My Own Laziness Is Conspiring Against Me

A few nights ago, I was about to fall asleep when an idea hit me.  It was an awesome idea for a post that might have worked out great since I’m running out of things to talk about while I finish the never-ending LOTR debacle.  I resolved to type out a draft of the post the next day.

Yeah, only here’s the thing: the next morning, I had forgotten what it was.

This has happened before.  I”ll be nice and cozy in bed (of course, it isn’t always in bed- it can be other places too) when WHAM!  An idea for a blog post or a plot point or what-have-you will hit me like a cannonball to the creativity.  And unless I write it down somewhere right that very instant, I’ll forget all about it the next day.  I guess it’s something about having it physically down somewhere that helps me remember.  This is why I use the Notes app on my iPod touch so often, and I usually have said iPod lying on my nightstand.

Only this time it wasn’t there.  And what was I going to do, get up and walk somewhere to find it?  Or write down the idea on paper?  “No!” declared my dominant lazy side.  “This will not stand!  I believe in my ability to retain information on my own!”

And thus, the downfall of a perfectly good post idea occurred due to my lazy side’s overconfidence in my hippocampus.*

...Too late.

It becomes a vicious cycle: every time this happens, I resolve not to let it happen again.  And the next few times I get a good idea, I succeed in putting it down somewhere before I forget it.  But then the ONE NIGHT I don’t have my handy-dandy notebook (or what-have-you) with me, the wrath of the plot bunnies takes advantage of my vulnerability and descends.  And once it does, because I instantly forget how bad this is for me, I think, “Great!  What a splendid thought!  There’s NO WAY I’ll forget a thought this awesome!  I’ll be sure to write it down in the morning!”  And then the bunnies continue on their merry way…right out of short-term memory without even bothering to convert to long-term (or whatever term is needed for recall in eight hours or so).

This, readers, does not bode well for my writing career.  What if I get a really good plot bunny and don’t record it?  I must keep something with me at all times for just such a purpose.

Unfortunately, Google chooses not to cooperate today, but I know that I heard somewhere that the brain becomes most creative when it is drowsy and about to fall asleep.  Maybe it’s something about the quiet of one’s bed.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that it’s FRUSTRATING when my neurons suddenly spark off one of these brain waves.

I suppose this is a part of life, and, like many parts of life, a learning experience.  And I have learned my lesson now: always write it down before you forget it.

You could argue that this post doesn’t really have much to do with writing or reading, but I think it’s a decent subject to talk about.  After all, many of my ideas come from unexpected plot bunnies such as these.  It’s important that we writers are prepared when they strike, and strike they will.  Hopefully we can actually get something decent out of these tiny ideas.

Happy reading!

 

*That would be the part of the brain where memory is stored.

An Experiment in Spontaneity

I don’t know what I’m going to write about today.

Really.  I suppose this is just one of those days.  A day when you can’t think of something to write, no matter how hard you stare at the computer screen.  A day when all of your creativity seems to have deserted you.  Because I honestly can’t think of anything to talk about.

I don’t think it’s because I’ve written about everything there is to write about; reading is an eternally ongoing experience for me, and I doubt I’ll ever be finished with it.  Maybe I’m just not feeling inspired today.

So, the question is this: what inspires people to write?  I don’t mean what makes them want to write or what gives them the original ideas for their writing, but what fleshes out their stories?  What is that crucial element which allows writers to keep doing what they do, without fail?

Maggie Stiefvater (you remember her, don’t you?) wrote about this topic some time ago on her blog (which is linked-to in the sidebar as always).  She said that one needs to go out and live.  Really live, as in see new places, experience new things, do something you’ve never done and draw from that.  Use your adventures to fuel your stories, to make it seem more real.  Inspiration, according to her, cannot be obtained from staying in the same environment all the time.  If a writer is holed up in his or her room every day, he or she is drawing on the same set of memories and knowledge that he or she always has.  When that happens, the well of ideas is going to dry up eventually.

Nature can be very good for the creativity.

I tend to agree with Mrs. Stiefvater.  I believe we writers need to go out there and really live life and be inspired.

So if you ever have a day like mine, a day where you are simply sitting in front of the monitor with a blank space where your thoughts usually are, my advice is do something different.  It doesn’t have to be much.  After all, it doesn’t take much for an idea to form.

Like this post.  I did something I’ve never really done before: I started writing with absolutely no preconceived notion of what I was going to post about.  All I knew was that I was going to post today.  I just started writing, and look where it led me.  I now have a full-fledged blog post for you, as well as some sound advice for myself.  And that brings me to a second piece of advice that has become apparent: on a day such as this, writers, just write something.  Write anything.  Start with absolutely no idea what you are writing, whether it be the worst thing you’ve ever written or the most epic novel ever produced in the history of humanity.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  You never know where those first few sentences might take you.  You might even get something great out of it.

It all works out eventually.

In other words: don't let lack of inspiration get you down!

Happy reading!

A Google Adventure

I think I picked the wrong name for my blog.

This post got its birth from this one over at The Jackie Blog.  If you’re too lazy to click the link, it’s all about the author’s struggle to have her blog higher in the Almighty Listings of Google.  Which got me thinking.

What do people get when they search for the term “novel journeys?”

And so I embarked on the journey that has culminated in this post.  I figured it was time for something a bit different than a rant on all things book related.  Also, this post is relatively short, which is good because I have an essay due next week that I really need to start, plus all those books (I’m still on The Two Towers).

I used Google for this, because it’s the logical choice (really, does anyone really use Yahoo or Bing?).  It’s the one I use all the time.  So, I typed in the search term.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the first link that popped up was the home page for this blog.  But Google knows that I go there all the time.  Of course it would put that first.  So I scrolled down a bit and got…

This.  A travel agency.  For vacations to places where books took place.  Interesting?  Yes.  But I don’t want my blog to be found by people looking for a vacation.  But then I actually looked at the vacations.  Don Quixote, Anna Karenina- okay.  I can deal with this.  It’s fine sharing my name with one-

What’s this?!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s true.  My blog shares a name with more than one book-related travel company.  Except this particular one deals with one series in particular.  Twilight.

Don’t get me wrong- I liked Twilight.  I did.  But the series has a lot of haters.  Plus, I don’t specialize in Twilight.  If anything, I specialize in The Hunger Games, with Harry Potter at a close second.*

Anyway, that wasn’t the point I was making.  The point is there are a lot of other things, too.  Like this.  And this.

I guess there really is nothing new under the sun.  At least not in terms of blog names.  Here I was, coming up with this clever double-meaning (but in a good way) name that would become my way of launching into the blogosphere.  And here it is, already taken by countless other things.

Does that mean it’s a bad name?  Not in my book.  So it’s not completely original.  Did I really expect it to be in the first place?  In the days of its infancy, when I was coming up with usernames and domains, did I think I had something special- especially when that something was such a simply brilliant thing?

I suppose this is a learning experience for me.  I mean, there really are no new stories, either- just new ways of telling them.  So even though the name of my blog isn’t unique in this world, the content is.  I am unique.  So are my posts.  The title doesn’t make it any less valuable to me.  And that goes for my books as well.  They’re going to be similar to other things, sure, but in the end it’s all my own.

Well, I suppose that’s it for now.  I’d better go work on my essay.  On Tuesday I’ll be posting my contribution to the Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain, so tune in for that.

Happy reading!

 

*And now I really want a travel agency with Potter-themed tours…can someone research that for me?

 

 

 

 

Why I Am A Terrible Writer

Okay.  Here’s the deal.  I am actually awful at writing.  I really am.

I’ve started quite a few novels in my day.  Okay, less than the amount of fingers I have.  But it’s a lot for me, who’s extremely secretive about what she writes and is very nervous about what will happen when her family members read this.

Anyway.  Most of those books were absolutely atrocious.  I never finished any of them.  I am now less than ten chapters into my current idea and am now feeling the need to start all over again.

Why?  Because this, apparently, is how I write:

  1. Get idea.
  2. Start writing.  SUPER EXCITEMENT.
  3. Write four chapters.  Still super excited.  Brain says, “MERLIN’S PANTS THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVER WHY HAS NO ONE THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE???”
  4. Period of time in which I stop writing and become a functioning part of society again.
  5. Start writing again.  Think more about plot.  Write more chapters.
  6. Think of small problem in plot.
  7. “MERLIN’S PANTS THIS IS THE WORST BOOK EVER HOW DID I EVER THINK THIS WOULD BE PUBLISHED???”
  8. Bang head against wall.  Try to fix plot.
  9. Realize that plot can never be resurrected.
  10. Save draft, file it away deep in the bottomless chasm that is my laptop’s memory, and never think of it again.

Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Grrrr...

My books are awful.  I know that.  At least, I think that.  That’s how my brain works when it’s in the same project for too long.  I just haven’t come up with a project that I’m willing to put months, possibly years, of work into.  But maybe, just maybe, my current idea is good.  So instead of continuing with the new draft I started today in a fit of frustration, I am going to actually finish writing my novel.

Gasp.

Maybe if I finish it, then it won’t be so bad.  Maybe if I finish it, then I can actually go over it and improve upon it until it’s something worth publishing.

I just feel like I need to finish something.

Instead of constantly being distracted by blogging and Facebook.

The Internet is addictive, kids.

Sigh.

UPDATE: So I wrote that last night, while still embroiled in that fit of frustration.  Later, however, I realized what my core was, and I just needed to center everything else around that core.  And I also came up with an idea for that “everything else” bit.  Granted, I thought of it at eleven o’clock at night and that’s late for me, but this morning I’m still feeling okay about it.  Maybe a few adjustments.

But I’m ready.  And this time I really am going to finish it.  But it’s pretty much back to square one with the prewriting bit.

Happy reading!

P.S. Before you ask, I’ve resolved not to tell people what my topic is, nor my characters’ personalities, nor anything really.  Sorry.  Thank you.