I have a lot of difficulty writing short stories.
Have I written a short story?
I have started a few, but stopped after 10,000 words. I wrote a Rapunzel retelling, a story about a young girl who is cursed, and a romance story set in a small town. These stories were written when I was in high school. I attempted more short stories back then. That way, I could finish with one idea and move on to the next. I plan on going back to finish them.
Why is it so difficult?
There is always more to add onto the plot. I also love to come up with subplots. I have this desire to create a whole backstory for my characters that tie into the plot. Next thing I know, there are way too many characters, and a lack of consistency. Honestly, I have too much to say and my imagination is expansive.
I also drag it out. It shouldn't take ten chapters for the reader to understand what the objective is. When I write, I don't want to stop. Spending time with my characters and their story is special to me. Finishing a story means I can't create anymore, so I drag it out. It's not the same during editing. However, this past summer I came up with an idea for a short story and I think I can keep it short.
Here's a working summary:
Two sets of siblings play hide and seek in their neighborhood woods as they usually do. One day they find a secret. The lost ruins of Zakia. They begin to dig deeper into the mystery and disappearance of this ancient kingdom, which no one in their town seems to know about. The young teens and preteens spend their summer days in the library reading maps, old journals, and searching for the entrance to Zakia. They try to find any descendants left. That's when they discover, someone in their group is a Zakian. That person holds the key to uncovering the spell hiding the kingdom, and undoing all the wrong that was done to the people. That person will unlock Zakia and set her free.
I don't dive into fantasy, just isn't my thing. However, this idea came to me while I was at work. I started writing it on sticky notes and decided to turn it into a short story. A challenge. I can't wait.
*Picture by Reuben Juarez on Unsplash.com
It's a new three part series! Today's topic focuses on stress in the workplace.
There are a lot of stressful environments like the DMV, a grocery store, or school. Today I’m focusing on the stressful environment being your workplace. I’ve worked in a place where the employees had a negative outlook on their employment situation. Not only that, but there were people who didn’t know how to speak to people in a respectful tone. I enjoyed working there. What I didn’t enjoy, was the negativity surrounding me. Everyday I would come in somewhat excited to get work done, and quickly someone’s attitude would bring me down a notch. Even when it was directed towards other employees it still bothered me. Why can’t we all get along!
Thankfully, I found some ways to combat the negativity. These tips may not work for everyone, but they certainly got me through the day. I hope you’ll be able to use them in your workplace.
#1: Deep breaths. This seems arbitrary, but it really works! When you focus on your breathing your mind clears.
#2: Remember your purpose in that place. You are important in that workplace. Your position and hard work is important to keep the flow going.
#3 God gave me this opportunity to have a job and save up money. I won’t let anyone take that from me.
#4 Just because they are miserable, doesn’t mean I have to be as well. I can smile, and be happy.
#5 During your breaks, go outside. Remove yourself from that environment when you get the chance. Renew your energy.
#6 Be kind, and considerate to others. Maybe they’re having a bad day. Maybe your kindness will uplift their spirits.
#7 It may not be personal. That attitude may not be because of you. People get frustrated and annoyed. Now, it’s not okay to take it out on others, but we can recognize when someone’s feelings are not directed towards us.
#8 This goes with #5. Do something you enjoy on your break. You can pray, meditate, call a friend/family member, eat ice cream, or watch a funny video.
#9 If the situation is becoming unbearable, speak to your co-workers or HR. Like I said before, you are important.
#10 YOU ARE GETTING PAID (hopefully).
Hope these work for you! Stay tuned for next week's topic on stress in school.
*Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash.com
Read part one here!
Self-care has become a trendy concept nowadays. However, the meaning behind it transcends the trend. Self-care reminds us to redirect our attention to the areas in our lives that are lacking. Some would say it’s more than putting on a face mask and laying in the tub. The thing is, everyone has a different circumstance to deal with and a different way of dealing with it. Some of us need to drink more water. Some of us need to start taking showers everyday. Some of us need to remove ourselves from negative friendship groups. Some of us need to take our medication. Self-care... care self... caring for yourself.
You are an individual and I am an individual. The things that you need to take care of in your life may not be the same as me or the next person. If self-care means taking a walk every morning before work, then so be it! If that morning walk improves your overall health or standard of living, then that's a positive thing. Walking is cardio which is also good for the heart. You can lay in your tub while listening to a podcast or watching a silly YouTube video after a stressful week to de-stress and relax. If that's not your go-to method find something else. You don't have to do what everyone else is doing, especially from what you see on social media. As I mentioned before, some of us need to start taking showers everyday. Now, this isn't a jab at "smelly" people. Some individuals dealing with depression, for example, may have a harder time going through their basic hygiene routines.
If you are doing something in the name of self-care that has a negative impact on your life, you are not caring for yourself. You could be hurting yourself. Let's do better at listening to our bodies and minds.
3 John 1:2- Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
*Photo by Eye For Ebony at Unsplash.com
Wow this is the longest I've been gone from here! It's been two whole months. Quite a few things have happened since July and I'm going to share all about it, while also giving you a sneak peek of what's coming up next.
The last blog post was a Camp Nano update on my poetry book. I did finish Camp Nanowrimo by achieving my goal of writing at least 30 poems. The book was supposed to be organized and edited by the end of August. I had to shift my focus on editing my novel, Our Father because... I started law school in August! Yes, I moved to a new city, I am in law school now, I am a law student, *wipes tear* and time has been running from me. It's already week five or six. The goal was to finish editing before starting school, but that didn't happen. Too many things kept popping up and I kept pushing it back. The new goal is to revive Disorderly-Thoughts and try to stay consistent from now. I may not have a new blog post every Saturday, but there will be poems and positive affirmations on a regular basis.
Here are a few topics to look out for:
This is an update post on my Camp Nano project. First of all, I want to talk about how much it means to me to do a project like this. As I mentioned before, poetry came into my life around middle school. It has been a wonderful way to express something deep within me that I couldn't with regular speech. It has poise, creativity with organization, and brings to life an image or a story in a few words, sometimes. It's fun and it gives me such a rush when I'm in the zone writing line after line. Poetry means I can share my fleeting thoughts and wild imagination.
Secondly, sitting down to write has been difficult at times. Trying to find the right words to connect is not always easy. I research definitions of words, their synonyms, and rhymes. That takes away my focus because it's hard to move past that one word. I lose my train of thought and the poem just sits there unfinished until a lightbulb goes off in my head, and my fingers begin typing at lightning speed.
My goal for this month was thirty-one pages ( a poem each day), but I wrote more than that. Right now I'm at around forty. It took less time than I expected it to. My goal is now fifty poems by July thirty-first.
Wish me luck!
*Photo by Marcus Spiske on Unspash.com
Camp Nanowrimo 2019
It's here and I'm writing poems for my poetry book (shh don't tell anyone!). Poetry has been a part of my life since middle school. I don't know how I fell into it. I remember entering into my school's talent show reading a poem I wrote about fish. I won (yay!) and since then I write poems just as often as I write stories. For me, poems are my short stories.
Participating in Camp Nanowrimo gives me the opportunity to discipline myself and write at least one poem a day for a month. Two years ago, I participated in Camp during July and finished my book. Years before that, I was in Camp Nanowrimo and Nanowrimo for the Young Writer's Program during the school year. Those challenges pushed me to write everyday even when I had classes and readings. I completed books and started others. This is the first time I am using Nanowrimo to write a poetry book. I can't wait to see the finished product after I organize all the poems. It's an exhilarating process. I love writing poems. It can take me anywhere from fifteen minutes to four hours to write one poem. They can be seven lines long or five pages! So, stay tuned for updates on my progress this month and the announcement of the completed project.
*Photo by Anh Vy on Unsplash.com
A lesson on the importance of time management and organization.
Hanging out with friends or by yourself can always be fun. It’s always an adventure when the location is somewhere none of you have been before. You get to explore the place, gaze at the shops, street artwork, and delve into the culture of where you are. Even in nature, you can listen to the sounds of birds, the rustles of animals wandering through, and admire the beauty of trees. Sometimes, all these entice us so much that we forget to plan carefully.
I have been a victim to that. Sometime ago I went out with a friend to watch a movie in San Francisco. We didn't know this area very well and we also didn't plan well. We missed a chance to watch the movie at an earlier time and had to wait two hours for the next showing, cool. However, that decision, which was made without thinking it through, caused us to be stranded... in the city... at 12 a.m.! The movie ended late and we started to walk towards the bart train station when we realized that they stop running around twelve. Lo and behold, it's way past twelve and we also got lost trying to find the station. Great. Once we finally found it, the last train had already left, and we had to take the bus, or rather a few buses. Okay, they're still running so it shouldn't be too much of an issue, right? Wrong.
The second bus we were on broke down in another city/area. (Side note: It was one in the morning by then) We had two options at that point. Wait fifteen minutes for another bus and then call an uber home or call one now to take us all the way back. We chose the second option. It was too late and cold and almost two o' clock! Thankfully, we only waited a few minutes before the driver came and took us to home. Now on to some helpful tips so you can avoid our mistake.
Things to remember for an outing: Funds, transportation, directions, and timekeeping.
Depending on age and/or circumstances, you may not have a surplus of funds. What are you buying and how much do you need to bring with you to spend? Carrying emergency money with you is good when spontaneous things happen like our situation. Don't get caught off guard, so budget your money wisely. There are various modes of transportation available like: buses, trains, driving, getting dropped off, walking, and hailing a ride through a taxi or services like uber. So many choices, but which ones are available and the most useful for your outing? Do you know where you're going? Don't spend thirty minutes searching for the venue and miss parts of the event. That's a waste of time when someone could have taken a few minutes beforehand to find a perfect route. Keep watch of the time, please! Stores close. Transportation services close, and streets get dark at night. Don't lose track of time and miss out on a way to go home if you don't have a car or someone to pick you up.
I suggest writing down plans so you can see the inconsistencies in front of you. Use a travel journal or planner. Keep maps and pamphlets of transportation routes with you so you know where to go and what to take. Be smart, and don't get stranded in an unfamiliar area.
*Photo by Logan Popoff on unsplash.com
Why do I write poetry?
It’s a way to express emotions and words that don’t process in my mind through thoughts. I love telling a story in the stanzas and using words to create a picture. It’s like writing fiction, but this has a constant flow to it. A rhythm that beats throughout the poem and I’m not referring to rhyming. Even ones without rhyme still have a constant flow. I can use descriptive words right after another. I don’t have to use punctation. I can have stanzas of three sentences or four or make it into a paragraph. There can be rhyme, some rhyme, or none (free verse). I used to think all poems had to rhyme, but they don’t. I discovered free verse a few years ago and since then it’s been my subconscious first choice when writing a poem.
How do I get inspiration to write?
Most of my poems are not about my experiences. They are my version of a short story. I write topics that can relate to people in that situation. I want my words to touch your heart and mind. These ideas are sometimes inspired by songs I’m listening to at that moment. Maybe a word they used, the tone of their voice, or the tempo of the song can give me words to write. The process feels like I’m listening to something and transcribing it as it’s going. The poems are not planned and outlined. They rush out my brain like a waterfall. Graceful and moving quickly.
What is the writing process?
Keeping up with the words popping up in my head is the difficult part. I make spelling or grammar mistakes and can’t help but fix them before moving on. Sometimes if I’m brave, I’ll skip it. Writing is a grueling, but fun process. Even after everything is written down, I still have to reread the poem to fix errors, re-write or delete some lines, and possibly re-organize the sentences. Rereading is fun because I’m seeing it as a full piece, how all the descriptions fit together, if the flow is there, and how the message is received. So much symbolism, analogies, metaphors, and blunt endings! I love it.
The past two months I have been writing poems in the morning before work. I got an idea to compile them into a poetry book with other old poems that may fit the themes. I’m eager and nervous to do that and share it with everyone. More people deserve to read at least some of my poems.
*Photo by Shuttersnap on Unsplash.com
Self-Care has become a trendy concept nowadays. However, the meaning behind it transcends the trend. Self-care reminds us to redirect our attention to the areas in our lives that are lacking. Some would say it’s more than putting on a face mask and turning on a bath, but we must remember context. Everyone has a different circumstance to deal with. If completing simple hygiene routines is difficult for someone, then putting on a face mask could be an accomplishment for the day.
It’s important to know what works for us and what doesn’t. What is healthy and safe for us and what isn’t. Which environments contribute to our breakdowns and which ones build us up. Take care of yourself, this is your only existence in this world. You are already living this life right now. Take a breather from studying. Sleep in if you can, try to eat even when you don't feel like it, reach out to someone you can trust, try a therapist. Our needs are not frivolous, trivial, or stupid. Our bodies need care. Our minds need care. We need to take ourselves seriously and focus on plans that have positive impacts on our lives. Do what helps you thrive and function. Please don't hold yourself back from progressing and getting better.
*Photo by Suhyeon Choi
Sometimes life throws you a fast ball that curves, slows down, changes direction, then hits you in the forehead. Other times we create messy situations that are difficult to get out of. In either scenario, there are steps to unraveling the complex parts.
Think about how this change fits into your overall plans, your future, your goals. Where will it lead you to? A step in the wrong direction will divert your plans. Stay focused. Let's say you're trying to save money and something comes up to where you need to move cities, states, or even countries. Maybe moving is actually a step towards saving money by living in a more affordable environment. Create a budget and see. Job opportunity in a field that's not your own? Are there skills to gain that can be transferred? Think about the length of time spent at this position, the possible move for a promotion. What about buying a car? Some areas have accessible public transportation or stores that are more accessible to residents than others. For example, the difference between a city and the suburbs. Check your budget and see how it fits into your life financially. Don't get blindsided by transitions and change. Being overprepared is a hundred times better than being underprepared.
Buy a notebook (or use word/google doc) specifically for your future goals and plans. Writing plans down keeps you accountable. When you forget, you can always go back to them later. It's also great to see all the ideas down together and how they might fit or not. When they stay in your head, it's easy to create a fantasy of how plans will pan out. If you are a spiritual person, pray for guidance. Have discussions with people farther in life than you and compare your next steps. Of course, take any suggestion or opinion with a grain of salt. (For advice on how to deal with people's opinions, read my post here). Don't get stuck in a place you don't want to be in.
*Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash
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