Stranger than Fiction

A.K.A. Beyond the Page

March Madness, Day 27.

How goes?

It’s been an interesting bit of Madness this year.

We talked about muses, favorite writing places and rituals, our health, revisions, and even the green-eyed monster.

There are a few days left. Did you reach your goals? Did you have surprise twists in your journey?

Now that the month is drawing to a close, for some, it’s time to take a breather. For others, just the beginning of a new month of writing challenges.

Yet, others might be at a standstill. Uncertainty seeps in and you’re all but ready to call it quits.

overcome_writers_block

When the seeds of doubt start pestering you, it can manifest in different ways.

It’s easy to find distractions–or makes distractions for yourself that leads to procrastination.

distractions

neurobiology-writers-block-phd-students

Does that mean we stop? Sure, writers are known to be masochists, but we also keep going no matter what’s in our way.

thrrowintowel1

Some people believe that writing is a solitary activity. Of course, there are certain aspects that one must go alone, but the process itself, the overall journey, March Madness is a perfect example that we are not alone in our creative endeavours.

So when you feel like this:

542bf4d6e46f1128642260

Remember this:

1403011638192307-possible

If you question whether it’s all worth it:

writers-block21

Consider this:

540_293_resize_20120801_e7e0cdbe6f0e87e9818e8387050b062e_jpg

Don’t let the green-eyed monster get ya down.

your-competition-is-you

From here on out, everything that happens in your writing career is up to you. Yes, there are people who will be there to support you along the way, but you need to press on. We have stories to tell and share.

As writers, it is our duty, privilege AND gift to the world.

Thank you for a wonderful March. We’ll continue unwinding the Madness tomorrow on Dawn’s blog.

March might be over soon, but know that we’re always here to continue #WIPMadness. It never ends, nor would we want it to. 🙂

Whether or not you hear me from your neck of the woods know that I’m always cheering you on.

We are writers.

We write.

We

IMG_0082

Advertisements

You Can’t Always Get What You Want…

A.K.A. Dealing with the Curveballs

March Madness, Day 20.

We’re rounding the bend towards the last leg of this creative relay race.

What are just a few of the reasons why we’re doing all this? Check out Denise Jaden’s blog.

life-throws-curveballs-at-you

It’s so easy to make plans with the best of intentions, but life happens. No matter what we hope for ourselves, there are those moments that leave us at a bit of a crossroads.

unexpected

Deadlines begin to blur or story ideas you had ironed out get a huge wrinkle. Heck, you might end up with two different language exams back to back and work through them on little to no sleep.

Life happens.

collegecurveballoflife1

And when life happens, you still have to move forward. You have to deal with each curveball as it comes.  You’re stronger for it. You make it through.

images

It’s hardly ever easy. Then again, where’s the fun in that? You have to roll with the punches, go with the flow. Plans change. We adjust. It’s how it works. It’s how we work.

47301-When-Life-Gives-You-Lemons

It’s all a matter of perception.

But when you get handed those tangy edible little footballs, why make lemonade? There are so many ways to get creative.

CC-alton-brown_lemon-meringue-pie-recipe_s4x3Lighten up!

lemon-bars-3                                                                                                           Don’t be a square.

Versatility is key.

lemon-zest-curls

Life’s full of surprises but we can get through it. Deadlines will loom, but the words will fill the page. It might not be what we’d originally planned, but sometimes the unexpected is the best thing for you.

Tomorrow’s another day. See you at Dawn’s blog.

“You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometime, you just might find

You get what you need.”

Resistance is Futile?

A.K.A. Go with Your Gut

March Madness, Day 13.

If you arrived here on schedule, then you know to what Madness I refer.

If your interwebby wanderlust led you to my humble cyber abode, welcome, I say to you, and check out Denise Jaden’s blog to see how blissfully mad we writers are this March (and throughout the year).

We are days away from the midpoint of our journey, how dost thou fare?

images

I’ve always considered myself a nonconformist, one that goes against the grain. At the same time, I’m a person who doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers. I go with the flow. So, how does that unlikely combo work?

Consider this Expectation v. Reality Scenario:

Ever start your day thinking this?

Andrew-Smith_23600_600

You try your hardest but you spend your day dodging curveballs and it ends like this:

pirates-watch-stream-GOT

That’s what my Winter 2015 Semester’s been like on the whole.

Now, I’ve been fortunate. All my deadlines have been met, even though it meant I lost a LOT of sleep. My classmates marvelled at my ability to function. In fact, I had unusual amounts of energy considering I should’ve been knocked out.

You put your body through the wringer when it counts. You have no choice. Somehow, things work out, but it’s not always case. That’s why I believe I’ve been lucky in that regard. I wouldn’t want to push the limits though. The other morning I’d intended on waking up at 04h30 and slept through two alarms. Despite my wishes to stay on top of things, my body fought back.

Me: There’s too much to do. Get up.

My Body:

Writing is a wonderful, dreadful, exhilarating, exhausting, fulfilling, and draining experience, and we do it because it’s who we are.

This week, we’ve also been talking about taking care of ourselves. We’ve all heard how writers are masochists, but there’s only so much the body can take before we shut down.

Thankfully, my body didn’t hate me that much for all I’ve put it through and my internal clock had me open my eyes at 06h10, early enough to grab a quick shower and get to my 08h30 class on time.

What does all this mean?

Let’s take a look at the first half of the month. What did we do that was good for us as writers and as people? What can we improve? What can we do differently? We’ve got two weeks left in March Madness, but of course, we won’t stop there. We always keep going.

Sometimes we ask ourselves what all this is for. Is there a point to the daily struggle of putting words on a page? Should we relieve the strain on our eyes as we stare at a blank screen for X amount of minutes, hours or days?

We look to the cosmos, look all around, in search for a sign.

ly8cwga

You see a plot hole, go in another direction. Hit a bump in your story arc, switch gears. We’re not masochists. We’re writers. We’re not quitters. We’re innovators.

15198_10152103507581511_9105843590834605607_n

Keep chugging. It’s what we do.

Down to minutes before my class, I finally got my story done, one that kept plaguing me for weeks. I churned it out because I had to. Something triggered in me–the looming deadline was definitely a part of that–and it got done. Motivation, adrenalin, fear, and running on fumes, it got done.

fb9474a2849ae18d9157a0949a3df596

What surprised me was that I wrote outside my usual genre, my wheelhouse. There weren’t any teens or middle-grade protagonists in the story, but I was okay with this new territory. All part of the adventure, right? And taking these literary risks in a writing class is the perfect opportunity for experimentation with feedback in real time. What better way to grow as a writer?

Uncomfortable-Life-Begins-at-the-End-of-Your-Comfort-Zone

I got through my biggest obstacles so far this semester and I’m looking forward to the brief reprise before I jump into my full-time program this summer: Teaching English as a Second Language. I got accepted into the program (YAY!) and I’ll get the certification I need to help pay the bills as I continue to write (DOUBLE YAY!), but I’ve got an INTENSE semester ahead, so I need to pace myself.

Trust your instincts and be prepared for anything. It’s important to take care of yourself throughout this entire process because we all know that once we’ve reached our goals, we’re gonna do it all over again.

Believe that you’re on the right path and don’t stress out over challenges on the way.

See you tomorrow at Dawn’s blog as the Madness continues.

And remember…

30af1356916dc65cc8cf4be6376a8eee

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

A.K.A. Mountains and Molehills and WIPs, Oh My!

March Madness, Day 06.

TGIF, my lovelies!

If you’re fashionably late to the party, feel free to scoot over to Denise’s blog to see how this all works (goals, motivation, prizes galore).

As we’re close to wrapping the first week of the Madness that is March, how is everyone doing, so far?

Much like New Year’s Resolutions, sometimes we get super excited about all our plans only to find ourselves overwhelmed by our predicament.

I’ve been bogged down since the start of the year with various writing commitments, overlapping deadlines and the increase in the decrease of my sleeping hours. (Oh, how I miss sleep!)

Despite all this, I knew I couldn’t miss out on hosting again for March Madness. This amazing writing community is like the energy drink that keeps on giving. I’m so happy the community, the family, is growing this year, as well.

Whenever you feel lost on your writing journey, know that we’re all here to help you find your way.

tanyachen buzzfeed original-28946-1424970066-22

It’s important not to lose sight of why we’ve all come together this March (and throughout the year with #WIPMadness) to support each other in the craft of writing and storytelling.

We are writers, hear us, well, type and write (and roar, if you’re feeling frisky).

quote-William-James-the-community-stagnates-without-the-impulse-of-112250_1

There is method to our March Madness.

Be sure to check in every day for more support and encouragement. We’ll see you at Dawn’s blog tomorrow.

Until then, keep positive, keep laughing, and keep writing.

“Dammit Jim, I’m a writer, not a mathematician!”

A.K.A. Simple Math Hurts My Cabeza

a56406217082aa8bd235017792703e64

Hello, hi.

What is the one thing I realized once the majority of my jet leg went away? Yep. I cannot add. And it totally ruined the entire schtick, ahem, theme I’d been maintaining for THE HONG KONG EXPERIENCE. In my defence, I was sixteen hours ahead writing posts of events that occurred the previous day and posting them so that they reached here the day of… did that make any sense?

So, I haven’t done a Friday Forage in a long time, and this would’ve been the first of 2015. However, since all I’ve been foraging for this week is my laundry and a little bit of sanity, I figure I’ll keep to my important resolution and just be awesome MINUS the overthinking.

Heck, by the time I send this out, it might not even be a Friday post. I’m that footloose and fancy free.

Continue reading