Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Let's do this!

Sometimes you just have to pull up your big girl panties and get yourself organized, right?

Well, that's been the last week and this weekend.  Instead of just leaving everything up in the air or in my head, I've been forcing myself to make the decisions and get things done. 

First up was the fitness.  I started working out this week for, embarrassingly, the first time in forever.  But I started, and that's what I'm focusing on.

Second was getting myself better organized so I can more specifically work on "zero days."  I had read someone's post on Instagram and something similar on the internet, but I hate to say, I didn't save either so can't give exact credit where it is due, but basically, it is making time each day to work on your dreams/goals.  Even if that time is only five minutes, simply do something EVERY SINGLE DAY so you have no more days without doing something to move forward toward your goal--no more zero days. I actually started last week and can happily say I am on 7 days straight so far 😊.

This weekend was getting to all the little stuff that had piled up, like organizing my ton of "idea" computer files into a new main folder and then sub-folders so I can better start putting that information together for books and/or artwork, going through the stack of stickies and papers on my desk and actually doing what needed to be done on each and filing them away whether in the trash as finished or in the filing cabinet, getting my art desk and office desk organized and ready for the new week, etc. etc. You know, the little things that you keep putting off for no reason except you just don't want to deal with it...until you turn around and there are monster-sized piles of crap everywhere πŸ˜–πŸ˜„.

On my reorganization, I came across this little letter fun I had done a couple years back.  I think I may have even shared it on my old blog, but it still holds true...

As much as we'd love to work on our goals and dreams full time, there is always the reality of life--kids, family, mortgages, bills, etc.--but it is important to understand those day jobs are not weighing us down, but rather building us up. That day job gives us peace of mind that our family and home are taken care of and therefore the freedom to work on our Passion Project without the pressure of immediate financial needs (which could prevent you from getting anything out, or force you to put out a product too soon, before it or you are ready or before you have a base of interested parties to build upon--not that you want to wait forever, but you want to make sure you are happy and pumped for your product rather than "just getting something out there").  

As for the Fitness part of the picture--that is just as important...remember to take care of yourself first and foremost, because nothing good will get done if you are rundown, stressed out, or mentally in a bad or doubtful place about yourself or your dreams.  Keeping active and eating right builds your body and mind...and when you feel good, it is far easier to stay positive and motivated, right? 

So, like I said, I am pulling up my big girl panties and doing what needs to be done so I'm not seventy-five and looking back at all those cool ideas in my head that never had a chance to shine.

Is there anything you do to help you get motivated and get things done?  And what is your favorite fitness to do--because I'm better if I keep things mixed up so any suggestions will be helpful. πŸ˜‰

©bystacydawn 2018

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

"What did you say?"

Dialogue is a funny thing. It can work for you, or against you.

Dialogue is all about the character. Simply put, rarely would you have a low educated character talk with perfect grammar or an English butler talk in slang. Few people speak grammatically correct, so it is important to have your dialogue not be perfect so to speak.

"I cannot come over to dine with you this evening because my mother has installed a new restriction on my social activities."

Okay, obviously that is a little extreme LOL, but that's the point. A teenager would not speak in such a refined manor, but rather in contractions, slang, and inflection.

"I can't come over for supper 'cause my mom grounded me, again."

Being natural is important. Which brings up another good point, you want to be careful of stereotypical dialogue—TOO much character ie: Cowboys that are darlin’ every girl in the story, or a mob guy asking, “You lookin’ at me? You lookin’ at me?” of everyone who may pass him on the sidewalk.

The best way to research dialogue and natural flow is to observe. Take an afternoon to sit in a coffee shop, open a book (so you don’t look stalkerish LOL) and just listen. Listen to inflection, contractions, tones, emotions (excitement and/or anger). If you are writing a Young Adult, go where the teens are. If you have doctor and nurse characters maybe try the lobby or cafeteria of a hospital—listen, observe and assimilate.

And remember, not all conversations are all talk--body movements play an important role, because if you have a page with a lot of dialogue but no actions dotted in here and there to show HOW the characters are speaking, showing HOW the characters are acting/reacting to the conversation, then the scene can become stilted and be pictured by the reader as simply two people standing face to face, arms at their side, and speaking monotone. He said this. She said that. Bland. Using the addition of action sentences instead of constantly repeating "said" will go far in avoiding a monotonous read as well.

Instead of:    "I don't want to go with you," she said.

Try:    She took a step back. "I don't want to go with you."

Which one of the above paints more of a picture in your mind?

On your observances, I’m sure you’ll find someone raising their hands in frustration or whipping around when offended in order to defend themselves. A subtle smile when they are being coy or tight fists around a coffee cup when they are trying to control their anger. All these observances are part of a conversation—part of the dialogue. Part of the character. And that is what you want to do with your writing...paint a picture for the reader so they visualize your character and scene in living color.

As always where writing is concerned, most important is choosing your words (or rather their words) carefully and placing the action drop-ins in the most dynamic area for the scene, because the last thing you want to do is overwrite a conversation with too many descriptions. Balance here is the key. 

Simply put, when writing dialogue, you want to...Observe. Natural. Balance.

 LOL, now isn’t that saying it all.

Punctuation with dialogue is another issue altogether, and I will be doing a post down the line to help with this as well, so stay tuned, subscribe, and/or sign up for email notifications for upcoming posts.πŸ˜‰.

©bystacydawn 2018

Sunday, March 18, 2018

March--in like a lion....out like a lamb?

I sure hope so!

February was BRUTAL.  That is really the only word for it.    And then, just when I thought the black cloud might be floating by and the blur of February was over...I went and sprained my ankle, rolling it off a curb on the very last day of the month.  Sheesh!  Just like one final big kick in the pantsπŸ˜†

BUT, as hard as it is sometimes (especially smack dab in the middle of the stress and chaos) I try to find the silver lining, the possible purpose in it.  The ankle, for instance, literally made me sit there and not move for almost four straight days--which gave the rest of my body and mind time to rest and heal in more ways than that one.  It made me fully realize the fact that I was no good to help anyone if I didn't first take care of myself and heal (from the horrid cold/flu/virus I'd been fighting for one thing).

During those few days, one picture kept popping up in my mind...

A small haven of quiet, of being surrounded in peace while protected from stress, from problems that I couldn't fix no matter how much I really wanted to, other people's problems that had nothing to do with me but drama drew me in, from negativity, self-doubt, anxiety, and all around bad vibes.

And so, though there are a few struggles we are still dealing with this month, I am trying to stop more often and just breath, to put up a small shield of self-care even for just a few moments to find my center so that I am stronger to help the ones who need me most right now.   Sitting in my pink-cushioned egg chair 😊, setting everything aside, and just breathing.  March did come in like a lion...but I do hope it goes out like a lamb.