Blogging  from A to Z ~The Letter L

Blogging from A to Z ~The Letter L

blogging from a to z 2018 logoFriday April 13, 2018 ~ The Letter L

 

This month, I write about being a writer, alphabetically.

I’ve written nonfiction, short stories, longer pieces and poetry. My media has included everything from keyboard to fountain pen to crayon.  And yes, I’m working on a novel.

Please join me each day as I explore this craft and career of playing with words as I participate in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2018.

 

The Letter L

Learning

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”  ~ Henry Ford

Why I’ll never stop learning:

~ Research is fun. No, really, I get a kick out of tracking down, figuring out, and finally understanding something new to me.

~ Our world is in a constant state of change. And I hate to be left behind.

~ Readers can and will call me out on any inaccuracies.

~ Data!  I love data and information and compiling and comparing and concluding.

~ I want to keep my brain muscles fit and functional until I’m in the grave.

~ I’d like to appear slightly less ancient to those whippersnappers

~ Knowledge keeps my bullshit meter accurate.

~ And Mr. Henry Ford said it’ll keep me young.

I’m a lifelong learner. Are you?

Tomorrow, the letter  M …

 

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Blogging  from A to Z ~The Letter K

Blogging from A to Z ~The Letter K

blogging from a to z 2018 logoWednesday April 11, 2018 ~ The Letter K

 

This month, I write about being a writer, alphabetically.

I’ve written nonfiction, short stories, and poetry. My media has included everything from keyboard to fountain pen to crayon.  And yes, I’m working on a novel.

Please join me each day as I explore this craft and career of playing with words as I participate in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2018.

 

The Letter K

Keep

#WhatWasIThinking

You know when you look back at your last great idea and realize maybe it wasn’t? I admit to some absolutely horrible writing. You won’t see it, because it lives in my what was I thinking? file, not likely to see the light of day.

But I don’t throw those rejects out.

Even my very worst efforts get a second (or third) chance. I don’t delete or shred them; instead I place them somewhere quiet and unattended and wait.  Sometimes I wait months.  

Then I take another look. Anything salvageable in those pages? Perhaps an idea?  Or a character, setting or quirk I can use elsewhere?  That perfect turn of phrase, too good to shred? 

Anything worth saving I transfer to an appropriate location.  Please tell me I’m not the only one with folders populated with interesting vocabulary, or kernels of ideas, weird facts or half-written poems that might become something good someday.  Or that perfect turn of phrase that I just know will come in handy some day.

Though most of my work lives on my laptop, the cloud, the DVD backup, the hard drive backup….  okay, I should have written about backing up files on “B” day.  Just do it!

Anyhow…

The point is, most of my files are electronic, but I do have inspiration notebooks. There’s the one I carry around all the time, just in case. And I’ve got a bullet-journal-y book dedicated wholly to writing inspiration.  And recently I received a lovely creativity box in which I can save anything that motivates my muse. Just checked – the box right now contains a program from a British country fair. And I know why!  I should check that box more often!

Which reminds me – jotting down ideas is great, but not so effective if you never look at them again. Once I’ve written something down, my brain no longer feels the need to remember it.  So I have to remind myself to go take a peek now and then.

Back to the reject pile.  If, on second go-around, the piece appears to be beyond redemption, I hold on to it just a little longer.  As a low priority item, that little longer can be more than months. Then I take a look again.

Sometimes a bit of something-to-save appears.  Sometimes not.  If there really isn’t a single salvageable syllable, I ask the final question.

Will I be mortified if my family reads this after I’m dead an gone?  If yes, out it goes.  If not, then the poor little page gets saved.  So far, post-mortem mortification (see how I did that?)  hasn’t been an issue for me. I don’t discard my words.

Digital space is cheap and invisible, and maybe someday that piece will work.

What do you do with abandoned drafts?

#JustKeepIt

 

Tomorrow, the letter  L …

 

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Blogging from A to Z ~The Letter J

Blogging from A to Z ~The Letter J

blogging from a to z 2018 logoWednesday April 11, 2018 ~ The Letter J

 

This month, I write about being a writer, alphabetically.

I’ve written nonfiction, short stories, and poetry. My media has included everything from keyboard to fountain pen to crayon.  And yes, I’m working on a novel.

Please join me each day as I explore this craft and career of playing with words as I participate in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2018.

 

The Letter J

 

Joy

What do you say when people ask you why you write?

My response varies:

  • I’m just in it for the money (if you ask me if I’ve met J.K. Rowling or Stephen King)
  • Because all the other kids are doing it(that one’s for mom)
  • I feel an obligation to inform (well, never actually)
  • So many stories are trying to beat their way out of my brain (fellow authors get this)
  • Compulsion, obsession, passion, neurosis (sometimes they expect this one)
  • Joy

I write because it brings me joy.

I’ve always found joy in creating pictures and scenes and situations and stories with mere words.  I used to say “ever since I could hold a crayon”, but that sounds trite and I’d get funny looks.  Still, it’s true.

blogging a to z the letter jI’m the firstborn in a family with six (eight, but that’s another story) children. I often kept my brother and sisters out of mom’s hair with stories.  Stories that always included each of them, in one form or another.  I’d get the words on paper, then hand them the crayons, with instructions to illustrate their favorite parts. Thus getting them out of my hair as well. Then I’d go read  a book until it got too loud, or worse, too quiet, in there.  Forced to abandon my book, I’d huff over, we’d sit in a circle on the floor, cross-legged. And I’d  come up with another story.

Maybe I wasn’t feeling the joy back then, but as I grew older, I found escape from angst by putting it down in words.  Those stories often had unfortunate endings for whoever was causing me pain that particular day.

Then I found myself writing research papers and textbooks and training manuals. Normal people will not be able to understand how much I enjoyed that kind of work.  Taking a bunch of confusing stuff and then getting it down so that it was understandable –  what a sense of accomplishment!  I’ve always loved to teach – the light that shines in a pair of eyes when that one hard thing suddenly makes sense.  And I think that’s why I found joy in technical writing and nonfiction work.

I’ll admit to some warm fuzzies that came with recognition and renumeration.

Stories never stopped rattling around in my head. They just became more insistent when I allowed myself the time to pay attention; they now demand to see the light of day.  And when the words that flow cause others to see the same pictures and emotions and events that were before limited to my cranium, that brings me joy.

The bigger challenge these days is to make certain that the discipline of writing regularly doesn’t squish or bury or flatten my joy.  So far, so good.

Perhaps my answer from now on should be persistent joy.

 

Tomorrow, the letter K  …

 

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