What About Tomorrow?

via Daily Prompt: Triumph

I have decided to forgive myself for not writing for the last six months. I have a good, valid excuse. Dutifully, I am going to rise above it – my reasons don’t even matter anymore – and I am going to get back to my normal, creative writing self.
Ironically, in the past, I have read a lot about mindfulness and how one should live in the present. It’s not a perfect science, as with most thoughtful psychology, and I have been distant from myself and others. It is difficult to be split between what I want and what is keeping me from what I want. It is even worse when one is fully aware of the problem.
My triumph is impending, because I feel the airiness of happiness on the other side of all the drudge. It’s a calming relief that I am going to embrace and appreciate. I believe that triumph is rising above the personal struggle – because what human doesn’t need that type of success in life?

When Outlines Fork Up

On October 5, 2015, I ordered Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K.M Weiland. I read the entire Kindle e-book in one sitting as though it was a best selling thriller novel. I could not walk away, I was inspired. So, I immediately started outlining my novel in order to prepare for NaNoWriMo the next month.
So, I outlined, and outlined, and kept outlining. When November hit, I began to write this story from this outline I had spent three weeks developing. Within the first 5K words, my plot line had hit a fork in the road at least three or four times. The outline was useless except for giving me the ability to develop the characters in my mind.
Still intrigued by the outlining idea, I learned about Scrivener (which I am using now and adore) and used the corkboard feature to revamp the steps I wanted to take in my novel. I did not keep to that outline since my plot progressed more naturally with a few other monkey wrenches tossed in the path of my characters.
By January, I began to really struggle. I did not reach my 50k words in November which I was not heartbroken over. I had my elements, my characters were talking to me, yet I did not like where they were going. I was getting bored with my own plot line and that is never ever a good sign.
Somehow (fearful procrastination), a few months went by and my story sat at 35K word, wondering if it was going to be tossed into my junk pile. Then, I began to journal about my feelings on this writers block. I did not outline this time. I did write about my desire to go back to another story in which I wrote only 8k words but it had seemed more like the middle of a story instead of the beginning.
Ding. Ding. Ding. My creativity kicked me in the face. I didn’t even have to scrap the 35k words since my twist fits right in. It is as though I was writing in order to add that other more intriguing plot to my story via my subconscious.
I’ve since given up on the traditional version of an outline, since no such thing exists. I do hand write journal entries on what I think the characters want. I also do a lot of “What if?” statements to see what sounds like a good idea. I feel like I am accessing a different part of my brain when I decide to write by hand as opposed to using a keyboard. I’ve always like to hand write my ideas first and all my outlining was handwritten except for the Scrivener version.
James Scott Bell writes about Pantsers and Outliners. Pantsers being writers who are creating their stories by the seat of their pants. I can promise I will not follow the outline I write. I have no regrets about the outlining process though. What if I had written my first idea without hitting that fork in the road? Then colliding with another fork. And then once again. I’ve spent a lot of time with these characters over the past year. They are starting to grow on me. I am still putting them through hell though.
This writing thing has a lot of bumpy roads and I’ve identified a few of the plot holes I will need to fill in thanks to my detours. That is for the second draft though, when I build eloquent architecture where there once was just a brick wall.

She does not know.

via Daily Prompt: Generous

She does not know she has nothing.
There was nothing from the start, nothing now.
No time or money, no good karma.
She is not selfish – she is in deficit.
How can she give more than expected
when she expects nothing anyway?
She does not know she has nothing.
There was no exchange, no learning experience.
No aspirations to break even here,
She does not know the formula, the breakdown.
How can she be generous?
She has no pieces worth giving that she’s ever known.
She does not know. She has nothing.

Through the Trees, Over the Bushes

via Daily Prompt: Jump

When I used to ride my bicycle through the semi-circled neighborhood, I knew enough people to cut through backyards and down massive hills into crevices where I should have been knocked unconscious by a tree. The mere thought of my makeshift roller-coaster ride in poverty makes my heart palpitate these days. No one would have thought now that at one point I used to use the five foot platform of my cement porch to launch myself and my bicycle over the ugly brown bushes that stood like dead carcasses in front my house.
Fear strikes through me nowadays even if I miss a step in the dark for stairs that I walk down daily. My roller-coaster rides are all safety approved, if I even ride them at all. I do not jump over tree stumps with no helmet anymore. I do not place myself in the position to break my neck even though I did not consume myself with that notion in the past.
I still jump though. I jump through my own self-doubt in order to achieve what I believe are my goals in this life. I fall backwards into a trust pile of plans, wishful thinking, and instinctive ambition. I jump through stigmas to tell people ‘No’ instead of giving in.
I wonder if in ten years if I will think back on these days and realize that I could have given myself a broken spirit at any moment. Just like I could have jumped over those tree trunks, down those steep hills or over those spiked bushes and broken my neck. I may be more of a risk taker these days given how many times I cheated nature and gravity in the past. When giving those beast the old “one-two”, confidence reigns. I know they still follow me though waiting to see in what metaphorical way I will defeat them again.

Tracking Progress

Recently, my friend sent me a message through Facebook and asked me if I had ever tried Bullet Journaling. If I hadn’t, I should try it out. So I checked out some Youtube videos and I have been addicted since I ordered my black Moleskine journal. Although I can write pretty words, I am not good at decorating my journal but I sure try. The most important part of the Bullet Journal though is the fact that I can actively track my progress in certain areas of my life.

I already mentioned in my first post that I have my system for rewarding myself for reaching a word count per day. I also track when I work out (not as much as I should) and when I bring my lunch to work (to save money). The first month I tried to track all my activities was a big fail because I put far too many expectation on myself. Under my current, less ambitious, tracking I have just learned to be more aware of my time.

I’ve also noticed a change in my mood when I start to really realize what I should be doing each day. Doing the activities by putting my best self into them has really seemed to expand my time. I don’t hate working out, I just like to be lazy more. I love to write but it is easy to skip on a hard day. Sometimes there are a lot of hard days in a row, which I am learning to curb.

One thing that will be nice to look back on is seeing how my habits have evolved over time. If I can find a system that works for me personally, such as committing to the 1000 words per day measures I have put in place, I think I will be a more productive person for it. I may look as though I am carrying around a notebook for an emo kindergartner since I enjoy my black sparkly washi tape but I get my work done. Who cares what anyone else thinks?

Origin of Mental Apparatus

I wish that I could remember which psychology book I was reading when the words “Mental Apparatus” popped out of the page and into the deep recesses of my brain. I know that it was a psychology book because I was completing a reading list assignment over the summer that my professor had given me to read. I must have read those books in 2009 or 2010 and I still own some of them. Now I will have to go on a mission to read them all again.
Either way, when I saw those two words sitting in a paragraph, they struck me because I do think of my brain as an apparatus. My goal in life is to continuing learning, writing, and being a person within my society. It is so easy to lose myself in my computer wasting time checking my email over and over. It is so easy to skip going to the gym or not writing anything for weeks at a time. It is so easy to buy a book and not read it. In general, I want to participate in my life and I think of my mental apparatus as the first place to start.
One major life event I have been striving to complete this year is my first novel. Ever since High School I was obsessed with writing, always wanting to write a book. I wrote several short stories but nothing ever stuck. Then I went to college with the intention of being an English Major with a concentration in Creative Writing. I ended up in Psychology, with a lot of creative writing classes following me out of college. When I finished that degree, I found a full-time job then decided to get an MBA since it seemed like a nice step. I love having my MBA and it is a very important part of my academic life. However,during the time I was working full time and going to school full time, I did not write.
Now, it is 2016 and I am 27 years old. It is time to write my book. As of today, I am 52,056 words into my novel. I am just now getting to the part where everything awful happens and I am not sure how I am going to un-awful it as of yet. I have been working on this story for about a year, with some unfortunate moments when I did write, sprinkled with some self-obsessed writers block. Now, I have reverted back to pre-school and an award system. My system consists of my filling in a “goal circle” for each 1,000 words I write. Then for every two thousand words I write, I get to color in one of those upside down triangles as though I am collecting these words for charity.
These words, donated or not, are all for my wellbeing. I can’t imagine going any longer without finally writing this story I didn’t even know was brewing in my brain. In fact, I wrote two outlines and this story did not adhere to them at all. My characters were not interest my by plot lines or my tediously written notes. I think the story is better for that which is why I am still going.
In all my musings, I am reaching for that goal of 80,000 for a fiction novel. I know that I will have to go back and REALLY edit my story since midway through the entire plot shifted when I decided to combine one plot with another plot of a different story I had failed to write. I am beginning to think that false start of a story was supposed to alway be part of this story I am writing now, I just didn’t realize it until midway through.
Even though writing is my main topic right at this moment, I have many other interests as well. Although I enjoy having my mental apparatus up and going, I would like to document it which is why I am beginning this blog. Once again, a false start I’ve done in the past. I think it is meant to happen now.