Monday, April 29, 2013

Where I Write Deadline Extended!

You know you want to show us where you write...where you conjure up characters, spin plots, and create magic!

Deadline has been extended for the "Where I Write" blog carnival until midnight Tuesday night, April 30.

Details here!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Wuz Robbed

I've noticed a very disturbing trend lately. When I sit down to write, nothing but complete drivel comes out. There's no flow, no joy, no flashes of inspiration. It's pure drudgery.

I hate it.

This is why writers who've been in the game long enough call it what it is: hard work.

I've gone through these cycles before, which means this will pass and I'll have days where the writing is not so hard and I can bask in the bliss of words again.

I hope.

I'll be honest. This time, I feel like something has changed.

When I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), I had no idea that it would have an affect on my mental abilities. I just figured it would attack me physically, which it has (rather well sometimes), but not so much emotionally.

As I've connected with others who have RA, I've learned that they, too, have experienced this same emotional turmoil. Brain fog, short term memory loss, not being nearly as sharp and quick as we once were, lack of motivation, depression. Some of this is caused by medication and some of it is caused by the disease itself.

I'm on a powerful drug for my RA, and I've definitely noticed a difference in my mental abilities since I've started taking it. My doctor and I are trying to see if we can help ease that situation, but what we're trying so far isn't working.

The racing thoughts, lack of focus, inability to think clearly, and malaise are all a threat to my writing. On some days, it takes a supreme amount of will power just to get myself to look at my novel. The Internet has exacerbated this lack of focus as it gives my racing brain plenty of reasons to keep racing. Click, click, click! It's maddening.

This disease hasn't just robbed me of my physical health (which was precarious to begin with), but I also feel like it's robbing me of my mental health and writing ability. It's not that I'm not passionate about writing, because I am. But getting myself to mentally commit to it, to be in the story, is increasingly difficult lately.

To say I'm scared is an understatement. Writing is really who I am. It affects so many parts of my life that I would be completely lost without it. I'm terrified that this is not just a normal part of the writer's cycle, that this disease has made it incredibly difficult to write like I have before, that I will regress instead of progress.

But rest assured, I am not giving up. Oh no. It's not in me to do that. I will keep writing, and trust that God will see me through it, and trust that the writing ability is not gone, only hidden behind a veil of a medication-and disease-induced, misfiring brain.

This quote by John Wayne aptly fits:

I'll saddle up. I'll keep forcing myself to write, even when it's hard, even when the words are stuck in the mud and muck of my befuddled brain. I'll keep pushing, keep trying, keep living.


P.S. If you want to participate in the "Where I Write" blog carnival, details are here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why Blogging Is NOT Dying

Last year, I wrote a post titled, "Is Blogging Dying?" In it, I explored why other social media forms, like Facebook and Twitter, were beginning to hold more of an appeal to me than blogs.

A year later, things have changed.

I joined Twitter (reluctantly) and have connected with a lot of new people that way, mostly those that are into World War II history, some writers, and literary agents. It's an interesting format, but not one that I really enjoy.

Same with Facebook. I like to stay updated on my family and friends, but more and more, it's just become...boring. I tend to scroll through my newsfeed fairly fast in the morning and really don't stop to read a lot of the memes being posted or quotes or what have you. I'd much rather read someone's status update than look at anything else.

I used to enjoy the rapid-fire response you get on Facebook, and I admit to irrational glee when someone retweets one of my Tweets or responds to me (my favorite response so far is from a guitar player for the band, Shinedown. I tweeted a picture that my daughter drew of him to his Twitter account and he responded. Yes, we saved his tweet and yes, it's hanging on my daughter's wall). I like to follow certain celebrities, too. (Russell Crowe is a favorite).

The bass player from Shinedown, Eric Bass, at the concert my daughter and I went to in March. He re-tweeted one of my Tweets.
But there isn't a lot of depth to Twitter. You can't settle in for a nice, long post, one that will really get to the heart of a subject and explore all its many facets.

I miss that.

So today, after looking at my FB and Twitter feeds, I closed the tabs and went to my blog, eager to dig my mind into something more substantial via my blogroll. I haven't been disappointed. There are still a lot of really good blogs out there that I thoroughly enjoy, and I always like finding more.

It's strange how social media is such a huge component of our lives, but I find that its sheen has faded for me. I'd rather be on Pinterest or my blog than either Twitter or FB. There are times when I don't want to be "connected." I don't know where we got this notion that we have to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, update our FB and Twitter statuses, and be only a text or phone call away from anyone and everyone.

But as I am a writer and I've been blogging since 2005, I have no intentions of stopping.

Despite the craze of Twitter and FB, I've decided that there IS a place for the blogging medium. No, blogging is not dying. I think people want a slower, more thoughtful way of looking at the world via a few well-written paragraphs rather than 140 characters or less.

No, I won't abandon Twitter or Facebook (I particularly like the Writer Unboxed community on FB), but I find myself wanting to go to my Twitter and FB pages less and less. Maybe it's the historian in me, or maybe I'm just hopelessly old-fashioned. Probably both.

While I don't blog as much as I used to, that may change. I'm finding I crave it more. For one, I can learn a lot more about a person through their blog than I can scrolling through 5,000 of their Tweets (and that's one thing about Twitter I really don't like - how some people post a tweet a minute for ten minutes sometimes. Annoying).

What's your take on social media? Is your enthusiasm for it still strong? Are certain social media sites more beneficial to you than others?

Reminder: Don't forget! I'm holding a Where I Write blog carnival and you are invited to participate! Details HERE.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Where I Write: 2013

Where do you write? Snuggled in bed with your laptop? A spare bedroom? An office all your own?

A few years ago, I did a blog carnival, asking my fellow writers to post pictures of where they write on their personal blogs. It was great fun to see everyone's writing spots. And I figured, why not do it again? For myself, my writing space has changed - I moved from an apartment to a house in 2011, and now I have an entire room dedicated to my writing. Since I write mostly World War II fiction and non-fiction, my room has the look and feel of the 1940s. I took great pains to get it just the way I wanted it, and I feel incredibly motivated and creative when I work there.

So! Here's the deal. The 2013 Where I Write Blog Carnival will be on May 1. All you have to do is blog about your writing spot (pictures are highly encouraged) and I'll link to all of the posts here at my blog on May 1. You don't have to blog specifically on May 1 - you may even want to use an old post you did of your writing spot. It doesn't matter. When you've got your blog post written, send me an email ( melissaamateis at earthlink dot net) with the link.

Deadline to submit links is April 29.

Spread the word!

What a Difference a Day (or Two) Made...

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