Dead-lines, NaNoWrimo, and (my thoughts)

Hello Everyone,

Brisbane has been blooming like crazy! It’s so nice to see all the green shades in the trees and such a huge variety of flowers blooming everywhere. It’s so beautiful, but one thing that has been hard is the freakishly humid weather. It’s hot enough without the humidity, but then when mother nature adds on the humidity it drives me CRAZY in the morning. It’s like a never ending sauna and being a girl from Minnesota – I still haven’t climatized to always being sweaty. This morning I woke in a sweat and rushed to the shower. About 5 minutes after that shower, I wish I could have taken another one. Yes, humid… like that!

Besides writing here and there – I’ve entered a Halloween Writing Short Story, which I am excited about. This week I will continue my search for a job, and will attempt to write 10,000 or so words by Friday. (current WIP word count is 44,730) I am going to find some places I can freelance at and send a few articles in whether to get paid for or just for the experience so I have more to add to my portfolio.

NaNoWrimo

Who all here is participating in NaNoWrimo? If you are please click on the link and add me as a NaNoWrimo Writing Buddy!

This is a Jacaranda Tree… Isn’t it pretty? :)

Purple Trees and Prayer

The picture to the right is of the Jacaranda tree that I was talking about up above. Isn’t it pretty? It’s so beautiful. Johan told me about a tale that most people say which is “If a Jacaranda bloom falls on your head, you will do good on your exams.” He also told me that whenever the Jacaranda’s are blooming people will always say, “It’s getting close to exam time.”

Speaking of a flower falling on one’s head – Johan and I were walking under a Jacaranda Tree and I jumped up and grabbed a purple flower off the branch. I  set it on Johan’s head.

Guess what he got on his exam? A 7, which is an equivalent to an American A!!!! :) Yes, okay I guess I am being a proud girlfriend and bragging a little bit! haha… oh well… he deserves it! :)

This photo reminds me that I have been sorta slack in taking photos lately, so I am deciding that from now on I am going to take my camera on daily walks (since I don’t have a dog or a cat… which by the way, I really miss having a cat.) and I will share a little of my life in Brisbane with you all.

If you all could keep me in your prayers… I want to find a job here so that I could stay longer so Johan and I don’t have to be split by the ocean again. We survived it once and could do it again, but it would be best if we didn’t have to. So please pray for God’s favour and his will. :)

I just got an ebook called the 90-Day Novel, and I found some of the questions in the book to be thought provoking. I will answer some of the questions throughout the next few months.

“One thing I feel strongly about…”

I feel strongly about the truth, about life, blessings, and choosing the life that God created for you, not the fake reflections that we see in Satan’s warped mirrors. It is important for me to tell as many people as I can about the two walks of life that we can choose. There is a ‘narrow-gate’ and a ‘wide-gate” and we have to choose. One leads to life and one leads to death. It’s from a Bible verse. :) That is kind of what my current WIP’s theme will follow. But it is something that I am passionate about. :)

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. – Matthew 7:13-14

I also feel strongly about this in life, not just in writing. That is why sometimes I share my beliefs and thoughts on political things and current events happening in our world today. There are many people out there who don’t know the difference between world views, candidates, and I know there are some out there who are not going to vote because they believe their voices don’t matter.

I really don’t like it when I post something about the truth and then a bunch of people comment looking for a fight. I want to spread the truth that people do have voices and a reason for living. They can make a difference in the world, in their country, and in their family and friends lives. Even in a stranger’s life.

One day while in the City, I was shopping in a clothing store and saw this woman when I glanced up from a clothing rack. She was working there hanging up new merchandise. I smiled and continued to look around. To tell you the honest truth – I felt like ‘crud’ that day. I had no makeup on and was feeling blagh.
“Excuse me, mam’ I just wanted to tell you, you have a beautiful smile. and it made my day!” It amazed me, because I hadn’t been going out of my way to change a person’s life. But rather, each thing we do – big or little affects us and those around us.

Hope you all have a great day!! :) Celebrate LIFE!

  1. What do you feel strongly about? 

A hint of magic…

Currently listening to: silence
Currently reading: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

I know why I have always loved writing… and also why I had loved reading ever since I was little. It was a chance where I was able to escape. Yep, escape from the things around me to a different place where people understood me… yes, those people are characters, but I definitely thought they understood me. My favorite stories to read were in particular – ones involving different worlds and characters who had magical properties.

My all time favorite was “The Chronicles of Narnia” and It actually made me wish that there had been a doorway at the back of my closet and believe me, I checked quite a few times to later find myself crying in my closet that the door to Narnia was closed to me. C.S. Lewis was the writer who made me want to write.

Today was the last day of the Brisbane Writer’s Festival and I went to a writer’s session where three well known authors spoke about writing with a hint of magic. The three authors were : Eowyn Ivey  who wrote The Snow Child, Joanne Harris Who wrote the famous book Chocolate, and an Australian Author known as Kate Forstyth whose newest book, Bitter Greens is out. I really enjoyed this hour long session listening to these authors speak about how they incorporate magic into their real world stories and that is the thing that I so love about writing conferences and workshops – the people think like me… Forsyth said, “Words are magic.”  and I totally agree with that.

I absolutely love it when authors know you are a writer too and they personalize your book with a note of encouragement for your writing! :)

Forsyth spoke about what inspired her to write Bitter Greens, which made me go to the store to buy her book. I can’t wait to read it. She spoke about how she wrote it in the real world, not in fairy tale world, because for people it’s easier to see the magic when it’s in that sort of a situation.

As a young child, a dog attacked her, biting through her tear duct and into her brain. One day her mother dropped off a gift for her, which was a little red book of “Grimm Brother’s Fairy Tales” she said that, that book got her through her time in the hospital, but out of all the stories the one that resided with her the most was Rapunzel. She said, “The thought that Rapunzel’s tears healed the prince amazed me, because my tear duct had been punctured which meant i cried a lot.” Forsyth also spoke about how today we all have fortresses holding us imprisoned, it may not be a tower, but it may be a shack in a backyard, a controlling household, or any kind of situation in life that holds us in fear. Her story Rapunzel follows three Points of View from the Witch, Rapunzel, and the woman who originally wrote the story Rapunzel. I am honestly very excited to read this book.

Me and Joanne Harris, Author of famous book Chocolat! :)

It’s just so interesting that so many other writer’s read and write to escape.

Yesterday’s session at the Writer’s Festival was with Kate Forsyth as well, she spoke about “Building Castles in the Air” – it was a wonderful session where we learned about narrative arc and world building. I will most definitely write more about it later.

I promised a better picture of the book heart! :)

After the first session today, I went to a writing race. We wrote straight for an hour and being competitive in writing I typed as fast as I could, always remembering what an Author Friend once told me, “Don’t stop writing, keep spilling the words… don’t stop… keep typing.” And that is what I did the whole hour, I wrote exactly 2,013 words in an hour which brought me to Second Place!! :) The whole group wrote about 19,000 words in total during the hour. This really amazed me that I wrote that amount in only an hour. It’s an awesome way to get a lot written in a short amount of time! Because if I wrote 2 hours a day at that speed I would have written 4,026 words or even better if I wrote 4 hours a day (at 8,000 some words) I would finish my novel in 10 days. I probably wouldn’t do the 8,000 some words goal, but to know that I can type/write that fast I decided that I need to write fast enough to get done with the story.

I like this writing race idea… would anyone be interested in a writing race with me?? If so please comment below that you are interested. It would be exciting to have some writing racers to race along with me! :)

Operation Devin’s Writing Routine Exercise Dare… Why? I need to FINISH the book…

“Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.” — EB White

I am trying to figure out what my plan of attack will be for writing. I need to finish this novel this year. I finished the second book, but I need to finish this first one. Then I can clean up the second book. The only things standing in my way are online. I tell myself I need to go on facebook and such since I am in Australia and my family are in the States, but maybe I should only set up certain times that I will be on facebook/internet. I was reading this one author’s blog and read what his writing routine consists of. And to me it consisted of a lot of coffee. But, that made me wonder – what does my writing routine consist of?

You know what? I will find out. This week I will give myself an opportunity to become a better writer. I am going to give myself an obstacle course of sorts if you want to call it that. On wednesday, I worked at Ilona’s Counselling Practice and I had to wake up at 5am in order to catch the bus to catch the train to catch the bus to her place in time. So, that makes me think… maybe I should be treating writing more like a job.

Top distractions:

  1. Facebook
  2. WordPress
  3. Twitter
  4. Texting
  5. People

And all of these distractions are not in a bad way… I love these distractions. But that is what makes it so hard to sit down and write. Of course there are the other distractions that are less fun – like cleaning, washing dishes, laundry and such things. But you know what? I am going to dare myself to get up earlier and get my writing done even before the day starts… then I will be able to hang out with my boyfriend and do other things throughout the day that I need to do.

So, I will start this dare tomorrow. Is anyone else with me?

My Dare

  • 5am – wake up and make some tea, sit down at computer and check emails and social media for 20 minutes.
  • 5:20am – read a book for 20 minutes to get inspired with words.
  • 5:40am – start writing
  • plan to write 2,000 words or if I write more (all the merrier)

I will start this Dare tomorrow, so friday morning Brisbane Australia time. You are probably wondering why I am going to be crazy and get up at 5am? Well, I get distracted easily even from the city noises and the sunshine outside. Night suits me best, as I am a night owl – but, maybe if I set this up then I will get a lot of writing done. I have given myself Saturday and Sunday off so that I can sleep in, but other than that… all of next week I will get up at 5am to write. While I write this I sigh and pout because I dislike the idea of waking up so early. But one must give up things for the things they love. And I think, hey 2 or 3 hours sleep = a finished novel. Sounds awesome. I will keep you up to date on my ‘Writing Routine Exercise Dare’. Are you up for the dare too? 

I put a quote up at the top of this blog entry by E.B. White about how writer’s don’t reflect and interpret life, but rather that we inform and shape life – so, I am not going to let my distractions blind me from informing and shaping life.

6 Pre-conceived Ideas to help with Devin’s Writing Routine Exercise Dare 

  1. Clean up your writing area the night before and clean up anything else that may catch your attention, so that you don’t end up cleaning just to have a reason not to write.
  2. Get out of bed to write, it is WAY too easy to fall asleep in bed, when you are writing
  3. Free write in a note book (aim to write 3 pages)
  4. Turn the internet off after you have checked your emails and social networking sites
  5. Turn off your phone
  6. Get your words down on the paper
My first blog entry on how my first day of the dare went will be written tomorrow. Keep your eyes open for it. But, better yet, are you with me on this? What do you do in your writing routine? Any pre-writing rituals? I know… I need to get some candles… (they always inspire me!)

 

How to stay inspired in a less than colourful world…

As a writer I know there are times when we come to a screeching dead halt in our writing, where we can’t find any inspiration. At those moments when we are running low on inspiration and feel empty we look out into the world around us for inspiration and find a world falling apart. At dry times we see soldiers fighting in wars across the seas, homeless people on the streets, and starving children in Africa and ask ourselves how we can get inspired.

I have found myself in this position many times and have wondered, how can I make a difference with my writing anyways? How do I get myself out of this situation? I know that when these questions start to circle around in my mind I have a bad habit of setting my pen down or getting up to leave my computer. Which isn’t what I should do. Instead I should pull inspiration out of the un-colorful world. At this moment I can imagine that many questions are forming in your minds, like:  “Devin, how do I stay inspired in a less than colorful world? How can I get inspiration when everything around me is so uninspiring?” or something like, “How can I make color when I have none?”

These are some tough questions, but I do have answers for them. When I find myself in a funk and can’t get inspired I look deeper into the issue and that gives me inspiration and story ideas. With the soldiers who are fighting in wars across the sea, I find myself thinking about a few things. Who are they? What are their stories? Were they married? What are their struggles and emotions? Or with the homeless people on the streets, how did they become homeless? What are their stories and who are they? Why do they continue to stay on the streets? What do they go through in a day?

As soon as I ask myself these questions my mind starts reeling with ideas, thoughts, characters, and plots. I want to make a difference in my reader’s lives and I know you do too. We need to remember that our less than colorful world needs our color, since we add color to the world with our words. Here are some other ideas to help draw inspiration when you don’t feel inspired.

1. Go for a walk in the wilderness 

-Nature has a way of bringing out the light, when you see all the issues that our world has, you get brought back to how our world should be.

“We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the  wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder-cloud, and the rain.” -Henry David Thoreau -My mom always told me that fresh air clears the mind and she was definitely right when she said that, besides you can get heaps of color, just by stepping out into the woods. Listen to the sounds. What do you hear? What do you see? Look at all of the details.

2. Delve deeply into something else that will open your mind creatively 

-Do you enjoy drawing, painting?

-Play an instrument

-Get up and move- exercise!

3. Get away from your normal setting

-A few weeks ago I went on a weekend trip with a friend and I got filled up with ideas to write. I went to the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am from a rural Minnesotan town so going into the metropolis changed my atmosphere. I saw different people and settings. By getting away from your normal setting you will find new ideas for stories, settings, and characters.

4. Get enough sleep

-You have all probably heard this before, but they say if you sleep enough hours in a day, that you will have a better chance of remembering your dreams. Dreams can inspire!

5. Get out and volunteer

-Seeing good in tough situations can work wonders, it may even give you a new story idea, a new character or setting! Use the emotions you see in people as well. Such as the pain in the homeless man’s eyes. Or the tears that come to his eyes when you ask how he is doing.

6. Emotion

-Use the emotion you experience (When you feel depressed, write about how you feel and how it affects you. You never know when that will help you with a character you are writing later.

7. Silence

-Go someplace and seek silence. Light some candles and meditate. Listen to relaxing music.

8. Take an online journey of inspiring blogs and websites. 

Check out inspiring pictures or my newest addiction = pinterest. You can find interesting ideas for characters and settings.

9. Read a good book (check out Goodreads.com) 

10. Change your outlook…

-When things are dark, dreary, or uninspiring change your point of view, change your outlook…

11. Ask yourself the hard questions

-Best Selling Author Steven James once said, “You don’t have a story until you have conflict.” Since we live in a world where conflicting things happen, we must pull inspiration out of the darkness around us by asking ourselves the hard questions.

12. If you still don’t feel inspired… 

-And you have searched for it. Don’t quit writing, continue to show up and write every day! When I am low on inspiration I make a goal of writing 2,000 words a day. At least I am showing up and when I read back over it, sometimes I am surprised with what I’ve written!

P.S. The picture at the top inspired me while writing a scene in the last chapter that I just wrote for my book “The Created Ones”, so I thought I would share this awesome picture with you guys! :)

Who? Me. What? Driving on the opposite side of the car and opposite side of the road…throw a stick shift into the picture and what do you get? Lol…. = it was a success… Haha… I am proud of myself!

I just got done writing a thousand words. I am so happy that I know what is going to happen next in my story. I once interviewed an author and they told me that they love to stop writing each night when they know what they will proceed with the next day. It’s a nice idea to try out next time when you write!! :)

I am going to start working on a surprise for all of you this week. It will be an awesome blogging experience momentum for all of ya! I am excited to offer it to ya all! :)

Today my boyfriend taught me to drive on the left side of the road, right side of the car, and with a stick shift. Let’s just say that, that is a lot to think about coming from driving on the right side of the road, on the left side of a car, and with an automatic. You no longer only have to deal with 2 pedals, but with three pedals and a five geared stick shift and the whole thing with the other side of the car and road thing. I was nervous at first but towards the actually driving without stalling it, it got exciting for me, but I think that Johan enjoyed it even more to give me a driving lesson! And let’s say I only stalled it twice…. And it was on flat ground. So I was proud of myself. It was funny because I drove his mum’s car and it’s a little golden car and one timesee said I could borrow it if I wanted to when in Brisbane and inside I was thinking… Um… No, because I don’t know how to drive a stick shift. But then I said to her one time, ” No, I can’t drive that, Thing. I can drive a bicycle instead!” and from that day and on the little golden nugget of a car has been called and known as the “Thing” by his whole family! Lol… Oh boy…

This week I will start doing a part time job working as an admin for a psychologist. I can’t wait to start! It will be exciting, besides the brain and psychology has always interested me!  That will be fun! :) Then tomorrow I will update you about searching for magazines to send writing into and sending proposals to businesses in the Brisbane area offering my writing and design services. I will also add a tab up above with my services and how you can hire me. My portfolio tab will be edited tomorrow as well! So there are many things to keep your eyes open for! Exciting!

Today was a great day with m boyfriend, Johan! I am so blessed to call him mine! :)

Love ya all,

Devin

A new post for you! :)

Hello all, I am currently on the sunny coast with Johan and his family! Today was a lovely day even if it rained pretty much all day!! I enjoyed every part of it with my boyfriend.

I was extremely sore today though! At the beginning of the day I was wondering why… But I think it’s because of all the walking I did yesterday! I walked to the grocery store and carried bags back! It felt really lovely to walk and be outside! I even got some interesting views and got to experience some interrrrrrresting… People. Like the kinds you would read about in my books… Lol. then later tonight I did some reading over my blog and I realized about how much I have grown and the different things that I have gone through in my life!

This July will be my blogs one and a half year anniversary! So to celebrate, I will be planning something exciting! I can’t tell you yet, but I will let you know soon!! Get ready! :)

So as you all know I have been writing a lot lately. But I need to gt into the sit down and write for an hour every day. It’s my job. I must also find places to submit it to so that I can start getting paid for my words! :)

1,059 words….

It feels so nice to finally have written a nice chunk of words again. It took a little bit of brainstorming and outlining to get this far. I am not really an outliner though. It’s crazy how some people are huge outliners and others just write, write, write and don’t need outlines. While growing up, my dad would edit for farming magazines and for other things. One of the other things would be my school papers. School being high-school and also college papers. He loved it. Sometimes it drove me and my siblings crazy because my dad loved editing and outlining so much that he would help us set up outlining mode in Word and  practically helped us rewrite the paper in outline. :P Now, I look up to him for that… because my outlines are nothing compared to how his were. But I am thankful that he took the time to sit down and explain it all to us. :) So, my outlines were not extremely amazing or anything… then more so end up being a list of points – like a road map… sorta of where I am going and where I will go next. So, then how do you write? Are you an outliner? or a freewriter? (I have heard some people call it pantsing… but I don’t like that saying much! lol!) 

I have pretty much one whole novel written. It’s the Created Ones, which is at about 70,000 words… the goal had been 80,000. I felt like I was pushing too many of my characters into the can and limiting their stories to the point where I felt like I was bored with them. That isn’t a good thing… by the way! lol…
Soon after thinking about one character at a time… I started seeing their past and their issues. I am totally excited about this Fantasy/Paranormal Fictional Novel. It has been trying my patience, and strength in writing as well. But maybe this first story will be easier to write… because I have basically written one novel already.

How have you all been?

I will be putting the WINNER of my Flash Fiction Zombie Contest up soon! Keep your eyes peeled, it’s a good one! :)

Devin Berglund