First love


In the heart and the mind of a writer there is a first love ,that is that book or writer that made you love writing. It could be someone extremely famous like Stephen King , Jane Austen, probably for most of us writers, it’s someone that we read when we  were younger than the Jane Austens attract like Beverly Cleary, or RL Stine.

But somewhere  in our hearts or in our minds that  first love  holds a place that no one else will ever hold. I’d like to celebrate today first love. I’d like to think about I ever read voraciously and without any facade. I remember reading books like are you there god it’s me Margaret, or freckle juice and enjoying those books. Feeling like I was a part of something other. .I was a smart girl. I was a reader. Then I read a book called then again, maybe I won’t by Judy Blume. That made me want to be a writer, but it was the book that made me feel like my kind of writing was acceptable. Because and then again, maybe I won’t from the perspective of a 10 or 11 year old me anyway was very personal. The main character was a young boy whose father suddenly found himself wealthy and so the boy suddenly finds himself wealthy. At the same time he also finds himself going through what everybody goes through when they are on the cusp of not necessarily adulthood but the next transition between childhood and not childhood. I remember reading this book at every possible moment of the day. I remember not going outside and I grew up in the air when we went outside. I remember friends and phone calls and everything else in this book. It was definitely a first love kind of thing because all these years later I am first of all still looking fondly upon this book and almost afraid to think about the book itself too closely. I don’t want to ruin what we have together with other words. So sweetly think of that boy, his issues with his parents and his masturbatory dream and even now. Having read this book in well over 20 years I still think it’s a story, never mind the writing and I don’t remember the writing well enough to even begin to critique it, but the story at the very least which still resonate with a lot of people. So I wanted to thank Judy Blume, and all the people write the books that make a person realize the creativity is not only ok but it is something to be proud.For that I am ever grateful.

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Where Do I Go ?


I finished my first draft and I was filled with the feeling of ” oh my… Yeah, yeah” with music and beauty floating around my head and then something happened.

All the things that I would read said the same thing. It said  let your book ruminate and give it time to become something that you can then successfully read and revise without that oh so helpful thing where your mind just adds the missing words that you meant to write , so that your words make no sense to anyone else.

This phase is all about adding and subtracting and fighting the increasing feeling that you are an idiot that wrote the worse book ever written.  That your book will make people run screaming into the streets and cry and weep and scream, they will pull out their eyes and deny the fact that they ever read anything, ever. Somehow your book will actually make other books you love less good. That authors you love will read the book and say ” No, never” to your requests to write a forward.  This is probably not going to happen. This has not happened to the various dubious novels that have been written in the world, both recent and long ago. There are people that count novels that I myself view as painfully bad among their favorites. So what are the odds that no one would read my book and at the very least say it was interesting, or entertaining? And I will not bring about the end of the world. I do not have that power.

But I do have this feeling that is completely and utterly fear-based.  I am afraid of my book. Just a little but the more that I think about what it would mean if this is terrible. The fear of what would happen if I am not a writer worth reading.  I am also thinking of what might happen if I am a writer worth reading. If I write a book that is worth the notice of people that matter, people like me that love books and reading to the point that they can invest years in the lives of people and places that never were. So I am in revisions and now I am realizing that either way fear must not be the thing that stops me. If it is, then I will be a failure of epic proportions.

So if you are having issues like mine there are a few quick and dirty tips that can help to make the experience a little less terror making .

Revision Tips

  1. Start revising as soon as you can 

Figure out what is your best timing but don’t wait too long. Often Procrastination will start pretending to be something cleaner, like reflection or research.

  1. Don’t spend ages making your first draft look pretty

This is just wasting time, include all the details you need to learn, but don’t try to produce a work of art. This is a ROUGH draft. It is just that, ROUGH.

  1. Take short breaks

— Every hour, not every 10 minutes. I enjoy using the pomodoro timers to help me myself on task.

  1. Use revision guidelines 

Cathy Yardley has great tips on her blog. I add also that you should treat the revisions just like you would treat your writing , have a plan and have a schedule on what you will finish each day .

  1. Get yourself drinks and snacks

So you don’t make excuses to stop every 10 minutes…

  1. Sit at a proper desk
  2. Don’t turn yourself into a revision zombie 

There is nothing that you can do all day every day without burning out. It’s really important that you keep time to do things you enjoy… like movies, shopping, sports, Frisbee, rock-climbing, making model planes ,porn, whatever tickles your fancy… When you’re doing these try to relax and totally forget about revision.Meat_Grinder_zombie_7265759848_1

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  1. Read the book aloud when you can 

—hearing it really does help. If you can, record yourself.

  1. Find the right environment to revise

NOT in front of the TV. NOT listening to the radio. Music can sometimes be OK, but you need to find the right kind. It’s got to be something that’s just there in the background that you’re not thinking about at all. Music without singing is better as you won’t be tempted to dance around your bedroom like a big fool.

How Do E-Books Change the Reading Experience? – NYTimes.com


The advantages of e-books are clear. E-books are immediate. Sitting at home in Pakistan, I can read an intriguing review of a book, one not yet in stores here, and with the click of a button be reading that book in an instant. E-books are also incorporeal. While traveling, which I do frequently, I can bring along several volumes, weightless and indeed without volume, thereby enabling me to pack only a carry-on bag.

And yet the experience of reading e-books is not always satisfactory. Yes, it is possible to vary the size of the font, newly important to me at age 42, as I begin to perceive my eye muscles weakening. Yes, e-books can be read in the dark, self-illuminated, a reassuring feature when my wife is asleep and I am too lazy to leave our bed, or when electricity outages in Lahore have persisted for so long that our backup batteries are depleted. And yes, they offer more frequent indicators of progress, their click-forwards arriving at a rapidity that far exceeds that of paper-flipping, because pixelated screens tend to hold less data than printed pages and furthermore advance singly, not in two-sided pairs.

Nonetheless, often I prefer reading to e-reading. Or rather, given that the dominance of paper can no longer be assumed, p-reading to e-.

I think my reasons are related to the fact that I have disabled the browser on my mobile phone. I haven’t deleted it. Instead, I’ve used the restrictions feature in my phone’s operating system to hide the browser, requiring me to enter a code to expose and enable it. I can use the browser when I find it necessary to browse. But, for the most part, this setting serves as a reminder to question manufactured desires, to resist unless I have good cause.

Similarly, I have switched my email account from the attention- and battery-consuming “push” setting to the less frenzied manual one. Emails are fetched when I want them to be, which is not all that often. And the browser on my slender fruit-knife of a laptop now contains a readout that reminds (or is it warns?) me how much time I have spent online.

Time is our most precious currency. So it’s significant that we are being encouraged, wherever possible, to think of our attention not as expenditure but as consumption. This blurring of labor and entertainment forms the basis, for example, of the financial alchemy that conjures deca-billion-dollar valuations for social-networking companies.

I crave technology, connectivity. But I crave solitude too. As we enter the cyborg era, as we begin the physical shift to human-machine hybrid, there will be those who embrace this epochal change, happily swapping cranial space for built-in processors. There will be others who reject the new ways entirely, perhaps even waging holy war against them, with little chance — in the face of drones that operate autonomously while unconcerned shareholding populations post selfies and status updates — of success. And there will be people like me, with our powered exoskeletons left often in the closet, able to leap over buildings when the mood strikes us, but also prone to wandering naked and feeling the sand of a beach between our puny toes.

via How Do E-Books Change the Reading Experience? – NYTimes.com.

What Now ?


This is the thing about being a writer. You can produce and get things all done and buttoned up and then you may be looking at 500 pages of your blood sweat and tears  only to realize you have no god damned idea what to do with the final product.

I am not an expert in this, am in fact a novice since I am just getting my book into that wonderful stage one could call a manuscript but I did find some resources that might help anyone else that , like myself , is getting to the point where your life long dream and your actual life are about to intersect.

New Literary Agent Alert: Jessica Negron of Talcott Notch Literary | WritersDigest.com.

Rihanna – What Now – YouTube

Flash


My week is going to be dedicated to the flash fiction genre. I have been having some issues lately with my ability to write fiction. My story well is a bit rusty. I can write, I have words but the pump is not very well primed. I find the idea of stoking my fire with a fresh 300- 1000 word story exciting and unbelievably scary. The subject matter will be varied.

This is my attempt to gear my mind up for the task that of getting down the business of writing as a business.  I have not been doing much writing in the fiction realm for the last year or two, I have been more into wring prose and nonfiction, a lot of things like my writing here, observational semi-humor. I want to give rise and texture to the characters that are in my head. I have a few reasons for wanting to do them now. Not the least is my own age, as I get older everything seems to be slipping away. The other thing is that there are some people in this world that I want to read my work. People that I want to see it, to critique it, and hopefully love it.

I am also open to Suggestions, requests and ideas.

 

Flash – Queen (Official Music Video) – YouTube

How


I am stubborn to the point of self-destruction at times. I am admitting that right out. I have tried very hard not to read a single book about writing because I do not (did not) want any part of my writing to be someone else’s words or thoughts. I think that a lot of writers may do this but this is ridiculous when you think about it. I think that if your doctor said to you, “I never cracked a book, I just kept cutting people until I figured out how to stop killing them” you would flee, possibly screaming, into the street and never look back.

I know that writing and medicine are not the same animal, but the same can be said of politics. Tina Fey, who I love like good food, said that politics and prostitution are the only professions where people try to convince you of how inexperienced they are as a virtue. I think that writers can sometimes be said to feel the same. I want, basically, to be talented and not taught. The problem is that the idea is idiotic, not to put too fine a point on it. I am not saying that you can’t be good if you never get instruction but the honest to god truth is that you can’t write unless you are taught something. How to read at the very least.

I love Stephen King. I want to admit that out right, as well. I think that he is one of the great writers and never-mind the bullshit that people say about anyone and anything that is popular. I think that the man is amazing, not because his writing is amazing but because it is not. Not always anyway. There are exceptions in his writing, Under the Dome is one. Misery is another and I think that the story “The Boogeyman” is almost perfect as a short (very short) horror story. I have it on audiobook and the combination of the writing and the reading by John Glover make it something I listen to like music, and like music I can recite it by heart.  I love the characters decent into madness as he tried to explain the truth that is impossible to accept and that you as a reader have to wonder if he is just a as the character himself states “ another goofy”. Perhaps, you wonder, he is a murderer and can’t admit it , like ( spoiler alert) another character in Strawberry Spring or if he is just trying to make sense of what makes no sense; all three of his children dying before they are three. I love this story and think that it is wonderful.

So you would think that knowing that one of my favorite writers was writing a book about writing (oh my god this sentence is going to sound crazy) about writing called “On Writing” would have sent me into mad gales of happiness. I would have been standing on the corner at 8:59 am waiting for the Barnes and Nobel to open and allow me to plunk my money down to find out how he does it.  You would, as I am sure you have gleaned already, have been very wrong. I saw that book as something terrible almost, like a magician telling his secrets and not just his but everyone’s. I did not crack that book, not once and I was high-minded about it. As you know when you have decided that you are doing something because it is the “right and proper thing” you are always right, right? Yes, and that is how people become terrorists. They decide that they are perfectly legitimate in their thoughts and words to the contrary are just jealousy, lunacy or some other y.

When I knew that the creepy and amazing Chloe Grace Moretz was set to play Carrie White  and the sequel to “ The Shining”  was coming out ( all near Halloween , also) I decided to read or reread some of my favorite King novels and among the books that I found was  On Writing at my local half off book store. I bought it because it was practically free. I am a sucker for a deal. Then I laid it aside and read my other books again. It wasn’t until I was reading someone else’s book, one about goal setting, and it was mentioned that I decided that it was time to at least try the e book.

I have to say that, while I am not done with this book, almost but not quite, I could kick myself for waiting as long as I did to read it. It is not the best book on writing, I can see that, but it is genuine and genuinely written. I think the things that make this book an actual good novel as well as a decent instructional manual is that it doesn’t think that it really is either animal. It is a memoir, it says that on the cover, and it is that. It is also a bit of a novel , telling a story inside it that is one that I had personally seen without having heard it outright until now; that there is a very damaged man that wrote many of my favorite books. One that has Daddy issues, was a drunk and a drug addict, has been broke and broken several times in life and that has never gotten completely over the abandonment of his father or the death of his mother entirely.

I say that not to tax Mr. King with anything just to say that most of that is true for most people and the idea that we have to be perfect to be great is not only foolish but dangerous. I myself have been fond of saying about my sexual self that I know where all my desires come from and I have decided that I don’t care and just enjoy the orgasms. If we are waiting for perfection to do our great work we will be waiting a very long time.  I know of a woman doctor who had her children while in medical school, on purpose, and when asked why she would do such a thing when she knew how hard it would be see said simply “when would it have not been hard? When I was an intern? A new doctor? I knew I wanted kids and that I wanted to be a doctor, and that if I waited for the perfect time to do either I would do neither”. That sums it up for me.

So I am reading On Writing and while I am not gaining any burning insights so to speak I am being reminded of those things that I needed to be reminded of, and well. That writing is for writing. Not for money or fame. You write because it is what you are meant to do. That you will not always write the best but you can try to write something that you would want to read. Have a goal in mind. Even if the goal is modest, having it will help you to accomplish. I myself have allowed Steve’s own to suggestion to be mine for the start. 1000 words a day. Which is satisfied today with what you are reading. Not long and not perfect but I hope honest and entertaining.

Successful


 

I am a Creative with deep roots. Its not what people see that counts, its whats buried deep that counts.If you are particularly sensitive, you may want to get an “updated” copy of Napoleon Hill’s masterwork “Think and Grow Rich” , but if not it is available in PDF or E-reader for for free download all over the internet. I say that “if you are particularly sensitive” part because I began reading the original for the first time yesterday and I realize that over the years, some of the language has been cleaned up and some stories have been edited for content. I am not particularly sensitive but I did take slight umbrage with the use of “Deaf and Dumb” in reference to Helen Keller, Calling a black child “ignorant, illiterate” in a story .words that did not really add to the story in my opinion. The almost constant use of the word “Normal” in relation to Blair Hill, the author’s son, that was born with no ears but who was forced to learn how to hear because of the overwhelming need for him to be “normal” by his father. I find that story both amazing and horrible.

Nevertheless, the other parts of the book are filled with merit. The book has been revamped and this is my third or fourth time reading it, although my first with the original text, and I think that it is something that everyone should read, at least once. Like the bible. Moreover, like the bible, you will get out of it what you get out of it. I can see it going forward in some people’s lives as simply new age ( the book is rounding on 100 years I think but still people will call it that) bull. Which for them, it will be. Some people will, as I did, read it and not really understand it. It rings a faint bell but I do not know that I really know the tune kind of thing. You have to keep reading it as your paradigm changes to get the true scope of the thing.

Then some of you, the Chloë Grace Moretz, the Bill Gates, the Zuckerbergs, among you will read it and have a kind of ping and duh moment at the same time. I think that the “secret” that lives in the pages of the book is something that comes natural to some people in this world. They wake up every day with the knowledge that they are going to make it. I am both awed by and terrified of these people. Not those as they are now but I suspect that Hitler was one of these people just turned inside out. When I meet them, always a part of me hopes they are one the side of good. Because I do not think that, I would be great in the apocalypse, except the Zombie Apocalypse because I have plans together.

I am reading this book again, and what I am getting out of it this time is, I can do it. In actuality, I am getting a full picture of my successes and failures of the past year. I tend to lose faith when I am close to the end because I believe that I fear (or have feared, as I am conquering that now) the near win-miss. The honest to god truth is that, without failure you cannot win; or should I say constructive failure. You cannot win the grand prize, if you do not lose the second prize. So many times in my life, I have been unwittingly leaving the game because I lost at second when the first prize had yet to be awarded. Real life example of that is when I won my 60-Inch TV, I had wanted to win the TV, which was the last prize. In the process, I gloomily sulked over not winning the laptop, the vacation package, the PS3 (they had just come out) and I was literally putting my coat on when I won the TV. The thing that I had actually stated that I wanted! My single raffle ticket, if it had won something else, could not bring me the TV that I wanted but I was ready to give up when I had not won everything. Something that would have been impossible anyway!

Therefore, again in my reaffirming the goal mindset, I state that while I am blessed and lucky to have been given my fantastic brain, I am also at odds with said brain. Sometimes I have to shut it off and let my heart take the wheel. I know what I want. I am learning how to get it and nothing will stand in my way. Not even me

Power


 One of the corniest things ever is the renewing of vows. It is taking something that is already done and restarting it. It makes very little sense logistically and has no real function in the schematic of life. You are married and then later you will be married still. Nothing, has changed. It is not as if you can change your mind mid renewing and that would undo your marriage. So why do so many people do it? Why do they take the time, and very often the expense, to renew already agreed upon vows? Because it is not hokey, it is renewal. It is a done deal but every now and again you need to hear those words again and re-acknowledge what your commitment is and make sure that it is, in fact, still your commitment. And with that in mind, today I have decided that I am going to reaffirm my commitment to myself and my goals. I am renewing my vows, to myself, so to speak.

I have gone on a journey of self-awareness, self-improvement, and self-forgiveness that sometimes gets lost in the minutia of everyday living. It is like a marriage, sometimes you are so caught up in the bills, kids, problems and struggles that you forget how much you love the person you married, or how much better all that is with someone that you care for by your side. In my case, I forget how lucky I am, how blessed I am and how much I have because of the day to day struggles of trying to get to the next thing. I am reading “Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude: How to Find, Build and Keep a Yes! Attitude for a Lifetime of Success   by     Jeffrey Gitomer” and I have to say that he has some wit and wisdom that, while not ground breaking (seriously, at this point all positive thinking books are relatively the same) is brought to me in a different way. There are some thoughts that I like very much. One is to start off with Thank you when you are getting bad news. As in “you forgot to get me the report by the deadline” instead of going “I’m sorry” or “I would have but * didn’t do their part and so …” just say “Thank you and “. No excuses, no sorries, just thank you. I love that but I would like to expand on that and say just start off with thank you all the time. Every time I have gotten an email since I started reading the book an astonishing 16 hours ago I start with “Thank you” and I feel better about it, no matter what.

Another thing that I have learned is that I have almost all the things that people complain about sewn up. People generally grip because they do not like their Job, their coworkers, their living place, their spouse or themselves. I like all those things. I am so grateful to realize that I am again in the top percentile for things that I have that are important that ensure happiness. I love my job, I love my coworkers , I love my spouse , I love my city and I love myself. These are the essentials to ultimate joy and I have them all in hand, so when I find something to complain about I will remind myself that it is a filler thing and all the major things in this life, are great. That is a powerful awareness.

So I am adopting, or reaffirming to be more accurate, an attitude of gratitude, today. I want to live with as much YES in my life as possible and this is why for every moment of everyday for the rest of my life I will have a small secret yes in my mind and heart. And as of Friday on my body! I am getting a tattoo that simply says “yes”. That is my commitment level to