Virtuosity 11.11

Where words become worlds…

Archive for the month “September, 2015”

Morning Rituals

15536022860_822668930cShelled pistachios on a porcelain plate – the salt still lingered on my tongue. Sweetened by honeyed kisses with traces of Moroccan mint and green tea, your lips curve into that knowing smile, slightly parted with breath that stirred the steam dragons wafting off of my coffee; you made them dance. They framed your face as you looked at me with a twinkle in your eye – as if you and the autumn morning shared a secret. Indeed, I touched your fingertips across the table, carefully splayed to hide the last answer to our daily Sudoku, and I leaned in, eager to listen. My heart opened to hear you, and with the soft brush of your warm lips against mine, you passed the secret over to me, reaching beyond the framing of simple words so that it could be fully felt and enjoyed. Together, we left the past, let go of the future, and unwrapped the present.

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Why research is important.

One lesson that hit me fairly hard when I left the world of roleplay and ventured out into the world of authorship was that you couldn’t make everything up as you go along.  That’s where research comes in.

Don’t get me wrong.  If you’re writing a book about elves in a fantasy world, you can fake a lot.  You can’t really research a race you just created by yourself.  What you can do is read other fantasy books that fit into the genre you are going for to see if your take is unique or if it at least brings something to the table that was not there before.  That’s the fun kind of research.  And really?  If you want to be a better writer, reading and writing more are both the best ways to improve.

Right now I’ve few projects I’m working on, but even the more fantastical required me to do research.  One of my projects is heavily drenched in Norse Mythology.  I’ve had to dive into reading over legends from Scandinavian over and over again, and even though I’ve altered some of that history, I still needed to know my stuff.  It was important to have some understanding of the muddled history of Norse lore, if only so that I knew what changes would work for it.

In roleplay, I play Natasha Romanoff.  She’s a soviet spy from an era long dead.  I am neither Russian nor a spy.  I rely on both google translate and many Russian language sites to help me figure out some basic phrases to use in my roleplays.  I also love comic books, so I have an extensive collection of issues she has been in, both in physical and digital form.  For roleplay, that is the kind of research I love to do.  I adore getting absorbed into 20 issues and binge reading them like there is no tomorrow.

Like most comic books, Natasha’s history has been revised and retconned quite a bit.  Since I have a particular fondness for spies, I’ve also taken up other forms of research.  In truth, this isn’t just to play Natasha.  Right now most of my writing projects are very fantasy based, but the idea of someday writing a spy thriller appeals greatly to me.  So I’ve subscribed to podcasts about spying, I’ve bought books about spying (specifically about the history of the KGB, which so far is fascinating)  and I watch for other reference material about it.

Now for roleplay, not everyone is going to want to go that deep nor might they have the time to.  I’ve met a few RPers who base themselves in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and they have met with people who feel if they don’t read the comics, they aren’t truly playing the character.  I disagree completely.  Though research is helpful and essential to good and informed writing, roleplay is just a game.  Anyone should be able to come to a game, play what they want, and get some fun out of it.  If you don’t like how they play, that is okay, there is a chance there are many other characters to play with, perhaps even a version of that same character.

Story Beginnings – Morrison’s Beloved

downloadA story must start with a hook – something that catches the reader, frames the story, and sets the stage.  Successful authors have a variety of ways of hooking the reader in, and I thought that a careful examination of these story beginnings may help us with the telling of our own stories.

Hence, I begin my series of posts on story beginnings with one of my favorite authors, Toni Morrison, and her book, Beloved:

“124 WAS SPITEFUL.  Full of baby’s venom.  The women in the house knew it and so did the children. For years each put up with the spite his own way, but by 1873 Sethe and her daughter Denver where it’s only victims the grandmother, Baby Suggs, was dead, in the sons, Howard and Buglar, had run away by the time he was 13 years old – as soon as nearly looking in a mere shattered it (that was the signal for Buglar); as soon as two tiny handprints appeared the cake (that was it for Howard).  Neither boy waited to see more; another kettleful of chickpeas smoking in the heat on the floor; soda crackers crumbled and strewn in a line next to the doorsill.  Nor did they wait for one of the relief periods: the weeks, months even, when nothing was disturbed.  No. Each one fled at once – the moment the House committee what was for him the one insult not to be born or witnessed a second time.  Within two months, in the dead of winter, leaving the grandmother, Baby Suggs; Sethe, their mother; and their little sister, Denver, all by themselves in the gray and white house on Bluestone Road.  It didn’t have a number then, because Cincinnati didn’t stretch that far. In fact, Ohio have been calling itself to state only seventy years when first one brother and then the next stuffed quilt packing into his hat, snatched up his shoes, and crept away from the lively spite the house felt for them.”

 

What I love about this beginning is that Morrison puts emotion into objects, such as the house, from the very onset.  Moreover, in one paragraph, she has introduced two of the main characters, Sethe and Denver, as well as some of the background characters: Baby Suggs, Howard, and Buglar.

Notice that this intro focused on a place – the house, and also on what the house did to its residents.  It isn’t an ordinary place, like one of those, “Once upon a time, it was a sunny day” type of places, but a place that possessed as much personality, SPITE, as any character in the story.  Moreover, the word choice is important.  Victims, instead of residents.  Fleeing, running, shattering of mirrors, and the “dead” of winter.  Although Morrison does not explicitly say so, we know the house was haunted, and it was haunted by something angry – something so angry, that it tormented its victims.

After reading the first paragraph, I had questions:

Why is the house haunted?

Who haunted the house?

Who are these people being tormented?

What happened to the poor soul that haunted the house – why is it so spiteful?

 

These questions were spaces that, as I continued to read, I hoped would be answered as I turned to the next page of the book….

So, as for our own writing, how can we use this to our own advantage?

  • You don’t have to start with the main character.  Start with a place, and what that place does/means to set the stage.
  • You don’t have to start the story at the beginning.  Obviously, this is somewhere in the middle, because we are left to wonder, “How did this all start?”
  • Leave the reader wondering – let them ask questions.  Hook them in!
  • Word choice matters!  Spitefulness is very different from being angry.  It implies revenge.  …and a good story with an element of revenge?  It means there’s a motive!

Stay tuned for more story beginnings.  I’ve got a whole collection of them to share with you!

 

 

Lachesis

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The Goddess of Self has skin made from silk, woven from threads placed by others.
Her ancient, silver scars shine through the thin, amorphous dress made from spoken words.
She sings when she speaks, and her presence is like the sound of fallen snow.
She walks barefoot on the earth – always touching, feeling, listening.
Stars sparkle in her flowing cobwebbed hair, carefully spun from the aether of experience by tiny white spiders.
She lives at the edge of dream and reality.
Time changes her with each step she makes, so that she is never the same.
When you gaze into her luminous eyes, you will see your own reflection.

Writer’s Block is a Lie

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Writers write.  That’s the definition of a writer, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.  We don’t wait around for inspiration to hit us, because then it is too late; we stop writing and ergo, we are not being writers!  Between graduate school and publications, I don’t have the luxury of waiting for ideas to come to me.  Instead, each day I pay my homage to my muses – my commitment to my words shows the dedication to my work, and my faith that even though today, my muse may not be with me, she will come.  She always comes when I need her the most, because she trusts that I will be faithful – and I am!

 

Quantity is for the writer.  Quality is for the reader.

An English professor of mine who is a prolific writer told me that writers only publish about 10% of what they write.  Translate this, and it means for every 100 words you put on the page, your reader only sees 10 of them – but they are your best 10!  It is a fatal mistake that we learn in our high school English classes that word count matters.  In my experience, yes, it matters – you must be able to mean more with less.

In order to get specifically to what you mean, you must write.  You must write a lot of words.  I learned this lesson a few years ago in my class, when I needed to write an autoethnography.  Every day, I would freewrite and memo – jot down notes, thoughts, everything that came to my mind.  I wrote over 40 pages, but none of it was focused or really explaining what I wanted to say.  My professor taught me how to take those 40 pages, and code it for the most important topics.  Then, I organized my topics, and rewrote the paper.  This time, I stuck within the 25 paged limit, and did very well on it!  However, it was still not good enough for publication.  It took two more complete rewrites to get that paper down to less than 15 pages.  Finally, finally, my work will be published in November or December of this month!  This process took over two years to complete!

My lesson from this, is that I had to write a lot of words, and rewrite many of my ideas, until I could get them to exactly where they needed to be.  Writing is a way of thinking – it is a process of placing stray thoughts into existence on a page.  Only then, once these thoughts exist, can you shape them to the way you want.  Even in this case, it takes a lot of time and practice, and fussing.  Your finished product, however, may be very small, but it represents your best work.

Remember that readers don’t want quantity.  They don’t want to sift through extraneous drivel to get at your meaning.  Otherwise, you will have already lost them.  Instead, always, put your best words forward.  Hold back the other words, because they are for you.  They are the ethos that you need in order to practice your art!

 

Everything is crap.  Then you make it better.

It is a lie to believe that the first thing we write is what we end up publishing.  Everything I write begins with typos, awkward sentences, and it’s just poo on a page.  The art to writing comes in the editing process.  When we write with the faith that we can go back and make it better, and we fuss over it to make it better – you write better!  Also, after my 40 paged fiasco, I learned that sometimes, it’s better to start over, and I lost my fear of rewriting.  chalkboard_quotes_twain

I have met people where their inner critic makes them afraid of writing.  It is this fear that causes writer’s block, because people think that you must write brilliantly to begin, or that you must have a wonderful idea before you can write!  What they don’t understand, is that the ideas come when you edit.  The important thing is that there are words there, so that you can catch that idea at the moment it happens.  Sometimes, it is not so much that you catch the idea, but that you build TO the idea.  That may not happen until after multiple rewrites!  You must have faith though, that it will come.  When you work hard enough, the ideas and inspiration will always come.  …and if the idea has not arrived?  It means you must work harder!

Then, once the idea has arrived, you must refine your words.  It’s like shaping a pile of clay into a sculpture – you mold it, and carve away the things that are not needed.  You work on quality, and not quantity, until finally, it becomes presentable!  The hard work is not necessarily in the writing of the words – it is all about the editing!

 

Beating the so called Block – Make writing a habit each and every day

My friend Aubrey wrote a fantastic post on capturing your muse when you write.  She gives a wonderful list of ideas that you can try in order to keep writing.  For me, I make writing habit:  I write every day.  Although it may not be about my topic, or a specific paper, I still continue to write, because I am in the habit of writing.  Then I edit my work, and put it in the right place (ie. manuscript writing goes to my manuscript binder, RP ideas go into my idea notebook, comprehensive exam goes into comprehensives file…etc.).

Often times, like now when I have a deadline, I don’t the luxury of writing what I want to write, or what I feel like writing.  So instead, I write a lot on the topic that I must write about.  It may not be very good, but given enough time, I know that I can edit it to be better.  In any case, I make progress.  I make something that I can sculpt into what I need it to be.  Writing every day gives you the clay that you need in order to create your art.  Continue to practice, and this process becomes easier, and you develop a trust with your muses.  The muses will always come when you need them, because they know that you are always there to welcome them when they arrive.

I end with a quote:

You only fail if you stop writing.  ~Ray Bradbury

So…what are you waiting for?  WRITE!

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Ulysses’s Wife

 I like to participate in Crap Mariner’s 100 Word Story Challenge.  It always seems to me like my stories tend to be darker than most, but I still do enjoy writing them.  The topic for this story was “anchor.”  The topic for next week’s challenge is “adventure,” if you want to give it a try!

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Ulysses’s Wife

Psychiatrists, medications, and drunken stupors culminated to hours of unfeeling; sits in the dark, staring at the static of a no-stationed TV.  Broken bits of fine china lay strewn about like the thrown rice in the wake of their wedding.

She had to pee.

Her broken body protested as she rose from her chair, and made her way to the pier out back.  She left the dock in their boat, wearing her wedding dress and his barn jacket; the pockets were filled with rocks.

The water would hide the blood stains as she held the anchor, exhaled, and jumped.

Getting to Characters

By playing Lady Blue for many years, I became too comfortable with writing her – to the point where I had “blinders on,” and could only see one point of view and only her perspective.  However, when you read a book, you’ll notice that what makes the main character well rounded is how they interact with their environment and with the people that they are around.  There is a difference between a character like say, your typical Grimm’s fairy tale Snow White, who is, to be quite blunt, your flat, stereotypical helpless female distressed princess type.  No need (or desire) to get to know more of her.  …and your Hannibal Lecter, Silence of the Lambs murderer, whose speech will send chills down your spine because you can feel that cold, cruel brutality beneath his words.

I’ve found that authors who write really compelling stories that catch my interest will have very well-rounded, three dimensional characters who interact with well-rounded, three dimensional characters.  These characters feel, they have a “persona” to them, and when you put them together in an environment, you know things are going to happen!  How do we get to their essence?

I have been asking this question a lot as I try to figure out Temari’s character.  She’s familiar enough that I don’t have to take the time to scratch my head too much, but she’s got a lot of bits to her that I’ve not figured out yet.

One way to get to know your characters (and yes, I say characterS, because even in RP, what makes your writing compelling is that you’re writing in a WORLD, and not just on a set with a green screen with one person) is to interview them!

Laurie Campbell writes a GREAT post on her blog, Autocrit, with regards to getting to know your characters.  I highly recommend reading her post!  Below, I use her “Basic Inventory” set to help me get to know Temari better.  Enjoy!

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TEMARI’S INTERVIEW:

Character name:  Temari Evans

Personal history: (this is what she believes is true, although in her actual backstory, it is not).
I was born in Vietnam and adopted by a couple in the U.S.  My mother was Thai, and my dad was a mix of Italian, German, and Irish.  It’s why my last name is Evans.  They died three years ago in a car accident, and I guess, because of that trauma, I had a stroke.  It put me in a coma for a year, and it’s taken me about two years to recover.  I still can’t remember my past, but my guardian, Absalom, has been so kind to teach me about it.

About Absalom – he is apparently my dad’s only living distant relative.  Before my stroke, he was a writer and psychologist, but he’s spent a lot of time trying to get me back to where I was.  He didn’t know about me until after my parents had passed.  So, all he could really tell me about my parents was their names.  Nothing more.  It’s okay, though.  I now have a lot of memories of Absalom, and he teaches me so much!

Physical appearance:
I’m five feet tall, and 22 years old.  People tell me I act younger, though.  It could be because of my stroke, but I’m not sure.  I mean, how SHOULD 22 year olds act?

I’ve got the look of a typical Asian, I guess?  Lots of people mistake me for being Korean, or Filipino – although most think I’m Japanese because of my name!  I’m not even sure why I’m called Temari, either, but… you know.

I like going barefoot when I can, because I like the way the ground feels underneath my feet.  Also, I like being comfortable – so lots of t-shirts, jeans, sweatshirts… you know.  Typical college gear, I guess?

Intelligence/education:
When I woke up from my coma, I remember being able to think, but not being able to find the words for what I was thinking!  It was a weird time, and Absalom read so many books to me!  I can read again, but sometimes, my mind still gets really tired.  Numbers really get to me.  I mean, I can like, I get a visual in my head of them?  But the actual name, sound, or picture of the number – it’s sort of hard to translate, so I have to think very hard on that.

Talents/Skills:
Absalom taught me to paint, and it’s really helped me express a lot of the words that I could feel, but could not say.  I’m not a great painter, but I do like it.

I’m also good at thinking, I think?  Only because nowadays, I have to do it so much.  But, sometimes, my head gets like, ‘stuck’ on things, and so, I have to think things out very carefully, and Absalom says that can be a gift.  Just, I have to be conscious of it.

Failings:
I have a lot of trouble with time.  Meaning, I don’t have any good sense of it, and things pass, I could be standing there, not even realizing an hours past when it just feels like an eye blink to me.  Likewise, a minute could feel like forever.  So, I have reminders on my phone, for when things start and end, since I’m still developing this.

Also, when it’s something hard, like, trying to figure out money, or looking at numbers involving something, it can take up all of my concentration.  I end up forgetting other stuff, and people sorta have to remind me.  I’m getting better at that, but… now that I’ve moved out to an apartment on my own, I have to interact with a lot more people.  That’s when it can get super messy!

The other thing, and these are the worst, are my migraines.  When I have my migraines, I am in so much pain, that I wish I could just shut down – and normally I do!  They don’t happen too much, but when they do, it’s like getting your head hit with a baseball bat while wearing a bell over your head.  Not fun.  So not fun!

Characteristics:
I rock and bounce on my heels when I get stressed or excited.  Sometimes, I bite my lower lip, or I squeak.  Oh, and I also giggle a lot, laugh at really inappropriate times, and I blush.  Sometimes, annoyingly so!

You will almost always find me with my dog, Bear.  He’s my assistance dog, and sometimes, when my brain sort of freezes, he nudges me to remind me.  Bear can do practically everything, and probably would, if he had hands for paws!  He’s my best friend.

Perspective on sex and feeling about the opposite sex:
Mmm…. I…don’t know?  Right now, I don’t even think this is an issue for me.  Like, I just want to get back up on my feet, finish college, and then see the world.  People who are all about dating, or those melodramatic, “Oh, I’m just so incomplete without someone!” need to get a life and go figure themselves out first, before they find someone, is what I think.

I mean, maybe that’s what I mean.  That stroke…it took a lot of parts of me.  I lost a lot.  But, Absalom and art have taught me that just because things get taken away doesn’t mean that you are broken or incomplete.  Sculptures begin from blocks of stone, you know?  …and in order to make it into something better, the artist had to chip things away from it.  In fact, in that case, chipping away at it made it more complete!  So, I sort of feel like that.  I’m working on myself, first.  Then, when I’m done?  Then I’ll worry about what’s next.  I don’t have the brain power to figure all that now!

Emotional needs:
I get scared, and I get lonely a lot.  That’s when I call Absalom, and he helps me get through it all.  Now, being a little more independent, I often find that I’m not as confident, and I’m afraid of making a lot of mistakes.  I guess, in terms of emotional needs, it’s really helpful to hear that everything will be okay, and that I’m okay, you know?

Chief disappointments:
My biggest disappointment right now?  It’s that I can’t remember anything from before my stroke.  I mean, sometimes, I try.  Sometimes, I get these like, “ghosts” or fuzzy images that I think were my past, but then it’s usually a bad sign, because then I’ll get an awful migraine.  So, even though I try to remember, I almost associate the trying with the pain.  It’s not good.  Like, I am supposed to cry, right?  I should feel very sad that I’ve lost my parents, and my past.  …but I can’t.

What’s this character’s goals?
To live on my own!
To graduate!
To… I dunno… make my guardian proud of me. ^.^


What strengths/talents/heroic aspects will help this character achieve their goals?

That part… is an interesting one.  Without the story, I think, being able to embrace some new abilities that are hidden behind my migraines.  To become a healer, and to be able to speak to the spirit and dream worlds.


Why will the reader sympathize with this person right away?

I’m warm, and I’ve got a quirky sense of humor.  Although I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, I want them to know how determined I am to get back up on my feet.  Like, that’s super important for people to know – that I’ve got flaws, but I’m going to fix them!

Jigsaw Heart

Jigsaw Heart

I gathered the pieces of my soul
and put them in a cage.
Their edges tore apart my heart
and lit my blood with rage.

I took the pieces out again
and rearranged them back together.
It looked different from when I started,
because I wanted to find out whether

changing the pieces to fit my heart
would work out much better…

~Vang Yen

The Purpose of Language

The true purpose of language is to convey meaning.  For the author, the struggle is how to embody their thoughts into words that clearly communicate what’s going on in their head.  For the reader, it is about being able to take an author’s thoughts, and extract the author’s intended meaning out of it.640px-Happy_Words

If your writing is not clear, then you haven’t done this.

Writing puts meaning into sentences by translating ideas into words.  A sentence becomes complex because it holds a complex idea, and the words are BRIMMING with essence and they should stretch to try and convey what it all means.

However, when a sentence becomes deliberately complex just to be complex, but holds little to no meaning, you lose the purpose of that sentence to begin with.  Good writers, and professional writers know that every word counts, and every word is put there to deliberately do or convey something.

For example, take a simple sentence like this:

She gripped his sleeve, and murmured, “Stop that.”

and compare it to this:

She gripped his sleeve, and screamed, “Stop that.”

versus

She gripped his sleeve, and hissed, “Stop that.”

Without context around it, one could build a scene simply around the word “murmered,” “screamed,” and “hissed.”  In the first sentence, it may denote a sense of intimacy.  In the second, a violent scene, where she tries to stop him from doing whatever, and in the last, maybe, a threat.  Incidentally, hissed and murmured are both synonyms for the word “whisper,” but as you can see, when they are used, they do NOT convey the same meaning!  My point being that synonyms cannot be substituted ad hoc into a sentence without altering its meaning in some way.

Word choice is important, because it can completely change the meaning of the sentence entirely.  As a writer, it is your responsibility to convey what you mean as clearly as possible.  Your readers will appreciate it!

Find Writing Time

a9d88bb7802909a508d9da51cff69941The basic goal for any writer is that you must write.  You must write regularly, and often.  The notion of a writer’s block no longer exists when it’s tied to the job market or a pay check, you know?  Fortunately, I’ve gleaned a few lessons from fellow writers – one being my dear friend Natalya, who is also a contributor to this blog.  This post is a piggy back to Nat’s blog on time management, which you can read about here, where she goes into far more detail on the techniques that she uses to manage time and to stay on track.  Totally worth a read!

For me, just because I don’t roleplay often, does not mean that I am not always writing.  As a graduate student in the social sciences, writing academically is a job requirement, and once I graduate, I will be in the “publish or perish” world.  What this means is that my “value” as an employee is judged by how many high impact publications I make every year in my field.  Hence, between my exam papers (the last one is due on October 1), I try to make room to write extra – and I often submit my research papers to journals in my field for publication!  Here’s some things that I do:

Establish a daily writing goal:  First off, my days start with a goal.  A basic goal is to write at least 1000 words on paper each and every day.  Now, this could be notes, it could be memos, stories, observations, etc.  The idea though, is that writers write, so you must accomplish this goal EACH DAY.  It’s sort of like leveling up in a video game.  Each time you don’t hit that goal, the guilt takes a lot of HP from you.

Catch the butterflies:  I’m a bit of a ditz, and my ideas simply flow a lot of times, so I have to be portable!  Ideas can come at any time, so I try to have something on hand to catch them.  Here’s some of the things I use:

  • iPhone – I record my thoughts (especially when I’m on a run and can’t stop to write).
  • Notepad – Here’s the one I use.  It’s a little pricey, but the hard cover makes it portable anywhere.
  • Evernote – This is a free program that can organize your ideas.  You can also have it synced to your phone, so you can capture pictures, embed voice files AND write all in one place.  The best parts?  You can sync it to your devices, AND you can search.
  • Scrivener – I write in “circles,” usually never beginning to end, but starting in the middle and working out.  Scrivener is like an electronic binder – it can keep all related files together.  In fact, most of my writing goes into Scrivener.  Then, when I’m ready to submit anything, I can easily export to Word for formatting.
  • Bathtub crayons – Writing on shower walls with soap crayons beats soggy pieces of toilet paper with blurred writing…

Find a writing buddy:  I have a grad group on Facebook that I must “report to” each week.  There, a bunch of fellow grad students and graduates share their weekly goals, as well as tools to help everyone succeed.  We encourage each other, and it makes us accountable.  My bestie, Nat, is also my sprinting buddy – she and I hold each other accountable for our goals, and it helps a lot that we check in with each other throughout the day.  You can find writing buddies on many different e-sites.  One that I enjoy is writing.com.  For some of my short fictions, I can “vet out” editors from this site, and get some great critique!

Writing Sprints:  In Nat’s blog, she talks about sprints and the Pomodoro method.  Sprints are when you set a timer for a set amount of time (usually 25-30 minutes).  Then, for that amount of time, you simply WORK.  No distractions… you just do straight up work.  Then you break for a few minutes, and sprint again.  Nat and I sprint almost every day except on weekends.  We can hammer out maybe.. 6-7 sprints a day, if not more.  But what’s nice about it, is that even if we aren’t able to make our goals, necessarily, we know we’ve made progress.  Also, a sprint makes us hyper aware of what we have been doing for the sprint (yes, I’ve had to confess to Nat after a sprint that I honestly did NOT write, and instead, made myself the most delicious snack ever – I’ve done that…).  The goal isn’t to punish yourself or the other person if they don’t make it (unless, like, I know Nat will be very firm with me if I don’t get to writing my last comprehensive exam), but it’s to keep us productive.

Write.  Just write:  Lastly, just write.  Hit that writing goal, no matter what.  If you need to, feed your inner writing critic a giant NOPE sandwich with extra nope sauce, tell it to shut up, and keep writing.  When you don’t write, you’ll feel the guilt of not writing.  Don’t do that to yourself!  Just.  Write. I’ll tell you, most of what I write starts off as formless mind excretment.  I think of it as a pile of mud plopped onto a page, and well, it looks more like a pile of poo.  It’s the editing where the magic happens!  You work with it, and sometimes it takes a LOT of work.  But keep at it, and soon, you’ll have a masterpiece that you’ll be proud of.

Happy Writing!!!

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