Writing a Story vs. Writing My Blog

I’ve been writing more prose recently. I got a writing prompt notebook and a writing craft book for my birthday so I’ve been doing short prompts a lot (honestly I haven’t really looked at the craft book yet, though I should). It’s been really refreshing. I forget how much fun it is to write.

A few weeks ago I got my own Wattpad account. If you don’t know what it is, Wattpad is a writer’s/reader website. It’s pretty cool so far. I’d heard of it a few years ago but hadn’t bothered to get on until now. They also have an app, which is handy (I’m not very good at using it yet but I have a really good friend who is helping me learn).

I wanted to share this with you because I keep thinking about how I went to school and learned how to write but just a couple years after graduating the only writing I’m doing is this blog. I really like doing this and I’m going to continue but at the same time I want to get my writing, my prose and poetry, out there to more eyes. Wattpad is supposed to be good for that so we will see how this works out.

What I want to do is set up a posting schedule for myself. I’ll keep up on this blog Saturdays and was thinking of posting on Wattpad on Mondays. It’s a little close together but since I don’t work Sundays I should be pretty much guaranteed at least an hour or two for writing on Sundays. So that should cover any last second things I need to do before posting on Wattpad.

Something that I feel I need to address with you, my amazing readers, is how I write here vs. how I write stories. Here, I am myself. I write basically how I speak in my everyday life (maybe a little different but I do try to keep it real). So, very specifically, I don’t swear or use offensive language. I also don’t really discuss particularly dark subjects since I don’t encounter serial killers or werewolves in my daily life and I haven’t been through anything considered very traumatic.

In writing a story I don’t write as myself. I am writing a character. Sometimes that character has a dark past or is doing things of questionable morality. Sometimes they use language that some may find offensive (there are still language lines I won’t cross, character or not). Sometimes characters die in horrible scenarios. Sometimes there is no happy ending.

I don’t say this because it embarasses me, or because I think anyone is prudish or weak. I say this because it is a different. Because you may come here to read real life experiences from a Christian girl in rural America and that is NOT the kind of fiction I write. I’m not into false advertising. I want you to know what you’re getting into.

I write a lot of fantasy, some sci-fi, and very little realistic fiction (it usually becomes magical realism at some point honestly). If that interests you, please check out my Wattpad! I would love for you to see my work! Anything with strong language or dark themes will be labeled/tagged. I write plenty that is safe and family friendly as well (I just don’t want you blindsided by what is not)!

I don’t have a lot up right now but I will be posting a new chapter, story, or poem every Monday from now on!

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What Do You Want?

What Do You Want?

I’ve been thinking about this blog and what I want to do with it and I realized that I don’t really know. I know I want to keep writing it and I want everyone who reads it to enjoy it and get something useful out of it. I’d like to think sometimes that I have my life together and know what people expect from me and how to deliver that but, alas, I am imperfect.

I don’t get a lot of feedback from my readers in general. I get some from my friends and family who I see in real life but, I’m really terrible at receiving that feedback. Something about bringing this online life into my daily interactions is just odd to me. Don’t get me wrong, I still very much appreciate it. But if you give me feedback face to face, please don’t be put off by my vacant smile and nervous laughter: I’m still getting used to listening.

According to my stats on here, I get an average of less than one comment on each post. Which is… fine. I guess. I don’t know. I made a sort of internal goal of growing every year. Whether that’s by one more follower or 100 more followers, I don’t mind either one.

Next month is the two year anniversary of this blog. I’ve written many posts about what I hope is a variety of topics. I can see which posts have gotten the most views, which is helpful. In 2016, my most viewed post was about not belittiling millenials by telling them they’ll change their minds about everything later in life. In 2017, it was the one about marriage not being the all important thing many like to make it. Then so far this year it’s my Status Report post.

What makes these posts most popular? Is it that they resonate with a wide range of people? The first two certainly fit my blog name. They’re mainly about societal expectations and subverting those because they don’t fit what you want to do with your life. But is that all?

I want to grow here but I don’t want to resort to clickbait or a limited range of topics to do that.

So I would like to ask you, my lovely readers: What do you want?

help

If you’ve been with me for a while, what makes you come back? If you’ve only just found this, what made you come to this post and what would make you stay?

Basically, I’m looking for what YOU most want to read more this year. What topics/posts do you want more of or less? Please tell me! I am all ears!

I want to share, improve, and grow! I can’t do that without you, my amazing readers! Leave me a comment with your thoughts, even if those thoughts are harsh, even if those thoughts are critical, even if those thoughts are to just keep doing what I’m doing! I want to hear from you!

I Am Not Good (Most People Aren’t)

I Am Not Good (Most People Aren’t)

There’s a song on the radio that plays way too often called “Most People Are Good” by Luke Bryan. I hate this song.

This whole post might be a bit of a downer so if you really like this song or are a more positive person than me (which is essentially everyone, haha) then I won’t blame you if you skip this post. I’m not going to go through the whole song, pretty much just the first verse, the beginning and end of the chorus, and a line or two later on. This is completely a personal problem with the song so no disrespect to the writer, singer, or those who like this song!

The first verse is fine, doesn’t say anything I would really disagree with:

“I believe kids oughta stay kids as long as they can
Turn off the screen, go climb a tree, get dirt on their hands
I believe we gotta forgive and make amends
‘Cause nobody gets a second chance to make new old friends
I believe in working hard for what you’ve got
Even if it don’t add up to a h* of a lot”

Good, solid. I like it. Nothing wrong with these things at all. I think kids should get to be kids and of course we do need to forgive each other, as Jesus told us to. The chorus is really where I get annoyed and I realized as I started writing this post that I have never listened to the whole song before. I’ve read all the lyrics and heard the first 1/4th of it but I have been so annoyed by this tune that I have basically always shut it off as soon as it starts. But back to the chorus:

“I believe most people are good

I believe this world ain’t half as bad as it looks
I believe most people are good”

Right off the bat, NO. I mean, it’s an “I believe” statement so it’s clearly his opinion but that doesn’t make it any less irritating to me. I HATE when people pretend that ‘most people are good’ because first of all, it’s not true. Most people are not good. If most people were good then the world would look A LOT better than it does. Most people are bad. That’s just the way it is. The world is a sinful place and we’re all born with a sin nature, which means that we will always lean toward sin. We will always lean toward evil. “Good” people do not exist because we are, all of us, evil. People can appear good but deep down, none of us are good.

Something else that gets me is that this song is REALLY popular and I think it’s a lot because it’s a pat on the back. It’s self-serving. It’s a song that is essentially just Luke Bryan yelling, “I AM A GOOD PERSON AND SO ARE YOU!! MOST EVERYONE IS GOOD!! YOU CAN IDENTIFY WITH THIS SONG BECAUSE I’M FEEDING YOUR EGO AND MAKING YOU FEEL GREAT ABOUT YOURSELF!!” Stop it. It’s nice to feel good about yourself but this song is trying to make people feel good when they don’t deserve it. It’s forcing comparisons, which make everyone look good. Because of course you’re saying “most people” are good which means everyone gets to pick and choose who they compare themselves with.

I’m an insanely great person compared to Stalin or Hitler. You don’t even have to take an extreme example to feel good about yourself. I can compare myself to my siblings or parents or friends and I can build myself up in my own eyes to appear better than them. But would we all feel so good about ourselves if we took a moment to compare ourselves to Jesus? Would we be so quick to pat ourselves on the back if we looked at God’s law? Probably not. But that’s the actual standard.

We all fall short of that standard. That’s why God gave us Jesus, His perfect son, to pay for all the garbage sin in the world. Which brings me to the last line I’m going to talk about in the song, “I believe them streets of gold are worth the work” which comes at the beginning of the second verse.

I am really glad I never got this far listening to this song because this line actually makes me mad. Everything before this is an annoyance, a mild rant I can go on about the accuracy of his opinionated statements. When I started this post I didn’t know for sure I could write enough but I got to this line and I got mad.

“I believe them streets of gold are worth the work”

I struggle with controlling my internal language sometimes and I really want to go off with some very unsavory terms on this, but I will spare the both of us. First of all, Luke Bryan, you’ve just gone off on how basically everyone is good so you’ve destroyed any real standards there might be for even getting into heaven. Second of all, what work? Most people are good, so what kind of work is there to do? By your standards, most people are gonna skate by the pearly gates on pretty much nothing. Thirdly, shut up! This is dangerous! You don’t get to heaven by working for it. As I have established in this post, people are bad. Everyone falls short of God’s law, no one is righteous enough to get into heaven on their own merits. I hear this lie way too much and you need to STOP SPREADING IT.

Salvation, heaven, eternity in paradise with God, is a FREE gift that God has put in place for us. All we have to do is accept Jesus Christ as our savior. It’s really that simple. There’s no “work” involved in this process.

Honestly, I could go off on the rest of this song too. For the most part, I don’t dwell on random songs on the radio. It’s not a great pass-time to make myself angry. This song just hit me with a lot of things all at once (with not even the whole song) and I’ve been thinking about it for a while (hard not to with how much they play it). I just wanted this off my chest.

Let me know your thoughts on this as well! I begrudge no one their music choices/opinions. If you like the song, that’s fine. I have nothing personal against you or Luke Bryan.

Here is the song in its entirety if you want to listen:

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

He is risen!

A lot of years ago God fulfilled His promise to save mankind from sin and destruction. Tomorrow we celebrate, not that Jesus died for us, but that he rose from the dead, conquering death itself so that all can live in him!

So now, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

Jesus did all the work and that’s what Easter is about. Egg hunts are fun and candy is delicious but the focus is on Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Enjoy your family time and cherish your traditions and keep your eyes focused on our savior!

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Long Distance Friendship

Long distance friendships are hard because you don’t know if people like things anymore. I found this cartoon that really embodies how I feel sometimes:

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I’m the grandma. Or, I feel like the grandma.

In college I spent a lot of time with my roommates. I was the second busiest roommate but I still spent a good amount of time at the house: watching movies and hanging out. So I saw firsthand how quickly people’s tastes can change. My two roommates would be entrenched in one fandom one week and completely out of it the next week. They appeared to move quickly from one to another without much prompting.

My sister used to be very into Doctor Who. She really loved the show and enjoyed being in the fandom. Then one day the show writers did something she couldn’t agree with on any level so she gave it up. She still has a lot of Doctor Who merchandise in her room but she no longer wants to add anything to her collection. I grew away from Doctor Who as well a few years ago and was never really entrenched in the fandom to be begin with.

So these examples are interesting to me because at this point I actually have no idea what fandoms my former roommates are currently into. I can make judgments based on social media posts and what I knew they liked a lot before but those are just best guesses.

I didn’t realize how much I valued being part of someone’s daily life until I was no longer part of it. It’s weird because not much changes from day to day. I don’t live a particularly exciting life. I work and sleep and go to church and then work some more. Not really things I need to update anyone about. That’s really where I feel the biggest disconnect. I like hearing the mundane and unimportant. All those little things about everyday life are the things that make you feel close to someone.

When my sister was at school I rarely felt the need to reach out to her without a really good reason. I was just going about my life, nothing special, and she was just going about her life, nothing special. But it is special. I really like my mornings with my mom. She’ll be sitting in her chair in the living room and I get breakfast and we do a quick update for each other on the previous evenings. Sometimes there’s nothing and we don’t have much to say. Other times there’s a lot. But it’s how we keep up with each other.

I love being able to text or facebook message my friends but I really miss being around them day to day. I have my good friends here, of course. I love them and love that I CAN be part of their day-to-day, week-to-week lives. But of course I do have friends from college and from life before moving here and they feel very far away. Texting and calling are just not the same as seeing someone face to face and being able to actually share life with them.

More Time Means More Procrastinating

I had a few ideas for this week and I even started a couple but ended up disliking them. I feel like some of my favorite posts are those that I’ve had very little time to write. It probably has something to do with living with an idea. Sometimes, the longer I think about an idea, the less I want to write about it. I live with them in my head for weeks and feel great about writing. Other ideas I live with for a while and only hate once I’ve written something about them. I have yet to figure out what differentiates these ideas.

For some reason, I thought that once I got out of school I wouldn’t have any reason to procrastinate. There are no papers to write or classes to get to. There aren’t any professors breathing down my back about getting my novel done. I’ve got work and church and beyond that pretty much only what I actively choose to take on.

Most often I write my blog post for the week at the last minute. I get up to Saturday, usually work until 9pm, get home close to 10pm, then have to come up with something quickly to post before midnight. Sometimes that backfires and I end up with nothing worth posting. But I’ve done it enough that it works out more often than it doesn’t. So that’s great but I’m not sure what lesson I should be learning. I don’t LIKE to wait until Saturday to write but it just works out that way most often.

Maybe it’s less about things “working out” this way and more about a mindset I’ve started putting myself in. I’d much rather have a backlog of posts that I can publish at my leisure. I actually tried that at the beginning but found I really didn’t like the posts after a few weeks so I gave up on it. I think I just get more critical over time and also, as I write, I come up with lots of different avenues in my head. I try to think about different angles and how I truly feel about the topic. So by the time I actually hit publish, I’ve exhausted the topic in my head. I’ve already thought of all these things in ten different ways. It feels old and I’ve heard it a million times and it’s boring. Which makes me feel like my audience is going to be bored even though, objectively, I know it will be the first time they’re reading my thoughts.

When I write Saturday night and hit publish right off, it makes the topic feel less old to me. I sit down, write something I didn’t even know I was going to write, then send it off into the world. (I do minor edits beforehand for grammar and flow, it’s not technically an immediate publish.) So here I am again on a Saturday night, writing a post on the fly, hoping it all turns out okay.

It has so far.

🙂

No Regerts

I don’t think regret is a particularly useful feeling. I actively try to avoid it, personally. I don’t want to be that old person in 2058 saying I regret doing/not doing something. I refuse to be that person. I refuse to spend my life regretting what I cannot change.

Regret comes up a lot. According to Google, regret is “a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.” (That’s the noun definition, it’s also a verb.)

In general, this isn’t a bad thing. If you regret something then hopefully that helps you learn. That sums up my thoughts really well, actually. I hate feeling sorry for myself. I don’t let myself do it. I’ve definitely learned over the course of my relatively short life that whatever feeling you let in is going to multiply. Not to say that if you feel sad you’re only ever going to be sad; the feelings you dwell on and spend the most mental energy on are the ones that will grow. So if I choose to dwell on that stupid thing I said to a waiter 5 years ago then that embarrassment is going to fester and grow. The more I feed it, the more times I think about it, the more times I think about it, the more it affects me.

That’s a benign example. We all say or do something embarrassing from time to time. Getting over it is just part of life. But regret can come in much more difficult packages. The death of a loved one tends to bring out all the regret. Sometimes it’s regret for saying something you didn’t mean. Sometimes it’s for not spending time with them.

Well, guess what? It’s too late now. You’re going to have to come to terms with that. It sucks and feels bad but you can’t spend the rest of your life wishing to change the past. Instead, change the future. Be better now. That’s all you can do.

Honestly, I started thinking about all of this because, as my dad was leaving for the week I said, “Bye, it was nice knowing you.”

And he said something like, “You know, if I don’t come back then you’ll regret that.”

To which I said I wouldn’t. I would have nothing to regret from that being the last thing I ever said to my dad. Sure, it was a bit sarcastic but it was not untrue.

One way I avoid regret is saying what I mean to say. Another is remembering that God is working everything together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). So everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is we made a mistake. So? It is not the first time and it will certainly not be the last (although we can hope!).

I won’t spend my energy on regret. When I don’t do something I should or I do the thing I shouldn’t then I will feel bad for a while. Then I will learn from it. I will move on. It seems a useless thing to continually beat myself up about something that I have no power over. The past is the past. I can let it eat me up or I can fix my eyes on God and keep going.