Whoooooo Aaaaarrrre Yoooouuuu?

CheshireCat

(Yes, Cheshire cat is Horrifying but I had to credit the quote, my title. And this one was less frightening than the others.)

Sit down.
You heard me, sit.
I’ve got startling news for you, and you’re going to wish you were sitting if you don’t.

Okay, now take a deep breath.
No, deeper than that.
Come on, suck that oxygen in, cuz you’re going to need it for your brain to take in what I’m about to say.
Now take two more.
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin.
Oooooooouuuuuut.
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin.
Oooooooouuuuuut.

YOU are a writer.
Oh yeah, that’s right. I’ll say it again in a little different way.
You ARE a writer.
Once more.
You are a WRITER.

Are you with me so far?
I know the doubt. I’ve had it too. It comes about, slinking in when you’re not looking, like the neighbor cat. It curls up on the rug in front of your mental fireplace and you think “How cute.” Then when you’re not looking it scratches the furniture, shreds your certainty. Darn neighbor cat.

Okay, You and I, writers.
You know what convinced me?
A quote that I can’t find. I looked. I found some other, wonderful and inspiring quotes but not the one I was looking for. Ah, the internet Rabbit Hole and the difficulty of modern research. LOL

Take this one instead

Real Writer

Got it? Do you see what I’m saying now?

You are a writer. :D Now WRITE! (or edit if that’s what you’re doing for CampNaNoWrimo.)

Remember, if you are doing CampNaNoWriMo.org this April, nanomail Pacifika and ask for an invitation to our local SpokaNano cabin. See you all at the lake.

To Journal or not to Journal Part 1

journalBlah, blah, blah journal.

That was my view. But I kept hearing that it was really good for the brain and sorting mental and emotional clutter. Basically a big bucket you can dump all of the random garbage that blathers in your head. (Or am I the only one with that problem?)

And of course it’s “so important” for writers, so I decided to try.

You’d think it would be intuitive but I need to know what the rules are before I do something so I got online and took a class*.

I was surprised that there are a lot of different types of journaling and different exercises. It’s not just “sit down, bare your soul on paper, hope no one reads it.” You can do a Gratitude Journal (useful for accentuating the positive in your life), lists (great for clarifying), unsent letters (excellent way of giving your older siblings “what for” without hurting their feelings or getting your butt kicked). There are others and all have different outcomes and uses.

You may have heard of Julia Cameron and her book The Artists Way. (Don’t panic! journalcatYou, as a writer are an artist, but don’t let that stop you. Deep breath. You don’t have to be a hoity-toity “artiste.”) She suggests “morning pages” which is just free writing three pages first thing in the morning. Just babble and that’s it.

I did a technique called “Dialogues” and it was an enlightening experience which I’ll make you sit through in another post. Mwahahaha.

Have you journaled? How long have you done it? Has it helped you quiet the brain and focus?

* Spokane County Library District (scld.org) is partnered with Gale University to give its patrons an astoundingly wide variety of free and awesome classes. Check them out when you have a moment.

Happy April First!

Ah, spring, when a girl’s mind turns to car maintenance.

I want to share with you the fine art of changing the oil. Pay very close attention as these steps are critical to the proper function of your vehicle.

1. Go to a reputable oil change business; local or chain works.

2. Pay them to do the job.

3. Do not let them talk you into paying them to change your blinker fluid or the muffler bearings. You can do those yourself.

(I just couldn’t put up the truly serious and important bits on April Fool’s Day so look at the previous (yesterdays) post for the real one.)

jester

Remember, if you are doing CampNaNoWriMo this April, nanomail Pacifika and ask for an invitation to our local SpokaNano cabin. See you all at the lake.

(Happy Campers are we, having fun ‘neath the trees…)

Swiss Army Knife and Back-up, Even When You Think You Don’t Need It

I didn’t really own an official Swiss Army Knife but I did have a cool pocket knife with extra tools. 

Extra tools are great. You can never have too many. Well, okay, maybe…No never mind. You can’t.

We have so many tools available to us as writers. Can you imagine handwriting 50,000 words dipping your quill every couple of words, in the light of your kerosene lamp with its sooty chimney? Yurgh! I know some of you hand write, even with fountain pens, but still, makes my hand hurt and my eyes burn just thinking about it.

Whew, enough horror stories for now.

When I started doing NaNo I used Microsoft Word. It was a few years before I tried yWriter (free). I love it and still use it. We also have Celtx (free; great for scripts but I haven’t done a novel on it) and Scrivener (free trial) available for computer use.

download

[Hmm. Now seems like an excellent time to switch gears.]

 

Hit SAVE more often than you think necessary. I was nearly done with this darn post and didn’t hit save. :p

So again, SAVE SAVE SAVE your work. Back-up at all opportunities. Once you’ve written that brilliant bit of prose there is no finding it again. It was the only thing you’ve ever written that was perfect the first time.

pens

 

Anyway, back to the tools topic.

There are websites that are great tools too. WriteorDie.com (entertaining and motivating), WriteOn.Amazon.com (a rather social place for writing where you can hide or show new material and ask for feedback), and 4theWords.com (pretty new and still working out kinks but you can earn badges for different things as you write).

As far as editing, CritiqueCircle.com and WriteOn.Amazon.com can be great for getting beta readers and feedback. Just remember that you can end up with frustrated, nitpicky people so take what you get with a grain of salt.

What do you use? Why do you like it the best?

And BACK UP!

Write Now Prompt for March 31, 2015

jaycegrae:

Last day before Camp! Get those fingers moving with Write Now’s prompt.

Originally posted on Today's Author:

Write_Now_Plane

At Today’s Author, our first goal is to get you (and us) to write. Write Now is our own collection of prompts to help you do that. With Write Now we’re not talking about writing, or trying to teach anyone how to write. Write Now is all about putting pen to paper.

Today’s Prompt:

Everyone assumed it was just another one of his crazy April Fool’s Day pranks.

Now_Write_Plane

How to play along with our Writing Prompts

  1. Write in any format or style you wish: short story, poem, script – whatever you like.
  2. Write for at least 5 minutes. There is no time limit – write for as long as you wish!
  3. Editing is not required, though we do recommend that you run a spell check at least.
  4. Post your work to your blog and include a link back here so your readers can find other writer’s work, too.
  5. Come back…

View original 85 more words

Catastrophe Over an Open Fire

By Pacifika

Camp-fire-cooking-283x400I was a Girl Scout. I have badges and pins adorning my troop jacket to prove it. I even graduated a Girl Scout.

And we were a camping troop. We had it down. We awed other troops with our crazy camping skills. We ate chicken roasted in a solar oven, tacos cooked over the fire. When one troop camping nearby said they were having hot dogs – again, we all looked at each with bright eyes, Hot Dogs, we’d never had them as a troop. Silly right? The favorite food however, was Catastrophe cooked over the fire in the morning. Best meal ever.

Catastrophe was just bacon, hash browns and eggs all cooked together in one pot. It’s now a family favorite. But I baconremember one fateful morning when the designated cook forgot to pay attention and the bacon burned (gasp!). We were distraught. We gave it a proper burial and a last salute as we disposed of it. We were grief-stricken, worried. Can you have Catastrophe without bacon? How can it be done? We needed the bacon grease to cook the hash browns. What about flavor? But we continued on, improvised. And everything turned out. We had
Catastrophe and it was still delicious. Not as good but still…

(Cue Obligatory Writing Analogy)

Writing is like Catastrophe. We take our characters, plot, and story and throw them bit by bit into the pot and stir. Sometimes we overcook the characters and they become too chewy. Sometimes we over-salt the plot. Sometimes we don’t simmer the story enough and it lacks the intricate flavor we were hoping for. We look at it and sigh in grief as we give the salute. BUT WAIT!

stewpotCampNaNo is coming up. We can improvise. We can make a few tweaks and add some more seasoning to compensate. We can pull out the overcooked characters and maybe stew them in another pot…

Oh, Yuck. Well, you get the idea. We have a great opportunity to fix things.

I plan on making an outline of a previous NaNo novel that I love but it turns out has some over-cooked characters and needs a little more seasoning in other places. Depending on how things go I might just take that outline and rewrite the whole book. Yikes. That’s a stressful idea. Okay, best not to think about it.

Anyway, the point is with CampNaNo you can pick the activities that you want to do. Flexibility is the best part of Camp. You can write anything you want: poetry, non-fiction, fiction, articles, blog posts or you can revise. And you get to choose your target. You don’t have to go for 50k words. You can, but you don’t have to. You can go for 10k or if you are feeling adventurous, 100k! WOW.

So give it a go. Get in there, sign in to CampNaNoWriMo.org and get your Novel created, then give me (Pacifika) a nanomail letting me know you want in to the cabin (unless you are wanting the excitement of a cabin full of strangers – which is also good) and I’ll send you an invitation.

Looking forward to camping with you. :D

Lather, rinse, repeat.

calendar pages

“As a horse when he has run, a dog when he has tracked the game, a bee when it has made the honey, so a man when he has done a good act, does not call out for others to come and see, but he goes on to another act, as a vine goes on to produce again the grapes in season.”

Translation: We’ll see you again next year!