A Writing Journey

Archive for the ‘Inspirations’ Category




Oh Mr. Gaiman, it is that easy and that hard. This is one of my favorite quotes about writing. We do it all the time, sit and write, try to find that perfect word, try to keep going when we feel burnt out, try, try, try.

And we come away with so many different things. Sometimes it’s a brilliant chapter, sometimes it’s a few pages that feel like a waste of time. Sometimes, we come away with decent writing. But you know what I ALWAYS come away with? Shoulder pain.

That’s right, I said it. Forget about the crappy pages for a minute. What really sucks is when I write and write and then I hurt. Physically. Maybe it’s my posture. Maybe it’s just that I’m too tense. But the pain makes it harder to write. Not that I’m discouraged from writing because of a little bit of discomfort. It’s really not that bad. Mostly, I get distracted by the pain. I get distracted, and putting one word after another becomes that much harder. So I take a break. I go think. I take a bath to try and ease my muscles. And I come back.

See, that’s the thing – perseverance. It may be hard. It may hurt, there might not “be time” for it. But writers write, no matter what. Even if we are writing in our minds, stewing ideas and deciding on the best next plot twist. We are always working. And it’s hard. But we keep going because it is a labor of love.

What writing aches do you have – emotional or physical?

The Sims – Inspiring Creativity and Time Management

A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend introduced me to SimCity. It took an hour for me to get hooked, and for a week I played every chance I got. My cities are pretty awesome. He suggested that we should get the Sims (he first brought this up a little over a year ago, when I gushed over how cool it was that you can have your character in Pokemon X change clothes). We agreed for budget reasons that we would complete a Great Work in our SimCity region BEFORE we got the Sims.

But it was on sale over the weekend. And so I got the Sims.

Now, my first couple hours were spent designing my ideal “me” and my boyfriend (because that’s what you do with the Sims, is it not?). And of course my character aspires to be a bestselling author. And how does she do that? Write every day.

This, in and of itself, has inspired me to get more writing done. I gave myself the task of writing for 1/2 hour every day.

Why only a half hour? Well that’s the time management part. When you see virtual you struggling to get everything done that she needs to and still take care of herself, you realize how much time you waste and/or just don’t have. So I am much more attuned to what I have time for, how much time I have, and the most important things to do. I have a lot to accomplish in a day, from basic tasks like making the bed or showering to steps on the path towards accomplishing goals (like staining the boards for a bookshelf, or writing every day). I just can’t fit in everything every day at the amounts I would like – plus I probably don’t have the energy for such an endeavor. But I can take small chunks of time that would otherwise be spent aimlessly wandering the house (like the 20 minutes between being ready for work and going to work) and use them for something productive.

It also helps to have goals and action steps posted above my desk for easy referral.

With this diligence, the next book should be ready to go before long!

Take care!


Inclusive Fiction

Inclusivity in fiction. It seems like a bar we can never quite reach. If a character is written with dark hair and dark skin, she (or he) is drawn on the cover with blonde hair and blue eyes. If a character in a TV show is supposed to be Chinese, they find an actor with dark hair and give her some winged eye-liner. If a character is gay, you can bet they are sassy, unlucky in love, and definitely a side-kick or comic relief.

Yep, we’ve got some problems. The easy way to solve them? Write inclusively. Write diversely. Have characters from the whole spectrum. Heck, have characters on the autism spectrum. Easy answer, right?

Here’s where it isn’t so easy, and I’ll use myself as an example.

I am a white, middle-ish class female. I have a long-term boyfriend whom I love with all my heart. I am your “typical” young woman. If I were to write an African-American, bisexual man who is in an on-again, off-again relationship I would be blasted for writing “stereotypically” (I don’t think any of those things I just listed are stereotypical) and would be criticized for writing things I don’t “know” about. I’ve seen it happen. People can be merciless. Because I am not those things I listed, I am somehow barred from writing about it.*

I think people get upset that there isn’t a character like them in whatever they are reading or watching, but then when there is, it is only okay if it comes from the right source (i.e., a gay writer writing gay characters). NOT EVERYONE FEELS THIS WAY. I completely understand that the majority of people probably don’t care if their favorite autistic character was written by someone with autism (or an autistic relation). Most people, myself included, are happy to experience the diversity in a work of fiction.

But the people who aren’t okay with “outsiders” writing characters “like them” are the ones who are most outspoken. That’s what makes writing inclusively less easy. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. In fact, all the more reason to do it. We can’t let critics dictate what we write. Someone out there will always hate your coming-of-age story about magic. More people will love it. Don’t let the few win.

Write boldly,


*Not that I couldn’t write about it. I think I could do a bang-up job with it (if it’s a fantasy world, at least).

“Wild Mind” – Truth in Reading

Today I finished reading another book. Or rather, I started and finished another book. Six hours of sitting at a desk waiting for the few phone calls and fewer visitors to the museum calls for reading material. This time it was Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg. Personally, I liked Writing Down the Bones better, but Wild Mind had some golden nuggets of wisdom as well. For instance

I’ve never met a writer who wanted to be anything else. They might stop for a few months, but those who have bitten down on the true root do not abandon it

This, to me, was probably the most affirming thing I have ever read when it comes to writing and being a writer. Because if I really face the truth, writing is my life. Ever since I was a kid, there was nothing I wanted more than to be a writer. Yes, I flitted to volcanology for a while, or culinary arts, or park ranger, but all the time I came back to writing. What was it that kept driving me away from writing, looking for something else? Doubt. It’s what Goldberg calls the “monkey mind,” the part of us that focuses on the obstacles (I’ll have to pay bills, be rejected by publishers, commit). I didn’t know any writers, and the ones I read as an elementary-aged child did not speak wonders to me. It wasn’t until (I’ve said it before) I read Tamora Pierce’s Lioness Quartet that I found an author or genre that truly spoke to me and encouraged my writing. Even then, I held back because of the difficulty of the task. More than once I put away all of my writing materials and vowed never to write again.

Yet I kept coming back to it. Of course I did. I am a writer, and that is what drives me onward.

Writing is a key part of my life. All I want to be (career wise) is a writer. Yes, I work at a museum now and that does not cause me strife the way my previous job sometimes did. Yes, I expect that I will have to work full-time because writing really isn’t going to pay the bills. But writing will be there, in the chunks and snippets of time I have, writing is what will carry me.

I am a writer.

Idea spark

So, I’m reading a really great book (seriously – I can’t wait to read more tomorrow!) and in this book the author included drawings of important things in the book. Personally, I love it and think it is a fantastic idea. And it made me think about my book.

My main character is a cartographer and she is traveling to new areas of the world. As such, it would be great to include her maps in the story, rather than just at the front of the book. Problem is – I’m not the greatest artist. I love the semi-realistic look of a lot of maps in fantasy novels – the ones that have shading and some 3-D looking aspects. My maps are totally flat.

What I’m asking here is: does anyone have a good resource to learn the sort of drawing I’m talking about?



Keep Writing!

I believe myself that a good writer doesn't really need to be told anything except to keep at it. Chinua Achebe

This is what I am telling myself these days – just keep at it. Going back and writing a first draft again is difficult work. It’s hard to switch back into the mindset of creating rather than polishing. But the story isn’t over. Lacey has to keep going, so I have to too.

No word about my submission yet. I figure it will be a few months. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

Make More Art

Write me a story. Write me a poem.  A song.  Draw me a picture.  Paint me a sky.




(Examples of some my non- writing art. Pen is my favorite medium,  whether for writing or drawing.)

Art is living. Without art,  we are nothing, just creatures roaming this earth with empty souls. Art shows us meaning when daily life cannot.

When I see a painting, it captures my heart and then rides there forever,  even when I can’t recall the image. Because it made me feel. It stirred up the parts of me that become stagnant,  starved for light. Hearing a song,  reading a book, watching a play,  these things awake passion for the world, passion to create.

Art has no limit. If there is beauty in it,  it is art. If it awakes a longing to be of the world,  it is art. Art can be both deliberate and accidental. Art is planning a garden,  composing a song,  creating a recipe.  The list goes on and on.


(Not my image.  Found on pinterest.)

So make more art.  Go where your heart takes you.  Make mistakes.  Make discoveries. Find what makes your soul come alive and sing the wonder of the world. Spread that wonder.

Take care,  fellow travelers.

Being Inspired

Yesterday, I had a conversation about reading and writing (among other things). One thing that stuck out to me was the need for motivation (though I like the term inspiration better – motivation makes me think of working out and dieting). Whether a person is working on a college paper, a painting, some sort of building project, or writing, being motivated/inspired is key.

I’ve had a problem with this inspiration/motivation lately. I’ve had great ideas for what I want to write about, how I want to rework QFS so that I’m satisfied with it (though let’s face it – having a completed manuscript is pretty satisfying on its own), but whenever I have the time and desire to work, I get stuck. Part of that is because it isn’t new and exciting anymore – but that isn’t all. If it were, my other new fragments of stories would be holding my attention. More than anything else, I have been stuck because I’ve not been talking to people about it.*

I’ve been working full-time with people who don’t do much reading or writing (as far as I am aware) and the friends I used to talk to are busy (not to mention far away after  the end of college). I’ve been busy trying to get my life in order, to learn new things (gosh, I miss school!), and to get involved in the community. That doesn’t leave much inspiration for writing.

So here is my advice to you, if you are stuck. Talk to someone about it. Not online, (preferably) not by texting or any sort of electronic communication.** Talk to someone, in person, about writing. You don’t have to talk about your specific project, just talk about writing and you’ll be itching to dive back in, to feel the flow of words on your skin.

Try it.*** Trust me, you will thank me! (And if you don’t, well, sorry! What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for all.)

*Well, that and my apartment is NOT conducive to writing.

**Of course, electronic communication is better than no communication. But in my experience it doesn’t have the same effect.

***Another thing to try is getting out of your normal writing space. Sometimes, for me, if I’m stuck for too long and I keep trying to write in the same place, it sets me up for failure. Go to a library, a coffee shop, or even a restaurant.

Take care!

Inspiring Others

A friend of mine recently read through a lot of my poetry. She doesn’t care for poems, but she told me that what I wrote inspired her to write more. Everything we do inspires others, so don’t give something up just because you feel that it doesn’t matter. Keep going, you never know who you are inspiring.

Take care, fellow travelers.


I love quotes. One of my favorites is from Albert Einstein:

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb trees, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

This is important for everyone to remember, but especially creative people. I don’t know how it is for other creative types, but from discussing with many writers I know that we are a temperamental, insecure bunch. We are always comparing ourselves to “the Greats” of writing (whichever we feel the Greats are) and feel bad about our work.

But remember this: We are fish. We have very different lives than any other writer. We write different things and in different styles. It makes no sense for me to compare myself to Dostoevsky because we are so different (and write very different things) even though he is one of my favorite authors. Likewise, I ought not compare myself to Robin Hobb because, though we both write fantasy, our lives are different and shape our styles.*

Everyone is different. We are a whole planet of different – don’t compare yourself to the bird or the tiger or the hydrangea. You are a fish, or a leaf, or maybe a frog. Keep your chin up as you write. You are a genius too.

Take care, fellow travelers.

*And for goodness sake, though there are some really awful pieces of writing out there, be nice. Don’t judge them. We were all there once. Practice is the only way to grow. If they are told they can’t do it, they will start to believe that and be the fish that thinks itself stupid.

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