Tag Archives: Musings

A Resolution, Not a Resignation

Dear Readers,

It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I started this blog. Doing so, for me, was a logical step in seriously launching my journey—or perhaps I should say relaunching a journey I’d started long ago, but strayed from over the years. Whatever the case, my intention at the time was clear:

Follow my dreams,

Follow my heart,

And most importantly—

Follow the stories that filled my mind and soul.

And so I did.

Along the way, I discovered things about myself and the way I write. I learned things about the craft through incredible posts made by other writers. And perhaps the most dear to me, I met dozens of amazing people on a similar journey, sharing their hearts and souls as they blogged, commented, and became part of a wonderful cheering squad that we as writers must strive, always, to be for one another.

In the last few months, I’ve stuck closely to my intentions. I’ve been writing like a fiend behind the scenes, often waking from a trance at the end of the week and realizing I’d somehow managed 15-20 hours alongside my teaching hours. I explored new venues and tried new things, putting my pieces out into the world and discovering exactly how deep this passion to write burned within me. I whittled down my blogging because I wanted to focus, and in doing so found more time to write, more ideas to run with, and more exciting things ahead.

And so, over the last couple months, I’ve been toying with a notion I wanted to avoid, but one that I’ve come to recognize as a necessity if I want to truly follow my heart and run with my creative burst: the time to step back from my blog as I navigate the full landscape of my writing dreams. The decision to step away has been a difficult one—and that’s because of you. My connections here have been so satisfying, and I’ve found so many thoughtful, supportive, and intelligent people through this blog that letting it go seemed liked the craziest choice of all…until I dove back into my writing and realized where my heart was, and where I needed to be.

Since I’ve always been one to avoid saying goodbye, and since I also don’t intend to disappear from here forever, I’m opting not to call this a resignation from blogging. Instead, I’m calling it a resolution—a resolution to continue exploring my writing journey, and to continue spending as much time as I can focused on the craft and where it leads me.

I will still be around. I’ll still be reading blogs, and replying to comments for anyone who happens to mosey on over my old posts. I’ll still be reachable by email (evariederauthor at gmail dot com) and through my contact form. You can also find me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter (though I’m pretty quiet on the latter). Finally, you can connect with me on Goodreads, where I’ll still leave short reviews for the books I read.

I’m excited about putting my full focus into creating right now, and in doing so, fully committing to my original intentions. And while I’m gone, I hope that you, dear readers and writer pals, are doing the same! Always remember to follow your passion, your heart, and your dreams, and most importantly…

…live your fantasy!

Best wishes to all,

Eva


Life…The Hamster Wheel

I consider myself a runner. I think this because I conquer a few miles three days a week for both fun and fitness. For me, it’s a time to enjoy being active, to breathe fresh air, and to meditate while burning off calories. It’s also a great time to come up with story ideas. Bonus!

However, while my usual run is along a winding trail, my life is more akin to running on a hamster wheel. Kind of like this.

Today, for example, I opted to cram in a run after cleaning my house, then went straight to the store to buy the fixings to make 15 bean turkey chili for my step-dad’s birthday tomorrow. It’s a simple recipe, but one I’m excited to make for him. However, the beans needed to soak overnight, which is why I thought I’d hit the store now.

Except Safeway didn’t have any bags of 15 bean soup mix. Odd.

I grabbed some other things, then ran over to Trader Joe’s. There I picked up other items for my house and the chili, and went hunting for their 17 bean barley soup mix.

“We don’t carry that anymore,” the grocery attendant said.

Um, what?

So then I ran over to Lucky’s, which fortunately had bean soup mix. Only two bags—no more, no less—which thankfully was all that I needed.

While still pondering the absence of beans in the world (I mean, it’s a bag of beans, one of the oldest staples known to man), I got home, unloaded my groceries, and looked at the clock. The following is where my brain went:

8 p.m. Way overdue for my blog post. Dinner is not made. Groceries are scattered in bags on the floor. Must soak beans. Cats need to be fed. Dear gawd, I still haven’t showered since my run. Yuck. Um, wait, did I ever move that laundry over?

And then:

Oh crap. I forgot the ground turkey!

All of this, a typical evening in the life of me, and not surprisingly, most people.

So tonight I wanted to take a minute to honor those who run this hamster wheel called life, somehow managing to swing it all while still writing. I heard some statistic that 90% of writers have day jobs, and while I’m running over here on my wheel, doing the usual wake-up/feed cats/cook/write/work/run/grade/write/cook/consider doing dishes/throw hands up in air/feed cats again/ponder the existence of people who actually sleep enough/pass out/repeat, I have to wonder how we all do it. And often when I think this, I am baffled at the realization that I don’t even have kids and I’m still running on this hamster wheel trying to get it all done. Kudos to those of you who balance work, writing, and a family—like you, Jessica Vealitzek, and Rebecca Lane Beittel, and a dozen other people. It’s mind-boggling, and sort of amazing, really.

But it forms an interesting question: how do we do it? Specifically—

How do you find the balance? How do you “fit” the multiple life and writing goals you have into your day without falling off the hamster wheel?

I’m sure I’m not the only one to wonder such a thing, so please share your thoughts below!

As for me, I feel like I’m still working on that balance. Always running, always spinning, always…

Oh dear. It appears I just burned a pan cooking dinner (and blogging at the same time).

*Sigh.*


Why Aren’t I Doing NaNoWriMo?

It’s November—the month of writing mayhem! 🙂

If you’re a writer, you are well aware of NaNoWriMo. For those who aren’t familar, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, which rolls around every November. It’s a time when many writers take on the challenge of crafting 50,000 words of a novel (broken up over 30 days, that’s an average of about 1,667 words per day). For experienced and new writers alike, this month is a popular one to dive into the challenge—and to help keep authors motivated and on task, the NaNoWriMo website hosts special day challenges, word counts, forums, and lots of support. In many ways, it’s a great banding together of the writing world.

So as many writer friends (and non-writer friends alike) have asked, why aren’t I doing it?

For the last two years, I’ve intended to participate in NaNo. While 50,000 words is only the start of a novel, I liked the idea of a camaraderie with other writers involved. Writing is a completely independent art—which is why we often encourage one another to attend conferences and workshops, or to start critique groups so that we don’t disappear in the confines of our offices and forget to share our work with one another. With this collaborative spirit in mind, it seems I should have signed right up.

Last year, I was heavy in the throes of finishing my first real novel, Kyresa. I toyed with the idea of stopping to create something new during NaNo, but doing so would have stalled my momentum on a book that had to finally be finished. I’m glad I held firm on that.

This year, I considered the idea again—especially because this time, one of my closest friends (a romance writer) decided to go for it. Cheering each other on like we did in high school sounded superb.

But again I had to pause and take a deep breath while I thought about the possibility. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I just started my new gig as an English teacher—which I’m loving—but it’s still taking some adjusting (read: paper grading) as I try to also maintain my writing life. In addition, I’m still in that unpacking stage of my recent move (read: curtain rods remain on the floor!).

And of course, there was the bigger issue: I promised myself after my July writing conference that I would take some time to craft shorts and finish editing another piece until the month of February. I made this decision with the goal of learning how to start and finish, over and over, so that I would never drag a novel out like I did with my first one again. Thus, February has long been set in my head as the month I intend to start my next full-length piece. 

I am a woman of strong conviction once I make up my mind, but until then I’m as indecisive as they come. So I wavered back and forth on this, between the lure of the “team,” the best friend, and even multiple blogger pals getting involved…plus those nifty word counters sure are fun…

And then I put my foot down. My enthusiasm over building a collection of shorts is high, and some small semblance of sleep is important to me in this adjustment period to my new house and job. So…no NaNoWriMo for me, and I’m okay with it!

Instead, I’m opting to stand on the sidelines and cheer all my fellow NaNo writer pals on. I’ve been the biggest cheerleader for those I support for as long as I can remember (which is funny, since I never was a real cheerleader), and there’s no reason I can’t do that for all of my NaNo-ing peeps. Go team! While all of you are working away at creating the awesome 50,000 words you’re aiming for this month, I’ll still be writing alongside you. I’m not counting my words, and I’m not building a novel just yet, but I’m excited for every one of you. I’ve got pom-poms in the air, foot kicked high, and pigtails swinging in the breeze. Ra-ra. Yay-you. Goooooooo Team Writers!

Keep up the good work, everyone! Can’t wait to hear about your NaNoWriMo progress. 🙂


Third Thursday Flash Submission Call and the One Lovely Blog Award!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I’d like to start off my thanking the wonderful Nathan Payne over at Writer’s Codex for nominating me for another award, the One Lovely Blog Award. Thanks, Nathan!

I’ll go into more detail on the award in just a moment, but first—drumroll please!—it’s time for another call for submissions! As a reminder, every three Thursdays I’m posting a 500 to 1,000 word flash fiction piece I’ve written based on your idea! Submissions are now open for theme ideas you’d like me to craft from for next Thursday’s post. Please pass along whatever idea you like (it can be a theme, a sentence, a prompt, a couple of words you’d like me to incorporate or use as background—your choice), and send your suggestions to me by email at evariederauthor@gmail.com. You can also use the handy contact form on my website. Submissions will remain open until Monday the 17th at 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, when I will pick one of your great ideas and craft a piece! In your email, please let me know if you would prefer I keep your name anonymous should I pick your idea, otherwise be prepared for me to shout out your awesomeness for providing a swell idea.  🙂

You can click here or here to read the first two installments of Third Thursday Flash. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your suggestions thus far, everyone—it keeps me writing and I love having your input. So, I welcome more ideas and themes for next week’s edition!

And now…back to the One Lovely Blog Award!

The One Lovely Blog Award is another of those fun blog awards circulating at the moment. While some bloggers consider them chain letters just by the nature of passing them along to more bloggers, I find the mention by my esteemed peers quite flattering. There are about 80 gazillion blogs out there, so being nominated as one of a small group that someone likes to read is not only encouraging but a real highlight of the day. So, thanks again, Nathan!

The One Lovely Blog Award suggests that I should: thank the nominator (done—you rock, Nathan!), post the picture (done!), mention seven random facts about myself, and nominate fifteen other blogs.

We’ll start with the seven random facts. (Dun dun dun…this could get interesting.)

1. One of my favorite foods is a pot pie with popcorn in it. This is a holdover from childhood, when my mom loved to eat popcorn for dinner (why, mom, why?), and we’d grab handfuls and sprinkle it over our pot pies. For some reason, the butter flavor mixes quite well. I have to get crafty with this now due to a double whammy of lactose and gluten intolerance (random fact number 2!), but I sure do love that combo.

2. See last sentence of #1. Fortunately, this is a pretty bearable issue now that it’s 2012 and there are delicious substitutes available.

3. I’ve become addicted to getting up at 4:45 to squeeze in 45 minutes to an hour of writing before I leave for work – so much so that I have to remind myself to sleep in a little on the weekends. (Why waste a perfectly good day?)

4. I’m a clean person but I have a tendency to drop mail and shoes as soon as I come in the house. Mail on the counter (which I leave, often, for a week at a time) and shoes by the door. This results in (a) no counter space and (b) random bouts of tripping over shoes while heading into my kitchen. My kitchen, by the way, is inconveniently placed as the opening to my apartment. This leads me to item #5.

5. I am giddily, delightfully, and over-the-moon excited about the fact that I will be moving in the next month to the area I’ve dreamed of living in for the last seven years. (Please review #3. This is the only writing time happening for a while since I’m packing.) The new place is on the water, beside my favorite running trail. Tranquil, safe, and beautiful are three words I would say best describe my new neighborhood, and I can’t wait to move!

6. I use an exercise ball as a desk chair half the time. It’s only half the time because my cats have a tendency to pop every exercise ball I acquire (the current tally is cats: 3, exercise ball: 1), and so I’ve been hiding this one in the tub of my guest bathroom with the door closed to prevent their access. This also means that I often sit down and start writing before I remember to grab the ball, and then I’m too immersed in what I’m doing to grab the darn thing. Sorry, abs.

7. I now consider myself a former theatre brat, Renaissance Faire girl, and circus freak. I acted a bit in my teens and first year of college, and hope to do it again one day (you know, when I have more time). I sold garlands at Renaissance Faire for seven years (I was there, but flighty, for my eighth and ninth years), which was fun and formative, but now I have a strong dislike for dusty, dry areas, as well as camping.  And the circus part—if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve heard this fact. If not, you can read more about my circus life here.

All right, there are some random facts about me for you! Now, since Nathan was kind enough to nominate me for the Liebster Blog Award just a couple weeks ago, I recently nominated several blogs that I love to read and follow. The list often does not change as I follow these blogs because I think the writing is either informative, superb, or both, and for that reason, I would like to redirect you to my formerly posted list of blogs here. However, there is one blog that I’d like to add to the list, since her blog had already been nominated the last time around and thus I couldn’t renominate her. (Yes, I’m breaking all the rules in only technically nominating one person, but there you have it.)

That said, I nominate Katherine Checkley over at The Intrinsic Writer. Her blog boasts not only great writing but helpful writing posts, and I consider her a veritable fountain of clever writing information. She is also one of the first bloggers I ever started to follow!

I’d like to say thanks to Nathan again for the nomination. He’s running a fascinating blog with lots of good insight, and I’m enjoying following him through his writing journey.

And to my readers, I’d like to say thanks again for being a part of my journey. I look forward to reading your theme suggestions for Third Thursday Flash, and I hope everyone has a wonderful and restful weekend!


Destigmatizing the R Word

Rejection.

We’ve all felt the cold, hard sting of rejection.

It could be of that awesome suggestion you made at work. It may even be over your excessively conversational dating style. Heck, it could be over your choice of hair color.

Regardless, rejection is something we often face in life, and it’s something we could all learn to take more lightly.

In the writing world, rejection happens every step of the way. When you were inexperienced and new, you may have convinced yourself that you weren’t any good and that there was no point in taking yourself seriously. Later, when you overcame that and started to share your work, you might have heard someone throw out a negative thing or two that stunted your progress. Then when you deemed yourself ready to start submitting things anyway, you found rejection happening even more—except now it came from everywhere: a journal, a publisher, an agent, an editor, or even a critique partner. It didn’t really matter where it came from, though, because the truth remains the same. Rejection is part of the process.

I have long suspected that we as a society could handle rejection better (both personally and professionally) if everyone would start being more honest and direct. I will use a dating analogy to explain, because it’s something with which most of us can identify.

Take Billy. Billy didn’t think you were the one. Billy might have thought your ideas (and maybe even your hairdo) were quaint and unusually intriguing. You and Billy went out a few times, and as much as he liked that you could rock a pair of orange high heels with checkered socks and a neon lime skirt, he also knew in the long run it couldn’t work out. He, after all, really liked plaid, and the two of you together looked like a violent mess of color chaos. So Billy said, “Look, I dig that you express yourself in insanely bright colors, but it’s not for me.”

What would it be like in a world where each of us was okay with Billy saying, “Hey look, sorry, you’re not for me”? A world where instead of getting upset about such a thing and bemoaning one more bad date (I mean, seriously, did you see his color scheme?), we smiled and said, “Hey Billy, it’s all good. I have Billy Bob next up on the list to meet. And honestly I agree we weren’t a good fit anyway, since none of my colors would really work alongside that plaid number you’re wearing.” [Author’s note: I am in no way endorsing nor condemning the wearing of plaid. Rock your plaid if it’s your thing, peeps.]

I further this example with our tendency to say “I’ll call you” when really we mean “I will leave your phone number in my jeans pocket so that I accidentally wash it in the laundry this weekend because I really have no interest in you at all whatsoever.” Think of how much easier it would be if we just said, “Thank you for your time, but I’m not interested.” After a few of those, any mention of “Hey, I’m not interested” would suddenly be no big deal. We’d realize that each of these incidents were indicative of something that wasn’t meant to be in the first place.

In much the same way, a rejection of our writing is not a statement on our character. Rejection doesn’t mean that we are terrible human beings, or even bad writers—it simply means that for whatever reason, the timing was off and that particular person or venue was not a good fit. Plus, if we all fit together, no relationship (with a publisher or a person) would ever be interesting at all!

So let’s focus on the rejection letter. Sometimes they contain great tips: “We’re sorry we can’t use your work, but if you did x, y, and z it would be a strong piece for us.” Other times, they’re of the standard mass-rejection variety: “Thanks for letting us consider [name of piece here], but it isn’t a good fit for our journal at this time.”

Either way, we writers are going to see them. And though we can let them sting the first time, after that we have to find a way to chin up and recognize the mismatch that wasn’t meant to be.

Stephen King pegged his rejection letters to the wall. I’ve heard of other writers burning and deleting theirs. Some even print them out and put them in scrap books. I have a folder in my inbox called “Rejection Love Notes.” Maybe I’ve taken the writing-is-like-dating analogy too far, but if I look at them as love notes gone sour, then instead of frowning about them, I smile.

Right now, I am querying one novel and three short stories, and I’m about to send out three to four other shorts in the near future, and a few more not long after that. The more I have out, the more I’m going to hear back—and odds are with that much out there, the majority of the responses will be rejection. It’s just math.

To that I say “Bring on the rejections!” They’re part of the deal. Each rejection will lead me away from places where my writing won’t work and instead to places it will. Sometimes, I might even gain handy improvement tips from these rejections, and others only another love note for the folder. But no matter what, eventually these letters are going to teach me something. They will teach me how to market my work appropriately, where I need revision, what markets are “hot,” and most importantly, how to handle rejection even better.

The first time sucked. The times after—they just meant it was time to jump right back in.

I mean, there are other fish in the sea, right? 🙂

So what about you? What do you do with your rejection letters? Please share below—I’d love to hear!


Blogging is Like a Love Affair

In my last post, I wrote about why I started blogging and what it is that my blog is about. I guess I’ve been thinking about my blog a lot this week, because this morning it occurred to me that I consider it a bit of a love affair.

To be fair, I think this idea formed as a small kernel a few months back, when my blogger pal Vanessi Grassi mentioned she thought of her blog as her boyfriend. It probably sounds weird out of context, but as soon as I read the sentence, I found myself nodding along. Over the months since, though, I’ve discovered that blogging may be more of an affair than I originally suspected.

I’m not talking about the kind of love affair that only lasts for one night—clearly I talk too much for this blog to have ended then, and that wouldn’t make for much content anyway. I’m thinking more of the long-term love affair, one following the ebbs and flows of a relationship that will last for many, many years.

Blogging begins with that initial rush of excitement one might feel at the start of a relationship. That oh-so-sweet captivation when you think, Oh my goodness, he is so amazing! Except here, it’s Oh my goodness, I’m running a blog! Everything you see stirs the thoughts up in your head that you want to share. Ooh, we can talk about this, and that, and oh that over there—won’t he think that’s so interesting? There seems an endless supply of things to talk about over wine and perhaps the occasional dinner.

Next there comes a period of adjustment—no two people ever fall into step perfectly, you know. It’s the same with blogging. You set a schedule, and then maybe you change it up a bit, blogging four days a week instead of two, but then maybe five days a week instead of three. It’s much like those first few months of dating. Should we see each other this much? you may ask. Should I leave my toothbrush…er…all my personal thoughts in the sidebar? Hard to say.

How sick of each other might you become?

And BAM. You overdo it. All this mushy lovey dovey business is getting out of hand, and all of a sudden it’s time for a blog break. (All the big name couples are doing it, by the way.) There may have been a misunderstanding. Or he got a little smothering. Who knows. Regardless, we’re on a break!

But over time, you realize how much you liked blogging. Sure, it’s hard to cram it all in. Life is busy. There’s work, and the home life, and maybe kids, or 8,000 hobbies, and all of it is taking up your every breathing moment, but still, that blog was great. That blog understood me. That loyal and faithful sweetheart—it brought out the best in you, giving you leeway to explore on those days you weren’t blogging…so you come running back. (Plus, he even takes out the trash with his nifty spam sifter!)

The two of you grow together. You compromise and create a new schedule, one where both of you can have your personal time. You also decide that there are things you can do to strengthen the foundation of your relationship—whoops, I mean your blog. You don’t need to take Tango or cooking classes to do this, you two are so amazing together. Heck no! Instead, you work on improving what you are. You may even come up with a new blog feature that allows both of you to flex your creative muscles at the same time!

You discover you’re in it for real now, and when you’re a real blogger, you’re not only running one yourself but reading up on others. But you and your blog are a team; you want to share this experience as one. (It’s called polybloggery, folks, and it’s 2012. Don’t be so close-minded!) You and your blog hold hands and check out other blogs. You click on all the tempting links over at that one flashy site. You read all the words together, a sexy new game to kickstart your relationship. You comment on how hot their thoughts are, and both of you feel like a better match because you’re able to hear each other’s inner fantasies.

Maybe you even start “the list”—the infamous list of people everyone has for the day they’re trapped in an elevator and cheating just naturally happens. Listen, if for some reason I can’t write with you, it’s because so-and-so caught me alone [by email] and asked if I wanted to do it [guest blog] and of course I had to say yes because she [awesome blogger!] is on the LIST! 

Which of course leads to the day when you have to come home to your blog and confess that you’ve been cheating. In fact, every single day, you’ve been cheating, because you’ve been writing on the side—but it’s the way you were before you started this blog, dammit, and your blog has to understand. Baby, I’m a writer! I can’t be trapped in just this blog! I have to be appreciated for all that I am, for every word coursing through my skull!

And while it’s hard for your blog to adjust, it gets it. It gets you. Because this blog, folks—it’s the real deal. It loves you no matter what you are, who you are, or where you’ve been. Sure, you have some flaws (I mean, really, you’re following what other blog about nail polish and shoes?), but overall you are still the same loving person you were. Your blog can take it. It’s true love. It’s the kind of love affair that will last a lifetime.

That is why, on mornings like today—when I woke up and thought Oh my god! I have to blog tonight! I have 80,000,000 things to do and my blog wants me to rub his feet again?—I eventually crawled out of bed with a smile. There may be a lot to do, but I sure do love blogging. We keep growing and exploring together, and most importantly, writing together.

So for being that great of a companion, this blog is worth every darn character on the page to me.

🙂


What is This Blog Thing About, Anyway?

Happy Labor Day, everyone.

My writer friend is getting ready to start his blog. He shared with me that his current holdup is picking a focused theme, which then started a great conversation about different blogs and what they’re all about. There are a variety of blog themes authors use—some focus on the craft or writerly tips; others focus on book reviews, movies, and the craft pieces contained within (point of view, setting, characterization, etc.); and still others follow the author’s journey as he or she progresses from the birth of an idea into the crafting of a full-length piece.

So while we threw around ideas, he asked what my blog was about. It got me thinking about why each of us starts a blog, and though I had an answer in my mind of what my blog was about, I wondered if my purpose or theme was as clear to others as it was to me.

I found my way to this blog because I wanted to finally publicly live my dream of being a writer. No longer would I just talk about it, or write on the occasion I had nothing else to do—it was time to take my writing seriously. I wanted to meet my goals and live my fantasy, and share that journey with those who cared to follow.

To me, living this fantasy is a mix of topics. It’s exploring the fantasy genre, since it’s the one I tend to write in most. It’s discussing the writing process, both successes and roadblocks. It’s examining writing techniques, skills, and strategies. It’s reviewing other great books in order to discover what makes those books so amazing to us as readers.

And sometimes it’s just about sharing life—a place full of passion and dreams waiting to be lived.

When I wrote my tagline, Live your fantasy…, I wanted to keep it broad so that my imagination could soar as widely as my hopes and dreams on this writing expedition of mine. Hopefully, I’ve conveyed that to you too, dear readers!

Writing is a journey. Some writers are further along on the path than others, and some of us are still bumbling our way through, discovering what it feels like to live the passion of putting thoughts to page. No matter what stage we’re at, all of us hold a wonderful connection that truly is a fantasy to live.

So on that note, thanks for sharing it with me. 🙂


Roller Coasters, School Starts, and Call for Flash Ideas!

They say when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade, but this particular week I’m working on my one-woman ten-lemon juggling act. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me (start of work, blown head gasket on my ten-year-old Honda, gluten allergy testing, apartment hunting madness, insomnia, and terminal illness of a family pet, just to name a portion). As usual, I’m trying to see the bright spots in a bizarrely heavy last three days.

So the good news: work has been a breeze! Even better, I taught English for the first time on Wednesday—three wonderful sections of Freshman English and you know what? It felt completely natural. Hurray! I enjoyed my Math sections, of course, but I have to say I’m pretty excited to continue on this big English teaching journey!

Other fun news—Nathan Payne over at The Writers Codex nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. I’ll share more about it in my next post but in the meantime, thanks so much, Nathan! 🙂

And now…start your engines! There is exactly one week until the second edition of Third Thursday Flash, when I’ll post a 500 to 1,000 word flash fiction piece I’ve written based on your idea! Please pass along whatever idea you like (it can be a theme, a sentence, a prompt, a couple of words you’d like me to incorporate or use as background—your choice). Send your suggestions to me by email at evariederauthor@gmail.com, or you can also use the handy contact form on my website. Submissions will remain open until Monday the 27th at 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, when I will pick one of your great ideas and craft a piece! In your email, please let me know if you would prefer I keep your name anonymous should I pick your idea. You can click here to read the first episode of Third Thursday Flash.

Thanks to everyone who participates, and of course, to all for reading!

And don’t forget, when life gives you lemons… _________ (Fill in the blank in the comment section below!)

🙂


Where Do Ideas Come From?

To write a story, you must first have an idea—a kernel of imagination that blooms from something simple into a whole tale. The real work, of course, comes after the idea, because ideas are abundant in most writers’ minds.

But where do they come from?

I’ve always found it fascinating to hear how other writers form ideas for their stories. Like learning styles, ideas are unique to their bearer; they can come from a visual source, a written source, or even an auditory one. Some will find them in the natural scenes around them, whether it be during a leisurely stroll or standing in the grocery store checkout lane. Others will discover them in the speech of friends, family, or children. A few will lock themselves in a room, letting the quiet that surrounds them swarm their thoughts until nothing becomes something and they’re typing away on the computer. I’ve known some to do random associations, picking words off a page and stringing them together in a theme for their next work. Still others are veritable idea machines, as if a running scroll of them simply churns through their minds.

Sometimes, ideas are past experiences, tweaked just enough to add some creative flair. Others are tales of what could have been instead of what really was. No matter what, though, each writer has his or her own way to light that clever spark and create a story from it.

While my ideas come to me in a variety of ways, I’ve noticed two methods are the most prevalent. The first is through dreams. I’ve been blessed (and sometimes cursed) with extremely vivid dreams for the majority of my life; often they are fantastical in nature and come to me in full color, and fortunately I am able to remember them upon waking. If they aren’t nightmares (that would be the cursed part), they usually provide me with images of creatures or scenes that I am inclined to jot down and save for a later piece.

More common, however, is the method I refer to as the “one liner.” It sparks from something I see or hear around me, a line that forms in my head that will not, for the life of me, go away. Each time it is one single line, whether it be a reaction to what I see, a sentence that will later serve as dialogue, or a clause of imagery. I’ll carry this line with me wherever I’m at—even if it means repeating it to myself the entirety of a gym workout—until I can get in front of a piece of paper or computer. There, I’ll write that one line and run wild with it. This method is the one that’s been the most effective, for me, something that comes blindly out of the air and smacks me with a whole run of a tale.

We all have ideas that we like to use in our writing, and usually we’ve been carrying around a bounty of them over the years. I’m sure there’s some scientific explanation for how people form them, but I’m curious—where do your ideas come from? Please share! 🙂


Thank You

Today I wanted to take a moment to say thank you.

I have always been an optimist, finding delight in the simplest of things. My thinking is that if one can find joy in these simple things, then it makes the great things that much more amazing. This is why I’ve often said, “Forget glass half-full! I have a glass! Awesome!”

Sometimes, things get complicated. Our day-to-day lives get filled with frustration, illness, difficulties, or even just a plethora of mundane and exhausting things we have to do. Optimism can get lost in the shuffle, leaving us hurt, angry, miserable, or complaining. I’ve been guilty of all of these at one point or another, because sometimes, it’s easy to forget how spectacular life really is.

But somewhere amidst this cloudiness, something happens to make me realize just that: life is good. This weekend was one of those moments for me. I walked around with a smile on my face the whole time. I did things that gave me happiness, talked to people who bring me joy, and enjoyed every little thing that crossed my path. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, wonderful friends and family, and so many things that I get to do that make me happy.

And in the last six months, I’ve been able to add even more to this list of greatness: you.

Starting this blog has been one of the best developments in my life. I’ve connected with many amazing thinkers, and have heard feedback and comments from inspiring, wonderful, and kind people all around the world. I’m delighted with the connections I’ve made with all of you, and I can’t wait to continue this blog so that I can keep enjoying another aspect of my life that puts a smile on my face.

So, for all of you out there reading this now, thank you. You’ve made my day. 🙂

Have a fantastic week, everyone.


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