiddle with it. two titles it generated for me were Spell of the Iron Sun and The Scourge of the Castle. 

May 2, 2014

May 2014 IWSG - a life half-lived

This was supposed to be a blog post about insecure writers finding their courage. (And I know this is early, but I didn't want to wait.) So first, I was going to share quotes about courage. And then I was going to give quotes about fear, but that made me think of a quote from one of my favorite movies, Strictly Ballroom. And that led to an evolving blog post (kind of like my novel, but not nearly as many times).

Strictly Ballroom is a quirky Australian film from 1992. (Major spoilers here--) Scott Hastings is the “crown prince” of the local ballroom dancing community. His parents are the king and queen. They’ve been training Scott, from the age of six, to win the Australian Pan-Pacific Gran Prix Amateur Latin Dance Championship. This year, everyone believes “it’s Scott's turn to win.”

Scott has always followed the rules to win, but something inside him wants to dance his own steps. Unfortunately, the local ballroom dancing world is controlled by a few who say you won’t win if you dance your own steps. Scott is determined to buck the system—until his long-time partner refuses to dance his new steps and leaves him for another dancer.

Along comes Fran, an ugly duckling, Cinderella, beginning dancer. She’s been taking lessons in the same studio where Scott trains. But she also does the grunt work—cleaning the coffee cups, mopping up, etc. No one notices her. Everyone steps on her. Scott looks down on her because she’s been “dancing with girls.”

One night while Scott is practicing his steps, Fran watches him. When Scott catches her and asks who she is, she won’t even give her full name. She’s “just Fran.” She knows she’s invisible. But she also has the guts to approach him about an idea she’s had. She offers to help him win the Latin dance championship, dancing his own steps.

She offers to be his partner.

The following dialogue ensues:

Scott: Look, a beginner has no right to approach an Open Amateur.

Fran: Yeah, well an Open Amateur has no right to dance non-Federation steps, but you did, didn't you?

Scott: But that's different.

Fran: *How* is it different? You're just like the rest of them! You think you're different, but you're not, because you're just, you're just really scared! You're really scared to give someone new a go, because you think, you know, they might just be better than you are! Well, you're just pathetic, and you're gutless. You're a gutless wonder! Vivir con miedo, es como vivir a medias!

Translated, the last lines means “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.”

While Scott’s mother works to find him a new partner in time for the competition, Scott agrees to train Fran. He’s reluctant at first. Dancing with her is like a chore. But he keeps at it. As time goes on, Fran starts to change. When Scott meets Fran’s Hispanic family (from the other side of the railroad tracks), he starts to change. They teach him about dancing from the heart. Not living in fear is the family motto.

I won’t give away the rest of the movie, but let’s just say that by the end, Scott and Fran are different. And so are a few other people.

None of them would have changed if Fran hadn’t had the courage to follow her dream.

I was going to give some catchy wrap-up here, but I don’t think I need to. Maybe all I need to say is:

and if you need more encouragement, there are a lot of great posts at the IWSG website.  (plus, i just found a fountain of more great quotes along this line at Optimism Revolution.)