Reality, Dreams, and Speculation

My brain is in a weird place right now.  I’m currently reading The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry) by Siva Vaidhyanathan and just finished listening to the audiobook version of M Is for Magic, a collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman, and I’ve been on a real Star Wars kick after rewatching the VHS tapes of the original trilogy.

It’s very odd to have the realms of reality, dreams, and speculation all intersecting and intermingling in your head at the same time.

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Accepting Criticism With Grace

No one likes criticism.  No one wants to hear that the paper or story or script that they spent days, weeks, months, even years slaving over is no good.  Or even that only parts of it are not good.  “Sorry, you missed the mark, try again.”

Rejection hurts.  Criticism hurts.  It’s like watching someone sucker-punch your infant child while having your fingers amputated because you aren’t worthy to be a writer and then having salt and alcohol slathered over those gaping, bleeding wounds.

Okay, I don’t think I’ve felt quite that extreme a reaction to criticism, but it is a lot like amputation and birth contractions, coming in waves with occasional sharp pangs that make you want to crawl into a hole and hide your face from the world forever.

But like the pain of a birth or an amputation, criticism is necessary in order for us to grow.

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My Take on Writing Classes (and School in General)

I have always loved learning.

That being said, I have also always hated school.

Individual classes, individual teachers, individual ideas I have enjoyed and gained valuable knowledge from while in a school setting.  But the institution itself?  Loath it.  Despise it.  Repulsed with a vengeance.  Abhor with a passion.  Trust me, college is not for everyone.

Since school has started up again for many people, I thought it would be appropriate to broach the topic of writing classes.  I’ve had a mixed bag when it comes to writing and English classes.  My parents always encouraged reading and writing when I was homeschooled and I had a wonderful English teacher, Mrs. Ware, in middle school who was still old-school enough to make us do vocabulary, spelling, and grammar exercises.  (To this day, I can still spell “amalgamate” without help thanks to her.  ^_^)  In high school, my literary highlight was Fiction/Poetry Writing with Mrs. Turner.  I adored that class; it catered directly to my interests.  In fact, where my friends and I sat became known as “the Fantasy Corner” because we were all obsessed with that genre, and with J.R.R. Tolkien’s works in particular.  I learned about different poetic forms and took my first jab at writing short stories, so Fiction/Poetry Writing exposed me to some new writing forms and encouraged my creativity.

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10 Ways to Get Inspired

Every writer needs inspiration and we all have different ways of bribing our muses to stick around and help us finish our projects.  So, here are ten different tricks that you might find helpful, or just plain fun, in your quest to complete a book!

1)  Listen to music, especially themed playlists.  Whenever I hear a song that makes me think of a scene or character, I take note of the song and what it made me think of, then add it to my playlist.  For Astral Rain, I actually have a “theme” for each of the main characters.  Listening to that music when I’m trying to write a scene or just to have in the background when I’m writing for a story helps me drift into the writing mindset.

2)  Look at artwork (photographs, paintings, sculptures, etc.) that reminds you of a character, a setting, a mood, and event that helps propel your writing.  A photograph of a landscape that looks like your world, a painting of a person who looks like your character, a piece of abstract art that just gets you in the writing mood.  DeviantART is my favorite place to go for this, but the art can really come from anywhere.  Also, if drawing your characters or a scene works, go for it!

3)  Watch a movie that gets you in the mood to write.  This happens more for Foxglove than me, but I know that when I watch anime, I get in to mood to write anime-style stories or characters (although this can lead me into writing fanfiction rather than focusing on my own work.  ^_^;;)

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