Writing can be playful, spiritual, and thrilling. It can also be grueling, depressing, and impossible. When the writing flows like a clear stream it’s easy to think you’ll sail along forever. But when the writing hits a wall, like water stopped by a boulder, you believe you’ll never be a writer and there’s no point in trying. My advice is to ignore both of these thoughts.
When it feels easy, challenge yourself and see how you can improve your craft. When it feels like you’re banging your head against that rock, you also need to improve your craft. Both the smooth sailing and the rock are a signal that you can learn more.
So learn more about writing. Learn something every day, but remember the most important rule when writing:
If writing seems like that immovable rock, jump over the problem spot and keep going. If you can’t do that then back up to a previous point and go in a different direction, like a tributary on a river. If you put words on the page you’ll eventually erode that boulder. Your writing is water, it only moves forward when you add more and more.
October 19 was my 42nd birthday and I planned to set some new goals for myself. I make New Year’s goals also, but it is fun to make a birthday goal. What am I going to accomplish before I turn 43? Usually my list is long, but this year it seems rather boring. Lose weight, write more, improve finances. None of those light a spark in me. They seem more like chores than goals. I need some inspiration.
And I found some!
Aunt Patti gave me a wonderful book for my birthday, One Little Spark! by Marty Sklar. The subtitle of this book is “Mickey’s Ten Commandments and The road to Imagineering.” I can’t wait to read this book. It should provide a ton of motivation and inspiration.
So my first goal is to finish the book this week. I’ll then post my discoveries next weekend. And I’ll continue to lose weight (10 pounds down), write more (chapter 4 of Storymorph done today), and improve finances (work in progress).
One Little Spark
Is at the heart
Of all creation
Right at the start of everything that's new
One little spark
Lights up for you
One Little Spark
Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman
I love October. It contains both my birthday and Halloween. It’s also a beautiful time of year when fall arrives, but you can still enjoy being outside and seeing nature’s splendor (unless you are dealing with tropical storms.) And did I mention it has by favorite holiday in it? (No, I don’t mean my birthday.) I love Halloween. It is a spooky holiday that anyone can celebrate because it can be as scary as you want it to be. I like my spooky on the light side, but filled with pumpkins, ghosts, and flying witches. Plus it has a fun history (but that’s another post.)
Since it is my birthday month I always feel the need to improve myself, so I have started a few challenges.
I am do a mini running streak. In 2012, I did a year-long running streak, meaning I ran everyday for 366 days. I like the idea of streaking, but I find I run more when the streak is shorter. I was afraid of hurting myself during my year-long streak so I only did a mile most days. I decided to earn the Run the Edge 50 mile buckle, so I am running at least 2 miles every day in October. I am eager to run each day because I know that I can stop on November 1. If Runner’s World does their winter streak challenge again from Thanksgiving to New Year’s I’ll probably do that, too. For now my challenge is at least two miles every day in October.
I like doing online challenges and Robert Lee Brewer, who writes for Writer’s Digest, is organizing a month-long Platform Challenge that I have joined. I have learned a lot and it is only day four. Day three’s challenge was to create a blog. I already have a blog, but I have not added any posts recently so this is my post for day three of the challenge. I did a Robert’s social media challenge several years ago and found it helped a lot, so I look forward to completing this challenge.
I have started a fun story project. I don’t want to say to much about it here since I am not releasing it into the world until December, but I am writing a lot and bringing it to one of my critique groups. However, I want to keep track of how much I write and when I write. I’d like to write every day but I don’t seem to do that, so I want to have a weekly goal. My goal would be five thousand words a week. So far I am on track.
My last challenge is a Halloween challenge. I made a list of thirty-one fun Halloween and autumn things to do. Some of them are short, like read a Halloween poem. Others are longer, like create a new costume. I tried to do something like this before because I like Halloween, but I forgot about my list. This time I added it to the charts I created to keep track of my challenges so I won’t forget.
So there are my challenges for October. As I said above, I have created a spreadsheet to record my daily progress. I think these challenges will make my favorite month that much more memorable. November is Nanowrimo, so I need to get all the fun I can get in October before I sink into a new writing project.
May Jack-o-lanterns burning bright
Of soft and golden hue
Pierce through the future’s veil and show
What fate now holds for you.
I admit that I am not great at learning languages. I have added it up and it seems I have taken eight years of Spanish. However, the only Spanish I remember is what I learned from Sesame Street when I was three. Since then I have given up. If I ever travel to countries that don’t speak English I’ll go with an interpreter. I don’t see the point in trying to learn something that I will never figure out. My father had a sign in his office that read, “Never teach a pig to sing, It will just frustrate you and annoy the pig.” Exactly.
But hope springs eternal so I am learning a new language. There is something different about this language though, which is why I think I might succeed this time. This language is not spoken or heard, it is only written in logical and distinct patterns. I’m pretty good at writing and I can understand logic and patterns so I am giving it a try. What is this language I am learning? Html and css. The language of the internet.
There are actually lots of computer languages but I am starting at the beginning. I found a website called codecademy.com. It is a free program that walks you through learning html. There are exercises to reinforce what you learn and badges to reward your efforts. I have actually learned quite a bit in the three days I have been taking lessons. It looks promising.
Why do I want to learn html and css? Because I have ideas for my websites and I can’t seem to figure out how to create them. I want more than what the template provides. By learning html and css I can improve what I send out on the internet and perhaps even help other people do the same. There are lots of web designers out there but I don’t know any so maybe I could help my circle of friends. If nothing else I will be one step closer to using a 3d printer (a huge dream of mine.)
Whenever I take a class I feel like my brain is going to explode. It feels good to expand my knowledge, especially in an area I feel totally clueless about. So stay tuned. Perhaps I’ll become the next Bill Gates. No, probably not.
There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary numerals, and those who don’t.” ― Ian Stewart, Professor Stewart’s Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities