Friday, June 29, 2012

Musings on Novel Writing

So I've been trying to actually write a novel, on and off, for around ten years now. Not the same novel the whole time, after a few years I give up on the one idea and toss it. Then I start a new one a few months later.

This time, I've been working on a novel that I think I might actually finish, but we'll see.

So, in light of this point in my novel writing "career" I'm going to share a few tips on how to actually write stuff down. In no particular order at all.

1. Just freaking write. Yeah, you aren't inspired, the light isn't right, and the moon just hasn't hit the right alignment yet. So what? Write anyways. Doesn't have to be able your story, but get something on paper.

2. Read your stuff. Go back every now and then and read stuff that you have already written. If you want, do some edits to tidy it up a bit. Maybe you'll come up with new ideas or sub-ideas to expand on just from reading your own awesome words.

3. Get over yourself. The first draft is never perfect. It isn't supposed to be, that's why it's a draft.

4. Type whole words. Seriously, no1 wantz 2 reed wen u typ lyk dis. Write the whole word out and stop being so... ridiculous. It just makes you look dumb.

5. I'm awesome, and people love reading my stuff. I don't know why, but you know what? Who cares? I love writing, so if people wanna read it, GO FOR IT! Win-win for me! Want me to read your awesome stuff? Link it to me, and I'll check it out!

Basically, if you want to write, just do it. Don't worry about being published or having the final novel manuscript when you haven't even written a first draft. Make mistakes, then make more mistakes. Fix them, learn from them, improve.

Most of all: Just write.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chasing Dreams: Step 1 Update #2

So here is my update from the last week about my dream chasing:

Thursday June 21: Done!
Friday June 22: Nope
Saturday June 23: Negative
Sunday June 24: Done!
Monday June 25: Done!
Tuesday June 26: Done!
Wednesday June 27: Done!

Oh yeah, I rock. 5/7 is a WAYYY better track record. Seriously. And I'm not too sore, despite doing 4 days in a row! Awesome!

Now to switch it up a bit, here's my new routine:

50 jumping jacks with Zumba toning sticks in hand
10 pushups (still working on making it all the way down for the full 10)
10 crunches/sit-ups
5 wide-legged squats

Just a few changes, little by little! I would also like to note that since the last time I weighed myself, I dropped 4 pounds. Not that I'm really aiming for a specific number, but it's kind of nice to see a difference. Especially when the clothes aren't really fitting better yet.

Work in progress!

Also, does anyone else thinks it's sad that my last post was a week ago, which was update #1? I need to write more. I've been slacking.

And by slacking, I mean working feverishly to finish the novel (A Quiet Awakening is my working title) I started over a year ago. Still on the first draft phase, but I'm at least back to adding to it. I should really start typing it up.

Is anyone interested in reading character summaries?

Anyone else chasing their dreams one step at a time? Chime in!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chasing Dreams: Step 1 Update

After last week's post on Chasing Dreams, literally the next day, I came down with a cold that knocked me off my feet for 2 days. Go figure. I am still recovering from the cold, but have been doing my exercises for the past 2 days. So here is my update:

Wednesday June 13: Done!
Thursday June 14: Sick
Friday June 15: Sick
Saturday June 16: Not done (strawberry picking instead, and recovering)
Sunday June 17: Not done (recovering)
Monday June 18: Not done (recovering)
Tuesday June 19: Done! (recovering)
Wednesday June 20: Done! (recovering)

After doing it 2 days in a row this week, my muscles are sore. So I'm not going to increase any reps or sets until next week.

Until next week, my morning routine is still as follows:

50 jumping jacks
10 pushups
5 yoga ball sit-ups (or 10 bed crunches)

Anyone else chasing their dreams one step at a time? Chime in!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Flash Fiction: Sunlit World

(I wrote this for my mom, to help cheer her up since she's having a really bad day. Sharing it because that way she can come back and look at it any time.)

The hot tropical sun blazed overhead, not a cloud in the sky. Above the water shimmered a wall of fuzzy haze, occuring only when the heat was at just the right temperature. Trich lounged comfortably on her soft beach towel, eyes watching the haze through large sunglasses.

'At last the temperature is perfect,' she thought to herself, looking around to see if she knew anyone that was present on the beach. Reassured that she was entirely among strangers, she removed her beach skirt to reveal small bikini bottoms and her loose t-shirt to unveil a small bikini top.

Laying back down, she adjusted to a comfortable position and closed her eyes. Basking in the glorious heat, she felt the last remnants of chill melting out of her body beneath the blazing sun.

Times like these, where she needed sun so hot that it caused a haze in the sky to feel fully warm, she didn't feel quite human. Most of the others who were on the beach were in the water, the rest were in the shade beneath large beach umbrellas or leafy trees.

With her eyes closed, she blocked out the rest of the world. Behind her eyelids, she could see things that weren't there, like the world was falling into place as she watched. Seeing this always gave her a sense of peace.

She only once ever told anyone about the things she saw with her eyes closed, her mother. After telling her, Trich's mom tried to have her committed into an institution. There was a lot of backpedalling and claims of 'just a dream' to avoid that fate. Institutionalized, not a chance. They never got to lay out in the sun, as she was right now. As she needed to in order to maintain a healthy body temperature.

Trich felt that her entire front side was fully warmed, and rolled over onto her stomach. Settling in once more, she focused on watching the world through closed eyes. Everything made more sense that way.

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think below.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Weekly Know-It-All Wrap-Up June 1-15

Again with the two week timeframe, but that's okay. There wasn't a whole lot that happened in the first week, so I decided not to bore the world with all of three links to my awesome writing. That's what playing catch-up is for!

Anyways, I did some writing for The Golden Vanguard, naturally, as my favourite e-newspaper to contribute to and read. Seriously, if you haven't checked out the other writers, you should. They're good peoples.

Some news that I shared the past two weeks. Canada's food inspection agency is proposing some changes to the regulations and policies when it comes to the inspection of our food. I think this will be a good thing, as long as it is followed properly. I also shared that Bill C-279 has passed the second reading in the House of Commons. This bill is to include individuals of non-binary gender and gender-variant people (including trans people) in hate crime and discrimination laws. Here's hoping it makes the last two steps of being passed!

On Helium, I added two short stories (fiction). One under the title "A Sorrowful Sunset" which my title is "Goodbye Sunset". The other is under the title "Perfect Daylight" and my title for it is "The Perfect Day". I'm trying to work on my fiction writing skills, and fantasy ideations.

I also did a piece on how to be a good friend to someone with bipolar disorder. Kind of worked in with the fact that I received my official diagnosis this week, and I really want to be able to share how to maximize your life despite having a mental illness.

Did a few posts on here too, for that matter! Check them out, and comment if you care to share your thoughts.

A moment of pride for myself here, I won Writer of the Month for May with The Golden Vanguard. The editors ran a contest for the writers, and whoever writes the most individual articles in a month wins Writer of the Month. As a prize, I get a full page feature of their spiffy website. Check it out here!

I also started doing some work on, to try and boost my non-typical income. I got a gig (two technically) translating a website from english to french. Not too shabby, plus it keeps me practicing and improving my french every day. Hopefully I get more!

For a directory of the gigs I'm offering on and on, click the links! Any help or work is appreciated, so if I'm offering something you're interested, let me know! (And if you don't want the sites to get any royalties, feel free to hire me straight from here, you know how to contact me!)

Any comments, questions, requests? Post them below, or drop me a line!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chasing Dreams: Step 1

Chasing my dreams is a big deal, and I want to share my progress with anyone who comes across this site. It all starts with small steps, and from there you take increasing amounts of small steps. It's a big deal in the end, but the progress seems easy. Keep it simple, make it easy, make it impossible to give up on yourself.

Step one towards chasing my dreams is going to be increasing my health and fitness level. I eat relatively healthy most of the time, but I am very inactive. I barely exercise, and some days I really don't understand how I don't weigh more than I do.

So starting today, I am pledging this small step.

50 jumping jacks in the morning
10 push ups in the morning
5 yoga ball sit ups in the morning

That's it! A week from now, I'm going to reassess, see if it's getting any easier. This small routine should take all of 5 minutes to complete, but it can make a huge difference.

Not to mention that increasing my health through activity is a great way to ensure mental health, and help keep my mood swings a little more manageable. Routine is the key to consistency to any degree, and having routine helps keep me going even when all I want to do is curl up into a ball and pretend the world doesn't exist.

Through this small addition to my routine, I am opening the door for increased fitness and exercise throughout the day, and throughout my life.

Take a step today towards a bigger goal. Make a small change that you can't say no to.

I know I did.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Be Yourself and Chase Your Dreams

All good things come to those who wait. But I don't want to wait anymore. It's time to pursue the things that I want, and stop letting others dictate when I'm going to get them. Going after the important things in life is something that just has to be done, otherwise I am but a petal in an overwhelming current.

The things I want include:
- writing for a living, even if only part-time for now
- publishing a novel or collection of short stories
- moving into a house that I own (aka mortgage...)
- my family being happy and moving forwards

Emotional stability has never been my strong point, but that isn't my fault. Why should I let that dictate how successful I can be? Many people with emotional instabilities have gone on to lead happy, healthy, productive lives. Playing the victim only leaves you in the dust behind the rest of the world.

To get the things that I want, I need to accept the way that I am and stop trying to change into what other people think I should be, or what I think I should be. I am what I am, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Using my unstable moods to benefit my goals is entirely possible. It also gives me something to acheive beyond the normal goals in life. I may not ever be consistent or stable, but maybe there's a reason for that. Maybe I'm not meant to be stable, not meant to be like everyone else. I'm meant to be the way that I am, so why should I keep trying to fight that?

No more fighting, no more denying myself. If I want to be happy and accept myself, I need to start today. I am perfect the way that I am.

Just like each and every other person out there, I am made the way I am. Don't try to force yourself to fit into someone else's mould, it won't work. Each and every person is made different, and that's okay.

Be yourself, accept yourself, and be kind to yourself. Every day is a struggle, don't fight yourself when the world is already against you. Turn around and fight back.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Temper Tantrums Need More Than A Band-Aid Solution

If you are the parent of a toddler, pre-schooler, kindergartener, or even school-aged (6-12) child who often has trouble expressing themselves and their emotions, you are likely on the receiving end of multiple temper tantrums.

Despite being associated with the "terrible twos", temper tantrums affect children and adults of all ages and upbringings. There comes a time when a person, regardless of age, just cannot deal with the feelings and emotions and frustrations that they are experiencing.

For young children, often it seems like you are constantly disciplining the child for having these tantrums. However, discipline is really just a band-aid solution on a much deeper problem. The problem roots, often, in the fact that the language skills and the understanding skills are not at the same level as the complexity of the emotions.

This means that often, all a child who has trouble with tantrums needs is a little bit of compassion and patience. If you notice that your three-year-old often has break-downs when it comes to grocery shopping, maybe the source of the issue isn't that he's a poorly behaved child, maybe the child is just bored and wants something to do. Or maybe he is hungry and cranky.

Taking a little bit of time before each new activity when your child is younger (under 5-6) to explain that something is going to change, give them a transition time (example: "John, we are going to put away the crayons in ten minutes and then we will be getting ready for bed") and then keep to the time you provided, can make all the difference in how your child reacts to the change.

If the tantrums are caused by hunger or boredom, there are many easy ways to avoid them even in public places. Carry a few purse/bag safe snacks with you everywhere, and a few portable activities that will keep them occupied if boredom strikes.

Does this seem like catering to the child's whims to you? Maybe it does, but that is because of the way you were brought up. There is nothing wrong with you, and there is nothing wrong with providing something to meet your child's physical and emotional needs in any place necessary. That isn't catering, that's parenting. That is slowly teaching methods of coping with less than ideals circumstances. And that is the best thing you can do for yourself and for your child.

Parenting is all about doing the best you can with what you have, so give yourself the best tools and set everyone in the family up for success. You deserve it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Weekly Know-It-All Wrap-Up May 26-31

It's (was) Friday once more, and that means you all get to catch a glimpse of the awesome-ness that is my writing. It was a pretty productive week, despite the personal crap that I've been dealing with, so enjoy!

On Mrs. Omniscient, I wrote on the topic of small issues being ignored and becoming larger until they threaten to consume in regards to parenting. I also touched on what the words peace and pacifism mean to me.

For The Golden Vanguard, I touched on news for the first time. Locally, I mentioned how an East End Ottawa location is being considered for a new waste management facility. Canada-wide, the changes to the EI system were covered, as was the possibility of marketing a genetically modified apple in Canadian markets.

On the subject of health and well-being, I explained the positive and negative effects of stress. In the interest of breaking down stereotypes, the fact that not all homosexual men are effeminate was a piece from my heart. Finally, to wrap up Mental Health Awareness
Month, I explained the difference between personality quirks and mental illness. Finally, a book review of an old favourite of mine, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman.

Quite a bit of writing for The Golden Vanguard, but I really enjoy it. I also succeeded at writing the most articles for them than any of their other writers last month. I'm going to get a feature for that success, so stay tuned for that!

Thanks for reading, let me know what you think!