“You should be a writer or something…”

writing spirals and character sketches

I write epic emails and I used to do it a lot more than I used to. I recently sent my best friend an email describing my recent adventures and discoveries and she commented that “You should be a writer or something.” She was teasing of course because she knows I’m a writer and is one of the few people who has read a majority of my fantasy book manuscripts. Those manuscripts may never be published, but I already have my number one fan in her, so I’m okay with that.

Even so, what she said struck a chord that had started to twang a bit yesterday. I’d finished up all my writing work and was feeling very proud of myself and happy. I thought to myself that I’d finally found my stride with writing work, college work and everything else I have to balance and that maybe, just maybe I could start writing in a fantasy book again. For the past several months, I’ve been so fried at the end of the day from work and college writing that I can barely string two words together in a sentence and even when I do that, it’s full of typos. A bit frustrating for a once-avid writer of fantasy novels…

I’ve never been a quitter though so I’m at least going to get back to writing in this blog more regularly. I do have a quite a few followers and I feel like I’m letting them down when I don’t post something. Plus, I do like writing in my own voice about whatever I want, even if it’s all rambling nonsense. 😉

On this day before my 38th birthday, I shall now embark on a month-long daily blog post adventure and catch up on the days I’ve missed by re-blogging some older posts that have come to mind over the past couple days. After all, there are newer readers of my blog that don’t know about my resident hummingbirds and my affinity for saving small orange salamanders from the road…

Featured image is of my hand written books from middle and high school and my character sketches.

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Why do beads excite me so?

For tonight’s blog, I decided to post the very first assignment I received during last term’s Intro to Creative Writing class. The prompt was to write a poem that addressed a burning why question and after quite a bit of thought, this is what I came up with. Poetry is not my strong point, but I did my best and received a decent grade for my efforts. Enjoy!

***

3 cut beads

Why do beads excite me so?

The sight of beads excites me
Because their myriad of colors
Ignite the fire of creativity in my spirit
The way writing used to do
Long ago before my muse departed.

Within those small, round
And perfectly polished pieces
Of colored glass
I see the potential to create
Artwork, jewelry, embellishments
That glimmer with life in sunlight.

Opening the latest delivery
Filled with shiny bead bags, hanks, and tubes
Of new unique hues, tiny sizes, and sparkling finishes
Sends feelings of warmth and eagerness
Through my entire body
As my mind begins to turn.

Shall I create a new pattern?
A beaded picture captured
In a bracelet, barrette, pendant, or earrings
Where each colored bead
Works like paint on a palette.

Or shall I just choose colors?
Cool blues, fiery reds, refreshing yellows
Calming greens, regal purples, earthy browns
Start weaving with needle and thread
Through suede or felt
Until what I see in my mind
Appears in my hands.

The smooth feel of beads relax me
The tiny percussive sound of beads energize me
The spills that send them
Scattering across table and floor
Excite me in undesirable ways
As I’m certain I’ll never find them all.

Beading is my meditation
My Zen garden in a world of chaos
A way to regain focus and calm
Shut out the frantic fears
Of a writer who lives in doubt
That my patterns of words
Will never again be as beautiful
As my beaded creations.

Balancing the writer within

left handed writer

Life is about balance. Family and work, work and play, play and productivity. It’s not always easy keeping everything in balance, but I do the best I can. However, I’ve come to realize that my balance between creative writing and structured writing is rather off.

I employ my abilities as a creative writer every day in my work. I don’t use it to the same degree as when I wrote fantasy, but it is my creativity that gives my writing character, uniqueness, and personality. I always try to approach my work assignments from various angles and gather enough information to write from an angle no one has used before. This is vital for making blog posts, landing pages, and product descriptions stand out in such a saturated business. I don’t think I’d be nearly as good at my freelance writing work if not for my background as a fantasy fiction writer.

Nonetheless, that fantasy fiction writer has become lost as I pursue a successful writing career. Rather ironic considering that I expected my successful writing career to come from publishing my novels. Further proof that life is about balance and life is also about change. Being able to adapt to and utilize that change is one of my strengths and I’ve learned to always stay on my toes.

Last week I started my latest term at SNHU online with Intro to Creative Writing. I’d been looking forward to the class since I started at SNHU last August and I felt it would be a welcome change after getting the two required Composition classes out of the way. Much to my surprise, I was better at the composition classes than I’d expected and though I found the structured format of essays a challenge at first, I quickly realized that it fit right in with my job as a freelance writer. I honestly believe that my skills as a freelance writer have greatly improved thanks to those first two classes and I have great hope that the Intro to Creative Writing class will help me rediscover the more creative and “freer” side of my writing.

There are three required books for my current class and they all focus on learning to become a creative writer and/or building on the creative writing skills a person already possesses. Out of curiosity, I flipped through the books and what I saw about poetry, short stories, and other expressive writing mediums filled me with self-doubt.

Thankfully, when I opened the book entitled “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within” by Natalie Goldberg, it flipped to the spot where the publisher’s catalogue card had been randomly stuck. It was right on the section called “Go Further” and from the first few lines, I found great motivation. It reads, “Push yourself beyond when you think you are done with what you have to say. Go a little further. Sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the edge of beginning.”

Those words hold true for so much more than writing! There have been so many times in my life when I almost thought I was done, when I couldn’t go any further, when I didn’t think I could handle one more awful thing the world threw at me. Yet I kept going. A little further turned into a lot further and that turned into continuing on the journey of life and discovering the amazing things that were waiting around the corner, once hidden from my view. I never would have experienced so many wondrous things if I’d given up when things became challenging.

I won’t give up now either. I will discover the keys to balancing the writer within and I will learn how my freelance writer self and my fantasy writer self can coexist within the indomitable creature that is me.

winter sky

Opening a very dusty door

door in stone wall

Image courtesy of Panoramio.com

Though my next term at SNHU online doesn’t officially start until Monday, the blackboard for the class has been open for a while. I chose not to look at it before today because I wanted to enjoy my break from schoolwork. My next course is Intro to Creative Writing and after taking two Composition classes back to back, I figured I’d really enjoy doing some creative writing. While I’m sure I will actually enjoy creative writing, I admit that it’s a door to an area of my writing that I haven’t opened in a very long time.

I do peak in that creative writing “room” every now and then when I try to write in Unbroken Flames, but the last time I cracked open that rusty, dusty door, the hinges squeaked horribly and I quickly closed it again when I realized I don’t even remember what tense I used to write in! I got a few sentences of writing done and tried to read back through it only to discover that I kept switching tenses. Maybe I’ve always done that and only now realize it after taking composition classes. Whatever the case, I was dismayed to see just how much of my creative writing abilities I’ve lost.

The first module in Intro to Creative Writing deals with writing poetry that focuses on imagery. Admittedly, I’ve never considered poetry my strong point and when it comes to imagery, I do too much or too little. Regardless, I’m certain that this course is exactly what I need right now, as I hope to get back into writing Unbroken Flames and maybe even finish it this year! I have so many stories that I’ve only shared with a handful of people and I’d love if more people read my fiction works and enjoyed them. I may be 37, but most days I still feel like that 12-year-old girl who started scribbling about magic and adventure in college-ruled spiral notebooks just to get the overflowing ideas out of my head! If all goes well, that overflow of ideas will return and help me break down the dusty door to the creative writing room within me.

Right Consistency, Wrong Temperature

Not exactly inviting an outdoor gathering...

Not exactly inviting an outdoor gathering…

Today I was writing about all the fun things to experience in sunny south Florida while I huddled inside my drafty house under blankets and in layers of clothing. The snow that fell yesterday and this morning is the consistency of sand but the completely wrong temperature! I acknowledge that sand can be cold but even so, I find it far more useful than snow.

While the snow reminded me of sand in texture and weight, there was definitely no warmth to it. I wrote about golden beaches of sparkling sand aside clear ocean waters even as my entire yard was covered with a foot of snow. Oh how I wish writing about a tropical place could teleport me there! The written word is capable of amazing things but it’s yet to magically transport me to the exotic destinations I write about. If it did, you can bet I’d start with somewhere like here…

Seagate Hotel, Delray Beach, Florida. Click image for info

It’s only January and where I live that means there’s still a good 4-5 months of winter left. I haven’t been able to escape to somewhere warm amid this winter cold since my daughters were much younger and we took a trip to Disney World with my mother. Being in bright Florida sunshine and blue sky in the middle of February was a splendid treat for all of us and I promised the girls we’d do it again someday. That’s a promise I refuse to break, it’s just taking me longer than I expected to fulfill.

Getting back into my regular routine and career of freelance ghost writing has required cleaning the dust that gathered in my creative mind during the holidays. It was nice not having to worry about working every single day and meeting deadlines but now that the festive freedom of the season is over, it’s time to return to reality. I do so love my job as a writer though and working at something I’m passionate about is invigorating for me. Still, I wouldn’t mind a nice, warm little holiday getaway this winter to tide me over until the green life of spring returns in May…or thereabouts.

Powdery and sparkly but not warm!

Powdery and sparkly but not warm!