Weekly Writing Inspiration: May 9, 2013

What’s inspiring me this week? I’m so glad you asked! I’ve been extraordinarily busy with a variety of content projects, so I haven’t been able to scour the web for as many resources as I’d like to normally provide. Still, a few articles about content writing, SEO, and social media really piqued my interest. I want to make this blog as good as I can and I would like to expand my writing business as much as possible. It is my hope that these articles and resources will help to expand my horizons and push me toward actually accomplishing my goals. Stranger things have happened!

 

writing inspiration

Source: Eirik Newth

  1. NetVibes. This is basically a feed reader, but it’s keeping everything I want to read in one place. You can also track news feeds, hashtags, and social media accounts. I haven’t explored these latter features yet but the feed reader widget is coming in very handy.
  2. 7 Simple Tactics to Create Blog Content That Spreads Like Wildfire. A post about making your content go viral, but it’s really about writing good content in general. Some good tips here we should all be reminded of before pressing “Publish.”
  3. How to Sell Without Selling. Really interesting take on how to write sales materials that skip the benefits-oriented approach. Good ideas here that go back to that whole idea of “trusting your reader.”
  4. 14 Bloggers Share Their Daily Blogging Routine. I always enjoy a good peak at writers’ processes. This post gives you a “day in the life” look at 14 successful bloggers. If anything, it showed me that it’s not about finding time to write. It’s about making time.

That’s it for this week. What’s inspiring you this week? Feel free to share. I like learning what makes other creatives motivated.

I Keep My Muse in the Cellar

She's waiting for you down here.

Well, not exactly.

I live in California and we don’t have cellars here. Nor do I have a basement. But I guess I have a cellar in the recesses of my mind. It’s a dark and dank place filled with cobwebs and crawling things that nibble on my toes when I’m not looking. It’s a place where my worst fears set up camp and every once in a while they climb up the stairs and knock on the door to the rest of the house to get my attention. Other times, I find I’ve left the door open a crack and they creep into my forebrain. This usually occurs when I’m alone in a dark place and every noise becomes a monster.

But those creepy-crawlies are just primal fears and horrors. They’re not the meat and potatoes. No, more than any of this, the cellar is where I keep my muse.

After a quick Twitter discussion with R.C. Murphy, I got to thinking about what my muse looks like. Funny thing is, I didn’t have to think much at all.

My muse is a little girl.

She’s about eight years old and wears a pink dress that ties in the back. Her hair is pinned back with a soft pink bow and the rest falls about her shoulders in ringlets. She wears white tights and black doll shoes and holds her hands in front of her, ever-clasped, and she looks up at you and says, “I am innocent, I can do no wrong.”

What she doesn’t tell you, however, is that she’s the master of the aforementioned creepy-crawlies. She sends them out to do her bidding and she sits back and laughs and twirls around to see how much she can make her dress fan out.

She is every stereotypical horror film’s “creepy child” rolled into one. She’s me. She’s what I could have become. She whispers secrets–dark ones–in my ear and forces me to write them down. “Or else,” she says.

Or else.

So, what does your muse look like? Does it have a face? If you haven’t personified your inspiration, how would you describe it?

 

Published

shapeimage_1SATURDAY, AUGUST 29, 2009

Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer. Okay, so that might be overstating things a bit. I can distinctly remember a period when I was fifteen or so when I didn’t want to be much of anything. However, when I was three, hadn’t a clue about letters, words or sentences and couldn’t read or write even one teenytinybit, I wanted to be a writer. My parents decked me out with tablets, pens, pencils and markers galore. I’d sit on the beige carpet in my bedroom, scribbling on the blank sheets with endless energy. I filled notebook after notebook. Sketch pad after sketch pad. Now, I know what you’re thinking: if I couldn’t write, then what was I writing anyway? The answer is simple. I drew lines. I drew squiggles. I made loopy cursive imitations that, in my just-past-toddler brain looked like my mom’s own cursive hand. I wasn’t quite ready for my dad’s all-capital print.

ct1-6_markersI sat on the floor next to the bench–yes, I had a bench in my bedroom–and scribbled away. Afternoons rolled by and so did the pages. If only writing came so easy, now. I’d speak the words I “wrote” aloud, telling myself the stories I knew I wasn’t committing to paper.

Before kindergarten, my parents guided me through the pre-school handbooks to prepare the new-to-school five-year-old for reading and mastering the ABC’s. I flew through the books. Amazing how young children pick up language. The letters were second nature. It was like I already knew them. They’d just needed to be given a name.

Once I could get through rudimentary books without the aid of an adult, I’d pronounce throughout the house, “I can read!” in a mocking, self-congratulatory tone not befitting of a proper young lady. My mom could no longer leave the Christmas shopping list out in plain view. She had a kindergarten spy on her hands that needed to be dealt with appropriately.

MV5BMTY0NzU0NjM0MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMTc1ODM2._V1._SX322_SY400_Throughout elementary school, I penned several stories that I’d rather forget. One had to do with a hot air balloon and a fire-breathing sandman. Another dealt with kids roaming a house where a woman was trapped in the walls. Yes, I’ve always had a fondness for the macabre and horrific. Blame my dad.

As I got older, writing and I weren’t always on the best of terms. I loathed school. I let the social pressures of middle and high school ruin what I’d always loved. Reading and writing became “have-to’s” instead of “want-to’s.” I did have a few teachers that encouraged me, always English instructors, that despite my awkwardness and inattentiveness made me feel like I had something to offer (I’m looking at you Ms. Lundberg, Ms. Fletcher and Ms. McCabe!).

College changed everything. All of a sudden, I loved school. The social crap didn’t matter. I could focus on what I loved: reading and writing. Still, most of my time was spent writing papers, essays and pouring over “have-to” texts. I soaked it up, desperately trying to make up for my high school slackerness. Creative writing classes brought me back to square one. I was the little girl sitting on the carpet scribbling images of words. The world of storytelling opened up to me.

slushI’ve dabbled with submitting my work since college. But the past month has proved fruitful. A fiction acceptance at Tweet the Meat, a Twitter horror-zine, and a poetry acceptance at Electric Velocipede have given me the encouragement (hell, I’ll admit it, the validation) I needed.

So what’s next? Several stories are in the slush piles of magazines that span the current spectrum of sci-fi and horror online and print publications. I await my rejections anxiously.

Most importantly, I realized if I want to be writer, I had better go ahead and be one. So that’s what I’m working on now–the act of being a writer. And for the first time, I think I can do it.

Committing Pen to Paper

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2008

I have a problem. You see, when I started out this career as a writer, I was excited. Overjoyed, really. My brain overflowed with words and phrases that couldn’t wait to leap from mere thought to actuality. I took any and every job I could get. I was exhilarated at the thought of “what’s next.” But then something funny happened. Writing just any old words wouldn’t do.

I’d reached the point where I was no longer satisfied cranking out mediocrity. Oh sure, it seemed fine and well. All of my “i’s” were dotted and “t’s” were crossed. But I knew I could do better.

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Because there are sometimes when I just want to write. I just want to watch the words from my pen thunder and crash in cursive waves. I want to relish in the experience of committing thoughts to the page with no fear of repercussion. I want that liberation of knowing these words are mine and the thoughts they sprang from are mine and nothing can ever take them from me. Yet, there’s the simultaneous desire to share and spread the words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs across the farthest reaches of space. A stretch? Maybe. But the feeling is whole and real.

This is my long-winded way of saying I will be writing here much more often. In fact, I’m committing to it. This is my place to write for me. And once the work of the day is done, I can sit back and reflect and just offer my honest thoughts and genuine feelings. It’s really not as sappy as it sounds.

Now, I can speak of what concerns me. And the best part is there’s no hourly rate involved.