Personal Reflection

What I Would Tell My Younger Self

Now that I’m a year older, here are some things I want to tell my younger self.

  • You’re not nice. Especially to yourself. Be kinder.
  • Pay attention to your posture. Sit up straight. It’s not that hard, Herminia.
  • You will fail. That’s inevitable. Unless you don’t try, which is even worse.
  • It’s OK to cry. Even and especially when you have no idea why you’re crying in the first place.
  • You’re allowed to ask for help. Oftentimes you have little or nothing to lose but a lot to gain.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re tired, sleep. If you’re hungry, eat. After all, you only have one heart, one brain.
  • You don’t have to love everything. Don’t hate everything either.
  • Numbers will never define you. They aren’t a measure of your self-worth.
  • Always challenge yourself. Step outside of your comfort zone. That’s how you’ll grow.
  • Try to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. Be realistic though.
  • You can’t live someone else’s life. You can, however, live your own.
  • Don’t be too stubborn, but do you stand your ground. Otherwise, people will walk all over you.
  • You’re going to be OK. You might not feel fine right now. Yet one day, you will.
Writing

How To Ask For Feedback And Apply It

I’m going to focus more on feedback for writers. But the following advice could be applicable in general as well.

Write down your worries.

In other words, what’s holding you back from asking and receiving help? Getting your fears on the page might make you realize you have nothing to be afraid of. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

Find someone you trust.

You’re more likely to apply someone’s remarks if you respect the person. Which isn’t to say you can’t approach a stranger for help. Do what works for you.

Ask.

The answer will always be no if you don’t. Imagine how much your work will benefit if you have someone look over your writing for mistakes. Or at the very least, places for improvement because you’re a perfect, flawless writer.

Set boundaries.

Let the other individual know what kind of feedback you want. That way, he or she can focus specifically on your flow, grammar, structure, etc. Better yet, you get the advice you want, and you won’t be blindsided by a curveball out of left field. I hope my baseball analogies and similes don’t bore you all to tears by the end of the year.

Listen.

Don’t be dismissive, especially if you solicited their suggestions in the first place. Hear them out at the very least. They might say something useful. They might not. But either way, you have nothing to lose.

Thank them.

For their time and feedback. After all, they didn’t have to provide you with comments or a critique for that story you’re working on. Unless you’re paying them to be your editor.

Don’t take anything personally.

Easier said than done, I know. But remember no one is attacking you as a person or your work either. Most people are just trying to help.

Use what works. 

You don’t have to use every suggestion.You’re more than welcome to, obviously. But ultimately it’s your story, and you’re the writer of it. Not your computer. Not your cat. Not your chicken.

That’s all my tired brain can come up with. I hope this post is useful or at least not entirely useless.

Good luck asking and applying feedback to make your work better. That’s the goal. I believe in you. Put your ego aside. Improve your writing abilities. I like to think life gets easier. But maybe nothing ever does. Either way, you have what it takes.

Writing

8 Ways To Make Things Go Your Way

8 Ways To Make Things Go Your Way

When nothing goes your way, make things go your way. Force people to listen to you. Or be nice and pray for the best. But if the latter doesn’t work, the former might.

Or you could…

Argue.

Arguing isn’t just screaming nonsense at another person. Know your argument. Back it up. Watch the smirk get wiped off their face when he or she realizes they can’t win against a writer.

Ask.

*Yawn*. Boring much? But the answer is always no if you don’t.

Barter.

Offer them a proposal they can’t refuse. Like your signature. It’ll be worth a lot more when you’re published.

Beg.

On second thought, don’t. You don’t owe them anything. Unless they’re your parents.

Call.

For help. For backup. For deus ex machina.

Cry.

Ah, people and tears, people and emotions. Will you judge me if I said I’ve cried to get my way? What, I was just a baby okay. I don’t do this anymore. If you ever see me bawling like a baby, you’ll know why.

Demand.

If you’re in any position to, that is.

Dodge.

Dodge dodgy people. Dodge that dodgeball coming at you. Do what you have to do.

When your characters aren’t getting their way, maybe they can do one of the above. Or two. Or all eight. 

Blogging

10 Mistakes Beginner Bloggers Tend To Make

By “beginner bloggers” I mean myself obviously. I cannot speak for anyone else.

Below are ten of the biggest mistakes I made when I started this blog over two years ago.

  1. Underestimate the amount of work maintaining a blog takes. I thought writing a blog post would be like eating a piece of cake. It’s sweet when I finally publish a post. Most of the time, I toil away drafting, editing, formatting, etc.
  2. Not have clear goals in mind. I never went in wanting fame or fortune. Still, it would have been nice to set clearer goals so I didn’t have to be flustered every time I had no idea what to do next.
  3. Isolate myself from other bloggers by not commenting and interacting. I regret this. I’m sorry I was such a horrible blogger in the beginning.
  4. Follow back everyone who followed me or liked one of my posts. I followed many blogs and have since diminished the rate at which I click the follow button. Sorry, not sorry. I’m selective, I’m picky, and I can’t possibly keep up with everybody.
  5. Take the important things for granted. You never know what you have and how good you have it until it’s gone.
  6. Refuse to ask for help. Thankfully, some kind souls bestowed their wisdom upon me.
  7. Be impersonal. I must’ve sounded like a human without any personality. Robot Herminia.
  8. Forget to cherish every part of the journey. Time, where have you gone?
  9. Not include visuals or pictures. Because I didn’t make it a habit to, I don’t try as hard now. But I am working on it.
  10. Beat myself up for every mistake. I think I’m getting better at this.

And yes, I still do some of the above.

Personal Reflection

How I Would Describe Myself

Most—who am I kidding? Not you and certainly not me. Every day, I sit and think. I’m constantly asking questions. About my life, about the world, about anything really.

So today while I sat and thought and asked, I also answered.

I pondered over how I would describe myself in as few words as possible.

My answer: Outspoken introvert.

I’d like to believe it’s a very accurate description of who I am.

Of course, I invite you to sit and think and ask: How would you describe yourself?

Blogging · Writing

When People Ask What My Blog Is About

I can never give an adequate or appropriate answer when I’m asked what I blog about.

It’s the same when people ask about novels or stories I’ve written.

That said I like to think I’m not the only one.

Please tell me I’m not the only one.

I’m begging you.

Writing

5 Things Writers Need To Do—Every Day

A list of five things I think every writer needs to or should try to do every day. But whether or not you take me up on this advice is up to you.

  1. Save religiously. In case your computer crashes or your house blows up. Or aliens attack. There is no insurance, not that I am aware of, that claim to recover lost manuscripts. And no money in the world will ever buy back your time, effort, and hard work.

    Save

  2. Read voraciously. You’ve heard this before a million times so I don’t get any points here for originality but if you are one of those people that don’t read…then I am at an utter loss for words.
  3. Write fiercely. You’re a writer. It’s your job to write. It’s also your job to find time to write. 
  4. Observe graciously. There’s a happy balance between full out stalker and causal observer. Observe people with grace. Or at least do it clandestinely. (Like me.)
  5. Ask curiously. Writers are curious creatures. We can’t help it. And like my science teacher once said, “Question Everything.”

So continue to save, read, write, observe, and ask questions. The person that benefits the most will ultimately be YOU.