About Writing

Pinterest and formulas

I look at Pinterest when I’m too tired to function, and the site is always eager to suggest infographics and articles about how I should be writing; everything from tips to make scenes more emotional to character questionnaires.

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being told that I have to follow a formula.

Ages ago, I didn’t want to go to college, but everyone told me I had to if I wanted to have a future. Two years in, I was so badly burnt out that I cried every morning when I got out of bed. Then one day it hit me: I didn’t have to be there.

I dropped out, got a full time job, and rented my own apartment. Complete strangers had a meltdown over my actions. Didn’t I care about my fuuuuture????!!!

Meh. I was happier. I met my husband during that time period.

And yeah, so life did get crappy when the job market crashed. Having a college degree wouldn’t have saved me from that, however, and experience isn’t a bad thing. I didn’t cease to exist, and I learned how to really appreciate life. I like who I am now, scars and everything.

Unfortunately, formulas seem to make a lot of people happy. You know, guaranteed results in three easy steps! If you follow the formulas perfectly enough, you’ll be rich and famous. And my knee-jerk reaction is: you can’t tell me what to do! I make my own paths.

When I create characters, I don’t fill out worksheets. I give them names, ask them, ‘what makes you tick?” then listen — that’s the important part. It’s chaotic and unpredictable. It doesn’t follow any rules. It’s fun.

I can’t guarantee results. Heck, other than really enjoying myself as a writer, I haven’t seen any myself! But you know what I’ve learned? It’s the journey that counts.

About Me

On blogging

I actually really like blogging.

As a teenager, I religiously kept a Livejournal for years, posting something every. single. day. In a different life, I would have transferred those skillz over to a less angsty platform, and made a shot toward becoming a professional blogger.

In a different life.

But 2011 found me living out of a car, and once I saw the world from that angle, I never recovered from it.

Just as well, really, because in interim a number of blogger-culture quirks popped up that make my teeth hurt.

I don’t read many blogs now. A few years ago I enjoyed crafting blogs, until I realized that the quality of the actual crafts was dropping precipitously, while those popular bloggers were publishing how-to books that were teaching sloppy techniques. They didn’t care about the crafts; they cared about monetizing.

I’m enough of an arteest to believe that money comes second to artistic integrity. I won’t try to sell something that I was too lazy to put any effort into.

Sometimes I wonder how many other people care. I wonder how many other people are tired of vapid content generators that are concerned more about page views than connecting with readers. I wonder how many people are like me … if anyone.

I like blogging. I’ll probably start putting more energy into it from now on, simply because I’m tired of hiding who I am for fear of being hurt. I just refuse to be anything other than me, especially for a paycheck.

About Me

On holding pencils

When I was in kindergarten, I was officially diagnosed with ‘holding my pencil wrong.’ The adults fretted that my handwriting would always be crippled, that I’d never be able to write cursive, that I would always be a weirdo for life.

Being a little kid and all, I tried very hard to learn how to hold pencils the ‘right’ way.

The ‘right’ way made my handwriting worse and hurt my hand. I always subconsciously switched back to my wrong way, because it felt so much more natural. The adults practically melted with anxiety over my future.

Finally, in fifth grade my teacher announced that my handwriting was fine, and that I could keep holding my pencils however I wanted. After all, in her experience, if the correction hadn’t been made by that point, then it would likely never happen. Hallelujah, I was free!

In high school, the other teens said it was freaky how I held my pencil. I had a pronounced callous on my pinky finger from the amount of writing I did. My ceramics teacher predicted that I could be a calligrapher, if I wanted. I was proud of how I held pencils.

I write all of my rough drafts by hand. I have my fountain pen, medium nib, my collection of Japanese inks, and a binder stuffed to the gunwales with paper. My current WIP has reached 100 pages, with about 400 words per page in my handwriting. I don’t suffer much hand-fatigue; I can easily hit the 1,000 word mark without any discomfort. The callous on my finger as all but vanished since I quit using ballpoints. I don’t see why everyone made such a fuss when I was a kid.

I am, however, an irreparable weirdo; but I don’t think that has anything to do with how I hold pencils.