Tag Archives: New

Prompt: Seabound

An elderly (wo)man lives in a city that’s submerged in the sea, which is one of several hundred all around the world. Tell the tale through his/her voice of why the population started to go underwater, and what made it work so well. Was there a disaster that caused it to happen, and who resisted it? Don’t forget to mention if anyone passed away or became a case study in what should or should not be done underwater, as well as how long ago it happened, and if it’s permanent.

– The Novice Wordsmith

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

Dare: Collector

Just as much as one character says a lot about you, so too does what your roster look like.

Look at your stable of critters. There’s going to be some repetition in some traits of theirs, though they all treat it differently. Maybe there’s a few that are widowed, or they’ve just gotten out of a bad relationship. Some have children, some are still children, others are elderly.

Take a second to look at what you don’t have. Find something you haven’t done before and challenge yourself to come up with a character who has traits or does things that you haven’t written into before. Don’t hold yourself back from going wild, or, if you’d rather, create someone quiet.

A friend of mine once told me that he got flack for creating a wild and outrageous, and powerful, character, but the follow-up to that was, “if you want a character that’s a bartender or a farmer, that’s your business.”

Go between the spectrum, one extreme to the other, have a strong character, whose life and focus is on power, and have one whose life is less exciting in the violence department. Create a dentist. Or a UFC fighter. Or a brand new wizard whose fireballs only have enough power to knock over lampshades. Or a super soldier who has the best pedigree in the world.

“Add to your collection” of heroes, as it were, round out what you write. Go boldly where you haven’t gone before, whether it’s a library or an explosive war, and don’t let anything hold you back. Go all out. 😉

-The Novice Wordsmith

All or Nothing

When I start to read a book that I’d bought only seconds prior, there’s this sort of charged electricity of excitement that passes through me, and when I pick up the book, I cannot put it down. This has happened to me so many times. With Little Women, with Starship Troopers, with Hunger Games… Now, with The Paper Magician.

When I put the book down instead of diving right in, that magic is lost. I am not as interested and I don’t get as hooked onto it so quickly. I can forget about it for days.

New Book Syndrome. I like this, but so very infrequently am I able to really take advantage of it. I become enraptured with the style of the author, wordchoice, the characters in the book, the way it’s written, the new, interesting idea of it or the things I have yet to read. It’s like being in the middle of a library with so many options and choices to read and learn something new, and if ignored, it’ll die down and go unnoticed completely.

But now I’m indulging. I’m pushing through this book easily and I don’t want to stop.

I think about how I want readers to feel when they look at what I write. I want to engage that kind of reaction out of them, I want to be able to pull them in and not let go with my words and imagery, I want to create something so profound that that feeling is so overwhelming that there’s no way they can ignore it.

But some stories just click with you, and others don’t. And then what happens when the new-book-magic is fizzled out, in the morning after or later in the day? When it’s all gone, are you still just as excited about the book? More often what happens is that you start to see things in it that you didn’t before, you critique it, you wonder, you speculate and prod more than you learn and explore.

Whether it lasts or not, that “SHINY!” feeling is still one hell of a ride. One that I love and live for and don’t feel often enough. Time to fix that, methinks.

-The Novice Wordsmith

The Novice Wordsmith Welcomes you!

Whether you’ve stumbled across my site, or you’re here on direct assignment, I want to welcome you!

This space will serve as a central hub for thoughts, ideas, prompts, dares, lessons, wisdom, all of which come from previous experience or, more importantly, as I learn about the wide, beautiful, creative world of writing. I’ve gone the past several months wondering about and wanting to share these things with the rest of the world, and I’m happy to say that I’m finally jumping on it.

It’s an odd thing, though, that mingles with both confidence and self-image: who will want to know what I have to say? What could anyone possibly get from reading my blog? Apart from the obvious friends and family who are obligated by association to read or at least favorite the site for “later reading,” I realize that there are others like me out there who might want some kind of knowledge that they’re not alone. To know that there are still others who are unpublished, whether by choice or circumstance, and that no matter how many years you’ve been writing, or how many words you’ve banged out on the keyboard, typewriter, or notebook, you’re still going to have something to learn from the beautiful worlds you’re capable of creating.

I hope you’ll stick around. Not just for my sake, but to see if I can direct your attention to something you haven’t considered before.

-The Novice Wordsmith