Favorite Writing Aides

Screenshot of Shirley Temple from the film The...

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Every writer has its own writing style, schedule, method or modus operandi.  These things influence your output and productivity, and ultimately how serious you take your craft.  There are also those “essentials” that you as a writer, “cannot live without,” and are always present at your desk.  These, of course, are different for every writer.  Among the things that I surround myself with, are these favorites.  They make my writing time more enjoyable, and somehow, more productive – maybe because they are a source of delight and practicality.  Here is my list.

  1. PC and printer.
  2. Plenty of scrap paper to jot down ideas, themes, and anything that may pop in my mind.
  3. Plenty of pens and pencils – Mostly, I type on a PC (my number 1 essential), but sometimes notations have to be done fast or when the computer is not on.
  4. An electronic American Heritage Dictionary, thesaurus, speller.
  5. An electronic Franklin translator (the PC works fine for this, but for some reason, I end up using this one more).
  6. A favorite CD playing – Inspires me.
  7. My camera – for those Blog shots.
  8. A duster – Yes, I hate to type on a dusty keyboard or to have a dusty screen in front of me.
  9. A copy of Desiderata by Max Ehrmann posted on my desk – It provides inspiration and grounding.  Next to it a copy of my own Creed – as a reminder.
  10. A posted copy of Be Yourself by Bruce B. Wilmer – Also for reminding me to keep on going.  Writing can be discouraging at times.
  11. A stapler – I keep hard copy of my articles on file.
  12. Essential books:  A copy of The Writer’s Market, Keys to Great Writing by Stephen Wilbers, How I Write by Janet Evanovich, and Grit for the Oyster.  These books are a wealth of knowledge for any writer, and also inspiration and a pick me up, when needed.
  13. A notebook with my passwords – cannot rely on good ol’ gray all the time.
  14. Owls and Crows – they inspire me.
  15. Finally, my lucky charm – A vintage Shirley Temple doll sitting on top of my desk – she is always ready to listen.  That is not to say that my six felines who come to visit me at the keyboard are the last on the list, they are pure joy and inspiration to me, and numberless.

Have you given any thought to what you surround yourself with to inspire your writing?  Can you improve your surroundings, and will it make a difference in your writing?  For me, these things fuel me up and give me pleasure.  What sparks your Muse?

When Quitting is the Right Option

Stop

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I used to obsess about stuff – a book, a project …  By obsess I mean, that when I started something I had to finish it, no matter if I was enjoying it or not – in my mind, if I started, I must finish.  I read many books that I disliked or bored me to death, just because I started them.  Some people may think, “well that is not so bad; I wish I could finish stuff.”   It is bad when it sends you thru the path of a wrong career, and in the middle of your studies, you know it is the wrong path, but you keep on, because you started and must finish.  It is bad, when you doubt your instincts, your inner voice, because you must finish what you started, even when you know that may not be the right thing or path for you.  It is bad, when something that you enjoyed when you started it, does not fit your goals or persona anymore, but you must finish because you never leave things unfinished.

There are many instances when quitting is the right option, and maybe the only option, if you want to move ahead.  When something does not lift your spirit anymore and becomes a burden, maybe it is time to take a look and ask why?  Answering why is important because it will let you know if it is just a temporary stale situation, or if you have gone on the wrong direction, and must adjust your step, or stop walking on that direction entirely.  Sometimes, it is just a matter of perspective, and there is no need to quit; other times, quitting will be necessary for growth.

When I realized that doing something just for the sake of doing it, without meaning, without direction, without desire or passion, or without love, that is when I stopped reading the book that bored me half way, working at the wrong career, and just doing things that killed my spirit.  However, before you quit, you have to know your new direction, you have to know where you are headed, and be sure of the why; otherwise, you may regret it.

So, when is quitting the right option?  When you know that continuing in that path will only hurt your spirit, your self, your soul, and when you have the answer to the question Why? … and when you know that you have a sense of where your next path begins – even when sometimes, you may not know right away where it will take you.  However, before you quit, you must first turn around, and STOP!

The binding of Age

Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909.

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If you grew up as I did, most likely, you will have the imprinted belief that as soon as you hit 40, you are going down hill.  I have seen a few over the hill greeting cards that seem to cater to that frame of thought.  Believing that this is the case, is a very dangerous thing because it binds you to certain expectations throughout your life.  Certain things should have happened before you turned 45, and if they have not, most likely you will abandon certain goals, and will end up feeling a failure.  What a sick belief!

The truth is that no one knows how long they will live and most people may live to their late eighties.  In this case, being 40, for example, is having half or more of your life to live.  This is not the time to abandon goals or feeling as a failure; on the contrary, it is the time to make them real and with more “gusto” since you have already enjoyed many years of being traditionally “young.”

Age is in your mind;  it is a matter of how your mind is set and of how it has been programmed all these years.  Yes, there are some physical changes on the outside, but the “you” inside the shell knows better.  No one likes wrinkles or the physical changes that come with age; if they did, plastic surgery and beauty aides would not exist.  I myself, am not a fan of wrinkles.  However, I have met young people who act as 90 year olds, and 80 year olds who act as if they were 25.  For those 80 year olds that still see a bright life ahead of them, age is just a number, and age does not bind them to any “society expectations” – they are the masters of their lives.

Turning Point

LesCorsetsLeFuretParis18cutB

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It took some time to master the courage to follow my dream of writing – and going through many jobs as well.  There are three things that I love – Writing, Real Estate, and Art – of this I am sure.  Writing is me, Real Estate is pure beauty, and Art is an outlet.

When I decided to write, my goal was to write my first novel.  I am happy to say that I did that and I started my second novel.  During that time, I got distracted doing other assignments – all related to my love of writing –  however, this has taken me away from my dream of becoming a novelist and it has taken all my time, leaving me with little time to write my next novel.

It dawned on me that  I had deviated from my dream and that I was at a turning point – I realized that I had to turn back.  Many times, we set sail on the right path to later discover that we have deviated from it doing something similar to what we were set out to do in the beginning.  Once more, we find ourselves mustering the courage to turn back, and setting up the sails to a different wind.

Roses by Magic

A rose bush.

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Sitting at my computer for long hours is a bit tiring, so I try to walk around the house, for short breaks or to get some  coffee.  Today, I glanced outside thru the screen door that leads to the backyard.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the rose-bush full of dark red roses – a magical blanket of red.  When did it happen?  As if by magic, the rose-bush that was just sticks a few weeks ago, turned into a marvel of nature.  Although I was not paying attention, the change did not happen from one day to the next – it took some time; slowly the lush leaves appeared, and later, the breathtaking roses.

This gave me some insight.  I thought, sometimes, we worry so much when we are following our call, specially when we don’t see results right away.  We tend to shrivel, to dry, and forget that the growth happens slowly; and just as those roses one day appeared in all their splendor, so it will happen if we continue our path and let growth and bloom happen naturally.

On Being Your Own Cheerleader

Many times, people find themselves in a sea of uncertainty about their dreams and goals.  Many times, the uncertainty comes from outside sources – from the naysayers that have managed to bury the seed of doubt in the dreamer’s heart.  If you are a dreamer that is working hard towards the goal, it is up to you to toughen up and grow some roses in your heart – their thorns will suffocate the weed that is trying to grow from the seed that naysayers planted there.

Many times, you will have to be your own cheerleader, maybe even the only one.  When others fail you, you can always count on you.  But when you feel as if you have failed yourself, it is because you have let many weeds grow in the garden of your heart.  Start weeding out and you will find again your dream.

Shakespeare a Day 1

Title page of the First Folio, 1623. Copper en...

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For the next few days I will post one quote from Shakespeare’s plays daily.  For the first quote I have selected probably the most quoted of all.

“To be or not to be, that is the question…”

At one point or another, we have asked the same question ourselves.  In our search for identity, for belonging, for our life’s purpose, there are many things that we must be, or not, and in the end, only we have the answer(s).  To be , to have the courage to follow our path and do what we know we have to do.  Or to give into our fears and not to be, and never answer the question.  In the end, it is all up to us.

 

White Blanket of Dreams

The snow inspired me today, so I decided to write a few verses.

Frozen branches 

White blanket of dreams,

one by one falling.

Covering my Universe,

Hearts of many, minds of few.

Ice age in frozen time,

one by one dreams are falling

as snowflakes unique

white blanket of dreams.

If I ever wake up from dreamland that’s thawed,

flowers of ice would grow amongst us.

One by one dreams are falling,

Petals of ice, frozen desires.

Hope you enjoyed my attempt at poetry 🙂

Slow Down to Synchronize

Rose und Eis

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Maybe we have read about the importance of synchronicity in our lives, at some point.  There is much written on it, and many philosophies base some of their principles on it – the law of attraction …  However, sometimes we forget to realize that to be able to appreciate synchronicity in our lives, we must slow down the speed of our lives.  Simply put, when we are running through the path at high speeds, we fail to see the beautiful red rose hiding in the bushes, or the gorgeous butterfly atop the daisy.  We will miss the sweet aroma of the lavender field nearby … we can end up missing the best opportunities of our lives. 

I have been guilty of living at high speeds in the past, and I missed synchronicity at its best.  I had to crash, stop, look around, breathe, stand up, and start walking slow again; and I have to admit that I am happier now, and have been able to appreciate the blessings of learning to recognize synchronicity in my life.

I dare you to slow down and find those miracles working right now in your life.