Whistle While You Work

Sitting in one spot for hours at a time, staring at your computer screen or pad of paper, and trying to put thoughts into actual words can be a maddening process. Though what’s life without a little madness from time to time? 😉

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Sometimes it can be pretty hard to remain focused. One thing that seems to help me, is having some sort of music in the background while I’m working. Usually (though not always) something of a more instrumental variety. Oftentimes, this might mean the soundtrack to a particular video game. I think going with instrumental music usually works best for me because I get less distracted by a singer’s lyrics and can focus more on the overall mood of the music as I write.

Today I’m all about the OST (Original Sound Track) for a game called The Binding of Isaac. It’s a fun and challenging game with great music and a creepy and oftentimes flat-out disturbing mood to it. The OST for the game definitely reflects this. Created by electronic music producer, Danny Baranowsky, the game’s music somehow manages to be both calming and motivating to me when I write. It’s helped me chisel away at writer’s block on multiple occasions and it’s definitely in my arsenal of go-to playlists for when I need something to keep me on track and working.

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I find it interesting all the different methods and tools people use to stay focused and keep working when they are creating things, be it stories, art, or whatever it is they might be constructing. Whatever helps a person pry their seedling of a concept from the depths of their mind and put it onto paper or some other medium of the creator’s choosing. Caffeine and music seem to be two very ideal components of the equation for me. What works for you?

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Nature Nostalgia

Today was a good day . . . after I was done going to work and adulting for eight and a half hours, that is.

As an adult, I would hardly describe myself as the “outdoorsy” type. When I was younger I was a little more open minded to it. Then I went camping for two weeks with a friend and her family. After that I decided I never wanted to be voluntarily homeless again.

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Now, that’s not to say I don’t have an appreciation for nature. I do. Quite a bit, actually. Granted, my admiration of it is usually from afar, but that is hardly the point. If you consider how easily I get lost, how clumsy and accident-prone I am, and how quickly I fry beneath those sweet UV rays, well, my aversion to the outdoors honestly becomes more of a survival instinct than anything, really.

That said, in my childhood years (like many other children) I enjoyed going out and exploring. Woods, rivers, you name it. But in my adult years (like many other grownups) I work full time. This does not leave me as much free time as I once enjoyed, so I’ve become more selective with my hobbies. So getting sunburned and eaten alive by mosquitoes kind of sat on the back burner for the most part.

Today was different. Today I ventured into the great outdoors (aka- my neighborhood’s park) with my best friend of 20 years. Our other companions we had visited the park with were preoccupied playing Pokemon Go and were promptly abandoned when we spotted a groundhog (aka- woodchuck) (aka- snufflehog) in the distance. So while the others in our party looked for virtual critters, she and I reverted back to our little kid selves and ran around the park tracking cute real-life critters. We kept a respectable distance and didn’t try to catch any of the little animals but it was exciting finding so many woodchucks, turtles (including a big old snapping turtle) and other little creatures. That, combined with the exploration aspect of it definitely brought about a feeling of nostalgia. I realized it had been far too long since I’ve gone tromping off into the woods to see what was out there. It just goes to show that pushing yourself out of your comfort zone once in a while can be a great thing. What is life without little adventures here and there to break up the monotony of daily adult life?

I Love Lamp TBT

Well, it’s Throwback Thursday time again, so that of course means a couple more blasts from the past. 🙂

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My trusty old lamp I had painted and kept in my first apartment way back when.

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An old black and white ink illustration I did in one of my high school art classes.

Writers Write!

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There was a time when I was little that I used to cry to my mom and dad because I hadn’t mastered reading yet. I wanted to be able to read books dammit! I wanted to be able to WRITE books!

The first books I managed to write were typically about animals. Otter ninja babies born with the maddest of karate skills, anthropomorphic beatnik wolves with a love for flowers, and a gang of dogs staying in a hotel filled with monsters were some of my first stabs at writing. I guess there might be some merit to all those kids who called me “weird” in elementary school . . .

Things changed a lot over the years. As I got older, writing took on a form of therapy without me even realizing it until recently. Underlying themes in my books seemed to correlate with things I’d experienced or witnessed that struck a cord with me.

I’ve recently experienced some things in my life that hit me hard. The kind of hit you don’t bounce right back up from. The kind that changes the way you see things in life, how you see people, and most definitely how you see yourself at the end of each day. I can’t help but feel like it’s changed my writing style now, too. I see things differently so I suppose it only makes sense to write about these things differently now as well.

Tonight I’m starting the first draft to a book that feels even more like therapy than anything else I’ve ever written before. I normally am the sort of writer who obsesses and plans in a manic sort of way, thinking out every single possible detail of their story before they begin to write it. This time around I am just diving right in. I know some major plot points I am aiming for story-wise, but I guess I’m letting my characters take the wheel on this one for the most part. They’re a damaged and flawed lot, but each of them has their own tale to tell.

I’ve had issues before where I spend too much time planning and too little time writing because I want everything to be perfect. Nothing is ever perfect though, especially not first drafts. So, “not this time,” I say. This time I’m just listening to what those little voices in my head have to say . . . THE CHARACTERS’ LITTLE VOICES! Their little voices, not “those” sorts of little voices. Not yet anyway. . . . Give it a few late nights of writer’s block and maybe “those” little voices will join right on in, too!

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Free Books, Free Coffee, Good Times

As the weekend comes to a reluctant end, I gotta say: It was a pretty damn good one!

Went used book hunting with the bestie, and we even scored a couple freebies. We were both pretty excited to find three hardcover books written by Joe Hill (all of which are in excellent condition). I personally have only ever read his graphic novels in the Locke & Key series, but I like the way the man’s brain works. I had been curious about checking into some of his non-illustrated novels as well, so this was the perfect chance to do just that. I purchased a copy of his book N0s4a2 at my lovely lady friend’s recommendation, and she herself purchased Heart-Shaped Box and Horns. Needless to say, those finds along with the rest of our haul, made us quite the happy little campers.

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And because our library loves its readers, we even got to pick up a couple gift cards to our favorite local cafe for participating in the adult summer reading program it does each year. Dark chocolate mint frappes with an extra shot of espresso could only serve to enhance an already splendid day. 😉

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