Tag Archives: lifestyle

My response to “you’re such a gifted writer!” and how I became a writer

Reposting this again. I’m working on my book and about 40,000 words in…I forgot how much I enjoy writing fiction.

I’m going to try and write a little bit every day in addition to my more formal articles and blog posts. I’m also getting better at reading and engaging with other bloggers here on WordPress – so, don’t be surprised if you get a follow from me, or a comment.

For about two months, I didn’t get any new followers on here and that was discouraging. I went into my settings to see if I could change anything, and I turned on “indexing” again. Low and behold, I got a few new followers this week, more likes and engagement. Maybe that was the key. I’m also using more tags and sharing more in depth posts too rather than just whiny blog posts. But you know, sometimes you still might see those whiny blog posts because I’m whiny – but only sometimes.

Today, I thought I would respond to some comments I’ve gotten in the last year.

You’ve got such talent – why not use it?

I often hear from friends that, “You’re such a good writer!” Or “How can you write so easily?” Or even from WordPress chat – “Have you ever thought about writing a book? You’ve written so much!” – that compliment made my day!

When I was working, I started taking some professional and business writing courses through my job. I was doing a lot of research in the evenings and weekends too. Then I got sick, and lost funding for education. Now, I take free courses when I can and watch a lot of tutorials online to better my craft.

Writing is a craft. It’s a form of art and expression. I think the hard part of writing is just finding your voice and style. Or a genre that really brings out your passion. I think that’s important. Finding things you are passionate about. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I still have pages of stories that I made up when I was in elementary school, and they still make me laugh.

Pen names

Part of the struggle is my identity. I have no problem using my real name for this blog even if I leave out my last name. But when it comes to fiction, I’d prefer to use a penname. A lot of writers do this. I’ve come up with a new name for books – that’s just a warning for you. It’s a family name and one that I really like. I often use the name “Jen” when online in chat rooms – I always liked the name Jenny and so, I think I’ll stick with that for fictional stories.

I think if I was writing more technical books, I’d use my real name, but my family is really weird when it comes to posting online and sharing private stories. This is more to avoid family drama.

I’ve written “smut” in the past under a completely different username. I might get into that again, but we’ll see. People can be harsh when it comes to reviews!

Books and short stories

This past weekend, I started writing a book about my dreams and nightmares. I got nearly 7,300 words written – with lots of typos. I sent those few chapters to a friend and she loved it. I’ve been itching to get back into fiction writing. I have several short horror stories I’ve written over the past five years but haven’t finished any of them.

I’m starting to go through those stories to see what I can salvage and turn into short novels. I’m working on my first horror novel and I’m pretty pumped. I hope if it’s well received, I can turn it into a series. I’ve always wanted to write a book and what better time to do it now.

Think of it like a teen drama series. A coming of age story about a teen who struggles with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. The inspiration came from my own teenage years. But — inspired by series like The Vampire Diaries. It will have a supernatural flair to it. And hopefully, a monster of the month or book kind of theme.

I LOVE horror movies – always have. Why not combine the two things I love most in this world. Writing, and the supernatural. By age thirteen, I had read almost all of Stephen King’s books, and enjoyed other authors like Dean Knootz, Christopher Pike and John Grisham.

How I come up with ideas and characters

Last night, I couldn’t sleep and went to bed at 2 am. And just like when I was a kid, I kept having visions of these characters in my head and carried out entire scenes and chapters of dialogue. Many people have said that I have a gift for writing and does it come so easily to me.

I honestly don’t know! My brain has always been wired like this and sometimes it just doesn’t shut off. It also interrupts with sleep. As a kid, I used to make up entire worlds and characters that would play out in my head before I fell asleep.

I think part of it was from reading so much as a teen. I always had a book in my hand. Now that I’ve started reading again, the urge to write is just there- gnawing at me. I realized after re-reading Forever by Judy Blume, that she influenced a lot of my style. Only she made writing look easy and she had a lot of great books.

My mother, and my dad’s mother, were both great writers. My grandmother wrote a short book about her journey to Canada. And my mother, wanted to write a book. She was always making notes or lists. I think I got the reading bug from her too as I often borrowed books from “mum’s library”. If you want to read more about that journey, I wrote up a post to honour her yesterday.

My dad was a great speech writer. He always gave heartfelt speeches at family events. He knew how to make an entire room full of people cry – even the men would tear up. I’m glad we got some of those speeches on camera.

Practice daily writing

Last night, I got about four chapters done in the new book and 4,500 words. I’m trying to aim for at least 5,000 words daily. Some days might be more. I also type insanely fast at like 99 words per minute on a good day. If I’m having a bad day or week, I might not write at all.

I will definitely be blogging often as ideas come to me. I find the more that I write, the more ideas easily flow. I try and keep a sticky note or notepad near by at all times for these moments of creativity bursts.

I will often meditate before writing to relax my anxious mind. And I listen to meditative music while writing like brain entrainment or Native American flute music. Nothing with lyrics. Just relaxing meditation music. It really does help.

Set alarms for breaks

The problem with writing for me is that I can write for hours without taking a break. I’ve already been writing for two hours here in this blog today, and this will be my second article of the day. I have about 12 draft posts too for you that I need to finish off.

The ideas just keep coming to me and I have to get them out when it happens. That’s the way most artists are I think. You go through long periods with nothing. Zero ideas. And then you wake up at 3 am and have to start writing.

I’ve started setting the alarm for every couple of hours for a stretch or pee break. I also have set meal times daily and try to stick to a schedule. Sometimes I need a nap during the day from the fatigue or just to lie down. And on warm days, I’ll take a break and go sit on the balcony and enjoy the weather. I also make sure to keep several drinks at the computer like my coffee or tea, water and whatever else I might feel like. This way I can stay hydrated which is important for health.

A healthy writer needs to find balance in all things. Otherwise, what’s the point???

Tips for great writing

  • If you want to write — I suggest … JUST WRITE!
  • Practice a little every day. Aim for 1,000 words daily and grow from there.
  • Keep a note pad by your bed, so that if you get an idea for a character or story, jot it down.
  • Use your dreams as inspiration. After all, I’m writing a whole book based off some nightmares I’ve had. That’s how Stephen King started writing too.
  • Read! A lot! When you aren’t writing, READ. Read anything you can get your hands on for inspiration. Read from a variety of authors, multiple genres until you discover your favorite genre. Then write in that genre!
  • Take an online writing course in creative writing
  • Join a writer’s forum and learn from other writers
  • Use weekly writing prompts to create new stories or open yourself up to other ideas
  • Learn! Learn about new subjects that interest you. Watch documentaries, movies or read about those subjects.

But more importantly, and this might be the best advice I was ever given.

Write about your passions. Write what you already know. Writing will come more easily to you, the more you do it. And that’s why I write here daily in this blog. I don’t care so much about reader fatigue anymore. When I have an idea, I just need to write it down and share my thoughts.

I’m researching some tools for indie writers and authors like myself, stay tuned – I will share that with you soon!

If you’re an author, or writer like me – let’s connect! I want to hear from you.

All good things must come to an end

It’s nearly 10 am as I write this and I’m sitting down for my first cup of coffee for the day. I’ve been awake since 8 but it was so cold today that I decided to stay bundled up in bed with my phone and browsed TikTok and other social media platforms for a while. Next thing I know, it’s 9:30 and my tummy is growling.

The tree outside has lost most of its leaves and for the first time since moving in, I can see more of the church across the street. This great big maple tree has provided lots of shade and privacy this past summer. I’ve enjoyed sitting out on my balcony on hot summer nights while staring up at the stars. On really clear nights, around three in the morning, there are so many stars out here. The other night I saw the tail end of the little dipper and the three sisters. It was glorious. And freezing cold at the same time.

Fall is ending soon just as my friends in the US are starting theirs. The days are shorter with the sun that disappears around 7:30 pm. Pretty soon it will be dark by dinner time. That’s the worst part of early winter months. The long dark days. It always makes my fatigue that much worse.

But that wind this morning is cold. I had to shut the balcony window. And I know what that means. It’s October already fall will be over soon. This always makes me a bit sad. Maybe even depressed. This time of year is almost magical where I live. Once the leaves are gone, that month before the snow comes – it can get dreadful here.

And as the seasons change, so does my way of life.

Colder days means wearing fuzzy pants, heavy sweaters and using blankets at night time. I’ve got my bulky comforter on the bed already and a quilt. It’s almost a little too cozy. But the comforter is much too big for the bed so my legs get all tangled inside. I’ll have to shop around for a smaller one at Christmas time when they go on sale. Money is tight and my savings account is dwindling. I need to be more mindful of my spending for the winter.

My dreams have been all over the place. The night before last I had this strange continuous dream about a man I’ve never met. We met in the dream. Dated. Had a relationship. He met my family. I woke up. Went back to sleep and found the dream continued. That never happens to me. It left me with dark feelings and thoughts all day yesterday about relationships.

This morning, it was dreams about the end of the world and zombie wars. I blame spooky season. I’ve been binge watching supernatural and horror shows and movies. Things always get a little…. weird this time of year.

Home projects and recipes

September seemed to fly back like a flash of lightning. I got my kitchen and bedroom organized. My music room is mostly organized, I’m still trying to downsize and get rid of things I don’t need. My pantry is a work in progress. I ordered a pack of 12 Mason jars and maybe I got too many. I’ve had some fun emptying plastic bags and storing things like quinoa, pasta and coffee grinds in these jars. It makes me feel a little more organized, and a little more prepared. You know, just in case a zombie war happens.

The good thing about this month is that I did a TON of baking and cooking. 99% of the meals I ate were meals that I prepared or cooked myself. I did treat myself to pizza one night because it was too late to cook when I got home from a visit with dad. I’m currently snacking on a chocolate oatmeal loaf for breakfast. I’ll see dad later, and I have leftover meatloaf for dinner tonight. It was delicious. Maybe the best meatloaf I’ve ever made.

One thing I am looking forward to is Thanksgiving next weekend. That means a family dinner, and dinner with a friend. I think maybe I’ve been too cut off lately from the world.

The future of this blog

My business plan here expires in January and I’m not renewing it. I’ll go back down to the premium plan so I can still use premium features. Plus I need the storage. My media bin is packed with pictures. I wanted to start a new instagram account but my family would definitely find me.

So, I have lots of things keeping me busy right now. Lots to focus on other than the pain and joint stiffness that happens more frequently now. I’m waiting for appointments and referrals. Our healthcare system is a mess right now.

Good Reads

I’m working on a list of Good Reads for October and hope to share that this week. I’m still trying to find new books to listen to or read. It’s October which means it’s spooky season here and we do celebrate Halloween here. I usually turn to scary movies and sci-fi classics this time of year. I’ll share some of my favorites with you through the month. And maybe some spooky stories too. I had a strange experience last night that has me scratching my head today.

And on that note, my coffee is getting cold. I’m itching to get my day started. So, thanks for reading wherever in the world you may be from. I appreciate you.

I have been binge watching the original Twilight Zone and forgot how great this show is. I’m trying to get through all the episodes. There’s a lot of them. This show is the OG of all sci-fi shows. It inspired a lot of other great tv series like Supernatural, Outer Limits and Xfiles.

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