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Hurricanes and Blogger Burnout

Dear Alexander,

The eye of your hurricane may be quiet, but mine is not. Mine is making my head spin. I’m trying to write my way out though. My writing is the only thing I’m sure of.

Your obedient servant,

MG

I wish I knew how Hamilton did it. All his writing. He wrote 51 of the 85 Federalist Papers when there were only supposed to be 25 in total. How did he never burn out? If I were writing all of that, it would be impossible not to. It would probably be easier if I weren’t a one-woman blog. But I am. At least for now.

I commented on this post the other day when I realized something: with all the mental and physical energy that it takes for me to come up with topics and write about them consistently, I should be getting paid. But I don’t have enough followers for anything of that sort yet. Even if I did, I doubt it would be a big paycheck.

When I get burned out, my content quality suffers. I hate having to post something for the sake of posting something just to stick to a schedule, because the output isn’t something I can be proud of . I want to produce content that I’m proud enough to show people.

It doesn’t help that I feel like hardly anyone takes me seriously. My friends think all I do is sit in my room all day and complain. In reality, I’m coping the best way I know how: writing. My imagination is essentially a form of therapy. I can channel whatever I’m feeling at the moment into any story I want. Right now, it’s mostly fan fiction. Hopefully I’ll be able to find my own story in the future.

Writing and job prospects? Don’t even get me started. People don’t think my writing counts as doing anything just because I’m not making money from it. I’m doing the thing I know how to do (I like to think my writing is at least halfway to decent), and yet they’re disappointed, because, for some reason, money makes the world turn.

Before my blog burned me out not even halfway through the year, it felt exactly like a full-time job. I was spend my days writing and planning multiple posts. I knew I was going to hit a wall, but I was hoping I’d avoid it somehow. Wishful thinking, I know. I’m slowly dipping my toes back in, though; I’ll definitely have to find a way to pace myself.

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Lacking Consistency

I thought I’d come back from my blogging break, but it seems that I haven’t. I’m sorry about that. However, I just started a creative writing class on Wednesday, so I should be able to post some of those things here.

I think part of it is that I haven’t felt like I have anything new to talk about. I know I have ideas in my brain somewhere, they’re just not at the forefront where I can readily access them. It’s disappointing, honestly.

I have been working on some fan fiction though, which has been really fun. And unexpectedly cathartic. I’m processing feels that I thought I’d already processed, but the story is bringing them up again as if they’re fresh. Sometimes it gets so intense that I have to stop writing.

My biggest personal disappointment though is not being able to finish a novel. I’ve been bouncing from idea to idea for years. I’m able to start writing the stories, but they just seem to fizzle out after awhile for some reason. Hopefully having deadlines in my class will help me to stick to something.

I’ll try to get back to regular posting soon. Thanks for sticking with me!

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Writing about everything

image: writing cooperative.com

is basically impossible. And don’t “Everything is possible, even the impossible.” me. Newsflash, Mary Poppins isn’t always right. Unfortunately.

Anyway, last night, my mother said something to the effect of “You should write about everything.” Don’t get me wrong, I know where she’s coming from. I’d definitely have a lot more content.

However, I wouldn’t be able to guarantee good, quality content. First of all, my brain would probably break if I were trying to analyze every little thing all the time, and sometimes I just want to watch something for entertainment/writing inspiration value. Is that so bad?

I understand that if I ever get a job as a film critic (which hopefully this blog will lead to at some point), I’m going to have to be analytical about a majority of movies that I see. But it’s not like I’d be going to see EVERY movie, right? There’s definitely more than one film critic in the world.

Rant over. Thanks for reading.

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Movies

The Significance of Serenity

imdb.com

Serenity is a 2019 psychological thriller starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. At first glance, the movie is exactly as advertised: Karen Zakarias (Anne Hathaway) tries to solicit her ex-husband, Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) to kill her current husband so she and her son can get away from his abuse.

Like any thriller, things get trippy. Really trippy. Baker eventually realizes that he has no idea how long he’s lived on Plymouth Island or how he got there in the first place. None of his friends have any idea, either. When he tries to ask questions, he is met with generic answers or no answers at all.

And there’s this lawyer who keeps trying to sell Baker new fishing equipment so he can finally catch the elusive fish that he’s been obsessing over for years. The lawyer lets some information about a “creator” slip, which fuels Baker’s curiosity even more.

Okay, no more beating around the bush: It turns out Plymouth Island is just a simulation created by Karen’s son that he uses as a means to escape his stepfather’s abuse. And of course, he has to have his father in the game. Baker Dill actually died in combat years ago.

This is definitely a good thriller. Some of it was hard to watch, but all in all, I really liked it. I thought that was that. The more I think about the movie, however, the more I find it familiar. Plymouth Island is a means of escapism from all the stuff going on in the outside world. It’s a safe space for Karen’s son where his stepfather can’t hurt him.

Writing is my own personal Plymouth Island. When I tap into my imagination, I can forget everything else and just focus the story. It makes me feel like I’m actually good at something. It’s also a creative outlet for my feelings. My feeling scan overwhelm me sometimes, and it’s nice to be able to channel them into a story. Channeling my feelings into a story makes me feel “normal” – it’s a way for me to keep my cool and not come off as obsessive about things or people to outsiders.

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No direct route

abc.go.com

American Idol season 2 on ABC started recently, and it got me thinking. If someone wants to be a singer, they can try out for American Idol. If someone wants to be an actor, they can start out in local productions and eventually get an agent or something. How come there’s no structure like this for writers?

Granted, I don’t even know how a writing contest would work. Because I can’t turn around a story in a week. It takes me multiple weeks, or even months, to finish something and make it just the way I like it. My imagination doesn’t work on demand. As much as I’d like to, I can’t just sit down and write all day.

But it would be nice to get a publishing deal from something. Because there’s no guarantee I’ll ever get published. I like to think I’m halfway decent at writing, but my personal opinion doesn’t mean anything; I’m naturally biased.

I’d love to have more people read my work and gives me notes. I thoroughly enjoy any chance to improve my writing, although I don’t always agree with all the notes I get.

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Creativity v Suggestion

This post was inspired by something my mother said. I don’t remember it verbatim, but it was something like this:

I had an idea of something for you to blog about, but I can’t remember it.

If she had remembered it, I’m sure I would’ve listened respectfully and at least considered the idea. All the same, it really ticked me off.

You may or may not have noticed, but I took a few days off from blogging because I was close – dangerously close – to running out of topics and having to wrack my brain for something to write about and post for that day, as opposed to having the posts scheduled in advance.

After hitting the reset button for a few days, I’ve thought of more ideas to discuss in my post, this being one of them: If someone tells me what to write, it won’t be as exciting as if I had thought of the idea myself. If I think of an idea myself, it’s exciting, so I will put more time and effort into it because I care about it.

Another suggestion that I’ve received is that I should blog about things related to Cerebral Palsy or just generally blog about things that other people are interested in. It’s sort of the same issue as I described above. Plus, if I’m always writing for a specific audience, it takes away from my creativity and ability to expand on an established format. Because if I write for a specific audience, that audience is going to expect a certain product (format and content of a blog post). If I were to break from said hypothetical product, I don’t think it would go over well.

I should probably add that I don’t blog about my disability because I don’t want it to define me. I’ve never let it define me. I’ve mentioned it in passing on this blog before, but that’s because I’m trying to talk about something related to it.

I’m happy with the audience I do have here, because it means that people are interested in my topics and what I have to say about them. So, thank you.

Reading

Occasionally, my mother will show me a newspaper article she thinks I should read. sometimes the topic is actually interesting, but most of the time it’s not. When it is interesting but I don’t read it right away, she says I’m not interested. I could go on, but I’ll spare you the drama. Because what I’m trying to get at is that people might mean well when they suggest reading material or topics to write about, but if I’m not interested, it isn’t going to happen.

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Music

Thoughts on Apple Music

cnet.com

When Apple Music was first introduced a few years ago, I thought it was stupid. Why pay $10/month when I already paid for every song individually? It seemed pointless.

My attitude changed while I was on vacation a few weeks ago, when a friend of a friend showed me how it works. When I got back from vacation, I thought about the free trial for a few days. I figured if I didn’t want it after the trial, I could cancel it. There was no reason not to sign up.

And, I have to say, I really enjoy Apple Music. I’ve been using it for almost a month, and I already know that I don’t want to cancel it. I can listen to any song without having to download it to my phone. And that’s a lot of songs. Apple Music grants access to everything under the sun. Well, at least most of the songs I’ve been looking for.

One of my favorite things about it is that I now have access to lyrics. So whenever I don’t catch the words, I can look them up. Or when I want to write about some of the lyrics, I don’t have to recall them from memory and risk getting them wrong.

I also enjoy the playlists curated by Apple, because I love finding new music to listen to and songs that inspire my writing. It’s also fun to create my own playlists and see what my friends are listening to.

Apple Music is so much more than I thought it was, and I’m very happy to be proven wrong.

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Pushing through writer’s block

image: writingcooperative.com

Or at least I’m trying to push through writer’s block and get some writing done anyway. It’s kind of weird at the moment though; nothing I’m currently working on feels right. Usually, my ideas and stories flow through me. I know exactly what I’m going to write and I feel good about it. Like “warm and fuzzy feelings” type good. Lately, though, I feel like I’ve had to pull my own teeth just to get some ideas onto paper.

Is it just me? I hope not. I hope I’m not alone in feeling this way, and I hope the feeling passes. Because I really like what I’m working on. One of the pieces I’m working on is just a bit of Harry Potter fan fiction, which is not something I ever thought I’d try to tackle. Maybe I’m just intimidated by it? I know I definitely don’t want to mess up the world J.K. Rowling created.

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Sorry, but polarization isn’t in my nature

image: writing cooperative.com

I was talking to my friend Kaitlyn the other night, and we were discussing the other post that I sent to her so she could read it. She liked it, but she said it would’ve been better if it were a bit more polarizing.

Honestly, I’m still not sure what to do with that comment. I’m grateful for the feedback of course, but polarization just isn’t in my nature. Journalists -a group of people that I hope to be included in someday – aren’t supposed to pick sides. I like to think I’m able to see both sides of an issue, though some people would say otherwise.

Not all of my content here is impartial. Sometimes I write about what I’m going through, which is okay as long as I can keep myself in check and not vent all the time. And sometimes I respond to some of the pieces that I read with my own opinion. So I guess those can be called opinion pieces.

But if I’m being honest with myself, I’m not even sure what some of my opinions are. Every time I try to voice them, I get shut down. There’s no such thing as a civil discussion about politics in my house. But I digress.

Even when I respond to an article, I can usually see where the author is coming from. I don’t immediately start seeing red if I disagree with something. At least I don’t think I do. It’s hard to tell.

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Writing my feelings (and for myself)

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Improvement

Believe me, I wish my bedroom were actually this nice. Someday it will be. But I digress. I actually want to talk about my blog and how I feel it has improved.

There was a recent period of time where I used the blog to vent. Pretty much all the time. I don’t think I went too far in revealing myself or anything, but looking back, I’m really embarrassed.

While I wrote about how I was feeling (and trying not to turn it into a pity party), I wasn’t really dealing with the root of the problem. I was trying to ease the symptoms, because I honestly didn’t know what the root of the problem was. I just knew I was stuck in a cycle that I couldn’t seem to break. There were days that I didn’t want to do anything, least of all eat or take a shower. All I could do was stay in bed and try to get some sleep.

Thankfully, I am no longer in that cycle. Granted, I’m still dealing with some of it, but I’m able to write and process my thoughts in a notebook. And I’ve been able to at least temporarily break the cycle and keep it from bleeding into my blog again now that I’ve learned a thing or two about narcissism.

I’m really proud of myself that I’ve been able to post on a consistent basis and get back to what this blog is about – books, movies, and occasionally breaking down an article in order to write my own thoughts about the subject.

I really hope you find my new content interesting. I know it’s something I can be proud of.

For my eyes only

I’ve also decided that not everything I write has to go on this blog. I’m really proud of the fan fiction I’ve been working on lately, but for some reason, it feels personal. Not that it would do anyone harm if I did post it, it’s just my version of a guilty pleasure. Way more fun – not to mention real – than reality TV, in my opinion.