Friday, May 25, 2012

I'm Losing My Mind a Little....

So I have to apologize to pieces because today's post is nothing new, nothing original, and nothing by me! I'm so behind on a bunch of things, and yesterday was a crazy day that added a load of extra work (which I'll be telling you all about later). So today, today we're just going to enjoy some music and laugh a little.

One of my writing songs :-) Just because :) Dance!!! Ok, I'm out! Love ya all to pieces!!! (Don't you love seeing all the crazy that's driving my life right now? haha) 
Hugs, Valia

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fears and Genius

A friend of mine recently sent me this speech and I have watched it far more than I would like to admit.  This was one of the most inspiring speeches I've heard thus far about writing.  It has really helped me push on.  Without further ado, check it out before you read the rest of the blog.

First off, we will start with fear.  Elizabeth talks about the fears after her big hit Eat, Pray, Love.  Now I'm assuming you all watched the video, if you didn't, shame on you!  Didn't they teach you to listen in school?  Anyway, assuming that you watched it, she also brings up the fears she had before Eat, Pray, Love existed.  There will always be fears.  It doesn't matter if you conquer one, there will always be another to come and take his place in line.  Now this may seem as if you are never going anywhere but really you are.  Think of a time where you had trouble with something and were scared it would never happen. Now do you remember what it felt like when you over came that fear?  It felt wonderful didn't it?  I know for me, it feels like you are soaring high above and looking down on everything else for one small moment and in that moment, everything is perfect.  

I have fears just as much as any other beginning author.  Currently I am settling in at "are these crappy words ever going to come together into what I see in my head?" Or the well known one that Elizabeth brings up "You should just stop because you are writing the worst book ever written."  A part of me though says, yes that very well may be to someone else but to you, it won't be.  It will be this magical, wonderful little thing that you worked your butt off to make.  You will always have people who don't agree with you but you shouldn't let that stop you.  If everyone thought that way, nothing would ever get done and it wouldn't be the world that we have today with all the amazing stories, gadgets, etc. Can you imagine if the guy who created the internet was told he was crazy and never went for it because he was scared of failing?  I wouldn't be writing this post to any of you today if so.  *thank god he did because I'm far too addicted to the interwebs*

Like her, I also write with a barrier put up.  I don't do it because I'm trying to quiet the wants and needs of readers because who am I kidding?  No one knows who I am.  I do put one up to quiet out myself and the outside world. When I am at home, I put on these huge gaming headphones that drown out everything around me (and also make me look like an idiot).  The moment those go on, I feel focused.  It is almost as if it shuts everything, including me, out.  What is left is just the story hanging in the air and moving my fingers across the keyboard.   

I truly believe what Elizabeth says about the story being outside yourself and your "genius" or "daemon" or even "muse" is the one feeding you the information.  I would like to think it is all me but honestly, I never really feel like it is me that comes up with the ideas that I do.  I do believe that the story is out there and already exists and all you have to do is find it.  My ideas are always random.  It is similar to the story we were told of when Newton was hit over the head with an apple and he created the Law of Gravity.  Now I'm not saying an apple falls on my head every time an idea shows up, but it does happen at the strangest times.  Once, a major part of my story line for #ClassifiedNovel came to me as I cooked a Turkey Burger. #nolie  
The days that they don't show up are the hardest.  That I have felt in the last few months but unlike Elizabeth, I didn't keep writing.  Since my "Genius" didn't show up, I didn't either.  After watching this and also from reading a few other blogs with a similar theme, I have learned: 
1) It isn't always going to be easy.  There will be moments that the words just don't come. 
2) When the words don't show up, write anyway. They may not be the best words you have ever written,    but at least you will have something to show for yourself.  
3) Tell your "Genius" whose boss.  If they want to get any sort of credit or recognition, they better step up to the plate and do their part.  

I hope you all liked the video and at least got something informational from my ramblings.  If not, well there is always next time.  Don't forget to feed your "Genius" until then! *pssst* I hear they like music and good art. *wink*

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Staying Motivated

Writing has always been what I love most.  In my lifetime of flux, writing is the one thing I can honestly say has never wavered.  This doesn't mean I have always lived the life of a writer who is determined to make it big in the publishing world.  And, even though I love it, grown up life gets in the way and I lose motivation to sit all alone and peck keys on a keyboard. After a hard day I want to be social or active.  Often, I want to read about everyone else and their day on Facebook or Twitter.

Whenever someone (a non-writer) finds out I am writing a book, the first thing they say is, "I could never do that.  I wouldn't have the patience to sit and write all of that."  To be honest, I used to think the same thing.  I loved writing stories, but stuck to poetry because I didn't think I was a "distance writer."  I have since learned the secret.  

Authors work together!  That's how they get it done.  The support structure that Twitter and Facebook, Skype and others, offer to authors is incredible.  With these tools, writers can teach each other their strategies, offer emotional support and encouragement, celebrate together and even virtually work together.

Tonight, in fact, Nova Lovette and I wrote in 30 minute sprints together.  Her from her house and me from mine.  She would set the timer and tell me when to start via Facebook or Twitter.  Then she would tell me when to stop.  We shared our word counts with one another and even brainstormed our way through some sticky plot points in between our sprints.  Several times I wanted to quit, but knowing I was reporting to her and that she wasn't quitting, kept me honest and motivated.  By the end, she exceeded her goal of 2000 words and I had over 2500 words to show for it.  Plus, we built a closer friendship.  No loss there.

I'm so glad I stuck it out.  I worked through a scene that I have been stuck on for a month.  I've clarified some of my plot and character actions.  Without one another, Nova and I may not have been as successful as we were tonight.  Follow us on Twitter or Facebook if you want to join us on some writing sprints sometime.  As of right now, they aren't at scheduled times (hard to do in the summer months), but if you catch us in a sprint, you can always join in.

Don't think writing a novel has to be done in some wooded cabin, isolated from all distractions.  All you need is a writing partner who is as determined as you are, but honest about their motivation--and maybe some caffeine, cheese balls and a kick-butt playlist.  Good Luck and Happy Writing.


Friday, May 18, 2012

On Editing Frenzy

So I’ve started edits. *RUNS OUT OF THE ROOM SCREAMING* 
*sneaks back in and sits down*

I’m actually not sure how I feel about edits. Sometimes I really hate this part and sometimes I really love it. I think I’m in the love it stage at the moment. Maybe. Possibly. I just love my characters so much and there is lots that goes on in this story, so I feel that I need to make sure all that goes on goes on the way it supposed to. Am I making any sense? Probably not. That’s the other side of editing. My brain is on holiday, except for this MS. Which is a bummer because I have this shiny bright new idea that I want to start working on but can’t. I’m all over the place people!!! It’s kind of comical. 

But anyway, this is it. That’s all I have for you today. Oh, question time. 
How do you deal with crazy? Anyone else editing at the moment? Anything else you’d like to say? 

Much love and hugs, 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Second Chances

Sometimes in life there comes a moment where you are at a crossroads.  It's there that you stand looking down both options like a Robert Frost poem, trying to decide what you want the most.  You could continue on the easy, yet sometimes confusing path that you are currently on or you can follow the unknown path of your hopes and dreams.

It's never an easy choice really.  At least not for some.  Comfortability is something that we want to hold on to.  It's like when a baby checks its steps before fully letting go and walking on their own or when a child is terrified to ride their bike without the training wheels, but that relieved and soaring feeling that rushes through your body when you accomplish something you set out to do, is one of the best feelings in life.  If you always hang on to the comfort, how do you ever expect to grow?

A wise person said yesterday that second chances aren't just given to you, you have to take them.  Well here is me taking mine and letting go of everything to find something exciting that makes my stomach jump like one does after a steep hill.  You have to find that in life because without it, it is no life at all.

And so, here I am taking my first steps onto a path I was too afraid to take until now.  That scared, terrified feeling of something new is only beginning and I can't wait to feel what comes next.  Who knows where this path might take me, but that's half the fun.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Supplies Necessary for Writing

Writing in the 21st Century requires so much more than paper and pencils.  Each writer has their own necessities which almost always include some sort of munchable and drinkable.  Despite the obvious need for sustenance, one might ask what are the required working materials for a modern day scribe?

Computer- this tool is required for the actual construction of literary greatness, the caliber of which will change the history of publishing and bestseller’s lists for eternity.  With the limits of typewriters, (do they still make those?) authors must upgrade if they want to remain competitive.

Paper- must be blank on at least one side for printing your fine, history-making best seller upon.  Be sure to use a good marker (you know one that won’t bleed through) to X out your kid’s homework on the other side since you ran out of printer paper again.

Internet- The Swiss Army knife of writing.  Permits a Google search at a moment’s notice, can carry on no less than four Facebook chats about how you aren’t getting your work done fast enough for that deadline next week and follow five Twitter conversations about how to write “Hit Lit” so you can make more money than Twilight and retire to Fiji while you are still a smokin’ hottie, all while writing a blog post about writer’s block.

Music- For listening to that carefully crafted mood-setting playlist.  You will also need knowledge for building new ones.  This will eliminate the risk of finding yourself without means to set the appropriate mood and tone when no teenagers happen to be nearby.

Pens- of various colors so when you revise and write all over that heartfelt manuscript the edits look like a rainbow and therefore make you smile instead of feeling convinced your life’s work permanently belongs in a slush pile.

Caffeine- Seriously?  I'm not even going to insult you with an explanation!

Tissue - THE most important supply for a writer.  Why tissue?  Tissue for those dark, private moments when you open those letters from publishers or contests knowing it will be yet another “thank you, but...” letter.  Because, even though you’ve heard, “If you haven’t received at least three rejection letters this week, you aren’t trying hard enough,” you still don’t want to add another one to your collection.

Tissues for those moments when you are sitting at your computer, bundled up in blankets with your hot tea or coffee, waiting to die from the Avian Flu you probably caught from that snot-covered kid at the grocery store last week.  But there you sit anyway, writing—and, constantly wiping and blowing your bright red nose, hoping you finish before death comes calling.

And tissues for those scenes that sneak up on you.  The ones that make you ache with anxiety or tremble in fear as if you were your character.  Scenes that make you sob with happiness, blurring the screen as you continue to type.  Scenes, so heart-wrenching they haunt you until finally images explode into words, bringing with them so much relief that tears flow silently as you sit oblivious to the world around you. 

Finally, we need tissues for those moments when all our sacrifice, all our fretting and editing, all our hand cramps and caffeine buzzes come to fruition.  We need tissues because, if we did it just right, our work, our words, our worlds, touch somebody’s soul— making a difference in someone’s life, making someone smile when they are sad, or making someone weep because they are finally understood.  Our writing, can give them the hope that passion and dreams can come true for the "every man".  At the very least, we give someone the escape they need on a rainy day.  This is why writers need tissues.
I write this blog entry in preparation for what I anticipate will be a very difficult weekend for me.  I have been struggling with a key scene in my WIP for over a week now.  It is an uncomfortable scene for me to write for a number of reasons (I can’t get into them all now, it will ruin the book.).  Each time I sit down, I get anxious, my shoulders twist up into knots and I start editing before I even type.  This has created one crabby and frustrated Christine.  Therefore, this weekend, I will need all of the above—especially tissue—because I am not leaving my writing space until the scene is finished!  No matter what!  So someone—PLEASE—bring me a fresh supply of caffeine sometime Sunday morning.  Thank you!!!

Help me out!  Just in case my weekend lock-in doesn't work:  How do you make it through a scene that is difficult (for whatever reason) for you to write?

Stay Groovy,

Christine Benson

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Shiny

Hey Hey!! So forgive me for being gone but I shall explain it in the video.  Expect to see more of them because I am kinda having fun with it.  Any advice is more than welcome so please send it my way.  Oh and if you have any vlog topics you would like covered I would like to hear those as well.  *wink*

Who is that goofy gal in the red hat? Oh...never mind. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New Edition and The Payoff of Taking a Chance

Hello all!! Yes I realize it is Tuesday and we all know I'm not the early type HA.  If you saw recent postings on our twitters you would know we have gained a new member into our ranks.  I had the pleasure of turning her into a zombie more than one time and I can speak from experience that her brain sure is good!  Plus this gal has a fun personality to boot.  I hope you all enjoy hanging out with her as I have.  Without further ado, the awesome Christine Benson!!!!


The Payoff of Taking a Chance

I have always been one to play it safe when it comes to making important decisions. Not
the “What should I do this weekend?” kind of decisions, but big decisions like “What should I be
when I grow up and how much education will I need for that?” For as long as I can remember, I
have been scared of feeling pigeon-holed in a job or career I couldn’t stand or one that leaves me
unable to support my family. (I mean, choosing the wrong path is not a small mistake!)

Choosing a career path costs time and money, and neither are refundable. This is not something
I felt I could afford to screw up. Just out of high school, I thought I might want to go into
nursing. I got a job at a hospital while pursuing my general-ed courses. Thank goodness too,
because about two years in, I saw this 10 year old boy who broke his arm skateboarding. His
arm zigzagged in the most unnatural way and I almost got sick. It was the weirdest thing. After
all I had seen, (blood, guts and mucus) nothing had bothered me yet, but this kid and his twisted
bones had me dropping my entire course load for the next semester.

I had no Plan B, so I enlisted in the Air Force until I could figure out my path in life. My
parents' marriage was falling apart and so were my morals as I quickly approached my 21st
birthday. My hope was the military would finish raising me. And raise me it did, until Plan B
dropped itself right into my heart and I felt an inclination to start a family. Since the military
didn't fit with my new family plan, I sought a medical discharge— I was pregnant— and
pretended I was a real grown up.

The problem was I still had no career. I also didn't like the idea of leaving my baby with
strangers. My extensive babysitting experiences led me to explore working in daycare. After a
few years there, one of the parents said to me, "Why not go to school? Time is going to pass you
by no matter what. Where do you want to be in two years? Here, with everything unchanged
except your age or here with a raise and an associate’s degree in education? No one can take
knowledge away from you."

I thought about the risk involved in picking one degree area. Scary stuff to think about. What
if I tried, spent all that time and money and found out I wasn't smart enough to teach? Then I
realized, I was already teaching. I was teaching at daycare and I was teaching my son. So, I
took the chance; going to school could only make me better. While I was there, I learned a few
things about myself: I am excellent at teaching. Writing brings pure bliss—even papers for
school. And, hey, I like to read this YA stuff. Taking this opportunity is how I found my Plan C
(C for calling). Teaching middle school reading and writing just feels natural.

But I have since learned that taking chances can't apply only to choosing a career path. Taking
chances HAS TO translate into everything you do in life. Every venture that comes your way
has to be honestly explored with self-confidence. That's where you find happiness. That's where

you find the people who are most like you and who will support you.

I am taking a new chance now thanks to those wonderful supporters and a little bit of faith
in myself. I'm taking a chance with my writing. I can be something with it. I can make a
difference. In taking that gamble, I find myself here: a member of the YA Warehouse blog,
sharing my experience with you. Won't you please share with me in return? What is your
journey? What dreams are you deferring?