Despeartly Seeking…

cc_red_pen_editRed pen editing. Ah, how the color red gets a bad rap, but editing is important – so everyone keeps telling me. Well, I tell myself it’s important as well, that would explain why I never shut up about it – but I’m finding the trick is finding an editor. (<- see, that sentence totally needs to be edited. I’m leaving it to make a point. Moving on.)

I’m starting to compare editors to the illusive big foot… Hmm… I may be blowing this out of proportion… or maybe I’ve had too many night of insomnia to string together balanced and cohesive thought?

Eh. Whatevs…

So, I almost quit over the weekend. Writing I mean. I was back on the dirty bathroom floor of life telling myself (in explicit detail) why I should quit. But I haven’t. Luckily I had a slew of messed up dreams last night that revived my belief that writing is what I’m meant to do.

Believe in fate or don’t – that’s your choice, but I can’t seem to give it up. (Even when it makes me want to cry. Then I just cry. What else is there to do? Oh, that’s right. Ice cream. Cry and eat ice cream. I really need to work on having a constant supply in the old freezer.)

Writing is my heroin and I while reading is kind of my methadone, I suppose maybe all of it would go better if I only accept this is who I am.

And being that person means I need help – with editing. Because I have a small novella I really want to publish on this here blog (and wattpad) but I want it to be as perfect as it can be. So! Now I need your help. Are you an editor? Can you recommend one? I have two leads, but any and all help is appreciated! Comment below, email me, tweet me.

Time to work on the addiction… “once upon a time…”

Railbirds

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Critics.

All of them.

The people who tell us to give up, are the ones who feel they have failed. But the truth is, the only way to actually fail – is to give up.

This is the speech I give myself each and every time I want to throw in the towel. Life would be so much easier if I stopped trying, because then I wouldn’t have to be disappointed.

The railbirds in our lives add to the perpetual need for an escape plan. The people we thought were our trusted guides turn out to be nothing more than pessimistic and downtrodden folk who love to share their disappointment.

At the end of the day, their supported is about as effective as a ten-year old bra missing it’s underwire.

It’s good to remember that are a product of our decisions – both the ones we make and the ones we avoid. It is an inescapable fact. So is – we can’t really blame the critics for saying what they think, we can only monitor how we react to their words.

If they speak at all.

Sometimes silence is the loudest critic. Not hearing, not receiving feedback, not getting a reply to an email you sent a week earlier. It is the one thing you so desperately desire.

The want is almost crippling.

As writers we are creative folk. We’ve decided to spin and weave and knit facts and fiction together – creating thoughts, emotions, stories, etc. And when you reach out and the person doesn’t reach back… Our stories leap from the computer screen into our head, worst case scenarios on steroids.

How wonderful would it be to be an island? Sadly, needing the help of others along the writers path is inevitable. Simone and Garfunkel are alone again.

This post is an example of me trying to bolster my own psyche as I wait for a return email. My mind has been doing flips for days and the imaginary railbirds I’ve concocted over the years  are drinking pints of ale, mocking me relentlessly.

“Told you, Aryn. You’re writing isn’t worth a dime!” Gin blossomed nose, stale breath, and a rotund disposition. I wonder why I paint myself as a down on your luck hobo circa 1925 when I choose to self sabotage? Oh, Freud… at least it wasn’t my mother.

Alas – it’s back to that “making a choice” moment… and while one little voice tells me its time to give up, turns out I can’t stop myself – even if I try…

The “Writers Challenge”

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I remember the first time I heard about National Novel Writing Month – it was many moons ago, and I was a wee lass not really looking at the bigger picture.

At the time I was married, but childless – and let me tell you, when you’re childless it is much easier to find time to write. That said – with children or without – it is ALSO very easy to find a million excuses not to write.

But back then I participated in the now hugely famous “NaNo” (as I like to call it), but any more the idea of killing myself to write a first draft in one month sounds terrible. Plus, it’s a first draft.

Really can’t speak for you but I know I need a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth draft until my book is half way presentable. Once there was a time I wouldn’t admit that out loud – but these days I don’t care. Needing to write extra drafts doesn’t make me a crappy writer – writing multiple drafts makes me a better one.

While I no longer jump on the NaNoWriMo train – I am a fan of friendly competition (mostly with myself) to get the fire burning under my butt. That has led my friend and I to start our own 3 month challenge. (Which I’m sure will become an infinite challenge, because for me writing is as important as coffee.)

Does it have a fancy name? Nope.

Are we guaranteed an agent and a publication deal upon completion? HA! Nope…

But I love it, so I wanted to share it. Currently, seeing there are only two of us we email each other our word count at the end of the day. There is a minimum, because if there wasn’t it wouldn’t be much of a challenge, now would it? It is a whopping 750 words. To me, this is a very small number – to you, maybe not so much, but it’s a doable number for sure.

On top of that, at the end of the week we email our combined word count.

I know what you’re thinking, what about all the other aspects of writing? (e.g. plotting, research, editing <- because editing is a paramount part of writing, even if you hate doing it.) Well, all of that counts, too. Instead of a word count, we send amounts of time. “Today I edited for 3 hours.”

You get the picture.

This is me inviting you to join us! Tweet me @arynyoungless your daily word count, time editing, etc. Hashtag it #writingchallenge and join in our fun. Because while writing a story often sends you to a secluded writers island – you don’t  have to be alone. Help support each other, promote each other, and motivate each other – that is a goal of mine.

Hope to hear from you!

-Aryn

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The Truth about Happy

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Nearly five years ago I received my certification as a yoga instructor. If you are familiar with yoga – and I’m talking the institution, not the physicality of it – I’m sure the title of this post tripped an onslaught of quotes and ideas. If you’re unfamiliar – and only know the physical side of the practice, well, there’s a lot more to it.

But this post isn’t about yoga.

This post is about writing.

How? What does yoga and a man repairing a steam pump have to do with writing? (see above image) The answer is – everything.

The truth about being happy is a mixture of balance, hard work, self forgiveness, and persistence. Overall, being happy is actually rather hard. It goes against most things we’ve been taught our entire lives. The world says to act one way, and our instincts tell a whole different story – and this causes struggle.

Where is a great story born from? Struggle.

As a writer I look out into the world to see where a story may lie. I people watch at the beach, or at my son’s school for my next “real” character. I read everything and anything I can get my hands on from classics like Alexandre Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Cristo” to Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s “All You Need is Kill” and than tons of news articles, wiki posts, and random blogs.

I write/edit/plot/conceive/sketch every day.

Every. Single. Day.

Good days. Bad days. All days. Write.

On the bad days – the days I can’t seem to find the “struggle” in my story, but am consumed by it with my writing, I feel like the man above.

This writing world I am part of is a cog in a steam pump, and my job is to maintain it – even when I feel it’s hopeless and will amount to nothing. This is my “writing” life. Filled with strife, struggle, oppression, tears, sweat, and sometimes blood – it’s still mine.

In yoga we are taught  the things we struggle with are what we need the work on the most. Maybe it’s understanding the sutras, or resting in some precarious arm balance – regardless the answers we’re looking for will always be on the other side of that struggle.

In writing our truth lies in the words we put on the page. Maybe today they’re not good. Maybe today they’re actually terrible. But until we accept this is our path – and that our path may not look like the paths of other writers we know, we will never find the answer. We will never know happy.

The truth about being happy  is that sometimes we won’t be.

And the truth about being a writer is that sometimes we need to not be happy so we can try to be great.

So be great. Get out of you own way. Embrace your struggles. And most of all don’t be afraid to grab a wrench and keep on moving.

The trials of writing a short story… who knew?! (That’s right, everyone did.)

wise-asteroid

 

Look up! It’s a giant rock headed right toward us!!

…or is it?…

That’s how all of this feels – and I mean “life” by “this.” Life feels like a giant rock falling out of the sky aimed directly for my forehead.

Things take longer than planned, even with all the organization I try to put in place and the schedules I create for my writing – life comes in and…

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So there is a delay, but the story will happen. I WILL have a short story to post on this site, for you to read – if you like (which I hope you will because I’d love that. No pressure… seriously. Thank you either way…)

I have no date – but the plan is before the end of the year. Secretly (not really a secret if I post it online…) I hope it will be ready for everyone to read on Holiday break! It’s the least I can do for lovelies like yourself.

UNTIL THEN! Promise to stay positive and write more posts to keep you writing!!

xx

A

 

~Yes~

 

Hello friends!

This past week I made a decision, one I would like to share with you – because putting it out there in black and white makes it even more real. First, you should probably know that this past Wednesday was my birthday – a minor life even that has helped me come to this decision, but alas – it was actually something I decided over a month ago now.

What is it, you ask? I’ve decided to say “YES”. (see gif above)

I’ve never been big on for new year resolutions, but to be frank – this is more my new year than new years ever has been. It’s the beginning of the next year of my life – the next chapter, if you will. For once I’m putting my foot down and I’m making a change, I will no longer be a “No Girl.”

Example:

Q -“Meet me for a drink?” or “Write for [insert blog]” or “Go on said adventure?”

A -“No, I’m too tired.” or  “No, I have to work in the morning.” or “No, I have my son to look after.”

This applies to many things, not just my social life (small as it is). But now I’m yelling it to the universe, “Bring it!” I say, because I’m tired of turning stuff down, I’m tired of making excuses for myself and ending up tired in the process. Basically, I’m really tired of saying, “No.”

So, for this next year – I will be saying yes.

Yes, I will. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

YES.

Time for change.

-Aryn

 

 

 

 

 

And so it goes…

 

Life continues to come at me like small rocks in a dust storm. I take a breath when I think it’s safe, but most days my face is wrapped in a protective layer of fabric as I steer my way though the network of paths before me. Soon I’ll find the right one, or maybe I’ll realize  I’m already on the right path and the storm is just part of the process.

I’ll figure it out.

I always do.

I would like to report I have been working diligently to get my first ever self published short story online! Exciting stuff (to me it REALLY exciting stuff… like “do a little dance of glee in my bedroom between writing/ editing sessions” exciting.) And this has been made possible because of the amazing Michelle Joyce Bond [who also has a blog you should check out! It’s called, “Sleeps with Notebooks“. Go there, tell her I said hi!]

Basically, this post is merely to say thank you to anyone who reads me, who helps me, who feels compelled to keep trying because of me – because you keep me going. Yup. Never give up! Never surrender! Life is too short to live a mediocre life – live one that makes you feel spectacular.

So if you’re on here wasting time because you’re having writers block, or writers angst (which is worse than a block), or you’re scared because you think you’ll never be good enough – go write something. (And then come back and share it with me. I’d love to see it.)

Sometimes those tiny rocks are just thumping you in the head to say, “wake up!” Speaking of which, a new opening chapter to Imogen Grace won’t write itself…

Happy writing!

-Aryn