Going to treat this post more like a journal entry. There are a couple things I want to talk about, but first, let me paint a picture for you.
Imagine an old man, thinning white hair on top, large wire glasses hanging from the bridge of his broad nose. His back is hunched and he walks stiffly. His pants are pulled up to nearly his chest and looks very, very bored. This is the man I see when I walk into my American History class. He is sitting in a chair and staring off into the floor, as if he can see through it. I seat myself in the back of the class thinking: Shit... this class is going to blooooooow...
Once time for class begins, he glances at his watch. First thing he says.
"This is American History. You will need the book 'Survey of American History', if you don't, you have trouble. I am handing out the syllabus (rule sheet, regulations, contact information), if you don't follow it, you have trouble. My name is Professor Sauders, if you don't show me respect, you have trouble. Read the syllabus, know the rules, know we have a book report due March 28th, if you don't know this, you have trouble."
Sauders stands up, and even despite his hunched back, he is actually rather tall. He sets the syllabus aside, and props one arm before him, and the other behind to appear as if he's holding a rifle.
"We are going to talk about Cowboys and Indians. Lots of movies been made out them. Hollywood made lots of money from the subject. Actually, Hollywood does a good job of making money of anything it can get its hands on."
He aims the imaginary rifle throughout the class. One eye closed as if he is aiming through a scope.
"The Winchester, the rifle that changed everything in the days of the white man taking over Indian land. It was the number one cause of the extinction of the Indians. Of course, there was disease, but the white man distributes war and destruction best. The Winchester rifle could fire 14 times faster than any weapon Indians had."
He pretends to adjust the scope, takes aim of one of the students, and fires.
He reloads, aims at another student.
He lowers the rifle and pretends to set it against the wall.
"The Winchester also aided in the destruction of the buffalo, Indians' main food source. They also used it to build tents, weapons, clothing, and so on. So everyone, take out your notebooks, it's time for notes."
This was the beginning of my American History class. After he turned on the overhead, laid a transparent sheet up of notes, he looked at the class, smiled (making him look ten years younger) and said.
"I love teaching American History."
The class was so engaging I was surprised it was over. Point of the story, never judge a book by its cover. :)
Okay, something I wanted to mention: self esteem and writing. I have a friend who writes and is about as pessimistic as it gets. He says his writing sucks, he takes too long, blah blah blah. After a while of constantly hearing how everything is horrible, horrifying, terrible, it just becomes background noise. I am naturally a positive person and a dreamer. So much so that I have even been called "childish" in my positive attitude toward my dreams and goals.
Positive thinking is the number one way to get through life, in my opinion. And if you write, it is essential. When you are confident, happy, and a dreamer, it shows in your writing. It show up in the ambitiousness of your story, the engrossing characters. This is common sense to me, but it surprises me how much I see people who like writing but don't take themselves seriously. They say, "It would be nice to write for a living, but I don't think..." or "It's just a hobby, it's fun, but I doubt anything will ever..." I'm so sick of hearing this kind of mentality, it's why there is such crappy writing out there that is considered good.
Don't let rules bring you down, don't let doubt bring you down, channel that energy into a giddy, anxious belief that the only thing stopping you from doing what you want to do is yourself. If you can understand this concept (which is really simple I assure you), you can do anything. You just have to work toward your dreams. But maybe that's the issue, people don't want to work to get what they desire. But if that is the case, they don't deserve it.
Dream, think positive, establish goals! KT's #writemotivation is the best blessing writers on Twitter can come across. And everyday I meet another writer who doubts what he/she is capable of, it makes me realize how special #writemotivation is, and the goal behind it. Believe in yourself!
Last week was a rather productive session in writing. I was able to wrap up one short story and polish up another to have it sent to a beta reader. It has been looked over several times, so hopefully when I get it back, I'll have very few things to fix. I was able to look over some other material, (Zack! That's you! I'm almost done!) and have enjoyed looking over the material as well.
Taking a break from my novel has been nice. Working on short stories has allowed me to grasp a concept that isn't as grand and huge and help focus on a simpler story. Funny thing is, now that I'm working a smaller story, I have a better understand of how things are put together and how it should be organized. I'm also better at keeping character personality in order. Sometimes, when I work on a large project like a novel, it's easy for me to keep the roots of my character's emotions the same because my emotions have changed since I started writing the story. Plus, there are all the subplots to put into a story, so it makes it easy for me to lose track of how a character behaves throughout.
Yesterday, I was able to get some more notes written down on my old sci-fi novel Crystal Depths. It will be a while before I dive into it. While I continue to jump back and forth between short stories and novel, I won't start a new project until I get these others old projects out of the way. I figure since I'm playing around with understanding story, characters, sub plot, subject matter, etc. It would be a good idea for me to embrace a broader story in Crystal Depths, before diving into my massive trilogy concept. I want to work my way up before diving into it. I'm kind of focusing my trilogy as a bit of a life project. Sounds kinda cheesy, but I want to make sure I do it right.
Crystal Depths so far is everything House in the Hills isn't. There are tons of characters, the subject matter is completely different, there are passages from each character in the story, it's much more fact based (like Michael Crichton) and nearly twice the length. However, with the notes I wrote up yesterday, it will be a little more psychic and perhaps a little more fantasy-like.
That's the 411!
#Writemotivation to all!!