albionidaho: (Default)
Saturday was one of the worst days of my life. I promise you, this is saying a lot.

I can't give any details because the events in question are related to the privacy of another individual. I will tell you that it took all my willpower, strength and energy to hold myself together for several hours and not completely dissolve into a rabid mess of total adrenalized freak out.

My heart felt everything was okay, but my brain and body didn't get the same message. Our brains and bodies are powerful. I've never completely realized just how amazingly powerful they are, how completely our survival instincts rule, on such a personal level.

In addition to being one of the worst days of my life, the day also ended up being and leading to one of the best days:

Read more... )
albionidaho: (Default)
Because I don't have enough to learn in life, I'm currently pursuing a certification in programming C, to be followed with C++ and Java. The first day of class, my professor said we could expect to spend about eight hours a week outside of class studying.

This was a lie. (I kind of expected that, at least for me, it was when we were told the bit about eight hours of homework a week.)

I could have a part time job with the amount of time I spend working on my programming homework. This is okay. Learning new skills and enhancing current skills takes time. I know this. And I'm totally fine putting in the work. But this doesn't mean I don't feel completely lost and clueless much of the time.

I constantly feel lost. And clueless. And it's kind of scary. So I dig in my heels and poke and poke, and then I poke some more. And at some point, I figure things will really start to click. Right?

Right.

I feel I have to work really hard at this because this is not necessarily where my natural talents lie. On the other hand, I know that "talent," whatever that is, isn't everything. Everything I do well I had to work at, and I didn't start out being good at what I'm good at.

I didn't emerge from the womb walking and talking.

It's the same with any skill. You practice and practice and practice and keep hitting your head against the brick wall, and eventually something will give. (And hopefully not your skull.)

[livejournal.com profile] raven_radiation sent me a couple links to remind me of this:

Why I'm Proud to Have Been an Unoriginal, Talentless Hack and Do you Have Enough Talent to Become Great at It.

And so I'm reminded coding is a skill, a new skill, and it will take time to hit proficiency. And at the same time I'm reminded that I will progress as a writer. It's just, again, going to take time and practice.

And that's okay -- a lot of life is about learning to enjoy the ride.

[livejournal.com profile] raven_radiation also sent me another couple links I find inspiring:

Monstrous Discrepancies and Minus.
albionidaho: (Default)
I want to write about letting the dreamer write.

I was speaking with Graham Joyce one night at a World Fantasy Convention. I may get this slightly wrong, but I think I can convey the gist:

Graham told me that when writers write they need to let the dreamer write first. He encouraged me, as he's encouraged others, to just dream on the page when writing the first draft of a story. Don't worry about plot and characters or structure or language or any of the other things writers worry about when they write. Just dream.

Later, after the dreamer has created the story on the page, you let the writer in. But not until the dreamer is done. Letting the writer work before the dreamer has done her magic is a common mistake.

When it's the writer's turn to work, you shape the story, working on plot and characters and structure and language and ensuring the story works. And when the writer is done it's time for the editor to come in with her red pen and rip everything apart.

But first you have to let the dreamer in.

Trying to let the dreamer create before I open the door to the writer and the editor has made a huge difference for me. For a long time I was trying to let the writer create, and it wasn't working for me--I was expecting the writer to do her job and the dreamer's, too.

I think this concept works for all writers, whether you're usually an outliner or not; when you're outlining, you're still letting the dreamer work.
albionidaho: (Default)
They (whoever they are) say that the biggest three stresses are divorce, moving and death. I've dealt with all three over the past two years. And believe me, whoever they are, they know what they're talking about.

But the stress they don't talk about is staying in a bad place. That's even worse than divorce, moving and death.

***


When I write now I see my evolution as a writer. I am changing, and growing. The stories I wrote pre-2008 would never be written now. I have found another place to write from, a deeper place. A more experienced place. At the same time, I am trying to remember those places from which I wrote before because these are good, useful, fine places to dive into when writing.

***


Because of life and other environmental factors, I spent most of my adult life trying to be logical and think critically of everything. Being able to think logically and critically are good skills to have; however, if you're not careful logic and critical thinking can overpower creativity and the Dreamer's ability to take the first stab at a draft.

One of my goals for this year is to re-embrace the Dreamer and creator within myself when writing, and to let go of the logical critical thinking part of me for a little while. I'll bring her back in when it's appropriate, but for now we need some time apart.

She's logical enough that I think she'll understand.

Writing is about balance. It's about being creative and dreaming for yourself, and then bringing logic and critical thinking in as you open the door for the Writer and the Editor.

Writer 101 stuff, yeah, but it's something that's been easy for me to forget. And maybe we all need reminding of this stuff every so often.

***


And now it's time to work on my proposal before class tonight.
albionidaho: (Default)
I don't write a lot of flash fiction... at least I didn't used to. Over the 1 1/2 years, I've written some flash fiction. I've also tried to write a lot of other stuff -- longer works that don't seem to be nearly as viable as the flash. On the one hand, this is frustrating, but on the other hand it shows me how much I've learned in the past 2 1/2 years.

I recently completed an intense period of contracting while going to school. During this time I wrote very little. Getting back into the writing was overwhelming; a wise friend and CW classmate suggest I start by writing flash.

So that is what I did, and I'm finding the flash writing to be useful. My crit group and an awesomely fantastic writer and critter friend looked over my piece. They made some insightful, wonderful suggestions I can implement. I think this piece is viable.

I can't tell you how good this feels.

I've also learned that I'm a horrible judge of my own writing -- my writing may be better than I think it is. I may be a better writer than I tend to think I am.

WFC

Nov. 5th, 2009 07:20 pm
albionidaho: (angeles)
Today is brought to you by the Santa Cruz Mountains rain and no tea, strangely enough. I may have to remedy that: I have caught a cold. (Lemon ginger sounds good.)

2009 has been remarkably healthy for me, much more healthy than I've been in years past. But I still have this cold -- I suspect I had it coming.

I attended World Fantasy Convention 2009 in nearby San Jose this weekend, my first big con. I paid for the con by writing articles about how to adjust watches.

I attended no panels, I attended only Terry Bisson's reading. Mostly I met people I've corresponded with online for years, or authors and editors I admire, some of them absolute favorites of mine. I spent time with Clarion West cohorts, old friends, new friends and Paul Park, my Clarion West Week 1 instructor, and Connie Willis, who taught Week 4. I learned about writing and being a writer in the current publishing climate. It's scary, but when I step back and think about it, it's thrilling, too.

And I caught a cold.

But that's okay; it was certainly worth it.

One of my favorite moments of the con was when Margo Lanagan won the World Fantasy Award for best novel. (Along with Jeffrey Ford, which just rocked -- I adore Jeff Ford.)

Margo Lanagan's win was a personal thing for me, proving how powerful boundary busting YA can be, and that that's okay, and can be accepted and appreciated when it's done well, when there's a point to the transgressions. This is something I've struggled with for years, that I'm finally getting over. I've consistently censored myself and my stories because of fear, fear of what people would think, react, say. How it would affect my fiction writing career. How it would affect my life in Idaho, and my family's life.

Partially this was because I had written stories in the past that bothered people, stories that people took personal offense to. I hadn't intended to hurt anyone when I wrote what I did; I thought I was writing a story I was interested in writing.

It's a process, but I'm learning not to be afraid.

I think I'm going to write Margo Lanagan a letter. Do you all remember that? When I used to write people letters? (I think I once wrote something to the effect of, "Harlan Ellison sues people; I write people letters.") I need to start writing letters again. I used to be a decent correspondent; now I'm awful.

The best part of the whole experience, however, was that I felt I was back with my tribe, something I have missed since coming home from Clarion West.

Tonight I am chilled, but it's only because I'm sick. The writing is flooding across my screen, I am surrounded by people I love, and there are a plethora of wonderful books to be read.

It's not all perfect -- I'm still trying to work on getting a big person job, for example -- but it's really, really good. It's wonderful. And if everything was perfect, what else would there be to work for?

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