Tuesday, August 31, 2021

September IWSG - Responsibility and Success

If you do not care to hear about the personal drama swirling in my head, skip to the question...PLEASE

As I sit here writing this (at the last minute, Tuesday night) I am devouring my gluten-free, sugar-free, mug cookie (which is absolutely fantastic, seriously, butter, cashew butter, honey, gluten-free pancake mix, oats, choc. chips) and I am completely over it. ALL of it. (It = humans). 

I just can't focus on my writing until this is out of my mind.

If you have followed me for a while, you know that I was a teacher until right before the pandemic. Something told me it was time for a break so when I moved across the country I switched my day job to childcare. And fate has been laughing ever since. One month later, the schools shut down and my childcare center was flooded with school-aged kids with nowhere else to go. Fast forward (17 months) and last week was the first week they all went back to school! FINALLY!

But wait! We are exhausted, all of us, every teacher, parent, worker, employer, human being... I like to think I am a compassionate person, but the unbelievable chaos of the past two weeks (which should have been my chance to relax) has me angry and frustrated. Positive Covid cases, classrooms quarantining, employees and kids not following the rules... I'm just over it. 

Seriously, stop reading here and skip to the question. At this point, I'm whining.

Where do we draw the line between self-care and caring for others? Why do some of us continue to sacrifice and push ourselves to our limits while others take a step back? Why does having a bad sunburn mean you can't come to work? (Trust me, I know how it feels. I got one two weeks ago. I forgot to ask anyone to do my back after I took care of everyone else. It is hot and cold and feels like my shirt is made of sandpaper and my bra is razor wire. I get it!) Is it selfish to put your own comfort first? Should we "self-care" every time we have a stomach cramp, a sore ankle, lose our voice, get a migraine? Do some people just lack the sense of responsibility to do a job despite hardships?

If you are still reading this, I am so sorry! I am just in shock when I think about the contradiction I am seeing. Take care of yourself OR serve others. But is it truly taking care of yourself if you can do both? Is pain and discomfort far worse than the burden you place on others to do your responsibilities? Is the human race becoming weak? I've seen a diabetic coworker go through chemotherapy and be at work every day, and at the same time seen another coworker call out two days EVERY week. How are we so far apart in how we view our duties? I know we have different limits, but do we really?

Is it a matter of integrity? How do we wake others up to their responsibilities? How do we move them toward strength? How do we lead others to find honor and pride in their daily work? And how do we continue to trust and feel supportive towards others' pain when we are taken advantage of so often?



September 1 question - How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

The awesome co-hosts for the September 1 posting of the IWSG are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

This one is hard, especially when my mind is fully clouded by daily stress and this strange inability to focus on my writing at all. Every time I sit down to work on my novel, my mind fills with fog. I have plenty to do on my list, my revisions are just sitting there, waiting for me, and I'm staring at the screen like I do not know how to use a keyboard.

I have held a book in my hand with my name at the top of some of the pages. My short story was published earlier this year. I even got that first royalty check this week! I consider this a huge success, but is this my definition of "success as a writer?" I honestly don't know. I feel like I will consider myself successful when this novel is fully revised and ready to publish. If... (I mean when) When I make it that far, it will be a success because it means I have made it through the fire swamp alive. The next time I enter, I will feel confident. That confidence is my success. If I know I can do something, then I can do it. 

Please click on the badge below for a complete list of participants in the IWSG Blog Hop. Have a great month. Find your strength!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

IWSG - August - Craft Books

August 4 question - What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

The awesome co-hosts for the August 4 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox!

When it comes to specific parts of the craft, the most used book on my (virtual) shelf is J. Lenni Dorner's Preparing to Write Settings that Feel Like Characters. I use the worksheet often to think through scenes and improve my worldbuilding.

For the broader craft, and for that "inspiration," I have kept Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction close at hand. It includes plenty of details for multiple aspects of writing and several good examples. Each technique is usually followed up by a list of authors who employ it successfully. When I first bought the book, I had not written anything except ideas in a journal. I also had not read more than a handful of authors in the genre (always returning to my favorites). The inspiration I have gotten from the book is as valuable as the advice.

I have a few others that have never been opened! Balancing time is difficult when there are so many books. What book do you go to? Do you think I would benefit from a new favorite?

Want to visit more blogs? Click the badge below for the full list of participants.