Keep the Inspiration Flowing

Guest bloggers visit my website twice a month on Tuesday and Thursday. If you would like to be part of this, feel free to check out the Be A Guest Blogger page.

This week’s guest post is brought to you by my sister Kris. Thanks, Kris!

My cousin and I were talking about reading and writing the other night. She’s a preteen entertaining the idea of writing like Rachel and myself, and we were talking about working even when not motivated.

I quoted Jack London: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

Which is probably something I should do. I tend to find my mind wandering away from my writing when I’m trying to put words on paper. Half the time it’s regarding a different part of the story or a different story altogether.

There are plenty of ways to keep focused while writing. One of my favorite ways is sticking on some music. Instrumental seems to help, but I’m also partial to lyrical music as well, especially if the song shares the same energy as the scene I’m currently writing.

If I’m stuck on a particular scene in a story, I switch it up. I dive into another scene, perhaps one that I’ve been looking forward to writing. Maybe I’ll start over on the scene I was stuck on and take it in an entirely different direction.

Exercise and taking a brief break helps the creative muscles as well. Move away from the computer screen or notebook and take the puppy for a walk. One of the best times to write a story is in your mind when you’re doing other things!

My cousin seemed to get a taste of how much dedication one needed in order to write a book. Here’s hoping that she was determined, rather than daunted, in pursuing that dream!

Kristen Poli is a young woman in her mid-twenties who is obsessed with writing, video games, dogs, and chocolate. She’s always up for meeting others who share her obsessions, so feel free to say hello over at her social media.

If you would like to know more about Kris, visit her on her social media:

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Work is Hard

When you work four jobs, plus write and blog on the side trying to make that your solid career, work can get a bit hectic and busy at times.

I love teaching and I love babysitting, but it’s not exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life. Can I see myself ten years from now still teaching? Yes. But ten years from now I hope to have a few publications under my belt.

I can’t picture myself waking up every morning, going to work, then coming home to just sit around and wait for the next day to come. I can’t live in order to make money and pay bills. I want to actually do something with my life, make a difference, be important.

So I write. So I blog.

I want my writing to be my full-time job. Whether that will ever happen enough to pay my bills, I’m not sure. But I’m going to do it anyway.

What’s annoying about this is that you have to work really hard and work a lot in order to make this happen, which I have been doing and I love it.

But, as stated earlier, when you work four other jobs on top of it…

At the moment, writing doesn’t pay the bills. It’s not my career yet. It’s a passion, but it’s more of a hobby at the moment.

That being said, my other jobs have to come first. I can’t call out sick and write all day long. While that would be awesome, that would be one day I wouldn’t get paid and right now that’s not really an option.

Unfortunately, the world revolves around money.

My whole point to this post was that I haven’t made much progress on my writing lately. Drama has been happening at two of my four jobs and working such long hours, I’m too exhausted to do anything when I get home.

So that’s pretty much where I stand at the moment. I have my work cut out for me for the rest of the month and through June.

I’m counting down the days until summer (less than four more weeks!) where I can put more of my time, thought, and effort into writing and blogging. I’ll be working the summer, but it’ll only be four hours a day for four days a week for only four weeks out of the summer. This is a vast improvement to my 8-10 hours a day five days a week, plus another couple hours on the weekend.

This turned into a ranting-woe-is-me type of post and that wasn’t supposed to happen. I had a completely different point, but I guess this is where my mind wandered off to.

Is it sometimes difficult for you to balance writing, work, and anything else life throws at you?

rachel poli sign off

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Writing For Free

Why do you want to be a writer? Is it because you love creating stories to tell and sharing them with the world? Is it because you want to be rich and famous after you’re on the best-sellers list?

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

Whatever the reason, being a writer is not an easy job. You don’t write a bunch of words, send it to a publisher, they publish it on the spot, it sells, and you get a ton of money.

I’ve always been torn between being a teacher or being a writer or possibly trying to do both. I can’t express how many times people have said, “Be a writer. They make more money.” Unfortunately, that is not the case. If writing were that easy and made a ton of money, every person in the world would be an author and we’d all drown in books… now wouldn’t that be nice?

Writing does not equal money. It doesn’t matter how many books you sell; unless you’re on the best-selling list or you write the next Harry Potter series, you may have to look for a day job and write on the side.

Writing is not about the money. It’s about sharing stories whether they’re fiction or nonfiction. Writing is a way for people to escape reality, get creative, and exercise their imagination.

You need to love writing. You need have to a passion for it.

You don’t want to write. You need to write.

Further Reading:

11 Frequently Asked Questions About Book Royalties, Advances, and Money
Do You Like Or Love To Write?
Why We Write: Four Reasons

“Working” On Vacation

Every year my family and l go away for the weekend after Thanksgiving. It just happened to become tradition a few years ago and it’s great to get away for a weekend in the middle of work and school. It’s a nice break.

I am not a light packer. Anyone who knows me personally in real life can tell you that. I would pack the entire house if l could. Example: l have three unread books on my Kindle. Before we left l bought a fourth one. Because you know there’s that .5% chance that l would happen to read and finish all three books in two days with time to spare and how tragic would it be if l ran out of something to read? Now, keep in mind that l brought my Kindle in an attempt to save space by not bringing physical novels. So it kind of balances out… l guess.

Anyway, l brought my Detective Florence 2 manuscript along with two notebooks (one blank, one with the outlined notes), the notes and outline for the first novel, blank index cards, blank post-it notes, and about five pens with four highlighters and two sharpies. Again, you need a plethora of pens because there’s that slight chance they will all run out of ink in two days.

Back to the point… l did some editing yesterday and l plan on editing today as well. Now that NaNo is over, l plan to finish editing the second novel, type up the next draft of both the first and second novels, outline the third, and then write the third. I’m in for a fun ride.

So l’m texting my friend yesterday and she asked how l was doing and such. I told her l was editing.

Her response: “Why are you writing while on vacation?”

Now let’s discuss…

I love writing. I am going to do it whenever and where ever l can. It relaxes me. I don’t see it as work. Sure, it would be nice to write full-time for a job, but whether that happens or not it will always be a passionate hobby of mine.

To be honest, l think vacation is the perfect time to write for a few reasons.

1. It’s a new environment. I tend to write at my desk at my house in my office/den l share with Kris. Sometimes, in the same room, l will write on the couch using the ottoman as a desk. Sometimes l go in my bedroom. When home alone, l’ll go in the kitchen or dining room. I even write while taking a bath. If l get a moment alone at work l’ll jot down notes. You can write anywhere you think of.

2. There are barely any distractions. When writing at home l have the Internet. There are many websites l am on that l can get to with a click of a button and before l know it, it’s time for bed. There’s also the cleaning. The dusty room around me just stares me down and it bothers me. There’s mail to get–l love getting the mail. I don’t know why, l never get anything good. If l’m not at work l usually keep an eye out for it. There’s also video games, friends to see, homework to do, etc.

3. There are no other responsibilities. Kind of like the previous point, there is no real cleaning to be done. As long as l clean up after myself before l go home, l’m good. I don’t have to worry about doing homework. I don’t have to worry about anything so my mind is cleared up for everything.

4. It’s relaxing. Why write next to the heating vent at my house when l can write next to the fireplace? There is no fireplace at my house; therefore, l cannot write to the soothing crackling sound. Well… l can, but those sounds are on websites. There’s no pretty flame or heat so it’s not the same effect.

I’m sure there are many more reasons, but this is what l can come up with for now.

My friend loves that l write and she supports me with it. She’s always asking how my novels are going, what they’re about, etc. However, she knows l want to write full-time which would be my career. Career is work. Therefore, she thinks writing is work. Technically yes, as it’s a lot of hard work and it’s a long process and such.

What she doesn’t realize is how much fun it is and how people need a certain passion for writing. Writers don’t see writing as work. Writing is just using the imagination and being creative.

Working Forever

Career

The other day I was complaining about school to my co-workers. Not really “complaining,” but just saying how I would really like to be done soon. I feel as though this current semester has been dragging on since the beginning of time. Then I still have one semester left for my bachelor’s degree. Then I’m still not done and I get to start my Master’s. If everything goes according to plan, I should be officially done with school when I’m 23- or 24-years-old. Not bad, right?

So when I said this, one of the teachers in my classroom laughed and said, “Why, so you can work all the time?”

She was kidding, but she did have a point. Then again, I would rather work full time and save my money rather than work full time and have all my money go down the drain to school… with homework to do to top it off.

When I finish school that means I will have more time to write. I love my job, but just like any other normal person I don’t wish to stay there forever. I love teaching and being with the kids just as much as I love writing, but if I had to choose between the two… I would hands-down pick writing.

I want to write all the time. I want to wake up in the morning, make a cup of coffee, sit at my desk and write. I want to be able to write a couple thousand words or a few good pages, outline and make notes of a new idea, or edit an old one. Then I can go out with friends feeling accomplished and do it all over again the next day. I would certainly be living my definition of a dream.

I don’t want to have to worry about being at work at a certain time. I don’t want to have to worry about getting my homework in on time. The only deadlines I want to worry about are what my agent/publisher tells me. I want my only concern to be “should I kill off this character?”

Of course, when I finish school I’ll still have to work. Writing to pay the bills will not happen overnight, but I hope that it will eventually happen someday. I want to have the ability and the option to write all day, every day.

Whenever this happens, I won’t get the luxury of retiring like everyone else. However, by being able to sit home all day and do what I love it’ll be like I retired at a young age.

Even when I’m old and gray, I’m sure I’ll still be writing.