Journal Addiction

We’re still in the start of the New Year in the longest fucking month in the history of ever. I swear folks, it feels like January is never going to end. And since we’re still here at the beginning of things, this post is going to be related to resolutions and new projects. There’s a lot to be said about both and though many of you have your own thoughts about these things, I figured for those of you that are wondering, I’m going to put my foot in the door and talk as long as you’ll read.

            The first thing that I suggest we consider is the idea of the writing journal. There are numerous people out there, myself included, that carry around a notebook to write down ideas for later use. And this is good. This is something that I suggest everyone do. I would also suggest it is small enough to fit in a pocket as many of us are caught with inspiration at the weirdest of times. Right now, I’ve got a full-sized notebook and I’m happy with it because most of the time I’m teaching college English, so there’s no room for me to pause, tell everyone to shut up and I hate them, and then write something down.

            I do tell them I hate them. It feels good.

            Anyways, stop buying journals.

            I don’t want you to buy another journal until you’ve filled up the last one. There are numerous people that buy writing journals because they want them so bad, write about ten pages in them and quit. I’m going to suggest that you don’t do that anymore. Focus on one journal at a time until it is full. Label it, mark the pages, do whatever you need to do to keep it organized, but do not buy another journal, no matter the excuse.

            The reason being is that I had, at one time, six journals that I was writing in. I had one for every type of writing as well as an idea journal. And at the time, I thought that was really neat, and to some of you, that’s how you work, so continue to do that. What I found though, was that by having so many going at one time, I felt as if I’d never fill one up.

            If you haven’t ever filled up a journal from cover to cover, I suggest you do it sometime. It is one of the most accomplished feelings I’ve ever had. Although it was all for personal use or had some garbage written in it, it was still finished and shelved.

            So the first step in this would be to determine if you really want to keep a journal. Sometimes we do things because we are told to do them not because we need to do it. There are some writers out there that can just file their ideas in their amazing heads and move on. But with three children I find it hard to keep on track. So I need one.

            Once you’ve decided you want a journal, then make sure that you keep ONLY ONE. Meaning that if you have a ton in your house, get rid of them. I don’t care how just get rid of them and make sure that is your only option.

            Then write, write, write, write.

            The second thing goes along with this, and that’s the idea of starting new projects. I know that most of you have projects going on right now in different stages. And I think, once before, I’ve talked about knowing when a project is dead. So let’s say that your ideas are healthy and everything seems to be going well. That’s awesome! Keep it up. I have the problem of running a bunch of ideas at one time and again, like the journals, I find that nothing will ever be finished. So I would suggest that you again, think about working on one project at a time and making the other projects impossible to access until you’re finished with the current. I’ve managed this once and it turned out wonderful.

            So as we start the New Year, focus on simplifying your workspace and work. Remember that we do better when we focus on a single task at a time. Even though we hate it. Try it out. Start now. I know January seems almost over, but I’m sure we’ve got another six fucking weeks of this left.

NaNoWriMo 2018 – Join Us!

It’s time for writer worldwide to commit a certain amount of their time and creativity to NaNoWriMo 2018!

For those who’ve done this before, you know the drill – find us on NaNoWriMo: lehamm9 and superopie.

For newcomers, I’ll give a brief overview of what to look forward to!

NaNoWriMo is a month out of the year where writers gather and encourage one another to create and finish a book in 30 days. Seems pretty intense right?

Some people pull off writing a book and others use this as a time to plan and prepare for a novel. You don’t necessarily have to write an entire epic, it can be a collection of short stories, poetry, novella, or CNF. You can work on a new screenplay, essays, or biography. There’s really no limit to what you can work on, just so long as you’re writing and documenting your word count daily.

In the past, I’ve only pulled off an entire month once. It’s an extremely hard, somewhat taxing commitment to make, especially when you’re a busy person. Being a writer, whether professionally or as a hobby, can be hard. Part of it means developing good time management. NaNoWriMo forces you to learn to set aside a certain amount of time during your day to work on whatever project(s) you’ve committed to. It’s to help you develop good habits to carry on through the year.

In fact, once November is over you can continue your project with the support of NaNoWriMo through the “Now What?” months. Instead of abandoning the project, NaNoWriMo works to help you continue on, encouraging you and offering help with writers block.

There’s also a shop where you can display your support and decision to commit through t-shirts, mugs, or a thermos!

There are some neat features offered to writers while they work:

  • upload a cover for your project
  • participation, writing, and achievement badges
  • writing goals
  • writing buddies
  • NaNo Prep and NaNo Events
  • word count helpers

So, have a book you’re wanting to start and just haven’t yet? Feeling stuck on a project that you wish would just advance already? Need support? NaNoWriMo offers you the chance to make connections with new and experienced writers willing to read and offer advice.

The Magic of Storytelling Podcasts

Anybody who knows me personally knows I love podcasts. I subscribe to several, listen to them weekly, and I try to interact with the creators on Twitter as much as possible just to let them know I’m listening to their work. Kind of like how it’s a good idea to contact writers to let them know you’re reading their work.

There are several different kinds of podcasts, but I’m pretty partial to the storytelling pods that focus on the stranger aspects of life. Or true crime. I absolutely love True Crime Garage). Anything that tells a story in a cohesive (or moderately cohesive) manner and is interesting to me I’ll try out at least once. Some pods can be short and some are long and some are just a few episodes. You can find one for any mood you’re in that day.

Found on Reddit but if you know the origin, let me know.

 

Podcasts make learning and research interesting for me. I spend a lot of time doing research for various topics when I’m writing because what I know is very limited and I like to learn about and write about new things. Broaden my horizons. Get to know other historical events. It’s really fun. Podcasts introduce me to cryptids, historical events, legends, cold cases, murders, and neat people. I can sit and listen to one while I’m at work or while I’m at home piddling on Sims or cooking. I listen to podcasts with my loved ones when we travel. My sister falls asleep listening to them just about every night.

Podcasts can also be somewhat comforting. When you listen to certain ones long enough their voices become familiar and can also be used as a grounding tool for anxiety and depression. I found podcasts about a year ago when I started to want to know more about Mothman (I luv Mothman) and found Astonishing Legends. It was through Scott and Forrest I learned about my new favorite obsession, the Count of St. Germain. He’s become a pretty big part of my writing for the last year, as well as my research and book purchasing and conversations….

Anyway, it was through podcasts I realized how hard it was to tell stories as well as write them. It’s one thing to actually write the timeline and do the research and then write out the story, and it’s another one entirely when you’ve done all that already and now you’re in front of a microphone and you’re trying not to trip over your words and holy shit, I’ll have to edit at least five minutes of that ramble later, etc. It made me realize that when I write, I need to make sure the voice I use is consistent. Good podcasts have consistent voices. Good books have consistent voices. Good pods and books have well vetted research. Good pods and books work hard to promote themselves and connect with their audience. Good pods and books are full of love and compassion and endearment for the actual project. When it’s obvious that you love and enjoy what you do, your audience will love and enjoy the work.

And you can’t stop just because you’re tired or you’ve got writers block. If you’re putting out work once a week (like most pods do) then you’ve got to really make yourself sit down and work for it, even when you’re not feeling it. There are people dependent on what you do and make. There are people who use your work to calm themselves down or sleep or research or make conversation. There are people who use your work to connect to another human being, even if it’s just your words or your voice. And the same goes for writing and publishing. You can’t stop just because you’re not into it or it’s too hard.

Image result for podcast memes

So, if you’re already into podcasts, hopefully you read this and you feel what I’m saying. If you’re not into podcasts and want to be, I’m always down to talk about which ones I listen to. If you’re not into podcasts and don’t wish to be, that’s alright too. But I definitely recommend them as a means of research, at least.

Oh, and if you find I’m missing for various amounts of time it’s because I actually reached out to Astonishing Legends as a huge fan and asked to join the ARC and now I research for AL as a volunteer and I love it. It gives me the opportunity to research so many interesting topics and the guys are great and my fellow researchers are awesome and it’s just a great community. So, I highly recommend reaching out to your favorite podcasters, because they appreciate it.

-Lauren