Tag Archives: love

The Fires of Passion: Part 2

The first part of this post, was meant as a reply to the Charlie Hebdo attack, but also as a segue into the topic of letting your heart help you write. To say that what you believe in, or what makes your heart race, the ideas that make your eyes light up and keep you awake at night, can be one of the best vehicles for your writing.

The opposite of this is hating what you’re writing and dragging your feet through it. “It wrote itself” versus, “I am so glad this is over.”

There’s the unmistakable joy of a frenzy of writing because you love it and because you want to, because something about the topic speaks to you. Fiction, non-fiction, journalism, memoirs, biographies, whatever it is, there’s pieces that capture you and don’t let go.

“It writes itself” when you’re on fire, when you can see the scene in front of you clearly and you’re in love with the view. From where you’re sitting, you should be able to blast through whatever comes up, and by the time you’re done, probably you’ll be stunned at the volume you accomplished in the amount of time you did it.

Even if the story doesn’t lay itself all out to you at once, isn’t to say you have no passion, either. With excitement comes a varying degree of push and desire, controlled by a few factors including how important the piece is, how strong the different scenes are playing in your head, and what you feel about the scene or scenes themselves. Why not add in if it’s a big project, with it’s intimidation, mild or not, and if you know you’re looking to publish, the worry you get from making sure everything is perfect.

My personal view on the other side of this, the sluggishness, has always been to change something. Figure out what’s got you stuck and move things around. Find a way to dig yourself out of the rut. In those cases that you can’t, which I experienced first hand in November, you just have to hunker down and find a way through.

With gusto behind your words, all things are possible. Your stories can take you where you want to go if you let them, if you get out every bit of care and painstaking effort that you can muster. Zest peppering each paragraph and verse puts more weight and meaning into the words that are taken down and consumed in reading.

Because if you don’t like what you’re writing, who’s to say the reader will?

-The Novice Wordsmith

**PS for those interested in half of what inspired this post, you can read the quote by Ray Bradbury here, which is part of an essay he wrote about the same thing.

Meaning and Sentiment

The holiday season is choc full of sentiment, no matter if you think the days have become entirely commercialized or not. It’s a time for family and togetherness, to show how much we care and love others, by giving as much as we can.

Meaning has two different thoughts here in this post for me. One is the association with semantics and what something is comprised of, what it means, and the other is tied in with sentiment, it means something, it has value. The meaning of getting gifts this Christmas is mutual love and abundant desire to see someone happy, but how much do those gifts mean to who is getting them or giving them?

Getting a bunch of gifts mean that people are able and wanting to give to you. Getting gifts that are maybe small, they’re toys, they’re little things that not many would consider to get you, means that someone knows you, or has inside jokes with you, or something to that effect.

There’s sentiment in getting something from someone you care about. You know what they went through to get it despite how quickly or how much you’ve outgrown it, and you’d rather hold on to it.

Writing goes sort of in the same direction, but differently, if that makes any sense. What you write can have meaning in two different ways. It can mean something about your life or society, or it can mean the world to you because it was the first thing you felt so great about writing in a while. It can mean enough to put a dedication to someone in it, it will have that sentimentality that it’s for someone else, that there’s more to it than just a crazy, creative idea that you had and masterfully marked up throughout a period of time.

It is what you put into it.  If you put your heart and soul into it, if it’s filled to the brim with your passion and gusto (as Ray Bradbury would put it), it will be obvious. With passion backing your words, there’s bigger, stronger support to it, there’s more emphasis and feeling.

Sentiment is a big part as well. Like with writing for a gift, there’s more to it than is tangible. It can help sculpt the story, the chapter, the article, into something else. Like with dedication to someone you’ve lost, the sentiment of writing it for them makes it into a piece that has your heart in it. It has reminders of them or it has a message for them that you maybe couldn’t have told them before.

Even if, overall, the piece ends up being some of your worst work– either in your eyes or someone else’s– there is sentiment in it. You see it, others may not, but it becomes what it means to you. And, in some cases, those who know what the meaning is in it.

Writing comes from the head, but the heart contributes just as much. It is a compilation of passion and ideas, the collaboration of your imagination and where your heart wants to soar. When there is one without the other, what does the meaning become then?

-The Novice Wordsmith

Happy Birthday to Friend! <3

I just wanted to add this as an aside yesterday, but I forgot about it. Here it is, though, a day late: a huge, big, awesome, amazing happy birthday to you for everything you’ve put up with from me and how you’ve helped me learn. It’s going on three years that we’ve known each other and since the point I met you, I was learning, I was understanding things differently, seeing them in ways I hadn’t considered.

You’ve done more for me than I could probably think of right now, right away, but if you gave me time, and a jar, I’d probably have it packed to the brim by the time I saw you next.

I know that as you get a year older, you worry about what you’ve done with your life, but I want to implore you not to. You’ve taught me, and so has life, that anything could change in an instant. What we say and do in the face of adversity is what helps us grow and become who we are, and you show me that no matter what your age, there’s still learning to be done.

Thank you, for everything you’ve done, for being here, and being amazing. For encouraging me to write more and to work on this blog and for helping with its upkeep at times by providing posts and your own incredible wisdom that I can never get enough of. For pushing me and telling me I can do more or better. For knowing when to be hard and soft with your words.

Sometimes you may not feel like you’re worth it, but I want to remind you that you are. And it may not be much to slot some time for you on the blog, specifically to say happy birthday and how much I appreciate you, but I thought, for helping me come to this point, that you deserved at least that.

Compression Calf Guards and Performance

I know the title is a little odd, but stick with me on this one.

I’ve been considering this post since I got my compression calf guards early this month. The reason being for that is mostly because I try constantly to make links between running and writing. They’re so similar to me, one because they’re both such great passions of mine and two because they seem so obvious (probably because I work through them both so often).

Out on a run (unsurprising) today, I thought about it again. I ditched the guards because it was short and I had very little desire for big effort. Today it was running to run and help boost how I’d been feeling all day, and putting on the guards is like shoving my legs in tight clothing that I desperately want to wear.

After three years, I’m finally making bigger improvements in my endurance, and that’s in thanks to the guards, because they help block out the pain and make it much easier for me to push without worrying about splints or aches. I’m able to focus on speed and distance instead of my condition and forget everything but my feet on the pavement and my swift movement down the road or up the hill.

Every thing is different. Every skill and talent, every hobby you pick up or class you look into, it’s all got fundamental difference, but in essence, some of it can come to be very similar. What’s similar is the broader parts, like getting ‘gear’ to help you improve.

Which does work. Some things will help your performance in a lot of ways, but another thing I realized in the past few weeks of thinking about this topic was that, really, there is no “compression sleeve” equivalent to writing.

A lot of the time, the only things that help you improve in writing are location, what you surround yourself with visually and audibly, and the kind of inspiration you seek out. It’s about the journals you fill and the programs you use and the music you do or don’t listen to. The other writers you read, the books you immerse yourself in, the worlds you dive into day after day, hour after hour, because you cannot get enough and you don’t want to.

It’s organization or lack thereof. It’s in your head and your hands and less about bells and whistles than it is about expanding on the basics.

All of them will always have one very central thing in common, though, and that is the love, dedication and effort you put in to that work, to get better, to see yourself achieve what you know you’re capable of, to reach your dreams and to be more and more each time.

Some hobbies can take more money to help you get better, others only need you to see things differently. There are no limits, only what you put in front of yourself.

Mental blocks are the worst, and some of the hardest things I’ve ever had to overcome. There’s still one street I run down that I can do easily one way fully, but coming back up it is the worst task in the world because of how I visualized it when I was still a beginner.

Today had been a big eye-opener in this case because, without the sleeves, I nearly ran the entire length of my route without stopping, which I haven’t ever done before, though I’ve been getting closer lately.

We remember where we’ve had a tough time before and it sticks with us. The best way to break through is to go a different route completely. Freshen, liven, and see what you can achieve when your head doesn’t think that you’re doing the same thing. Do something new, and throw in something positive about it, and see how far it takes you.

This goes for everything. If you’re having a hard time with a chapter or story or trying to get something out specifically, you will remember how hard it was before. Changing tone or perspective can make a world of difference.

I’m still trying to tackle that street every chance I get, to make it through as far and as fast as possible, because maybe then, I can overwrite the negativity I wrote in so early.

What I see a lot of when it comes to mentality and running and writing is that it’s all in what you say to yourself. Can you see that you can do it, or are you telling yourself that it’s impossible? Do you know that you have it in yourself, or are you making sure you don’t? It’s easy to short yourself, but look for the more optimistic side of things, even if you don’t believe it at first.

For so long, I wasn’t sure that I could even do much of anything with my writing. After getting a hard conversation out of Friend about my writing and the habits I had with it, I was resigned either to shrug off the idea of writing as a career choice or taking it head on and trying everything I could to make it.

A year later, I sat back with Friend at my side in a resort and was on my way to a journey to 100k words in a month, after writing almost daily for four months, and making so many stories I was immensely proud of at that point.

Getting a little more off topic, I had another friend who told me she thought that achieving her dreams was a stupid ideology and that it’s impossible. Maybe it’s my own personal experience that leads me to believe that you can with hard work and dedication. Maybe I’m naive and haven’t had enough negativity thrown into the mix to keep me down and out. I was convinced at one point, too, that I’d never find a job, and felt completely trapped, but that changed, too.

Perspective is everything, sometimes. Whether you need help from gear or programs, or just a fresh scenery, you won’t always be stuck.

– The Novice Wordsmith

Editor’s Block

Other than the writing of the story, the editing process is my favorite. As time goes on and you spend more time with the novel or the short story, or whatever it is, you learn what exactly you want to do with it, and you have a better idea of what fixes to make.

I admit that it lets loose the perfectionist in me. I get a second and third and fourth glance at the content and have an ability to make any tweaks or even re-write as I see fit. As someone who is very picky about what she writes, I manage to have a very difficult time through NaNoWriMo, when the biggest principle is simply to “keep writing, don’t revise until the month is over.”

Though, in some cases, revising and editing can be a worse task. John Green said once that he had re-written 52,000 of Looking for Alaska’s original wordcount when he got to the first round of editing.

That, to me, however, is incredibly intimidating, but I can see where it comes from. You have a better idea for the story and its direction, and accordingly, you need to re-write and take things out where it’s appropriate to accommodate.

Others, however, hate the task of editing. Friend finds it rather a daunting process, to go through all of the 60-100,000 words. While I relish in the chance to be able to mark up  my work and get it in the form and pristine shape that I want it, he’d rather leave it as is. There’s so much to read through, to try and fix other than the obvious typos.

If you hate editing and revising, there’s still hope, you can do it! I have faith in you! You can do the thing! <pom poms>

First, take it a little bit at a time. Measure it chapter by chapter instead. If you’re having trouble remembering what exactly happened in the novel, there’s no shame in going back to re-read it and getting it fresh in your head, to return and do the best work on it that you can.

Second, focus on typing mistakes first.

As you go on, you’ll likely see things you do or don’t like, things you’ll want to improve or leave or expand upon. This is where the third step comes in, but it should come naturally. Your writing instincts should be able to tell you what you want to keep and what may need to be re-written.

The more time you spend on it, the more you’ll do. It’s a natural progression, start small and work your way up. It doesn’t deserve to intimidate you, it’s your work, you own it.

Another option is to send it to a friend you trust, who also writes (preferably), and get a second opinion. Take it into consideration, and try to see what you think is the best course of action.

If you’re going the professional route of being published, you’ll likely have an editor who thoroughly checks and rechecks your work for errors and gives you their opinion. A writer back in the 50s (forgot the name), who I was studying for a Fiction Writing class back in college, had an editor that would take out huge swaths of his story and re-write them, or simply take them out. Looking at a revised copy of his original work was like watching the short story go through the chop-shop.

Then again, that editor was credited for the man’s great success as an author.

Personally, that’s a little terrifying. To encounter someone who changes that much of your work and to have to put your trust in them for getting anywhere with the story. Whew.

I love editing, like I said. If you don’t, I know you can make it through; think of it as selective writing! You’ll get to the end quicker than you realize, if you stick with it.

-The Novice Wordsmith

Hopeless Romantic

I have been trying for months to write this post and do it justice. Romance as a genre and a subgenre have made a huge impact on my writing, as they’ve been a big part of it since the beginning. Action was always a close second, but romance had my attention from the get go and it never let go.

Romance, and any intimacy, really, is as personal as it gets, sometimes. When it comes to love, it’s an  emotion in control of you, it has you wanting to press up against someone, brush your lips across theirs, slide your hands up their sides, pull them in close, kiss them hard and hot and not come up for air until you have to. It’s intoxicating and exciting, with a strong draw and a very good chance to write itself.

Sex itself may not be the most personal. Anyone can do it, it can be a one-night stand and a bad experience, or it can be the most invigorating thing your character’s done, but still make them feel like they’re missing something.

The first step for romance is always chemistry. How does your couple get along at first? What draws them to each other, or are they butting heads from the beginning?  The cultivation of their chemistry, from weak to strong or strong to stronger, can be just as slow or quick as you like it, something that is sometimes dictated by the pace of the novel itself.

The second step is obviously to plot out the course of the relationship. It can range from rough and rocky with triangles galore, to mostly smooth sailing with bumps to overcome. What sort of problems do they have to overcome together or separately, publicly or privately? Is one of them heavily guarded or scatterbrained?

Step three is previous partners, which can have a wild impact on the way they treat the current one. The damage done, or not done, can set the pace for the next romance just as much as the chemistry can, and it can give you more or less to work with depending on what you decide. Old partners who hurt them, psychologically, emotionally, or physically, can contribute to intense scenes, unexpected reactions, and long, quiet nights curled up together, or apart.

These elements fill out what you need, but above all else, you’ll need passion, care, the intensity I mentioned, and a fire to blaze, however tall or short it reaches.

Love, in its own, is a strong, beautiful emotion that can turn ugly or be something so deeply cherished or longed for. It creates comfort and happiness, warmth, amusement. It is a turn on a ride that you never want to end, where being held by them can be either the most satisfying or excruciating thing to endure, depending on when it happens.

Some genres/sub genres may be just as easy for you as this is for me, how natural it is, how effortless it is to write out the way to people come together and chronicle their passion, however short-lived it is, or if it lasts the rest of their lives. Their intimacy and struggles in the midst of a large conflict, those sweet moments captured in the soft language and loving glances.

I figured I’d end this with one of my favorite quotes, which comes from a book I’ve never read: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Gorgeous as it is evocative.

Happy loving~

-The Novice Wordsmith

You Matter – National Suicide Prevention Day

This strays from what the blog is centered on, but this day has a big enough importance to me that it deserves the attention I’m going to give it.

I can start off by saying something about Robin Williams, but I know this disease is gripping more people around the community, the country, and the world, than simply to just give one example. He is the biggest example at the moment, for those who haven’t seen this up close, but I am willing to bet, with how many people follow my blog, and with how prevalent depression is, that there isn’t at least someone who’s lost a friend, or a family member, or a classmate, to suicide.

And the worst of all is that I’m sure one or two of you may have thought about it yourself. I used to.

I lost someone very dear to me to suicide. It was probably the most difficult thing I’d ever gone through, and I still remember sitting up at night, crying, saying that I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Because it’s not fair. It hurts, bad.

My biggest plea is that you matter. You mean something to any person in your family, in your group of friends. There is so much more to you than a noose waiting in the closet, or the balcony outside of the hotel room at the seventh floor.

Backing up just a second, for those who haven’t gone through this, it may not have as much of a meaning. It may just be another day, another well-meaning organization is trying to boost awareness, and that’s that, let me elaborate on that:

To Write Love on Her Arms heads this day. They started back in 2006, I believe, where people would simply write love on their arms. I remember hearing about them through high school, and that’s the target, typically, for them. Teenage kids who are going through bullying, who are going through a very rough time, but they exempt no one. Their biggest effort is to get people to understand that it is a disease, and that it can turn someone into something that they aren’t. That, ultimately, suicide is something that they convince themselves that is the only way out.

IT IS NOT THE ONLY WAY OUT.

It isn’t. There is so much more you can do. I know it’s hard to get out of bed, I’ve seen it. I know it’s hard to try and smile, to try and do anything else but cry, but don’t force yourself if that’s all you can do. It’s okay to feel so much, but you have friends, online or in person, that will help you. They can hold onto you in whatever way possible, they will strive to make you better.

The death of Robin Williams opened the eyes of a lot of people. It showed that some people feel like they are beyond saving. It showed that it can be very difficult for any person, no matter how big they smile or how much they make you laugh. It showed that, those who bring the greatest joy, often feel the deepest pain.

It showed that the disease is real, and it helped lift some of the stigma of mental illness in our country, and the world, which is staggering.

Hug someone today. Someone who is hurting, if you’re not. Realize that you matter, or tell them that they do. Don’t worry. Breathe, take it a step at a time. It’s okay to feel too much. You are not alone. You’re here, and there are so many people who don’t want you to go, including me, no matter how little I know you.

Spread the word. Spread the love. Remember that you have love, from friends and family.

Please don’t hesitate either, if you’re suffering from depression, to talk to me. Send me a message and I can be here for you if you need someone to be. If you’re afraid to talk to anyone else. I understand. And I love you.

Thank you.

-The Novice Wordsmith