Writing Challenge Q&A: Improvement Needed

Hello, hello!  Welcome to the final installment of the Writing Challenge Q&A.  I must admit that it’s been really nice knowing what I’m going to write about these last few weeks, but I’m kind of looking forward to just randomly picking a topic next week.  This week’s ramble is courtesy of the lovely Morganna Williams.  She chose number 26 (“write about an area in your life that you’d like to improve”).  So, I suppose I’ll be talking about self-improvement for a little while.

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Self-care is important if you want to improve yourself.

Honestly, there are a lot of areas in my life that could be improved upon, just like there are areas that are great just the way they are.  It’s hard to pick one.  I could definitely use less procrastination.  I could be more optimistic.  I could be more adventurous (rather than sticking to the “plan”).  And I could definitely work on not overthinking everything.  But this is all stuff that I’m relatively okay with.  It’s stuff that I’m slowly working on.  I’ve found a way to overcome procrastination with my writing at least.  I try to steer myself away from worst case scenarios.  I’m saying “yes” a little more to last minute plans (only once or twice so far, but baby steps).  Overthinking is still my downfall.  So what would I like to improve?  I guess I’m still not that great at socializing, which is something I’m okay with, but I know it’s not a good habit to nurture.

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This!  So much this.

 

I fully admit that it’s me when I lose touch with people.  I suck at remembering to text or message people unless they get in contact first.  It’s really weird because I never had this problem when I was online with people at four in the morning.  I was always the person to initiate chats back then.  Adulthood has changed that.  I’ve fallen victim to the “I talked to them first last time, so it’s their turn” mentality, which eventually warped into “I’ll talk to them tomorrow,” and we all know tomorrow never comes.  I’m also super bad about thinking of texting someone while I’m in bed, then forgetting about it when I wake up.  Socializing and I just don’t get along.

It also doesn’t help that most of my friendships are long distance.  I hate the phone and always forget to email people back in a timely manner if it isn’t business type stuff.  Hell, I can’t even write letters to my oldest sister (the jailbird) on anything like a regular basis.  And yes, I realize this is all on me.  I apologize for it repeatedly with different people.  I just don’t know how to break myself of my reclusive habits.

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Also, when I do talk to people, this kind of stuff happens.

 

I’m sure my hermit habits impact other areas of my life besides friendship too.  After all, how am I supposed to meet a potential significant other if I’m never talking to people?  How am I supposed to network for business connections if I don’t want to bother people (another big reason I hesitate when texting or messaging: I don’t really want to pester them, I just say I do)?  I need to be more sociable.  As much as it pains me to admit that, it’s true.

So, what about you?  What area could be improved in your life?  Do you have any suggestions for overcoming reclusive tendencies?

See you all next week!

Writing Challenge Q&A: My Day

Hello yet again!  This is the second to last installment of the Writing Challenge Q&A for anyone who’s wondering.  Today’s topic is courtesy of my beautiful and crafty friend, Angela Wilson.  She makes some really neat stuff, so if you’re in the New Brunswick area of Canada and spot her at a craft fair, check her stuff out!  She chose number 15 (bullet-point your whole day).  I will do my best to describe my usual day.  I’m not really that interesting, so I do basically the same thing every day.  I actually started that Daily Goal Calendar that I mentioned trying out, so here’s a visual of my April!

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It turned out to be really helpful.

So, a typical day goes something like this (please note that the times are approximations):

Noon ’til two – The process of getting up.  This includes waking up, switching from my mask to the mouthpiece on my ventilator, a face cleaning, bathroom duties, making sure my Minion knows Dad and I are alive, transferring to the wheelchair, a cleaning followed by deodorant, getting dressed, and teeth brushing.  It takes anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours depending on if we (we = Dad who is my caretaker and I) rush it.

Two ’til three-thirty – The breakfast routine.  I check my email, try to post on all of my author pages, and play mindless games while Dad cooks breakfast and sets up my drink and whatnot.  Eating usually takes 45 minutes or so (long enough to watch an hour long DVR’d show while fast forwarding through commercials).

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There’re always eggs, so it’s breakfast!

 Three-thirty ’til six-thirty – New writing routine!  A couple of weeks ago, I started doing “writing stints” with a couple of friends.  It’s like a writing sprint, but without the competitive element.  We start at four (I take care of random small tasks or work on the crossword until then), write for an hour, take a five or ten minutes break to check in, then write for another hour and check in again.  I always avoided things like that because I’m a slow typer and I feel awkward “racing” people, so we decided that we’d set our own goals and simply check in with each other to stay motivated and accountable.  If we feel like it or miss our goals, sometimes we do a third stint.  And we can do the stints separately if need be, then talk about them that night.

Six-thirty ’til eight – Randomness.  There’s not really anything scheduled during this time.  Sometimes I read.  I might work on the crossword.  Netflix is an option.  So is revision (if I have something of my own stuff to look at) or critiquing (if I have someone else’s work to look at).  I also answer emails and texts during this time.  It’s really just for whatever I need to get done.  If all else fails, there’re always mindless games.

Eight ’til eleven – Dinner, TV time, and more randomness.  If we eat at home, dinner is usually pretty late.  Then we watch a couple of hours of TV if there’s anything good on the DVR.  Afterwards, I spend some time randomly checking Facebook or playing games or finishing the crossword or whatever before bed.

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Why does everyone die in my bedtime stories?

Eleven-thirty ’til one-thirty – The process of going to bed.  Another lengthy process that includes a bunch of steps.  Bathroom duties, cleaning, switching from the mouthpiece to the mask on the ventilator and getting everything set, etc.  Basically just reverse the getting up process.  It still takes forever.  Then I talk to myself or Siri until I fall asleep (another lengthy process all on its own).

That’s my usual day.  I told you I wasn’t very interesting.  How about you?  How was your day?

Writing Challenge Q&A: Blessings

Hello, hello once again!  Are you ready for another round of the Writing Challenge Q&A?  Today’s topic is courtesy of another fellow Stonecoaster, Derek Hoffman.  He’s had some blessings of his own recently what with the newest addition to his family and whatnot, so he chose number 12 (“write about 5 blessings in your life”) for me to discuss today.  I totally admit that this topic was way more difficult than it should’ve been, mostly because I’ve been overthinking it.  My original thoughts just seemed uninspired and simple and things that everyone would say.  Then, I realized that none of that matters.  They don’t have to be exciting or complex or unique as long as I’m being honest with myself and you all.  So, here’s a pretty standard list of my blessings, in no particular order.

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My graduating class/faculty from Stonecoast.

1.  If you’ve read my blog posts in the past, you knew Stonecoast (the program where I got my MFA) would be on the list.  It was the first place where I felt comfortable coming out of my shell.  I made some friends for life while I was there.  I miss it a lot, but I’m really happy that I got to experience that kind of community.  Plus, I got to visit the Harraseeket Inn for three winters because of it!  I definitely recommend going there if you get the chance.  Anyway, Stonecoast and the whole experience is something I will always hold dear.

2.  My parents.  It’s overdone, I know, but I have a pretty good reason to include them.  Mom took care of me for 25 years.  Things may not have been great (or even good) between us, but I really do appreciate that she took care of me.  She did everything because I couldn’t do it myself.  When she got sick and passed away, Dad took over.  And even though I probably don’t say it enough, I appreciate him as well.  Plus I get to eat his cooking.  That’s basically a blessing in itself.

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The Minion and I.  I’ve probably posted this before.

3.  Friends.  Yeah, I said it.  Without my friends (you know who you are), I wouldn’t be the delightfully creepy person I am today.  From the early Interwebz friends to the handful of local real life friends to the Stonecoasters, you guys rock.  That is all.

4.  The one really weird blessing that people probably won’t understand is the fact that I’m cripple.  Don’t get me wrong, it usually sucks, but I know myself and I have a pretty good idea of the type of person I would be if I were “normal.”  Let’s just say that I like the person I currently am a lot better.  After all, I’d probably be dead or in jail or at least be a cautionary tale if it weren’t for the crippleness, so yeah.  It’s as good as it is bad.

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I miss my Julia.

 

5.  Pets.  I know it’s hard when we lose them, but I wouldn’t give up knowing any of my animals.  They enrich our lives in so many ways.  They give us unconditional love even when we don’t necessarily deserve it.  Pets are wonderful.

Yeah, it’s not a very insightful list, but who cares?  It’s mine.  What are some of the blessings in your lives?

Writing Challenge Q&A: Silly Things

Hello, hello!  Welcome to another installment of my impromptu Q&A session.  This week’s topic is brought to you by my friend and fellow Stonecoaster, Veda Boyd JonesShe chose number 28, which is “Post five things that make you laugh out loud.”  Only five?  Okay, I’ll see what I can come up with.  I guess the first thing people should be aware of is that my sense of humor isn’t exactly nice.  If you’ve ever seen the following diagram (or something similar) floating around social media sites, then you know what I mean.

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That about sums it up.  Although, maybe the overlap should be bigger.  Just saying.

 

1.  Mildly inappropriate humor.  Fart jokes, sexual innuendo, that kind of stuff.  Because, yes, I am an immature fifteen year old boy at heart.  I must stifle giggles when people talk about keeping abreast of things (haha… I said “breast”).  I adore the candied pecan seller at Scarborough Faire who encourages women and men alike to put his nuts in their mouths.  I have a filthy mind.  Sorry, not sorry.

2.  Stupid puns and joke memes.  One of my favorite memes is the three panel picture of the dog with his chew toy who tells the stupidest punny jokes ever (see below).  The tearable puns are usually amusing as well.  And I must admit that some of my friends are kept around in part because of their ability to pun.  You know who you are.

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That face gets me every time!

 

3.  Old cartoons.  Things like the Animaniacs and even Disney movies.  Mostly because they have a tendency to combine all of the things my inner immature fifteen year old loves.  Plus, I’m old enough to catch the jokes, now.  I laughed when I was a kid, but I do so even more nowadays.

4.  One of my favorite things to do is show off my favorite bands and their beautiful members.  The reactions of people who find out that the gorgeous women are actually men are hilarious.  Whether it’s a hanging jaw or some kind of denial, I always get a good laugh out of it.  My favorite reactions come after guys run their mouths about the attractive ladies, though.  Protest all you want, that person is still a man.  Okay, maybe I’m a little cruel.

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Tell him!  Or let me.

 

 5.  Most horror movies.  Despite my love of reading horror, I don’t watch many scary movies.  This is mostly because I find them more funny than anything.  I’m all like “Yes!  Run up the stairs instead of out the door!  Go greet the axe murderer!”  I just find the stupidity of the characters amusing as all get out.  Don’t tell me you’ve never laughed when the cheerleader got it.  I don’t believe you.

So, now you know the kinds of things that I find amusing (or at least some of them).  What about you?  Is my sense of humor too immature?  Or are you right there with me?  Please, feel free to send me your own lists!  I enjoy a good laugh.

Writing Challenge Q&A: First Love

Hello once again!  It’s time for the next installment of the impromptu Q&A.  This week’s topic is brought to you by my Minion (Joel Rede).  He chose 19, which is “discuss your first love.”  Why the Minion is interested in my lack of a love life is beyond me, but whatever.  This is actually something I don’t really talk about with anyone, so forgive me if it gets a little weird.

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Replace the house thing with Interwebz stalking.  Also, it’s always creepy .  But you accepted that.

So, what exactly is a first love?  I could tell you about my first crush, or the first boy I loved like a sibling, or I could simply say I’ve never had one because I’ve never dated anyone.  All of those stories would be true, but at the same time, they’d be a lie.  I think first love is something we have to identify for ourselves.  Each of our experiences are different.  Some first loves are amazing and some are heartbreaking.  Then, there’s the kind that’s neither breathtakingly beautiful nor Earth-shatteringly horrible, it simply is what it is.  That’s the way mine was.

Don’t get me wrong, my first love was a lot of things.  It was unconventional (back before “we met online” became an acceptable meet-cute outside of the nerd circle).  It was terrifying.  It was beautiful in its own way.  And, ultimately, it was probably unrequited.  But I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world, because it was exactly what I needed at the time.

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When I met First Love (the person), I was eighteen, maybe nineteen.  I was hanging out in the Yahoo chatrooms when I spotted a screenname that intrigued me.  After a few minutes of stalking him, I got bored, pounced on him, and stole his boxers (it was this whole running joke between my friends and I back then, don’t ask).  We goofed around and talked in the chatroom for a while, then he eventually PMed me and the rest was history as they say.

Back then, I was in a really dark place.  First Love was the first person I felt comfortable enough showing the darkness to and he accepted it.  He never tried to tell me I shouldn’t be having those thoughts or feelings.  He didn’t try to change me.  He simply supported me when I needed it and talked me through things when I needed a dialogue.  It was terrifying, because he was the first person to see all the parts of myself that I hate and claim to love me for it.  Even when I pushed away, he was there.  Granted, he lives in the UK, so I never had to deal with any of those “let’s meet” conversations (which I probably would’ve shut down right away), but for many years, he was there just to talk to and be sweet talked by.  Like I said, it was what I needed at the time.

Not to mention his influence on my music tastes and the like.  I was mostly punk and metal before First Love came around.  Ugh.  The things we do for love.  But, eventually life started getting in the way.  We both had University (his word, not mine).  Our chances to talk faded away.  I’m glad I got to know him, but I’m happy he got a life outside of the Interwebz.  He deserves so much better than talking to me all the time.

Feel free to discuss your first love!  You know where to find me.

Writing Challenge Q&A: Struggles

Hello, hello!  As you may know, last week I decided to do a writing challenged turned Q&A thing (see it here).  If you haven’t chosen a number, but are still interested in doing so, feel free!  I discussed day 29 last week.  Day 8 is up today.  And days 19, 28, 12, 15, and 26 are coming up in that order (it’s a first come, first served order).  Today’s topic is courtesy of Dallas Funk.  She chose day 8, which is “share something you struggle with.”  Her only stipulation was that it be about more than my struggle to meet my writing goals, because she wants to learn something new about me.  So, I guess I’ll write about the fact that I struggle with expressing myself.

Untitled-1 It’s kind of like that.  But don’t get me wrong, it’s mostly just a face-to-face and/or an emotional thing.  In face-to-face conversations, I mostly just feel awkward when I’m asked for my opinion or whatever, so I end up uh-ing a lot while my brain plots out a response or I just go with the old standbys “I don’t know” or “I don’t care.”  Then there’re those moments when I give a way too concise answer and people look at me like I’m supposed to say more because apparently conciseness isn’t conducive to small talk.  That’s why I like the Interwebz and texting.  I can still have a real-time talk, but I can take my time to think through an answer without feeling like I’m being put on the spot.

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“Uh… I don’t know?”

 

Even worse than all of that, though, is when I have to express myself emotionally.  I laugh, I smile, I cry.  That’s about it.  It’s not like I can jump up and down when I’m excited.  I can’t scream or punch things when I’m angry.  So, negative emotions come out as tears (which only manages to piss me off more because crying is weak even though I know it’s really not).  Positive emotions come out as a smile or a laugh or whatever.  And I’m not blaming this entirely on the fact that I can’t do most of the physical responses, it’s actually mostly because I’m a bottler by nature.  I push emotions deep down into the abyss of my soul where they belong.

The weirdest part is that I don’t have much trouble expressing these things in my writing.  Granted, most of my main characters tend to be fairly reserved with their emotions, but they’re better at expressing themselves than I am.  Maybe it was all of those psychology classes I took that helped.  Who knows?  But I can say that I’m trying to work on learning to express myself better, whether in day-to-day conversation or with my emotions.  The latter is proving the most difficult.  And my hermit-ness doesn’t really help with the former.

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Maybe watching Inside Out would help.

 

What about you?  What do you struggle with?

Until next week!

P.S. I’m debating on posting a poem I wrote in undergrad one of these Fridays.  Anyone interested in that?  After all, it’s National Poetry Month.  But if no one is interested, I won’t do it.

Writing Challenge Turned Q&A

Hello again!  It’s that time of year again, where people start posting those weird “30 Day Writing Challenge” things.  They always sound like a fun idea and every time I see one, I say that I should do it, but then I read the “challenges.”  Honestly, they’re rarely creative and most often read as a list of Q&A topics.  So, since I’m running low on things to ramble about, I thought I’d post one of these challenges here and let you guys pick a number between 1 and 30 (only one number per person, so choose wisely)!  Each week, I’ll do one of the challenges you guys pick.  I can think of a few people who will participate, so this should keep me busy for a few weeks at least.

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It was the first list Google came up with.  Pick a number and I’ll do the corresponding exercise!

 

To start this off randomly, I asked a friend to pick a number, but to be fair she had no idea why I asked and hadn’t seen the list, so she gets another number if she wants.  Anyway, she chose 29.  I suppose that means that I’m talking about my goals for next month!

Honestly, I don’t really plan that far ahead.  I have trouble making up weekly goals, let alone monthly.  I have my writing goals (which I’ve been struggling with).  I’m trying to write at least 4,500 words a week, so I’m aiming for around 18,000 words for April.  Otherwise, I want to post consistently on my author pages and of course do the weekly blog.  I also want to finish the book I’m reading in the next couple of weeks.  That’s about it, really.

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Maybe I should use a Daruma doll for my goals.  I have a blank one somewhere.

 

If you’ve been stalking me, you know that I’m also trying to be better about keeping in touch with people.  It’s not an easy thing, but I’m going to keep working at it.  I did talk to someone last week about creating a daily goal calendar, though, so socializing does help!  I already keep track of my word count, but it hasn’t been a big motivator lately.  The daily goal calendar involves using stickers to denote certain achievements depending on what you want to accomplish and creating a key  (example: gold star = 500 words, blue dot = half an hour of reading, purple heart = an hour of family time, etc.), then marking down what you do each day.  I’m going to try to create a computer version for April to see if something visual like that helps me.

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The example my friend sent me.

 

Anyway, my goals are basically the same as usual, but with a new way to keep track.  That’s all I really have to say on that.

What do you guys think about the whole picking a number thing?  If you’d like to choose one, comment here or find me on social media (Facebook, Twitter, or G+).  I’m looking forward to seeing who chooses what!

See if you next week!