Separating Writing For Fun From Writing For School

I try to keep the two separate from each other as much as possible. Otherwise I’d lose what’s left of my sanity. But sometimes when I’m pressed for time, I wonder if I should consider what I write for school as fulfilling my creative quota for the day.

Who am I fooling? Not myself obviously. And it’s sort of cheating in my eyes.

Come on. Do better, Herminia.

As much as I love what I’m studying (Book & Media, English, Writing & Rhetoric), there are areas of overlap in my personal interests. So everything mixes into one giant mess.

Personally, I blog for a lot of reasons. I clear my head when I write. Well, I try to anyway. I know I can always turn to pen and paper, my best friends when school gets to be too much. It didn’t help my non-existent patience that I hated the second sentence of an essay I had to edit.

Writing is hard. And if you are a writer, it’s even harder. Yet I still put myself in the same position every day, staring at a blank page or a white screen.

I was just thinking to myself if someone gave me the choice to do just about anything, writing would be a top priority. Even if that list of potential tasks was a million items long. I’d still choose writing over a ton of other things.

Over the years, I like to think I’ve fallen more in love with words.

I used to tell people I want to publish a book. I do. But as of late, I tend to say I just want to write and blog. Is that too much to ask for?

I digress as I often do.

Back to the point of writing for fun and for school. I won’t let university stop me. The whole process of creating something takes time and effort. But it’s also so incredibly rewarding. More than anything, writing is worthwhile.

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Applying Baseball Advice As Writing Advice

What’s better than blogging about something you love? Blogging about everything you love.

I love baseball. I love writing. And I love advice.

Make the adjustment.

As a hitter, you adjust to the pitchers. As a pitcher, you adjust to the hitters. As a writer, you adjust to the reader. To your audience whether it’s one person or one million. The way you email an editor is different from the way you text your agent. But of course, that’s not the only adjustment you have to make. You and your characters have to adapt to different scenarios all the time.

When life throws you a curveball, hit it out of the ballpark.

Pretty self explanatory, right? Find the good in the bad. Then proceed to succeed.

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

I especially like thinking about this one in terms of rejection. Never let the fear of rejection keep you from writing, from blogging. If you aren’t afraid of rejection, replace with failure, judgement, whatever applies to you.

You can’t steal second without taking your foot off first.

My take on this: You have to move if you want to improve. And in order to improve, you have to write as often as possible. I’m all for writing every day, but I realize life happens. We’re all busy. Still, you’ll be surprised at the progress you’ll make over time with consistent practice.

Every strike brings you closer to the next home run.

Every rejection brings you closer to the next acceptance. The rare acceptances make the frequent rejections worth it.

If you think practice is boring, try sitting on the bench.

You have the right to shake me silly if I ever say writing is boring. The thought of not being able to write anything has me picking up a notebook and pen faster than someone can throw a 100 mph fastball to home plate. I don’t like boredom. Who does?

This has been fun. Even if no one reads this post or everyone hates it, I want to do a part two or something similar in the future.

Blogger Prompt Chain

Blogger Prompt Chain

Thank you to the awesome Rachel Poli who tagged me. Here’s to creating a “chain” of stories written by writers and bloggers.

Rules:

  1. Pick one of the five given writing prompts.
  2. Set up the Blogger Prompt Chain banner and publish your story under the banner.
  3. After your story, continue the chain by forwarding an invitation to five bloggers or writers. (In case a writer doesn’t have a blog, guest posts can be offered.)
  4. Don’t forget to link the writers to your blog and back to the one who invited you.
  5. Publish the five writing prompts and rules.

Prompts:

a) The End of The Bucket List

Write a story about a character who finds out that he or she is dying and has been knocking things off his/her bucket list and has finally reached the last item.

b) Get Out of the Car With Your Hands Up

You’re driving to your favourite city when you’re stopped by a police officer. Sure, you were going a few miles over the speed limit, so you’re not overly surprised. But you are surprised when the police officer gets to your car and screams, “Get out of your car with your hands up!” This leads to an unexpected night for you. Write this scene.

c) Hiring a New Villain

Your old villain quit over creative differences, so you’ve put yourself in charge of hiring a new villain for your novel. What questions do you ask? What does the new villain’s resume say? Write this scene as if it were a job interview.

d) At The End of The Rainbow

You and a friend have decided to try and follow a rainbow to see if the end holds a pot of gold. But when you finally reach the end, you find something much more valuable than a pot of gold—and it changes your life. Write this scene.

e) The Letter All Writers Should Write

Write a letter to a person who supported your writing career, whether that be a friend, a family member, a teacher (even one that supported you at a very young age before you knew that it would blossom into a writing career), an author you’ve never met but have been inspired by his or her writing. Do you thank them? Do you blame them? Take the letter in any direction you want.

The Letter All Writers Should Write:

Dear Ms. Davis,

Thank you for everything.

I will never forget all you did for me when I was young and dumb.

Thanks for taking interest, for asking questions. More than anything, I’m thankful you believed in me…even when I didn’t.

I’ll always remember you pulled me aside not once but twice. You cared enough to talk to me and see if I was okay before sending me home. You were also the first person who got the chance to tell me someone else wanted to publish my work.

I don’t know if I would’ve taken writing as seriously if not for the start I had. The beginning of every writer’s career matters a lot. I had a good one thanks to you.

I can’t remember everything but I remember some things. I’m sure the memories will come back. Slowly but surely. I’ll treasure all of them.

Your lessons have gone a long way. I owe a lot of my current successes and failures to you. I have no regrets.

You taught me how to be a student. More importantly, you educated me on how to be a writer.

I wonder where you are right now. I hope you’re doing well.

Thank you so much for everything.

I like to believe you’re proud of how much yet also how little I’ve changed. I’m still just as concise and vague at twenty years old like I was at fourteen.

Sincerely,

Herminia

My Invitations:

I’m going to be that blogger who tags everybody and essentially nobody to participate.

Thanks again to Rachel Poli for the invite. I hope you’re all following her amazing blog.

My Plans For November And NaNoWriMo

I’ve been thinking more and more about what I’m going to do in November, specifically during National Novel Writing Month, short for NaNoWriMo.

For obvious reasons, NaNo is one of my favourite times of the year. But November 2017 promises to be a busy month.

As for what I’m going to work on, I want to write a novel. Or at least write a story of some sort. I wrote both prose and poetry in October. During November I plan to stick to the former.

Honestly, it’s been a while since I started a novel and stuck with it. So I hope I can change that this month.

I have some ideas I hope to explore further.

Fortunately, I have the second week off from school. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten into a good routine of writing on the commute. In fact, writing at home with so many distractions has presented a greater challenge.

Regardless, all I ask of myself is that I do my best.

Life happens. The unexpected occurs. But I’ll manage as best as I can.

That being said, I’ve enjoyed writing in the morning during my commutes sometimes more than late at night. So maybe it’s time I make some changes to my routine.

Earlier in the day my mind is clearer than it is at night. Then again, at night, I’m tired so I’m not as critical.

I don’t want to mess with my writing schedule too much. Still, I’m adjusting accordingly to whatever the world throws at me on any given day.

Changing is tough though. But the pay off tends to be worth the work.

There’s still plenty of time for me to figure things out. And I have a feeling I will.

Of course, I’m curious to know your plans or lack thereof for November, especially if you’re partaking in NaNoWriMo.

My First Ever Magazine Launch

In October, I went to my first and hopefully not my last magazine launch.

I was excited about it. Afterwards I felt and still feel so inspired.

I’m not sure when this inspiration will wear off, but I hope it lasts long enough for me to create some great work.

There was food. There were drinks. My subject-verb agreement sucks. I know that.

People read their poems and stories. I had a great time listening to them.

Of course, I had two classes back to back before the launch. So even though I had tired eyes and a sore body (because I woke up at seven in the morning to stretch, dance, and exercise), I enjoyed myself nonetheless.

I ate a chocolate cookie, a chocolate cupcake, and another chocolate delicacy. Can you tell I like chocolate? Give me chocolate flavoured anything, and I’ll be one happy girl.

I don’t collect much aside from books that contain other people’s words and publications that contain my own. I’m glad I get to grow my collections every so often.

If you’ve ever been involved with the writing industry in any capacity whatsoever, you know first-hand how quickly things happen. This magazine publication finally happened. It’s like I waited years instead of months for it.

On the subway home, I read my piece to refresh my memory because I’ve forgotten the specifics of the story. As a 20-year old, my memory isn’t what it used to be. I wrote a first draft in 2015. It was published in 2017.

Anyhow, I’m beyond proud because I submitted this story somewhere else and never heard back.

But I returned to the piece. I worked on it during exam season. I’m thankful nearly failing my exams paid off because the piece got published after all. By nearly failing, I mean not acing. Same thing, no?

I have no regrets. I wouldn’t do anything differently today or yesterday or all the other days leading up to this one.

Maybe I should submit my work to contests when and only when I have exams. I’m one for one.

Here’s a link to the magazine.

Still In A Slump

I’m still in a slump. So blogging has been far from easy.

Instead of talking about how I’m in a creative funk right now, I’m going to say goodbye to the baseball season.

The last game was on October 1, 2017. Funny how the season ends on the first day of a new month.

I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you for putting up with my baseball references. Hopefully, they will be few and far in between now that the season is over. Or maybe I’ll miss it so much that I can’t stop talking about the sport. In which case I should start another blog or something. But who has time for that? Not me. Maybe if I had twenty-five hours in the day. Too bad I don’t.

I realize every player is less than 100 perfect at the end of the season. So am I. It feels like my body decided to break down on me in the beginning of October.

So my creativity has disappeared while my body has seen better days. What’s next?

I’m doing my best to stay positive. To be grateful.

This will pass. The bruise on my knee will heal. The neck pain will go away. The scar on my chest will fade.

How exhausting is it listening to my whining?

This month hasn’t started off on the best note. But it can only get better, right?

Wrong. I got rejected.

To which I tell myself and all of you aspiring writers, it’s part of the industry, the business. Rejection is almost never personal, so don’t take it personally.

Other writers and authors were rejected before you. Many more will be rejected after you. You aren’t alone. You aren’t the only one.

Keep writing. You’ll find a home for your story. Keep going. You’ve gone too far to give up.

Every experience can be a learning one. Improve. Get better. Do great work.

You’ll be rejected more times than you’re accepted.

(I wrote this post at the start of the October. Of course, I like to think I’m breaking out of the slump. I’m also trying to fix the fact that I’ve fallen about a month behind with my blog posts. Bear with me.)

The Challenge In Creating Content

Creating content is challenging.

I’m an advocate for alliteration. Sorry not sorry.

When I think too much, which happens way too often, I realize a few things. Brace yourself for this disorganized, messy post.

In many ways, I have been lucky. I won’t rely on luck to get me where I want, though.

Also, the longer I’m in school, the more value I see in doing things outside academia. Like getting real-life experience by working or volunteering.

I also see the value in having a personal passion project on the side like running a blog. I don’t know what would’ve happened if I hadn’t started mine four-plus years ago. The opportunities I’ve gotten and the offers I’ve been given…amazing. All because one day after school, I decided to make an account on WordPress.

I remind myself it takes years to become an overnight success. Nothing happens overnight, nothing incredible at least.

Like everyone else, I have bad blogging days when I’m struggling to put words down on the page. A part of me enjoys the challenge that comes with writing. It’s worth the effort. After all, the bad days make the good ones even sweeter.

I’m not exactly sure what life has in store for me going forward. But I’ll try to do my best and be my best.

I don’t get bored easily because no day is the same. On the other hand, there’s little to no stability or guarantees in this industry.

Still, I wouldn’t enjoy doing the same thing every day. So I’ll gladly choose to experience the challenging and confusing times that come with creating content.

Tips For Academic Writing

Blog posts are the only things I know how to write, but even that is questionable. It depends who you ask.

So whenever I have to write for academia, you can imagine the ensuing panic. And if you can’t, I’ll try to describe it.

Never mind, I can’t.

Safe to say I’m no expert when it comes to writing research papers or literary essays. But somehow I’ve gotten by.

How? I have no idea.

Do I have any business giving advice on writing? Nope. Will that stop me? Never.

Follow instructions. Follow rules. Follow whatever your professor says.

I hate following with a passion. But I’ll do whatever it takes to pass. Academic writing will never be as kind to you as creative writing is.

If you’re ever unsure about a fact, double check.

When you’re unsure of the meaning of a word, look it up. It’s always better to err on the side of caution. Always.

When in doubt, cut it out.

Try to delete anything you don’t need. It’s hard to detect sometimes, especially if you’re editing your own writing. But you’ll thank yourself later. Besides, everyone is better off without unnecessary adverbs. Seriously, your lovely teacher will totally understand that your really amazingly awesome point is very important.

Know your weaknesses.

Also, try to learn the words you fall back on as a crutch. You know what words I’m talking about. In elementary, my teachers pointed out my love for the word “then.” Then this happened. Then I did that. Then you get the idea. Now for some reason, I have a mildly unhealthy attraction to the word “that”. It’s more obvious in my essay writing when I’m not careful. Using the same words again and again becomes redundant. If you use them too much, the word loses power. After all, not every sentence needs to begin with “then” followed by “that.”

Even if you follow nothing else I’ve said, hopefully you’re able to do this:

Write about something you care about, something you’re passionate for.

It doesn’t have to be a topic you know like the back of your hand either. That’s why research exists. I realize students don’t always get a say in the matter. Still, finding an interesting subject that makes you want to write is half the battle.

Storytelling, Timing, Writing

I love writing and hope to publish a book someday. If that doesn’t happen, I really hope I can at least help to improve literacy rates around the world.

I can’t imagine not being able to read or write. I’m beyond grateful to be in the position I am.

Oh, writing. I love it. I want to dedicate my entire life to telling stories.

The times I want to give up, I tell myself I’m closer than I realize. Besides, if I give up, I won’t make it. I can’t reap all the seeds I’ve sown in the last several years if I throw away all my pens and never buy any again.

Every professional writer was an amateur, an aspiring writer who didn’t quit even when they experienced rejection, failure. They kept going.

I like to believe I’m on the right path, heading in a direction towards a destination I will arrive at one day and be blown away. That’s some sentence, huh? The poet in me is coming out.

I can’t wait.

Wherever this life takes me, wherever I go, I’ll look ahead and regret nothing.

In my twenty years of life, I’ve learned that life is messy and ugly.

I tend to expect perfection from myself or something close to it. But if life isn’t perfect, how can I be?

I’m hard on myself, so hard. I’m trying to loosen up, take things easy. That doesn’t mean I don’t expect great things from myself. It just means when I do inevitably fail, I won’t beat myself down when I’m already on the ground.

I’ll pick myself up and carry on my way. Brush the dirt off. Keep walking.

I truly believe this world needs stories. We need art. Maybe I can supply both to the people who need it most. I’d be happy with changing one person’s life. In a good way, of course.

I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of storytelling. I know how powerful stories are. The right story at the right time can be life-changing.

Timing really is everything. Right place at the right time. When the stars and planets align.

One of these days the timing will be close to perfect. I’ll know with all my heart I’m where I should be. Then all this will be worth it. After all, I’m worth it.

Isn’t Fair To You | A Poem

Remember how badly

You wanted to run away

Sometimes you still do

Because the people who were Supposed to be there for you

Left you to fend for yourself

Left you alone

They sharpened their knives

Though they didn’t need to

Before each tip pressed into your skin

And pierced right through

You thought running was an answer

But if you did you’d be worse than ever

Because you can’t outrun

A betrayal like that

They gained your trust early on

When you didn’t know better

Couldn’t even fight back

Still can’t

Yet you wonder

Why the world isn’t fair to you

Why it never was in the past