2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge: C is for Creative Writing

2015AtoZDay3In my middle school English class, I remember writing stories following the adventures of Detective Falcon with his sidekick Rush, protecting the city of St. Canard from dastardly villains. (I watched a lot of Darkwing Duck in middle school and played Mega Man III on numerous occasions.) Everyone in my class loved my stories. So much so that someone crafted his own Detective Falcon story. (At the time, I felt less than flattered.) I didn’t write any more stories once I entered high school. It was a one-time thing; just something I did to garner the attention of my class. I didn’t take up writing again until I took some Creative Writing classes in college. From there, I learned some important writing habits like keeping journals, utilizing better observation skills, and practicing writing daily.

Though I appreciate the classes I took in college, I feel like I should have developed these habits at a younger age, when I was going into high school. There was no Creative Writing class in high school. The only plausible reason I can surmise is that for students, it was an easy “A,” a class where they can get away with the bare minimum, if that. That’s an injustice to the art.

When I first started college, I wanted to be a teacher. And when I took Creative Writing, I wanted to teach it at a high school level. I wanted to give students a chance to showcase their talents and show their love of the written word, something I regretted not following up. I hope, someday, that having Creative Writing courses will be taken seriously.

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2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge: B is for Buses

2015AtoZDay2I’m into Day 2, and already I have a post that may seem out of left field. I guess I should have warned you about that. Some of the posts for the next several days may seem like they come from out of nowhere. But I think that is the beauty of this challenge. You never know what can come out of these blogs.

That being said, let me talk about buses. I find them fascinating because of what can come from them. Buses and the like have set schedules (most of the time), stops they have to make, and an end destination. They go back and forth, back to forth, never straying from the path. And you have passengers and operators that are oblivious to what’s around them. But a good writer looks beyond the mundane and finds jewels amidst the everyday.

I took transit when in college. And I was one of those people who couldn’t find the diamonds in the rough. I’m a little wiser and more observant. To me, what makes these bus rides so fascinating is the plethora of story ideas. While on the buses, stopping at the stations in between, there are people who you can use as archetypes for characters. For example, I met a homeless man who passed out flyers about the second coming of Jesus. Typical homeless behavior, yes, but I’m surprised he had the money to make flyers. I created a story around meeting him. I’ll share the story sometime. The scenery that passes by as you ride these buses and trains is interesting: the urban landscape, the green that gives pop to the gray, the view of the city skyline at sunset. When I took a bus from Atlanta to Baltimore, opportunities for stories flourished throughout.

If there is ever an opportunity to take the bus or any form of mass transit, I highly recommend you do. You never know where your next story idea lies.

2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge: A is for Advice

2015AtoZDay1Welcome, all, to my first attempt at the A to Z Blogging Challenge. This may be the most “challenging” endeavor I’ve ever taken so far in my writing career. As most of you know, bloggers all over the world create posts on a topic based on a letter of the alphabet. This is Day 1, so all topics start with the letter “A.” For my first post, I’m talking about advice that has been passed down to me. And while there are many tidbits, many of which I don’t remember, one profusely sticks out:

“Write what you know.”

Mark Twain’s quote is the go-to quote about what to write by writers and non-writers alike. Last week, The Write Practice and a Facebook group, 10-Minute Novelists, broke it down. They discussed why this advice is so quoted to writers and does it really hold any merit.

Personally, I hate when people use this quote to solicit advice. It’s not that it’s necessarily bad, but it’s used too often. I think they’re under the assumption that writer’s block can easily be conquered. That’s not always the case. There is also the assumption that writing what you know makes for good reading material. That can be true, sometimes. Writing is about tapping into the creative side, using what you know to create stories readers will enjoy.

So, writing what you know isn’t bad advice, it’s not the best advice.

2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge: Prelude

Since I missed the Theme Reveal last week, I feel compelled to share with my fellow bloggers and participants my theme, which I don’t have one. My theme is simply ramblings about who I am, who I want to become, what I’ve learned, and my progress in my works.

For some time, I debated whether or not I wanted to take on this challenge. I know there’s no guarantee that I will gain new followers, but I’m interested in seeing what others discuss on their blogs. And for those who already follow me, this will be an opportunity to learn more about me.

This definitely will be a learning experience. As I continue to write, I hope to learn more about the process and build the confidence to share more of my work.

Let the challenge commence!

By the way, if you look on the A to Z Blogging Challenge sign-up page, I’m number 1260.

Month in Review: March

Dear Readers,

You may be wondering why I am posting my month in review a little early (or not). Well, March was a slow month for me. I didn’t get a lot of writing done. I edited a story I forgot about. I don’t keep my notebooks around like I should. There was a time I “lost” my notebook at work. I thought it was thrown away, but it got moved to another room. A relief, but I made a vow that I wouldn’t leave my stuff lying around. I keep my stories close until I feel it’s time to release them into the wild. But, one never knows when an idea will pop up. A character sketch, a note, a paragraph, whatever. So, I am trying to break that habit and take my notebook with me. It’s important that I not leave it lying around for days at work. But I need to write whenever free time is available.

The second reason why March has been a slow month is because I am preparing for the A to Z Blogging Challenge starting in a couple of days. This is an exciting venture for me in a variety of ways. It will force me to write every day, of course. (Except on Sundays, but I’ll bring my notebooks to journal or compose short stories, thereby meeting the goal of writing every day.) Second, it will force me to keep deadlines, which will mean setting aside blocks of time to write, which for me, is early in the morning. So, I am preparing for that. I have to admit that this is the one part of the challenge I am not looking forward to.

This is a short post, I admit, but I still have a ways to go in preparing for the blogging challenge. I hope you readers will follow me on this journey. Wish me luck.

Best way to write… is there any?

The great debate. What’s your preference?

Spirited Quill

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I recently listened to an interview with my two favorite teacher-writers, Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron; they were asked about writing methods and whether longhand was a requisite for a full writing experience, or if writing on a keypad was acceptable. As I expected, they were both partial to handwriting, but they acknowledged that writing on a laptop worked for many people. They believe that it is usually more difficult to achieve the same level of spiritual connection with your writing if you are not using a pen and paper; somehow by typing on a keypad the whole activity becomes more cerebral, and less intuitive. I agree wholeheartedly with that. I LOVE writing by hand; it feels intimate; it allows me to truly switch off and float. It is not the same thing when I write on my laptop. I keep re-editing what I write; there is no flow. Not for me, anyway. However…

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Writers and Organization: A Ten-Minute Novelists Chat Session

This morning, I wrote in my journal. I know, big surprise. “I’m a writer. Writing is what I should be doing.” Admittedly, I don’t write in my journal as often as I should. It’s not a daily practice. I don’t have a quota I meet. I don’t have time set aside for writing sessions. I don’t have a space where I sit down to write. I’m kind of all over the place when it comes to my writing. Continue reading “Writers and Organization: A Ten-Minute Novelists Chat Session”