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Rated: E · Book · Writing · #2242935
Rhymer’s Blog on Life
Come with me...I wanna discover the world, and I don’t wanna do it alone.
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September 9, 2021 at 12:17pm
September 9, 2021 at 12:17pm
#1017095
"30-Day Blogging Challenge"   by Fivesixer prompt:
 
  Everyone seems to be pretty health conscious in today's world. What health tips have worked for you. If you can't think of any, or are like me and haven't pursued any, what would you like to do to improve your health?

 
           Ohhh…yeah, about that…my lungs are shot. At thirty-eight years old, they told me my lungs were that of a 65-year old man. That’s been a few years ago. There’s not anything I can do to help that at this point. I’m staring down the end as hard as it’s staring at me. All I can do while learning to die is learn to live. That’s not too difficult.
 
           Physical health is kinda moot, but emotional health, mental health…these are now just as important if not a little more. I might struggle some days, but I can guarantee you won’t see me mired down for too long. I don’t have time for that. Especially when the Muse is wearing spurs.
 
           I’ve come to understand in the last few weeks that I’ve been hard on myself, excessively mean. And while I feel like I deserve it, I know I really don’t, nor do I have time for that, either. In trying to comprehend this, though, I’ve also seen how much happier life is through the lenses of appreciation, in learning how to ease up off myself. I just want to live happy within myself, for myself, and because of myself. And it’s not that I don’t need others to help and support me on some days, but it’s easier to learn to hug your own inner peace every once in a while, to remember our power, not our weakness; our progress, not our failing; who we are, not how others peg us.
 
           Life isn’t always so happy, but it’s not as difficult once we realize how we speak to ourselves. My physical health is done for, but my life, what I can see just over the horizon still has so much good coming. And writing saved me. Thank you, WDC, for giving a place for all of us to find ourselves, to learn how to like who we are. I think that’s all I could really ask for. And to see you guys doing the same, it’s an honor. I love it.
September 8, 2021 at 9:23pm
September 8, 2021 at 9:23pm
#1017057
"30-Day Blogging Challenge"   by Fivesixer prompt:
 
 A practice I can begin to help me let go of negative emotions and return to a state of peace is…

 
           …realize where I”m headed in my mind, to try and deour the mood with music and writing and reading. Especially since finding this site, since realizing the tools and pieces are all there for me to put together, I’ve been opened to understanding the situation as it is. It’s become easier to step aside from the feelings to understand how to work with my abilities to control where I’m headed. And after to speaking with someone on this site about inner peace, I’ve realized I just keep leaving the door open on that so it’s ineffectual.
 
           I’m finding myself, though, discovering hills only to find new valleys, and I’m certain we all are. But I’m experiencing me, and I’m learning how to take things in and let them stew around before I respond…I understand now how angry I’ve been to myself for…you know, being human…but with the understanding comes the obligation to change what hasn’t been working.
 
           It’s okay to be serious about the things I do, but it’s not always that serious. It doesn’t have to be. There’s still so much joy and magic left in the world, and I think all one has to do to find it is be receptive to the idea. Self-reliance is probably the most important to me, in that I want to be able to amuse myself and keep myself in the world I deserve. That sounds crazy when I read it back, but it doesn’t make it any less true. I’ve lived a lot of life in forty years, and I don’t have a whole lot longer left on this planet because of genetics and general deterioration. I’m not being dramatic…just an x-rayed fact. And I don’t want to waste any more time feeling bad about my life, oppressing myself with judgments and by focusing on failures.
 
           Maybe I should call my blog “Rhymer’s Therapist” at this point.
 
           I don’t know if it works the same for everyone else or if I just sound too close to gibberish, and I don’t think I’m fixated on that answer. I want to know I’m not alone, that maybe someone else has gone down a path similar to this, but I know I’m okay. I’m where I’m supposed to be, and things feel right. Even if the path hasn’t been the same, I know y’all are out there, and I’ve learned so much about myself because of y’all.
 
           Finding you guys is helping me find myself. And I’m digging that. *Heart*
September 7, 2021 at 9:58pm
September 7, 2021 at 9:58pm
#1017002
"30-Day Blogging Challenge"   by Fivesixer prompt:
 
  You have been chosen to speak at a Zoom conference concerning your chosen field. Over 500 people will attend. Each of them is new to your field and are waiting to hear words of advice from you about this field. What will you say to them to them concerning things you wish you’d known about the industry when you were getting started?

 
           My job now?
”Don’t do it! It’s not worth it!” But since my mood seems to go downhill when speaking of the mundane employment, I’m gonna pretend I’m a real writer. Job or purpose, the only difference between the two is the money. And maybe zeal.
 
           But as a writer? That’s pretty easy.
 
 1) Instructional books and guides are great at naming and making examples of grammar; they are horrible at conveying any part of the experience of being a writer.
 
 2) Take the hardest work you’ve ever done, and multiply it by your imagination. That’s not even half the work required by the craft.
 
 3) Your muse may be a metaphor or personification, but the result of the blasted thing is real. It doesn’t matter how you view it…it still causes the same itch to write, it requires a diet of books and movies and art, and, it’s more needy than anyone I’ve ever met…it also gives more rewards than anyone I’ve ever met.
 
 4) Confidence, ego, and being easy on yourself are just as important to the writer as knowledge, practice, and saving your work.
 
 5} Continuously save your work. Annoy yourself with how often you do it.
 
 6) Real characters only need to be started…after you introduce them, they’ll take off and write the story exactly how he or she wants it…that’s not a metaphor…you’ll type, and the character will write. I don’t make the rules.
 
 7) Prepare yourself for this one…the rules have rules, and the exceptions are all on a trial-and-error basis. Good luck.
 
 8) When you become overwhelmed with knowledge as this craft opens itself up, it’s okay to whine, and it helps to keep writing, but it is never okay to complain. The difference? You can whine and still be thankful…no matter how you complain, it’s a complaint and disrespectful to your source of knowledge.
 
 9) If you’re lucky enough to be introduced to someone who wants to help you evolve and who can substantiate their claims to do so, you drop your ego and listen and think. And appreciate him or her…she or he could be doing anything, especially when it comes to furthering themselves, and they don’t have time to waste…and neither do you.
 
 10) If one person in your real life gets your love for writing, if they want to talk to you about what you’re doing and become involved with your experience, count yourself fortunate. For everyone else, that’s why we have each other. (Thank you, WDC.)
 
 11) Good luck balancing what time you have. And I don’t know if I really believe any writer who claims to have things perfectly organized…I don’t trust it. And if you figure it out…please write about it, and tag me in it.
 
 12) Strunk. And. White.
 
 13) Omit these words and phrases without question:
           A. Literally
           B. “At the end of the day”
           C. very
           D. actually
           E. “I can’t describe it” (You, as a writer, have one job: describe)
           F. Literally. (I’m not kidding here.)
           G. Amazing
 
 14) But seriously? Keep loving who you are, no matter what you find out about yourself or your writing because of your writing. Not everyone is gonna get you and what you want to say, and sometimes someone may even send you a review just to take their life out on you, and even that’s okay. Write because you want to, and if you find that desire is real, the Universe will reward you with more bits and pieces of the craft than you can handle at one time. Being overwhelmed and feeling small is a compliment: it means you’re growing and, at the very least, trying.
 
 15) Be serious about the work, and laugh at everything. People may expect you to be perfect, but that’s their problem. The Universe (or God or however you see The Higher Spirit) expects us to be human, and from this experience come the stories that may become important to someone else, wringing emotion and thought inside the reader. Purpose.
 
 16) Open your mind, and your world will open.
September 6, 2021 at 8:13pm
September 6, 2021 at 8:13pm
#1016922

 "30-Day Blogging Challenge"   by Fivesixer prompt:
 
 Do you love your job/career? Tell us why you love it, and why did you choose this career and not something else.

 
           This is horrible, but I hate my job. I’m a third part owner of an alternative medicine store where we…dispense, if you will…pain-relieving herbal-based medicines. We were the first to open in our town in Oklahoma, and I can still remember how excited I was to research and learn, to pass this knowledge on to others so they could maybe figure out for themselves what they need.
 
           But that’s not how it’s worked out.
 
           It’s turned into something ugly, something where everybody believes they deserve every discount just for the honor of their business (not completely unfounded, I guess). It’s become an industry of looking for “what can I get for free”, illegal profits, vague laws nobody enforces…it’s the wild west. Boomer Sooner, I guess.
 
           It’s also more difficult to work with spousal equivalents than I thought. I’ve always been good at all jobs, but this one…this one presses me like no other. I don’t think I’d necessarily recommend it.
 
           But I don’t know what I’d want to do otherwise unless it was an aspect of storytelling. At this point in what I’ve learned from The Universe concerning writing, I’m pretty sure the one thing that drives man is the story…the past, or maybe what people are doing now, or what we hope to see in the future…we talk to our friends because we want to know how they see the world, their version of your story. And it’s always been this way. We’ve always been on the hunt for the next story, no matter what avenue we take to get there. Maybe I wouldn’t appreciate writing so much if it was a job to me. Maybe that’s just how I am.
 
           To be fair, I’m in the middle of an identity crisis right now. It may seem dramatic, but right now, right here, it’s so real. The philosophies I built in my twenties didn’t work in my thirties, and what has made it through doesn’t work now…I’m not complaining, just explaining. I’m working my way to a point of finding myself, both as a person and as a writer.
 
           And I can see it, just over there, the person I’m supposed to crawl into and be. Home.
September 3, 2021 at 1:38pm
September 3, 2021 at 1:38pm
#1016684

"30-Day Blogging Challenge"   by Fivesixer prompt:
 
 What is the Hardest Part of Your Job? Tell us how you deal with it.

 
           I’m pretty lucky as far as jobs go…my tribe and I own a business, and it’s pretty easy. The most difficult part is dealing with human beings. When they come into our store, it’s as if they leave logic outside in their purse in the car. I only work one or two days a week, and I have issues when remembering faces. They become frustrated when I don’t instantly recognize them, their name, their lineage…but they’re silent when I ask them what my name is. Or when we’re wearing a mask as they walk in because we believe in science, and they ask if they need to put a mask on. Why do they look to me for moral guidance in that instance? If you’re not gonna care enough about anyone to wear a mask, why would you ask just because I have one on? We’re almost two years into a pandemic…I refuse to believe anyone “forgets” their mask at this point.
 
           Maybe being forty years old has ruined some of my perspective to the point changes need to be made within myself. I don’t have the same love for humanity I grasped when I was in my twenties, the belief that peace and love would save the world. I just don’t have much faith anymore, and it makes me sad. I’m sure that’ll change again, I’m certain I’ll find magiv in the world amongst the humans. But for now, the hardest part of my life also happens to be the hardest part of my job: humans.
September 1, 2021 at 3:58pm
September 1, 2021 at 3:58pm
#1016511
"30-Day Blogging Challenge"   by Fivesixer prompt:
 
           What room in your home do you use the most? The least?

 
           The busiest room in the house, I think, is always gonna be the bathroom, and why not? Great things happen in there. Shaving, combing, the brushing of teeth, all while listening to music. Listening to music while I’m waking up, especially Kelly Clarkson, starts the day off right. Everybody should have a space where they can blare their morning anthem, a place to find the motivation to charge through the day, to conquer or die!
 
           The least used room? Ugh…the kitchen. I mean, I use it, but not for cooking…I’m usually the one to clean up, and as long as I don’t have to put more insecurities into learning to cook, I’ll clean every chance I get.
August 25, 2021 at 4:46pm
August 25, 2021 at 4:46pm
#1016130

 
           Learning how to write is obliterating everything I ever knew. Of course I still love the craft; I adore what rush comes from working to create something decent. It doesn’t change that I now see aspects of life, mostly entertainment, with new eyes. Until the previous couple of months, I watched tv and movies like most people, sitting back and becoming one inside the story. Music was still had a musicality, and a good story was appreciated as just a good story. There was so much magic happening around me, and I loved it.
 
           I think anyone that says writing comes easy isn’t trying hard enough. By showing the smallest spark of interest, the Universe (God, Mother Goddess, whatever your perception, I’m speaking of the same idea here) is sure to blast open status quo by offering lessons and tips everywhere, and one enlightenment leads to the next. It’s nothing to speak of plot as a thing, as if it was one aspect of writing a story. But as you delve deeper into the craft, it becomes clear plot is one idea comprised of so many moving parts including theme, characterization, story progression, etc. It becomes clear there is no “quick and easy way to plot”. I’m pretty sure a large part of becoming a writer is accepting there is no shortcut. Writers who can do things quickly can usually substantiate their notations by years of experience, something I don’t have. For me, there is no “easier way”. As the Universe has explained it to me, easier is just lazier, and if that’s the road I’m gonna take, then why waste my time at all? I could be playing Minecraft. But I like the feeling when I accomplish something I haven’t done before, such as using a literary device I’ve only read about or to produce something beyond my expectations.
 
           Writing and reading are best friends, and when one is affected, so is the other. When one learns to write better, one learns to read better, also. Those tricks and sleights-of-hand we try for, those twists and points in the story written just for the author to know where she is or where he’s going…they become more evident, almost rising up from the page. The more we learn what we’re doing, the better the understanding of what others have done. In The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, the author changes his writing style between paragraphs based on the feeling he wants to pull from his reader. In the beginning of the second chapter, the writing is short and fragmentary: scary to build tension. And then as the scene progresses for two more paragraphs, Blatty begins to write differently. As he leans into the suspense, his sentences become longer, eventually turning into run-ons to fuel the fear of the inevitable. I’m thankful to see that now, to understand how something may be used with other parts to create something real from fiction…but it does remove some of the magic I saw from before.
 
           I love binge-watching most series, but now, I’m looking for technical aspects. Ten minutes into the first episode, we should know who the main character is with a hint of what he or she is after. Between ten and twenty minutes, we generally see the beginning of plot, we get just enough of their previous situation to understand why they may be where they are. And as I watch, my mind is taking in the characterization, judging whether or not the actor is equal to the character, understanding where someone was coming from when they wrote this…where is it going? What’s the overall point, and where are we hoping to land when this is over? How are they using misdirection and still placing the information we need? I can’t just sit down and enjoy a visual story anymore. I can see the wires and the hands in the puppets.
 
           I think I’m the most let down by music. On my chest, just over my heart, I have a tattoo of a music note. I’ve realized I don’t like the music on the radio today, not because I’m old, but because I need more than what most artists are giving, and my main disappointment lands on the lyrics. People no longer sing stories; they sing a small situation. Without a story, with no point, there’s no conviction. I don’t listen to the songs I like because I’m from Oklahoma and we listen to country music. I listen to 90’s country because they tell a story, an opening and an ending (think “Walkaway Joe” by Yearwood and “Fancy” by McEntire). The radio hurts my sensitivities these days.
 
           But the one part of my life I never expected to be obliterated into a smoky and hot mess was my life. Those around me who deal with me on a daily basis don’t see it. It’s not like a blatant spiritual awakening, although it’s not far from that, either, to be honest. I’m trying to understand people a little more because I don’t know their backstory. I don’t know where they are in their plot, and I can’t be sure right away the characterizations are apt, so I’d rather not judge the middle of someone’s story. But take it even more abstract…writing has been a thing in which I can sometimes make out my reflection, philosophies that need to evolve, ugliness I need to trim, and maybe a hint of something good to hold onto while I sleep.
July 4, 2021 at 2:23pm
July 4, 2021 at 2:23pm
#1013045

         I’m onto something, something huge. It’s big enough that I can already tell it’s gonna change my writing and life. It hit me yesterday, a small whisper from the Universe sharing with me one of its secrets pertaining to this craft, and now I’m splashing about the waters of philosophy as they fill my mind way too fast for me to filter efficiently. If you find this is difficult to follow, I don’t blame you. As I said, I’m in the process of organizing and learning.
 
 
         Yesterday, Jayne sent me a really helpful review, one that pointed out things of which I should be aware. But my mind took it a little further, trying to define my job as a writer versus the job of the characters, unaware of the treasure I was about to discover instigated by her words about creating a hook.
 
 
          It’s a secret, I think, because I’ve never read in detail what I’m about to try and explain. I learned the basics of writing on my own, reading books and guides about how to become the perfect writer. They were perfect when it came to vaguely explaining an abstract idea, but when it came to identifying these aspects of which they spoke, they failed. “Find your voice,” they repeat, but they never begin down that road of how or why.
 
 
          The secret is this:
 
 
          Telling a story has no relation to writing a story.
 
 
          See, I’ve always heard about writers finding their voices. It’s one of those things they teach in guides and instructions on the craft, but they don’t really go into what that means. I think maybe I always thought that the result of the writing, the revised and better-told story was the voice. That’s not how it works at all. No, the voice comes when the writer figures how to ride that line between telling a good story well and allowing the characters to tell their story their way.
 
 
          What does that mean? Why is that important?
 
 
          You can’t tell a good story until you move beyond being a writer of a good story. And until you can tell story, all you’re doing is writing it. You might have a story that’s well-written, but is it art? Does it really touch someone? Can we really find ourselves?
 
 
          I don’t know exactly what all this means for me, but I know it’s the biggest realization I’ve had since accepting my place as a writer. Even if she didn’t mean to, I have to thank Jayne for instigating this spark, what I feel could be an epiphany for me.
 
 
          Stay tuned…we can do this together, if you’re in the same area as myself. And if not, hopefully I can learn something you can take with you.

*Wink*


😊❤️🖋,
Rhymer
"I am a Rising Star!" glass image.
June 12, 2021 at 11:37am
June 12, 2021 at 11:37am
#1011730
You know what? I’m proud of you, oh ye members of Writing.Com.
 
         Too often, reviews of WDC are given by newbies who misunderstand what this site is for. These neophytes toss around an ill-qualified and mostly absent review because they don’t know how immense and helpful this tool can be. And even though I’ve been here for only five months and still haven’t gone much further than the downtown area, I’ve been out walking the streets of WDC on my own, taking in the landmarks and marking the places I like on my little map. I’ve started to create my own unique experience here, and it’s because I want to.
 
         Sure, WDC is huge and daunting. There’s a competition for every interest with all types of rules and challenges. For me, these contests are vital to learning, new ways to force myself down that extra mile. I’ve entered seven competitions around this site; I’ve won one and placed second in a main competition. It feels good to place, and the rewards are really cool. Add to that the members stopping by to express their “Congrats!”, and it’s not hard for one to find a feeling of satisfying fullness. And, the most important part, at the end of a competition, I’m left with the questions: was it a good piece, was it strong, and will people out in the real world like it? Competitions help me figure out where I am and where I’m going, especially as a new writer who is trying to light up his dark way. I lose more often than I place, but in the end, I’ve created something I stand by, and I always learn something new to schlep with me to the next contest.
 
         Of course, you can’t review WDC without realizing the metaphor of the stage upon which we act out the craziness in our heads. I’ve written for something like thirty-five years, but I knew I was no Stephen King, no Rod Serling, so what’s the point of trying to feel like a writer? And so now I have a large box of scraps of stories, pieces of things written but never really explored. When I signed on to WDC, it only took a few days to realize that I am a writer. The world doesn’t need another King or Serling; the world doesn’t have another Rhymer Reisen. WDC has allowed me to find validation for and from myself as a writer, and now it’s evolving to become a philosophy and spirituality.
 
         While doing reviews is not my favorite activity on this site, I do understand how important they are. During the entire time I was writing before accepting that I am a writer, I never had feedback, never knew where I stood under the rainbow of reality concerning the craft. There’s little sunshine when it comes to writing pieces nobody will ever see. The point of the reviews is not to tear anyone down, but to build each other up, to teach each other how to grow. The more reviews I do, the more I realize what I’m looking for in a piece, the more I learn how to read. Yeah, you scanned that with your eyes correctly. I’ve been reading longer than I can remember, but there’s an art to reading and analyzing what a writer is trying to say. I can now recognize devices and sleights-of-hand that were only magic to me before. And I love that, because it’s another opportunity to grow.
 
         And, look, the people have, to me, been amazing. Sure, there are a few cliques, and there are some jerks who aren’t looking to grow so much as they need their ego to shine, but whenever there are enough people to create a social situation, there will be cliques and jerks. These become easier to ignore. (Just a word of warning to those younger…don’t ever in your entire life mess with cliques…stay away if you value who you are.) My only real experiences concerning other people on WDC have been inspirational and eye-opening. I’m friends with a woman who is twenty years older than myself, and my heart is lifted when I think of her pouring her heart out, when I picture her reading grammar books so she can improve. In "Rising Stars Summer Camp"   by Lilli ☕ , there are a couple of high school students, there are a couple who speak a language native to them that isn’t English nor American, and everyone comes from a different experience. It’s so beautiful. One of my friends here has created more than a hundred pieces during the last three months, and they’re quality works. I wanna do that! But don’t forget the yellow-cases and moderators! I know some of these work around the clock to ensure this site moves smoothly, to encourage and push each other. They put so much of themselves into it, and they expect precious little. I believe people on this site are incredibly brave, and I feel as if The Universe smiled on me since the day I singed up.
 
         If you’re a newbie with an account date after mine, go easy on your review of the site until you’ve explored and discovered your own version of this tool. There are so many resources around from "Writing.Com 101"   by The StoryMistress to the moderators who are happy to answer questions, so there’s no reason to misunderstand nor misuse the site. It is not a pedestal upon which one thrusts an ego to be adored. It is not a permanent spotlight, not a place to come in and “take over”. It is a tool, and its effectiveness can only be achieved with the desire to learn . For me, just shoving my ego out of the way so I can jump in and learn is all it took, and I can see clearly I’m becoming better, both as a writer and a human.
 
 
         And that’s worth five stars, to discover who I feel called to be.
January 31, 2021 at 11:50am
January 31, 2021 at 11:50am
#1003317
 
(or, I Only Write for Rewards)

  
         All the writing I participated in over the last forty years, all the works I started before losing interest because I was certain I am not a writer sit with heft on a table in my office. That illustrious and fast-paced world of literary fame was something I could never have hoped to jump into, a dream only for those who know what they’re doing and are destined for something great from the start. And, yet, one of my first memories is as a little boy, maybe three or four years old. I was excited when my mom received a typewriter, even if I didn’t have a clue what the machine was actually for. I sat in the kitchen in front of the heavy, black thing while the snow danced to the ground outside, but I used the entire day to peck out a one-page story on a piece of wide-ruled paper about a cat. When my step-dad came home and read it, he found a spelling error and proceeded to edit my work. All I knew for sure was that I had spent all day on this, and in just a few little clicks on the typewriter, he crossed out my misspelled word. I was infuriated. I yanked the paper from the antique, the damn thing offering more resistance than I had anticipated as I dramatically tugged the sheet of paper, and I ripped the story into pieces as I ran to my bedroom. I writhed on my bed, tears forced by the agony of artistry.
 
         The whole experience should have been the first indication I am a writer.
 
          ​Through the next thirty-five years or so, I began so many projects, so many stories with no real characterization or destination. I wrote anyway. I still have legal pads full of stories from when I was in high school, story after story because it was just what I did. I’m not trying to be cute here; without realizing it, in my free time, I wrote to amuse myself. I felt powerful having characters do what I wanted them to, living lives I could only dream of. In my office is a table full of notebooks and papers of stories started with no intent to finish them.
 
          Still never realized I am a writer.
 
          A few years ago, I set out to write my first book. It took eight months to write 70,000 words. Once completed, I put the first draft on the shelf to allow myself some distance for six weeks, then went back and read it.
 
          I quickly felt this was not a good novel. I didn’t know why exactly, but something about the mechanics just didn’t work. It was a good start of something, or to something, but the seeds of magic hadn’t been properly planted. I began researching and reading everything I could find about how to actually write. The elements in my failed novel that wouldn’t work began to highlight themselves, beginning with the first four chapters of backstory. The more I studied the actual craft of writing, the more I realized there was no character arc, no real progression of an interesting story within my novel.
 
          In short, I had created something that should serve as the poster-child for everything to avoid when writing a book.
 
          Turns out, writing is much more difficult than I could have guessed. I think it may be true that everyone has the ability to sit down and write a book; only a fraction of those have the talent to write a good one. I imagine only the smallest piece of the fraction have the patience to learn how to use and be used by the art of writing. Not everyone has the ability to focus on the more difficult and mundane aspects of storytelling so the reader is left to enjoy the story without the task of editing typos or finding an obvious plot hole - work the author should have already done.
 
          Doing research for a story can be overwhelming. For a reader to give twenty percent imagination to the book, the author has to give eighty percent realism, or so I believe, something so that the reader can jump into a world of imagination and wonder without feeling hindered, without being ripped from the story to contemplate the believability of the written situation. With the right amount of realism in a story, there’s nothing that can’t be believed. Eighty percent translates into a lot of research to ensure the reader has nothing to think about beyond the actual story, nothing to do but fall in love with or hate the characters they’ve invested in. Research is the key to believability which, in turn, yields the potential for magic.
 
          ​The act of writing is grueling, a lonely environment causing mental exhaustion by day’s end. Forget typos and messed up chronological timelines; the real mental exercise comes from the juggling act a writer must perform as he or she balances between characterization, plot, and progression, all while attempting to maintain a freshness within the story to make it as interesting as possible. It’s an odd dance, to think without thinking, to allow the characters to become who they’re working toward while I hover overhead and monitor their progress, keeping it all on track.
 
          ​I think, for me, the worst part of writing is trying to rest when my muse wants a job done. I don’t know if other writers experience this or not, so maybe I’m just creating conversation here, but there are days when, while I’m attempting to nap, I can feel an itching in my core, a desire to produce something. It feels much like I think ants in the pants do, except I call it “Muse in the Fuse”. It’s a drive to write even when I’m trying to stay away from such addictions. But it calls, and, for a writer – and maybe it’s true for art in general – there is no escape. The only way to please this feeling is to write something, anything. Get it out, and soothe the muse.
 
          It does feel like the work is not worth whatever rewards might be reaped. A writer isn’t guaranteed fame or money, we aren’t even sure people will read the words we put to paper or screen. So why do it if nobody cares? What’s the point?
 
         The hard work described above is the way one grows. The only alternative is to stop writing altogether, and it also the only way to fail. Once we quit writing, we stop being writers; we become scribblers and people who copy, but we are no longer writers and creators when we become too good to become better, especially in a world where, as Hemingway put it, nobody will ever master the art. The only way to truly fail in writing is to give up.
 
          It seems perfectly obvious to me that a writer would want to strive to change and evolve into something better for the sake of him or herself. What do we do when, as babies, crawling becomes inefficient and falling down hurts? We figure out a way to be better, to move by walking and strengthening our muscles. We learn naturally how to be better humans. The same is true with writing. There’s a point where we do all we can as writers on our own, and then we need outside help, eyes foreign to our work. We can only become better by showing someone else what we’ve created. It stings to hear that a piece of work isn’t as perfect as I’d thought, but I love that pain, that slicing of my personal feelings because the story becoming better is far more important than my ego. I know that sting means the story is worth making better, worth putting in the work. It’s not about money or clout…the reward is that I’ve achieved something small during the creation process, and that keeps the process going, the desire to do the absolute best I can simply because I want to.
 
          The hard work brings about a better quality of work, and, for me, it brings along a higher standard of what I want to be as a human being. Completing something and then making it better, and then stepping it up still…it feels good to do something for real that I’ve felt in my heart for so long. There’s a strength there fueling who I am.
 
         ​The best reward is finishing a project, producing a more tangible version of a world I’ve ever only seen inside my head. To create a work I can believe in, to hold it in my hand and know it represents so many hours of research and typing, all the nights of lying awake and replaying a scene over and over until I feel nauseated from the stress, it feels good. It is the physical culmination of hopes and dreams and personal magic, and that’s the ultimate reward for me. To hold the manuscript, to know the ink and paper are so much more than their physical attributes, that’s where I find home.
 
          There’s no way I can write without so many of my psychological truths surfacing. It’s a little easier to see who I am when I inspect the theme of my novel, when I can see what’s really me and what’s imaginary. It becomes a beacon of who I am right now, a testament of who I’ve become versus how I’d like to see myself. There is a list of psychological translations protruding from this story I’ve written, and that list seems to be eternal. It’s scary to think about what I might expose about myself, but it’s fun to see who I am because of the characters just doing what they do.
 
          The more I accomplish, the more I achieve, and the easier it is to discover the strength of my desire to be better. With learning how to correct my current novel to near-perfection comes a yearning to deliver an even better performance next time. I like my book, I believe in the story, and I love some of the characters. I want to do everything to make sure they receive the best representation I can offer. But there’s always a next project just over the horizon, and if that’s the case, why not try to learn? If the first book is good, then shouldn’t the second one be kick-ass? And that’s the fire commencing the cycle of writing, with the end result, hopefully, translating into a human who wants to discover the magic within himself, someone who wants to grow.
 
          ​Whether I knew or it not, I have always been some kind of writer with no real purpose or direction. Only in recent weeks have I begun to suspect the reality that maybe I can hold my own eventually in the realm of writing. Even more to the point, maybe I should be doing this, if not for any reason other than evolving from the inside. In that light, it turns into something more personal, more spiritual. I feel like I’m discovering new parts of myself. It’s like I’m coming out again, except instead of being gay, this time I’m a writer. Finding that bit of who I am, that hint of purpose, I think, is all I needed to figure out a bigger picture, a frame I’m honored to be in. I’ve already experienced just a little of the magic, a taste, and I now want to do everything I can to feel that magic again and again. To be a better person is why I write. It fills all the requirements I have defining a spirituality. It’s the altar upon which I’ve been sacrificed by the muse, not so I can experience the ego of martyrdom, but so I can pay my dues as a newbie, appreciative and eager to evolve.

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