Writing is Work

From the StoryGirl about Writing is Work:

For me, the best way to conquer that is to schedule my writing in as if it was a job, even when it isn’t.  To get dressed, turn off the TV, log off of any social networking or chat sites, and not let myself do anything but writing until I’ve either reached my goal or the time has run out.  Once in a while it’s pure drudgery and torture.  Sometimes – most times – it’s a delight, and by the end I’m very glad I did it.

I am not very good at being disciplined at writing or almost everything else. One thing that does help me is making a plan and then sticking to it. If I have a plan, all spelled out, I’m more likely to get everything (or at least many things) accomplished from that list.

Some Mother’s Son

In so many TV shows and movies there is someone killed off in the first five minutes. Usually they were just in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Besides, someone has to illustrate the point that the situation is dangerous, the monster is real, etc. We seldom get a real introduction. Not often they even get a name, let alone a whole background, a family or a career. It’s sad and lonely being at the bottom.

Who is the Mother of this unlucky, semi-anonymous and doomed person? Give her a story.

Brittany’s Little Letters

First, take a look at the original post on Brittany’s blog – Not Your Everyday SuperGoddess.

Dear Adam’s sweatshirt,
Where are you? It is cold in the mornings and I miss your warmth.

Dear Cinnamon Bun Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream,
Where have you been all my life?

Dear Sarah,
Could you not lick your paws all night long while I am trying to sleep? The noise is cringe worthy.

What Little Letter(s) will you write?

Dear Calendar for 2009,

Why are you in such a rush? Slow down, smell some roses and let me feel I’ve still got time to smell a few too.

Dear Zellers Computer,

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a minor error and used a minus instead of a plus on my statement this month? Just for fun.

Dear Gordon Ramsey,

Why do you swear and belittle people so much on your TV shows made for the US? The UK shows aren’t nearly as bad. The F Word is a lot easier to watch than Hell’s Kitchen ever was.

There are three from me. Let’s see yours!

The Awful Silence of Blogging

Many years ago I started a newsletter for writers online. I called it InkSplatters. It ran on the site that is now Yahoo Groups. (Does anyone remember when it was Yahoo Clubs for awhile and something else not even part of Yahoo before that?) The newsletter began as a spin off from a site my friend was doing called The Writer’s Pen. We worked on The Writer’s Pen together (he did most of it) but InkSplatters was all my own creation. I even sent it out with some of my own ASCII art as borders. Quite the fancy newsletter some days.

It lasted a few years. I was doing okay with it. I had over a hundred subscribers, then 250 and beyond but there was little feedback. In the end it was for that reason I decided to shut down the newsletter.  I know other online projects have ended for that same reason.

Publishing online can be lonely. There should be some kind of cute name for it. Like cabin fever for when you have been indoors too long and desperately must get outside, break free of the inside space. It became known as cabin fever for the pioneers who were trapped inside their small farm houses most of the winter, snowed in or just too cold to leave.  Publishing online is like that too. You keep posting, hoping to hear something besides the echo of silence all around you. No doubt that’s why I tend to write with the radio or TV on in the background.

Still there is the urge to be that pioneer, to try something, to start something and try to make it grow. I still do it. I start things independently or I join up other sites and networks to start something as a smaller part of something big. But, there are days when I feel overwhelmed by the to-do list I keep building for myself. There are days when the cabin fever of online publishing gets to me. When I lived alone there would be a day when I’d realize I had not spoken a word all that day. I typed a lot, but spoke not at all.

I look at my work, this site and the others and it’s so very quiet. The only sound is the TV or the radio. The comments that come in are like life rafts of communication. I’m not just talking to myself after all! There really are still people in the world.

Being inside too much also narrows your focus too much. Get out there, people watch or even talk to someone. Blow up your world again, remember what it’s like to be really social, face to face. It may be a bit scarier than talking online but we all need that interaction too. A breath of life in our quiet publishing world.

When you get back online comment in a few blogs, randomly. Spread that breath of life around.  Yes, it’s good for your blog stats but more importantly, it’s really good for the blogging community too. Remind someone else that, just because it’s quiet, doesn’t mean there isn’t anyone out there, reading, listening, maybe laughing at the right parts too.

How do you battle that cabin fever of being a web writer, an online publisher?

Night Time Typing

It’s funny how you can be in the same room with someone, both of you on the Internet, and not speak to each other. I’ve had the same thing happen when I was working as a technical support person. Each time we went for a break the table would be full of people all talking or texting on their cell phones. All but myself, sitting there feeling kind of odd as everyone was talking but no one was talking to me.

Write a scenario where one person feels alone due to technology and yet they are not actually alone at all.

What comes to mind for myself are the evenings after my husband came home from work, after dinner and the clean up. We would both sit at our computers in the same room. He would have his back to me so he could watch TV and not be sitting at the window. I could see his back but I was facing the outside window. We did talk some what. But, I’d be typing away and look up at the dark, night time sky and suddenly feel a bit lonely. Mostly, I would feel how odd it was to be in a small apartment with someone I was close to and yet be kind of alone in the world, separated by technology rather than time or space.

Set Your Lyrics

Every show on TV starts out with it’s own theme song. (If there is one that starts out silent I can’t think of it). Some of the theme songs are great, sentimental or powerful or just the sort of melody or lyrics to stick in your mind. With some theme songs you can hear a bit of it years later and remember the whole thing. That’s a kind of power and a tribute to the songwriter.

Think of something you have written recently (poetry, fiction or non-fiction) and write a theme song for it. If you are musically inclined try to give it a tune as well as the lyrics. It doesn’t have to be long, just a jingle if that’s your inspiration.

Goldfish Friendly, Cat Aware and Dog Proof

Your working for a cable TV company. They’re having a crunch because more and more people are watching TV programs on the Internet and cancelling their digital cable TV accounts. They’ve given you the job of coming up with a TV show for pets. Someone in marketing decided this would be a great new market which will pull everyone back to cable TV in masses.

Anyway, it’s been dropped in your lap, one way or another. What do pets watch on TV? What kind of program do you come up with? Is it goldfish friendly, cat aware and dog proof?

The End of Cable TV?

For years I have heard predictions that newspapers, magazines and books will fade away as they are replaced with digital media. I’ve protested. I can’t take a computer to bed with me, I don’t even want to. It just wouldn’t be as comfortable as taking a paperback which I can fall asleep with and not worry if it falls out of bed during the night.

Today, thinking about television and the cost of it (over $50 a month for me) I started thinking that all the predictions could be right… but they’ve been looking in the wrong direction. It won’t be print publications that fall to the Internet but the digital signal we watch on our TV screens.

How many people already watch TV shows and movies online, in various ways and means? How simple would it be to just watch everything on the Internet instead of owning a television and paying for cable service along with digital boxes and HDTV and other extras they convince people they just have to have? Would it really be any hardship to watch TV on the Internet? I don’t think so. Usually I only have it running in the background while I’m online anyway, I hardly notice what show is on unless I find one I actually want to watch, the odd time.

Can you debate this, for and against? Come up with 3 points for each side, just for fun.

Could You Really Just Let the Story End this Way?

You hear someone call you. But it’s early in the morning, on a Sunday and you’re all snuggled up and cosy in your bed. So you ignore it, just for a bit. You don’t hear any more. Still, you get up to check, you can’t just lie in bed and be the evil daughter/ sister/ wife/ mother who ignores them when they call you. Likely it’s just something silly, they want you to fetch something they could get for themselves.

Out of bed, down the hall, there they are, watching TV. No catastrophe. You say ” Good Morning.” They answer back, yet it’s an odd monotone, cheery “Good Morning”. It looks like they have been replaced by an evil robot, again.

However, this evil robot replacement is different from the last one. This one fetches for themselves, they even pick up after themselves, cook dinner, iron clothes, wash windows and offer you the last cookie rather than just eat it themselves. Could you really just let the story end this way?