Give in order to get

I go on Wattpad infrequently. For a social networking site, it can be pretty quiet. I don’t have a lot of readers or friends there but if there’s ever a story in my head, Wattpad is where I go to write and release them. It’s the safe haven for writers and readers.

On the flip side, there’s a lot more activity when I become a reader, not a writer. Through this, I learned that you’ve got to give in order to get.

My reasons for giving are pretty shallow-I want more readers and followers. I’m giving with the intention of getting something in return. I can’t change this about myself or force myself to not want these petty things.

So what’s the solution?

Stop reading because I’m doing it for the wrong reasons?

The only problem with this is as a writer, I do get something out of reading. After all, if you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the tools to write.

stephen king.jpg

But what frustrates me about giving is feeling lonely. Everyone is looking out for themselves. Even saying “Hello” on someone’s wall is always followed by, “please read my book”. They’ll only talk to me if when replying to a comment that I write on their book. When is it my turn to feel the spotlight, the glory, the recognition.

And yet, going undetected can be a good thing. As I’m learning the hard way, I’m not ready to have beta readers. I’m still writing and that’s a long process that takes dedication and intrinsic motivation, not comments and reactions.

Another benefit to giving is that I enjoy the giving. Even as I am frustrated with waiting for my turn that may never come, with waiting for reciprocity that again, might never be realised, I enjoy reading. I’m not reading any stories for the sake of popularity. I’m reading stories that interests me. Stories that are exciting, gripping and turns their own pages.

After I write this post, I’m still going to have my frustrations, my impatience, my loneliness, but I will remind myself that I’ve got to give before I can receive. And truth be told, If I’m not reading a lot, then my writing isn’t going to be so good either.

So, I know this might be cliche, but really, who’s giving who? The reader or the writer?

 

 

 

 

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Lizards, transgenesis and magic

As you know, I’m participating in April Camp Nanowrimo 2019 and I’m working on a story that I’ve already written. But don’t get yourselves in a twist or outrage. It’s not a long story and as much as I do like it, it has plenty of problems.

A lot of problems. You know how I wrote a checklist of things to do before you write? I didn’t do any of that the first time I wrote the story (let’s call it, “first draft”). As a result, I have a huge problem on genre.

My story follows a character named Dustin, who lives in a world different from us human beings. There’s a light side governed by the sun and the dark side, governed by the moon. This is 24/7, meaning that one part of the world never gets evenings or nights and the other part of the world never gets mornings or days. You can see, there’s a bit of fantasy element to the story. But unfortunately, there’s also sci-fi as well.

I mean, of all the two genres to accidentally mix, why did I choose sci fi and fantasy?

Gaaaaargh!

Do you know what Transgenesis means? This is a type of bio-science that does exist on Earth, but in this other world, the science is a lot more advanced. Transgenesis can happen on a whole new level-the “humans” can mix with “animals” creating hybrids. We can also clone “humans” too.

I’m writing like “this” because since this is on another planet, they’re not exactly humans.  Well, except they ARE human-like except for the mutations.

So, not only do I have aliens on another planet who are humans, but I’ve got science that I don’t understand and an under developed world as well. But, these are early days and one point of Nanowrimo is to write as much as possible. It’s about getting it written, not right. My dilemma is then really, that I want to have by the end of this month, a story with lots of wild imagination and crazy ideas, but also a story that I can READ and work with.

The first draft (current story), is small. I can read it quickly, but I can edit as yet because I haven’t finished creating. Anyway, that’s my writing woes at the moment.

Any thought for advice for me?

Maybe if I pushed through, it would be okay to have a fantasy novel with sci fi elements to it. But…magic. Ugh. Should there be magic in there too? I suppose, as long as I would read this story, it’s okay if not one else does. Haha. If it fails, I’ll post the story here, for a good laugh and to let you all in on what NOT to do when writing a story.

 

 

 

 

 

ten days into Camp Nanowrimo, here we go!

Hi all! I’m sorry for the late post-Camp started over a week ago. But I thought to dedicate the rest of April to camp. -tips, hints and advice on surviving camp whether you win or lose, and also my mediocre advice on writing.

Seriously folks, you should not be coming to me as first choice for advice on writing. But I’m glad you’re here anyway and I’ll try my best to impart my knowledge and wisdom, without sounding like I’m just saying good common sense that any writer would know anyway. Here we go!

Before you even start to write, you need to tick off everything from the checklist below. It’s best to do these things the week before camp starts but if not, that’s okay. Just do it as soon as possible.

Checklist before you write:

  • set up a profile on Camp Nanowrimo
  • Do you want “cabin mates” or do you like to bunk it alone? -Note on cabins: It’s not really that fun in my experience because everyone’s so busy writing their story that they might not reply to you or give you advice. It’s just generally not really a good time. It’s best if you have friends whom you know and arrange a cabin with them.
  • Set up the story on Camp Nanowrimo-eg. Do you have a title, a little synopsis (optional but interesting), a word count goal. I suggest a range between 20 and 100 K words. I’m attempting for the first time, 100k word count goal because I want my novel to be a fully fledged novel, and because I’m cheating a little bit in that I’m writing on top of a story that I’d already written. (more on this later).
  • What’s your genre? Use this time to research both for the content and plot of your story, but also your genre. If you write in a specific genre, then you have rules to follow. These rules can limit and squash you, but they can also be used as restriction to play around and work with. It depends on your outlook. In my experience, a little direction goes a long way in creativity.
  • Who are your characters? -normally for any kind of nanowrimo, you don’t need to plan a lot, if at all. But it does help in the long run (because it can be a very long and gruelling month), if you have an idea of who you are writing about, why and for what kind of audience. Just saying, it helps in the long run in terms of, getting back on track, concentration and motivation. You will probably trip over yourself at some point this month but with a bit of planning written down, you will have more chance to trip over yourself less.

So there you have it! My quick checklist of things to do before you write. And really, no matter when we write, whether it’s during Camp Nanowrimo or a normal month, we should plan ahead, at least a little bit. We need to have knowledge before we write, otherwise, we’d be using things we’ve seen in the movies. Those movie plots don’t make the best books.

What’s your checklist? Is there anything you would add or take away from the list? What’s your checklist of things to do before you write a blog post?

 

 

3 steps for better memory Pt 1

Ever had a word or name that was on the tip of your tongue, but you couldn’t recall what it was? Ever walked into a room and then wondered why you came here?

Chances are, everybody reading this post has ever had their memory fail them or not working so well. There are seven steps that, when taken, can help us to remember anything better.

1. Reach and teach

Be in the present. IF you are learning something that does not mean anything to you, chances are, you will not only forget, but you will zone out in class as well. If you want to remember a name, find out more about that person and associate this person with their interests, hobbies, work and other interesting bits of information. Try to find something in common because if you are interested int he same subject or hobby, then chances are more likely that you will remember this common interest with this person. This is also important when you are studying, self learning or teaching yourself.

Even if you are your own student, don’t assume that you’ll be a good student who always listens and can take in all the information. You need to teach yourself in a way that allows you freedom to enjoy what you’re learning and relate to the material as well.

2. Reflect

This is not only step 2, but reflection is within every step of memory. Reflection is an important step towards memory because you are doing several of the memory steps at once. First, you are reflecting. Then, you are recoding-writing about what you have learned in your own words, and rehearsing. Rehearsal is a much later step but certainly does happen when reflecting. You are practicing what you’ve learned.

Reflection is a chance to digest the information, all that you’ve learned and everything you have done. It is a way o find out what you have learned, any questions and any concepts or information that you are unsure of.

It is crucial to a good memory, that you are able to recognise and then iron out any confusions that you have with what you are learning. Whether that is remembering that the person’s name is Jill, not Jane, or Sally and not Sammy. With names, it might be helpful to write acrostic poems or Mnemonics. Of course, we would only really make this kind of effort if we had to study people who we cannot meet. But it might be fun to try this out with your colleagues, friends, family members and generally, people whose name you easily forget.

As a writer, I love the idea to write a silly flash fiction of a random character but using that person’s name.

Einstein was a poor boy who lived in New York. When he was walking out in the streets on the way to school, and an adult pushed him aside and said, “Get out of the way”, he thought to himself, “Right! I’m getting out of here as soon as possible!” 

Of course, if you are learning about Einstein, it’s probably best to connect the silly story to something real about him. Like his hair.

I think of my blog posts that I write about what I’m learning in school, as both a rehearsal but also reflection as well. Sometimes it would be more obvious which one I am emphasising on. If I’m still in the process of learning or digesting, then that would be a reflection, which would come through quite clearly.

On the other hand, if this is a rehearsal, then probably it would feel a bit more structured, informative, and “I understand what I’m talking about, instead of spitting out words.” I hope this post conveys the latter.

3. Recoding

Just like Rehearsal, recoding interconnects with reflection as well. Recoding is about taking the material, concept or information, and turning organising the information into a visual organiser.

A visual or graphic organiser can be:

  • mindmap
  • brainstorm
  • PMI charts (Positive, minus, interesting/implications)
  • Venn diagrams

I confess that I stick with what I am familiar with and I don’t tend to try other forms of graphic organisers. However, I am slowly beginning to do this and one particular new chart that I like, has:

  • Simple examples
  • Examples
  • Interesting examples
  • Non examples

In there middle is the title or topic, much like a brainstorm or mind map. The other four categories are in boxes around the main topic. Another interesting note is “non examples”. I particularly like this because it allows room to make mistakes and not feel like a failure. Because giving a wrong example or answer, is countered as a “right example” of a non-example.

I can see the implications of using this table in schools. It would allow students to gain confidence and to have a go and guessing. After all, it is pretty easy to guess the wrong thing rather than be lucky to just know the right answer.

Teacher: What is 5 plus 4?

Student: 10?

Teacher: Thank you. You have given a good example of a non example. 

*writes answer on the board in correct box*

Teacher: Does anyone else have a non example to share? 

I think this also helps adults and anyone self teaching as well, but in general, humans are afraid to make mistakes. Even when we are alone making a mistake, we feel the fool. But having a “non example” category encourages us to make a mistake and be imperfect, and also helps us to see what we are learning, and what we are not. It can be good to see the opposite of what we are focused on.

This is the first part of this series, “7 steps for better memory”. I will either have one or two more posts to list the rest of the steps. Then, I will write more posts to expand on each of the steps. There is a ton of information I have not yet shared. I guess you could say I’m learning a lot. Next post will also have the reference to the book that I take all of this information from.

I will also have better examples-photos!

See you then.

 

Keep at it

Something that I’ve learned from writing is to keep at it even if you think you suck.

Here on Wattpad, we don’t just battle with suckability, but with readers. Because this is a social community, like Facebook for writers, having no readers or coments can suck. It can feel lonely. We depend on comments to see whether or not we should continue with a story instead of asking ourselves what we want to do.

Here’s something: write for yourself not for other people.
That way, even if no one reads your stuff, you have one very important reader who loves what you dish out and that’s you.

If you love what you do, if you do it even when you’re sick of it, then don’t stop and don’t give up no matter what.

It’s harder than it sounds.

How can you write if you’re stuck on the story and you don’t know where to go from here?

When I say “don’t stop writing” it doesn’t mean to keep writing the story because that might not be possible right now.

But it does mean to write something down as long you don’t stop practising the craft completely.

Whatever it means to you, don’t stop writing.
This could mean writing the shopping list, in your diary, comments etc.  Could mean poems even if you usually
write novels. I used to write novels but now I write at the most ten story chapters. That’s not even a novella. (A novella is 20k to 50k and a short story is under 20k. My stories are ten k or less).

And one day, some say, you’ll get there because dreams come true.

But you’ve got to be kind to yourself, have courage and “never let the fear of as striking out keep you from playing the game.”

The sentence in quote marks, is from the film, “a Cinderella story” and the girl played by Hillary duff, remembers playing baseball with her dad. The sign (the quote on the wallpaper underneath the new ripped wallpaper), gives her the courage to finally stand up for herself against her step mum and say “no” to her demands. She does something for herself because in that moment, she knew she had to live her life, and not let being scared of failure, stop her.

This quote is by Babe Ruth. He was a baseball player. He didn’t give up. He kept at it.

Keep at it.

 

 

What if I never got paid to write?

This is a scary question for me as I come to a time (and age) where money and budgeting is something I have to think about. I know that money is important and crucial in order to survive in this world. But I love writing. That is my passion and even when I hate it, I don’t hate it. Writing is my lifestyle. It is a choice and also not a choice.

But I also need to pay the bills. (in the future). I still need money to live, survive, thrive. What if writing never got me to where I want to go? What if there was absolutely no financial gain from writing stories? Even worse than that possibility is, what if no one reads my writing? I don’t become the next J.K. Rowling, I don’t write stories that struggled in the process but eventually thrived like Matilda. I become like Vincent Van Gogh, the worst artist in the world. Or worse-I don’t even become famous after my death.

Vincent Van Gogh lived in the mid to late 1800’s. He was an artist before his time and greatly under appreciated. He certainly didn’t paint for the money. And while there are good benefits for working without the need to impress an audience, it was also lonely. He was misunderstood and eventually was driven to suicide.

The truth is, I’m scared that I’ll never be good enough to make it, to gain the reader audience, to say something worth reading about. And the lack of any social-ness will lead me to quit writing altogether, give up on my dreams and aspirations. And yet…

And yet even as I write these depressing thoughts on the screen, I have this feeling inside me that my story isn’t going to play out like that. You see, even though I lack ambition and confidence, I have other qualities. I am, for lack of a better word, stubborn in my ways. I’ve already learned from my first-hand experience that the biggest obstacle in my way is myself.

Van Gogh’s biggest obstacle wasn’t his “weird” paintings and it wasn’t his loneliness. It was because when he did start to get recognized, he hated it. He suddenly had an audience waiting for his next painting and he couldn’t handle the pressure. It was genuinely never about the money.

But the thing is, in this world, in these times, whatever I do have to benefit me in some way.

I think even if I don’t become very famous or very rich, whatever I do, it will support me and my living. But writing will always be so much more than a paycheck. Writing is my lifestyle. It is a choice and not a choice.

“Your turn”

In this post, I’ve expressed my worries and doubts about becoming a recognised and published writer. But does earning money truly equal success? Is there possibly something else even greater than money that makes the world go round? Okay, now that I’ve stirred something inside you, here are a few questions for you.

Do you understand what the message I’m conveying or am I rambling? Am I the only one here or is there anyone here that feels the same way?

Let me know in the comments below. I’d love for you to share your thoughts with me.

 

 

 

Why Do You Blog?

Today’s post is thought provoking, inspirational and personal. Enjoy!

I want to know why people blog. There are many bloggers who have been blogging for far longer than I have. What advice could you give me? What has kept you from staying here even when it was tough and you had no readers?

Here are a few reasons why I blog:

  1. I want to make money. I know, It’s not a very good reason. We should never write for money. It’s a passion that comes from deep within. At the same time, I want to support myself with my writing and be able to get something out of it. For everyone, the building blocks of life is Carbon, but personally, my building blocks are words. Or would that be letters? Anyways, I know blogging can become monetized and I am interested in that.
  2. It’s a passive income stream. I know this is similar to the first reason but I’m interested in making money (first reason) because of the second reason. I love the idea of making something once and it’s there forever and you’ll always have revenue or money from that post you wrote ages ago. I am keen on making evergreen content. Does this post count? No idea. Still learning.
  3. It’s fun. For those of you (if any) who are reading this and have not started a blog, let me stress out that it wasn’t fun for many years. When I first created this blog, I had no readers, comments or ideas. It wasn’t fun then. It’s only fun now because I’m getting used to finding ideas and then forming these ideas into coherent sentences and interesting posts.
  4. and finally, because we all love the number 4 and being 4 years old, It’s what I want to do. A bit counteractive to the first two reasons, I’m not actually doing this for money. And for something that can become passive income but takes  along time for that to happen, doing for the passion is extremely important.

Okay, so now that I’ve given you my 4 reasons why I blog, despite its challenges, now’s your turn share why you write. What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?

Let me know in the comments below.