The Blank Page and Writers’ Block

white book page on yellow surface

Hello, my readers. How are you doing during the lockdown? Okay, I hope?Today, I’ll discuss the dreaded Blank Page that haunts every writer at one point in his or her career. I’ll also mention the tricks and tips I’ve used in overcoming writer’s block.

A new story always begins with a blank page or screen. This is the beginning of the writing process and it can seem daunting to any writer. What do we do? What do we write? Failure to move forward is often called the Writers’ Block.

Writers’ Block: The Daunting Prospect of Beginning

“To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing.” —Picasso

Just like with a blank canvas, a white page can be overwhelming. It’s a door into infinity, where God gives us the keys and allows us to create our own universe. Yet we hesitate out of doubt and uncertainty. Why is this?

The Social Facet of Writing

To quote another writer:

“You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly… Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.” —Jennifer Egan

As humans, we are social creatures. Any creative works we share with our family and peers. We hope for the approval and validation of what we are, our talents, and our direction in life. Rejection is like a knife to the gut and we become a failure—or so our ego wants us to believe.

Questions and Self-reflection

Because of these social mechanisms that wire the brain, we may hesitate in front of a blank page. Emotions of confusion, wonderment, procrastination, or anxiety also arise.

  • What will I write? I can’t think of anything.
  • Will the final product be good enough?
  • Am I wasting my time doing this?
  • How do I start this blasted process?

These are some questions we, as writers and artists, may ask.  Five minutes pass, and then an hour. The page is still blank and the creative process is stuck at a deadlock.

aerial photo of vehicles in the city

Anyone can break through this block, and I’ll provide the tools to do it. When a writer enters a realm without blockage, the clouds clear and the creative subconscious regenerates.

Here are some techniques I use when dealing with writers’ block.

1. Time and Space

Establishing a quiet area where I won’t be disturbed for writing is crucial. I make sure it’s comfortable and quiet. I ask my living mates not to enter for a designated interval. This is my time to center—and I consider it a part of the writing routine.

2. Relax

Before I tackle a blank page, I learn to relax and let go. I fight against the urge to think about anything, even my story. It can be difficult sometimes, but regulating my breathing using a technique called pranayama certainly helps.

Dedicate a part of your day to meditate or even stretch your body, even if it’s only 5 minutes. Some people do better at night, other people in the morning. Meditating or stretching before you begin writing may be ideal. Find a time that works best for you.

3. Creative Tools

I’ve used things like music, essential oil fragrance, and colors to enhance my creative focus. Some authors produce amazing work listening to music—others with no sound at all. Everyone is different; experiment, and find what works for you. It certainly took me a while to develop my creative toolkit. Don’t rush it—remember to relax.

4. Have Fun—Stay Positive

Any sense of competition or raging ambition within my mind creates anxiety. There is an urge in my ego to write perfectly and I compare myself to professionals. Believe me, it can get discouraging.

When I look at writing from a positive perspective, things get easier. I now write because it’s fun and I want to share my stories, no matter how good or bad they are.

5. Creative Exercises

Sometimes I try a short exercise to get my creative juices flowing. A small poem or haiku, as I mentioned in my previous article, has worked wonders for me. Here are some additional ideas from Vicky Fraser.

6. Simplify

A messy workplace or disorganized writing portfolio is the worst. I keep all my writing projects organized in a portfolio for routine review. This shows me how far I’ve come and encourages me to keep writing.

Having an organized portfolio also gives ideas from previous projects to use in newer ones. Simon Lund mentions some similar methods Hemingway used for his writing projects.

7. Acceptance

Improvement comes naturally with time and I accept that I will never be the best or the worst. When I surrender to this idea, my creative juices run wild.

Acceptance and surrender don’t mean that I make myself a doormat for life, nor should I lack healthy ambition. I accept the things I cannot change, have the courage to create the things I can, and develop the wisdom to distinguish the two.

Once I realized this, I started happening to life, rather than life happening to me. I need to remind myself of it, of course. For more information on centering yourself, see my article on the Creative Intelligence inside all of us.

The solutions for writers’ block and the Blank Page are numerous, and I encourage you to seek out your own methods. I hope this article has given you some good ideas to start with. Thank you very much for reading and I’ll leave you with this quote:

“He doth entreat your grace, my noble lord,
To visit him to-morrow or next day:
He is within, with two right reverend fathers,
Divinely bent to
meditation,
And in no worldly suits would he be moved
To draw him from his holy exercise.”

William Shakespeare
The Tragedy of King Richard the Third

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NaNoWriMo 2020: Tips and Preparation

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It’s that time again Today’s topic is—you guessed it—NaNoWriMo. It stands for National Novel Writing Month, a yearly event celebrated by writers the world over since 1999.

From November 1st to the end of the month, each writer must produce a 50,000-word novella—first draft version of course. Nobody expects a masterpiece as this is more of a rush-rush creative exercise.

What writers decide to do with the novella after NaNoWriMo is up to them. I’ve heard of some amazing stories emerging from the ritual. I might attempt it myself this year, if time and energy allow. The seasons are a busy interval for most people, and scheduling NaNoWriMo time is crucial. I may just use it to polish up Blade of Dragons.

If you’re brave enough to undertake this challenge, then there’s some important steps you should take days before November arrives.

remington standard typewriter in greyscale photography

1. Determine Your Writing Medium

Do you plan to write on a desktop computer? What about a laptop? Maybe pencil, pen, or even a typewriter? Figure out your medium for creative writing beforehand so you can set up your workplace appropriately.

Stock up on fresh pencils, printing paper, coffee, food, or whatever you might need.

2. Plan and Outline Your Story

Days before, begin thinking about what genre you want to write. Will it be a romance novella or maybe fantasy-adventure? Consider the protagonist and antagonist—the actors that drive the story forward. Your story doesn’t have to be perfect for NaNoWriMo. It doesn’t even have to be good as a first draft, but it should be coherent and have potential.

3. Have a Plan

Create a diary or calendar, something that can set milestones, deadlines, and objectives. Remember, you need to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s around 1,700 words a day. Scheduling your progress will improve your organization and help you stay on track.

4. Write, Don’t Edit

For those seeking 1,500+ words a day, you won’t have time to edit or revise. Focus on the writing process only and don’t backtrack, otherwise you may ruin your momentum.

5. Get Excited and Motivated

Nothing kills a project faster than boredom. Be thrilled about your project, just like a sky diver about to plunge from a plane. Remind yourself the reason you’re writing. Is it to improve your writing ability? Maybe you’re finally finishing that forgotten story. Use that focus to propel your efforts and stay on top of your game.

6. NaNoWriMo Is What You Make of It

Ultimately, this event is determined by your goals and objectives. Some participates use it as a means to get motivated and don’t care about reaching 50,000 words. Others see it as a challenge that must be completed, up until the final letter.

Set goals within your means and remember to enjoy the process. If it becomes too hectic or stressful, that will hinder the creative process. Turn it down a notch, or meditate for a while.

NaNoWriMo is a time to get motivated and to explore one’s creative potential, in whatever way chosen. Some writers use it as an excuse to work on belated manuscripts, others on poetry. Then there are those who take the hardcore challenge of developing a whole novella in a month.

Think about what you, as a writer, want out of NaNoWriMo. That goal will be what shapes your experience and what you get out of it. Thanks for reading and good luck. 🙂


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My Favorite Music While Writing

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Music has a powerful influence on the human brain, particularly with creativity. The mileage varies from person to person, as some prefer silence—which is its own type of music. I’ve found that my creative process increases when I play certain tunes. In this post, I’ll share with you some of the genres and bands that I listen to.

I listen to different types of music depending on my mood, activity, and environment. In this way, I view my playlists as a toolbox, allowing me to select particular tools to help me with an activity. That said, sometimes I deviate, but the list below gives a general idea of what I prefer and why.

1. Epic Music

Who doesn’t like epic or opera music? These tunes encourage excitement, creativity, and wonder in my brain. When I’m writing a jaw-dropping scene or a tense battle, this music is ideal. I like the bands: Two Steps from Hell, Audiomachine, and Ivan Torrent.

2. Chill Lounge

This is a slower, melodic music that allows me to space out and relax. When I’m talking with friends, co-writers, blogging, or writing a soothing scene, chill lounge is my first choice. Bands I like here are: Jjos, Alexander King, and Electro Pump.

3. Smooth Jazz

Smooth jazz speaks for itself. Like chill lounge, this genre helps me unwind, but without losing too much concentration in my writing. I view it as the middle way between epic and chill; it is also great for romance scenes between characters. I don’t have a particular band that I listen to with this genre—all smooth jazz is good!

4. Lofi

A genre of music that I discovered recently, lofi has happy tunes with a steady beat. I find this music to be best for travel or adventure scenes without a lot of action. Some lofi is very beautiful and helps me when I’m in a creativity jam. I find myself listening to oriental lofi when I write Tempest of the Dragon for that East Asian feel. There’s also video game lofi that I enjoy. No particular bands here.

5. Classical

Classical is a nice way to unwind while, like smooth jazz, keeps a steady beat to maintain concentration during writing. Sometimes I alternate between smooth jazz and classical. I enjoy: Chopin, Mozart, Vivaldi, and many more.

6. Anime/J-pop

This is cartoony, upbeat music that is perfect when writing comic scenes between characters or working on Tempest of the Dragon. Some of these tunes can also be similar to epic music. Favorites are: Kogarashi, Senso, Sakuzyo, and Konbanwa.

7. Progressive House

Progressive house is a melodic, curious genre (somewhat like trance in my opinion) that “raises my spirits to new heights” and gives me energy. I find this genre to be good when I need to brainstorm or work for very, very long periods of time. It’s basically audio coffee—if that makes sense. I like: Shingo Nakamura, Epicuros, and Gregory Esayan.

8. Chiptune

Remember that music you heard when playing Mega Man, Zelda, or Mario as a kid on your NES? That’s chiptune! This genre had been forgotten for years since its introduction in the 80s and 90s, but now it’s making a comeback. Chiptune has a comic flair like J-pop, but with a swift beat. It’s a good music for fast-moving, action or battle scenes. My favorites are: Tombofry, Rolemusic, and Sasakure.UK.

9. Psybient

Psybient is an…acquired taste. It has a deep, alien feel that works for bizarre or mysterious scenes. The music may leave you wondering about yourself, your characters, and where they are all going. My top choices are: SiebZehn, E-Mantra, and Johnny Blue.

10. Dark/Deep Tribal

I listen to this genre if I need to write a shocking, or dark atmosphere to encourage visceral emotion in the reader. Most deep tribal also have a steady drum beat, likened to the heart, and are mysterious like psybient—or even pseudo-erotic for intense romance scenes. Some artists I’ve listened to are: DJ WOPE, Moshic, and Mundeep.

Yes, I listen to a lot of music. Each genre holds a unique function to me, as I connect with the tunes on an intimate, and almost spiritual level. The music alone can transport me to another reality, engrossing my mind in its creative juices. I love music, as much as I enjoy writing.

What types of music do you listen to? I’d love to hear in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

person using microphone

 


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Book Length, Word Count, Readability, and Free Goodies!

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Hello, my readers! Today I’m revisiting book lengths for authors. The length of a book can be a vital factor in its success. Depending on the target audience, genre, readability, and book type, the word count in a book can vary.

That said, there are always outliers—books that have done well outside of word count brackets. If you’re a writer with questions about how long your writing should be, this article is for you.

Although there is no fixed word count, there are generally recognized guidelines depending on genre and audience.

Audience

Younger audiences have smaller attention spans and therefore cater to short, fast-paced book lengths. Adults are more tolerable with longer manuscripts. Here’s a rundown of the age brackets:

  • Poetry: 5 to 3,000 words
  • Picture Book: 400 to 800 words
  • Play: 1,000 to 32,000 words
  • Middle Grade: 25,000 to 40,000 words
  • Young Adult: 50,000 to 100,000 words
  • Adult: 100,000 to 130,000 words

Genre

Book genres, of course, play another role in the word count.  Science fiction and fantasy works tend toward a high word count since the writer develops a fictional world from the ground up. This takes time to describe all the new rules and phenomena associated with such a fictional universe.

Historical fiction, Young Adult, Westerners, and Mysteries prefer a lower word count—of course, there are always exceptions.

  • Romance & Erotica: 40,000 to 100,000 words
  • Mystery/Thriller/Horror: 70,000 to 90,000 words
  • Horror: 80,000 to 100,000 words
  • Historical: 90,000 to 100,000 words
  • Sci-fi/Fanasty: 90,000 to 140,000 words

General Book Types

Depending on the type of book you intend to write, word count plays another significant factor. Flash fiction and short stories are, of course, brief, but powerful. Novelettes are even larger than short stories. A novella is a story with a fleshed out story and characters, whereas novels are the largest.

Book type examples:

  • Flash Fiction: 100 to 1,500 words
  • Short Story: 1,500 to 7,500 words
  • Novelette: 7,500 to 20,000 words
  • Novella: 30,000 to 50,000 words
  • Novel: 50,000 to 100,000 words
silhouette of man

Quantity Versus Quality

Quantity alone does not a good book make.  You have to earn your manuscript, one word at a time. If a document is 150,000 words long but fills its pages with redundant vocabulary, it probably won’t read well.

Adverbs and excessive prose often slog writing; an attempt by the writer to look professional. The simpler a manuscript is, the more people can read it, and the more can enjoy it.

Reading Level

The average reading level for America is around the 8th-grade mark. If the author wants a book to read smoothly among a wider audience, then a book should read around this level. By using simpler and shorter phrases, the readability of the prose goes up.

Word Impact

Each word in a manuscript should contribute to the book in at least one of the following ways:

  • Character progression
  • Plot development
  • Environmental immersion
  • Reader enjoyment

There are exceptions, but if you find a word that doesn’t fit one of these criteria, it can usually be removed. You don’t want to be overly descriptive either as that slogs the pacing and reduces readability.

I recommend Brandon Sanderson’s lectures from 2020 for prose concision and worldbuilding.

Chapter Impact

Chapter length can also have an impact on readability and word count. Short chapters organize a book better, improve readability, and leave readers with a sense of satisfaction. Shorter chapters also make for good stopping points when a reader needs to put the novel down.

Longer chapters are tedious, but sometimes necessary when a section of a book demands enough information or plot progression. In this case, scene breaks are good for breaking down long chapters.

Personally, I love frequent scene breaks and short chapters, as it provides convenient spots for me to park my bookmark. 😛

Reader & Writer Relationship

Half of telling a story comes from the reader’s imagination; give half and let the reader form the rest. This stimulates the reader’s mind, bringing with it a sense of fulfillment.

A book is as much of a journey for the writer as it is for the reader. If you can provide that opportunity—for a reader to have fun and explore—they will flip pages nonstop and won’t care about book length. This is especially true with worldbuilding using the iceberg theory.

The length of a book is up to the writer, depending on audience, genre, book type, readability, and the author’s long-term goals. Authors who have built up an impressive resume of stories can skirt the rules.

Free Goodies

Here’s a free online program called WordCounter that checks the word count, reading level, speaking time, and word frequency. Just paste your work into the program, and it will analyze everything for you automatically. I also use Hemingway to check sentence length and readability. Grammarly is another great tool you can install into your browser. It actually works with Hemingway in your browser.

Thank you for reading and good luck in your writing endeavors. Stay safe out there! 🙂


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What is Haiku?

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Hello everyone, Spring is upon us. To start the season off, I’m introducing an interesting writing form known as haiku. I learned about this art style from a monthly writers’ group some time ago—and I wrote up a few examples to share with you all. With that said, let’s delve into it! 🙂

Haiku is a short-form poetry originating from Japan. The general structure of a haiku poem is simple, but the meaning is usually deep and spiritual. It uses a few words to evoke vivid imagery in the reader’s mind.

There is a sense of stillness and wonderment within the words, as if for meditation. Many famous haikus are short and simple while packing a punch—so to speak.

Haiku Structure

Haiku is usually in three lines of words. The first line has five syllables, while the second line has seven syllables, and the third line has five again.

Haiku Subjects

To reiterate, haiku poems usually focus on the following:

  • Nature
  • Spiritual matters
  • Life and its fleeting moments
  • Humor

A haiku may have a “season word” like rainfall or snow, telling the reader what season it is and adding depth to the imagery. There may be a division in the poem, shifting from one focus to another. Instead of describing how a scene makes the author feel, the writer illustrates the details that evoked said emotions

How to Write Haiku

Here are some step-by-step instructions if you’re interested in writing your own haiku.

  1. Relax and focus on your five senses, sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch. Look out your window or perhaps at a scenic picture for inspiration.
  2. Describe the details that stir emotion. Just jot down brief notes or words, for now—nothing complicated.
  3. Next, form two sentences about what you have observed. Don’t worry about syllables yet.
  4. Write the third line with a surprising twist compared to the first two. Does the combination of the two unrelated parts imply anything interesting? What is the message being described by the whole haiku?
  5. Finally, rewrite the poem using the 5-7-5 syllable rule. Experiment and see if you can deepen the poem’s impact.

For more information, check out the links below.

https://www.creative-writing-now.com/how-to-write-a-haiku.html

https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poems/other/haiku/

https://poets.org/text/haiku-poetic-form

Here are some of the poems I wrote up for my writers’ group. I hope you enjoy.

Leaves fall from the tree

Quickly, they glide towards the Earth

Wind in the heavens

The many hills shake

Trees fall and explode anew

Birds cry with terror

The lake becomes still

Like a mirror, the surface

Peace consumes chaos

The sun rises high

The new day is coming soon

Rainbow bulbs sprout below

Singing softly nature

Peace above and below Earth

Stillness, now evermore


Thanks for reading. I’m playing around with some new designs with my blog and testing them out. I’m also merging my blog with Mailchimp (still in testing). I plan to send out blog news and free gifts once I get it up and running! 🙂

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Until next time, stay safe and enjoy the warm weather. 😀

A Writer’s Perspective On The Coronavirus

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Hello, my readers. We live in dire times with the Coronavirus, but not all is doom-and-gloom. I wanted to make a statement about the situation and perhaps encourage you to think on the positive side of things.

The Situation

By now, everyone has heard about the Coronavirus spreading across the world. Entire nations are on lockdown, society has implemented social distancing, and many companies are closed. The economy is stagnating and you can’t even go to the gym anymore!

Life has worsened for a lot of us over the past couple of weeks—but has it? Let’s take a moment to review the circumstance.

Unplugging

Much of the anxiety we’re going through right now, other than the risk of infection, is the disconnect from our normal routines. We can’t go out and interact with people like we used to, and our family members may be either frustrated or panicking.

Confined to ourselves in our own homes, what can we, as individuals do? Yes, you can practice good hygiene like washing your hands frequently, not staying up late, getting your vitamins, drinking lots of pure water, and so on. But what else is there—maybe a chance to pursue that which we always procrastinate on.

An Opportunity

Personally, I’ve found this Coronavirus situation to be very peaceful. It has offered me a chance to slow down and concentrate more on my reading, writing, and meditation.

Why not pick up a book and enjoy the solitude? Once this virus dies off—and it will—we will return to our regular routines in society. Maybe this is life offering us a chance to pause and examine ourselves.

pile of books

Reading Your Boredom and Fear Away

Goodreads has a contest where we set a goal for xyz number of books read in a year. It’s a good motivator, and there’s no better time than now to hole up in our homes with a bunch of books.

Stories transport us to another dimension, far away from the worries of the life. They encourage creativity and improve vital skills like reading comprehension or problem solving.

Writing It Down

Some people find that a journal helps keep anxiety in check. Others turn to writing novels—or even poetry—to vent frustration. Again, this Coronavirus isolation provides the ideal opportunity.

For us established writers, now’s a good time to finish that novel that we’ve never gotten to. Surfing on the internet is risk-free of contracting any disease—and there’s a lot of people online right now.

We can take time to research a book’s ideal readers, and understand what makes a story unique. There’s also the publishing process—the differences between traditional publishing and indie freelancers. Then there’s the chance to join a forum where readers and writers gather. Facebook is loaded with them!

Silence—If All Else Fails

Sometimes we just need to rest. Meditation is easy to do and it has several health benefits associated with it—ways to boost the immune system against the Coronavirus. Writers can also use meditation to boost their creativity. I did a helpful post on creativity here.

Silence can do wonders for the mind and—like reading—boosts problem solving. Better yet, why not combine the two together! Try reading a book on meditation. A few I recommend are Spiritual Experiences by Swami Sivananda, Autobiography of a Yogi by Swami Yogananda, and Transcending the Levels of Consciousness by David R Hawkins.

You should be able to get digital copies of these books on Amazon or elsewhere—if shipping is compromised.


I hope this humble article gives some ideas on what we can do during the Coronavirus crisis. Human creativity and consciousness is limitless—and it only stops growing when we allow it to do so. Be grateful for life, and celebrate it with every breath—every word written or said. Happiness alone can boost your immune system, so why not be happy? 🙂

Thank you for reading and safe healthy. Namaste.

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The Ballad of Atläs

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Atläs, mother of all
Throughout the years watched us grow tall
For many years, Tiamat ruled this land
Her draconic legacies spread like sand
In the heavens, a star shone
Sending chaos onto Tiamat’s throne
Long we have witnessed the ravages of war
Of demons, giants, ogres, and more
We plenty have much to repair
Lest calamity once more brings her care
The Gate will see us through
Or break us until we relearn what we knew
Guide us, divine Aspects; show us the way
For only through ourselves will harmony stay
Plenty would Ronald’s avatar wail
But to observe the strength of Tiamat’s renewed tail
Still, she claws at hearts with her call
Through mortals, dragons, and bastards most of all
Now darkness gathers around, priming for evil to rebound
Yet a hero may rise to meet the temptress
To foil curse, shadow, pride; strong yet relentless
A divine blade will shine free
Guiding the hero towards destiny’s tree
Guide us, holy Aspects; brighten the past
For only through peace, will the future last
—Lily Hymnfoot

Fantasy Month Blog Tag

Fantastical Realms Blog Tag

Hello, my readers! It’s February, and that means #fantasymonth! I’m excited to get involved in this blogging tag game. First, I’d like to thank Jenelle Schmidt for the idea, and A. M. Reynwood for tagging me.

Anyway, I’ll start with some questions on worldbuilding and gradually move to some zany ones. 😛

What aspect of worldbuilding do you enjoy?

Probably the spontaneous nature of it. It’s fun to give birth to entire worlds from nothing. The possibilities are endless—and you never know what the result could be! A novel that has a wild and whimsical world is my preference.

How do you worldbuild?

Usually by the seat of my pants. I’m not a great outliner and planner. I find the process to be tedious, and that it impedes the creative juices. The editing can come later—and I honestly don’t mind it.

What is your favorite fantasy novel in regards to worldbuilding?

Hmm…not an easy question. What first comes to mind—I enjoyed the worldbuilding in the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. The use of alchemical reagents to fuel superpowers was fascinating. The world of Mistborn is also dark and mysterious, leaving the reader with a feeling of suspense.

What fantasy creature do you wish featured in more stories?

Instead of which fantasy creature, I’ll rather have a shift in the whole fantasy genre. Too often fantasy focuses on European mythology. There’s plenty of creatures and fantasy elements in East Asian mythology, for example. Speaking of which, I’ve had a lot of fun writing Tempest of the Dragon. The research I’ve done into Japanese mythology has been refreshing—and it has opened my eyes to how limited and dull European fantasies have become.

As you are reading this, a voice rings in your ear proclaiming:

A hero true, a leader strong,
A quest is where you do belong,
So arm thyself, and take your stand
With an item to your left your fate is at hand.

Besides the fact that this prophetic voice is clearly incapable of sticking to a meter, what ordinary item do you now find yourself armed with? (And, for bonus points, what helpful magical properties does it now possess that will help you on your quest?)

I would choose a set of prayer beads. The necklace would be blessed by a god and goddess, granting me wisdom in how to proceed in life. Through these divine words, I would walk forth, prepared to reforge creation and bring balance to humanity.

Congratulations! You are a fantasy hero/heroine about to start your adventure. You get to choose a small fantasy creature to accompany and assist you on your quest. Who/what do you choose?

I choose you, pikachu!

Seriously though, I would choose a magical familiar likened to a mouse, something small enough to fit in places I could not. It would be a sentient creatures capable of defending itself or me with magic.

Elves or dwarves?

How about both? I find each to be fascinating in their own way.

Do you prefer your dragons (we had to have at least one question devoted solely to dragons!) good or evil or a mix of both?

A good mix is always refreshing. As dragons are usually wise, they can be benevolent or manipulative, no? Some may even be feral and savage.

World building is a complicated undertaking full of many details. As a reader, what is a small detail you really appreciate seeing when it comes to diving into a new realm? What is something that helps you lose yourself in a fantasy world?

Immersive, descriptive scenery draws me in the most. This teleports me into the fantasy world—to touch, smell, and feel what the characters experience. Now, scenery need not be external like mountains, hills, or castles; it can also be internal to the protagonist. What are their fears? Their hopes? How does this reflect the world they live in? You can do so much with internal world building.

You have been transformed into your favorite fantasy creature. Problem is… you’re still in your own bedroom and your family is downstairs, completely unprepared for this shock. What creature are you, and how (if at all) do you break the news to your loved ones? (Or how do you get out of your room?)

Quite a predicament. My favorite fantasy creature would be a phoenix. As this creature, I would fly out of my room’s window (unfortunately melting the glass) and soar through the skies. Eventually, I would return home and nest in a secluded spot, watching over the property until the enchantment faded.


Well, that was an entertaining set of questions. I’ll admit, I had fun doing it. Fantasy Month is a time to celebrate, so I’m tagging you, my dear reader, to take up the challenge! If you own a website or blog, try answering the questions posted within this article. Or, you could make up your own set of questions related to worldbuilding. Be sure to thank Jenelle Schmidt and mention #fantasymonth within your post.

Thank you for reading. Until next time. 🙂

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A Huge WordPress Thank You—100 Follows!

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I just hit over 100 viewers for my blog! Thank you, my dear readers, for making this possible. It warms my heart that viewers like you take time out of your day to enjoy my content. Looking back since I started, it feels like a long journey. I wanted to express some of my feelings about this blog and what plans I have for it going forward.

—WordPress Beginnings—

How I Started with WordPress

I was halfway through my alpha manuscript for Ethereal Seals when I read good things about blogging—WordPress in particular. Many writers took up blogging, not just for building followers, but also for the sake of the craft. I find it relaxing  and a chance to meet wonderful people like you.

My First Year on WordPress

Not much happened within the first few years of my blog. At attime, my webpage was an unpaid subscription with minimal features. I rarely posted, mostly using the page as an archive to brainstorm and test ideas rather than a blog.

—A Rough Journey—

Enter 2018

In 2018, I began routine posts to connect with any viewers. I had fleshed out the skeleton for Ethereal Seals and wanted to spread word about it. Unfortunately, it was rare for me to get more than a few views each week. The road was rough and depressing. Some months I was too busy to blog, or I felt unmotivated. Many times I almost threw in the towel.

Yet, I kept blogging, regardless of my dismal results. With every post, my blogging skills improved. I explored WordPress more and discovered new ways to format my site. I read other bloggers’ pages and networked. Soon, I had a small niche of blogger buddies.

Leveling Up

Early in 2018, my website had leveled up to a Personal WordPress page. I wanted my own domain at a reasonable cost. I also read that having a domain is like owning your own brand—it shows the world you’re serious about blogging and writing.

Towards the end of 2018 and through parts of 2019, I was between jobs, relying on my freelance writing and part-time gigs to keep me financially afloat. I also found a local writers’ group in my village, a place for feedback and networking. So far, I have enjoyed it, and the people there are helpful.

Meanwhile, I noticed my follower count improving on WordPress. I expected to get only 10 to 15 followers by year’s end. With your generous help, I’ve achieved so much more!

—Looking into the Future—

A Spiritual Vacation

Although I still consider myself a neophyte at writing, my ability has improved considerably since 2018 and 2019. Not only am I more creative, but also a bit more confident.

I’ve taken a hiatus from fiction reading in favor of some spiritual nonfiction; it has helped put things into perspective. Some of my favorites so far have been Spiritual Experiences by Swami Sivananda, The Essene Gospel of Peace by Edmond Bordeaux Szekely, and Along the Path to Enlightenment by David R. Hawkings.

Into 2020

I’m happy with the way this blog has turned out. My intent for the first couple of years was a casual blog. It’s now turned into a helpful website for writers and new age thinkers.

Going forward, I will continue to improve my blogging skills and expand my outreach. This should garner more support for my writing projects: Ethereal Seals and Tempest of the Dragon. I’m always looking for beta readers and helpers. If you’re interested, let me know.

Final Remarks

With that said, I know the writer’s journey is arduous for anyone. I will remain patient and steadfast to my goals. My manuscript has improved significantly—and continues to with every editing pass.

As 2019 draws to a close, my objectives for 2020 are to save up enough money for an editor, find an agent, and begin the publishing process for Ethereal Seals book one. I intend to remain a blogger and attendee to the writers’ group. If things pan out, my book—or ebook if I self-publish—will be available by late 2020. Hopefully this will be the year (fingers crossed). You can read more about my ambitions for 2020 in this post.

Thank you all once again for your support, my readers. Without you, I may have given up long ago. Comments and even likes motivate me to blog and my writing endeavors. You have my love and gratitude.

 

 

 

 

Happy New Years!

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Hello, everyone, and Happy New Year! 2019 was an exciting year for me—and a lot happened. However, in this post, I wanted to reflect on what’s ahead. I’ve compiled a survey of questions that should help me think more about what I want to achieve in 2020 in regards to my writing and other pursuits. Hopefully, it’ll inspire you too!

What Are Your Initial Impressions of 2020?

It’s the beginning of a new decade. That means big changes and shifts in everyone’s lives. For me personally, I see it as a milestone. Looking back reminds me of how far I’ve come and what lies ahead for me. In short, I’m excited to get started!

Any Literary Goals for the New Year?

Well, I’ve been busy the past few months with the holidays, family gatherings, new projects, my meditation sessions, and some fun game releases. Other than NaNo and my Havok submission, I’ve spent less time on writing that I would have liked.

In general, my goals would be thus:

  1. Polish Dragonsblade and find an agent or self-publish by the end of the year
  2. Finish my alpha manuscript, Tempest of the Dragon
  3. Submit one or two more short stories to online magazines
  4. Read more books! 😛
  5. Observe the spiritual changes in myself as this all happens

How Have You Changed As a Writer Since Last Year?

Overall, I’m more confident and I have a higher pool of knowledge to draw from. I’ve done a lot of research into health and spirituality, which has indirectly benefited my abilities as a writer. The healthier and calmer I get through practices like meditation, the better I can focus and utilize the infinite creativity within all of us.

I’m nowhere near perfect by any means, but I’m constantly growing  as a writer and as a soul. The way I see it: if you aren’t healthy, you can’t enjoy or perform as a writer. If you’re without a divine goal, you don’t have a strong enough drive to get your writing done.

I now realize I want to write to inspire and encourage people through my stories. Maybe, years down the road, readers will appreciate such tales and grow as individuals in subtle, but meaningful ways.

Do You Have Any Fears About the Coming Year?

Yes, actually…

I’m worried that 2020 will pass and I still won’t have found an agent for Dragonsblade. I am building my writing resume through online magazine submissions to make me look attractive to agents, but it’s no guarantee. I’ve never done this before as a writer, so it’s unexplored territory for me.

Do You Have a Specific Event or Goal You Are Excited About?

I may try to attend a writing or spiritual convention sometime this year if time and my finances are looking good. There are a few events that I have in mind—one being in Hawaii, and another in Colorado. I just bought an Omega 8008 Juicer, so my wallet is rather empty right now.

Any Last Comments About 2020?

As I said earlier, it’s the start of a new decade, so it’s time to make big changes in our lives—for the better. I’m anticipating a productive year, filled with victories and failures found in any good fiction. Regardless, a writer must do what he or she must ro persevere. The creations of a wordsmith transmute fictional characters as much as they do the author.

That is the path of a writer and a spiritual alchemist.

Now that you’ve finished this article, I challenge you to create your own survey, questions that will help you reflect on your goals for 2020. You can use the questions above if you’d like.


Thank you again for reading! Click that “follow” button below if you like what you see. Enjoy the new year! 🙂

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