Tag Archives: writing

The Beauty of Being Prepared

On Having a Pre-Formulated Theme for Your Future Chapbook

Today’s Writerly Wednesday post started from my speculations whether or not having a theme for my chapbook helps. From there, my thoughts went to being prepared in general. Is creativity something you can direct?

I think not. But being prepared and having a direction in mind is really useful.

This year is my 9th in poeming for the November Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge. It is very similar to the April Poetry Month one, mainly in that you are supposed to write at least one poem every day. The differences start from there. In NovPAD you are also expected to follow specific prompts, while for April PAD, or NaPoWriMo, you can follow yourself and poem on whatever topic you like. Why is that so? Primarily because in November the goal is to use all or most of your resulting poems in a brand new chapbook which you might publish or submit to contests. Of course, no one stops you from doing that with your April-produced poems, yet that is not the explicit objective of the Poetry Month.
In 2010, when I first joined the magnificent community at Poetic Asides, I had no idea about chapbook or contests. I went there with the pure heart and enthusiasm for taking part in something new and wonderful – writing poetry with help and support from others who thought like me. Until that moment, I had never had a supporting community. I joined a couple of so-called “Poetry Clubs” at school and then at university, but honestly, they didn’t do much in the way of support or practical help. I don’t think those clubs sucked, I believe it wasn’t the right moment for me. Plus, let’s admit it, online is much easier. You may take your time, appear whenever it’s convenient for you and choose whether to write to a prompt or not.

In 2012, I started, as usual, simply trying to follow the stream. The previous two years I was doing NaNoWriMo along with the poetry thing, so it was both easy and difficult to write every day. Easy, because you are in the writing mood anyway. Difficult, well, you’ve guessed already. In 2012, I was collecting and sorting papers and articles that would help me in writing my thesis which was due in June 2013. That was instead of a novel that year. Because I was online all the time, I was able to follow the poem-a-day challenge and around Day 7 I noticed that I consciously chose to bend every prompt into a poem about my Dad. At first, the prompts fitted naturally, but after I found the tendency, I started looking for a fit even if there wasn’t one.

Nothing happened after that. Despite some great advice I received from fellow-poets on Poetic Asides, I never got down to actually compiling the good pieces into a book. But they are there, so I may.

In February 2014, I was writing to a month-long creative challenge. I participated in it 2 years in succession. The first time I tried to be diverse, but it didn’t work well, so in 2014, I thought I’d stick to poetry, as this is my medium. I saw again that poems go one direction, and from Day 7 or so, I started leading them in the same direction on purpose. I already compiled the Devastation of the Soul chapbook. Not published yet. I haven’t made up my mind what I’d do with it. Let it rest for a while.

This November, I created my theme a long time before November even started. I even had time to forget it, so I had to look in my earlier Tweets to see how I announced it. So, here’s a take away: announce, because you are going to forget.

The advantage: I am greatly relieved when I see the daily prompt because I know where to take it. I suppose I am one for preparation. Being prepared means a lot to me. It spares me from the initial chaos of wallowing in the swamp of not knowing which way to turn. It saves me a lot of time, energy and I can hit to poeming right away.
I can see this advantage working for me in my blogging activity, too. Now that I plan my blog posts and prepare by research and schedule I am able to meet the time frame I’d set for myself. I mean, having an Editorial Calendar is good, but not enough.

Maybe you have some other tricks and means by which you help your creativity get active and efficient. Or maybe, having read this, you think you should try it. Try it and in a month come back and tell me what happened.

Spread the love:

Flash Fiction Friday – The Key and the Door

Today is Friday, and one of my blog themes for this day of the week is Flash Fiction. Here is a topic I took from a prompt back in September. It was to write a six-word story, but you know limitations and conditions are “more like guidelines than actual rules”, as Captain Barbossa once said. So, here is my

Story about a Found Key

Amshar’s heart burnt. His passionate love of his mother and the determination to find a cure for her illness set his course. He left home at 16. The priest promised to guard his mom from the evil spirits until Amshar’s return.
One night, he couldn’t go further. Dropping to the ground, he hardly had the power to pull his carpet out and lay it down under a great tree. The dark branches whispered ingratiatingly above, so Amshar leaned against its trunk. When he touched the ground, something small and hard poked his left hand. Hardly seeing in the dark, Amshar realised it’s a key!
Every key belongs to a key-hole in a door somewhere. Filled with hope, the boy clutched the cold object and closed his eyes.
When he woke, it was still night. Standing up to move his numb legs, Amshar circled around the tree and saw the door in the bark on its other side. A door! His heart almost stopped stopped and Amshar held his breath fumbling the key until he almost dropped it in the thick grass. It fit and clicked lightly. The door opened. What he saw on the other side made him freeze.
His sick mother lay on a bed near a window, and a fire burned at the far end of the room. The village priest stood up from a low stool in front of the fire and moved towards him with a beastly flame in his eye and agile step.
The air around them stirred and everything dissolved in mist.

Spread the love:

Writerly Wednesday: Punctuation

My mother tongue has very strict rules as to the use of comma, quite unlike the English language. They are so numerous that I often wonder at complicated cases if I should use one and where to position it. I have a deep respect to all colleagues who have graduated Bulgarian because they know what to do. All I know I have learned at school, and it’s just the basics. Moreover, I’m sure I have forgotten plenty of that over the years.

The moment I went to university to study English, I dived into happy ignorance and indifference as to the vague rules of using commas. A semester in, however, I started to resent this vagueness. After graduation, it upset me a lot, and I felt it could ruin my reputation of a language professional. Imagine, a student asks if she should use a comma in front of “if” or “when” and then, on top of that, also ask for an explanation. Imagine she would continue to explain the Bulgarian rule to me.
Most importantly, my ignorance threatened my writer’s life. I chose to write with no commas at all, for fear I might use some incorrectly. Have you noticed I haven’t even mentioned the semicolon? I’m not planning to involve that thing in this piece.

How I Got By?
I read carefully stories by other writers, always natives, and took mental notes how they use their commas. The terror, everybody was doing it their own way. That was awful, for sure, but in the same time, relaxing, as it was very likely that no one would notice I had no idea. Shooting in the dark is how I got by.

The time of MOOCs came, and I attended several very interesting ones in a variety of topics. I passed a course in history, called “The Matters of War and Peace”, for example, even though I’m not a fan of the science. I also took a course in Nutrition which was an eye-opener. I haven’t migrated to healthy eating, but I know a thing or two. General Philosophy, Chinese Humanities, Plato’s Dialogues, Fantasy and Sci-Fi in Literature…, you name it, but I shunned the Writing courses. Until one day I saw the Grammar 101: Punctuation, and I thought “That’s it”.

Needless to mention, all my classmates were graduate students. It didn’t matter as I had a goal. What I appreciated most about this course was the simplicity to which things were brought. How come no one had told me before that there WERE actual rules, and it was possible to follow them? Was it too simple to be true? Perhaps it was, but now I am at peace with my commas.

It’s time to start looking into the semicolon. That course DID say a lot on that topic, but who can learn so much in one time? I need to brace myself and shoot for another take of this MOOC, I suppose.
What’s your experience with the comma rules?

Spread the love:
Wasteful, addicted, bruise

Wasteful Till Addicted to Bruise

I haven’t written for 3WW for a long time. Here are the 3 Words for Wednesday, last week – Wasteful, Addicted, Bruise. This time I felt like a flashy.
Wasteful, addicted, bruise

Wasteful – Addicted – Bruise
“If you’re wasteful in your habits, your body’ll get addicted to bruises.”

A board with that slogan on it hanged on the wall just over the blackboard in our classroom. For four years my eyes fixed on it when looking up. I grew so accustomed to the words that I lost all sense of their meaning. Which, at first, I couldn’t understand. I read and read, but I didn’t see the logic and the idea behind them. Then, one winter morning, we all got the message in a clear crispy tone. Three of our schoolmates were on the sports playground, in their underpants only, bodies bruised badly, heads hanging in utter shame. Large cardboard signs hanged on their necks, and on them one could read: “Wasteful, ergo bruised.”
The trick of the remaining years at the school was to keep from getting addicted.

See you next time 🙂

PS. And here is a link to the original posting where you can read what the others have come up with.

Spread the love:
215 week of worldes

To the Tower Over the Bridge Across the Pond

For the 215th Wordle by Sunday Whirl:
/organs tower money poor pond friends cell dna teeth signal bridge skirt/
I didn’t write a poem. As you see.
215 week of worldes***
Shine had her mother’s DNA in her cells. She knew it well, it hurt. All her mother’s organs had collapsed and defaulted by her 45th year due to the booze and pills, and all the unknown substances she took. Her teeth decayed as early as her 25th year, while Shine was still a little girl. In fact, didn’t have a memory of good teeth in her mother’s mouth.

The tower where all poor and diseased people had to go was leaning over the pond ready to fall. No one had friends and no one would signal the outer world about the things that happened there. You needed money to cross the bridge back to your previous life.

Shine put on her best skirt and a new shirt and went out of the flat.
(c) 2015, MK

Spread the love:

Future Fridays – Why Tweet?

THE FUTURE OF TWITTER

#futurefriday #blogpost #blogging

Image credit: Monster.com

Twitter has turned to a self-sufficient tool for mad link-share w/ no one actually clicking on them, & no one actually replying your tweets. It’s just an automatic “share” we click after we post on our #blogs in hope someone would care.

Does anyone care? Have you checked how many times your “followers” have “followed” and/or commented on your blog?

Have you “replied” to someone in order to start a small conversation, maybe only to “Good-day” one another? How many times you got a reply?

Some people sharing, re-tweeting and writing small thoughts in perfect isolation under the public uninterested gaze… is that twitter?

What’s in store for Twitter, then? Facebook takes over, with numerous possibilities of the group-life, where “closed” groups could remain isolated by the rest and discuss in threads. Sure enough, Twitter has the feature called “hashtag” which serves as a key word, a thread name of sorts.

When I joined I would look for my closest tweeps and @ them to talk to them. Not a very private thing, but still people used to “reply”, and back, and back. Nowadays, it has got somewhat lonely there. Here is an example: someone logs in to Twitter in the morning and tweets something like: Up w/ a headache. Need #coffee. Badly. Now. Any1 up 4 it? #morning

This person may get a couple of replies by followers, in the vein of: #morning back 2 U. Weather fine here. Wh bt U? #coffee is good.

Or, he/she may not get a single reply. Maybe no followers online. Hardly. Maybe followers online are too busy working. Possible. Or, maybe followers online are busy sharing their links to madly beg for attention and traffic to their own sites and care little for our coffee-drinking headaching tweep. Most probably.

OK, let’s go further and say that you decided to not leave this tweep an orphan and hit “reply”. Chances are you won’t hear from the person again, or if you do, that will be very brief “Thanks, you too”. Is the other tweep perhaps having coffee to relieve his/her headache. Could be. Is he/she busy arranging his/her work station for the day? Possible. Is he/she simply indifferent to his/her “followers”? Most probably.

Then why follow?

 

© 2012 Mariya Koleva

Spread the love:

Midway in life’s journey

These days, I’ve been thinking of not writing anymore. It’s true, other authors’ activity somewhat depresses me. They manage to write, share, submit, get published, get liked, etc. in such short terms. Success around makes me feel more insignificant than I actually am. From time to time someone would ask me what happened to my book/my poetry writing/my publishing plans and intentions. I mumble in response like an idiot. I don’t even know how I decided to check the prompt sites today.

Carry On Tuesday hit the mark with Midway in Life’s Journey – a topic so sad and bitter, that the following simply poured over the paper. No tears, just words. I have no power for tears anymore.

***

I don’t want to hear a word

of being midway in life’s journey

Trust to my left, rust to my right

Being awake all night

Mull over self-saddening confusions

Close the window to

bleak memories

sweet memories

just memories

warming my heart

warning my mind

worrying my soul.

 

I can’t really pre-order my days

Nor my nights, for that matter

 

Purring cat on my left

Dictionary on my right –

I guess, they matter.


© Mariya Koleva, 2012

 

Spread the love:

Satin Saturdays, BANG-BANG!

Shooting Saturday

Sitting there in the sun, she felt her mind was void. At last! Spring has come, and the chestnuts along the boulevard had bloomed white and tippy like candles. Tiny white and yellow daisy-likes spotted the green wetness of the grass. The weather was still cool with spring freshness and tender with sunlight.

She looked at the large thermometer on top of the adjacent building. She had to wait till the clock gave way to the temperature. 23. Closing her eyes, she remembered the nights she had stared at the same bleak building top and seen the devastating -9 glowing nefarious red.

She had always wanted to spend time like this. So, whenever she managed, that was bliss.

“Oh, good life, ha?” screeched an unpleasant voice near her. “How are you doing, baby? Hardly working or working hard? Which one is it this time?”

She looked up at the newcomer and forced a wry smile.

“You know I don’t like you when you smile like that.”

She dared say nothing. This conversation used to have its unfolding. “Like what?”, she would ask. “Like you are mocking me.” he would say with a fierce grin. He hit her several times as an ending of this very conversation. One of the times she spent a week in hospital and a month not able to work properly. Of course, he made her. Only, it hurt too much. That was how this conversation was never led again.

“Are you visually-impaired or what?” he said maliciously.

“Why?” her voice trembled at the vision of the coming tornado.

“Can’t you see the gentleman over there?” he pushed her hard in the gentleman’s direction.

“You said I could be off today. It’s Saturday.” she mumbled unconfidently.

“I said, did I?” he screeched again. “Well, you’d better focus on what I do, than on what I say. For I say a lot of things, you know.”

She didn’t move.

 “Com’on”, he urged her.

Sitting there in the sun, she felt her mind go blank. “BANG!” the shot echoed across the sleepy afternoon neighbourhood.

She could go back to her satin dreams again.

 

© 2012 Mariya Koleva

Spread the love:

New New Year’s Resolutions

Last year, I used Adi’s blog to make my NYR. Let me account for the results:

I wanted to take part in NaNoWriMo again. This one was a great success! Not only did I participate and won, despite of all the trouble I was into, what with me travelling and being off from my laptop, but I also FINISHED my novel. Yes, believe it or not, I completed it and put down the coveted THE END at the bottom of it, centered, all caps 🙂 Oh, and even though it’s still unedited, I published it. On Smashwords. It’s still free. 😉 Once I finish the edit, it won’t be free anymore. As of now it has a lot of emptiness, especially in the beginning, while I was still honing my pen 😀 The artist is still working on the cover art, so the picture you will see is about to be replaced by the real one.

I also planned to take part in Nov PAD Challenge. This one was a partial success. My travelling and study schedule allowed for only one big event in November, and I made that NaNo. Anyway, I poemed steadily somewhere till Day 18, and then faltered a bit. I believe I miss around 5-7 poems.

My other resolution was taking part in NaPoWriMo, Apr PAD, or 30Poems30Days, which is just like November Poem-A-Day, only done in April. Uh, it was a failure. I started very strong again, having a lot of inspiration and sweet memories from November PAD. Sometime around Day 8 I faltered and could not get back in line for about a fortnight. Apart from having a tough time at work (which is not an excuse, as a poem could be a couple of lines and as such should not take that much time to write), I think my greatest mistake was that I tried to follow many prompt sites that cooperated in the NaPoWriMo. Having so many prompts to choose from, one has a hard time. While in November I only had the Poetic Asides, whether I like the prompts or not. Next April I will choose one site and go for its prompts only.

My other project was to complete my first NaNoWriMo novel. Well, not really a success. It still needs a lot of work. I actually think I will start editing the text, for I need to make major changes in it, and then I will move on to finishing the story. It’s not like I have no idea what to do. I even thought out the ending.

Well, now to the complete failures: translation projects. I had many. One of them was translation of a paranormal fantasy book a blogging friend of mine wrote a couple of years ago, which I started just after she posted it on her blog. Unfortunately, I never made it past Chapter II.

The other project was translation of short stories. Uhm, I have completed all the translations which I have started, in fact. Some of them still need editing and there are some that still need to be typed in, for they were hand-written. As for new translations, I don’t see it in the future.

So. My major mistake in NYR was that I made for unfinished work from previous years, while I should have left some space for new things to to.

What I managed to do, although it was not on my list, is the Sombre Chapbook. It’s ready, complete, edited, beautiful and is also on Smashwords. Well, it has been approved for other sellers, as well. So, Apple and the rest will start selling it soon. 

Next year

1. I will edit and complete Orange.

2. I will make one more Chapbook. Maybe it will be a Lover’s Chapbook and out for St. Valentine…

3. I will publish my works in more sites.

4. I will again take part in NaPoWriMo. Hopefully, to a better success.

5. November PAD – same,

6. and NaNoWriMo. I am thinking of writing a book for children. Yet, I still have ideas around the Lemonpie sisters. We’ll see.

7. I will continue doing sports

so… what else? Learning to cook or improving in something… I don’t know. I think I’m pretty satisfied with what I do and how I do it. I can only wish I have the good luck to be fit and able to continue doing it.

What are your New Year Resolutions?

Spread the love:

That’s what I call ironic

Most things good for writing are bad for life. – Lorrie Moore

*превод*

Повечето хубави за писане неща са лоши за живота. – Лори Мур

Spread the love: