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Blaugust 26: Misusing Writing Prompts


Fiction Prompt (from Poets & Writers)
You know that weird notion that sometimes surfaces when you meet new people–that feeling that you already know them, but can’t remember why or how? Write a scene for a story about two people who both experience the same déjà vu upon meeting, with a plot driven by their need to figure out how they know each other. Use this opportunity to add an element of magical realism to your story. Perhaps they were married in a past life, or maybe they met in a dream. Once they solve the puzzle, how does this impact their lives going forward? Do they even believe the answer, or do they agree it’s too far-fetched?

This reminds me of a story I wanted to write. A story about love and dreams and reality. I was going to have the main couple meet in a dream–except, instead of A dream, they would keep meeting in dreams, and the dreams would vary a lot as dreams do. I was going to have them be birds one time.

Fairly recently I read a summary of a new book that had a much too similar premise to this. Of course what I thought was, I waited to long and now it’s too late. Someone else did it, so I shouldn’t even bother.

Now, I haven’t read this book so I don’t know the details of the plot. And it’s safe to say that this book is not exactly the same as the book I would write. It does seem close enough, though, that it makes me wonder. Because, see, I would much prefer to put writing out there that is unique. I dread the idea of someone reading a book I wrote and thinking, “I could have written that.” I don’t see the point in writing if I’m only doing what has already been done.

Maybe it’s not possible to do something as different as that without becoming China Mieville. The details of his worlds are quite fascinating… but the next person to write like him is just going to be seen as “copying.” Because when you’re THAT different, no one else can just happen to go there.

 

(Please don’t ask me what the gif has to do with the post… because the answer is nothing.)

 

 

Blaugust 24: The Unknown


August is disappearing fast, and I do not know how I feel about this. There’s good and bad aspects I guess.

I have a tendency to start thinking too far ahead sometimes, and right now what’s on my mind but the fact that there is only one week left of Blaugust. Now, I don’t have a strong emotional attachment or anything, but I can’t help wondering what is going to happen when it’s over.

Will I keep blogging regularly? Will I write something every day? Will I make “Blogtember”? (Don’t worry, if I blog ever day in September I’ll do it without a silly name.)

Will I fall off the wagon, as it were, and stop writing again? Will I feel too discouraged knowing that most of the posts I’ve done this month are actually pretty bad?

Will I wait until I have something to say AND a better notion of how to say it?

What am I going to do? Should I just remove myself from blogging life entirely, stop doing it because it’s clear that I’ll NEVER make money this way? (Not that I think it’s only worth it if I end up making money, I just don’t understand why I haven’t qualified for adsense yet. So I have a smaller following than most blogs that make money–that just means it will take longer to reach a payout. Doesn’t that make it BETTER for them? Because they’re paying me less? …Yeah so clearly I don’t get how that works.)

I’m also wondering how the remaining week will go. I thought that by now I would have cleared out some of my overcrowded thoughts and reached at least one gem that other people could relate to, but I’ve been so stressed that more of the pointless thoughts, the ones that if I were actually editing I would just cut out, keep piling on. My brain is STILL so overwhelmed that it goes blank in the middle of writing. I have momentum, but I stop to think for a second, and whatever path the post might have taken took a sharp turn and then just starts looping on itself.

That is what has happened just now, so I guess I’ll end things here without a proper conclusion. Tell me what you think I’m going to do at the end of this month-long experiment.

Blaugust 8: One Week In


I successfully completed one week straight of blaugust posts. That bodes well because most of them were done even though I didn’t feel like I had anything I particularly WANTED to blog about. Of course, I’m not saying one should force oneself to blog, but since I haven’t been writing at all for so long, it will take a little time and effort to get back into the habit.

The trouble I have is when I don’t have a topic in mind, I can’t really pull from my everyday life because my life in general is either really boring, or involves things I don’t want to write about for a number of reasons. (Or something that is better suited to a planned post as opposed to one that I write in the moment.) Yesterday, trying to figure out what to say, I went and looked at a bunch of writing prompts until an idea sparked. It sounds lame, probably, but sometimes it takes a little something extra to connect to your creative bone. Did you know creativity comes from a specific bone?

No it doesn’t. I’m lying.

The point is, there seems to be a good chance that the rest of my blaugust posts will mostly be quite boring. Half of them may end up being about blogging and the process of trying to return to regular writing (even extremely mediocre writing), which basically turns this into a meta-blog and who would even care to read that?

There’s a reason I actually began to write about food in the first place. It’s twofold: 1. I love food, 2. everybody eats. Food (along with other basic human needs) is probably the only thing that connects everyone on the planet. And I find that interesting.

 

Blaugust 3: WordPress is being mean


Confession: I follow my own blog on WordPress. I do it to test that my posts show up in the feed. If they don’t I don’t do anything but pout about how WordPress does so many things that don’t make sense.

For instance, people can subscribe by email, but if the subscriber reads your post in an email is doesn’t “count” as a view. Nor does it count if the post is read on Facebook or Tumblr, which are two ways that I usually share my posts. Therefore I’m caught in a Catch-22: if I don’t share on alternative social media, I won’t get as many views. But those views don’t count toward my page views.

I signed up to the wordpress ad program a while ago, and the response is essentially, when your blog gets enough views to qualify, we’ll contact you. No further information, e.g.: do I have to reapply at some point? Can you do something to track views that occur on other sites where the post was shared? (because that would only be fair, but it seems like those views are never counted).

Why am I writing about this now? Because yesterday’s post, Dali Meets Disney, didn’t come up in my feed. So I have no idea if anyone saw it at all…

In addition, my posts don’t usually generate much interaction. I get a rare comment and up to about ten likes for a single post. In the world of Blogging, with a capital B, that doesn’t mean much.

The whole wordpress feed issue led me to take a quick look at my stats and see that the first post of Blaugust ALSO didn’t have any views. And this sent me into a mini-spiral. “No one likes me. This whole thing is pointless. Why even bother?”

Thankfully (possibly due to the mood-stabilizing vitamin regimen I’ve started?), I was able to stop myself from going into a full-on breakdown and remind myself that the point of Blaugust isn’t the views (although at least a few would be REALLY F*@#&ING NICE), it’s to remind myself what it feels like to write on a regular basis. With any luck, I’ll pick it up fairly quickly and I’ll be able to stop blogging about blogging.

Blaugust 1: Confessions


I’m only writing this right now to avoid the utter failure of missing the first day of a self-imposed blogging challenge.

The last writing challenge I did was the 365k365day challenge (which I detailed to some degree on my writing blog). I think it was in 2014. I was very excited about it to begin with, but lost steam all too quickly and beyond April of that year, barely wrote 1,000 words. My failure in that challenge coincided with my overall writing hiatus. Perhaps it even caused it. I don’t know–I don’t think I’ll ever know.

I was going to do editing work when I got home from the retail work, but after my short dinner break and a bit of poking things on the internet, I took a little time to watch an episode or two on Netflix. Now it’s 10:30 and I still intend to do the work… Read the rest of this entry

Are you ready… for Blaugust?


Am I ready for Blaugust?

What the hell is Blaugust?

 

Blaugust is a word I made up, that someone else probably made up before I did (I’m not doing research on this today), that indicates an intention to blog every day in the month of August! The idea is pulled mainly from youtube vlog challenges I’ve seen (Vlogtober and Vlogmas). And the idea is to get myself back into old writing habits that just dropped away.

If you follow me you may have already realized that I haven’t blogged much in a long time. I don’t want this post to get too long, so I’m not going to to into the reasons at the moment. Maybe that will be the topic of one of next month’s posts… Read the rest of this entry

Blogging Back to Life


Every single thing I tried to do in 2015 failed. It just fell waysideways. I didn’t write, I didn’t blog, I mostly stopped cooking, I barely read anything.

I DID watch lots and lots of Netflix, but that does not count as an accomplishment.

I did think a lot about what I wanted to be doing, and how far away I am from anything I really want. I did have many small mental breakdowns and almost-anxiety attacks (like just the beginning of it, where it has the potential to turn into an anxiety attack, but it doesn’t get that far).

Going into the new year I have a lot of goals and aims. In short, I just can’t keep sitting around and wasting time. I have wasted so much time, I could have lived a whole extra life by now. Starting to blog again is a small step toward improving my life, and at least it will be an outlet for some of my ideas. (Side note: a part of this goal is to stop making any posts talking about how I’m going to start blogging more. They’re pretty much pointless and the last few times I’ve written them, that claim has proven false.)

Beginning next week, I am bringing back Monday Madness and Five Things Friday posts! I think, actually, I did the latter on my OTHER blog in the past, but this time I’m going to do both here. I don’t think I’ll have any food posts for a while, and I may actually leave that alone for a while. No one wants to read your food posts if you can’t take good pictures, right? But look out for some random ramblings. Hopefully, they’ll entertain a few people.

If you have a moment and feel like it, go ahead and read the post on my writing blog by the same name.

Warning: Posts Ahead!


I know I keep saying that I’m going to be posting more often, and then I don’t, and there are several reasons for it. All of them at the core are due to laziness or insecurity, or sometimes just dealing with life and not being at all in the mood to blog…

But I’ve got a number of posts planned, and a (somewhat nebulous) idea of how I want to proceed with this site. Some of these upcoming posts will be very think-y and have nothing to do with food or lifestyle, which was the main purpose of this blog–but as I’ve said before, the REAL purpose of this blog is to do things the way I want. It’s not the no-recipe kitchen or no-recipe fashion. As it always was, it is an approach to life that allows for changes and adjustments whenever I decide they’re appropriate.

I also plan to change the theme, eventually. I like the current structure for the site, but I don’t think the design is right. I’m in the process of utilizing Skillcrush to FINALLY learn some coding, and I’m hoping that will help me design the site as I really want it to be. Of course, in order to do that I’ll probably have to learn some photoshop skills as well, and acquire good software that I can’t afford.

For other content, related and unrelated, check me out on youtube, username norecipewriter, or instagram @norecipelife. My youtube videos are probably going to become more thoughtful and hopefully better production-wise (although I still have the bare minimum of equipment and terrible lighting at the moment…), but are not likely to be frequent in the near future. Too much other stuff going on. For writing-related stuff, check out my other blog, devajashewaywriting.com.

Also, I’ve heard at least one person say they’re not getting notifications of my posts anymore, so you may have to re-subscribe if you want them.

That’s all for now, but I promise in the next week or two there will be quite a bit more! Yell at me if there isn’t!

The Update Continues


Well then, two weeks later, I still have not done any of that blog-fixin’ I was talking about! The perfectionist in me is shying away from the task. She doesn’t want to put in all this work and then have the world respond with “So what?” So I guess I’ve been biding my time until I have a good chunk of time to deal with rearranging the blog. I can tell it’s going to take quite a lot of work to get things the way I want, and I’m so behind on other life things that I can’t give it the attention it deserves right now.

My chicken tikka masala post continues to get views constantly. I honestly don’t know how this has happened. I liked the post just fine, but it’s hardly a masterpiece. Is adding a can of coconut milk to a jar of tikka masala sauce really so interesting to people that it’s almost the only post that is ever viewed? It’s kind of disheartening to me otherwise… While I’m glad people have enjoyed this post, it sort of makes me think that any seeming success I’ll ever have in my life will be a fluke.

I have a jar of the same sauce and a plan to try the “recipe” with shrimp. Will that one get anywhere near the same amount of views? My guess is no.

My hope is that I’ll be able to have the new format of the blog figured out by the end of October. I want to say September, but I worry that it will take me much longer than that to get my other stuff in order. Or something resembling it. Until then I am sure I’ll just fret about the many imperfections in this and other aspects of my life.

Monday Madness: F*ck! I’m in My Twenties.


This is the title of a book I got for Christmas. Yes, it was on my wishlist. Because I am in my twenties. And it’s kind of weird.

The book actually has that asterisk. I guess you’re not allowed to actually write “fuck” on a book cover, because Go the F*ck to Sleep had the same thing. CENSORSHIP. PROTECT US FROM THE DIRTY WORDS PLEASE, BECAUSE THEY’RE THE REAL PROBLEM AROUND HERE!!!

You might not be surprised to hear that things have been a little bit crazy lately. Between the holidays and visiting family, the emotional mess I became in the few weeks before the holidays (for no reason, really), the unusual work schedule, and the weather (it turns out I actually hate winter, so, yeah), I feel like I haven’t had a chance to really relax pretty much since Thanksgiving.

That’s all about how I spend my time, though. I need to figure out how to manage time and money effectively. Less procrastination. In my last year of college I resolved to do my homework as soon as possible and never put it off. That didn’t happen, of course, but I think I finished everything at least the day before it was due. Unfortunately, I have no actual deadlines to work with now…

I would really like to spend January on vacation. I don’t mean out of town, away on some tropical island somewhere–although I guess that would be nice too. I was actually thinking staycation. Because all I want to do right now is nurse my creativity. I want to read all these books I’ve had around, many for over a year now, and absorb the literature and the art. I also want to re-read Memoirs of Hadrian and The Waves, both fantastic books I’ve only read once. I need to finish Pride and Prejudice, finally, and read at least some of the entries from History of the World in 100 Objects. I got it as a present a long time ago, because I claimed to want it very very much, and I haven’t actually read a single word of it.

And then I want to delve into the stories in my head. There are so many, and they’re tired of being unseen. It’s like my productivity as a writer is a frozen river; it’s flowing, but I just can’t get to it through this layer of ice.

That ice is day-to-day life. It’s an 8-hour work day plus an hour of commute at each end. It’s forcing myself out of bed in the morning when I’m still so tired, and trying to get through the morning quickly enough that I’ll get to work on time (sometimes…). It’s those evenings when you get home and make dinner, and do the dishes, and then take a shower, and then you pretty much only have time to go to bed.

Because I spend way more time complaining about all this stuff than actually taking steps to improve my life, I feel the need to make a certain point here: this stuff is a lot easier for some people. Plenty of people wake up on time (even if they don’t enjoy it) and they go through their work day and they get home and are productive in their free time. I suspect that these people are well-adjusted ones who had mostly happy adolescences and were never lonely or excluded, because they were “normal.”

I am not one of those people. For me, the idea of coming home after work and cleaning and writing and doing the things I want to do that would make life nicer in general is at times quite impossible. Making some kind of sandwich melt in the toaster oven and then watching shows on hulu for three hours always seems so much simpler and more attainable of a goal.

But I’ve got Resolutions this year! (One of them is making the updates to this blog I talked about in an earlier post.) I’m thinking of them as Non-New Year’s Resolutions, because I don’t think New Year’s Resolutions actually work. I’m planning to make a youtube video about it and posting it early in January… I’ll link it, so keep an eye out if you’re interested. In a nutshell, my resolutions are about getting off my ass and actually trying to do the things I want to do. But it’s more particular than that.

With a reluctant sigh, I guess I should get back to that “life” now and get something done…

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