It’s finally Sring time! The first official day of Spring was Friday, March 20 and I know I’m not the only one who was excited about that.
This is a time of renewal and rebirth. And allergies. So many allergies.
Do you find inspiration in this time? In the yellow daffodils and your ability to walk outside without a jacket? I feel like this is the poets’ time. Or, at least a time for those poets who have a passion or attachment to nature.
I know that the weather has inspired me to shave my legs for the first time in months and also to contemplate an attempt at gardening on my apartment balcony. And part of me keeps contemplating tackling the idea of Spring cleaning, but it seems that I’d rather cook and go to the gym.
My fiction writing tends to be affected by the season in which I’m writing it. Is anybody else like this?
I typically start a work off in the season that I’m currently living. I’m sure this doesn’t always hold true, but it’s so much easier to look out the window and be inspired by my surroundings to create a scene than to try to remember what the world looked like before that particular temperature change hit.
Take my novel, Collecting Humanity as an example. I currently too buried in track changes to remember what scene I start it off in, but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t the Fall. I did, after all, write the entire thing in November.
Yesterday was Langston Hughes‘ birthday; he would have been 113 years old. Did you see the Google Doodle that was made in honor of him? If you don’t have the time to watch it, here’s the poem featured in it.
I Dream a World
By Langston Hughes
I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such a dream, my world!
I wonder, have we obtained the world he dreamed of?
Hughes was a part of the Jazz Poetry era–it’s hard not to feel the rhythm in this one poem while imagining it being set to music. That’s something that I would like to be able to do with my poetry someday. But I’ve never been good at rhythm.
Honestly, what I’d really like to be able to do is achieve the timelessness that Hughes created in this one poem. These 16 lines have both a power and a very real presence in our world today, over 40 years after his passing. All of us become memories, but some memories last longer…
It’s my work more than my name that I’m concerned with though. If I could write something that helps just one person, something that they remember and share with others, my ultimate writing goal would be fulfilled.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Hughes!
Obviously, I haven’t been on here as often as I would like to be for the past couple of weeks or so. I’d love to say it’s because I’ve been editing Collecting Humanity or working on some other sort of writing project, but no such luck.
I did do a tiny bit of editing last night and I have been keeping up with my planner/journal every day. I’ve also been trying to write at least one or two poems every week. I know that isn’t going to get me my poem a day goal, but it’s progress compared to last year.
It’s as if I haven’t been able to get really plugged in lately.
But maybe it’s more that I’ve been too plugged into some things instead of what I should be. Besides my writing and brief bouts of social media, I should probably try to stay off of the internet. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for me to uninstall or at least move my Facebook app that I have on my phone either.
Something else that I would consider an achievement so far is that I’ve been reading more. I used to read all of the time, but I stopped that at some point last year or the year before for some reason. I’m currently working on David Baldacci’s Saving Faith that a patient, where I work, actually let me borrow. And, before that, I read Horns by Joe Hill; I haven’t watched the movie yet, but a friend of mine said that he liked it.
But I haven’t been blogging as regularly as I’d like and I haven’t been editing my novel in a way that will help me to finish it. My husband actually told me last night that he was happy I was working on it, that he would make me sit down and work on it if he could.
I’m planning on setting aside at least one night a week to focus solely on tackling the beastly project that is editing. And I’m going to try to post at least twice a week here and on No Penny Required.
I know that there are a couple of days left in this year, but I felt like the beginning of the week would be just as good a place to put this post as any.
Looking back at the goals that I made for 2014, the only thing off of that list that I actually accomplished was finishing the novel I started for NaNoWriMo 2013. As you know, I did this by completely rewriting it for NaNoWriMo 2014. And, while I’m disappointed in myself for not having completed any of the other goals, I do think that the fact that I completed the big one, so to speak, is pretty exciting.
So, here are some of the writing goals that I have for myself for this upcoming year.
- This year’s “big” goal is that I want to finish editing my novel, Collecting Humanity.
- Another main goal for me is that I want to try my hand at freelance writing again.
- I’m also planning on blogging regularly both here and at No Penny Required. I made a commitment to both these blogs when I decided to purchase their domain names. I’m also playing with the idea of once again trying to create some sort of author website using Wix.
- You may have noticed in the sidebar that I’m going to give myself the poem a day challenge again as well. Even if it’s winds up being something I can’t use, I want to get something down.
- The same applies to short stories. I want to try to write as many of those as I can during the year as well, and the Story Pieces series that I’ve started doing here should help.
- I would also like to submit my work to different literary magazines,
- attempt to find a literary agent once my novel is complete,
- and get some professional head shots made for the web and also for, one day, the inside cover of my novels.
There are so many things to see and do and learn in 2015. What are some of your life and writing goals?
I know, I can’t bring another Story Piece today, but I can find time to give you two posts in one day instead? We already knew that I was strange.
I recently realized that I haven’t been citing from the book that I’ve been using to find quotes from. And, because I think it’s important for you to use citations in work, it must also be important for me to use citations in my work. This posts is simply giving you a head up that whenever you see some words in magenta at the end of one of my posts, that is a citation from Son of Citation Machine.
Above is a better example of the magenta that will be happening. I know that it looks pink, but if you have a WordPress account, you can look at your color options and this one is, in fact, known as magenta.
Anyways, I’m going to go through the other few Weekly Quotes that I have and make sure that I have MLA citations for each of them.
The book that I was referring to is the Quotationary put together by Leonard Roy Frank. This is a wonderful book that I’m pretty sure my grandma found for me somewhere at some point some years ago–it’s been a while. It’s also a book that I think you should make a part of your collection because it is wonderful and also because it is apparently only $0.98 on Amazon.
I’ve always found quotes to be fun to look at it and they can also be an inspiration for your writing. I find that it’s a great way to spark poetry, in particular.
And this book is designed wonderfully. For one thing, it’s huge! It’s filled to the brim with so many wonderfully easy to read and find quotes.
Frank did a great job when he decided to separate the quotes by subject, making it easy to flip through your ABCs until you find the type of quote you might be looking for. The index is also broken up into topic and author, making it even easier to find what you’re looking for. Each quote has the speaker of said quote along with what they might have said it in, be it a novel or speech or letter. There are even some classic, anonymous quotes at the end of each section.
Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination, never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
Believe it or not, I didn’t intentionally pick another Lord Chesterfield quote! I actually didn’t even realize that it was until I was glancing back at last week’s quote to see how I had formatted the post.
The reason I picked this quote is because it really applies to how I should be looking at life. This past year, I’ve discovered the art of laziness and I’ve been working on slapping myself out of it. Hopefully, this adventure away from laziness with continue on into the next year.
This quote also has a lot to do with writing. You have to “snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment” of writing that you’re able to get your hands on because sometimes a few moments might be all you get in day to let your creativity flow.
And when you do get your hands on it, you need to dig in with all of your focus.
I.e. it probably isn’t the best idea to write while watching Guy Fieri‘s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Which is not what I am currently doing. At all.
Frank, Leonard Roy. Random House Webster’s Quotationary. New York: Random House, 1999. Print.
Take care of the minutes, for the hours will take care of themselves.
I feel like this quote by Lord Chesterfield, a man who was born in 1694, really applies to what I’ve been talking about these past couple of weeks. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with time management, and focusing on what I’m going to do for a couple of minutes instead of the stretching hours, days, years ahead makes it much easier to focus and get things done.
This is something that I learned during NaNoWriMo because of my success in focusing on the 1,667 words every day instead of the 50,000 words that I ultimately had to have written.
Frank, Leonard Roy. Random House Webster’s Quotationary. New York: Random House, 1999. Print.