Thursday, March 21, 2024

Tips from an Obscure Writer

Stuff I've learned on my writing journey:

1. Don't write. At least, don't try to write all the time, or you will burn out. Fallow periods of the mind are important, too, as they build up the loam of your imagination. So binge watch that anime, do the dishes, buy those snazzy leopard shoes at the thrift store and reorganize that book shelf! When your brain has a breather, deep dive back into the ink.

2. You don't need to know every plot and character detail perfectly to start writing your story. Often the process of puzzling out a hard part will give you the answer when you aren't actually writing about it, you're thinking about it while doing other things. So don't be afraid to slog through a muddy idea until you get to a firm path! As the sagacious Rumi notes, "When you start to walk on the way, the way appears."

3. Always email yourself updated copies of your work. That way if your computer goes haywire or notebook gets carried away by a tornado, aliens, or randomly revised by a rampaging pack of feral kittens, your latest draft is stored online. I learned this useful tip from Brandon Sanderson's writing class in my Way Back Whensy era! *(Also save at least one emailed copy of an early or partial draft so you have a definitive time stamp of when you started it.)

4. Never forget that creativity involves balancing the personal and the professional sides of yourself, and respect should be mutual with those you work with and count as creative confidantes. 

5. Search for your group. I didn't join SCBWI until my mid thirties, and it was the best decision ever! I was a little daunted at first as my local members all write different genres than me and I wasn't sure if I would fit in, but I've learned and gained a lot from their constructive critiques and friendship. 

6. Be like Enya. Ignore the frazzle-buzz of social media distortions and the deadly allure of doom scrolling. Instead, craft your dreams with singular purpose before sending them out into the world. Solitary musings hold the key to unlocking the unique power of your own voice. 

*Every writer's journey is different, and the methods that spur our creativity all vary, too. 

Monday, March 4, 2024

The Best Part of You

My mom struggled with health issues ever since I could remember, but she passed away quite suddenly sixteen years ago. I don't know that I will ever get over the shock of waking up the next morning and realizing I would never, ever see her again in this life. Since then, more people dear to me have also passed on. Sometimes I wonder what it means to go on trying to create poems, stories, and art that I will never be able to share with them, but then I cherish words I saved from an old Juno account message my mom sent me while I was in college:

"Take care, and follow your dreams. They are the best part of you." 

I want to honor her belief in me, in whatever small way I can. Our beautiful Earth is full of ecological disasters, and societal struggles and divisions, and I wonder sometimes in all this noise if my little drop of life/ink has any more meaning than the splatter of a rain drop on hard asphalt. Maybe not. Or maybe the meaning is solely up to me. Perhaps, the echo of those who loved us still pushes us towards being our best selves today.   

I'm working on two sci-fi projects this year that I'm really excited about! I know they aren't truly important in the grand scheme of things, but these stories make me intensely happy (*excluding the revision process!), and when I finally share them with you . . .  I hope they'll make you smile, too. 

Stay tuned for more musings from the far side of my mind.