Let’s Talk Poetry

I love poetry, it is one of my favorite things to read. Give me classic poets or contemporary or anything in between I love them. I’ve been trying to read more poetry lately because I’ve had myself so far into novel land I’ve gotten out of the habit. I have a way to resolve this though! There are various places you can go to read a poem a day, but I’m a fairly busy woman, so why not have them sent to me, instead of me trying to find them?
Yes, I have a newsletter that sends me a poem a day, a podcast that reads me a poem and day, and if that weren’t enough, I have a tumblr that I follow that provides a poem a day. Sure that is a bit lazy, but it allows me to be surprised every day by what I get to read and hear. I could easily grab a book of poetry from my shelf and pick a poem, but that eliminates the chance to find new poetry that I haven’t been exposed to. I’ll add the links so if you are interested you can see what I see every day.
Exposure to new poetry is important to me. It should be important to everyone in my opinion. I’m sure there are studies that say the same thing. Instead I will include an article about poetry with the other links at the bottom of this post. I feel that everyone should be exposed to poetry, but this is more true for children. I remember some of the first poetry I ever heard as a child and I was instantly obsessed. Maybe I’m biased because I hope that the more children who read and fall in love with poetry like I did will increase my chances of having my poetry read long after I die. I know that isn’t likely, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be happy if it did happen. Though I’ll never be anywhere in the same ball park as Sylvia Plath or Emily Dickinson, but a woman can dream.
So why is poetry so important to me? Reading poetry took me away from everything that was happening in my life. Writing poetry gave me an outlet for the emotions that I was feeling. I was never comfortable sharing my feelings with others, and I’m still not. That is just who I am, but when I write poetry- I let my emotions bleed into my words, just like so many others before me have. The ability to let people feel what I’m feeling, or at least have a glimpse of my mind- that is something I wish more people could have, or do. So yeah, poetry is important to me.
This post took me two weeks to write. Why? Because I’ve been struggling to do anything. And today I’m going to write about it. So maybe you’ll get to see that glimpse in the future.

 

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem-day
https://www.rattle.com/
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/podcasts/series/74634/poemoftheday
http://apoemaday.tumblr.com/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roger-housden/importance-of-poetry_b_884319.html

Poetry & Writing

When I started writing as a kid, it was originally what could best be described as a short story. It was actually a quite embarrassing piece of work that followed me around for ages, but has been lost in recent years and I’m super sad about it… really. It was something along the lines of: Page 1 – What makes flowers grow? Page 2- Dirt makes flowers grow. Page 3- Water makes flowers grow— I think you get the hint by now. I mean, I was like six or seven when I wrote this, so I feel like it was pretty advanced myself! Who am I kidding, it was awful, but that really isn’t the point of what I’m getting at here.
I’ve spent the last several years straying away from my roots as a writer. I have been trying over and over unsuccessfully to write a novel. I would go from idea to idea never getting past a first draft. Often I would never even complete the first draft. I get a great idea, and for a few weeks I am obsessed. And then I’m not. The thought of trying to work on whatever story I’m doing makes me want to scream so I give up and start something new, or go through all my old scraps of ideas looking for renewed interest. I have been repeating this process on and off for the last ten years. I have recently sat myself down to try to figure out why I’m struggling with writing.
Before I had started to try to figure out this world of novel writing I would write poetry. Sometimes short prose and rarely something that could almost be considered a short story. Why had I moved on from writing that works well for me and I love doing? That is sort of easy. I thought, in order to be a “real writer” I had to be able to write a full novel. I thought there was no way I could ever make any money at all writing poetry, or anything shorter then a novel. I’ve never been one to be about the money, but some day I would love for writing of some form or another to be my “real job”.
Thinking about it all now it seems silly to me. There are plenty of amazing poets out there that I admire. Why would I think that they are not “real writers”? If I could think it about myself, then it must apply to all poets. I’ve recently even put out a request for favorite poets across Facebook and Twitter. It was amazing to see the love of poetry from my friends. It made my heart warm a little bit if I’m being honest. I don’t know why I felt the need to convince myself that the thing I loved so much wasn’t worthy and that instead I had to waste 10 years of my life trying to do something that I should have known I would never accomplish. Who knows, novel writing might be in my future, but it is not going to be anything I try again for awhile. And I’m totally okay with that.
I came across a quote today as I was sitting here writing this. It seems relevant and something that I need to often remind myself.

If you’re writing, you’re a writer.
― Alan W. Watts

At this point in my life I don’t want to waste any more time on something that isn’t making me happy. I will be going back to my roots and living my true self as a writer/poet. I will work on poetry, various kinds of short prose, short stories, and even submit articles around to see if anyone bits. If the ‘Letter to the Editor’ that I wrote in 8th grade taught me anything it is that I can argue my point and stir quite a bit of controversy in a community if I am passionate enough. I have many passions these days. I would love to make my 8th grade self proud of who I’ve become as a writer.
Do any of you have poets that you love to read (or hear in cases like Spoken Word)? I will leave this with a link to one of my favorite contemporary Spoken Word poets right now, who did a TED talk. (I am a bit obsessed with her)

Sarah Kay’s TED talk

Painting in a Cave

My Bipolar messes with my life.

I wish I could say that I’ve got everything under control. My medication is working and I’m control my life, but that would be a lie. Sure things are better since I’ve started medication, but that doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. Far from it.

Medication is a balancing act. For awhile things will be fine, and then it isn’t. Once I’m on the right dosage I’m sure I’ll get evened out a bit, but for right now, I’m counting down the hours until I can meet with my Psych tomorrow to get a higher dosage of my prescription.

I didn’t want to write this to talk about my medication though, that was only a small part of what I’m struggling with. I’m so out of it I’m not writing. I’m not working out regularly. I’m eating horribly and just not taking care of myself properly. But even that isn’t what I’m really here to talk about.

I realized something with my writing. Or, at least I’m starting to realize something. I have a hard time finishing projects. I’ve always thought it was because I couldn’t keep with one project long enough or because I thought my own writing was horrible, but I’ve started to wonder if maybe the reason I am having a hard time is because I’m not relating to the characters I’m writing.

I’ve also realized I’m writing in genres that I want to read, but I’m not writing the stories that I want to read about.

These realizations, and any others that I get along the way, mean that I’ve got a lot of work to do and  I need to get my butt in gear and actually do it.

I love writing. Anyone who knows me knows this is true. It has been a dream of mine most of my life. Well, I’m getting to the point that I either need to sit down and write or stop dreaming so big. I’m not looking for fame or fortune. I’m looking to be happy, but part of being happy is getting this stuff out of my head and getting it on paper.

I have a ton of work to do. I’ve got a million habits to form. And they all start with one thing– doing the work. Some days that will be easier than others, especially considering my Bipolar and my medication, but I’ll do what needs to be done– or I will at least start trying. I was really on a role at one point, but then I wasn’t. It’s okay, progress isn’t linear, so at least I know that.

I’ve been trying to read more again too. That will help spark some more reading I think. The more I read, the more I want to write. There is a quote from Stephen King that sticks with me, and has since the first time I saw it:

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” -Stephen King

I believe this quote to be an ultimate truth in the world of writing. One that I need to live by, among several others, but this one currently above all. And another one about sitting down and writing….

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” -Ernest Hemingway

Yes, that is the one. I guess it is time for me to read and bleed, but please don’t quote me on that. Ever.

I’ll leave you with one last item, the one that I got my title for this post from. A song that always makes me motivated to be creative, even when I really don’t feel like it.

Another Travelin Song – Bright Eyes

My life consists of D&D now

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I’m in a really odd place in my life right now. I’ve just started playing D&D, a lot. I would say on average I play 3-4 days a week in a mixture of Homebrew and Adventurers League. With my anxiety medication actually working it makes it easier to go out and be semi social, even if I am pretending to be someone else while I’m there.

This is great for me on many levels. A big one being I’m actually getting out of my house, and for those of you who don’t know me, that doesn’t happen often. It is also fuel for my imagination, which is always helpful considering my imagination is what keeps me going most days.

All is not great though. I have noticed, with my new schedule that I’m missing out on a lot of things. Sleep being a big one, but my writing is also suffering. I am still working on figuring out a way to fit it all in, but I’m getting there. I’m forcing myself to get up in the morning, which currently is hit or miss for me as mornings are not my favorite thing, but hey, at least I’m trying right!

I won’t be successfully completing Camp NaNo this month, but that’s okay. What this non-writing time has provided to me is a ton of ideas and an almost endless supply of even more ideas. That to me, is far more important. The words will come eventually, I don’t have to rush them. I don’t have any kind of deadlines anyway. Writing is just what I love, I don’t have to rush for anyone. I write for myself.

That is all for now. Maybe I’ll have something more thought provoking next week.

 

I really have no title for this

So my life has been pretty abnormal lately, even for me, but I’m still trying to push forward and stick to my goals for this month, which primarily consist of completing Camp NaNo, getting my workouts in, and making healthier choices.

I’m slightly behind on Camp NaNo, but not enough that would make it hard to catch back up. I’m actually hoping to get some good time today to get caught up and possibly even surpass my daily goal on top of that. Nothing better than some wiggle room.

I’m working on a project that I really feel will make a great story. Obviously I’m not going to tell you what it is, but I will say it is as if I took a D&D adventure and put it into a book. So if you are into D&D or fantasy adventure in general then it might be something you’d enjoy. If I ever finish it that is. I’m not exactly known for getting past a first draft, but with this project I’m really into it, so who knows.

I, for those of you who don’t know, don’t do much planning before I start writing. I have a general idea of what I’m going to write about, but I don’t have any clue beyond that basic idea. I’ve even tried to make a basic outline that I could try to follow, but that is just too difficult for my chaotic brain to handle. How am I supposed to know what my characters are going to do until I put them in situations and see what happens?

What I can usually do before writing is create a basic backstory for my main characters. In this project I have six main characters and each one of them has their own backstory and reason for being out traveling in the world. Writing those gives me an idea of their personality and their reason for making the decisions that they do, but it doesn’t force the story to go into any specific direction and that is why I can do it without much issue.

I am quite ready for this first draft to be done, that is for sure. I’m looking forward to tweaking it and really making the story come to life. Right now I’m just focused on getting the words onto “paper”. I guess you could say this is how I outline. I write the whole thing is one big ramble and then will refine it later on, if I ever get that far. I usually get lost in the editing and rewriting process of the second draft, if I ever make it that far. I can’t tell you how many half drafts or first chapters I have just waiting to get written. Someday I’ll get to them all. Someday.

 

Writing Courses

I love to learn. It is one of my favorite things to do in my free time (what little I have). I spend that time watching YouTube videos or finding different ways to learn something new. I have stacks of books about writing, it is obviously a subject I enjoy learning as much about as possible.
I haven’t been able to take as many courses on the subject as I’d like, but I have taken one, and it was one I really enjoyed. It has been helpful in creating story ideas when I just wasn’t feeling able to come up with something all on my own. It also made me actually plan out some of the things I would normally just leave to chance or spontaneity. One Page Novel (http://ladywritersleague.com/courses/one-page-novel/) is a really great idea sparking course to take. Once you’ve gone through the videos you can do this process without them, but any time I go back to do it I prefer to use the videos.
Not only is this course wonderful, but with your purchase you unlock any future courses and all the resources the Eva has to offer. Worksheet Wednesday is a favorite of mine. I really have enjoyed everything I’ve gotten out of this course and her resources. I even encountered an issue with my purchase and she responded to me quickly and personally. There is something to be said of someone taking the time out to do tasks like that on their own. I highly suggest One Page Novel to anyone. If you can’t do the course, you can follow Eva on most social media platforms, and I highly suggest that as well. Here is her twitter to start you off : @evadeverell.
That is currently the only real course I’ve taken, but I do have a few I’d love to do if I ever had the money to do them. Gotham Writers (https://www.writingclasses.com/classes/catalogue/fiction) and Writer’s Digest (https://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/) are some of the examples that I have so far, though I’m sure if I went through all my bookmarks I’d find many others. I find the variety of classes and the subjects interesting and I’m drawn to them.
So that is all I have about courses right now. I am sure the lack is disappointing, but that is why I’m writing here. I’m looking for your suggestions. Have you come across some really amazing courses in your time online? Any good books you’ve read that really made you feel like you’ve improved your writing? I’d love to hear what you have found!

Camp NaNo- July Edition

July 1st starts the next round of Camp NaNo. I didn’t complete it successfully in April, but I’m hoping to be able to reach my goal list go round. I’ve been prepping on and off this month instead of writing every day. I want to get what little preparation that I do ahead of writing done so that once July 1st hits I can just write write write.

Realistically I know this is unlikely to happen. I’m going to get exhausted from work, I’m going to procrastinate, I’m going to binge watch Anime or some other thing I’ve been wanting to watch, or play video games, or whatever other thing I use to keep myself in denial about my procrastination problem.

Sure, I’ll start the month with nothing but great intentions. I always do don’t I? I guess I have to make up my mind now if I’m going to stick with the goals I set for myself next month, hell even for the remainder of this month, or if I’m going to let myself drop off again. I’d love to say that I’m going to stick with it, I really would. And I’m going to try my hardest to do that, but if my track record has anything to say about it, it is unlikely to occur.

Even when I don’t succeed with events like this, I still like to try. I participate in Camp NaNo, and in NaNoWriMo on a yearly basis. I keep trying every time and I *have* completed one NaNoWriMo, but I probably cheated (using words I’d written already).

So in the next few weeks I hope to finish up my preprations and get myself ready to try and succeed this time. I don’t like to do much planning, but having an idea of what my story is I guess is helpful. I do enjoy having enough room to play though, you never know where a story will take you if you let it. So I refuse to plan that much, and love to figure out my characters on the fly.

Are you participating in July? What is your project about? What are your goals for the month?