Liebster Award

Yay! A blogging award! It’s been a while since I received one of these, and they’re so much fun! Grizz-Tion recently nominated me for the Liebster Award, which is given to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers as a way to recognize them and support the pursuit of new followers to their blog. The rules of the award are as follows:

1. You must thank the person who nominated you.
2. You must answer the 11 questions your nominator has left for you.
3. You must nominate 11 other bloggers.
4. You must ask 11 questions of the bloggers you nominate.

So first things first, thank you very much Grizz-Tion! I found Grizz-Tion’s blog when we both participated in L. Palmer’s Hello’s and High Fives post. I was attracted to Grizz’s excellent short story, Kyoko the Book Thief. Go see it! Go see it now!

Second things second, I must answer the questions that Grizz left behind:

1. Long hair or short hair, on people?
Depends on the person. Generally I like short hair on men and my preference is for longer hair on women, but it depends on what looks best on the person. Some guys look good with longer hair, and some women look better with shorter hair.

2. Which would you rather do: walk 10 miles or be forced to run 100 yards…both as fast as you could for that pace?

I find myself trying to imagine exactly how long 100 yards is… I would probably go with the 100 yards because as hard as it would be, and as sick as I’d probably feel afterward, it would be over a helluva lot quicker. 10 miles is a long freakin’ way to walk!

3. If you found out that your role model was actually the opposite of what you looked up to, how would you react?

Probably with tears and accusations. 😛
Honestly though, I’m not sure. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve looked at someone as a “role model”. I have people I look up to, but I have a pretty firm grasp on the idea that no one is infallible and that there is no one out there who I’m going to agree with on every aspect, so I pretty much accept that people are going to disappoint me, basically. Does that sound cynical? It sounds cynical to me.
4. Writing by hand in a crowded park, or writing all alone on a computer with no one around, and why?
Depending on my mood, I’ve preferred both, but honestly I seem to write better when there are some distractions around me. Something about silence and being alone makes it hard for me to think…maybe because I’m so used to having a dozen people milling around me at work, or having my daughter running around and my husband talking to me while I’m home. I’ve adapted an ability to write while surrounded by noise and movement, so it’s actually become harder for me to do it in a peaceful environment.
5. Desert island – only 1 book to take with you, just 1. Why did you pick that one?
I’m going to get a little saucy on this one: I choose Survive! by Les Stroud, because…duh.
6. If you were faced with 1 movie monster/bad guy/villain, which would you want to fight and why that one? (Be specific, no generic answers like zombies or vampires. I’m looking for Lestat, or the actual Wolfman.)
I had to think about this one for quite a while. There are a lot of great movie monsters and villains out there, and the thought of fighting most of them fills me with dread. In the end, I think I’m going to go with Darth Vader. Why? Well for one thing he’d probably just force-choke me and be done with it. For another, come on…Darth Vader, man.
7. What would you want the conversation to revolve around if you could sit down and talk to Jesus?
I’d want to talk about how his good intentions had spawned countless forms of ignorance, intolerance, and bigotry all over the world, and suggest to him that he really ought to come back and bitch-slap a few billion people.
8. Who should Cap’n Reynolds truly be with – Zoe, Kaylee, Inara, Saffron, or just stay alone and be bad-ass?
Inara, all the way. He should still be bad-ass and foolish, but it frustrates me to no end when those two get all SEXUAL TENSION! and *nothing happens*.
9. Les Stroud or Bear Grylls?
Neither. My vote is for the cameramen who have to put up with Grylls.
10. Personal choice for the event that will end civilization? Basically, how do you want the apocalypse to start?
You would think that my vote would be for zombies, but I’m not naive…I know that I would be one of the first poor bastards who gets eaten. Instead lets go with a giant meteor slamming into Earth. Maybe I’ll be one of the lucky ones who manages to stow away on the specially-built spaceships that takes off in hopes of establishing a colony on Mars.
11. Killing people just became legal, but only for those labelled huntable material. Which 3 celebrities would you want to be labelled as such and why?
Paris Hilton because she is quite possibly the worst role model for young kids who has ever walked the planet. Justin Bieber because omfg I’m so sick of hearing about him and his music is awful. Kristen Stewart because (despite and regardless of any opinion anyone else might have about her) I think she is quite possibly the worst actress I’ve ever seen and I can’t believe she keeps getting roles.
Third, I have to nominate more bloggers. I’m only picking five, rather than eleven, because (to be blunt) I don’t have time to go through all the blogs I follow and try to pick out 11 who have fewer than 200 followers. That said, I invite anyone who wishes to go ahead and continue on with this award as though I nominated them!
Fourth, I have to submit 11 questions of my own:
1. When did you figure out what you wanted to do for a living, and did you succeed with your choices?
2. Why did you start blogging? Has that reason stayed the same or changed as you’ve blogged?
3. If you could bring one fictional character to life and have them be madly in love with you, who would you choose?
4. Be totally honest: do you really hate the sexy vampire trend, or do you secretly kinda dig it?
5. Tell me about something you’ve always wanted to do but never did, and why not?
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or My Little Pony?
7. Confess a guilty pleasure that you think other people won’t really understand.
8. Pick a pop culture phenomenon (a book, a movie, a video game, etc) that you absolutely hate and explain why.
9. Laid out before you are all the possible pizza ingredients in the world. What kind of pizza do you make?
10. Describe your perfect day of rest and relaxation.
11. Imagine your dream job (say, being a published author). Now imagine the most embarrassing/socially unacceptable version of your dream job (say, writing erotic literature for porno magazines). If you were offered this embarrassing version of your job and you knew that it was the only chance you were ever going to get at your dream job, would you do it?

A Little Push

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

29. Encourage other writers to keep going

I suspect that it is an inevitable truth that at some point (and possibly multiple, regularly occurring points) every writer feels like giving up. Whether you’re an amateur working on your first real manuscript or a published professional having issues in editing, writers are a naturally self-depreciating breed. As my rage comic indicated, we have a tendency to flow through repeating stages of “I’m so awesome!” and “I’m such a hack!” It is a tendency we share with artists, musicians, and other creative peoples who put a little piece of their own selves into their work.

Some of this constant shift in attitude can be attributed to physiology (moods, hormones, emotional state due to outside forces, etc), but much of it is likely due to the lifestyle of a writer and the inability of people in general to fairly, and without bias, judge themselves.

The lifestyle may break may would-be writers because they simply can’t (or feel that they can’t) handle it. The life of a writer may seem simple and carefree to many, but in reality it can be very stressful and difficult. Deadlines may lead to anxiety and burnout. Disagreements with editors and agents can cause frustration and a feeling of losing creative control. Rejections from published and poor critiques/reviews can create doubt, depression, and the belief that you’ll never be successful. It’s a mentally and emotionally exhausting situation to volunteer for.

And then there’s that bit about being unable to judge ourselves. As humans, we are notorious for this, not just involving creative processes, but in every aspect of our lives. One only needs to observe drivers on the highway to understand the concept. Everyone on the road believes that they are an excellent driver, while everyone else is a dangerous SOB who needs to be arrested. It’s the same with writers, except that in our case it works at both ends of the spectrum. Either you think you rock (even if you don’t) while everyone else is a hack, or else everyone else is amazing while you’re a miserable failure (even if you aren’t).

So, in conclusion, being a writer is wrought with emotional distress, time management impossibilities, peer-to-peer conflict, pain of rejection, and psychological issues, and on top of all that you might never become successful enough to make a living out of it.

And here I am, supposedly about to tell you to keep going. Hmm…

Here’s the thing…have you ever heard the phrase that nothing worth doing is easy? While it may not be a logical descriptor for every person in every situation, it still rings true a good deal of the time. Do you think the athletes who go to the Olympics just breeze through the events without any training? Do you think young army recruits just walk through the door and all of a sudden they’re a high-ranking officer? Hell, do you think pregnant women just have a squat and a grunt and a beautiful, perfectly healthy baby just pops out?

If you really care about something – genuinely want it with all your heart, then you’ll do what you have to do and endure what you have to endure to make that dream a reality. Olympians know that they’re going to have to push their bodies to the limit, but they crave that gold, so they move through it. Privates-in-training know they’re going to be trained hard and disparaged at every turn, but they want to serve, so they deal with it. And women know damn well that childbirth is like to be a painful, miserable event that makes them feel like they’re going to die, but they want to bring a life into the world so they damn well manage it.

So if you really want to be a writer, write. Put your heart and soul into it and deal with whatever you have to deal with as a result, because in the end that’s the only true way to get what you want. You have to be willing to do whatever is necessary, end of discussion. If you aren’t willing, well…I guess you didn’t really want it very much in the first place, did you?

New Job, New Time Management Issues

My husband’s uncle asked me a question today. An innocent question: “How’s the book going?” The answer was not quite as innocent: “Not as good after going out West!”

I haven’t written a thing since the week before my flight to Alberta. At first it was because I (obviously) had more important things on my mind, like figuring out how meals work on the camp, and becoming acquainted with my many new coworkers. As the days went on, writing continued to go by the wayside because I was adjusting to a new job that involves a hell of a lot of walking, climbing stairs and ladders, and hanging out in stifling heat while wearing flame-retardant, long-sleeved coveralls. In other words, I was tired. By the time the last few days of my two-week rotation began to wear down, I continued to fail to write because of good old fashioned laziness. Even after returning home, I got no writing done over the past five days because I’ve been too busy enjoying my daughter and filling other obligations (i.e. my niece’s birthday party…enjoy being 3, cutie!), and no one can possibly blame me for that.

Reincorporating writing into my schedule is one of the things that I’m going to have to work on with this new job, but other than a few minor complaints (I never did get the internet working in my room) the entire ‘Out West’ experience has gone much better than I expected. I don’t mind the camp at all, the work is easy and laid-back, safety is actually number one for a change, my coworkers are all good guys, and there is no way anyone could possibly complain about the money. All in all, I have to say that I am honestly enjoying the job. Yes, of course, being away from the baby for two weeks at a time is less than fun, but look at it this way: how many people get 14 days out of every 28 off? 14 days that I can spend doing whatever I want, which in this case is enjoying my adorable daughter? Not to mention, this job is so stress-free that my days off (so far) are being spent in a great mood, actually enjoying myself, rather than coming home from work every day cranky and tired and inadvertently taking my mood out on my daughter and husband.

Everyone is different of course, and I’ve only had one rotation so far so I can’t definitively judge, but it’s looking good so far. I really think this job might be the start of something good. If nothing else, it will allow us to ditch some debt that we’ll be ridiculously happy to see the backside of…we’re coming for you, student loans!

Now if I could just squeeze the writing in there somewhere as well, I’d be doing great.