Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Passion is Priceless

It is a blessing to have passion, independent of ability. To just be moved,
inspired to add to the world,
to saunter with purpose,
even when it seems aimless.

Isn't it our duty to cultivate our passions to the fullest?
Respond to our callings?
Not for success or recognition, but simply because we would be the ones missing out in the end?

*Picture from gorgeous website introduced to me by the wonderful Miss Ali

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunshine, Characters, Plot

Yesterday, my adorable Daddy and I walked around the city in 90 degree heat! Then, we ended up in my non-airconditioned apartment, where we baked even more. Oh, the joys of summer.
A good rain is refreshing every once in a while; the world needs to be cleansed and renewed, just like all of us.

Some people prefer the rain over sunshine...some enjoy curling up inside and hearing the rain on their windows...others love working during the rain

We sauntered through Union Square, where hundreds of vendors set up their tents, selling everything from organic honey to kittens. I saw a stand of sarcastic women posters and loved this one:

After he left, I sat in the very well air conditioned Borders to escape the heat. (I have a terrible habit of reading 3-4 books simultaneously, which also indicates my utterly present A.D.D.) Anyway, I was thinking about whether our books are plot driven or character driven.

Which, if either, do you prefer? Do you know your endings before you even construct your beginnings?

Over these past months, I have learned little ways that help me make my work character driven:

*Fill out a fictional character chart
*Ask, what would he or she do, before plotting the next chapter(s)
*Give them distinct traits that set them apart from anyone else, including their manner of speaking
(I read that if you were to take different pieces of your dialogue and present it to someone who has already read your book, they should be able to tell which character it came from.)

*I also received incredible gifts from an incredible person. I have babbled about my office supply obsession before, but these two top them all:

A fountain pen and a feather quill pen!!!

(Even though most of us type out our manuscripts, there seems to be a timeless charm to handwritten notes.)

Some things just make writing more fun.

Do you have special writing instruments??

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Shitty First Drafts and Perfect Long Weekends

Everyone has different hurdles when it comes to their work. While I was struggling to write a rough draft, I decided to reread a chapter from Ann Lamott's Bird by Bird called Shitty First Drafts. In that, Ann eloquently tells us that everyone, at some point, writes shitty first drafts and that it is okay; in fact, it is essential. I used to freak out about the way I wrote in my diary entries: What if someone finds these and this all they will ever have to critique my expression?? This is certainly true for writing, but I also think it applies to our other pursuits, whether that is an exercise regime or test grade. Everything is allowed to have its trial period, when things are not completely together.

It made me wonder: how often do we stand in our own way?

Do you ever struggle with putting wor
ds down on paper? How do you overcome any of your writing difficulties?

The weekend was so incredibly relaxing; it truly captured everything I love about summer in the city: outdoor meals, spontaneous movies, late (and lazy) brunches, pedictures, smoothies, strolling through the park at night....

(Also, I may have watched a marathon of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Real Housewives of New York City...I still cannot decide if that means I mastered the art of mindless relaxation or simply hit rock bottom.)

Saturday evening snapshot: sangrias + hammock + rooftop = bliss

Yesterday, I went to a wine bar and then tried a 'Shroom Burger in Madison Square Park. Best veggie burger ever!!! I ended my weekend tonight, with some awesome girls who are all doing such incredible things with their lives! I love being around people who do so much; it instigates me to keep striving, keep redefining...

I also saw---and cried in---Toy Story 3. I have yet to see a Pixar movie that I do not love (yes, I am a five year old trapped in the body of a twenty three year old). Each one does such an incredible job of creating loveable, unique characters!

Do you have a favorite Disney and/or Pixar movie?

Fun question I asked some Toy Story fans: Do you relate to Woody or Buzz more?
I think I am more of a Woody girl; he comes off as the classic nice guy whereas Buzz strikes me as more of a Type A man. In any case, all of the Toy Story characters are so adorable!!

My favorites: Woody, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, and Rex

Woody: "That's not flying. It's falling with style."

Buzz: "You are a sad, strange, little man. And you have my pity."

Rex: "I...I don't like confrontation."

Cute green aliens: "You have saved our lives. We are eternally grateful."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sometimes You Just Need a (Physical and Mental) Vacation

This past week, I spontaneously made a visit back to Atlanta. Oh, the good old South :) I love the city, but sometimes it can get a little...claustrophic here. Everything is tiny, space is limited, and my family is far away. At home, I get to fatten up, sleep excessively, and be worthless in so many ways.

I started reading a new book, which I am really enjoying so far. The author, Lisa See, includes a lot of description in her writing. Sometimes, I find too much description to be boring and more of a distraction. However, she does a good job of weaving it with action.

For the first few days of my visit, I made a genuine effort to write. I would keep my laptop and notebook nearby, scribble in any random musings, and stick to my chapter goals. I also made frequent note of changes to incorporate. (One of my writing professors told me that writing is never finished, but just abandoned, so it is theoretically possible to edit forever...which is what I will probably do.)

But, on the third day, I realized something: taking a break from my writing is extremely valuable. Sometimes, a break gives you the chance to renew your yourself...and your vision. I honestly feel that I was able to view my work through a fresher perspective after tucking it away for awhile. I think I read it more like a "reader" than a writer who obsessed over every page.

Do you ever force yourself to take a break from your writing? Does it make a difference?

In the girly department, my mom, sister, and I went shopping. One of the many things I love about my mom is that she accepts my differences from her. She does not enjoy outfits or accessories, but she embraces the fact that I do. When we went shopping, she surprised me with my very first Chanel bag! I have been eyeing it for a little over one year now. I know it sounds really stupid, but I cannot wait to pass it on someday. I think it's such a timeless piece!

Do you have a family heirloom or a precious "first" purchase?

"A woman should be two things: classy and fabulous"

"Those who create are rare; those who cannot are numerous. Therefore, the latter are stronger."

"A woman has the age she deserves."

-Coco Chanel