thoughts

(no more) WASTED TIME

Sometimes the hourglass of time feels even more oppressive than normal…

This is going to be a little bit of a “venting” post, because I want to admit something to you guys. It’s not going to be Earth-shattering or panic-inducing, but it is something that you can probably relate to.

So here we go: Do you ever feel like you blink, three months have whipped by, and you’ve wasted a HUGE chunk of time?

Yup.

Okay, I want to clarify: I do not feel as if I have completely wasted the past three months. I am a full-time college student, student pilot (LOL, one of these days I will finally have my license), and writer. On the social side, I hang out with a bunch of roaches (I promise, this is an endearing term) 24/7 and try not to pull out my hair due to the infuriating ways of other twentysomethings. But these things make me so happy, and I love flying and my ridiculous friends.

That being said, there is a continent of me that has been underwater for the past few months. This part of me is like Atlantis waiting to be rediscovered, and I’m sick of drowning in something I’ve caused for myself.

I’ve been writing less and less these past few months, and I can attribute it to multiple things. I knew that I wouldn’t be writing as much this semester, which contributed to my goal of finishing five novels over the summer, but I did not realize it would be this bad.

In the past three months, I have started three novels, left all of them in the dust, and waited for magic to pull me up from the bottom of the ocean. However, that’s not how writing works. I truly believe good writing comes from stretching the writing muscle, and I’ve been atrophied for quite some time.

It’s not that I don’t have material, because being away from home gives me tons of material, as you can imagine. It’s not that I don’t have the time, though my California life does get tiring. It’s not that I don’t want to do it, because writing makes me happiest (although it’s getting closer and closer to a tie with flying).

So what have I been doing to myself? Isn’t it true that if you love something, you’ll do anything to be doing it? What’s wrong with me?

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Santiago, Chile (November 2017) I am happiest when I write. I also like being a weirdo in Chilean planetariums.

CAUSES

School

Unfortunately, I do have to go to school, and this takes up considerable chunks of time. A bonus fact: I am in a creative writing class that claims the time I could use to write what I want to write, which feels pretty counterproductive.

Friends

I love my friends to death, but it is a constant battle between wanting to hang out and be with them versus taking time for myself (AKA writing). This semester I have been pretty bad at remembering to swallow my introverted pill and catch a few hours to write and recover.

With any sort of social group, there are going to be things that take up headspace, and I can pinpoint certain components of this to the reasons why I haven’t had the right mentality to write. 😉

Flying

This is the only school that matters to me right now. I am in full-blown study mode and since this is going to be my future career path, I know I need to focus more on this part of my life now. Therefore, some of my writing time will be snatched up by flying, but that’s okay. I just have to reorganize my priorities.

What do I want to write?

The three attempts I’ve made over the three months have been varied: There is a psychological thriller, Southern Gothic drama, and cheesy romance. I think I’m struggling with what I want to write, because I’m not a genre-specific writer.

My mind has been elsewhere

You’ve got to be in the game to write, and even more committed if you want to write well. With normal life comes normal struggles, including bouts of stress and exhaustion, and this affects writing as well.


SOLUTIONS

Clear that headspace

What does this mean, you may be asking? Well, for me, it means getting the heck out of dodge. When I’m feeling suffocated, I grab my keys and hop in the car. A nice drive cleanses my mind, especially when I’ve got the windows down and the music on full-blast. Other methods include a nice jog or hike, a heart to heart with a friend, or brainstorming a story at a coffee shop.

Take time for myself

All right. We all know that there are extraverts (those who feed off social interaction) and introverts (those who need time to recover after a social experience) in society. There are even people who are ambiverts, a blend of both extraverts and introverts.

I used to be very introverted, got more extraverted in college, and now consider myself to be an ambivert. There are moments I live off social interaction, but moments when I desperately need to be by myself.

The cure is normally writing. But these past few months, my cure has been missing, and therefore I’ve felt really strange as a result.

You have to take time for yourself, no matter where you are in life or who you are. When it comes down to it, we all have to live with, you guessed it, ourselves. It feels good sometimes to take a breath and a moment for yourself.

In these moments, when I stop and let my mind ramble on and on, I gain some of my best plot ideas.

Force myself to do it

Daily quota, where you at? If you’ve read some of my earlier writing posts, you know I am infatuated with the concept of the daily quota, in which a writer commits him or herself to a set word limit per day. It is a great way to rehearse the art of writing, even if you have no idea what you want to write about.

While this worked for me in years past, it has been missing in my way of life for the past three months, so it’s time to reestablish THE DAILY QUOTA!

Cut out negative energy

Negative, convert to positive. Those terrible feelings that are bringing you down need to be cut out, and there are multiple ways to do this. Prayer works. Eliminating bad influences works. Trying new things works. It just depends on who you are and how you handle situations, and you know the toxic aspects of your life.

Why have those toxic aspects when they only cause more problems in the long run? I know what mine is, and I’m going to try my hardest to rid myself of its influence.


NO MORE.

 

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A winery near Salta, Argentina (October 2017) Describes how I feel when I cannot write. 😉

There has got to be a “stake in the ground moment” in which you are the one who knows what is happening versus what should be happening. This comes into all facets of life, whether that be with writing or relationships or choosing to cut out a Diet Coke addiction (yeah, right).

Therefore, I’m going to say, “No more,” to not writing. I’m going to scream it from a mountaintop if I have to, because my happiness is improved ten-fold when I’m working on a project.

Now let’s connect this to your life. What is the thing that you’ve been neglecting? Maybe it’s a person you haven’t been talking to. Maybe it’s a hobby you’ve forgotten. I’m sure if you think super hard you’ll be able to think of something. My request for you all is to think of this thing and work your hardest to mend the situation. You’ll know the solution if you can identify the problem.

Until next time,

-K.

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Nevada/California Border (August 2016) Describes how I feel when I’m writing. What a dork!

 

writing

WRITER’S BLOCK

Hi, readers… Today we’re going to dive into a topic that I’m sure the majority of you can’t stand. It’s a writer’s worst enemy and something that will inevitably affect all of us at some point. What is this terrible, nasty thing?

Writer’s block.

When I was first starting out in the world of writing, I didn’t believe in writer’s block. At first writing always came so naturally, so easily, and I couldn’t possibly understand how some couldn’t just flesh out their ideas on the page (or Word document).

Fast forward to now, and I’m sad to say the story has changed. I’m a believer now.

Therefore, I’d like to do a little research into this curious phenomenon and learn more tips to combat it.


CAUSES

Some writers are magically inspired by the dazzling world around them, and that is amazing. If you can write, no problem at all, then be blessed by your gift. Like I said earlier, I never had writer’s block when I first started writing, but things shifted a bit.

In my case, I’m pretty sure that writer’s block stems from two definite sources: Location and Fatigue. Where I am in the world at a specific point in time tremendously affects the tone and subject matter of what I choose to write, which I assume can be the same situation for you guys. Fatigue, therefore, is the lack of creative inspiration that drives us writers.

Whenever I am at college, my writing declines exponentially. I find excuses not to sit down and work on books, because I have other “commitments” that distract from what really matters (like writing). Writing has always been something that is central to who I am, and when I am not writing, I don’t feel like myself. Therefore, there is a juxtaposition between doing what makes you happy and trying to find space to let your creative thoughts take root.

Though I’d say location and fatigue are the top two causes for me, here are some more possible causes:

  • Anxiety
  • Motivation problems
  • ADHD
  • Medications
  • Sleep problems (insomnia, etc.)
  • Stress

Source: https://mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/10/04/writers-block-causes-symptoms-cures-overcoming-it/


SYMPTOMS

There are many symptoms of writer’s block, more so than just the inability to write or create more material. For me, some things that stand out are: Sluggishness, Moodiness, and an Inability to Focus. 

Sluggishness is the aspect of writer’s block that really bothers me. Normally, I am a very motivated and goal-oriented person, and when I cannot complete my daily quota (the amount of words I write per day), I get very moody. People who know me can attest to how I am when I am not working on a book, because writing is what I love most, and if I can’t write, what’s the point? Another core symptom of my writer’s block is the inability to focus. I grow distracted, bored, and waste so much time on pointless things that have no tangible benefit.

For example, I have been at college for two months now, and it hit me last week that I have effectively wasted these two months, and with what to gain? (Besides LNCs and an amazing roommate relationship.) I have written close to nothing, but sure, I’ve spent time playing around with no end game in sight. That’s pretty frustrating, but luckily it’s something I am correcting at this point in time.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Brain fog
  • Drawing a blank
  • Frustration
  • Stress

Source: https://mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/10/04/writers-block-causes-symptoms-cures-overcoming-it/


CURES

The good thing is that writer’s block is ultimately treatable, depending on the writer. You have to want to fix the problem in order to get rid of it, and since this affects different people in different ways, I’m certain that there are different cures for everyone.

I’ve found the best cure is to release yourself from the daily grind. When I know I need to write, I escape to a local coffee shop where there’s no one I know. And though it is extremely difficult, I make myself write. If it takes thirty minutes to get me started, then so be it. You’ve got to force yourself to write to combat this problem, and that’s the truth. The number one step to fighting writer’s block is to force yourself to write. 

Here are some other common cures, according to the wonderful internet:

  • Brainstorm
  • Get rid of distractions (people, phone, whatever your kryptonite is)
  • Read
  • Research
  • Use your own voice (instead of a specific character)

So, take that, writer’s block.

It’s a learning process, that’s for sure, but if you’re committed to your writing, you can defeat it too.

Until next time,

-K.

P.S. I am working on a new book now. More to update you guys on very soon. 🙂