Writing Wednesday – Writing Blues

Quote and pic (C) Rambling with Rose

The above quote is sitting on my laptop and is a promise I made to myself at the beginning of the year.

Though it’s been a while since a post has gone up here, I can say that I’ve been writing daily in other forms and spheres of life. And though I can make excuses aplenty for why it’s taken me this long to get a post up, I won’t. I’ll rather write a full update later on this week to explain what I have (and haven’t) been doing recently.

Personal stuff aside, today’s Writing Wednesday post is to remind you, dear reader, to be gentle with yourself and your failures – and to stop holding yourself back.

Your harshest critics aren’t always out there in the world, and you’ll find that far more often they’re sitting in your head and holding you captive; saying you’ll never be good enough, that you don’t have enough time, that what you’ve done is under par and you should quit while you’re ahead, that you’re making a fool of yourself and no one will ever take you seriously. That you’re wasting your time and energy on something you’ll never complete anyway.

The writing blues will strike and though these thoughts are persuasive, it’s high time for you to ignore them, hard though it may be.

Instead, keep at it!

Even if that post or chapter you’ve planned hasn’t gone further than a scrawl on a scrap of paper, or come drifting back to you as a thought that keeps returning until you finally take notice of it, just relax. You’ve got this!

Carry on doing whatever project you’re stuck on, regardless of what life (and circumstances) throw at you, sometimes just by starting again, you’ll find you make time where you previously thought you had none. Commitments to yourself are as important to honour as commitments to others.

If time isn’t an issue for you, and instead you’re finding it hard to stay motivated, then find a writing group to join, a forum you can find inspiration within, a blogger or writer who encourages you to persist (either one you know personally, or someone you admire who compels you to go for your dreams). Go for a walk, take up a hobby, troll Pinterest, re-read your favourite novels, paint, dance, draw, act. Do something that will shake you up again and inspire you and give you back your enthusiasm!

After all, if you never try, or do and then give up half way, you’ll never succeed – and good or bad, life and writing is what you make of it.

Now go out there and conquer that next page (or project)! ^_^

Advertisements

Why do You Write?

Hello lovely,

Has anyone ever asked you “Why do you write?”

Looking at it, it’s such an innocent question. Innocuous really. It’s along the lines of asking “why are you an accountant?” “Why are you a waitress?”, or “why are you a teacher?”. Four very simple words used to break the ice, but with such a hidden depth you could spend forever trying to respond.

You could, like I have in the past, smile and mutter that, “It makes me happy, it pays the bills, it’s something I’m passionate about, I want to educate people …”, and keep up the cliched answers that are expected. But all those responses always ring hollow to my ears not because they’re not true, but because they don’t truly encompass the scope of why I do what I do.

So to self disclose a little, I’d have to say:

I write to open myself and others up to possibilities. I write to inspire, to encourage, and to delve into my own psyche and character. I write to let loose the endless stream of thoughts and capture them on paper. I write to unleash hidden worlds and half-dreamed memories of impossible and unlikely things – to give them form and substance in a world that is increasingly interested in losing touch with the physical, tangibles of life – preferring to spend hours with the intangibles – in the form of watching imaginary things play out on a screen be it TV series, games, or the stock market.

Why do I write? I write for remembrance of better days and bitter days. I write to describe the beauty of life around me – the sunlight flickering across a duck pond as a snowy white marvel preens, then glides swiftly away, leaving only a solitary, sinking feather in it’s wake.

I write to capture the memories made – of hot chocolates and pine-scented walks in the forest in rain boots with a scratchy scarf tight wrapped against my neck but never once minding – happy in the beauty of nature and companionship. I write for remembrance of scrambling over boulders ungracefully in a bikini, only to come face to face with penguins at the beach who squawk indignantly at my laughter. Of picnics on the lawn as slightly warm soda is poured into a cup and cheese platters are passed about with Jazz music floating in the air.

I write to capture that sense of the rhythm pulsing through my body and soul, found echoing in the bass that causes liquids to ripple in clubs as entranced people dance the night away, alone but surrounded by others.

To remember that day, holding a parchment thin hand with a grip that slowly softens, allowing you to feel, with each ragged breath, the slowly slipping life force … until finally your hand is released as the ragged breathing stops, and the machine starts it’s monotone  beep…

I write to express feelings, emotions, and thoughts that I want to scream out at the top of my lungs – which civilized society would never allow, or to whisper those feelings in a half mumble as I’m curled up as small as possible, holding my knees, crying in the rain.

I write to express the beauty and agony of being alive. The endless stream of hopes and dreams – places left to uncover, cities and countrysides to explore, possibilities that stretch out endlessly.

I write to give a voice to amber eyes of wildlife born into captivity, to share their unspoken sorrow of never being able to push themselves past their circumstances of life – where they’ll be forever trapped, never free to roam as their nature calls to them to do. Instead they’re forced to watch a parade of small creatures pay homage to them as they dream of open spaces and endless plains.

I write to capture the restlessness of the wind whipping through the highlands, as the air freezes every exposed piece of skin, and every breath hangs coldly in your lungs as you laugh at the sheer joy of being alive.

I write to explain life in a murky green light, where fish fly as birds over your head, and larger creatures move soundlessly below your small, frail form which braves the uncharted and untamed oceans.

I write to feel connected. I write to bring joy. I write to be heard. I write to share my truth and perspective.

I write because it’s a part of who I am: a wild crazy, paradoxical, yet happy traveller who prefers to see the beauty and best in everyone and everything, while taking note of the harshness and calamities of life that makes those beautiful moments just that much more special.

I write because I have only one life – though I’ve lived thousands, and it could end in the next breath or a heartbeat. I write to remember the beauty, companionship, and simple pleasures.

And now that I’ve laid myself bare before you, share with me why you write! ^_~

My Dreams, Wishes and Goals for 2015

Hello lovely,

With 2015 giving us a fresh year to make our own, it’s time to set down a few resolutions, dreams, wishes and goals that I want to accomplish in the coming year. I know that most people tend to make promises to themselves, and they inevitably break them as the year progresses, but since my singular 2014 resolution was to travel more, and that was definitely accomplished, I’m confident I can continue this “be true to thine own self” journey I’m on in 2015.

For 2015, I plan to:

– Actively build up my ‘rainy day’ savings

– Be more organised and prioritize what’s important to me, instead of agreeing to 1001 different things and feel exhausted and frustrated in the end, because I’m not doing what I really want to be doing

– Continue work on Rambling with Rose; now I’ve started it up, I’m not going to abandon it like previous blogging attempts ^_^

– Do a weekly fitness routine – be it Pilates, kickboxing, kung fu, aikido or spending time hiking

– Entertain and have people over for suppers now that the house is coming together

– Finish decorating my little work space at home (pics to come)

– Gratitude is something I quietly do on a weekly basis, and it’s about time I share some of those – I’ve been toying with the idea of a “10 things that have made me happy” post roundup, as I’ve seen on numerous other blogs … though being honest, I’ll start it off as a “7 things that have made me happy” 🙂

–  Hang out on writing forums, since I had such a blast during NaNoWriMo (with writing, editing, and publishing my novel on the cards for June 2015)

– Indulge in a pampering treat every season / quarter – be it a massage (I adore massages!), eyelash tint, manicure, or facial – some TLC is needed from the professionals once in a while – an on that note, wear more colourful lipsticks ^_~

– Junk out, quality in – a wardrobe overhaul is needed (and items I no longer wear will be taken to a friends bi-monthly junk swap, where items not swapped are donated to charities around Cape Town)

– Knowledge is power, so it’s time to sign up for short courses which are within my budget, to get more well-rounded in psychology, writing, and whatever else takes my fancy  ^_~

– Let my friends and family know how much I love and care, by spending time with them

– Make time for movie nights – it’s been ages since I’ve actually set foot in a cinema (and hope to catch Mockingjay – part 1 in January at some point)

– No more junk food binges – though they’re tempting, tasty, and convenient, it’ll be better to spend more for real food like fruits and vegetable snacks to stay healthy and satisfied

– Organise – my spare room, writing spot, and diary for the year (and start a posting schedule) ^_~

– Publish the novel I created during #NaNoWriMo – since December, my novel has sat on 51,000 words and it’s about time to finish it off – hopefully about 130,000 words, to edit by June 2015, so I can publish it in July 2015

– Read more – I have a feeling my new Kindle will ensure I get some time to myself each evening to disappear into a novel before bed

– Spend more time with friends and family either in person, or with a phone call. Because being busy is no excuse

– Throw myself back into a maximum of 2 theatre shows in 2015 – I can’t spend another 6 months going from show to show (love it though I may) – as I now need free time to blog, write, and plan

– Understand myself a bit better – I’ve always loved psychology and the hidden motives as to why we do things – plus it’ll come in handy with my novel ^_~

– Vlog – I probably won’t do it consistently, but after watching a good friend (and 2nd cousin) of mine stick to a monthly vlog, I’ve been inspired me to give it a shot (so stay tuned for our upcoming mash-up)

– Write more – it’s time to ignore the lethargy that creeps up on me after a day of work, and instead spend at least an hour writing in the evenings. It’s also time to learn more fiction writing skills in general (and I’ve kick started this by sending an enquiry to UCT about their creative fiction summer class with Ron Irwin) ^_^

– YOLO – embrace it, plan for it, and LIVE 😀

– Zany fun – because life becomes boring if you’re always serious ^_^

That list is pretty long (I call it my ABC goals) and it all seems like quite a lot to accomplish and get through, but if I space the above out over the coming months, everything will be so much easier to achieve. I wrote a

🙂

What 2015 resolutions are you planning on?

Sound the Trumpets – My NaNoWriMo Challenge has been Met

Hello hun,

After a frantic weekend of playing word count catch up, since I’d fallen quite far behind, due to one night of laziness, and the other nights filled with prior commitments, I was starting to believe those in my life who’d branded me rather lovingly, as “crazed” for taking on this challenge.

Not in the “she’s hearing voices” way, but more in the sense of having a sudden madness descend over me, as I mutter away to myself and my characters in front of my laptop, all alone typing furiously away to the soothing sounds of a string quartet, as my wonderful husband brought me cup, after cup of coffee (he’s an angel!).

The fact that I was a little over 10 000 words behind my word count goals at the start of the weekend, was what made me start to believe I would never finish the challenge on time, though I was determined to keep trying. And yes, this calls for a big le sigh at my time management (or ‘slight’ lack thereof).

You don’t know me yet, and I hope you will through my blogging journey on Rambling with Rose, but other people have often said, with a slight twinkle in their eye, that I can be surprisingly stubborn.

I, however, like to think of myself as persevering despite seemingly insurmountable odds – because in my mind, if you never try, and just give up, you’ll never know.

This was actually what gave me a push in the direction of a hidden reservoir of inspiration, strength and patience within me, that allowed me to weather power failures (thanks Eskom), having my darling (noisy) niece round, and my poor little laptop dying on me quite suddenly (which led to a frantic trip home on Friday night to my fantastic family – my father figured out after poking around, that the problem was with my power cord, not the actual laptop). All that aside, I can proudly state that I am, as of this afternoon, a 2014 NaNoWriMo winner!

Sound the trumpets, play the Imperial MarchFirefly Theme song, or Happy, and join me in popping a bottle of bubbly to celebrate this! Don’t you love my certificate below?! I sure do! ^_^

 

NanoWriMo winner certificate

Having reached the 50, 000 word goal has made me do a justified – if  slightly awkward (due to numb limbs) – happy dance when those beautiful words popped up on my screen, and I was cheered on by the touching video the NaNoWriMo team did for the WriMo winners (and “Woohoo” back at you guys!) ^_^

I’m nowhere near finished with my novel, but I have to say that I was surprised at how my characters took me by the hand, so to speak (don’t worry, sleep deprivation hasn’t made me lose touch with reality just yet) to lead me down the path they needed to take – which surprisingly, turned out to be in quite a few different directions than I was intending  – but I’m not complaining! ^_~

Right now, I feel giddy with happiness and am on top of the world (as in I can move mountains, or rather, that I’m a Big Damn Hero) for meeting this personal challenge. I can say, even with all the obstacles included,  NaNoWriMo has been a very worthwhile endeavor.

My excitement and happiness aside, how has your NaNoWriMo gone?

Midway through NaNoWriMo

Hello lovely,

Since NaNoWriMo’s start I have successfully cleaned the kitchen, done all the laundry, organised my cupboards, and made several yummy suppers which I’ll share on here at a later date; as well as headed out on jaunts around the Cape. Specifically to Noordhoek, the CBD, and to friends – which was likely a bad idea since all these activities interfere with my writing schedule, BUT as I’ve been willing (and so far able) to play late-night word catch-ups, I feel it will all work out well in the end … which is a week away! Le eeek!

Who knew that when you feel uninspired and unmotivated you magically revert back to your “Do anything but write/study/learn” routines from high school?!?

That was a bit of a shock, since I’m quite dedicated normally, but don’t judge me harshly just yet!

I found that while I distracted myself with basic household task I usually loathe, I actually sat down after them with a mind buzzing with ideas again. I guess habitual tasks you don’t need too much mental power for actually help you to relax and let the ideas start flowing again. Which I totally count as a #win! Likewise, visiting new scenery has led to an increased attention to scenic details in my novel, which I originally intended to return to in December to flesh out a bit.

As I’ve tried to write close to 2000 words a day, I’m not too far behind on my writing schedule, and with the #DoubleUpDay being a chance to double your usual wordcount (and donate if you can), I’ve ensured that my schedule is free and clear today to do nothing but write. I really shouldn’t be updating you dear readers, but since I’ve clocked in 1,500 words today already, I’m feeling good since it’s only 14:00.

How is your novel progressing – and have you had any challenges crop up that you want to share?

NaNoWriMo Has Arrived

Hello sweetie,

It’s November 1st which means that Nanowrimo has finally arrived, much to the delight and dread of the thousands of us who’ve entered it (and good luck to all the fellow writers reading this).

Instead of prepping like crazy last night, I decided to meet up with a friend (who’s also entering the NaNoWriMo challenge) and we visited the Vintage Market in Woodstock Town Hall.

Though many of you may wonder in despair why I decided not to do the writing challenge at the stroke of midnight , I felt it was best to unwind before the need to start writing for several hours a day takes hold in full force. It was a ton of fun, with lots of stall owners in Halloween outfits, beautiful clothing hung, draped and displayed, along with jewelry, shoes, and knickknacks. I ended up getting a small travel-sized jewelry box, which will be perfect for weekends away (I usually use old pill containers to transport my necklaces).

Salmon eggs benedict is delicious! (C) Roseanna McBain

Today, after a hearty Benedict eggs and salmon breakfast at Tribakery with my husband and mother in law, along with a heavenly hazelnut latte, I returned home to start writing.

Having written through the morning with only a few minor distractions along the way (updating my blog being one of them), I’ve clocked in a word count of 2388. Not too bad for a morning of writing and going back and editing (I know, I know that editing is a #NaNoWriMo fail, but I had to reword a few things). This high speed will probably drop during the week, due to time constraints, but next weekend I’m devoting solely to writing, so that should help make up some lost time. 🙂

How has your first day of NaNoWriMo gone?

My NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

Hey lovely,

Thanks for stopping in again. ^_^ Today, I’m sharing my NaNoWriMo Survival Kit – which in short, is everything I think I’ll need for the 50,000 word month-long writing marathon.

Writing prep

Writers Tools

A clear space in the dining room

My HP laptop and Microsoft Word

A pretty notebook and gel pen – I admit it, I caved. But I did it because I need some way to keep my characters storylines straight

Several ‘quick’ lists to refer back to which are saved in my bookmarks folder. They mainly comprise of of mythological legends I plan on using and adapting for my novel

Deezer playlist for writing – it consists mainly of Bear McCreary,  Hans Zimmer and Buddha Bar tunes, with some blues, jazz and Celtic songs interspersed. I find music helps me focus, and certain songs help me to be in the right frame of mind for sad scenes, battle scenes, journeys, etc

Dropbox – to back up my novel and notes

 

Comfort Items

Coffee plunger and my favourite coffee blend: Woolworths Expresso – it’s an incredible aromatic and strong coffee to keep me focused

My favourite mug

Rooibos tea and herbal ones like green tea and vanilla chai – because one cannot hydrate on coffee alone

Water – 1L a day is a good thing, right?

An assortment of mixed nuts – a healthy energy boost

Dark chocolate – I’m female … it should go without saying that chocolate is a fab mood booster – plus, it’s my reward for each word count goal

Tissues – sadly, allergy season has arrived

Lip balm – chapped lips are not your friend

Hand lotion – because it smells great and makes my hands soft after hours of typing

Saffronwood room spray – it’s an energizing fragrance I love, which I picked up from the Organic Heart Sunday Market at a steal

Yoga pants and soft tee-shirt – for my morning writing sessions

Dressing gown and slippers – for my evening writing sessions

 

I opted not to put up inspirational quotes or messages, because I know them all off by heart for one, and secondly, I’d rather organise chill nights every now and again with friends if I need a pick-me-up.  Just because we have to get as many words written as fast as possible doesn’t mean my social life has to die for the entire month, and I know I’ll return

 

Let me know what you’ve prepped in your NaNoWriMo Survival Kit! 🙂