Write In Order to Heal

It amazes me that more people don’t utilize writing as a therapeutic tool. There are few things in life more cathartic than writing down your struggles, stresses, painful experiences, and emotional turmoil. So many of the issues I’ve faced have been worked out on the page.

Studies have shown that there are obvious benefits to it, as a matter of fact. I am in complete agreement. It’s the same concept as talking out a problem–either with a friend or in actual therapy. Simply telling your story can help release some of the pain and hurt from a situation. I definitely attribute a lot of my emotional strength to my love for writing. I’ve been journaling since about second grade and while I have never tried writing poetry to be published (nor am I sure I ever would), I use poetry quite often to tell a story about something that I’ve gone through, or some emotion I’ve felt.

For me telling my stories (even just to myself in my own journals) essentially gets them off my chest. If I’m stressing about something writing it down makes it possible for me to move on from it; leave it behind me rather than hold it inside and let it fester.

This is why it has become a dream of mine to start some sort of writing program for high school kids. Life goals!

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Freelance Resources of a Spoiled Generation

The Internet makes life so much easier, doesn’t it?

I’ve come across various online resources for my freelance business, and it makes me wonder what people did before the Internet. We are so spoiled. HaHa!

One resource I really like, though I haven’t used it all that much yet, is Elance.com. I use it to search for writing and editing gigs, and it seems like there are tons of options. So far I just haven’t really cracked down, but as I mentioned in my previous post I am working on changing that!

I would definitely suggest checking it out if you are a freelancer yourself. There are posts from all over the globe, really. For all kinds of projects–personal, corporate, educational, etc. They were pretty thorough in the whole profile verification process, too. You have to schedule a Skype call where an Elance employee takes a photo of you to verify your identity, based on your display photo, I believe.

I hope everyone is having a fabulously productive Tuesday! It’s gloomy & rainy here in normally sunny Phoenix. Makes for a nice change of pace, but I must admit that I miss the sunshine!

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Creativity & Business Collide

Fact: I need to learn more about marketing myself as a freelance editor.

I am not naturally a “business-savvy” type of person. Some people are born for business dealings and the like, but that is not me. My brother is that type. His mind is that of an entrepreneur. Business, finances, marketing, etc… that is where he excels.

My mind is (clearly) that of a creative type. Thinking about the nuts & bolts of business just… ugh… makes me cringe. What I’ve recently realized, though, is that it makes me cringe because I’m not familiar with it. I’m not confident in that realm. And what is life if not a never-ending opportunity for personal growth?!

So, I am taking it upon myself to get a little bit uncomfortable, and learn something new. I mean, I need to anyway, if I want to be successful as a freelance editor. I’ve had some clients and created a website (possibly switching to a new site in the near future), but I’m lacking the necessary marketing tools/knowledge to grow it further.

To Amazon I went. Two used books are on their way to me, and I’ve carved out a bit of time every morning to do some online searching for gigs. It’s a start, right?

As always, wish me luck! HaHa.

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Am Reading

Lately I’ve been making myself sit down to read more often. As I’ve stated before, it’s not that I don’t LOVE to read… but ever since becoming an “adult” I can’t sit and read for hours upon hours like I used to. I get distracted with all these other things I need to do, or I’m exhausted from a long day and reading puts me to sleep.

So anyway, I’ve been reading more often and currently I’m about 80% through QUEEN OF THE TEARLING. It got some craptastic reviews on Goodreads, but I’m really enjoying it! I must not be part of the cool kid group. HaHa. :)

It’s quite long, but there haven’t been many places where I’m skimming entire pages (that happens a lot for me when writers get super wordy with descriptions of landscapes and what-not). I like the main character and I’m entertained by the plot so… no problems for this girl! I don’t know if they’re marketing it as young adult, but I wouldn’t call it young adult. Some of the events are a little graphic (rape, violence, etc.) and there are some “f bombs” throughout.

Anyway–that’s what currently holds my interest! Next up is going to be some more Carlos Ruiz Zafon. <3

Creative Push

It’s amazing to me what a little push of inspiration can do.

The other day I used a B&N gift card to buy “624 Things to Write About” and the prompts are great so far!

Of course it’s wonderful to sit down with a blank screen/page and have creativity just pour out of you without need for prompts, but sometimes we need a little bit of a nudge in the right direction. It puts me back into that college workshop mentality. Sitting down with a group, getting the same bit of inspiration as everyone else, and going with it. That was always interesting–to see where people’s minds went. Creativity is great like that–very specific to each person who is cultivating it.

I am a busy girl currently with a lot on my mind (two volunteer mentoring gigs, full time job and part-time job, trying to get a book published, other personal situations) so being able to sit down for a brief amount of time but still have a decent amount of creative productivity is amazing! And much needed. :)

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A Quiet Moment

When is the last time you just… sat quietly?

I suppose I should preface by saying I do have this luxury, as a childless young woman who lives alone (save for my sweet, sweet Lillie cat).

That being said, I don’t do it as often as I would like. The other night I went out onto my patio, turned on my decorative, soft patio lights, lit a cherry cigarillo (shhh, I know, I know. It’s just an occasional treat!), turned on some hip-hop, poured a glass of wine and sat with my thoughts.

It was glorious. Almost meditative.

Then I did some writing, some reading, and journaling. God it was awesome. I definitely think I should make it more of a habit.

The only thing really stopping me from doing it every night I’m home by myself (sans boyfriend) is this Arizona heat. :) It’s still 90 degrees at 8 p.m. which is a slight deterrent. And actually I don’t know why I just said when I’m home without my boyfriend visiting, because we’ve done it together before and that’s almost better. To know you can just sit in the silence with one another, each in your own little world, relaxing and still somehow enjoying each others company… it’s a lovely feeling.

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Let’s Try This Again

I took a few deep breaths, and I think I can rewrite this post now. HaHa! Seriously though, don’t you HATE that?! You write out this entire thing and you’re all jazzed about it, and then you forget to save. THE WORST EVER. Ugh. Moving along.

Books. I got my library card on Friday (hadn’t done it since technically moving to a different city) and then Saturday took a trip to Changing Hands (Twitter: @changinghands), a lovely, local cornucopia of books, so I just have books on the brain.

When I walk into a library or bookstore there is a very distinct physical feeling I get. It’s as if my heart reaches out, hungrier than ever for words and stories and other worlds and lives to explore. I genuinely feel it, this yearning. I don’t know where it comes from. Basically from the moment I learned to read, I’ve been devouring books as often as possible.

I don’t want to compare it to a spiritual experience, but it really almost feels that way. In the sense that when I pick up a book, feel its pages, and read its words… it feeds my soul, I guess. It gives me a sense of joy and peacefulness unlike almost anything else.

I’m sure I had more written on the subject, but that’s the gist of it. :) Book nerd status.

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Good. Lord.

I had this whole post written up yesterday… and apparently never saved it. I forget that WordPress doesn’t save automatically like Gmail. Ugh! 

I need a minute. -__-

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This post isn’t particularly writing-related, but oh well. Sometimes we veer off the path, right? :)

On Thursday I have orientation for a volunteer program, and I’m so excited about it! It’s a great program working with middle and high school students to kind of guide them toward college. The kids sign up voluntarily and must be first generation college hopefuls. How great does that sound?! I will essentially be a mentor to one of the students.

My current volunteer mentor program is still going on (and is wonderful!) but technically it ends in a couple of months. I will obviously still keep in touch with that “mentee” though! She’s a wonderful girl, and I always want to be some part of her life.

That’s what I love about mentoring. Connecting with someone and making a positive impact in their life. I think that’s one of the most important things in life; to spread inspiration, positivity, and love to as many people as you can!

Also (okay I guess sort of writing related now!) I love having these experiences with different programs because it’s a goal/dream of mine to start my own. Maybe not an entire organization… but some sort of writing program for kids. To cultivate creativity within them and I guess, inspire them. To let them know that they don’t have to be some epic romantic poetry writer to benefit from writing. It’s therapeutic!

That’s all for now, kids!

Pitch Wars – Second Attempt!

I will be having another go at Pitch Wars this year… yikes!

If you aren’t sure what that is and you are interested… go see one Miss Brenda Drake for more details! She’s the woman in charge of it all. :)

Basically, I will pitch my book to various mentors in the hopes of one of them choosing me. If so, they will help me get my manuscript in top condition, and then in a few months I will pitch it to the agents who are partaking in hopes of actually getting an agent. Woo hoo!

Last time I had good feedback, but it seemed that I miscategorized my novel. Magical realism and urban fantasy can have many similar characteristics and I couldn’t decide! Wikipedia’s description of magical realism is: “a genre where magic elements are a natural part in an otherwise mundane, realistic environment.” Urban fantasy is described as: “a sub-genre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting.” My novel is set in the modern day world, in a standard, realistic American city, and has some mythological elements in the form of special powers that the main character has. Do you see my confusion?!

I ended up choosing magical realism, and two mentors told me that they had to pass because they weren’t interested in urban fantasy, and that’s what my novel seemed like to them. #fail

HaHa! Nah, not a fail… just a learning experience!

I’ve obviously worked on my query further, so hopefully it will be even better! And hopefully my urban fantasy choice will be largely agreed upon. :)

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