Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pin Your Name to My Heart

Thanks to my wonderful friend Josie, I decided to become a member of the Pinterest community.  I border on being a Luddite sometimes, for a variety of personal and logistical reasons, so me branching out into so much technology this year is a big step.  In graduate school we discussed a wide variety of emerging technologies that would shape the future of librarianship—and the world at large.  Perhaps Pinterest is the newest social tool for authors to share their works?

I will say that Pinterest Day One has not been the easiest.  Learning how to pin images to my boards and how to search and find other users and their boards involved a steep learning curve.  Then there was the business of internet connectivity and the whole mess of logging in and verifying my email…I was ready to give up in a hurry after all of that.  Once I finally figured out how to pin images, it became a lot easier.  There’s no way to know how far I will actually take the Pinterest thing.  So far it seems a nice way to look at photos.
One nice feature of Pinterest thus far is that it is linked to Facebook.  When my last computer died, I lost my favorites, including a webpage and wiki I had made while in graduate school.  I tried but was never able to find them again, so I have no way of knowing if they are even still floating around in cyberspace (the wiki should be anyway) so I find myself hoping, at last, that some of my web creations are…lasting.

Currently listening to:  The Sweetest Days by Vanessa Williams

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Light in the Dark

What time of day is the most creative for you?  Most of my writing is done under cover of the night, in the minutes and hours before I finally decide to sleep.  This is the quietest time of the day, the point at which it is easiest for me to gather my thoughts.  As I compose this blog, I am working on my novel.  I also write during the day time hours, but for some reason my creativity is primarily stimulated when the moon rises.  It is entirely possible I have reverted back to my college pattern, where I would spend an evening thinking and crank out my work around midnight or later.  This type of creativity is never great for your sleep habits, and furthermore it makes you thankful for spell check.   The darkness, it seems, brings my creativity to light.

Currently listening to:  “Words I Couldn’t Say” by Rascal Flatts.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Under Cover Letters

I get the feeling that there is a perfect method for writing a cover letter, but I have yet to find it.  Why is it so easy for me to write fiction, but so difficult for me to write about myself?  Even when I read sample cover letters, I struggle to find my own voice.  In some ways I think this is a sign of humility; in this corner of the world I was raised to be proud but not a braggart.  In another way, though, it is a lack of confidence that keeps me from promoting myself.  I consistently wonder if my accomplishments measure up to others.  Others have had more opportunities to travel and do internships; I did the best I could with limited resources, working consistently throughout college and focusing on my studies.  Is writing cover letters easier for those with a long list of accomplishments?  Putting yourself out there is always a little disarming and frightening. 
The entire process of searching for a job can be soul-draining, but once we give up hope we have nothing left.

Currently listening to:  Flashlight by Chris Young

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Source

I have an interesting philosophical question for everyone out there.  In writing, it is better to draw on one's own experience, or rather is it preferable make it all up and let your imagination to drive the story?  Perhaps a combination of the two is better?  So much of my writing--about 99 percent--has been pulled from thin air.  I am having fun living vicariously through my characters, taking them to places and putting them into situations I can only dream about experiencing.  I suppose it all depends on the type of writing; in this blog I draw upon my experiences as I share my feelings with you.  If I were writing, say, a sci-fi novel, much of the science and technology I discuss would have to be fiction in order to make the story function properly.  Empathy is an important quality for an author to possess.  You must have empathy for other people and their situations in order to have empathy for your characters.  Through empathy you gain understanding, which is another important quality in writing. You must understand your characters and settings implicitly, since in many cases they will be your own.  Finally, inspiration is different for everyone.  We all draw on a variety of
experiences, sources, and feelings when we create our work.

Currently listening to:  "Help Me Remember" by Rascal Flatts

Monday, May 14, 2012

Typing Outside the Lines

Last night I was working on my second novel and it was so odd.  It felt as though my words were coming from somewhere outside myself.  Maybe I've been doing too much writing while drowsy.  I've noted here before that writing forces you to push outside boundaries and look outside yourself so this kind of plays into all that.  I think there is an element in writing that allows authors to live vicariously through their characters; any type of creativity implies placing a certain amount of yourself in the work.  A character who is your own creation is ultimately yours to mold and shape, to provide their voice, to allow them to make certain choices and mistakes.  Little pieces of me have fallen into my writing so far.  I can only hope that stories and elements and interests that I like are relevant and interesting to others.  On that note, I'll sign off for today.  My writing can become too circular sometimes...

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Now that my book is completed and published to Amazon’s eKindle Publisher, I have to figure out an effective method of advertising.  I like to think this blog is one of those avenues.  I suppose my ultimate fear is apathy and dislike for my work, although at least dislike means someone read it.  There are truly works written for every taste, which is why the book aisle in any store is so full of novels and non-fiction titles.  I’m still not entirely comfortable with my self-drawn cover but since it was done on a limited budget I guess it’s better than the placeholder cover Amazon provides.  Later I’ll try to create something better.  Ultimately I’m not sure how long it takes to read the book, but I do know it took me close to six hours to finish each time I edited it.  If anyone has any comments, hopefully positive, feel free to share them with me.  I look forward to hearing from fans, no matter where they may be.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I have no doubt posted this here before, but my first novel is finally complete.  It took more a month to edit, which is remarkable but not surprising.  The editing process was much more difficult than the conception and writing of the book.  As I read over it one last time, I started to question a lot of my decisions and my writing process.  At the same time, though, it is my work, something that came entirely from my head and my heart.  The entire process, from beginning to end, has been a learning experience.  Any time you begin an endeavor, you are required to push yourself, to give yourself motivation to clear hurdles and complete your journey.  Along the way you must face doubt, all the while second-guessing yourself, and entertaining thoughts of quitting.  This has been an added benefit of sharing my goals and my writing; had I quit several people would have hounded me until I actually finished my novel.  I thank each and every person, multiple times over, for the encouragement they’ve provided, no matter how great or small.  Had I been writing in a vacuum, unable to share my thoughts and feelings, I may never be where I am now, on the verge of publication. 

Monday, May 7, 2012


I am not sure of the process which other authors use; I can only speak to my experience.  When I write, I find myself immersed in the setting.  I picture it in three-dimensions, imagining that it is unfolding in front of me.  I see the characters and settings in my mind, as though they were a movie playing on my brain.  I try to feel what they feel as I write, whether it is love, anger, happiness, or sadness.  Visualization is my greatest gift, one that I'm sure many others share.  I create in my mind things that seem real even though they are not.  In my real life this can sometimes be a problem--no store has yet discovered how to stock items that are merely in my head--but in the creative process it allows me to expand my horizons, push my boundaries, and step outside my comfort zone to see how a story should flow.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


When I was in graduate school, I read the excellent book “The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud” by Ben Sherwood.  Last night I was finally able to see the movie adaptation with Zac Efron which is also pretty good.  Some of the bonus features talked about the need to be “connected” to those who pass on; we wind up trying to hold onto just a small piece of them.  It got me to thinking about those who come in and out of our lives; how they impact us, sometimes profoundly, no matter how long we know them.  We form unbreakable bonds with people whom we may go years without seeing.  We maintain relationships with far-flung friends whom we may never see again.  A deep connection to someone rarely seen can be so much more fulfilling than the relationships that are a part of our daily lives.  As such, no matter how many of us, myself including, claim to be loners, we are all striving, each and every day, for some type of connection.  Whether we connect in friendship, love, or some indefinable, these are the relationships that sustain us, that nourish and encourage us.
At the same time, I think about the movie’s message of how we desire to connect with those who have gone on before us, those friends and loved ones we have lost.  I like to think of my grandmother as my guardian angel.  I like to think that she watches over us and guides us to make the right decisions.  In life she provided encouragement, but never forcefully.  So I like to think that she allows me to be rational and to explore my creativity as she also loved to draw and paint.  There are so many others I have known in my life who have passed on and so they remain at the back of my mind, pieces that were lost from the puzzle of life.  For some their time was long; for others, they barely got to make their way in life before they were lost to us forever.  I connect to them with my memories; photos and scraps of things that remind me of them.  Mementos and souvenirs—well, it all sounds like something out of a song. 

Currently listening to:  “Like a Rock” by Bob Seger