"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." -Vladimir Nobokov

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Inspiration 101

Ask just about any writer where they get their ideas (and believe me, I've asked this question one too many times), and they usually say something like, "everywhere," or "life," or maybe, "things that interest me." I usually thought their answers were pretty vague. What did they mean, "everywhere?" Everywhere could be anywhere! From coffee shops to outer space! The entire cosmos! 

And then I realized, that was the point. That's the reason we have to be observers. Ideas are all around us. It's just a matter of finding them. And while some people might know exactly where to go to find inspiration, I thought I'd offer what little advice I can to the rest of us who are well, feeling a little drained of ideas.

Here's my list of places to go when you're looking for inspiration:

1. Schools: Ok, so I know this might not be an option for everyone, but what better place is there for all the latest teenage gossip about who's broken up with who or why she's ignoring her supposedly best friend? There isn't. So at the risk of looking creepy, try taking a spin around your local high school. It's worth it!

2. Coffe Shops: It used to be that coffee shops were the center of business and politics. The people who went there talked to each other, and the idea of someone sitting by themselves without talking to strangers was practically nonexistent. Even though nowadays you might not always strike up a conversation with another random coffee shop customer, you can still eavesdrop and get good ideas! Its also a great place to actually write, too.

3. Downtown Office Buildings: I for one find it fascinating to watch people do what they do every day, which is work. Maybe you'll catch the security guard checking Facebook from her phone, or you'll see someone who looks like he could be a CEO taking in the view from the eighteenth floor observation lobby. All in all this is an unconventional but effective place to be inspired.

4. Art Galleries/Museums: When not people watching, sometimes writers can be inspired by   other types of art. Plus, museums are a great place to take a nice, relaxing break, while still feeding your creativity.

5. Movie Theatres: This is another great people watching venue. If you can't make it to a school, going to the movies on a Friday night gives the same effect.

6. Parks/Wild Life Reserves: Sometimes we can be inspired by the beauty of nature, or an idea pops up while we are spending some alone time in the woods. Also, a new environment, one we're not used to, can be just the thing to get the creative juices flowing.

7. Dreams: While dreams aren't exactly a place (although I know some people who might argue the opposite), they are great places for inspiration. I was reading recently about an author (her name escapes me at the moment), who dreamed she would write a bestselling novel, and she eventually did. Many people have told me to keep a notebook by my bed so I can write down my dreams, but all my dreams are usually forgotten by the time my dog is done licking my face to get me to wake up.

Well, thats about all I can think of at the moment. What places do you go for inspiration?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Writing vs. Living

Teenagers are social creatures. Not that I profess to be overly social. In fact I'm rather introverted, and often prefer to be doing things alone, like reading and writing. Oops. I guess I just proved myself wrong. Well, count me as the exception to the rule.

Now. Most teenagers are social creatures. We like to hang out, talk on the phone, and go to crowded movie theaters on Friday night. So where does writing fit in? And what about the opposite end of the scale? What about the people who are so submerged in their craft that their family hardly ever sees them, let alone long standing or potential friends?

Here's an example: My best friend is an amazing artist. Like, amazing isn't even a strong enough adjective to describe how good she is. Because she's just that amazing! But I digress... Anyway, she goes to this school that specializes in the arts and she gets bucket loads of drawing assignments. It used to be that her parents wouldn't let her go places unless she had finished a certain number of sketchbook pieces. It seems to me that any artist, no matter how good, needs to have normal life experiences as well as practicing their art. And that really boils to what this post is all about.

I guess what made me think about this today was the time that I spent with my friends in the afternoon and then playing with my dog. I said in the my last post that summer is the only time that I can really write. Well, it's also the best time to really live.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Diary of a First Time Novelist

Dear Diary,
        It's me again! As you may have heard from the pages of my other (countless) notebooks, I got it into my head that this was the summer that I was going to write a novel. Having never written a novel before, the whole process seems terribly daunting. So far I have a basic outline of the plot, and several in depth character sketches. I started writing a couple days ago, and it's going ok, but I find that I can't write for long periods of time. Maybe it's my inner editor kicking in, telling me everything has to be perfect the first time around. I know I shouldn't expect perfection, but it's hard for me to loosen up and just write. What should I do? But then again, why am I asking you this question? You're just a dumb diary :)


There you have it folks. This teenage writer is attempting a novel. Not that I haven't tried before. I've thought about taking part in NaNoWriMo, but school work pretty much takes over my life in the fall. Summer is the only time I get any real writing done. If you'd like to keep tabs on my progress, look for the picture of the typewriter on the left. 

Oh! And before I forget, let me bring your attention momentarily to the new page features. (Yay! Are you excited? 'Cause I am.) To your left you will see a place where you can follow me, a box that tells the (rather discouraging) word count of my novel-in-progress, and finally a list of blogs that I found interesting, and hope you will too. Now, if you look to your right, you will see the Daily Photo Prompt, my profile, categories, and archives. And up at the top is a quote that I thought was pretty cool.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about my writing struggles, but I'd also like to hear about yours. What work-in-progress is giving you the most trouble right now? And how do you overcome the hopeless desire for perfection?

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Hi. This is me. In leu of a more formal introduction, here are ten things I know to be true:

1. I'm a teenager, but not an angsty one. On the contrary I'm quite a happy person.
2. I love reading, and writing. I'll read anything and write about whatever new idea most interests me at the moment. (This is also the reason I have trouble finishing most works in progress.)
3. I play the piano, and can be minorly obsessive about it at times, especially movie themes. I love to play movie themes.
4. I have an unexplainable phobia of taking medicine. First it was the icky liquid stuff and even today I still have to get into a certain mindset before getting up the courage to swallow a pill. 
5. I don't watch very much programmed TV, but I've been subjected to countless movies. (My family is a big fan of Netflix)
6. Summer is the best time of year. No exceptions.
7. I am the proud owner of a 1930's typewriter (a Remette), which was a fifth grade graduation present and, I have found, an instant crowd pleaser.
8.  Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate? Most definitely Dark.
9. I'm running out of things to say. Maybe I'll sneak in a reference to Because of Winn-Dixie and leave this list at nine.

So yeah. Now you know more about me. As far as this blog is concerned, it's mostly going to be about writing and books and possibly a few random music posts. It is also about conquering the ever present blank page, and freeing yourself with words. Because isn't that what writing's all about?