Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Literary Endeavours

The short story. It's been on my mind quite a bit in recent days.

I love reading short stories as much as I enjoy a good novel. There are short stories that I remember reading in high school that still stick in my mind. Like "The Painted Door" by Sinclair Ross or "Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway come immediately to mind. And "Dolan's Cadillac" by Stephen King. In fact, if you haven't read any of them go read them now before continuing.

Go on. I'm waiting.

If you did read any or all of those, thank you. If you didn't, you're missing out on some good writing.

I remember that I used to write short stories when I was in high school. Most I've lost over the years. Still, it was good practice, no matter how badly written the prose.

Short stories, I believe are essential to being a good writer. There is no room in the short story for words and phrases that do not improve and move the plot.

As much as I love short stories and, as important as I think they are, I don't write short stories. Maybe it's all psychological, but I always seem to find myself blocked when I try to focus on writing a short story.

So in the next month or so, before NaNoWriMo that is, I will be focusing solely on the art of the brevity.

I've been working my way through a self-directed writing course as well which I'm hoping will help. So far, it has been quite eye-opening.

Of course, once we're into October, all bets may be off as I would like to really detail a plot outline for this year’s NaNoWriMo attempt.

Now my only problem is - who is going to proof my attempts and give me feedback?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Avocado Project

If you know me well, you may know that I love plants, but I have a bad habit of killing them. In fact, I have no plants at all in my house despite the giving of, and buying of, greenery.

Yet, I have decided that this is the year I fix that. I am going to grow myself several avocado trees.

I had one avocado every day last week for lunch, but instead of getting rid of the seed, I kept it and brought it home. Today, I carefully followed instructions on how get my seeds to become trees.

I have five seeds on my window sill, suspended in cups of water that I hope will grow. One of the seeds split slightly when I was stabbing it with the toothpick (all part of the procedure), one is slightly misshapen, but the other three are pretty much normal.

I planted five even though I am only hoping to have two or three trees in the end. Any good, and even bad, gardener knows that not all the seeds will grow. Let's say the split one never sprouts or the misshapen one dies when I finally transfer them to soil....then I still have the potential of three trees.

I'm going to be keeping track of them. Taking pictures every month or so as they grow. I'm even going to name them. It'll make it easier to track their growth progress.

Details and pictures will be posted later. I promise. *so excited*

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Yeah, so I do keep meaning to post something and I have been wanting to do the research on that article that I've been dying to write, but have I done either of these things?

I think you know the answer to that. The answer is simply, no.

Now that brings up the question of, why?

Is it because I'm lazy? I'm too busy? I've just got better thing to do then sit and write posts for a blog that no one really reads at all?

Sadly, the answer to these is also no. I know the real question, but the problem is not something I easily have an answer to.

You may have seen some posts on here regarding a certain bad habit that I have. It's call procrastination. I consider procrastination my number one bad habit. I don't have too many, but this is a big one and I have no idea how to totally kick this habit of mine.

When I say I procrastinate, I don't just mean that I put off things that I don't want to do. I actually put off things that I really want to do. Like writing. It's fun for me to write. I enjoy it. I want to do it all the time, but I don't do it all the time.

My wanting to write and liking writing should be enough motivation for me to overcome my habit of procrastination to be able to do writing more often, but it's not. So maybe it's not just procrastination that's the problem. Maybe it's a lack of motivation.

Now there are books written on this subject, you do a google search and you come up will thousands (perhaps even millions) of articles and blog posts on the subject of 'how to motivate yourself'.

I know what does help motivate me. If someone challenges me to a short term challenge for the results are real and measurable - that gets me going.

Take NaBloPoMo for example. You may notice that there are months when I post at least one thing nearly every day. Those are the days when someone challenges me to NaBloPoMo. Or NaNoWriMo - there's one I have yet to fail at. (OK, I only hit 40K for CampNaNoWriMo, but I was away for the first week and pulling in a lot of OT at work.)

Even if I'm not fit enough to truly finish a race that I've entered, like the half-marathon I did in May, I'll push myself to finish because I will not drop out or give up.

Still, these examples show more of my pig-headed stubbornness then any sort of motivation. I hate conceding defeat to anything that I *know* I can do if I just push myself hard enough.

So when it comes to motivating yourself, how do you do it? Because no matter how many of those internet articles I read, I can always use more advice.