Writer’s Block

Writer’s block…the bane of writers everywhere. That feeling of wanting to write but not being able to put words to paper (or laptop). It’s beyond frustrating.

I’ve been stuck on and off for several months, and I think the only reason I managed to finish a crucial character profile yesterday was because I sat down and forced myself to do it. Plus, with a little help from my best friend, she helped talk me through the remaining details I needed.

Currently I’m stuck mainly because there’s a five year old running around and she’s very distracting. In a good and a bad way. Good because I love her to death and I love hearing her play and getting to play with her. Bad because she likes to scream as loud as she possibly can and can also be equally loud during a tantrum. Since I’m visiting her and her mommy, my best friend, it’s a bit difficult to get some quiet time during the day except when little one is down for a nap. That, on top of six seasons of My Little Pony, two seasons of Littlest Pet Shop, and feeling stifled in general with my story, has left me in a constant state of writer’s block, and hearing only the voices of the various ponies from MLP.

However, I must admit, I’ve been having fun and this small child has been giving me prime examples of how to show someone being temperamental. She’s the definition of temperamental. Now I just have to translate it to the behavior of a teenager without them sounding angsty. Not sure how I’m going to do that…

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The Power of Creation

As a writer, creating is something that’s ingrained in me. You might say it’s my lifeblood. I absolutely relish that feeling when something in my stories finally clicks and comes together in total perfection.

But lately, I’ve been feeling stifled in the writing area and every time I feel like writing, or have some urge of thoughts that need writing down, once I get to the page, they’re gone. Or as is in most cases, I can’t fully express whatever thoughts are going on in my head and I’m left unsatisfied.

Instead, as I’m sure most writers can appreciate, in the artful pursuit of mastering procrastination, I’ve been diving headfirst into my crochet projects, which give both a visible and tangible sense of creation. Take the abominable snow monster I was working on in the last post. I can pick him up, fill him with stuffing, touch and feel him…He’s a visible, tangible source of creation. The same goes for the blanket I’m working on, which has been set aside for the moment due to the Bumble. And just this morning, I had a burst of ideas jump out at me for future crochet projects, like an amigurumi Link and cosplay Silver/Gold Gauntlets from Legend of Zelda for my friend Jerad as a housewarming gift, and a My Little Pony Princess Cadence hat for my little niece.

Now I can’t be entirely sure why I’m getting all these creative bursts for yarn-related crafts; however since I’ve been crippled with what I can only describe as writer’s block since, well, January maybe, I’m guessing that’s what it is. There are still creative juices flowing. They’re just being focused through another outlet.

Writing isn’t as tangible, even if you’re writing in a notebook or printing off pages you typed up on the computer. You can’t see or touch or smell whatever it is you’re creating (unless you’re truly gifted and/or writing in a specific location that you’re basing your writing on, like a coffee shop, etc.). For me, anyway, there’s only the visualization process, where I can only see the characters and places I create in my mind’s eye. And lately, even that’s been getting more and more difficult for me to accomplish. It’s awful. It feels like an essential part of me is missing and I don’t know how to get it back. (Which is really resonating with me because I watched Moana last night before bed and it seems like that’s what happened to the “villain” of the story.)

Even now, in just trying to finish this post, my mind has gone completely blank. I hope this is not a sign of my gift with words is gone. I still have a book to finish writing/editing! But it’s more than just sitting down and getting it written, more than simply waiting for inspiration to strike (because let’s face it, sometimes inspiration strikes as rarely as lightning). It’s about being in the right mindset, being in the right mood, and being willing to shut everyone and everything out temporarily to get something, anything done on the page. And in such a fast-paced world, finding time to slow down is a challenge in itself.

What do you do to overcome writer’s block? Or overcome a challenge you’ve met in other ways, like a crafting project, a new workout routine, or even getting your dream job? How do you find the motivation to sit down (or stand up) and get whatever you’re working on finished? Please share your thoughts and comments below! Much love!! ❤ ❤

Writing on Command

Does anyone else have issues writing on command? I can bet that in at least every single creative writing class, you’ve been given a subject and five minutes to write about it. And I don’t know about you, but for at least the first 30 seconds to a minute, I stare at the page and my mind goes completely blank.

It could even be about something simple like apple pie. I’m sure there are a lot of people whose first thought is about the smell or the taste. Me, I’m trying to come up with the “Why” of the matter. Why apple pie? Why not blueberry or peach or cherry? And then half a dozen other questions arise, like who’s making the pie, who are they making it for and why, etc. and I’m being battered by all these thoughts.

Eventually I’ll come up with something plain like “Grandma’s apple pie sat on the windowsill waiting to cool off while the grandkids played outside and grandpa slept in the recliner in front of the tv.” And that will be all I can do in 5 minutes. Now, given ample time to think through all the random questions, and more than 5 minutes to write, I can make a paragraph that’s completely different and more descriptive.

“Grandma set her freshly baked apple pie on the windowsill to cool off. Its warm, spicy scent wafted through the house, as she had added a little extra cinnamon, just how grandpa liked it. She and her grandkids, Todd and Lily, had picked the apples that morning at the orchard just down the dirt road. Todd and Lily were still outside playing a game of hide and seek while grandpa dozed in his recliner in front of the old tv with the wire rabbit ears. Grandma smiled as she started to wash the dishes in warm soapy water. Once those kids smelled the pie, they would abandon their game and come running inside, begging for a piece of it while it was still hot.”

This paragraph covers more of the senses and is more descriptive that the initial sentence (and yes, it took me about an hour to craft just this last night). This is something that plagues me as a writer. I can work with writing prompts, but not time limits. My brain needs time to process and think through all possibilities and even then, I may not actually perceive ALL the possibilities.

It doesn’t help that I’m mentally bored with my job so naturally my mind kicks in to autopilot halfway through my day. There’s just not enough stimulation there, and then when I’m done with work, I need a break from the mental monotony and instead I dive into more hands-on crafting like my crochet projects.

I know I said I would work more on my writing this year but the last month I’ve really slacked off and I need something to jolt my creative juices again.

Over to you guys! How do you break out of your own ruts and get the creative juices flowing again? I’d love to hear your suggestions and tips!

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And now for a special update!

The past couple days, I’ve been working on one of my mother’s crochet projects because I thought it would be small and easy to crank out in a few hours. Well, it’s turning into a few days, but it’s not all that bad. I needed a break from my blanket and this has been fun. It’s my first amigurumi, the Bumble snow monster from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He still needs a face and arms, but I’ll work on those later.

Bumble Amigurumi

In addition, I have to commend my mother on starting one of her own sewing projects, which is a quilt of valor for my godmother’s son, who’s a Marine, and she is making considerable progress on it without my prompting. I’m really proud of her for putting as much effort in as she has over the past few days, whenever she had some free time. What she has done looks great. I’ll try to get pictures for next time.

Zelda-ed Out

Sorry for not posting much in the past few weeks. It’s been kind of chaotic here.

So, for the past two weeks, my friend Jerad has been spending the night here and playing (almost) every Legend of Zelda game he owns. He recently bought the last three he didn’t have previously, but they were not included in his marathon. He had estimated his gaming marathon at taking 10, maybe 11 days. Today is day 13 and he’s still working on the last one. Sounds like a long vacation of sorts, right?

To be honest, I haven’t minded having him here for that long. I’ve actually been enjoying his company and watching all the different Zelda games, some of which I’ve never played before, and I’m going to be a little sad when he leaves. On the other hand, I haven’t really been on my usual schedule for those two weeks and haven’t had much alone time to decompress so I’m looking forward to having that back tomorrow. But having him here for so long got me thinking on how he’s been a good influence on me and how I’m not completely drained physically or mentally.

Since he’s been here, I’ve had several days where I went over my step goal of 6,000 steps (and yes I know it’s supposed to be 10K a day, but I needed to work up to that from sitting all the time) because I went for walks with him while he went Pokemon hunting and we chatted during those walks, which was nice. I haven’t been stress eating because I’m not all that stressed, despite not having a great deal of work this week, which also means I haven’t touched my chocolate stash in several days. And on top of my lack of stress eating, I’ve been eating healthier foods and snacks all around, from grapes and apple slices to cherries, carrots, and asparagus. It hasn’t all been healthy (like the ice cream bars and the hot dogs and chips) but it’s been pretty balanced overall, which I haven’t really been able to do by myself.

I think the most important thing he’s done while he’s been here is not leave me feeling completely drained and overwhelmed, which is difficult in itself because we’ve also had extra company over the past two weekends that I wasn’t expecting. But he hasn’t made me feel frantic or panicked or anything like that. He knows about my anxiety and has been taking it into account, even going so far as to help with my impromptu babysitting needs. When a discussion about Gia came up (while I was still babysitting), I heard him mention something about trying to coax an apology from me to her (since she had told him she would not apologize to me until I did and maybe then she would admit she overreacted). But my dad told him something, I didn’t quite hear the details because I was in the other room with the four year old girl I was watching, but what I did catch was that after all the stuff Gia had said about me and my family, I was the one deserving of an apology and Jerad said that he hadn’t known about whatever it was my dad told him. Since then, there has been no discussion whatsoever about an apology or about Gia.

I appreciate that he still has faith the friendship will resume after we’ve both had some time to cool off and be apart, but we’ve been “apart” for four years now and I’ve just started to see how toxic she really is. After two years I’ve finally found my voice again, my own personality, and I’m no longer a needy, dependent little girl looking for any friends that’ll have me. I am a strong, independent woman who doesn’t have time for anyone else’s drama or issues. I decide which friends to keep and which friends aren’t worth the effort. Being in a one-sided relationship is never worth it, especially if you’re the only one putting in any effort.

A Little Self Reflection

I am a sucky friend. Some days I’m not even sure why people want to be friends with me. I tell myself and others that I’m delightful and fun to be around, but right now, I’m not so sure. I’m needy, and a bit clingy and selfish. I don’t always pick up on subtle clues that something’s wrong with someone else or I do/say something that I think is innocent but sometimes comes off hurtful or snarky, and I can’t take it back or apologize enough.

And I’m not saying this for pity’s sake or attention or anything like that. Nor am I doing it to upset anyone for making me feel bad. As the title suggests, I’m doing a little self reflection and acknowledging some of my flaws. That’s how we get better and grow as people, right?

Yesterday my best friend needed me, and I let her down. I was so absorbed in my game that I didn’t recognize her not talking to me was because she was upset with me. I only thought it was because she was focusing on her homework with a migraine, which is hard enough without having to focus on a side conversation. So I ignored it, and that was wrong on my part.

On the other hand, part of my brain was also stressing about cleaning house this week for having Jerad over for a long “vacation” of sorts and possibly next weekend (Father’s Day) having another mutual friend over for the weekend. Are these friends any more important than my best friend? Hell no. These three people are the most important friends I have and quite frankly, the only ones I think I’ll ever need. So why did two take priority over one?

The only honest to goodness answer I can come up with is because I wasn’t consciously in the moment. I was too wrapped up in my game and focused on future events that I wasn’t focused on the here and now.  I know my anxiety plays a role in that, especially since that whole Gia debacle, I feel that my need to clean house this week is not only for Jerad’s and my sake, but quite possibly an overcompensation on my part to not appear like Gia in resisting the need to clean. (Plus my allergies on top of that; however my new air purifier seems to be working like a charm!)

That being said, I’m going to try to work extra hard today and all future days to put my friends first, and make it up to my best friend so hopefully she can forgive me for letting her down when she needed me.

True Freedom

It’s very freeing, being out from under the yoke of your oppressor.

This was the very first sentence used to start this blog, and now it’s never been truer. When I started this blog, I had only made the mental decision to rid the toxic person from my life. I hadn’t deleted contact info, or social media contacts. I was always worrying about having to reply to awkward texts and having to be polite in them, even though I didn’t want to.

Now I don’t have to do any of that. I’ve deleted the contact info and social media contacts. I no longer expect to get any more texts, especially after I didn’t respond to the last one, though for now I’m keeping it as a reminder of what manipulation looks like. I am truly free.

Which means I can focus all my energy on my hobbies, my gaming, my writing! I’m on my second to last major character profile, which is proving difficult because he’s a mercenary. But I’m still there! My elemental ripple blanket is going so well also. I’ve moved onto the green, though I haven’t taken a full photo with the green on it.

And I’m working on my Final Fantasy gaming challenge, just got past Nibelheim in FF7 and I’m hoping today I can get to disc 2. However my cousin and her girlfriend are up for the weekend, and I don’t know how much time they’ll be spending up here visiting so maybe I won’t get to disc 2. But I’m still going to try.

And with that, my lovelies, I bid you adieu and never forget that you are the key to your own happiness. No one can make you unhappy unless you let them. Be true to yourself, let your nerd flag fly high, and rejoice in whatever makes you happiest. Much love ❤

Lost and Found

Now that things have calmed down a little and I’m more level headed, allow me to give you a little context for my recent explosion.

Monday morning I was sent a group text by Gia about getting together for a summer hangout time, since all four of us were home/in the state (we have a mutual friend who’s going to school in Arizona right now). Along the way of deciding dates and such, I made a simple, polite request for Gia to clean her apartment because of my health issues (allergies, mostly). I even included a remark that my allergies had been getting worse and that anything from animal hair to dust to pollen was aggravating my sinuses. And I knew firsthand that I wouldn’t enjoy myself if I had to spend most of the weekend with an ice pack to my face. Here’s where the first of the sparks fly.

Gia’s first response was half-heartedly sincere, but she had to point out that she ALWAYS tries to clean her place before guests arrive. Note the key word “tries.” Then she added that she’ll shave her cats and hire a maid service, and not to be surprised if her cats magically had all their hair back come the weekend we had settled on. If you can’t tell, this was heavy sarcasm. First off, the fact that she had to point out that she always tries to clean her place annoyed me because it’s a lie, unless cleaning house doesn’t include dishes or taking out the recyclables. Second, I can take a joke, but the sarcasm regarding her cats and a maid service was not only unnecessary but also showed me her true unwillingness to take my request seriously. For those of you who’ve had sinus infections or have allergies and no medication seems to offer relief, it’s no fun having your face hurt and not being able to do anything about it.

In any case, I ignored the sarcasm because I know that’s how her personality is. Next came the discussion of who would pick up who, what routes to take, etc. and after much discussion and a period of silence, I decided to make an executive decision: to have Jerad pick me up late afternoon that Friday so we could go up to Gia’s, and Gia could pick up our other friend around the time he was done with work. Well, earlier Gia had mentioned that she could get off work at noon and in my executive decision, I mentioned that she could use that extra time to clean her apartment before getting our other friend, not in a mean sort of way. I just know she’s busy with a full time job and she’s very tired after work and I understand that sometimes you just don’t have the energy to do something. Plus I’ve heard her mention to me several times she “ran out of time” or “didn’t have the energy” to clean the place up. So my suggestion to use the afternoon to clean was meant to be helpful, not hurtful.

Gia takes it as hurtful and responds with a photo that said, “Bitch, don’t tell me what to do,” and that I am not ok with her place and if the other two can think of a better place to meet, that would be great. To which I responded that I just wouldn’t come if she was going to be that way about a simple request. It should also be noted that I’ve been having an anxiety attack for about an hour and both of my parents have seen it and been trying to council and console me.

The next day Gia sends a message to all of us to “disregard and cancel all plans made yesterday. I forgot I had babysitting duties that weekend.” My first thought: Are you fucking kidding me? You triggered an anxiety attack on me for nothing?! And of course, this is where I snapped and deleted her from all my emails, my phone, and my social media. And then the narcissistic manipulator comes out and sends me a long text the following morning with this great sob story about how I’m immature for taking her off my social media and that I’m not the only one with medical issues; how this could’ve been resolved by a little self awareness and we could’ve talked it out like mature adults. But the way she wrote it makes it sound like she’s the victim, the only one with hurt feelings, and she pulled Jerad into it by saying something along the lines of having to mention her own health issues because “a little birdy whom apparently speaks for you had to lecture me since you apparently do not comprehend sarcasm anymore.”

I mentioned before that I recognized her sarcasm and ignored it. However, the fact that she blatantly attacked Jerad for no reason really irritated me. First of all I’m sure he wasn’t actually lecturing her. He’s too nice a guy for that. And second, I didn’t ask him to speak for me. He did that all himself, for which I thanked him in genuine appreciation for because sometimes it’s hard for me to speak at all, especially during an attack. I’m glad he wanted to be an advocate for me.

Since receiving this long text, I have not responded or risen to meet her challenge. I’ve had several long internal thoughts of writing a revenge letter or something about karma being a bitch, but up until now, I haven’t written anything down. It should also be noted that she pulled this same kind of thing when we were living together and having all the tension. She messaged me a big long spiel about everything we were both feeling at the time and when I responded via the messenger that I felt the exact same way, her retort, in all caps, was “And yet no words!” I don’t remember what else she put with that but I was hysterical and bawling my eyes out because I was desperate to end the fighting and once I calmed myself down enough, I managed to go out to the living room by her and apologize, even though I wasn’t the only one at fault. (I never got an apology from her.)

So I know where this trap goes and although I may have lost a 10 year friendship, I’ve found something more important. Confidence, self respect, and freedom from my tormentor. Being that this year is meant to be about taking care of myself and finding new things about myself, letting go of this abusive friendship is refreshing and freeing, and I feel so much lighter now that it’s finally over. It might’ve been messy and volatile, but it’s done and over with, and that’s what matters. No one has the right to bring you down and make you out to be the bad guy when you’ve done nothing wrong, though I will admit I wasn’t perfect either and things could’ve been handled better. But your reaction to a situation shows what kind of person you are, and if you need to walk away before things explode, to avoid getting burned, then don’t be afraid to walk away. Some things just aren’t worth it.