Week Ending: A week of writing

This upcoming week will be the final full week of National Novel Writing Month and all its equivalents, including National Blog Post Month. The goal for novel writers is to hit 50,000 words towards that novel by November 30th, 11:59 p.m. The goal for National Blog Post Month is to post to your blog everyday.

Well, I am happy to say that as of right now, I have managed to post 20 out of 21 days (even though I wrote that one post on the day, operator error did not post it). I have also written 11,488 words averaging 547 per day. I was thinking about those numbers, feeling pretty good, when I realize these numbers did not count all the writing I have been doing for school.

And I realized this when I was going over this week’s study schedule for my classes. It is finals week for Intro to Social Psychology and our final is a comprehensive exam with twelve questions. Each question has a word limit of at least 300 words each question, not including citations. This is a whopping 3,600 words! It is also mid-terms for Ancient Greece History. Our mid-term is a short paper with a word limit of at least 1,000 words, not including citations. This work alone puts me at 16,088. This doesn’t include the weekly form posts I need to turn in for each class. Each post has a word limit of at least 250 words. which comes out to 1,500 words so far, if I’ve been following correctly.

I am not including any of the letters I wrote or the endless social media communications. I’m only counting writing where writing is the goal and intent. And that is still a lot of words.

In the end, I know it’s not really about the numbers, at least it’s not that way for me. And I am not posting these numbers to brag, but to show how much writing we do without thinking. What I love about this annual event is that it allows me to focus on writing. It allows me to be aware of writing and how much writing I am doing and if I’m writing at all.

There are eight more days in the month. The home stretch. The final sprint. There is Thanksgiving and Black Friday and the crazy holiday season still left on the list of topics to push your writing.

And while I’m not writing a novel, I am still rooting for all those who are.

And while I have a lot of writing ahead of me this week, the importance of free writing or creative writing is just as important as academic writing. I see academic writing as a way to practice structure and prefect content that is to the point whereas creative writing pushes the limits of your imagination and storytelling.

I hope to accomplish both.

So, with eight days left of this wonderful event, best of luck to my fellow participants! Cheers to writing!

 

Blogging 2.0: A Look Back

So, being that this is NaBloPoMo and all, and being that I’m back to writing, and being that I’ve posted daily, it’s hard not to think about what’s been done since I started blogging. Thinking about how I started, I decided to share how I started blogging.

I think it was back in 2009 when I said, “Hey, I like writing. Maybe I should blog.” Of course, as with most bloggers and writers go, it’s probably not as simple as that–or maybe it is and if it was that way for you, awesome. For me it was sort of that way, but there’s a good chance I mentioned this before. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and write for public viewing. I mean, everyone was doing it write, I mean right? So, one more blog won’t hurt, right?

And even if no one read what I wrote, I was blogging main for me. To prove to myself that even though I’m posting to the internet, things will be ok. My biggest fear in posting online was that I’d get some pretty nasty feedback. That’s what stopped me from becoming a writer as a career. I mean, what if someone hated what I wrote and wasn’t afraid to let me know it? Could I handle it? Would I keep writing after that?

So, I jumped of the cliff (metaphorically speaking of course, in case that needed to be defined) and launched my first blog as In My Opinion in June ’09. It sucked. Hard. I did get some views, but it was mainly postings of articles I’d read and I’d offer my thoughts and comments on it. I thought I was pretty clever, giving “my opinion.” It was a bold step since I’m one to hide from conflict and the articles I’d repost were on pretty much anything. And nothing earth shattering happened. No one completely hated what I wrote so I didn’t get hate mail, or laughed off the internet. In fact, I didn’t get anything at all. And I realized, even though I like reading all kinds of things, maybe reposting articles on computers, or cybersecurity, or government ideas weren’t as appealing to, say, anyone else. Of course, I didn’t know of SEOs or anything like that so it was just, “here I am world” and then sit back and see what happens.

Needless to say that fizzled out in about four months. Running parallel to that blog, I decided to start one that talked about my life. I called that … well, I forget. As you can tell, that one didn’t work either. And after that I started to lose a little steam. It’s one thing to want to write and a whole other thing to actually write something that people read and if the point of me writing to get over my fear of public writing then people reading blog was an important part of accomplishing that goal.

The year 2012 was a turning point of sorts. I decided to get serious. The fall of that year I decided to go back to school and my writing class gave me a little boost. So on September 24, 2012, I jumped off that same cliff and 411 Junkie was born and in the Spring of 2013, I really started to get serious. I put together a game plan on what I wanted to write about and things I wanted to post.

Three years later, I’m still writing because I renewed my love of writing. I have 168 followers, although that includes Twitter followers, which is a whole lot more than when I started in 2009. I’ve had about 800 views and 15 comments and none of them hate mail.

It’s taken a few attempts, but for anyone who is just starting out or who’s thinking about it, the best advice I can give is to just do it. Just write. Write and post. Write and post about things you really love, or don’t. But the key thing is to get started. There is a gap between my second attempt at blogging and 411 Junkie. It wasn’t because I was off doing profound things. I spent most of the time thinking what I wanted to blog and trying to plan what I wanted to blog about. Looking back, it hindered me. One day, it dawned on me. Just do it!

The key thing to accomplishing your goals is to get started, take action. Put one foot in front of another (again, metaphorically speaking in this case). You never know what’s going to happen if you just stand still. So, jump off that cliff and take that leap of faith. I’m happy with my results. I got over my fear of public writing. While the fear of having hateful feedback will always be in the corner of my mind, I see now it’s a three on my “fear scale.” I’ll recover quickly because people have commented on my posts. They’ve liked my posts. They’ve reshared my posts. I’ve met fellow bloggers and made friends through this blog. So, while there is a chance of negative feedback, there’s an even greater chance of connecting with others and that’s what matters.

So this is my where I land on my feet, look back at the cliff, and say “Let’s do that again!”

A few words on music … and the theatre

I love all things entertainment. Anything that helps people pass the time and helps them to enjoy themselves. This includes things like books, television, movies, theatre, and music. Yes, music.

Growing up, music was a huge part of my life. Both of my parents would play their favorite tunes whenever we were in the car. They would also pop our children tapes so my brothers and I could sing “we all live in a yellow submarine” or every child’s favorite “John Jacob Jingle Himer Smith.” You know the ones I mean. Not only did my parents play their favorite songs, they sang them as well, which encouraged us kids to sing as well. Whether we were good at singing was another matter, but we were taught to enjoy the music. And my father would play his guitar and sing some of the local songs.

So, music was a huge part of my life.

But you haven’t written much about music! Or theatre for that matter.

The trouble I’m having with reviewing music is I don’t really know how to comment on music. With books and film, you can comment on plot lines and/or acting and graphics. With music, I suppose you could break down whether the notes are conjunct or disjunct. I also suppose you could mention the mood or how it makes you feel. I’m not one to really enjoy lyrics, but I suppose I could make an effort to see whether or not a song makes lyrical sense. One of my favorite things about paying attention to lyrics, is they tell a story. It’s whether or not I can make sense of that story. Often times I find myself looking up the lyrics to a song to see if I can figure out what the artist is talking about and then I explore different perspectives those lyrics could talk about, like maybe they’re not taking about loosing their spouse, but maybe a child.

Another challenge I have about reviewing music and/or songs, is that I feel inadequate since it’s been a while since I’ve played in the school band. Yeppers. You’re looking (well, reading, but you know what I mean) at the 1st chair of the Flute section. Don’t you laugh! (general populace who may be laughing) Flutes may not be as cool as the saxophone or drums, but they have merit! But, I have to admit, my first choice was the clarinet. In middle school, I’m pretty sure my classmates didn’t think about their future with instruments, but there was a whole slew of classmates who wanted to play the clarinet. We had over ten, I want to say about fifteen, clarinet players. I don’t know their reasons for choosing the clarinet, but I knew mine. I wanted to learn it for their flexibility across different genres of music. Don’t ask me how I knew that at the age of thirteen. I probably looked it up or something. But the clarinet appealed to me because even though this would be for a school band, clarinets could also be played in jazz music. And I though jazz was the coolest thing as a thirteen year old. My reason was, saxophones were too big for me and too popular. I didn’t really want to play the trumpet or the trombone. So, as far as jazz went, clarinets were it.

But my band teacher convinced me to switch to the flute, if only because the sheer numbers of clarinet players she had and that the flute section had only two players. So, for the sake of music diversity for the middle school band, off I went to join the two flute players.

We didn’t have an orchestra, so strings were out and therefore the piano or the violin. If we did have strings, I would have jumped on the violin bandwagon. That instrument has always fascinated me. And while I always thought I loved the piano, my mom said I was never interested in piano lessons. She wanted to sign me up, but I told her no. What was I thinking?! Anyway.

So, music is hard for me to write about … (of course I say this 600 words later) but I suppose I should give it another shot. After all, I did write these posts about it:

Music 411: Another form of entertainment

Music 411: Weekly Top 10

Music 411: 04/21/14 – Weekly Top 10

Music 411: Weekly Top 10 Playlist, 04/28/14

Music 411: Beyond by William Joseph

Perhaps I should get back on that bandwagon.

And about theatre, I may have mentioned it before but there isn’t much theatre where I live. There are plays and such, but I’m not critiquing children. The Hawaiian Children’s Theatre is the one who usually puts out the plays we do get to see here and well, they always do a good job. But, perhaps I can find some things to do regarding theatre.

We shall see. I have to perfect what I have before I can think of other stuff to add, but it’s in the works.

NaBloPoMo15: Mid-terms!

National Blog Post Month 2015 is halfway done. Have you been writing everyday?

I have and I am sincerely impressed that I’ve lasted this long. There was that one day that I missed posting my blog entry, but I did write it, I swear. I just clicked on “Save Draft” instead of “Publish” and the “Schedule” posting did schedule. But, I did write.

And so far, I remember why I love writing. There are some days I found it really hard to write, only because there were so many other things competing for my attention, but I made a commitment to write every day, so every day I made it a point to write. That decision has been liberating. It seriously has. It’s cut out the excuses, or at the least lowered the amount of excuses I make sometimes.

Back to the point. I remember why I love writing.

It sets my mind free. I can wonder about anything I want. I can have arguments with myself, explore the opposing side of an argument, and create a whole new world. I reflect upon events of the day, the week, the year and wrap my head around topics to scary and/or controversial to utter out loud. When I write, my mind speaks.

I may have mentioned this before, but the past few months have been hard on me writing wise. With a new job taking up my main focus and school taking up everything else, it was hard for me to take the time to let my mind think what it wanted to think. Whenever I had a free moment, I’d read or watch a movie, just to give my mind a break from thinking. I thought these options would be a bit easier on the mind since writing is still engagement. Again, this month, so far, made me realize that shutting out writing has taken a toll on me as a writer. I missed it. And now that I’m getting back in the habit, I hope it continues.

But that’s on me. To continue it, that is.

At the end of it all, though. These past fifteen days has revived my love affair with writing.

So.

Mid-way through NaBloPoMo15 and the progress report is an A.

My goals for the rest of the month is to get back into the grove of reviewing books, movie, or television or if this isn’t working for me any more to figure out another format. I also want to get into the habit of writing at least one strong post (I forget what this is called in the blogging world) that will be engaging.

Mid-way through NaBloPoMo15 and there is work to be be done.

Whoever is participating this year, I hope all is well with you and that you’re making progress and head way as well!

Best of luck for the rest of the month!

Until then … 🙂

NaBloPoMo15: That Perfect Day!

Ah, the Perfect Day. The ideal day off.

What would I do if I could have that. What would be my definition of a perfect day.

Funny you should ask, you see, because I  just had two weeks off. but, in case you missed it, I was also sick on my two weeks off. Right smack dab in the middle of the week to! Sighs. I had such great plans too. Cleaning, and doing homework, and cleaning, and maybe reading.

But then sick happened and I didn’t want to do any of those things. Not even reading because my head hurt. Well, I had a headache for most of the time I was sick. Head cold, you see.

And cleaning and homework isn’t exactly my idea of an ideal day off either, even though I love doing homework.

So, giving this some serious thought …

I think my perfect day would start at 4 a.m. I know I should sleep in, but twilight is my favorite time of the day and I’d rather that wee-morning time than the evening twilight because too many people are up when the sun sets.

At 4 a.m. I would sit out in the yard with a hot mocha and just admire the stars in the sky. It’s peaceful, where I am anyway, at that time of day. There would be a slight breeze, but not too cold. Maybe a light rain (because I love rain). And no bugs! No insects. None of that ruining my mood!

After an hour or two of quiet reflection, I’d either go back to sleep for another hour or so or move on with my day.

Next on the agenda? I’d probably write. Yep. Journal. I’d write in my journal for a bit.

Then I’d either go swimming at a waterfall or river, go zip lining, or check out a museum. If my ideal day isn’t restrained to location, a no holds bar so to speak, I’d hope to spend my ideal day in Venice, Italy. Seriously, I would explore all I can of Venice. I’ve been wanting to go there since I was seven or eight so until that is crossed off my bucket list, that is my perfect day.

 

NaBloPoMo15: That Project Hurdle!

I am a planner … of sorts. I can come up with ideas and sort of carve out a plan of action, but I’m not one to follow through. It was a hard reality to accept because, you know, no one likes to admit their faults and/or weaknesses but I’ve come to accept this about me. And it’s not that I can’t finish a project, just that it takes me longer than most people to actually get to the finish line.

With that said, the hardest part of a big project for me is finding time to work on it. As I said, I like to plan and think things through. I don’t always like to actually work on it. For instance, I have about five projects that I’ve started and haven’t completed yet due to a variety of excuses.

For one, I’m in the middle of cross-stitching a needle pouch for my cross-stitching needles. This has been on-going for about six months. Another one is that I’m in the middle of organizing a card/letter binder for all the special occasions I want to write a card or a letter for. Oh, and I’m in the middle of a Get It Together project in which I gather all important information that my estate executor will need in the event of an accident and/or my death. Yep, I have a couple of more, but I think you get the general idea.

I’ve made a project plan, bought most–if not all–the tools, and I have them in their respective “project bags” now I just have to finish it.

They’re so much fun to plan and think through. Not so much fun when I actually have to work on it.

So, in terms of big projects, my biggest hurdle is finding, or making, the time to work on them.