Aha Moments

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Life, I think, is peppered with aha or light bulb moments. Picture it, you’re busy doing something, frustrated that it won’t work correctly or that you’re doing the same thing over and over and suddenly you realise why it isn’t working. Enter the aha moment. It could be you’re missing one small vital step, or you are repeating things you shouldn’t. It could be a change in thought pattern, who knows, but something has made you stop and think and approach a situation differently than you did before.

I quite like these moments, I think they are awesome. I have no idea what is going on in my mind to make them, but I do know that they are usually born out of frustration at something. But there are also times when I’m thinking about things in general and it will happen randomly. Or I’m chatting with someone and they will say something that really resonates with me, something that makes my soul hum and I’m like, well damn, that was well said! The last time that happened was when a bunch of my friends and I were talking about life/work balance. One of them said that it was better to go with the flow than to try and balance it all because you are forever trying to juggle otherwise. That definitely hit home.

I also have these aha moments with my stories. I think a lot of creative people do, only this time it’s called a break through or they’ve got past the writer’s block they had going on. Life wouldn’t be possible without them and I certainly think they make it more interesting. They are also a key component to my stories, those moments when my characters suddenly realise something and the story then progresses. What about you, what do you think about these type of moments?

Let me know in the comments and happy creating 🙂

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Comparing and Showing Up

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I was having a bit of a down day when the idea for this post was born. I was soaking in the bath, wondering what to write about and thinking about my writing success compared to other peoples. Basically I was feeling like I was getting nowhere fast and feeling massively sorry for myself about it. At 32 years of age you would think I would have stopped comparing myself to others, it rarely does me any good. But I did and I will do it again despite my best efforts not to.

It is something I think we are taught to do early in life though. Parents at the school gate compare their children and kids hear that. Most of the time it is not intended to be harmful or arrogant, it’s a way to measure where your kid stands in their peer group, gauging if they need help. And so, as a child you learn it is a way of seeing where you’re at in life. Sometimes it can be motivating, spurring you on to do better, other times it makes you feel horrible and you wonder why you bother. I was at that last point when this blog post was born.

The thought that got me going was that I have no real idea what is going on in the lives of the people I was comparing myself to. I only see the highlights of their career on social media, just like they only see mine (except for this blog, I’m painfully honest on here. Sorry). Also, they may have a successful blog or Facebook page, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to get published soon. Realistically it will help, but it is not an absolute. And in all honesty I wish them all the success in the world, I just wasn’t feeling very successful myself at that point.

So I figured I would write a post about comparing yourself to others and it not really being that helpful. But then I read a blog post about 10 traits of professional authors. If you want to read it click here. One of the traits talked about treating writing like a business and that just like an employee, if you don’t show up you don’t get paid. To my dawning horror I realised I wasn’t ‘showing up’ consistently. No wonder I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere, I’m constantly stopping and starting again and that’s just exhausting.

I do have a daily writing habit, but the trouble is I chop and change what project I focus on. End result being that I’m part way through editing one, first draft of another, have another first draft laying around and have several rough ideas jotted down. Some people find this perfectly manageable, I am not one of them. I find that I’m getting tired keeping up with my projects and consequently not giving them my full attention.

Upshot of this is that I’m going to schedule my days and focus on what I’m doing, not other people. Monday is blog and social media, Tuesday first draft, Wednesday editing, Thursday first draft and Friday whatever needs to be focused on. Weekend is for family. I’m still finding my rhythm with this. Writing as a career was a dream as a child, but reality is harder. But I’m determined and also, I love it. Yeah it has its moments, but in all honesty I wouldn’t stop. Also, comparing yourself to others sucks. Try not to do it. Happy creating everyone!

Be Careful What you Say

At some point in your life, unless you have been hiding from everyone, someone will say something that hurts you or offends you. Whether they meant for that to happen or not doesn’t matter. As a writer and reader I understand the power of words and I tend to be careful with them. Even so I realised this past week that there are times I use them without thinking.

One such occasion was when I was walking with my children and a friend of theirs along the beach. I called out for them to walk around the fishermen, worried about them getting tangled in the lines. As we went past I realised that one of the people fishing was a woman and I had just effectively called her a man. She didn’t pay me the least bit of attention, more than likely completely oblivious to what I had said. But I was not. I wondered whether I should have said fisher-people but that sounded odd to me and it got me thinking about other such instances.

One of my daughters wants to be a firefighter when she grows up (last I heard anyway). She happened to say fireman when she was talking about it and one of my sons said she couldn’t because she was a girl. Well, that was the wrong thing to say! My other children came to her defense and my poor son stammered out that what he meant was the fact that she had said fireman and she is not a man so she would be a firewoman. At this point I stepped in and suggested we use the word firefighter to avoid any further arguing.

Now this is not to say that I think everything should be politically correct, but I do think we need to be careful with the underlying message we are giving our young people. And this comes back to being conscious with what the words we are saying actually mean. When writing I pick the word that will give the best impact for what I’m trying to convey. Why should what I’m saying be any different? Yes I can take my time with writing and go back and change things if I like, clearly you can’t do that when talking. But what you can do is slow down slightly and consider what is coming out of your mouth. Try it and see what happens.

Have a great week everyone and happy creating 🙂

 

Judge A Book By Its Cover

Considering I love to read, the cover of a book isn’t something I have thought a lot about. But I came across a statistic this week stating that 70% of readers say the cover is important and it got me thinking about it. And I realised that on a subconscious level, the cover of a book is actually very important to me.

It is the first thing you see when looking at a novel and if done right, the cover gives you a fairly good indication of what the story is going to be about. It also starts drawing you in and getting you invested in the novel. This includes the title, a good title is attention grabbing and intriguing all on its own.

This made things interesting when I went on a ‘blind date’ at my local library last month. The librarians had wrapped a number of books in brown paper and written the genre on the front with a quote or a brief description of what the book was about. They then invited you to pick one as a ‘blind date’. I ended up with two books I would have never have picked otherwise. One was a non-fiction and the other a Jane Austen novel. The non-fiction I’m slowly getting through, the Austen one I’m tackling this weekend. I’m excited as it’s outside what I normally read these days and I think this is good for me. I had become very comfortable with what I read and know what to expect, these I don’t and that is a good thing.

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The blind dates my daughter and I picked from our local library

Book covers are pretty and are often a piece of art in their own right. But sometimes it pays to ignore them and simply focus on the words. That is where the story is after all.

Happy creating everyone!