December 11, 2017

Arthur is Proud of Me

Hey. Hi. Remember me? The girl who said in a previous post that she was struggling with motivation for writing? Well, I have an announcement. That said motivation is apparently an elusive little ghost that comes and goes, because I have exciting news.

I finished another story!!!!
Arthur is so proud

Neven's Backstory is/was a highly secret story all about the villain from my fairy tale retelling of Princess and the Pea. Originally, this project started out as simply a small story for my own benefit, so that I understood my villain's past. From there it became a novella backstory that I thought I might publish someday....now it's a full fledged novel of 51 thousand-some words, and I definitely plan on publishing it one day along with Princess and the Pea, because this novel now has so much to do with my entire fairy-tale retelling world. :P
this is Neven looking upset and dirty
It's definitely the saddest, darkest story I've ever written. It's about my villain, after all. The problem is, I've come to love this villain and his story so much. He didn't begin as a villain. But Things Happen that change him, change him so much his own family no longer knows him. But the thing is, everything he did was for them.
Arthur can't handle the feels any better than I can

I love Neven and feel so sorry for all the cruel things I've done to him that happen to him in his story. So much so that I've considered changing a lot of the Horrid Things That Happen in His Life. Or at least making him live longer than originally planned (*cough*)....but I can't talk too much about this or I'll give away secrets. Just....be prepared that if you ever read Neven's Backstory you may hate me forever because of his tragic past.

(I DON'T LIKE INFLICTING PAIN, OKAY?)

(I really don't.)

(I just force myself to do it because without pain there's no gain there's no story.)

but it's really hard #authorsarepeopletoo

Anyways, I better stop talking before I start giving away all the secrets of my books and the series I have planned for my fairy-tale world. (Yes, it's become a series....hahahaha.....a long series.....a series that will probably involve the next 25 years of my life. #doomed)

So, to sum up, I've finished writing another novel. (!!!) Don't expect to hear much more about it though. *secretive author laugh* Now that it's completed, I hope to refocus my attentions on Princess and the Pea. Eeek! I'm excited. I've missed that story too much. :')

And now I'm going to watch my favorite Christmas movie, Eloise at Christmastime in celebration. 

(And yes, I need to talk about Christmas soon BECAUSE I'M EXCITED ARE YOU?)

November 29, 2017

Your Characters Are Important



I quit NaNoWriMo. 

*Accepts condolences* But don't feel too bad for me. :) I haven't thought about it much at all, and when I do, I feel surprisingly okay about it. And besides—I did manage to get 20,000 words down for my Snow White retelling. That's something.

I admit I have been a little curious as to why I suddenly felt so unmotivated for my story. After all, the I won NaNo last year and completed Camp NaNo this spring, too! I think there was actually more than one reason that my NaNo was unsuccessful this year, but I want to talk about one specific thing, something I'm sure we ALL struggle with.

I'm going to call it "writer's comparison".

Let me illustrate. 'Hem. Once Upon a Time, you may stumble across a brilliant story idea. You think about this idea constantly, you spin out a plot, dream cast your characters and save any picture that reminds you even remotely of your story. All's going well, you're about ready to write and then....

And then it happens. Those glorious daydreams just won't translate themselves to the page, and you're left wondering if your story wasn't all that great after all. Your characters won't DO what you thought they would. They're boring and unoriginal and-and-and why is it your brain has only three phrases for describing character actions: "he looked up" "he smiled" "he looked away" ??!



But, faithful to your original love, you try to plod along with your story.

Until that day.

Unsuspecting of your impending doom, you settle down to watch a new movie or read a new book. You fall utterly in love with it. Something about the characters, or the plot, or the dialogue just speak to your soul. 

Then you sit down to write and find that........... you can't.

 You can't even write those stupid little phrases you find yourself overusing. You can't because....you don't care. You feel no interest in your precious story. No love. No excitement.


Nothing.

Why is this? Well, I'll tell you. Because writer's comparison is the thief of joy has left you feeling that your own story is utter trash and nothing you can do will make it as good as the story you just fell in love with.

You'll now have to retreat to the woods and abandon your plans of becoming a published author because it's hopeless at this point. You're lost forever. Bye-bye.

probably Arthur's actually reaction

*end example story*
(but stick around for the happy ending)

Yup, that's what happened to me this NaNo. It's happened before, to be honest. And I'm QUITE certain it will happen again. 

You see, my brother and I have been slowly watching all the Marvel movies and in the middle of November we finally watched Captain America: Civil War*, which was SO AMAZING WHAT EVEN (hopefully I can share some of my thoughts in a different post someday:)). Not only did it break my heart and crush my soul and leave me hopelessly in love with Bucky Barnes, it left me with very little writing inspiration because....

(say it with me)


WRITER'S COMPARISON


I can't help but compare my characters to the characters of CACW. Steve Rogers. Bucky Barnes. Tony Stark. Natasha Romanoff, Clint Barton,Wanda Maximoff, Sam Wilson, Peter Parker, and the list goes on and on and on.

Those characters are FUN and inspiring and really precious to me. They've made me cry, laugh, and just plain happy. They're like a group of new best friends and I love them all so much.



So, when I sit down with my own characters, I can't help but compare them to the Avengers. 
And I then have no motivation to write, because my characters feel stupid and boring compared to the Avengers. 

And so I hide from my characters, and quit NaNoWriMo.

forgive me, Arthur, I've disappointed you

It's really disappointing how bad your own story feels after reading or watching a really good one. 
At least, that's what happens in my experience. Rather than inspire me to better my writing, I feel like I'll never love my stories the way I love Captain America: Civil War. Or Lord of the Rings. Anne of Green Gables. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

THE COMPARISON POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS, FRIENDS.





But today, while taking my dogs for a walk, a thought struck me. Or, more to the point, a phrase.

My characters are important. 

If Captain America inspires me, who's to say Arthur* may not inspire someone else?
If Bucky Barnes can break my heart who's to say Neven* might not break someone else's? 
If Tony Stark makes me laugh, who's to say Henry* may not make someone else laugh as well?

I never quite thought of it this way before.


*Neven, Arthur, and Jacob are all characters from my retelling of Princess and the Pea, set to be published someday before I die, here's hoping.


Even if I do "fall out of love" with my own characters sometimes, well, that's okay. They're still my characters, and I'm in this for the long run with them. It's what we writers sign up for when we put pen to paper.

Even if I my characters never impact me the way Captain America or Frodo Baggins or Elinor Dashwood do, that's okay.*

Because my characters may impact someone else.

*For the record, I'm not saying my characters haven't  impacted me. Because they have. But sometimes it's easy to forget that, I think.


I read a quote once that said something like, 
"Remember. You're writing someone's future favorite character."

Think about that. 

All of my favorite characters—characters who encourage me, inspire me, and keep me hopeful—were all once just ideas in someone's head.

Just like the characters in your head—and mine—are now.

Your characters are important. Don't ever give up on them.
Because someday...they may inspire someone else not to give up, too.
^ So moving. Hopefully the world never has another Holocaust and the genocides stop.
this is beautiful <3

So, the moral to this story? Don't give up. Those spells of writer's block or low-inspiration moments will pass.

And as for me, I may have failed NaNo, but that doesn't mean I've failed my characters. I'm going to keep helping them along in their story. Because someday, I want you all to meet them and feel as inspired by them as I will be by your characters.

Keep writing, writers. 

November 17, 2017

Contentment vs.Gratitude

Inspirational And Motivational Quotes - Big Gallery

*Sigh*. Where do I even start?

I've been wanting to write a post ever since the beginning of November, and I have several ideas lined up that I'm rather excited about. But the time hasn't felt right for any of them and the words simply weren't coming for what I've been feeling lately—until now.

Some of you may recall that I mentioned struggling with contentment in my last post. I also mentioned the possibility of writing a more in-depth post about my struggle, and while this post isn't it, it's very much related to the topic.

Guys. I've been struggling so hard lately.

Thank God for His strength and the friends and family He's blessed me with because I'd be a mess (well, a bigger mess ;)) without these things.

The thing that has been causing me so much anxiety lately (actually ever since I graduated, to varying degrees) has simply been the future, I guess. Namely, what am I doing with my future?

Before I graduated high school, I decided I wasn't going to college. I knew that I ultimately wanted to be a stay at home wife and mother someday (Lord willing and if Steve Rogers is a real person because otherwise I don't know who I'm going to marry) (kidding...kind of :P) and that all my other interests were all things I could essentially teach myself at home. I dreamed about starting a home-based photography business and being an author and essentially being a rebel who doesn't conform to the pattern this world sets. I didn't want to go to college when I graduated, and my parents were fine with that. So I didn't go.


Fast forward little over a year later and I'm still not at college, but I'm feeling more desperate for a purpose. And yes, my purpose is to serve and glorify my Savior. I know that ultimately I should have no bigger goal in life than that.

But there are moments I forget that. And even when I don't, I still want a physical, tangible purpose in life. I like goals. Goals give me motivation and excitement and A REASON FOR GETTING UP EVERY MORNING.

Currently if anyone asked me what my goals were, I'd say they are to publish my books. And that is a dream still very near and dear to my heart. I still want to be an author. And I've written 20k words this month for NaNo, so hey, I'm not giving up yet. But even that has lately been...dissatisfying.

I think that dissatisfaction has more to do with my heart and the fears and worries it holds than anything else.


Worrying over what people think of me is one of my biggest weaknesses. I hate that about myself. God has helped me grow in this area so much over the past few years, but lately it's been cropping up again whenever people ask me what I'm doing.

Am I going to college? No. Do I have a job? No. (Though I have applied to a bunch of different places, just sayin'.) Well, what are you doing with your life?

When I tell them that I'm living at home and working towards being a self-published author* I feel like they think I'm lazy or unambitious or just plain stupid for "wasting my life".

Or maybe it's just me that feels that way and other people couldn't care less what I do with my life. *cringe*

*among other things. Every day is vastly different. Today I helped my brother with algebra, cleaned a rug that one of our dogs got dirty, learned two chords on the guitar, watched the rest of Emma 1997 with my mom (and had tea of course), washed dinner dishes, exercised, etc. etc.

So many people tell me I don't need to feel this way. I've talked about some of this with a few friends and they all tell me the same thing. That they understand/can relate and that it doesn't matter what I do as long as I'm following God. He has a purpose for me. (And thank you all for the many times you've said that to me; you don't know how encouraging it is every. single. time. ♥ Y'll are awesome!!!)
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My parents tell me that I shouldn't think that getting a part-time job or going to college automatically makes me responsible. They would support me if I want to do those things, but they keep telling me that my presence and help is so appreciated here at home. (Maybe I should just start listening to them?? My parents are always right anyways. :P) (Love you, Daddy and Mommy. ♥)

Tonight I watched two videos (who says youtube isn't helpful? haha) from two of my favorite youtubers and their videos hit me so hard.

First...


What even. Look at how joyful these people are. And look at their day to day living conditions.

And then there's me, a typical spoiled American.

Ummm. What the heck am I complaining about?

I really needed this reminder of how awful other people's lives are, and how blessed I am. 

I spend so much time feeling down about the 1%  of what I don't like about my life, when literally 99% percent of it is pretty perfect.

Instead of worrying what people think of me for not going to college or having a job I should be grateful those are even options for me. I should be grateful that I have the choice to go or not go to college. Grateful to have the opportunity to apply to jobs in my area. 
Grateful for every single thing God has blessed me with

I need to stop complaining about what I don't have figured out about my life and start being grateful for what I do.

God has given me life; and He's given me a good life. Therefore I should be nothing but grateful.

Second...

I know I shared one of her videos in my last post, but her videos have been so encouraging to me lately. So many of them are exactly what I needed to hear.

This one was no exception. I'm going to be seeing extended family soon for Thanksgiving, and I always worry about
a) How can I present Christ's love and His gospel to them?
b) Oh no they're going to ask me what I'm doing with my life helpppppppp

Unfortunately I probably put the latter above the former too often. 

Not only was this video encouraging and eye-opening, it also was convicting. From about 10:52 to 12:40 (although I really recommend watching the whole video if you have time PLEASE it's so good) she mentions how our witness can be helped by being open and vulnerable about our imperfections--and joyful because it is from Christ that we gain confidence and strength.

Not ourselves.
"I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?"  -- C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces.
This especially spoke to me:
"...[when people can see] that you're okay with not having the perfect presentation, and understanding that your life is more of a witness and a testimony than a presentation you can put on....that's intriguing."

Ouch. Friends, this is so me. I want so much to put forward a good "presentation" of myself—to make myself look good. To make it look like I have it all together "just like everyone else."

But I don't have it all together....and you know what? Neither does a lot of people, I think.

So often I forget that and think I'm the only one with insecurities and doubts and fears about life.

When really...I should be happy to have these struggles.
Because maybe Jesus can use me to encourage others with similar struggles.


And would not even one soul guided toward Christ be worth any amount of struggle here on earth?


There's so much more I could talk about, but it's late and I should probably just publish this before I chicken out. ;) I rarely share posts this personal...but throughout my four years of blogging, you all have been such encouraging friends that I feel like I'd be lying if I didn't share some of the more personal things on my heart sometimes. If any of you read this whole post let me give you a *hug* and a "thank you" and "CONGRATULATIONS." I wouldn't blame you if you skimmed. :P

This Thanksgiving, I want to focus more on being grateful and not worry so much about being content.

This Thanksgiving, I want to admit that I'm far from perfect—but I know One who is.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me.
Psalm 13:5-6

___

Are any of you going through similar struggles?
What has reminded you to be grateful lately?