Tag Archives: Advice

Seeking Breadcrumbs

A trickle of stale bread to lead the way – to find one’s way home. There’s no more useless a trick than that of marking a path with edible, highly-popular crumbs of gluten-y goodness. Destined to be sabotaged by everything from birds and squirrels to mother nature herself, you’re competing against a raucous group of scavengers and downpours that’ll wipe out your markers as they fall.

Hansel and Gretal, you done fooled up.
Continue reading Seeking Breadcrumbs

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My Year Of Writing: A Reality Check

I’m an infant in the world of publications and story-telling. Young in more ways than one, really. Still small in the world of adulthood and smaller still in that of writers. In just over a year now, I’ve uprooted, reevaluated, reset and reorganized everything – unfortunately for me, in that order.

Looking back, I’m sure that those first few months were direct bullet-points from a ‘what-not-to-do’ list – A verbatim screw up impending foreshadowed from every lifestyle post in existence. So for the sake of all those itching to dive without looking as I did, or even just for the sake of my own reminiscing, here’s the reality of my poorly not planned foray into the world of writing and how you can hopefully bypass my blunders.

The Reality of Uprooting
I’d taken a step that many would applaud, balk at and ultimately praise me as being bold to my face while secretly, and realistically set bets as to when this choice would slap me silly.
I’d quit a job that demanded sixty hours of my life per week so I could pursue writing, but that job had also cushioned that same life financially. With only this vague desire to write still damp with the remnants of a recent dip into the waters of vet school, and nothing but a laptop and a story, I had torn from a system that was definite and comfortable. Peeling away from that job was both liberating and terrifying. The step I had missed here was a hefty one, though.   Continue reading My Year Of Writing: A Reality Check

Lessons In Writing: How It Changed The Way I Read

Prior to this whole publication thing and before my life changed due a visit from the editing fairies, I read books differently. Once upon a time, you could say I read for entertainment – for pleasure, even. But a lot of that changed after that first traumatizing round of editing that my book went through.

Now, I read critically. I dissect narratives and word choices and examine prose like a fiend. I’m a spy now, infiltrating this secret world of successful authors and gathering intel.  Continue reading Lessons In Writing: How It Changed The Way I Read

Thinking Writing – Banishing the Block

There are elements to writing that can be incredibly frustrating and sometimes flat-out annoying. There’s sleeping limbs and the consequent pins and needles, tingling toes. There’s shoulder tension, neck pain, cramped fingers, tired eyes, paper cuts, ink stains. There’s wandering minds and distracted days. But the absolute worst culprit is writer’s block.

It’s that singularly crippling affliction of the brain that sets out to devastate your page output and leave you the victim of your our doubt filled thoughts while your fingers hover over the keyboard, frozen in deadpan. Writer’s block is just horrible. Absolutely horrible.

So I’ve complied a little list of my tried and tested methods to banish this most pesky of writing alignments:


1. Favourite Author Acknowledgement.

Keep a book you love close at hand at all times. Carry it around with you when you go to write somewhere. Preferably Continue reading Thinking Writing – Banishing the Block

Writing Routines 101: My Tips to Acing It

People love to ask me how long it takes to write certain pieces or how I find income through this crazy thing called the internet. I’m asked about the self-control it takes to sit in front of a screen for hours on end, typing away obsessively, completely devoid of the mindless entertainment bliss that is Netflix or reddit. Well, the truth is, I don’t.

I don’t sit for hours on end attempting to binge-write. Binging is great with tv shows or reading or donuts, but it’s really not all that workable for writing. Writing is a practice that demands patience and creativity and creative interjection doesn’t get summoned at will. It’s finicky and particular and although you can cultivate space and moods to help it along, it’s really its own drum-beater.

It’s taken many months for me to figure out my own routine and just as long to recognize the things that were sabotaging it. Things like guilt because I felt I was screwing up or wasting time on a pursuit that had negligible gains in its early days, or ‘responsible distraction,’ that wonderful excuse to leave my work for the social demands of friendship or the cuddling needs of my pup. It’s so easy to find something to be preoccupied by when you’re meant to be sitting alone with your mind and a blank word document in front of you. So here are my tips and tricks to creating a completely feasible and comfortable writing routine that doesn’t have you chained to your desk:

1. Designate a writing space.
I spent months writing wherever I plopped myself down. Sometimes that was on the couch, or the floor or my bed or at the kitchen counter as I leaned awkwardly Continue reading Writing Routines 101: My Tips to Acing It

The Quarter-Life Crisis. My Experience

 

Fear, an anxiety that burrows deep and this incredibly urgent desire to ‘escape’ are some of the symptoms of the little documented, newly prevalent crisis that is sweeping through my generation and most familiarly, within my own social circle.

Even now, as I type this my fellow mid-twenties to mid-thirtyers  are fumbling through this early on-set predicament. And I get it. I know what it is and I understand the anxiety and discomfort it’s coupled with. I’ve been there. When I took off to BC for an undetermined Continue reading The Quarter-Life Crisis. My Experience

Don’t Tread Lightly

Dear ME2.0,

You’re going to be so tired. You’re going to keep being told to ‘take it easy.’ Everyone is going to be concerned because of those shadows under your eyes, and that strange slur in your character that hints towards another sleepless night.

Colds will be countless.
Your immune system will hate you.

You’ll question your ability to formulate spoken words because paper and keyboards become all you know. Emotions and feelings and thoughts separate between life and the string of words you lace together on a page.

You’ll be grateful for the sun on your skin those few moments that you force yourself outside. You’ll still be spewing imaginary dialogue and description in your head, and occasionally speak under your breathe the words of your next page, but at least you’ll only be considered crazy in populated areas.

You’ll forget to eat. Prepare your stomach for neglect.

Minutes slip to hours and you’ll look up and be discouraged by the minimal page count you’ve been able to turn out.

And you’ll be annoyed. Annoyed that you aren’t doing more, although you’re working yourself raw. Annoyed that time has no other agenda then to keep ticking by despite your plea for it to slow. Annoyed that all you wrote yesterday seems ‘blah’ today.

But.

Just ignore all of that. Forget the discomfort, the worry, the caution to ‘take it easy.’ You don’t need to tread lightly here. You’re ME2.0. You’ve been there – Done that. Survived and thrived. So keep striving. Keep thriving. Keep writing. Keep working. Keep doing more than anyone expects or asks or wants. Every minute of it is worth it. Be the you that stretches to the limits. Be the you that doesn’t second guess saying ‘yes’ to another task, another errand, another shift. It’s the best of you that shrugs off the obstacles and embraces the doubts of others and yourself. As ME2.0 you have a responsibility to be more. To be the better and the best. To write without pause and leap without looking. To know that a net will appear if you just trust the fall. So fall. So jump. So tread not so lightly and be amazed.

Love always,

ME (the original)

 

Playing It Cool. Super Mantra-ing

There’s a time for everything. A time for quiet, for speaking out, for being stubborn and for giving in. Lately, it’s been my time to play it cool.

Busy. So busy. Play it cool.

Meetings, conferences, deadlines and rush. Play it cool.

Don’t neglect your friends. Drag yourself out of bed to have a drink with a heartbroken bud even though you need to be up in 5 hours. Play it cool.

Writing, writing, writing. Edit. Write some more. Play it cool. Wait, did I run yet today?? Play it cool.

Playing it cool is just surviving with an easy expression plastered to your face even if your shoulders are tense or even if there’s butterflies playing smash bros. in your stomach. Generally I’m laid back, but this is a new level of mantra-ing even for me. What is this mantra-ing I speak of? It’s the secret to success. Too far? I actually don’t think so.
A mantra may sound like I’m going all hippie/yogi on you guys here, but it’s actually so much more universal than that. It’s the secret to playing it cool. I discovered mine more by accident than in active search. Somewhere on the side of a hill that just wasn’t ending, my brain was trying to logic my body into keeping its stride. Logic just doesn’t have the upper hand when it comes to lung capacity though and my lungs were pretending they had no more space for the oxygen I was sucking up. ‘Liar,’ I accused. Another deep breathe. ‘Breath. Push.’ Those words, that’s all it took to set my pace again. It reined in all the logic-ing, all the complaints and refocused that frustration. A good run wasn’t going to end on a crappy note just because a few kilometres back I had thought ending at the top of this hill was a brilliant life decision.

‘Breath. Push.’

Each time my foot hit the concrete I would think the word ‘push.’ It was the metronome to my run, to my pace and stride, distracting the ache and playing off my naturally stubborn nature. At the top of the hill I stopped, resting my hands on my hips, huffing like the classiest of struggling civics and didn’t think another second about the magical words. (Because come on now, you aren’t thinking anything at the top of a hill while resembling a dying honda).

Days later the words would slip back into my mind amidst another physically trying, self-induced adventure. Then again a week later. Sometimes the words would change on me. I caught myself picking only one word to mentally yell at myself, or changing it all up completely. I was going farther. I was getting faster. I had discovered magic. Or, less Hogwarts-y, my mantra.

It wouldn’t be until I was suffering writers block and feeling the burn of being over-worked and generally just feeling grumpy that my magic words would sneak up on me without the pressure of a hill beneath my feet. ‘Well then. This is a thing then, huh,?’ I had thought. My collection of playing it cool worthy mantras has since grown and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

My ‘off-the-top-of-my-head’ mantra list:

1. (The classic)  Breath. Push.
2. I’m stronger than I think.
3. Don’t Whine.
4. You’ll be proud later.
5. Be better than yesterday.
6. Keeping writing.
7. Get your shit together.
8. You’ve got this.
9. Go with it.
10. It’s worth it.

These words, my mantras, have a power to them. They’re so simple. So classically unassuming. But heed my warning: they’re not to be solely relied upon. If you start whispering these lines to yourself, your world isn’t going to flip and you’re not going to turn superman on anyone or anything. Self control, confidence and an inclination towards stubbornness are highly encouraged. You ARE stronger than you think and a mantra is meant to be used as a tool. It’s helpful but not a problem solver. It won’t jot down words on the page for you or transport you to the top of the hill, but it can encourage, focus and keep you in the moment.