As I am composing this post, I am streaming light classical music on Pandora. I named the station “Writer’s Radio.”
Early in my writing endeavors, that wasn’t the case. I didn’t see the connection between music and writing. I felt it was too much of a distraction. But I read in blogs about how music played a role in writing. So, I decided to give it a try. I tried many different stations, and I found classical music–the light variety–to be my go-to station. In general, listening to this genre helped calm me. It helped me focus on a task. So, when the time came to work on my stories for college, I would turn on the radio and tune it to the local public radio station, the only station that played classical music throughout the day.
Apps like Pandora, Spotify, and iTune Radio are a godsend. I can’t imagine not listening to music when I write. There’s something about music that stirs the creative juices in just the right way. It awakens the muse who tends to sleep on us. Classical music is my first option in writing, but I experiment with different stations on Pandora, depending on the mood and what I’m writing. I have a station dedicated to Lindsey Stirling, which is quickly becoming a favorite. I have stations featuring gaming scores, film scores, and music meant for relaxation. I’m sure I’ll find more stations to listen to as I expand and continue my writing journey.
Here’s a secret. I struggle with being lazy. I’m struggling with it as I’m writing this post. The problem with laziness is that it’s easy to be lazy. It takes hard work if we want anything substantial. The truth of the matter is that we are a lazy generation. I believe some of that is due to technology. Nowadays, everything is just a button push away. I remember having to write down orders before calling in for a delivery. Now, with a few taps of a smartphone, the order’s placed without breaking a sweat. (Ok, bad example, but you get the idea.) Continue reading “2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge: L is for Laziness”
I thought about talking about my own family in my “F is for Family” post, but I decided against it. I try not to discuss issues involving personal matters. If I do, I try not to name names to protect themselves. If that’s settled, let’s continue.
I never thought I would be the kind of person to settle down and have a family of my own. But wouldn’t you know it, I am. I have two kids of my own; a four-year-old daughter and a five-month-old son. I love them very much. The daughter is very outspoken and energetic, as most four-year-olds are. You can’t get her to slow down. The boy is a curious one, I can tell. He takes in everything with awe and wonder. Most babies do.
So, why am I talking about my kids and what do they have to do with my writing? I think as writers, we have somewhat of a responsibility to leave something worthwhile to the next generation. I don’t think we go into writing with that responsibility laying on our shoulders from day one, but we do wonder whether or not our books will still be read long after we’re gone. We wonder if future generation will be inspired to take up the pen and paper, or laptop, or whatever technology develops for word processing, and follow in our footsteps.
As for me, I want to leave a legacy for my kids through my writing. And it’s not just about the books. Rather, I want to build a legacy of big dreams and courage. I want them to know that I took risks. I stepped outside my comfort zone. I dreamed big. Whether or not those dreams come true and those risks pay off is anyone’s guess. I just want them to know that I tried, and that’s the most important.
When I took my Creative Writing courses in college, the one constant exercise was journaling. I was always told to keep a journal. Write down anything and everything I observed. I admit that I did not see much value in keeping a journal. I didn’t see the link between journaling and the writing process. I didn’t take journaling seriously. But ideas would randomly pop in my head, and they would vanish as quick as they appeared. I regretted not writing them down when the opportunity presented itself.
I believe all writers need a journal. We have all sorts of thoughts running through our brains: characters, paragraphs, stories, miscellaneous thoughts that have zero connection to writing. I have two journals: one for my stories and one for random thoughts. And when carrying a big notebook isn’t practical, technology steps in. Every phone has some kind of camera and voice recorder. And there are apps on smartphones for dictation, note-taking, and journaling. My go-to app is Evernote. With it, I can organize notes into notebooks without worrying about space. And recently, my wife told me about an app called One Day. It’s a journal app that reminds you to write something in it, even if it’s just a sentence. I will be downloading that soon.
After I graduated, I started keeping journals to record everything. The one regret I have now is not keeping them when I filled them up. It’s interesting looking back on them and read what I recorded, to remember what I was thinking at that moment. So, I need to find a box to keep those precious thoughts so that I can come back to them if ever I need an idea or if I’m feeling nostalgic. Journaling has become part of my writing process. I regret not doing this sooner.
I apologize for not posting yesterday. There was a lot to do yesterday and I was too tired to write. I’m making up for it today. My “J” post is coming later tonight. But, here’s my “I” post.
So, what do they say about introverts? That you have to watch out for them? That the introverts are going to take over the world? That they cause the most trouble? Say what you will, but I don’t think introverts are all bad. I understand the stigma that correlates, being an introvert myself. And I don’t need a Meyers-Briggs test to tell me what I already know. And I’m not afraid to admit that I do get into trouble because I don’t speak up and I assume a lot. And we all know what happens when we assume, don’t we? Continue reading “2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge: I is for Introvert”
If you’re on Twitter, you probably have heard of Nat Russo. If you haven’t, check him out. He offers some great writing tips if you read his blog. One that stands out–particularly for this post–is to get out once in a while, to take a break by walking, getting some exercise.
So, how does this correlate with writing? I believe your health has everything to do with our writing process. Now, I’m not going to give you every stat in the world about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. One, there’s not enough time. Two, I’m no poster child for healthy living. So, what I share, I need to follow myself. Continue reading “2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge: H is for Health”
Graduation is one of those time-honored accomplishments one can celebrate. High school, college, law school, whatever. It’s a proud moment when your studying produces a piece of paper that says you made it. I graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a Creative Writing concentration. First one in my generation to do so. That is a big deal in my family.
But I question whether graduation has any real value. When I transferred to a four-year university, I changed my major. I went into the program thinking I would produce numerous books and make money. I accomplished what I set out to do. And I have a document that says so. But I wonder what it’s worth. I mean, I still have said document in its mailing tube. (I haven’t found a frame big enough and not super-expensive for it.) I take it out once in a while as a reaffirmation that I went to school and that I finished. But does it mean anything? On paper, yes. Am I doing anything with it? No. I have a full-time job that is outside my field. I don’t have manuscripts I’m submitting to editors just so they can rip it to shreds. Outside of this blog, I have nothing.
I’m not saying that the five years of studying, changing majors, and the occasional failure was not worth it. And I’m not saying that people shouldn’t go pursue what they want to do. Far from it. But it’s harder nowadays to find a job in the field you studied. It’s especially worse when your field is in the arts. Being a Creative Writing graduate doesn’t always equate to success in the working world. It won’t reinforce your value as a writer. It doesn’t guarantee that the book you write is going to sell. And when you’re not the best-selling, hot shot author you thought you’d be, you begin to question if this was the right thing.
After reading craft books, I came to the realization that you don’t necessarily need a degree to be a writer. Some writers pursued different degrees. Some never finished high school or college. What made them successful is confidence, hard work and discipline (There’s that word again). And as much as I question whether or not I have what it takes to be a writer, I don’t regret pursuing my degree. I found something that I love to do. In the end, that is what matters.