2015 Year in Review

I had many reading resolutions for 2015. Some I completed and others faded but were not forgotten even if I never returned to finish them. First, I accomplished my goal of 50 books read for 2015. It was an amazing feet for me. I think back to the little girl that struggled with speaking, reading, and writing. Now, she is creating, and sharing her love of books.

Another thing I hold up to show off is my Goodread’s to-read shelf. I think I started 2015 with 70 or more books I hoped to read and now that number is down to 64. It may not seem like a big accomplishment but that number was a struggle to accomplished. Working in a bookstore I see so many titles I would like to read and they are easily added. I tried to be more selective and read some books right away instead of putting them on the list.

I read more titles from the floor I work on to better recommend books to customers but my Classics Challenge fell short. I took on the task to read one classic a month and only read six books. Five I even reviewed on this blog. I realize there are just too many books in the world I need to read. One more thing, the writing fell short. I didn’t keep up with the blog schedule I put forth and even behind the scenes I was unable to cut out time. All completely my fault. Exhaustion, stress, laziness, work and plans won most of my time.

After all that how do I make the up and coming 2016 better. Keep reading, keep fighting the procrastination writing fight, and be a little more forgiving of oneself. I signed up for the Goodread’s challenge again and hope to read another 50 books in 2016.

Neil Gaiman wrote, “May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

I now hope to surprise myself.

Happy and Healthy New Year to everyone!

 

Be Quiet Brain

I thought I trained my brain to write in the afternoon then last night my mind wouldn’t turn off. I was comfortable in bed with the light off and my brain started to weave words. I was tired and when I’m tired I always think everything sounds noble prize brilliant. I didn’t have a notebook and pen by my bed (what happen to my night notebook?). I didn’t have my phone either. (It is best left charging in the other room incase of 3am emergency alerts.)
Why didn’t I get up and listen to the muse that decided the best time to visit was bed time? I can’t help but think of Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk and that quote by Tom Waits where a muse or melody visited him while he was driving and he said, “Excuse me, can you not see that I’m driving? Do I look like I can write down a song right now? If you really want to exist, come back at a more opportune moment when I can take care of you. Otherwise, go bother somebody else today.”
I guess my muse is still in adolescence and although it might see me showing up to the table it doesn’t always feel like writing when I do. It would rather stay in bed and sleep in some days. Then as the light switches off it remembers all it had to say and decides it can’t wait until morning. Now, when the words come, I can sleep because I have less anxiety knowing I’m not missing a story I can write tomorrow. Sometimes, in the morning, I am disappointed I can’t remember what was running through my head but I move on. I start the day with my writing schedule. Occasionally, I find the muse shows up to the table and those days we work in harmony. Those are the days I’m fighting for so I have my nights for sleep.

Whisked Away But Not Wasted Time

Friday. What happen to the week? I can say I am not ready to post and I don’t have a topic this week. This week I haven’t been focused on writing as much as reading. I have had the goal to finish A Dance With Dragons (A Song Of Ice And Fire #5) by George R.R. Martin and just did today. I feel relieved to finally be done and caught up but whenever I end one of these books I’m left with a little anxiety over the cliff hangers. Grrr. But it was a good read and week even with the lack of writing.

With that over I want to move on to a lighter read so I have more time to write. This means next Friday won’t sneak up on me (I hope) and I’ll have a story to tell. Until then here is a quote I think fits me and this week:

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” – Douglas Adams

Change dishes to writing and this was my week.

Simple Writing Advice

I think I’ve seen this video in the past or maybe I the quote somewhere but I have found it again and I thought I would share. If you haven’t seen it watch it. It is from Ira Glass. It is not just advice for writers but to all people in creative work. If you’ve seen it, watch it again. Nothing like a friendly reminder that you’re not alone and you have to keep fighting for what you want. If you can’t watch it this second, (you’re reading this a work right now aren’t you. No judgement.) I have posted the text below. So be inspired. Don’t feel so alone. Keep fighting.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

– Ira Glass

I have a few other quotes and speeches that help me trucking along. Stay tune for more advice form others that helps me keep going on a troublesome writing day. Do you have simple advice that keeps you writing?

Just Don’t Quit

Who is participating in National Novel Writing Month? I’ve been thinking about partaking but sometimes I feel maybe I should be working on my own novel then just race writing. Some have said I should try to speed write my next novel but I don’t think NaNoWriMo should be used with something I care about. But some seem to be taking this month to work on the story they’ve been putting on the back burner. I always figured NaNoWriMo is a time to try anything. Stuck? Aliens land or a time machine or cab with hot celebrity. I’ve done that kind of writing now I think I want to focus on my story.

I’ve been working on my outline and now I’m reaching a wall. I’ve been figuring I’ll write what I have. I hope, as I get closer to the end of what I’ve outlined, I’ll have more direction where to go in the story. I don’t want some race or daily word count decide or pressure where my story goes.  NaNoWriMo could be a good way to step away from my story and just have stressful fun on something I don’t fuss over. Knowing me I’m thinking NaNoWriMo is just procrastination. I still have a few weeks to think it over before I choose. To the ones that have decided, I read a great quote the other day. For writers and wanna be authors out in the world:

“Don’t quit. It’s very easy to quit during the first 10 years. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.”
– Andre Dubus

Look At This Mug

A great gift for a wanna be author is this mug I got from my Other for my birthday. A favorite on my Etsy list, now I own. If you want or you know someone who would like fun mugs like this one you should check out LennyMud. All ready it is keeping me company while I try and type all my novel ideas. I am nervous about my clumsy ways but I have promised to use it. Not let it sit up on a shelf as if untouched equals protected.

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I don’t think I will be posting next week since I will be on vacation and I don’t know if the wifi is free where I’m going. Also, I have a belief vacation is to get away from it all and not be working. Also, vacation reminds me how much I love staying off social networks and being away from the stresses of the everyday grind.

Hope everyone has a good week!

A Blessed Unrest

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

Martha Graham