#IWSG: Writing in Times of Corona

Today is April 1 and aside from the start of the #AtoZChallenge, it’s also the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) day. I skipped it last month, but today I want to join back in.

I did a lot of writing in the past month. What else is there to do? I mean, I could have spent my month reading, but I still usually read partly for the purpose of blogging about it. So I spent my month writing.

The world pretty much turned upside down in the month of March. Early on, I didn’t see a month full of writing on the horizon at all. Neither did I see COVID-19 coming. In the first week of March, the press at least here was still not taking COVID-19 too seriously. The first cases in the Netherlands were confirmed, but for the most part I still thought this was a far-off thing. A satirical site had a test online about when YOU would contract coronavirus. I had presumably contracted it two days before while trying to stockpile the last packages of fresh meat. I joked about it when having a meeting with my community psychiatric nurse and the facility’s behavior specialist on March 6. We even still shook hands then.

On March 16, schools and restaurants closed for three weeks. A week later, we went on “intelligent” lockdown. This means we are encouraged to stay home and gatherings are prohibited, but going outside isn’t strictly forbidden. My facility implemented a no-visitors policy on March 25.

Just yesterday, we were told that schools will remain closed until at least April 28. Restaurants are closed till June 1 I think.

So, while I’m in self-isolation, I do still try to occupy myself. It’s good that I like writing, huh? For the month of April, I have lots of things I want to write about. I’m participating in A to Z, of course, but I’ve already seen some other prompts that inspire me.

How are things in your part of the world?

#IWSG: Ready, Set, Write?

It’s once again time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) day. I don’t really feel like checking in on it, but this at least is a monthly reminder to keep at least somewhat focused on my writing endeavors.

This past month was a mixed one when it came to my creativity. Early in the month, I was really inspired and really felt like writing fiction and poetry again rather than just blog posts. I did write one poem and read a ton of them, but my ideas for fiction never made it into actual stories.

I got ahold of a few interesting books on writing. One of them is called Ready, Set, Write and it inspired the title of this post.

Inspired by the advice in this book and others in the Adventures in Writing series, I started stream of consciousness writing in an app called Drafts. Several blog posts and the one poem I wrote this past month, were originally drafted in this app.

Still, I’m not sure I’m ready to actually devote much of my time to writing. It’s a great hobby, but like with everything, I don’t have the patience to practise and want to be at least somewhat proficient at it pretty soon. That’s probably why I keep disappointing myself.

On to the optional question of the month. This month’s question is whether you’ve ever been inspired to write a story based on a piece of art. I have not, as I am very artistically ignorant. I tried to blame it on my blindness, but then I realized there are other works of art besides paintings.

I did however very often base my stories on the fiction I read. This sometimes led to plagiarism. My best story yet, which should’ve become a young adult novel but never got finished, was inspired by a book about a teen whose mother had multiple sclerosis. It followed the same subject but its plot was very different.

How about you? Do you base your writing on works of art?

#IWSG: Inspiration to Start Writing

It’s not the first Wednesday of the month, but the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) day got set for today anyway because last Wednesday was New Year’s. I should really start to schedule these posts in advance, as right now I’m sick with the flu and not in the mood to blog. I mean, yesterday I ran a fever. Probably the days before too, but I didn’t have it checked then. Today I’m fine temperature-wise, but I still feel generally awful. I spent the entire day in bed.

This month’s optional question is what inspired you to start on your writing journey. The short answer is I don’t know. I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. My parents did encourage me, even though looking back I was a pretty awful fiction writer. Either they didn’t notice, which I doubt as my Mom read a lot, or they didn’t want to discourage me.

I first started writing actual stories and even what could’ve turned into books had I finished them when I was around thirteen. I don’t know what inspired me to draft those first manuscripts.

In the summer that I turned fourteen, I discovered my favorite Dutch YA author, Caja Cazemier. She was definitely an inspiration for me. A few of my stories actually contained a lot of plagiarism from her.

And then I discovered the Internet and I started writing for an audience. Well, at first I didn’t really care about an audience. My original online diary had about five readers including my parents and the site I hosted it on, didn’t have a comment function. I actually moved it to WordPress inspired by some criticism I’d gotten from my parents about it.

I’m not sure what else to say right now. I am currently very much inspired to continue writing by the people I meet online. I can’t even imagine writing without an audience in mind anymore.

My Hopes for 2020

Hi everyone and a happy new year to you all! I’m wishing all my readers the best for 2020. May this year be filled with health and happiness.

Like last year, I don’t really do new year’s resolutions. That is, I’m calling them “hopes” as to have them give me less pressure. This may be a stupid mind trick, so that if I fail at all of them at the end of the year I can just say I wasn’t really meaning to stick to them. Well, anyway, here goes.

1. I hope to find a way to keep my marriage as strong as it’s now whilst I’m living in the care facility. This mainly means I need to find a way to keep seeing my husband despite the fact that I won’t have the ParaTransit to travel one way even once every other week. I really need to find a way to learn to travel by public transportation. The thought of which overwhelms me. Then again, the consequences of not making this work, are far, far worse. I have very conflicting feelings about this whole situation, which I won’t be sharing here.

2. I hope to settle in at the care facility, both the home and the day center, and find a routine that keeps me happy.

3. I hope to keep going for a healthier lifestyle. I first hope to be more mindful of my food choices. I mean, I did okay’ish over the holidays, eating far less than I would have had I not had it in mind that I ultimately need to lose all the pounds I put on. However, I still ate more than I should have.

I hope to stick to my habit of drinking two liters of fluid each day. I have occasionally lost track when at my husband’s, but did welll over the past month otherwise.

I really want to get into an exercise routine. I have a gym in mind that I may want to join in February (because everyone else joins the gym in January).

4. I hope to stick to a regular writing and blogging schedule. I won’t push myself to blog everyday or the like. I mean, I could be joining in with #JusJoJan again and I know the rules aren’t strict so this post counts too, but I think I’d rather jump in when a prompt speaks to me. I aim for a minimum of two posts a week, unless illness or technical problems get in the way.

Dreaming bigger, I hope to write another essay that could be published in an anthology in 2020. I mean, I’m still excited about the one piece I had published in 2015, but there must be more in store for me.

5. I hope to read more. The year is off to a good start, as I finished a book (okay, one I’d started reading in 2019) today. I really want toventure out into the book blogosphere, even though I have zero intention of becoming a real book blogger.

6. I hope I can get into a better self-care routine. This is really an excuse for me to explore more of mindfulness, essential oils, relaxation, etc. I often think that I need to be productive all day. Then recently I listened to a Podcast in which the presenters explained the importance of daydreaming. They linked a lack of it to dementia, which has me scared like crap, because whenever I’m not doing anything in particular, I tend to fall asleep. They didn’t say whether you can train yourself to daydream or whether this helps, but it can’t be bad.

What do you hope to achieve in 2020?

#IWSG: My Future Writing Self

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means I’m linking up with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) again. I did okay in the writing department this past month. To be honest, I’ve been thinking about writing more than I actually wrote. To mention how I’d like to write more in the coming month, seems like a pointlessly repetitive statement though.

However, the optional question for this month’s #IWSG is to envision your future writing self. Let me share.

My future writing self will have finally taken a course on memoir writing. I’ve been looking at them but, since they’re usually really expensive, I don’t feel I can invest the money in them. Then again, if I ever want to be successful as a writer, it’s going to be as a memoirist. I mean, let’s face it: I can’t write poetry or fiction that’s catching at all.

I will then have written and maybe even self-published my own memoir. I don’t need to earn any money off of it, but I’d love it if other people read my story.

My future writing self will also have written more on this blog, including actually poetry and short fiction. She will not feel as self-conscious about her writing as I do now. I mean, no, my writing may not be the best when compared to other people’s, but it’s the best way I can express myself.

My future writing self will actually be able to sit and plan a story or, like I said, a memoir. She will be able to actually complete the work she starts even if it takes longer to write. In the past, I could actually write longer stories and I even have a few unfinished novels. I don’t intend on ever publishing a work of fiction except on this blog, but I do wish to have the patience to complete something that could be turned into a book. Right now, I impulsively start a ton of projects I think will be great, but drop them again within hours to days.

For example, I have been thinking of starting a prompt-based writing challenge. No, not another word-of-the-day challenge. They’re great, but there are enough of them on WordPress already. Rather, I’d like to start a journaling challenge based on prompts around self-discovery and reflection. I already registered a WordPress site for it, so in a hurry in fact that I initially accepted a missspelled subdomain suggestion. I fixed that (registered another blog with a correctly spelled address), but now I’m stuck. I don’t lack inspiration, but I have no idea how to go about actually promoting this challenge to the masses and am not even sure my idea will catch on. Then, the fact that I cannot create images to go with my posts, is holding me back, because whoever finds a short prompt that doesn’t have a catchy image with it? Maybe this idea is bad indeed, but I wanted the #IWSG community to know about it. We’ll see what 2020 will have in store for me.

#IWSG: Poetry on My Mind

It’s time for the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) day. I originally intended on skipping it this month, because the optional question didn’t speak to me. Then I realized anything goes as long as it’s writing-related thoughts. I don’t want to be kicked off the grid either.

This month has been okay in the writing department. I have been jotting down a lot of thoughts. About two weeks ago, I joined a support group for dissociative identity disorder on Facebook and was reminded in its learning units to journal daily. I haven’t actually been doing so exactly and the private WordPress site I intended for it, has been abandoned once again. However, I did start to write more.

As I said in my other post today, poetry has been on my mind lately. I have had haikus and other syllabic poetry floating through my head, particularly at night. I’m by no means good at it, but I like to practise.

And yet I still feel insecure about my writing on this blog. I mean, I want to write poetry, but am I good enough for it? The answer may be “No,” but that doesn’t matter. I’m not submitting to a publisher or even an open competition. I’m just writing for the fun of it!

How has your writing been?

#IWSG: Writing Without Reading?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) day. This months’ optional question is about your thoughts re whether reading is required for writing.

In August, I did a good amount of both reading and writing. In September, my reading went almost entirely out the window and I also wrote far less than I intended. However, I still managed to write at least one blog post each week.

To answer the question, for fiction writing, I think reading is essential. Of course, this means your writing is a mixture of your own ideas and someone else’s, but a good fiction writer (which I’m not) can write imaginatively enough to appeal to readers looking for an original viewpoint. My own fiction writing has always bordered on plagiarism, if it wasn’t actually plagiarism.

For non-fiction, I tend to think that original viewpoints are good, but they require some level of familiarity. I have read blogs where the author’s words were so jumbled that I couldn’t make sense of them. I also happen to love personal essays or blog posts I can relate to.

I for one love both reading and writing prompted pieces. I like to read about other people’s original perspecctives on a common theme. For this, reading is essential for writing. Even so, I don’t tend to read others’ responses to prompts I participate in before posting my own. So well, there are two sides to this story and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

31 Days of Prompted Ponderings Landing Page

Okay, so I’ve not written nearly as much over the past few weeks as I’d wanted to. For this reason, I’m not sure whether the challenge I’m embarking on will be a success. Last year, I joined #Write31Days but didn’t finish. The challenge was discontinued this year, but Kate Motaung has done achallenge-within-the-challenge for years of doing 31 days od five-minute freewrites. I won’t do those, as sticking to five minutes once I’ve started writing is too hard. However, I will use the daily prompt words to hopefully inspire me to write everyday in October.

This is the landing page or table of contents for the challenge. In previous years, keeping my landing page updated was as much of a challenge as writing everyday, so we’ll see how this goes.

Anyway, I won’t have a theme for my challenge. I’m not even sure I’ll be able to use the prompts as main focus of my posts, but we’ll see. Enjoy!

The Daily Four (September 9, 2019)

I am once again joining in with The Daily Four. I am a day late with this one, as I didn’t discover it till nearly 9PM yesterday, which is my usual bedtime. Here are the questions.

What truly motivates you to write?
My readers, I guess. Before I became a blogger, I had an online diary and even when I still kept my diary on my private computer, I always envisioned someone reading it. I rarely write without an audience in mind. It doesn’t mean I get depressed if my posts don’t get (m)any comments, but I delight in finding that people read my work.

Other than that, I’m motivated by an intrinsic will to write. Even in the times of my personal computer diary, I would be proud if I wrote an entry everyday for a certain amount of time. The longest I’ve gone without skipping a day, is probably like three months.

What’s cluttering up your life today and what are you doing about it?
I don’t really know. I’m not one to be bothered by physical clutter easily, probably because I don’t see it and as such, it doesn’t distract me. However, there may also be this thing like mental clutter, where thoughts clutter up your life. That definitely happens to me and I’m not sure it’s a thing, but I’m making it into one. Worries tend to clutter up my life in this way. So does thinking about what I should be doing instead of doing it.

Did you enjoy a creative childhood?
Yes. I was a writer from an early age on. I also enjoyed drawing when I still had enough sight to do it. My mother was the most encouraging of my artistic creativity, but my father encouraged me to think creatively.

Have you ever wanted to write a book or if you have written a book do you feel accomplished for doing so?

Yes! I wanted to be a children’s book author when I grew up and have quite a few unfinished manuscripts. One of them was pretty far along. It was called The Black Queen and was about a teen girl whose mother had multiple sclerosis. I must admit, my stories were full of plagiarism though and not very imaginative.

I still intend on someday writing my autobiography. However, I’m not sure whether I’ll do it, as it requires quite a huge attention span to sit and write a book.

#IWSG: My Ideal Writing Space

It is the first Wednesday of September and that means it’s once again time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) to come together. This past month has been pretty productive with respect to my writing. I also left my comfort zone a little, writing one poem and learning more about writing. I subscribed to a writing-related newsletter at the end of July and have been enjoying my daily dose of inspiration.

This month’s optional question is about your ideal place to write in the world. If you could choose one place in the world to write your next story, what would it be and why? As it is, I write best when in my room, at my own desk. This desk is exactly the right height. I’ve tried writing while sitting at other desks or tables, but they’re either too low or too high. I also need my own chair, which is just about right for me too.

This being said, I have had my desk in various places. I’ve had it in several of my institution rooms. I had it when living independently in 2007. Now, it is in my room in our current house.

I will be taking this desk to the care facility with me when I move. This means I’ll have to use another desk when at my husband’s and my house. I do have another desk that can be made lower or higher. Currently, it is set too low, but I will ask my husband to make it exactly as high as my other desk. That way, I’ll hopefully still be able to write when at our home.

I usually don’t write well when there’s noise around me. I can’t really even write when music is playing in the background. This makes me glad that the staff at the care facility eventually chose the room further down the hall for me.

I like to type on my external Bluetooth keyboard connected to my iPhone. It has to sit on a laptop case or it’s not in the right position in relation to my Braille display or my hands. I can type on my laptop keyboard too, but currently being used to my Bluetooth keyboard, I prefer that.

As you can see, I don’t fancy writing in some type of exotic place, but I do have a lot of requirements for writing comfortably.