Thursday, April 29, 2010

STRESS!!!

I have always been terrible about handling stress. I once read that there are two types of people: those who lose weight when they're stressed and those who gain it.

I definitely fall in the latter category.

Only when I'm stressed do I settle for food that falls from a vending machine or read too many of the messages in Dove chocolates.



With final exams, final papers, and a medical conference within the coming weeks, I'm becoming surprisingly overwhelmed. Not to mention, all of these are taking away time from my novel. I find it difficult to shut down my mind when I go to bed because I keep thinking that I could still be writing!

Over the years, people acquire distinct coping mechanisms for stress. I've learned that watching a light hearted television show (recently that includes Modern Family, 30 Rock, or The Office) helps a lot!!

So does....blogging!! I love reading about the passion, strength, and persistence in my fellow bloggers. It truly allows me to escape and motivates me to keep going!! Thank you :)

How do you deal with stress??

Do you have any quick fixes that help you calm down?


Monday, April 26, 2010

Oh Mondays...

Since Mondays tend to be somewhat depressing, I thought of ways to make this Monday a bit brighter:

*If you're a writer, relish the fact that you can lounge in pajamas all day long! I collect sweatshirts from every school I've attended and make those my home.

*Let little things add flavor (literally) to your routine. I am loving these minty lip glosses from Bath and Body Works:


*Take advice from those you look up to: Recently, my favorite NYTimes columnist Nicholas Kristof noted that good writing is not so much about making a great first draft as it is about working to a decent third one.

*Make your working environment pleasant. This will make it more appealing to return to. I just pasted this card to my desk:

*Remember that everyone is fighting some sort of tough battle, whether it's internal or external. It can be so easy to allow others to truly get to us and pave our emotions. This obviously makes us human; but sometimes, if we keep in mind that every individual is somehow struggling, it's easy to not hold so much against people if and when they're unpleasant.

*Look forward to meals!! I'm going all out and making a grand Mexican meal tonight: Food Network enchiladas, specialty guacamole, and yummy margaritas. Yay!

Most important lesson from the weekend: Rejections can be a gift.
I received a detailed rejection awhile back with some incredible advice that I would not have gotten otherwise. Since it's an agent's job to critique work from a business perspective, he or she can unveil things about your work that may have been missed by yourself or your peers. This only improves the following drafts and in the end, we all want to put our best work forward.

Let's allow rejections to propel us forward instead of downwards!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The weekend is here!

I've had an incredible start to the weekend thanks to some blog awards!!


I received my first blog award ever from the awesome Laura at Wavy Lines and then T.J. Thank you so much! I'm passing this on to:

MissV, who balances so much and does it all well!
Aubrie, for being multi talented and hard working. You go, girl!!
Crystal, who has motivating posts!
Trish, who always shares her beautiful artwork and incredible running stories!

This award is extra fun because whoever receives it has to share 7 things:

1. I am rewriting the first 100 pages of my WIP and trying to finish the entire thing before medical school in August.

2. Office supplies are my drugs. Seriously. I am obsessed with Post Its, highlighters, you name it!

3. My entire family is musical. Both of my parents and my sister sing and we often perform together at embarrassing, boisterous Indian events.

4. I've learned Indian classical dance since middle school and miss it a lot now!

5. I'm terrified of dogs. It's completely irrational (there's no childhood trauma...at least, that I know of).

6. I can't seem to stop playing Lady Gaga's "Telephone."

7. I am a walking contradiction. In high school, I was the nerdy pageant girl and now, I'm a scientific artist.




I also got the Blogger Buddy award from Alyson. Thanks so much!! I'm passing it on to:

Laura at Wavy Lines: for beautiful quotes, fun posts, and endless supporting comments!!
Jen at unedited: for depicting her journey as a writer so well and getting 400 well deserved followers in two months!

Now, the weekend means one thing to me: MORE writing than the weekdays!

I've been reading some blogs about people having trouble get started and I completely relate. That blank page can be SO intimidating, especially when you want to give your best.

I know some people can manage to just write freely without regard to what comes out. I guess I haven't gotten there yet. In my workshop yesterday, we discussed this and came up with a great way to start:

Make a word, any word that you want your next piece to represent, in the center of a piece of paper. Draw a line out to another word, then another, then another....until you essentially have a map of interconnected circles. I tried this for my next chapter and found it very helpful.

Also, I've been reading a book about novel writing (promise it's my last self help one...hopefully!) and found this great, short character list if you want to start fleshing out your characters:

*Gender
*Age
*Appearance (height, weight, body type, hair color, eye color)
*Distinct mannerisms
*Distinctive speech pattern
*Personality
*Family and economic background
*Personal life/what he or she does when alone
*Work Life
*Strength
*Weakness

Happy Writing!! I'll end this with a fun quote:





Do you have writing goals for this weekend or any fun plans??

Monday, April 19, 2010

First Loves

Writers have the ability to give birth to characters and shape them however they please. It's quite an incredible phenomenon! Earlier today, I was thinking about how important characters have defined my perspectives.

If I am honest with myself, I'd have to say that my first love was Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid. I would have given up my voice and legs for that ;).



I eventually moved on to Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell and then Mr. Darcy, but between Prince Eric and Mr. Darcy, other loves came from the books I read. I never discussed crushes or anything romantic with my parents, so I learned about holding hands and first kisses from The Babysitter's Club. (Logan Bruno was Mary Anne's sweet, Southern boyfriend.)

On the other hand, Elizabeth Wakefield from Sweet Valley made me feel comfortable about being a studious bookworm.



Hurray for the characters who shaped us!

Who was your first love?
Do you have a book that helped you grow up?

I AM working!!

I went to a writer's conference yesterday and met so many wonderful writers! Everyone was extremely friendly and personable. We had to wait in long (sometimes one hour long!) lines to see an agent or publisher and passed the time with great conversation.

At one point, I brought up how it's funny that some people don't think you're really working when you're writing full time. Of course, I go on a rant about how one of my friends asked me to visit her for one week straight. I asked her how I'd be able to do that and she innocently replied, "well, you're not really doing anything."

This anecdote instigated everyone to share their "you're not really working" stories. It was fun to laugh it out and realize that we're not alone in this journey.

We also got into a "recent loves" discussion. Some common recent loves:

Belted boyfriend shirt:



Precious bookmarks:




Green tea with honey:




What are your recent loves?
Has anyone ever intimated that you're not working?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Writing= Baby?



Do you ever find yourself becoming physically attached to your words? Is it just some manifestation of the ego? My novel is feeling like a baby...or at least, what I think having a baby would feel like, minus the pooping, crying, and adorable onesies. Okay, maybe it's nothing like a baby. Regardless, I find myself having a strange ownership over my words, metaphors, thoughts,etc.

On another note....

Most recent lesson:
Dialogue can be so daunting! I've been reading that dialogue should only be used if it pertains to conflict, whether that's internal or external. This is different from conversation, which can be verbal exchanges about anything (ex. "hi", "hello", etc.). I find dialogue quite difficult to write and admire those authors who make it look effortless.

Also, I found this quote today:

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
Cyril Connolly

It reminded me of something Elizabeth Gilbert said at a book talk: "If you write for everyone, you will reach no one."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fun tidbits



*Wandered over to Canal Street (Chinatown) yesterday and saw that the fake Birkin bags are $250!! Note to self: purse fetish must be put on hold when even Chinatown is out of my current price range.

*I'm rereading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, an amazing book about writing. Favorite quote so far:

"For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die."

This quote exemplifies why Belle ("Beauty") is one of my favorite Disney princesses: because she reads!! I am guilty of hoarding my books, refusing to give them away (even the Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary ones I should have outgrown by now). Perhaps the Kindle was made for people like me....



*Dove has come out with milk chocolate with almonds...yay! Today's message: "Carve out a moment just for yourself."

*The writing project is just as daunting as it's always been. I've read about a couple of people knocking out 100 pages in a day and I am so impressed!! I love connecting with other writers and seeing how well they execute their potential.

*I realize this is a peculiar obsession, but I LOVE office supplies. Post It came out with 8 X 6 pads. Needless to say, I went on a Staples shopping spree.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Is Imitation the Best Form of Flattery?

Having a younger sister almost guarantees that, for at least a certain portion of life, someone will be copying you. Sure, it used to annoy me, but at the root of it, I still found it endearing. (If anything, she acquired many more "you're so cute" stares when my Osh Kosh overalls would drown her.)



But now, when it comes to writing, I'm not sure how I feel about the idea. The last few weeks have forced me to examine this notion. In my poetry workshop, a fellow student took the first stanza of my poem and wove his own ending. There are also two acquaintances who, after giving them a brief run down of my novel, have decided to write one with identical themes. None of these scenarios manage to excite me the way my baby sister did. Perhaps the flaw is in me?

Is it fair for someone to just grasp your unpublished thoughts, alter them slightly, and claim them as their own? It's funny because when I asked non-writers this, they've said, "yeah, take it as a compliment. Someone likes your work that much" or "you've inspired another person. That's only something to be happy about."

But when I posed this question at a writer's group, everyone unanimously agreed that it was bullshit. One of my friends went as far to say, "I find it extremely offensive when someone thinks they can just use my words and ideas."

My world is blanketed in shades of gray; there isn't always a clear cut conclusion for everything.

Are there indistinguishable threads between inspiration and imitation?