Reverb & Writing

In my last post I talked about Reverb10 and my attempts to use prompts to get back into writing and reflecting. It turns out Reverb was basically made for that purpose (though I initially thought it was for beginning a new year). It’s for endings and beginnings, bridging gaps between months.

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

Today I wrote open your heart even if it has hairline fractures.

This year writing was forgotten to burn out, fatigue, homework and busyness. I’m currently procrastinating working on finishing a research paper on Young Adult Public Library Services in order to bring this post to you. I’m full of Curried Squash Soup and too sweet words through Facebook chat. I couldn’t finish NaNoWriMo this November because of mental blocks, my own lack of preparedness and hitting that proverbial wall that made it so I just couldn’t. (That wall is also what I hit earlier when I was attempting to paste quotes into my paper and write around them in ways that make me sound intelligent. That’s why the break for soup and more -different- words became important).

24,000 words of story, new story and emotional word vomit. I told my boyfriend I was writing the story of my life, and what it turned into was 6,000 words of my own destruction, liking biting my tongue to prevent emotion from spilling out while I was sitting in a public restaurant borrowing wi-fi and doing so much eating. I wanted to keep going with that emotional word vomit, the story of my life. To find the catharsis that makes writing worth it, important, a way through. And yet I stopped midway through. But that story isn’t over. I’m still here weaving between working and writing and reading and the everything else. So for now Reverb is my word-vomit. December is, apparently, the month of words.

Instead of writing I play mindless iPhone games, opt to sleep more, lay around zoned out, go shopping, stuff my face with extra calories and complain about pointless things.

I constantly come to the conclusion that I need to write. NEED. To. write.
And yet.

And yet I need to create time and space for thoughts, allow imagination to exist without my every day. Be inspired. Love.

What’s keeping you from writing? Or doing whatever it is that you NEED to do?

Melanie Kristy


You can read other Reverb journeys from a few of my writer friends, too.



National Novel Writing Month: How To Fail


Do not show up
Do not sign up
Do not write
Speak out against it
Draw circles and flowers instead
Give up before you start
Chew, swallow and digest blank paper

To fail you can not try.
If you try, even if you don’t win, you aren’t a failed or a quitter.

You are a writer.

Five Places to Write Your Novel

I’ve been bouncing around places with wifi, having writing dates with my boyfriend just so we can get our words in and still do something together. It gets distracting to write at home sometimes so here are a few alternatives:

– the standard, a coffee shop. A place like Panera Bread has unlimited coffee and some place like Starbucks (or a local equivalent) has fancy seasonal flavors. There’s a lack of local coffee shops around me, unfortunately. And they all tend to close when I get out of work.

– your local library. This is a genius idea that I strangely never tried until this past weekend when Panera was packed full of families eating lunch and there were no space tables at Starbucks

– nature. Go to the beach, find a bench in the woods. Be old fashioned and use a pen and paper.

– public transportation, especially airplanes (and airports) and trains, sometimes there’s even wifi and outlets. I’m fascinated with sitting and people watching in these types of places.

– desperate? Try the mall or
McDonald’s to get a wifi fix. I feel like it might be kind of strange munching on fries and sitting in McDonald’s as if it’s a cafe but who cares! This is your writing adventure.

Where are your favorite places to write?

Melanie Kristy

A Room of One’s Own

Credit: Fresh Design Blog

I totally wish this desk was mine!

I’m not really sure how to describe myself except to say that I need my own space. I need a part of my life that’s untouched, nights after work where I don’t socialize. I need my room to be my room and not for anyone else to come in and clean it or move my things around or hang up winter laundry that needs to be put into storage or take down Christmas lights I’m not done admiring.

In some ways, the internet feels like my own space. This blog, I mean. It’s the part where I can choose what I share and how. It’s my voice, the one that gets lost in groups of people. I’m that person who is never quite heard. Insisting my ideas for five minutes while others around me talk. “Oh hey maybe your grandfather and my mom’s grand father are brothers.” I said that once while we were camping we met some people with my mom’s maiden name and they were trying to figure out the relation. Five minutes later someone actually heard me. At parties where I’m not close to people, I mostly observe the conversation. I am part of it without having a voice. I am absorbing. In ways I am recreating the event in my mind. I’m filing my life under the headline of Fictional Scenes and creating characters out of people I barely know. Or, if I’m in a coffee shop eavesdropping on the interestingness of other people, I am creating their lives. I am documenting what I think their lives should be and writing Morning Character posts about them.

The thing about being a reader is that it’s so easy to be absorbed you sort of forget to live. Like sometimes I get jealous of characters who have lives. Who are out living while I am there watching them. Hobbies that include fiction or television shows or watching films are passive hobbies.

I write because I don’t always want to be passive and this is the only way I know how to be. I write in my blog because I want to be heard when subjects and conversations

One time someone told me that if I spoke with the same peace of mind I write with, maybe people would know me better. Or maybe they would understand. (I’m sorry I forget exactly what you said. You might not even remember saying it). But a lot of times that peace of mind comes when I have a keyboard beneath my fingers or a pen and paper easily accessible.

I’ve recently realized I’m introverted. You’d think, knowing all I know about myself, I would have realized this sooner. But to be honest I never really thought much about it. But reading this article Nourishing Your Inner Introvert made me think even more about it. Made me think about how it’s okay to be introverted. It’s okay that I don’t always want to hang out after my social schedule is over booked (by my own definition). It’s okay that I don’t always want to watch TV with my entire family lounging around the television in the living room. And while it’s okay, and I know it’s okay to be this way, to be ME the way I know how to be me, it’s often that people don’t understand. I ignore the constant requests to watch TV when there’s stuff I need to be doing. And I can’t always make plans five times a week when every person I know seems to be demanding my attention. Sometimes I can’t immediately respond to text messages. And I think part of this explains sporadic blogging. Because sometimes using my voice and speaking out and going through the motions of writing a coherent post, finding pictures for it and publishing it all feels a little too demanding.

But all of this is okay. It’s just part of who I am. And I need to stop hating on myself for being lazy or for not writing or whatever. Because it’s not laziness that causes this overwhelming fog of exhaustion sometimes when I think about needing to write another blog post. Don’t get me wrong, I ADORE blogging. I just can’t adore it every hour of every day all of the time (to infinity and beyond, 24 hours a day in color).

And this isn’t an exercise in making excuses, it’s an attempt to dig deeper, accept more and to reach out.

Would you consider yourself introverted? Do you have a hard time feeling like other people understand you need for alone time? Do you have any tips of other introverts?

750 Words

One thing that I’ve learned (though it’s something that I’ve also known, sometimes you can know something and not truly know it until you learn/ feel it) is that I need to write.

In a way, it doesn’t matter what I’m writing, or why. I just need to do it. I need to crank out words onto an open screen. I need to release my secrets into Moleskine journals. I need to find pretty paper and write lovely letters. I need to stop and asses my day. I need to purge thoughts onto the screen before I can full comprehend my own feelings. I need to spread my thoughts over the Internet, risking over sharing for the option of reaching out. I need a place to stick the stories I create. I need to mold them into reality by the way of words.

In short. I need to write. There’s no way around it. Every since I was in second grade and we started writing exercises on computers, I’ve needed to write. I asked for a computer for Christmas and Santa brought a shiny new black and white MS Dos computer. At school we wrote short stories. I really feel like that was the beginning of everything. Of where I am today.

And so I come to tell you about 750 Words. I’ve made this post before, though it’s never seen the real Internet world. Every version is a little different, but still every version is a little bit closer to what I want to say.

750 Words is a website based off Julia Cameron‘s idea of “morning pages” it’s what you write before you write anything else, the brain dump that gets you going. It’s your warm up exercise to accompany your cup of tea. There are no rules for morning pages, but the point of 750 words is to write that many words per day, at least to start off. 750 words is the equivalent of three double spaced pages and it’s a canvas to your day.

You can write journal entries, brainstorm random thoughts, think up blog posts, insult your neighbour, complain about the state of the world, create an alter ego, or write fiction. You can review the movies you’ve seen and hated, wonder what the future will be like, create shopping lists, explain why you won’t be crossing things off your to-do list, write love letters to someone you haven’t met. You can do anything with words and a blank space. It’s yours for the taking.

Fun things about 750 Words include: random badges when you’ve completed 750 words for days at a time, pie charts to tell you how emotional/ positive/ etc. your writing has been, and graphs to show how fast you wrote and  how many times you were distracted for three or more minutes at a time. If you sign up, you can elect to get a daily e-mail reminder to write your words.

Over the past few months I’ve been slacking with writing my 750 words daily. I’ve put all of my focus into writing my novel and then, at the end of November, burning out and just taking too much time off. I’ve managed to not write blog posts, forget about journaling and ignore words that weren’t already published (I mean, I read five books last week. I guess that’s kind of a lot…). I plan on using 750 Words to bring me back into the world of blogging, to remind me to finish my novel and to let my writing take over like it wants to most of the time.

So if you’re a writer of sorts, or if you like to make epically long lists or if you’re looking for something to complain to, I suggest checking out 750 Words. The daily e-mail reminders are great, just because they are one more thing to talk you out of keeping lazy. If you’re a wanna be writer, now is the perfect time to stare at the blank white screen like the rest of us.

There’s one thing that I always remember about my freshman year fiction writing class. You have to show up in order for the writing to. My professor taught us that discipline is what brings on inspiration. Sitting down to write every single day, especially if it’s in the same place at the same time, trains your brain to think writerly things. It makes it so you are able to write, even if you think you can’t. And it also means that if you want to be a writer, you can be a writer. You just have to show up and do the work. And you’ll keep learning along the way. It may not mean that you’re going to be published or that you can make a living off your words, but that’s not the point in writing, anyway.

The point is something you’ll have to figure out on your own.

NaNoWriMo Wednesdays: Getting Past Obstacles

Are you stuck yet? The other day I passed the halfway mark, a few days premature of the middle of November. I was delighted and excited! Then the day after that, I felt stuck. And then I got a cold. I’ve been drowning in a sea of tissues and drinking orange juice nonstop. It’s hard to stay clear headed when I can’t breathe! But this is just another obstacle, something to push past.

Another huge obstacle is writer’s block.

Writer’s block can be anything to anyone. Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls once described as when you write and everything feels like it’s crap. To me, writer’s block is when I just can’t write. I can’t figure out how to make what’s in my head into scenes on a page. I have no interest in writing what comes next.

Recently when I was going through this, I skipped around. I decided I would write the scenes I would enjoy writing. And I’d fill everything else in alter. I started writing scenes that make me feel. And I feel like this part of my story is coming alive.

Here are some other suggestions for breaking through writer’s block:
*First off, you need to sit down and show up to write every day. Even if you only write a sentence.
* Introduce a new character and see where it takes you.
* Write something else, a poem or a blog post just to shake it up.
* Go for a walk where there are other people. Observe those people. Write a scene for what’s going on around you.
* Write only dialogue and forget about everything else.
* Write a dream like sequence that summarizes the scene you are trying to write then move on from it.
*Kill one of your characters.
* Send someone to Tokyo
* Visit the Young Writer’s Program and use their dare machine to give you some random plot ideas.

What do you do for writer’s block?

NaNoWriMo Wednesday: Writing Tips and Advice

Are you in the middle of a marathoning NaNoWriMo writing session? Or just enjoying watching your Facebook friends struggle to meet some sort of almost impossible word goal for the month while you decide to purposefully not write anything in November, not even Tweet? Or maybe you’re just tired of reading about me talking about writing so often (if that’s the case, you’re reading the wrong blog, sweetheart). No matter what your situation is I have some links to share that might get you through your writing slump and back into the marathon.

Why Sara Zarr is inspired by failure
The creative process, and the creative life, is mostly full of moments between the idea and the being done, the spark and the blazing fire, the shimmering magic and the finished piece. We’re always living in the gap between our vision of what could be and what might be, and what is.

Don’t Avoid Painful Writing
We must reveal that part of ourselves that we’d rather hide. But this is the part of you we’re all longing to see.

Learn From The Greats: 7 Writing Habits of Amazing Writers
6. James Joyce. In the pantheon of great writers of the last century, Joyce looms large. And while more prolific writers set themselves a word or page limit, Joyce prided himself in taking his time with each sentence. A famous story has a friend asking Joyce in the street if he’d had a good day writing. Yes, Joyce replied happily. How much had he written? Three sentences, Joyce told him.

How to Flourish in Your Writing
Always have great kindness for yourself. Look over your shoulder: there is no one there. No one cares if you write. It has to come from you, from your effort. There is no hierarchy in writing; you elbow your way into the lineage by your human effort. It is democratic and should be in the declaration of independence—the right to liberty, justice, the pursuit of happiness, and writing. Only human beings write. Clouds don’t, ants don’t.