Stretch it out part two!

I’ve previously put together a list of some of my favorite stretching videos but lately I’ve been feeling tighter than usual (that whole being a desk all the time thing will get to you) and wanted to share some more stretching videos that I’ve found.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are some stretches that help you when you’re getting that tense stiffness from sitting at a desk?

Stressed out about overworrying about being anxious

Stress

I’m an incredibly anxious person. I over worry about everything. For example, I once panicked about what I was going to wear on a flight to interview for a job in Oregon… BEFORE I had even submitted my job application for the position. I’m always thinking 15 steps ahead, and at least 13 of those steps are worst case scenarios and what could go wrong.

I live with the constant thought that people always hate it when I text or email them because I’m bothering them. I worry that I responded too quickly to a message; I worry that I responded too slowly to a message and that either option means I’m a lost cause and this person will no longer respect or like me. I wake up some mornings with a sense of doom that wraps around my neck like a wool scarf suffocating me in the middle of July.

I stress out about what’s going to happen today, tomorrow, in a month, a year, ten years, twenty years. I panic about the imaginary things I haven’t done yet, and I worry that the things I have done, I’ve done all wrong somehow. I worry that every time I mess up even in the slightest, that I’ve doomed myself forever and should just go shove my head in the ground and hide.

It’s an exhausting way to live, and sometimes it flares up in wickeder than usual ways that leave me ill, depressed, and a general mess who just wants to lock myself in my room so I don’t have to interact with anyone.

Sometimes I can write my way through it, and other times I’m so worried that what I’m writing is awful, and therefore I’m awful that I can barely write a sentence. One of the things I struggle with as a writer is building high enough conflicts because tension worries me (yes even fictional tension) and I just want things to go smoothly which doesn’t make for compelling stories exactly.

I write this not because I want coddling or anything like that (and I worry immensely that’s what this post will be taken as), but because I know it’s a problem, and I’m not going to continue to hide from it, instead I’m working on ways to manage it.

  • I run, walk, or just jump in circles in my room.
  • I send a message to someone I admire and tell them why they’re amazing.
  • I look through a folder of all of the things I have accomplished.
  • I keep track of what I do every day, and praise myself for finishing things.
  • I do yoga or just lay on the floor and listen to the sounds of a thunderstorm.

Sometimes these work, some days it’s like trying to run from a swarm of killer bees that I can already feel digging into my skin. No day is perfect, and I’ve come to accept that and to try to not (hahahaha) worry about it.

I know I spend most of my time on this blog talking about writing, but this is a part of my writing (and every day life) that I don’t mention much, and I feel like it’s time to own it. Writing on some days is like trying to wade through a locust swarm in my gut that’s constantly trying to devour me from the inside out. But the things I want to write help me make it through the storm and to the other side where I can see the non-bug-infested light again.

I wish there were some piece of advice, some great tip from a self-help book that I could pass along, but the truth is, I just sort of throw a dart towards where I want to go and blindly push forward through locust swarms and all. Some days I lay down and let the bugs crawl all over me, and some days I walk through beautiful sunlight. But at the end of the day I try to do the best I can with what I’ve got going on, and to just keep pushing forward. You’re not alone.

Friday Review: Hit by Delilah S. Dawson

I have loved everything Delilah S. Dawson has written. I loved Servants of the Storm and was even more excited about Hit because the story has such an interesting concept.

HIT by Delilah S. Dawson

HIT by Delilah S. Dawson

HIT starts on day one of a dystopia which is the most interesting thing to me. Most of the people don’t realize the world has changed and that everything is different now. Patsy is one of the people who knows things have changed and will never be the same again.

Valor National Bank has saved the US from their own debt and is calling in everything owed. The choices are simple: pay your debt, become an assassin, or die. To save her mother Patsy becomes an assassin hunting collecting debt and delivering ultimatums to 10 people to save her mother’s life.

With the current atmosphere and fear of debt, Hit pushed a lot of buttons the entire time I was reading it. Watching the various reasons Patsy’s targets were in debt (student loans, YIKES) and the choices she’s forced to make as she learns that these ten targets aren’t just strangers assigned at random.

Her sidekick, a rich boy named Wyatt, watches Patsy’s back even when they both know the last name on Patsy’s list is Wyatt’s brother. As time runs out, Patsy’s faced with an impossible choice, and a bank out for blood money.

Hit was a violent, rough ride. The story doesn’t pull away from the violence of what’s happening and at times was rough to read. The chapters are longer than average and each chapter is named for one of the ten targets on Patsy’s list. I’d suggest only older YA readers enjoy this title since the violence could be very upsetting for younger folks.

The ending opens the way perfectly for the sequel, Strike, which is out in March 2016.

Fandom First: Demographics

While in grad school I had the chance to study quantitate methods of study and was tasked with running a small  survey. I ran a survey through social media to take a look at the demographics of Fandom. I was a bit overwhelmed when over 500 people responded to the survey.  While the survey is not perfect (hey I was in school learning about surveys at the time) I found the responses very interesting and wanted to share the results.

What is your gender?

This one matches most conceptions of fandom as a female dominated space. Many of the creators of fanwork are women and the community skews female. This survey is also influenced by the reach of social media and the demographics on use on those sites.

What is your age?

This presents a different idea of fandom than many people have preconceived. Fandom is frequently viewed as the space of teenagers. However, the results show that the community is primarily between 18-34 not primarily under 18.

Where are you located results?This is heavily influenced by the location the survey was posted on social media sites and by my own network that the survey was exposed to which is heavily USA based.

What role does fandom play in your life? results

For most people fandom is a large part of their entertainment, expression and community. However, in all categories fandom was view as most important even if by a slim margin.

I believe fandom... results

The theme of community and expression continue in this question. Many people admitted to finding and making friends based on a shared fandom. In the open answer portion of this question, it also represented a safe space for many people to explore and question topics ranging from sexuality to morality.

Fandom is very important to me results

The majority of those who responded viewed fandom as very important part.

How do you interact within the fandom community

Again the distribution of the fandom survey via social media skewed the results and the majority of respondents said social media was a means of interaction. (Also I’m so sorry I neglected to include cosplay as an option! I spaced out on that. )

Is fandom an important part of your identity?

Overwhelming the majority of people viewed fandom as an important part of their identity and that labeling themselves as fans/nerds/geeks was an important part of who they were.

How involved in fandom do you consider yourself? The majority viewed themselves as moderately involved.

You can view the full presentation about these results, including many of the extra comments included: here

Patience aka WHY CAN’T I HAVE MY BOOK NOW?

Patience is probably one the virtues I wish I was better at. Writing is a slow process THAT TAKES FOREVER AND WHY CAN’T I HAVE MY BOOK NOW?

Depending on how fast you write, finishing the first draft of a single short story can take a month or more, and if you start working on a longer piece… that can drag on for years (just don’t be one of those people who is ‘working on a novel’ without ever writing a word, okay? Get it on paper.). You finally get the story done and stare at your lovely, little word blob and then it just magically becomes a book instantly. That’s a new mac attachment clearly, the iPublishnow.

Truth: ALL OF THAT WRITING ISN’T EVEN THE HALF OF IT.

After you finish that first steaming draft full of problems and trouble THEN you have to go back and edit, and sometimes rewrite it. And you do this step over and over and over. Until your eyes sizzle and coffee drizzles from your nose.

After that, you submit it off into the wild blue-green yonder where it either a) goes off to an agent to look for representation b) goes to a publisher (and probably the BUMBUMBUM slush pile) or c) self-pub baby!

(okay, those are not every option ever available for a writer, but let’s just stick with those three for simplicity’s sake, kay?)

From here, everything requires more steps.

AKA No don’t just type THE END and throw it up on Amazon and wait for the money to rain down from the muses that live above your bed.

From here it will try to find a home, contracts will be negotiated, drawn up, yadda yadda, THEN it will go through a series of edits, a title will be decided, descriptions created, covers  made, and formatting fought with. Annnnd probably more that I’m forgetting or just plain don’t know about because they haven’t happened to me yet.

End of story: There’s still a TON of steps from after you type the end to when you hold your precious word vomit baby in your arms and coo over it.

The fastest one has gone for me is a short story that took roughly 6 months from THE END to print version, and that was damn fast because it only had four people in the anthology.

The longest?

Well, let’s just say there are some 3+ year projects that haven’t moved forward past typing THE END yet.

That’s another part of writing you don’t learn about until you’re there. Projects can and will just freeze for unknown reasons. Sometimes a project falls through the little literary cracks and plops into a whole lot of nope. When that happens you’ve got to pull your story out of that muck and try to find your baby a new home. Sometimes it doesn’t work out and that little sucker lives in a drawer in your desk for forever.

The point is, if you’re going to play the game and get your thing out into the world then you’ve got to have a certain level of patience and know that things move SLLLOOOOWWWW when it comes to publishing.

Finish your projects, send them off, meet your deadlines (please don’t be the jerk to hold up everyone else), and then START ON A NEW PROJECT. Don’t sit and stare at the screen, waiting for an email of every step of the process, let go of that sent-off darling and start vomiting out a new lovely, word baby. Try to have projects out and about all the time, and remember to just breathe and keep writing: that’s your job.

Podcast Excitement!

So the first Monday of a month is usually devoted to Fandom First posts but… I was on a super cool podcast that I am so excited to share!

I was interviewed on the awesme Less Than Or Equal. What is that you ask? Well, from the website:

“Welcome to Less Than Or Equal, a podcast dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of geeks facing inequality in their industries.

Everyone of every gender, sexual orientation, race, color, physical ability, and physical appearance deserves to be treated equally by the tech industry and other geeky communities. We believe the catalyst for a cultural shift toward equality is continued conversation that drives awareness and understanding.”

A pretty awesome goal right?

I am incredibly honored to be a guest on the show and hope you’ll give it a listen and support Less Than Or Equal.

You can find my episode here.

Friday Review: The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley is the heartbreaking, gorgeous tale of Drew and his creation Patient F.

Drew believes he was suppose to die in the crash that killed the rest of his family. Now he lives in the hospital, sleeps in a forgotten closet, works in the cafeteria, and hangs out with the nurses all while avoiding death who roams the hospital searching for him. The only thing that gives him much comfort is working on his comic about Patient F. But when Rusty screams into the ER covered in burns, Drew is drawn out of hiding and finds new hope about a future outside of the hospital. But first he has to deal with death, and the truth about himself (and Patient F).

This book had me openly crying on the train several times while reading through it. It’s a poignant story about a boy so afraid of who he is and of losing that image he’s created that he denies himself the chance for a life outside of the hospital. Drew is such a sweet, conflicted character that I wanted to reach through the book and hug him. All the secondary characters are fleshed out, real people that make the hospital feel like a real place.

The intermixing of the story of Drew and the graphic novel of Patient F tie together beautifully, and made the story even more interesting. I read this on the Kindle and was thrilled that the graphic sections were just as easy to read as the text. it never pulled me out of the story and they connected in a subtle but clear way.

This is my favorite book of 2015 so far, and it’s one of the best books I’ve read in the past few years. A beautiful tale about tragedy, and finding your way through to the other side of grief.

You can find The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley here.

Be Boring

When I was first starting to really take myself seriously as a writer (as in writing every day and trying to actively get published), I remember thinking that I was way too boring to write anything exciting. I mean, I don’t do drugs, or get black out drunk every night. I don’t go wild and travel through dangerous areas in the dead of night. Hell, I think the most dangerous thing I do on a regular basis is walk into my bookshelf nearly every morning when I’m getting ready for work because despite nearly a year of it being in the same place, it’s always a surprise!

I grew up with stories about the wild antics of writings, with the motto ‘write drunk, edit sober’ being thrown around by everyone I knew. I always thought I was too much of a bore to fit in, but what I’ve found over the last few years has been the opposite. Schedules actually help me keep at my writing more than any sort of wild life ever could.

Knowing that I’m home by 4 every day and sticking to the schedule lets me prepare to write. It’s become a habit now. I don’t have to sit and wait to be inspired to write, it’s simply 4:00 and time to write. Most of the writers I know who are successful do this. They write and take care of themselves. There are always exceptions to the rule, but by and large, the writers who are making it in the creative world work on schedules, not whims.

Now clearly not every day works out in an ideal way, but having a steady life where I am not totally clueless about what’s coming next helps keep me grounded. When I’m not stressing about what’s going to happen tomorrow (or where I’m going to get my next fix) keeps me focused on the story at hand. I’ve fond that the only real way to get any writing accomplished is really simple: sit on your butt (or stand at your standing desk) and write. There’s nothing else that puts the words into the world. Not talking about writing, not daydreaming, not reading. At the end of the day the only way to write is…. to write.

And a boring, stable life helps that happen.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to keep a boring life in all aspects. Try new things, travel to new places, eat weird food that you can’t pronounce, and do things that scare you, but never feel like having a stable life is a disadvantage when it comes to being creative.

Friday Review: Mabon and Pomegranate

Mabon and Pomegranate by Kimberly Richardson

Mabon and Pomegranate by Kimberly Richardson

Mabon and Pomegranate by Kimberly Richardson is a collection of two stories, both involving women who discover worlds outside of everything they’ve ever known.

Mabon tells the story of Monica who makes the decision to leave a life that’s dragging her down and moves to the town of Mabon where she immediately finds the home of her dreams. The city, the people and the life in Mbon is what Monica has been searching for her whole life. She meets glamorous strangers and falls in love, but rumblings of an Other World war threaten to destroy her new life. She must work together with the mysterious Auberon to save her love, or maybe find a new love. Mabon ends with her decision still hanging in the balance and I’m looking forward to the sequel to see what happens next!

Pomegranate is the story of Alexandra. She has a wonderful husband, an incredible life, and her dream of running her own bookstore. But a black clad stranger enters her world and makes her start to question the life she’s built. When the unthinkable happens, Alexandra must decide whether to dive into the world of pomegranates or to stay with what she’s always known.

These stories are both tales of woman being swept away into a dark, beautiful world filled with passion and danger they’ve never before known.

You can buy Mabon and Pomegranate here.

Let’s Stretch!

One of the downfalls of the writing life (and a lot of office jobs) is the amount of time spent sitting on a computer typing. Back and hip pain is common, and carpel tunnel is a concern for many writers.

I’ve compiled a few of my favorite stretching videos so you can keep flexible.  So, in the words of Jeremy Renner…

Hands, and wrists:

Shoulders:

Hips:

Lower Back:

Those are just a few of my favorite stretching videos. Do you have any videos that help with stretching?

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