Random Ramblings

Hello!! It’s been a while since I posted something here other than a Quick Takes post, and I figured I need to get back here and keep things up, so here I am…and let me apologize right now for the random ramblings that are soon to come…..

 I’m actually here hiding…hiding from actually writing…the blinking line on the word document in the other window is mocking me. It knows that I have writer’s block…it knows that I have nothing of substance to add today, but that I need to add something…anything. Now, I should be honest and tell you that I don’t have total writer’s block…I’m just blocked on this first book. I’ve written out a great (at least in my opinion) scene for the third book, but can’t seem to get the first to move forward, and I have well, nothing for the second book. Well, not nothing…I have a concept….and a few characters but I don’t know how it will fit with my timeline. It needs to fit nicely between the first and third while also staying true to the history and the right time period and so far it doesn’t. That means that I have to either adjust the timeline of the first one, the third one, or scrap the second one all together. I don’t really want to scrap it so right now I need to do a good bit of research and figure out what will work for the second one.

At this point I’m basically doing everything I can to force myself to write…I don’t really write in order so that helps. I’m stuck in a scene pretty early on, and I’ve just moved forward to another chapter farther on in the book. That seems to help when it comes to beating the block, but this time I just can’t seem to get the early scene to move… That’s not to say that it’s slow, or hard to follow, or bad (at least I hope not) it just means that I need to sit down and really work on moving the scene forward.

I’m also doing everything I can think of to avoid writing; browsing Pinterest, scanning Facebook, texting my friend and fellow writer about BBC’s Robin Hood and how AWESOME it is, texting that same friend about our mutual love for Marvel villian Loki, and watching the Hobbit as I sit and type this. Can I tell you how much I love the Hobbit? Because I really love it. Of all of Tolkein’s works The Hobbit is my favorite…not just in terms of the movie adaptations but the books as well. Bilbo Baggins will forever be my favorite Hobbit, and I love Martin Freeman in the role. Also Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield doesn’t hurt : )

Captain America: The Winter Soldier starts in theaters this weekend and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little excited about this one. Pretty much anything Marvel does is good in my book, so I’m really looking forward to this one, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out next summer which is also quite exciting!

It is officially baseball season! (that has nothing to do with anything really, I just thought I’d share my excitement with you)

Okay, that’s enough random rambling for one night…I really do need to get writing! If this blog is good for anything, it sure does help me work through my creative shut-down…and now for a cute picture from the web…

Blessings,
Megan

7 Quick Takes: 3/28/14

Another Friday means another installment of Quick Takes…I just finished up an exam for my online class and only have one left to do! This semester is finally coming to an end, and I honestly can’t wait! I have today off, and plan on relaxing, doing a bit of writing, and watching movies with my mom, so if you don’t mind I’m just going to get right to the takes….

1.) Last week I didn’t post because I was extremely tired. I would have written the post Thursday and then published, but I didn’t….then I could have posted live on Friday but I didn’t do that either. You see, I spent all day Thursday painting. First thing Thursday morning I gutted my room, and over the course of 12-15 hours I painted two coats of paint above and below the awful horrible kill-it-with-fire bane-of-my-existence  chair rail, painted the chair rail, and painted all the trim…then I had the joy of putting everything back together. By the end of the night I was sore, tired, and so not in the mood to write. I only wish that I had gotten better pictures to share, but here is what I can show you….

2.) The NCAA Basketball tournament began on Thursday and our church is having a little friendly bracket competition…I spent most of the first weekend tied for first place in a field heavily dominated by the men I work with….I was extremely proud of myself…until Sunday….the wheels fell off the wagon Sunday when the Kansas Jayhawks lost……..and busted my poor little bracket…..
3.) Sunday night my Bible Quizzing kids had their last practice before the big District Quiz Meet on Saturday. Dad wrote a stellar Jeopardy style game for them, and they are all ready for the meet. This season they were studying the book of Genesis, and next year we’ll move on to Exodus….I still have a trophy on my shelf from when I was a quizzer….The last time I quizzed we were in the books of 1st and 2nd Samuel….I loved being a quizzer, and I feel like I’ve come full circle now that I’m one of the coaches. 
4.) Tuesday night I went out with a group of great ladies from church; we went to dinner and then headed to the cinema to see God’s Not Dead. I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend you go see this movie! It was phenomenal. I will try to summarize without spoiling…
Josh is a college Freshman who has to fulfill a humanities credit, so he takes an intro to philosophy class. On the first day in class the professor tells his students that he wants to “get the argument out of the way” so he has them write God is Dead on a piece of paper, sign their name, and turn it in for full credit as an assignment. Josh refuses, stating that he is a Christian and he could never renounce his faith in that way. The professor then tells him that over the course of three classes Josh is to make his argument to the class….prove to the class that God’s NOT dead…..The class could then decide; is Josh right or the professor. Josh makes his case, citing arguments from both sides of the issue, and ultimately the class decides that…………………………. 
(you thought I’d spoil it didn’t you? I told you I wouldn’t) 
There are several other story lines mixed in with the main story, but they all revolve around the main premise that God’s Not Dead…it was a very well done film, and I would very much recommend everyone see this movie. 
5.) I’m going to jump back to Sunday for a moment…
The Good Wife….Will….no……but……why…..really?……there was no other option………Will?! No!
Okay, but really….and fans of The Good Wife out there?? I’d love to hear your thoughts about Sunday night’s episode…are you as grief-stricken as me….
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman, and only my favorite TV show host) tweeted about the episode on Sunday, and by Monday after I’d finally watched it, I responded to her on a whim….and this just made my day!!
Seriously though….DAY. MADE!!
6.) I have had serious writer’s block this past week….or two….I am so stuck in fact that my character has been left sitting on a bench for the last week….or two….because I can’t figure out where she needs to go next!! I am however working on what I hope will be the concluding book in the series. I am in the process of writing the turning point scene. I hesitate to call it the climax because that’s not really what it is; it’s the scene that changes the lives of my characters, and ultimately changes the direction of the story. That’s why I hesitate to call it the climax, because calling it that suggests a resolution to that scene, which wouldn’t necessarily involve my characters. I have to admit that through this process I’ve gained so much more respect for authors of historical fiction…really authors in general. I’ve had such fun walking this path, and learning my style, and technique, and really working on honing this skill….but let me tell you, it is hard! It gives me  a much greater appreciation for the books that I love! 
7.) I’m about to head out and run some errands, so this is it for me today! OH! Good news for my fellow Michiganders….the snow is melting! 
LOOK!!! GRASS!!!!
As always, I’m linking up with Jen and the others over at Conversion Diary. Make sure to head over there and check out the rest of this week’s Quick Takes!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings, 

Megan 

7 Quick Takes: Making Lemonade from Lemons

Good morning and happy Saturday to you! Just a quick note, if any of you are planning on heading to a senate meeting today….Beware, the Ides of March!

Normally I try to get my Quick Takes posted on Friday but yesterday was a bit busy for my family; We spent 14 hours at our church catering an event. I didn’t have time to write my post on Thursday because of all the prep work that needed to be done, so here I am on Saturday. I’m currently writing this post from the Library in my church, because around 7:30 this morning power got knocked out for our entire area. My mom is in book club down the hall, while I’m blogging, studying, and writing…lemonade from lemons!

1.) I’m finally getting over the cold that struck me down  at the beginning of the week. Tuesday I came to work and started feeling gross, so because I work at the church in the office and nursery I know where to find what I need. I headed to the nursery area to find a thermometer…I was running a low grade fever; I checked again every hour and it still hadn’t broken, but I pushed on with my work because that was the ONLY symptom I had of being sick at all. When I got home that afternoon my head felt like it was going to explode, and my nose was stuffy…..it is finally on its way out…Praise the Lord!!

2.) Normally I could have stayed home to work today, but my computer wont work unless it’s plugged in. My battery needs to be replaced and I’m cheap so that won’t be happening any time soon. It’s really nice though, sitting alone in a quiet library (a dream I’ve had since I was a kid but the Library in my dream was the one in Beast’s Castle, you know the one….Floor to ceiling books surrounding the room), just me and my thoughts and my writing. I love libraries….I always thought that it would be cool to be a librarian; run my own library, help kids learn to read…and learn to love it! Odd fact for the day: I am actually trained to run a library. I don’t have formal training, it’s more of an apprenticeship, but I can step in and shelve books, check them out to people, return them, and code them for filing….

3.) I found an article this week on Pinterest that I want to share with everyone who knows me….something that I can just hand off when I first meet so that they can understand me a little bit better. 23 Signs that You’re Secretly an Introvert…..except in my case it is no secret. If you met me, you’d never know it; I don’t fall into the stereotypes that society applies to introverts. I’m not shy, quite, or anti-social. I don’t sit alone at parties, I make an effort to meet new people….I do all those things, but here’s the kicker: It’s exhausting! I come home so physically drained from parties, potlucks, and picnics; I love being with people, and talking to people but where an extrovert would be energized by that, it drains my energy….I wish I could explain that to people when I leave a party early, or when I’m so exhausted from a Sunday morning at church that I don’t go back for the evening service. Look at that…another odd fact about me! 
4.) I do have a confession to make…I’m writing this post right now as a way to avoid my writing. I need to be writing, but right now I’ve got such bad writer’s block that I honestly can’t do anything……I should be though….I should be writing. 

..Because I have writer’s block….and I had a blog post to write….and……and……

Okay, fine! I will….as soon as I finish this post!

5.) Tonight our family will all be getting together to celebrate my amazing Great-Grandma’s 95th birthday! She is such a cool lady, and I love being able to spend time with her….physically she is still doing great, but her mental faculties aren’t all there anymore…..it is always so much fun to spend time with her!!

6.) Okay, here’s another odd fact about me….I’m a terrible decision maker. I can’t make a decision to save my life! I’m going to be repainting my bedroom, and I posted this picture to Instagram and Facebook this week.

I picked up paint chips at Home Depot last Saturday and taped them to my wall. I told in the picture that I am terrible at making decisions and Facebook friends rock! Bless their collective hearts! With their input I was able to finally make a decision and I will begin painting on Monday! Now if they could help me decide where to go for my birthday lunch with the staff at work that’d be great! 
7.) If you made it this far I applaud you! Now head over to Conversion Diary to read more (better) Quick Takes!

Blessings, 

Megan

What’s in a Name?

I didn’t realize when I started this week of 7 posts in 7 days that I would (unintentionally) end up with a bit of a theme going on. I’ve hit a wall with my writing this week, I’m planning to introduce a few new characters but for the life of me, I can’t come up with any good names. I know that they have to fit the time period that I’m writing about, but I can’t settle on any that I really like, and (as odd as it may sound) that fit the character. I know, I know; I’m creating the character, can’t I just write it so the character fits the name? The answer is no, I can’t…I tried that already.

My main characters have names; these are names that have been in my head for years, I’ve used these characters before, but this is the first time that I’ve actually liked them…and fortunately their names work with the time period. A few of my important supporting characters have names, and I love them. They are funny, witty, and just all around good people and their names work for them. There are some historical figures; thank goodness I don’t have to make them up!

The biggest trouble I’ve had so far is coming up with good names. I honestly didn’t think it was going to be this hard. Because I’m writing a period piece I thought my biggest issue was going to be research and fact checking but because it is a period I’ve always been interested in, and been reading about for a number of years, that has proven to be quite easy. I’ve had writer’s block before and I can usually overcome it by skipping ahead in the story and filling in the emptiness later, but right now I have a character introducing themselves, and for most of this week they haven’t had a name.

I’m hoping that somewhere in my pages of notes, lists of names, and other bits of information I’ve compiled, I will find the right names that fit the way I’m writing these characters. I can honestly say that throughout this journey I’ve taken (and will continue to take) with my writing, I’ve gained so much more respect for authors; it isn’t just about sitting down and typing, or writing…it is so much more than that. It is emotional, painstaking, and tiring. It is difficult, intense, and sometimes it makes you want to tear your hair out. From all of that however, you are creating a masterpiece. Sure it isn’t a Van Gogh painting or a Bach concerto…it may not be even comparable to those things but it is still a work of art, a piece of your soul, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Blessings,

Megan

This post is part of the 7 in 7 challenge I agreed to when Jen posted about it last week. Go check out all of the other bloggers that joined the challenge.

My Process

I guess it’s more of a routine than a process, but I can only write under the right conditions. I can’t just sit at my computer and have the ideas flow from my head to my fingertips, and out onto the page. In fact, in the writing of this post I had to take a break (read: a few hours) to figure out exactly what I wanted to say here! Here it is, these are the things I need to create the right conditions for writing.

  • A dark room; usually my bedroom with all the light off except one lone desk lamp. 
  • Music…but not just any music; instrumental music. Recently I’ve been using Howard Shore’s soundtracks to the first two Hobbit films. 
  • Night time….not that I can control when night comes, but I usually only write at night. During the day, I carry a small notebook around in my purse and if an idea hits (at least with the novel writing) I’ll take the time to jot it down in the notebook and that night I’ll transfer the ideas from the notebook to the computer. 
That’s it. There isn’t much that I need to create the right environment to write, but if I’m blocked it takes a little more. If I get writer’s block (which seems to be happening very frequently now) I have to busy myself with something. Shoveling snow, vacuuming, cleaning, doing laundry – sometimes one of these tasks will spark an idea, and more often than not that idea means something that I’ve already written will have to be rewritten. Today in fact, I was vacuuming and and idea popped up for a way to add some more length to my story, but also develop my characters a little more. I wrote the idea down, but now I have to figure out not only how to incorporate it, but where.
The one thing that I’ve learned since I started writing again is that I can’t take a break from it. Well, I can but not a five year break like I did last time. Letting it sit for a week or so is about all I can handle. It’s funny though, I don’t regret that I stopped writing, in fact I think it helped me. The time I took gave me a chance to hone my skill, work on my dialog use, and narrative style. I never did revisit that original work, and I don’t have any plans to…I like what I’m working on right now, I love my characters, and the story line is working…for now. We’ll see in a few days after I add to it this week! 
Do you have any tricks for beating writer’s block? A process or routine for when you write? What do you write? I’d love to hear from you!!
This post is part of the 7 in 7 challenge I agreed to when Jen posted about it last week. Go check out all of the other bloggers that joined the challenge. 
Blessings, 
Megan 

Mental Break

Every now and then I need a good little mental break, especially right now. I’m writing this paper for my child psych. class, and normally I don’t have any problem coming up with things to say that make sense and flow well together but I have been stuck on the dang intro paragraph for about an hour now and it is killing me. I’m hoping that by taking this mental break, and doing some lighter writing (read: blogging or complaining whatever you wish) will help me to focus when I do go back to the paper. I used to be able to sit at my computer and in no time at all have at least the intro, and background information in the time that it has taken me to get this far.

When I chose my topic, raising kids with religion, I thought it would be an easy topic compared to the others on the list. I was WRONG, this has proven to be a pretty hard topic and as I said I’m only on the intro! I’m going to do a little more writing tonight, and hopefully after a good night’s sleep and some coffee in the morning ideas will flow better, and I’ll be able to formulate coherent sentences…..we’ll see. In the meantime, prayers are appreciated, I’m struggling on this one for some reason, and can’t seem to get rid of this writer’s block. 
Blessings,
Megan