Archives for June 2016

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I’m Taking a V*@*%^$n – Sort of

Vaction is not a 4-letter word. Em T Wytte

Or so I keep telling myself.

Why are we so obsessed with getting stuff done that we never take a vacation? It’s a pandemic (in the U.S., anyway). And it’s worse when you have a hobby/side career where everyone can see whether you’re working on it or not – like a blog for instance (gee, really?). Feel tired and take a week off – all anyone has to do to know is go to your site (No posts, huh, Em. Guess you finally gave up on that silliness. [*grumble growl*]). Plus, you’ll get a drop in those addictive stats (How can people like today’s post if there isn’t one!).

Ok, I’m projecting. But at least one person has to have gotten caught up in the same addiction as me! An addiction that threatens to take over my life (like they do). Actually, it’s done a pretty good job of it already.

So as we round the corner into the first year of this blog, I find myself playing a never-ending game of catchup. I think fondly of the time last summer when I was always two weeks ahead and wrote a fresh week of posts every weekend (Ah, those were the days!). Even the one-week buffer that I had up until a few months ago seems like such a joy and privilege now. Where I once had a comfortable length of rope to lower the boulder down the incline, I am now chasing after it and barely managing to pause it from time to time for a breath (no wonder I need a vacation!).

And, of course, there are other projects I want to start (not the brightest bulb in the box, am I?).

Clearly, I need to work on time management. But when? It takes time to work on time management. (Inherent flaw, right?) That’s why the first step is going to be putting both blogs on pause. If I don’t have the time, I’ll just have to make it. So for the rest of June (assuming I’m ready by July), I will be taking a vacation from posting.

Not a vacation from working on the blogs (or, sadly, from work in general). Oh, no. I’ll be looking at stats, compiling data on posts, and generally figuring out where to go from here. Planning. That’s the key. I’m going to take time for planning, something that has been sadly lacking for the last bit in both this blog and twytte. Theoretically, the time spent thinking ahead will make for better blogs when we get to the grand reopening (Or so I hope).

Want to help? You can! All you have to do is answer any or all of these questions: what do you like best about this blog? What do you like least? What else would you like to me to write about?

I’ll look for your suggestions in the comments and consider them as I’m planning (I’d say, “speak now or forever hold your peace,” but I’ll consider appropriate requests at any point – ideas that I don’t have to think of? No! Anything but that!). Otherwise, ta ta for now, and don’t expect to hear from me until July. I’m officially on vacation!

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Writing Is an Easy Career? Says Who?

Did you expect writing to be an easy career, filled with glory? I was reading an article in the guardian called “You think writing’s a dream job? It’s more like a horror film” by Tim Lott that gives the impression that many people do (which I will not quote at all to avoid any risk of filling out the guardian’s copyright permission page, paying rights, blah, blah, blah).

The gist of the article (which is quite a decent read) is that a large percentage of British people polled said that they would like to be an author, and that, in the author’s opinion, that’s mostly because they think about having flexible hours, getting big checks, becoming famous, and generally having an easy job.

But you, I, and the author of that article know that writing is hard work, complicated work, and work that sometimes requires 40+ hour work weeks – those who have an additional full-time job may work between 60 and 80. And I have no argument with the author on that point. I completely agree that writing is hard work, not an easy payoff, and something you mainly do if 1. it’s your only marketable skill, and 2. you feel some strange interior need to do it.

The question I guess I have is whether people really get into writing because they think it’ll be all glory, big checks, and lazy days. Do people really expect writing to be an easy job?

I ask because I didn’t. I don’t see how you could if you know anything about writing.

Ok. I take that back. If you’re naturally good at writing, if you think it’s easy (FYI: I hate that word. Easy how? For whom? It’s such a biased catchall.), and you’re very ignorant of the business side of it, then, I can see how you might think you landed in the cream of careers – Writing is easy, so of course I can make a living on it!

*cough snicker cough*

There’s also the fact that until you tackle your first novel, you don’t really understand how complex the process is. I know I didn’t, and I honestly expected it to be pretty damn complex. Even after finishing several drafts of it and starting the next, I’m still learning about my process and how to improve on my novel writing. And that’s only the writing end of it. That’s a long way from making it a career.

So for people who like writing or are good at writing, ignorance of all the aspects of the work could be an excuse.

For other people, though, I’m not sure ignorance is enough of an explanation. Willful ignorance, maybe. I’m not sure how people who couldn’t stand to write a short story or poem for class could possibly think writing was an easy job unless they’re simply choosing to ignore the fact that they don’t like to write.

Or do they somehow think that writing is solely a natural ability? A gift from God? Do they think the words simply flow out, that authors spend ten minutes a day to write 1,000 words?

Really, if people think that not only writing but making a living at it is easy, where does that thought come from?

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A Writing Prompt for Dreams

I don’t mean the goals kind of dream. This writing prompt is meant for those weird, hazy, wtf dreams that happen in your sleep and fade within hours (if not minutes) of waking. Most of the time, they make no sense – talk about the art of the unexpected! That’s actually one of the best reasons to apply dreams to your writing.

Yes, dream logic is not normal logic. In dreams, you accept stuff that causes bewildered or amused expressions when you wake up. But it’s that very lack of logical flow that makes them useful. It means that there very well may be ideas in them that you would not come up with when awake. Ok, not all of them are good ideas, but many of them could be useful when modified or at least make decent inspiration for writing.

Unfortunately, due to the transient nature of dream memories, this writing prompt requires a bit of footwork. I’m sure you’ve already guessed it – you have to write down or otherwise record your dreams. The sooner after you wake up, the better (you’ll remember more).

I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you do this already or at least keep a notepad next to the bed. Many of the artists I know tend to have ideas as they go to sleep or wake up, and, to keep from missing out on any of them, they write them down at the moment they happen (ideas can be awfully fleeting).

Once you have some dreams written down, read through and hunt for something that seems interesting. Something that you could use to start a story. Here are some examples of things to look for.

  • The goal or the quest: Even when the scenes or plot points of the dream don’t make sense, the overarching goal might (with a bit of adjusting, specifically adding more details since dreams are often vague).
  • Worldbuilding and magic: The reason we consider dreams illogical is that they don’t follow the rules of the real world. If you take one of the events of the dream and make it possible in your fantasy/sci fi/horror world (make it part of the rule system), however, it suddenly makes more sense and may lead you in an intriguing direction.
  • Mood: Dreams are really good at toying with our emotions (well, they do have a direct link to the system). That may mean that certain scenes will have very vivid moods, which can help as inspiration for setting a scene in a written piece.

That should give you a starting point. Since people dream very differently (I’m told some people dream only in black and white, for example), you may come up with all sorts of ideas from your dreams that I wouldn’t (and vice versa). Just remember that you can’t use them if you don’t remember them – so write them down!

Once you do, I bet you’ll have plenty of fodder for your writing. Now, given the personal/assumed revealing nature of dreams, I won’t ask you to tell us about the dreams unless you want to (beware the TMI problem!), but if you find any good uses for them, please share!

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A Grammar Pun to Lighten Your Day

Lol. The past presently presented the present, but the present preferred the present presently presented by the future.

And, yes, that’s a correct sentence (a bit of passive but otherwise fine). Don’t you just love English?