Realization, Writing is Necessary

Hi everyone! Did you guys miss my posts? Of course you did!! Well, I’m very happy to be back. I am hoping that I can post for each day to hit all of my categories, Monday Musings, Top Pick Tuesday, you know the rest, but I am still pretty darn busy at work, so my goal is to post at least 3 times, well to begin with and work up from there.

So, today is Thursday, but do I feel like throwing a virtual tantrum at you guys? Nope! I feel like being slightly philosophical.

Recently, I stopped by GameStop to meet up with my friend, David. We chatted, he traded in his Kinect, Justin bought Professor Layton and the Magical Mask and then we headed to Del Taco. While We all ate and David’s son demanded french fries that were way too hot for him, David asked me why I was not writing posts. I explained my work situation and he countered with, “but what about after work or on weekends?” I told him how drained I felt and again he countered. “There will always be things that get in the way of doing what you want to do, you just have to do it.”

And I thought about that.

David is right.

There will ALWAYS be reasons to not write.

So, the answer lies with how bad do I want it? And really, for a lot of writers it’s, “how bad do I need it?”

Writing needs to be apart of my life. I feel better when I write. I need to suck it up, because as crucial as my job is for money and stability, writing is as crucial for my well being, my soul.

So, I must change my outlook on writing.

Writing is not what I want to do.

It is what I must do.

Writing is not a hobby.

It is a lifestyle.

It is my dream, my passion, my key to a happy and fulfilled life. It is just as essential as eating, breathing.

Not writing is not an option.

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Improper Words

Today’s writing exercise is a mind workout. It’s a simple process, that for me really opens my mind to new word choice possibilities.

Here we go:

  • First grab a dictionary.
  • Flip to any page you want.
  • Randomly choose a word from the page.
  • Now, use the word in a sentence, but change the part of speech it normally is to another one. So, if the word is a noun, use it as an adjective, or a preposition.
  • Do any part of speech, but try to maintain a similar meaning or at least a meaning you would expect that word to have in the new form.

Colors are a good example. You hear about a leaf greening, or a face yellowing, what would be oranging?

How about the sun oranging the street?

What about the word corolla – a noun meaning the petals of a flower?

What if a building had no windows on the first floor, but the higher up you looked the more windows there were and the tighter together they were built? What if they seemed to curve together and make up the whole top of the building. Could the windows be corolla windows?

Not only is it a word that evokes specific imagery but the vowels smooth over from one word to another. Corolla windows.

Words are limitless.

I always joke with Justin that my English degree certifies me to change the language at my will.

The truth is (I love this topic, if you can’t tell) language changes by anyone’s will.

Obviously, I think there is importance in the proper way of writing and using the language -proper spelling, grammar and all that, but I think about how fun it is to manipulate the language as well and really-how important it is too. Creatively changing the language to meet the needs of a writer wanting to express a very specific idea makes using words in uncommon ways important, as an exercise of the creative mind and a practice for writers pushing envelopes like e.e. Cummings and Shakespeare.

What are some of your favorite uncommon, improper uses of words?

 

Also, check out a review for my poetry collection by Michelle Proulx! A big thank you goes out to her for reading and letting people know about it.

Writing, It Makes Scents

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. We all will be stuffing our faces with turkey, rolls, potatoes and of course, stuffing, but before our families sit together, before you take a single bite of that sweet potato mash, even before the food is set out on the table, there is one thing that makes the holidays feel like the holidays. Oh, the decorations add the sparkle and the warm clothes set the mood, but I think what really makes the holidays feel like the wintry warmth known only in November and December are the aromas; the sweet and spicy scent of nutmeg and pumpkin, the fullness of thyme, rosemary and sage, the tantalizing scent of rising bread, or tart berries, and finally the cinnamon apple cider wafting in the air. All of these make you want to just close your eyes and breathe in the holiday.

As writers, we learn to keep our eyes open, to observe everything we can and later offer a different, unique perspective. But our eyes are not our only observatory device. Learning to use all of the senses offers us to observe even more and sometimes, cutting off one sense to enhance another offers a different experience. It does not have to be Thanksgiving to smell inspiring scents, but this holiday offers a collective harmony of sweet spice that may just get that pen moving.

Plus, names of spices and seasonings are often interesting on the tongue. In A Sense of Light or Darkness, I have a poem called “Winter Savory”. In this poem I use words like tarragon and chicory -words that bring up very specific scents, and also, individual memories. These words have that same unique power the thought of bread or cookies have: that just by thinking of them, they nearly materialize, and you can almost smell their scent. It’s a powerful tool for a writer to be able to develop a whole, complete world -a world with not just amazing sights, but sounds, texture and scents. So, close your eyes and observe.

P.S. If you are not familiar with seasonings, (or you know the scent but can’t place the name) read through a cookbook, or online recipes to get to know more uncommon seasonings or food. Or, take a trip to your grocery (or pantry) and head to the seasoning isle.

The Importance of Being Edited

When I first started saying aloud that I wanted to self-publish, I received quite a bit of advice from others. One friend in particular, who has traveled the self-publishing path very successfully, was able to steer me in the directions I wanted to go. I was able to navigate the sites I wanted to use much easier with her advice. Among that advice she gave me was the edit, edit, edit rule. Which is basically edit your work yourself, have a friend edit or, and the best, hire an editor. I decided to edit myself. I know the importance of editing, I know how crucial it is to scan and re-scan writing for all the many errors that can be so easily overlooked. I based my reasoning for editing myself on the fact that my book was a collection of poetry, not a novel. I knew that if it were a novel I would hire an editor, but I did not realize how many mistakes I would overlook in poetry.

I have words like “th” or “thr” instead of “the” and “though” instead of “through” and every mistake further strips the readers confidence that I am a good writer. I knew that, but for some reason didn’t follow not only my friends advice, but my own rules as a writer as well. I think for the most part I edit my own work fairly well, so what went wrong?

Excitement. Anticipation. The readiness to publish and the unintended too brief scanning before clicking submit.

So, my advice, stifle your excitement of publishing (I know it’s hard) and thoroughly review your work, not just once, but several times over, especially if you do not hire an editor (which for anything novel length is the only way to go). I still stand behind editing yourself or with friend for poetry (or any similar works -maybe cookbooks or short stories). Maybe schedule a weekend or two to simply edit, so it’s marked on the calendar and you have made a commitment to your work and yourself.

One silver lining I have is I am able to re-submit my book with no interruptions to selling and no need to pull it off sites, and once the resubmitted version is accepted and uploaded it transfers over seamlessly -making only the initial copies typo-ed. Ah, the world of print on demand!

I feel ashamed in myself for allowing the mistakes to run by me unnoticed and I hope by reading this you, any of you future self-publishers heed the warnings of my experience the way I should have heeded my friends.

With every experience we gain a better insight in which to venture into our next experience. Although I am shammed by my mistakes, I am proud of how much I’ve grown and look forward to all my future endeavors, welcoming the inevitable future mistakes.

We grow, we learn, we grow more.

Createspace Upload

Today I am working on creating the print version of A Sense of Light or Darkness. I am using Createspace powered through Amazon and it is a very user friendly tool. I uploaded a .docx of my manuscript that had errors in it and when the program launched the interior viewer, it was easy to see what the errors were. I downloaded the template for the book size I wanted  I readjusted the text in Word. After finalizing the document I re-uploaded and reviewed the interior a second time. With some other adjustments and a couple other uploads to ensure I had the pages on the sides I wanted them on (like the title page I wanted on the right side), I was done. Then comes uploading the cover image. Again the site gives you everything you would need to know to upload your own image easily, or you can chose to design one through them (good option if you still want a do it yourself option but are not graphically/artistically inclined).

I will update you more as the book is reviewed by the site and becomes available.

Introducing the Book Cover

Oh! I am so excited to post this! Here it is, the cover art for my collection of poetry, A Sense of Light or Darkness. With major help from my boyfriend, I think it came out really well. But my opinion is not what I need, I need yours! Let me know what you think. Does it grab your attention, Out of all the thumbnails floating by the screen, would you take a second glance at this one? Would does it make you think about?

Thanks for taking the time to comment and give your feedback. I look forward to taking your comments into consideration and further editing and finalizing this book. If all goes well, I will be publishing very soon.

Poetry Collection Coming Along

I wanted to take a few minutes to give you all some information on my poetry collection, it is definitely coming along well. I have about seven more poems to write before I reach the number of poems I would like to have in the collection and I have started one that might be the center of the book as it is much longer and more complex than the rest. It also shares the central ideas I want to focus on in the book. The title of my collection seems to fit it more perfectly each day. I have also begun work on the cover art. If you have read anything about self-publishing, every source advises against creating your own book cover. As scared as I am to attempt it, I think I just might. I have started a draft of the cover art and I love the idea. But, I will say this decision to go against every self-publishers advice is not without a ton of research and some experience in graphic design. Although I certainly do not know graphic design as well as many others, I did take courses in website design and art. I think with as much research as I do and between my comfort level and my boyfriends talent with design programs like Photoshop I will be able to create a cover that is striking to potential readers.

One issue I think I might have is simply that I am writing poetry rather than a novel. Everyone gives advice for writing a novel, the book covers for certain demographics are all very similar. Take Twilight for example, (though probably not the first to have the design) the book began selling so well that many other books in the realm of young adult fantasy follow a very similar cover design. The dark cover, a flash of color, a short title seems to catch the readers eye, or at least clue the reader into what type of book the cover belongs to. With poetry however, the covers differ a bit more. I looked up the current top 100 poetry books and the covers seemed to range from a picture of the author, a landscape image, or an urban image or a blank cover with the title. Each seemed to be grounded in neutral (nature) colors and  smaller font. Researching the top selling poetry books helps me determine what is working in the genre, what seems to grab a readers attention, but because poetry is the genre rather than divided by the subject, it is important to portray the subject or the tone through the cover. It seems it may be harder for readers to distinguish between collections of poetry, unless the cover is absolute in it’s portrayal of the contents.

Here’s to charging ahead 🙂