Tag Archives: Dedication

It’s Thanksgiving. Have you got your power tools?

22 Nov

Last night, my dad and I attempted to make a vegetable cow as a Thanksgiving centerpiece. Since the project was a collaborative effort, my dad was only responsible for making the cow’s body. However, that doesn’t mean that my dad put in any less effort on his part of the project. In fact, he put in more than most people would.

What you’ll need (for just the body):

  • One green pepper
  • One red pepper
  • Carrots
  • Styrofoam (to hold the two peppers together)
  • Power tools

Yes, I did say power tools. Once my dad got the main part of the cow’s body complete (which involved attaching the two peppers together with styrofoam), he attached the legs (carrots). Though the two back legs went straight into the styrofoam which made them stable, the front two legs weren’t quite so lucky since the styrofoam hadn’t reached that far. Therefore, my dad broke out the power tools.

 

I don’t think there is something that screams dedication and man power more than using power tools on vegetables. When you combine that with my dad’s career as a landscape architect, you’ve got an experiment that includes comments like: I got carrots on my drill bit and Are you giving that vegetable cow a hip replacement? Though the cow body is looking a little wobbly this morning, I can definitely say that last night was one of the most hilarious Thanksgiving memories I’ve ever had. It’s Thanksgiving. If you don’t have your power tools, you should jump on the bandwagon. You’re definitely missing out. 🙂

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How Do You Deal With Criticism, Writer’s Block And Burnout?

2 May

This past Friday, I met up with one of my writing mentors, Mike, that I hadn’t seen in over 2 years. It was great to see him, and we had a great hour and a half conversation about writing, life, struggles, etc. Since Mike is one of those people who is a writer himself and will tell me the honest truth, sometimes I’m a bit hesitant to share what I’ve written with him.

I have yet to share any part of my book with him because I feel like I’m still in the early stage of writing my memoir. I only started writing at the end of January, and I’ve only written about 12 pages (which I’m not exactly proud of. However, I was dealing with schoolwork up until a little less than a week ago, so what can you do?). Though I’ve only written 12 pages, at this point, I’m still very close to those 12 pages of my life, my heart, and ultimately, my soul. Those 12 pages are memories that I’ve pulled directly from my heart and written down. They aren’t changed in any way. They are as close to the actual truth that I have been able to get (since I’ve realized that I’ve blocked out a good chunk of memories due to their degree of pain). Deep down, I’m not ready to share anything yet. I still feel so emotionally close to what I’ve written so far. I mean, it’s my life. It’s what I felt, not just physically, but emotionally too. How can I turn it over to someone to critique just yet? I understand that dealing with criticism is a huge part of being a writer. I also understand that I’m going to get good and bad criticism, and it’s important to focus on the good criticism since that is the advice that will propel me forward. However, I just feel like it’s too soon. Does that make sense?

Now that I’m done with academics until the fall semester (or until I study abroad in Ireland in June), I have the time to sit down with my memoir and try to sort through as many memories as I can that I have yet to write down. However, at this point, I’m just not sure where to go. I sit down to write, and nothing comes out. I think it’s primarily because I’m not in the right mindset for the memories to surface. The things that I want to share aren’t particularly happy, so sitting down to write when I’m in a relatively cheerful mood doesn’t get me anywhere. Though I understand that the writing process isn’t something that occurs overnight, it’s hard to wait when I just want to finally get all the painful memories out. They’ve been buried inside for so long. We all have to face our demons eventually. I may as well start now.

When I talked with Mike on Friday, he made the comment that my memoir is something that I shouldn’t force, and since it is such a delicate topic for me, it’s something that I should try to not get too frustrated over. However, since the process of writing is frustrating anyway, some frustration is normal. I think the best advice Mike gave me was to start another writing project (as well as working on my memoir). He pointed out that since my memoir is such an emotionally heavy project, it’d be good to work on something light on the side. Whether it’s poetry or a short story, working on another project is good when I’m stuck on my memoir. Mike said “Even if you write a short story about bunnies, you’re writing. That’s all that matters.” Mike has made a point to tell me that writing every day is an important part of writing. Even though I’ve seen the benefits of that (through this blog, mainly), I guess I didn’t consider starting another writing project.

I didn’t consider starting to write something other than my memoir because my memoir was taking up so much of my emotional energy. However, now that I take a second look at it, I guess that’s why people take on multiple writing projects….to give their mind a break from focusing on the same writing project day in and day out. I know that since I’ve started my memoir, there have been days that I just don’t feel like working on it. However, in the back of my mind, I know that I’ve got to work on something if I want my writing spark to stay alive. There have been previous times in my life when I’ve taken breaks from writing, but not just a break from a particular writing project, but a break from writing altogether. Even though in those instances I’ve eventually returned to writing, the breaks from writing have made it even harder to get back into the swing of things.

So, moral of the story: Write every day (no matter what), don’t let a certain writing project burn you out (start something else to keep your writing juices flowing, while also allowing yourself to have a break from the first writing project), and don’t give up (I know writing is frustrating, but for the few of us who love it, writing is our passion, our love, and the only way we can accurately portray ourselves).

Are you ever hesitant to share something you’ve written because you’re too emotionally close to it? How do you deal with criticism? Would you rather focus on one writing project at a time or split your time between two different writing projects and why? I’d love feedback from you fellow writers! 

Write On Despite The Rain.

18 Apr

Asheville has been hit with a crazy amount of rain over the past few days, but it’s been perfect for me. I forgot how much I love walking in the rain. It’s not exactly my favorite when I have to walk to class (especially when I’m in a hurry), but overall, I love it. I love the way everything smells so much greener after it rains, and I love the sound the rain makes as it hits the leaves of the trees that surround campus. Rain has a different feel to it in the mountains. Instead of something to complain about, it’s something to celebrate. It has a kind of calming effect that is truly hard to describe, but sometimes when it rains, I just sit outside and listen to the pure sound of such a simple thing: rain falling from the sky.

These rainy days haven’t been good for my productivity level however. Even though I did get a good bit of work done on a Humanities paper that’s due on Monday, I’d much rather open my window and curl up with a book and some coffee. Or even better: sleep. Adequate amounts of sleep are rare at college campuses this time of year. It’s the time of year for final projects, presentations, papers and the favorite of all, final exams. Even though my final exams officially begin a week from today, there is still so much to be done before I can even think about studying for that Wednesday final exam. Chief among them is the paper that’s due Monday. Therefore, instead of listening to the rain and reading a good book with some hot coffee at my side, I’ll be working on this Humanities paper until it’s done. I’m hoping that I’ll be finished sooner rather than later, but with papers it’s so hard to tell. One day I may be able to crank out a good 3-4 pages of the 7-page paper, while other days I may struggle just to get one paragraph. Alas, this is college, and I must do what I do best: Write On!