ARTICLE: 4 Stages of Life

sowing-seeds1

It has been the alpha and omega of writing ruts for me. Looking back, I posted my last article on February 1…of 2016! Starting 2016 off, I had just released Kalcyon, the second installment in The Phoenix Ashes Trilogy, and planned to complete the last book by the end of the year. Quite ambitious, even for me, but I always work better under pressure. Deadlines push me forward because of my resolute belief that failure is a result of your own laziness, at least 90% of the time.

It has been a little over a year since I have touched my trilogy, not because I didn’t want to write but because it was one of the busiest years for me. If you are the type of person who cannot stay idle for too long without wanting to pull your hair out, then you and I are in the same boat. If I find there is extra time in my schedule, I always find something new to fill it with.

As the saying goes, “idleness is the enemy of the soul.”

When I had first started writing, I was going through a transition of “professions.” This allowed me more flexibility and free time than most people, since my job did not revolve around the cookie cutter 9 to 5 office job. I was by no means making any financial progress, but I was also in my mid-20’s and decided that this was the perfect time to pursue my passions and discover new ones. And when I start something I take it as far as I can.

Anyways, I watched a Korean drama that gained instant popularity from its unique story line and perfect cast. Goblin was a fantasy take on an old Korean tale about goblins–it is nothing like the goblins American’s would picture. Read the synopsis of the drama here. Watching this drama made my creative nerve itch; this always happens whenever I read or watch something that piques my interest. There was a specific belief that was introduced and woven through the drama and its characters.

Each person has four lives:

one that sows

one that waters

one that reaps

one that consumes

While, I will not take this time to go into a debate of reincarnation, I will say that I see my current life going through these stages.

1990-2015: Season of Sowing. From the moment I was born, until the end of 2015, I had been preparing the land and sowing my seeds. Though there were times I stumbled and lost my way, it brought me to where I needed to be.

2016: Season of Watering. All the hard work in 2015 was beginning to give life to a few sprouts of hope. It was tedious and trying, but my anticipation grew…

2017-?: Season of Reaping. If all goes as planned, the crops are going to be in full bloom. Even though my workload would be increasing, it would be the best thing that has ever happened. The downside is that the growing of one business means the draining of another part of my life.

But, it is funny how the world works. The slightest change or single conversation can switch your gears to turn in the opposite direction; it can remind you of where you were two years ago. 2014 me and 2016 me were two totally different beings. Despite advancing into a new stage of your life, remembering how you were before will renew you in a way that will propel you forward.

The biggest failure in life is not finishing something you started. And today I had an unexpected reminder of that. An innocent conversation with a few kids made me remember my passions for writing. Money and fame do not define a passion.

The passion exists because you love and will do it no matter what anybody says, no matter the benefits or consequences, and no matter how little time you may have to accomplish it.

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ARTICLE POST: The Pen vs. the Keyboard

Where do writers come up with some of their stories? Some of the worlds created in these portable pieces of magic we call books, are insanely descriptive, as if they truly exist. And whether it is in our minds, or another dimension we cannot see, these worlds are real to those who read it. So the question is, where do these authors come up with their ideas for books?

Sipping on a piping hot cup o’ joe in a small nondescript cafe?

Venturing the blazing deserts of Egypt?

Dreaming during a very deep REM cycle?

Spinning around in the office chair making sense of the passing blurs?

I’m positive the experience is very different among the millions of writers out there. One thing I do know for sure, is that these ideas come completely unannounced, so you really need to be ready for it. You know that feeling when you leave your house in the morning and the sky is shining blue–a few clouds shaped as bunnies pass by–but then all of a sudden it starts to rain and you don’t have an umbrella, so you get drenched? That’s what I feel like when I get an idea and I don’t write it down, and I’m sure I’ve lost one too many good book ideas this way, which is why I always carry around a notebook. I’m old school like that. Yes, I know we live in a time where technology is prevalent in all aspects of our lives and I can bust out my handy-dandy iPhone 5s (did you see what I did there??) and type my idea in my notepad app, but I love notebooks and I love to scribble.

I have notebooks galore. I never really need them, but if I come across a beautiful one, then I can never really say “no” to buying it. My shopping addictions aren’t the point of this article, the point I’m trying to make is that I think everyone should carry some form of paper & pen with them at all times.

You not only want to write sudden epiphanies and ideas, but you also want to be able to draw, and you will always be limited with the ability to draw on your phones–the screens may be getting bigger, but your fingers aren’t getting any less fatter!

There are actually scientific studies that say those who practice the art of paper and pen (ok, it’s not actually called that) are more productive and creative. I imagine it has to do with the way your mind works. Your brain is shooting specific nerves to make your fingers move to click the right button. When you type, you’re just clicking a button, each button has a different letter on it, but all in all at the end of the day, it’s still just a button. Your fingers move more by muscle memory as you’re taught at a young age that your left index finger rests on the letter “f” while the right one should be on the letter “j.” However, when you use a pen to write, you are physically moving your hand to write the letter “i” and you can’t forget to dot it or it might look like a midget “L.” When you’re actually writing the word, ideas flow naturally through your mind right onto the page.

I tend to lean toward blank notebooks (because I’m a rebel and I refuse to be confined to the social standards of using lines! jk). Blank notebooks allow me to scribble, write very tiny for ants to read or very large for giants, and draw as if I’m the next Leonardo da Vinci.

Notebooks are like a diary and everyone has had a diary at one point or another (pssst–I still have one today at the ripe age of 24). You can pick up a notebook you wrote passing thoughts in years later and it may strike a chord in you or remind you of something important that you forgot. Those fleeting ideas that seemed trivial may be the next big thing. After a couple days, weeks, or years, if you look back on a simple idea, then you may see it in a different light and it can evolve into a beast of an idea you never imagined it could.

It’s 1:30am in the morning on a Thursday and I’m writing about notebooks and pens, while ironically typing it all on a keyboard. Anyway, give yourself a chance to be creative and carry around a notebook/pen for a month and see what you can come up with–I guarantee you’ll be surprised.

Karnage Soundtrack

Music plays a huge role in my writing process–I always have to be listening to it. The most exciting thing is when I stumble upon a song that fits perfectly to what I’m trying to convey in my writing. I usually try to stay away from the mainstream songs because they tend to be overplayed over the radio, but there are a few that I loved so much that I just couldn’t. I know this is long overdue, but this is the soundtrack I had on repeat while I wrote Karnage. (In no particular order)

Inspiration Through Music

I’ve mentioned this to a couple of people I’ve talked to about my inspiration for my trilogy, The Phoenix Ashes, but it all really came together from one song: “Save You” by Kelly Clarkson. Something about the melody and everything about the lyrics would inspire to keep writing about Lucas and Selena. Whenever I would hit a writer’s block, and believe me the occasions were countless, I would listen to that one song and the story and words would literally flow out of me. It’s amazing, because no matter how many times I listened to it, I never got sick of it. Even to this day I still love the song. To me, it will forever be a timeless song and a reminder of how one simple thing can give birth to something so much bigger.

It’s been a long time since Kelly Clarkson has released a new album and I listened to it for the first time today, and she definitely did not disappoint. So, if you haven’t already checked it out, go and listen to her new album, Piece by Piece.

Listen to the “Save you” by Kelly Clarkson below. This song is the heart of my trilogy, The Phoenix Ashes.