paper

As a writer, I’ve often wondered if other writers constantly think about their characters, story line, and ways to write sentences.

I want to say I’m constantly thinking about writing my story (or stories) in particular, but in reality I’m only doing this part of the time. I have to diligently use my other time completing daily functions like working, sleeping, and playing with my pug (or rather, keeping him out of trouble).

When I’m not carrying out my required daily functions (god I sound like a robot), I’m either driving, eating, listening to music, failing at sleeping, cleaning… the list goes on. And during this time, I’m thinking about what my character would do in certain situations, how the story might unfold, what scene I want to write, what scene I’ve already written. Sometimes my story doesn’t even cross my mind, but rather about how to phrase a sentence or how a certain smell would be described.

Just today I thought how to word a sentence about what fresh copier paper feels and smells like. I pick up fresh paper from a giant office printer every day. What made me think of this today I have no idea. It’s possible I was thinking about writing and in that moment as I walked to the printer, waiting for my paper to emerge, I thought about how to write it.

I mean, c’mon. EVERYONE thinks like that, right?

When my husband and I travel in the car together and the trip is more than a few minutes, I’m sitting in silence more often than not. And during this silence I watch the world pass. Even if I’ve been down the road 100 times, I still find my mind wandering into random thoughts of how to describe a car ride, or how to describe a winter day, or setting a scene at a hot dog stand I’ve been past 1000 times.

No kid: I drove past a hot dog stand, a taco stand, and a BBQ stand for 5 years on my way to and from work every day. All on the same road. The BBQ smelled especially delicious and the taco stand had giant chili mascot. The hot dogs were only breakfast hot dogs; not open in the afternoon (I suspect this place generally catered to nighttime truck drivers).

My point being, I think about writing a lot and have done so for a long time.  I’d be curious to hear what other writers think about, and if I’m the only weirdo out there thinking about how copier paper smells.

**

Note: the picture of copier paper at the top is NOT mine. I only say this because when I use a photo, I use only my photos. I just really wanted a boring looking picture of copier paper, because I don’t go around at work taking pictures of paper. That would be creepy.

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Writing Break

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I graduated!

I now officially have my Paralegal Certificate. In the making since the fall of 2015 (1 1/2 weeks after getting back from my tropical island honeymoon nonetheless). With the classes and what I learned still fresh in my mind, I updated my resume a few weeks ago and I realized how much I actually learned and know – it’s kinda cool!

But this post isn’t about paralegal studies, it’s about how I’ve had so much more time on my hands to write, now that I don’t have homework looming over my head every week and classes to attend on Saturday afternoon and Wednesday night.

I’ve recently been forcing myself to write a little bit at lunchtime every day. I found a smallish notebook that fits perfectly in my bag that I bring to work. I decided to see if I could concentrate on writing a page or two at work during lunchtime. Surprisingly, I got right in the zone despite sitting at my desk with work and deadlines looming just a foot away on my computer.

Side note: since posting last, I did not get a paralegal job, but got a new job at the company I’ve worked at for 6 years. It’s in a compliance related area. I still want to be a paralegal (who writes novels on the side of course!) but for now I’m happy where I’m at – and it’s only been 7 months. The point is, the pace is very different from my old job that I had for 5 ½ years. When the pace picks up it moves extremely fast, leaving almost no time to breathe (good practice for paralegal work though). Whereas at my old job, the pace was fast BUT more constant and not as rushed.

So that being said, I often find myself working through lunch more often than not and it’s difficult to pull away sometimes. I’ll admit, I’ve become more of a perfectionist over the years and find myself wanting to do everything and anything and all of it RIGHT the first time. And if I don’t get it right, I’m unnecessarily hard on myself and it eats away at me. Not the healthiest, I know, but that’s where writing comes in.

These past few weeks I’ve taken more time away from work at lunchtime than not. I turn my seat around to the non-computer portion of my desk, munch on my food and write a few pages in my notebook. I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere with that manuscript I’ve been wanting to write for years. The only way to get it done is make yourself write. I recently read in a writing magazine that you need to make time rather than find time. It’s forcing yourself to do it regardless of life’s circumstances rather than sitting and waiting to see if a good moment comes your way.

Now, if only I could keep up regularly with this writing blog… until next time whenever that may be.

Peace out.

Hand write things more often.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Handwritten.”

I really like writing by hand, so much so that it’s close to love. I believe that writing by hand forces your brain to slow down since you are not getting the ideas out as fast as you would typing. And from this, I believe this opens up the mind to a larger scope of creativity. You’re forced to think about the words on the page a little more carefully, being slightly more intricate with sentence structure and the formation of ideas. It really is the best way to write. We don’t call ourselves “typers”, do we?

The last thing I wrote by hand was a short story I wanted to submit to a small literary magazine a few years ago.

It was the first story I had ever even considered submitting to a literary magazine and was not sure how it was going to end up. I was very doubtful if I should even submit.

So I decided NOT to submit.

I continued thinking about the story though. At work, I wrote down all my ideas on little sticky notes as they popped into my mind and took them home with me at the end of the day.

Being extremely excited about my ideas, when I got home I decided to write some things down and see where it went on paper. I had let my partial story sit for a few days after deciding not to submit, giving it time to breathe and open up. I wrote a page here, a page there, not in any sort of order, just getting my ideas down.

But the more I wrote, the more my excitement grew, and the happier I became with what was forming on the page. Some pages had large portions crossed out entirely, while others had arrows drawing to sidelines with additional sentences. I felt like I was a kid again when I used to hand write ALL my stories, and as a moody teenager when I used to sit up in my room for hours at a time, filling up notebooks. It was pretty awesome to be back there.

The next few days I obsessed over writing because I felt like I was getting somewhere. It was the end of the year, New Year’s Eve was approaching, which was also the deadline for the magazine I’d wanted to submit to.

Needless to say, the next few days at work I did NOT get very much done. Instead, I secretly worked on my story, revising and editing it to perfection, or at least the best revising and editing I could do with less than a week IF I wanted to submit it.

I thought about what it would be like to submit a story, and I figured I would never know what would happen if I didn’t try. I recalled a handful of times in my life where I was doubtful of myself over small, silly reasons, and then thought about the few times I actually took a chance and did something I was uncomfortable doing. I never regretted doing the things I felt uncomfortable doing because it never left me wondering, what if?

So when New Year’s Eve approached, I got my story as ready as it would be and submitted it, re-reading my email to the editor and checking to see if I had all my materials attached about a hundred times before clicking send.

And as I hit the send button, I immediately remembered I didn’t put page numbers on my document.

I crumbled and exclaimed, “NOOOOOOooooooo……”, and shut my laptop. I had myself convinced my story would not be chosen based upon the fact I did not follow guidelines.

I had a great time ringing in 2014 though.

Funny ending to this story however: the editor picked my story for publishing in early January, the next week I got engaged, and the following week my adorable pug came into my life.

I guess those missing page numbers didn’t matter.

Photography 101: Day 5 – Solitude

Morning.

Day 5 is Solitude.

 

This is a picture of the morning where I live, a view of my apartment stairwell and also what I can see from my living room window. I’m about to head to work now. Most days I wish I had time in the morning before work to sit, drink my coffee, and enjoy the quiet of the morning. That’s where I find solitude. The morning is quiet and peaceful and the world is sound asleep.

But until I’m retired many many many years from now, I’ll just have to wait and enjoy the solitude on Sunday mornings. 🙂