Writing Five Haikus | Poetry Series Episode Two

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The haiku originated in Japanese during the Heian period (700-1100) since society required one to be able to recognize, appreciate, and recite Japanese poetry. Short forms (tanka) became popular over long forms (choka), yet rigid lifestyles required every poem to have a specific form, so they approved the 5-7-5 triplet followed by a seven-syllable couplet—this was the Japanese equivalent to Shakespeare’s iambic petameter in England.

Linked verse poems (regna) and chains of linked verse (kusari-no-renga) were popular amongst the elite; however, the mid-sixteenth century brought the rise of “peasant” poetry and a rebirth of a lighter and airier tone, called haikai but later renamed renku. The haikai began with a triplet called a hokku, which was considered the most important part of the poem, and it had two primary requirements: a seasonal word (kierji) and a “cutting word” or exclamation.

In the late seventeenth century, poet Basho transformed the hokku into the independent poem that became known as a haiku. He was a fan of spontaneous prose that became so popular throughout Japan that Tenro, a contemporary school of haiku, included two thousand members from all over the country that met in designated temples to write a hundred haiku a day out of dedication. Since Basho, these poems have mirrored the Zen ideal and gone through many transformations, but a good haiku today is similar to when Basho developed the form.

Haiku should be an observation of a natural, commonplace event in the simplest of words without verbal trickery—or is best known to be effective because of its sparseness. It’s a simple snatch of memory and non-fiction observations as a shorthand used to help remember events.

Most are written in present tense, in ordinary language, and work best when two images spark off each other. They should include one or more of the senses beyond sight since they don’t tell, or simply describe, instead, they allow the reader to enter the poem in their own way.

Here are some notable examples:

Hokushi was another famous Edo Period (1603-1868) Japanese haiku poet.

I write, erase, rewrite,

Erase again, and then

A poppy blooms.

Zen monks traditionally write one last haiku before they die. Gozan wrote this in 1789 when he was 71.

The snow of yesterday

That fell like cherry blossoms

Is water once again.

“A World of Dew” by Kobayashi Issa

A world of dew,

And within every dewdrop

A world of struggle.

“Over the Wintry” by Natsume Sōseki

Over the wintry

Forest, winds howl in rage

With no leaves to blow.

Since I was challenged to write five this month, let’s practice with some of our own.

 

Long shoots of green

Sway under the violet sky

Mushroom clouds bloom.

 

Sprattle. Tonk. Bonk.

Foam gathers against metal.

Sweetened paper drinks.

 

Metal swooshes through

Sweet air and strong knotted wood

Burning off anger.

 

Wind gusts hard threats

Against warped plastic siding with

Nightmarish rattling.

 

Gold foiling reflects

Calling for the scratching pen

On fresh white paper.

Are they great, like the notable ones? No, but that was fun.

Do you write haiku? Share some with me in the comments below!

Sources:

https://www.litkicks.com/HistoryOfHaiku

https://www.readpoetry.com/10-vivid-haikus-to-leave-you-breathless/

I’m Still Behind | Camp NaNoWriMo Two Update

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Hello, lovelies.

Check out my writing vlog with some clips of me trying out my new meat grinder, baking for Easter, making drinks, cute kitty closeups, and my struggle against the clock and writer’s block.

I’m at the end of my book, and y’all, it’s hard to craft the right ending. Being nearly there gives me so much anxiety, but I can almost feel the relief of having draft one done.

Of course, since it’s hard to write, I’m not getting a whole lot of words in, so I’m counting my plotting time—you know, the time I sit and stare at my work even when the words don’t come, and my research into my own 940+ page book to be sure I’m being consistent.

However, with all of that finagling, I didn’t catch up from last week, and I missed out on a few minutes this week, too. Oh happy days.

So, let’s look at my final numbers:

Week One | April 4-10

Minutes Logged: 831/875

Minutes Behind: 44 (plus the 90 from last week)

Words Written: 2,596

Total Words in Manuscript: 253,709

Y’all, I can’t really be too mad at myself. The numbers don’t count as much as I want them to because I just want to finish this behemoth in any way that I can. Sitting with it every day seems to be doing the trick, so I just have to stick with it.

I’m almost to the last major plot point, a couple of pages away in fact. And I’m trying not to freak out.

No worries though, I still have massive amounts of work to do on this to finish it out, filling in some scenes, and giving myself some more space to explore the alphas that I restrained in cycle fourteen—aka, I tried to limit them too much in word count and now need to go back and beef them up a bit. Let them grow!

All right, I’m going to stop stalling and get back to work.

Let me know how your writing is going this April in the comments below, and I’ll see y’all next week for another update.

I’m Already Behind | Camp NaNoWriMo Goals Camp & Week One Update

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Hello, lovelies.

Check out my writing vlog with the kitties and my crying while I write, cooking chicken noodle soup and playing in my bullet journal.

I’ve written more these last few days than I have for most of the month of March. Work has been killing my energy, so the daily habit has made me happy.

However, I am behind. Counting minutes makes me far more flexible with my writing time as long as I write every day. And that’s a win so far.

So, let’s look at my final numbers:

Week One| April 1-3

Minutes Logged: 285/375

Minutes Behind: 90

Words Written: 2,164

Total Words in Manuscript: 251,190

Here we are. I’ve got some time to make up. Days off are excellent for that as long as I don’t let myself get too far behind.

I won’t. I vow it!

I will finish this book. That is one of my goals for this camp experience.

Overall, I hope to write every day, to edit cycle four, send cycle three to my betas, track my time and my words, participate in sprints, vlog every day, and write for 125 minutes a day (my actual camp nano goal).

I don’t think I’m asking too much from myself. At least I hope not.

Wish me luck, y’all! I’m almost there.

Are you participating in camp? How are you tracking your progress this go around? Let me know in the comments below!

I Am Not A Poet! But I’m Starting A New Poetry Series Anyways

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So, I rolled the prompt to write a poem for February. Since I’m not a poet, like at all, really, I thought it might be nice to experiment and learn about some new forms.

I referenced the Master Class blog for the fifteen forms.

Here’s me struggling through it:

Since I chose a Pastoral Romance poem, let me briefly explain. This is a poem without strict form rules (rhyme, meter, etc.), and it focuses on idyllic views of nature. Think: city life bad, country life good.

Without further ado, here’s my terrible attempt at the Pastoral Romance.

Evergreens shroud the horizon

Putting miles between them

And industry’s dirt and smog.

Sweet morning dew swathes

Her bare ankles and long, sneaky

Vegetation slips up her skirts.

Bushes full of berries, plump and ripe

Leak juices along her fingers

As she loads her basket.

Tart and refreshing for him working

Sweat plastered cloth to his back

And chest as he licks his fingers clean.

Cutting trees and carving wood

Has his blood humming as red

Stained her mouth and tongue.

She gathered up her voluminous skirts

And tempted him with her pink skin,

Ripe and ready to be devoured.

Wind rustled the tall grass and

Sheep bleated as he thrusted a moan 

From low in her belly.

The sun dried her tears and

Between her thighs before

They rose back to their duties.

Herding sheep, picking fruits and nuts,

And sowing wild oats for the land

To bloom and fruit for the Fall.

Yup. That wasn’t great, but it was fun to try! If you want to join me on this poetry series, learn about poetry forms and types, and write some poems with me, please share them with me! I’d love to see what you write.

Let’s talk Dystopia

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I rolled a trope prompt for my writing game, and I spun my wheel to Dystopia. So we’re going to explore characteristics and examples and try creating a few of them in a brief free write.

First: The Definition

A negative or undesirable futuristic society that is seen as dangerous and alienating.

Second: Common Traits in Dystopian Societies

  1. Society—most impose severe social restrictions on community members.
    • Social stratification strictly defines and enforces social class.
    • Ruthless egalitarianism (believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities to the extreme).
    • Repression of the intellectual.
  2. Social Groups—total absence of social groups other than the “state.”
    • Independent religion is omitted.
    • The family unit is broken and creates a hostility to motherhood. 
  3. Nature—characters are isolated from the natural world.
    • Citizens are conditioned to fear nature.
  4. Political—the government asserts power over citizens.
    • Flawed in some way. Often portrayed as oppressive.
    • Filled with pessimistic views of the ruling class: rules with an “iron fist.”
  5. Economic—the state is in control of the economy.
    • Black markets sell items that are banned or seen as contraband.
    • Many businesses are privatized.
  6. The Hero—protagonist questions society and has strong intuition.
    • They will escape or rebel.
  7. Conflict—a societal group somewhere not under control of the state.
  8. Climax—may be unresolved.
    • The protagonist either dies or is reeducated/conforms.

Within these main elements, we have some fun and awful tropes, like heavy propaganda, the use of secret police, implemented curfews and violent punishments, humans losing the top spot on the food chain, unflattering and dully colored uniforms, neutrals and metals everywhere, individuality is the enemy, forced happiness, love is bad, the food is gross, resources are scarce, education is lacking, the children are sacrificed or revered, everything is filthy or sterile, someone will triumphantly rebel, and many, many more.

For my experiment, let’s build a world rather than a scene because this would be where I start with my process. Although as I say this, the spark is usually a scene or character or situation, but when I really start working, I start with the world and understanding my limitations.

  1. Society—people’s worth is based off of likes, views, and comments. Teehee. Citizens’ online presence determines their social standing, their education and job options, the stores they can shop at, their curfews, and their available mating pool.
  2. Social Groups—Citizens are separated by their niche and have to worry over losing followers and social status if they change niches. They also lose all of their friends/connections in their previous niche. This is highly enforced. Individuality is nearly nonexistent, and their happiness is forced. Children are used for content, their childhoods sacrificed to be paraded out on the screen and behave certain ways for content creation.
  3. Nature—most citizens fear nature or merely use it as a prop. Those in the wilderness niche may primarily live in nature due to their content. 
  4. Political—content platforms are run by the government; they control the algorithms and means of reaching followers/consumers. This means that propaganda or content that reinforces the “right” message are the ones that gain the most viewership and others are suppressed.
  5. Economic—most available resources are cheaply made and need replaced often, which means a black market is built of handmade products that last and services that fix machines or equipment. Because education doesn’t focus on conservation of materials or fixing household items, this, too, is handed down through families in secret. All products are trademarked and hold copyrights that can put someone caught fixing or creating similar items into workcamps/factories.
  6. The Hero—A low-level computer programmer that finds the hidden code that keeps individual content suppressed. They rebel, searching through the hidden content to “magically” make a video/channel/page/profile/post go viral that doesn’t fit the norm.
  7. Conflict—the biggest small niche are the independent thinkers, those who push education or teach viewers how to circumvent the government’s laws against DIY projects or how to keep things working for longer. 
  8. Climax—uses a few leaders of the underground to infiltrate the top government CEOs and programmers while keeping the rest hidden on black market channels for the people to get free access to. This also opens up the ability to find mates outside of their niche—for love. Leaders on both sides die in mutually guaranteed destruction, but the hero leaves his own operation going perpetually, undoing the government’s complete control.

So, there we have it, my dystopian world packed full of tropes. Obviously, I’m satirizing social media and its effects on society, which is what a dystopia does. This was fun!

What kind of dystopia would you make? Which tropes are your favorite? Let me know in the comments below.

How I Did in 2020 | End of the Year Goal Review

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Okay, so I’m pretty sure everyone understands that 2020 didn’t go as planned. My year didn’t either, and with that in mind, I’m going to be loose in my evaluation of my goals.

2020’s actual goals:

Write 152,500 words in various projects, like the second Lily Graves novel, Loving Them Both (the final installment in a trilogy), and seven short stories.

Edit On Time, Lily Graves 2, and those seven shorts.

Market with consistent content, Kickstarter, Bookbub, swaps, and A/B ad testing.

Build a Broken World companion, a family cookbook, freelance clients, tutoring clients, and a $40k income.

Reach bestseller status, Kickstarter success, financial freedom, and 175 pounds.

Learn twelve new recipes, web coding, my camera settings, insta stories, and how to use a saw.

Create On Time book boxes, a new desk, and a filming space.

Fitness: 1 pull up, run 5-10k, do a handstand, and increase flexibility.

Make a habit of writing every day, increasing water intake, increasing cardio, eating cleaner, work abs, and reading regularly.

Fix my home.

Yeah, that’s a lot of specifics, isn’t it? I can tell you right now, most of this didn’t happen. First, let’s see what I did accomplish.

2020’s ACTUAL accomplishments:

I wrote 246,215 words in 2020. Fiction words. This does not include all of the other things that I write regularly. Next year, I will be tracking those as well. So, I definitely hit my word count goal, although not in the projects I’d planned.

I edited and published On Time. Check!

I created consistent content on YouTube, better content on Instagram, and okay content on wordpress and facebook and emails.

I started taking notes on my Broken World companion, although it’s not much. I’ve also collected a great deal of recipes for my cookbook.

I reached Kickstarter success with our On Time campaign!

I learned twelve new recipes, one includes an amazing chocolate cake that I make weekly. 

I created and mailed 26 book boxes, unearthed a plain filming space, and built new organization for my desk.

I can hang for a full minute but no full pull up, and I’ve made greens a major part of my diet. Butter is still my greatest weakness, however.

I succeeded in my writing habits, my cardo habits, and my reading habits (over 100 books this year)!

And I got myself a better paying job with some fun people.

All in all, that’s not a bad list.

I feel like I’ve accomplished much of my intentions regardless of the projects I poured into. Lofty goals always make me push harder, so I plan to keep making them.

How did you do in 2020? What are you plans for 2021? Let me know in the comments below!

Refilling the Creative Well | What I’m Doing to Soothe End-Of-Year Burnout

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It’s the end of the year, and the burnout is real. Writing nearly double the words in 2020 as I did in 2019 and NaNoWriMo killed my brain function. I swear.

Pair that with editing and publishing an anthology with 74 stories, and brain has mushed. As it has a tendency to do. I often like to push myself past where I should.

I probably wouldn’t do this so often if it didn’t produce such nice results. The problem with this, however, is when my productivity dips, I chastise myself with how lazy I’m being, how I could be making this or getting that done. It’s not healthy.

So, it’s time to refill the well, and if I plan some of it into my schedule, I can feel like I’m not just wasting time.

Here are some of the things I plan to do to take care of my creativity and mental health:

Baking—chocolate cake, brownies, cinnamon rolls, cookies (of all varieties), and pies. I love to make sweets. The boys love to eat these, too, if they can get ahold of them before I do. I found this new chocolate cake recipe that is the fudgiest thing ever. We compared it to the boxed stuff, and man, does this beast kill on flavor. If you bake, try it out and let me know if you like it!

Trying New Recipes—cooking in general is my main contribution to my family, so often, this feels like another chore. Unless I’m trying a new recipe. I love experimenting. It’s the best when the family likes the new meal, which also adds a new choice to the rotation, but I also really like to try some strange things. So when I get a chance to meddle in something that’s just for me, it’s a real treat. Got any suggestions? Drop them below for me!

Reading Books—on average, I’ve been reading between eight and twelve books a month. With my new job, I’m not sure how those numbers are going to sway, but reading amps up my creativity. I’ll read in my genre, out of my comfort zone, nonfiction, and it all offers me something new. I love that about books. If you’re a reader, please make me some recommendations.

Coloring—I’m a big kid, and as I’d like to start drawing and painting again, I love to color. Give me a line-drawing and hand over those colored pencils, and I am on top of that. I’m layering colors and using different strokes to enhance my masterpiece. I used to do this for my bullet journal. I have a Bob’s Burgers coloring book that I can’t wait to crack open. 

Sudoku & Puzzles—I LOVE puzzles, number puzzles, word puzzles, and jigsaw puzzles. I need to get my hands on more of the last. I’ll spend an entire day working on a 1,000 piece one, and the best part is that the family can come and help. The downfall…cats. We need a safe place to store them.

Planning—I truly love my bullet journal, my traveler’s notebook, and my home-made mini–Happy Planner. I also have so many sheets for preplanning and book planning, and I probably overdo it just a tad, but when I’m exhausted, I like to dabble in them. It means drawing and crafting and paper and markers and a different kind of creativity that can lead to future results. Two birds meet stone.

Down Time with the Family—Sometimes, it’s just nice to sit on the couch, play a game on my iPad and have the boys talk about gaming and stocks and reddit and the news. It’s nice to play with the kitties. It’s nice to watch a movie or new show or eat cake together and talk. It’s just nice.

YouTube Binge—I have some clear trends on my YouTube feed: Korean cafes and cooking, planning/bullet journaling, booktube, authortube, cake decorating, Eva Fitness (Mira is magnetic y’all) and other workout girls, soap making (Royalty Soaps!), illustrators and their packing videos, and pop music. I can find myself running the rabbit hole in spirals. 

Working Out—this is a habit that’s serving me so well. I started working out consistently about ten years ago. And not only does it have all of those chemical reactions that signal happiness and elevate the mood, but I’ve noticed while working with some people half my age to eight years my junior that I have a lot more energy than they do. I don’t have complaints about standing around, bending or lifting things, or a bad back. I mean, sure, my back or my hip or my neck might get me on the occasion, but regular weights and stretching and cardio really do keep me young. Also, walking and running and stretching is a great way to brainstorm ideas, too.

Resting—Oh, this one is hard. Sitting or lying with nothing to do. Just letting my mind wander…it’s not something I often do. Even when I go to bed, I have cartoons playing in the background. It’s my overactive mind. When I don’t engage it, it goes off on its own, and that can be great, but it isn’t always, which is likely why I tend to avoid it. I think some meditation or guided breathing might do me good.

Yup, that’s a great big list. Is there anything on your unwinding, self-care, or refilling the well activities list that isn’t on mine? Please, share them with me! I love new ideas. If you do anything on my list, tell me about it!

Thanks guys, and may your wells be full for 2021!

I Wrote 50,000 Words in November | NaNoWriMo Final Update

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Hello, lovelies.

Check out my writing vlog with the kitties and Bob’s Burger Monopoly, sweet tart martinis and workouts, bullet journal set ups and lots of freaking out about my word count racking up to the sweet 50k.

Welp, I did it. I wrote all of the words.

Somehow, the universe lined up just right to let me complete this challenge. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I put in A LOT of work. I sat with my book when I didn’t feel like it, when I barely had the time for it, when the words didn’t want to come, when I had too much going on with life. I forced myself to hit that wordcount or make it up if I got behind. And it worked.

I managed no zero-word days. One day below a thousand, and most of the days were close to the goal (between 1600 and 1800 words). I got one day of over 3,000 this week because of my 500-word day, which was Thanksgiving. I had a headache all day, plus, holiday.

So, let’s look at my final numbers:

Week Four & Five| November 22-30

Words Written: 50,053

Words Ahead: 53

Total Words in Manuscript: 204,116

Yup. That happened. It really did. And as excited as I am about it, I think I need a rest! Not that I plan to put my book down for any length of time. I’m just going to take it easy on myself. 850 words a day doesn’t sound too bad after 1,667 a day, right? Well, we can thank my writeropoly board for that.

Ultimately, it pushes me toward my goal of consistently writing a thousand words a day. One day. One day.

I also have no planned celebration for winning Nano (and getting a new job). Let me know what you think I should do to celebrate. And please tell me about how your November went in the comments below.

An “Okay” Writing Week | NaNoWriMo Week Three Update

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Hello, lovelies.

Check out my silly writing vlog where I freak out about how close I am to completing not only NaNoWriMo but my manuscript as a whole. Yikes! I also pack and ship my new book boxes.

This was a good week for the words, which is odd since I had a couple of low-energy days. Or to say plainly, I’m getting tired. However, I am almost DONE with story thirteen of fourteen. Yeah.

Yeah.

I’m pretty sure the looming end is the only thing keeping me going, even though I have no idea what I’m doing in story fourteen.

I also had two interviews this week for a job, and that’s made me excited and is pushing me to get the words before I might not have the time to put into it.

But y’all. I am actually keeping up. I can’t believe it.

So, let’s look at my numbers so far:

Week Three | November 15-21

Words Written: 35,047

Words Ahead: 40

Words To-Be Written: 14,953

Look at that! I’m way past the hump, and if I’m being honest, I’m a bit terrified about the end of this project.

It’s so long, and it’s come together so quickly. I hope I make the right choice at the end.

As a side note: with the tired I’ve been feeling, I’ve distracted myself with some fun, like making a new reading challenge game (aka a TBR game), and it’s complicated, which I totally love. Next week, I’ll be working on my new writing challenge game.

If you didn’t know, I currently play bookopoly and writeropoly every month to challenge myself.

So with that in mind, if you have any challenges or prompts for either game, please leave them in the comments below for me so I can add them to my game. And be sure to let me know how you’re doing!

Getting Behind & Potential Burnout | NaNoWriMo Week Two Update

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Hello, lovelies.

This week came with its ups and downs, but I’m actually doing nano… watch me freak out a little about it in my vlog:

I had a few days where I wasn’t feeling particularly productive, so I let myself have the day on Saturday to putz around, play games, and read after I struggled to get any words out on Friday. I did, however, return to my manuscript and bang out over seventeen-hundred words.

I’m trying to listen to my body more, and when the words don’t come after some heavy work, I might be close to burning out. A headache usually confirms it. Hence the rest day.

I keep making it back to put the work in, though. It’s all about that grit at this point.

So, let’s look at my numbers so far:

Week Two | November 8-14

Words Written: 22,819

Words Behind: 519

Words To-Be Written: 27,181

With all of these words, I was able to get through story twelve of fourteen. Only two stories are left in my project, and I can’t believe it.

Unfortunately, my plotting has fallen behind, and I haven’t finished figuring out what’s going to happen between Winter and Newt. That isn’t such a good place to be in, but I have a feeling that writing Newt will help me more than the planning might.

And I also might be freaking out a little bit about story fourteen. I still don’t know who I’m going to choose or how much of that part of the story is meant to go. This terrifies me, but it shouldn’t. Afterall, I used to write entire books without a plan.

Maybe, it’s how massive this one is that scares me. I guess we’ll see.

All right, y’all, now that I’m rambling about my fears and process, it’s about time to get back to it instead of yammering about it.

Let me know how you’re doing this month in the comments below.