In which Kris ends things

Kris here,

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately practicing writing short ideas in a concise format. See, I’ve got about a billion ideas in my head just like everybody else, and I can start them off pretty dang well. We’re talking ideas for days here. But I’ve been tripping up around the 50-60% mark on the whole actually having a plot thing. I’m like oh man this is fantastic my main character is A BOSS! And Tina’s like “but Kris what’s he bossly doing” and I’m like “well look he just set a landslide on fire and threw it at an army” and she’s like “oh yeah. Okay but why did he do that?” So of course because it’s an ARMY hello!? But what’s it doing, why’s my guy caught up in it? PSH! Who cares we need more fire in here! “How does it end?” Uhh well I suppose he just, I don’t know he wins a medal and lives in a castle.

Okay that’s not a real life example but I feel it’s exaggeratory enough to get the point across. I have to combat my lack of forward progress or my actual weak point in writing: Ending. The. Story. These things ramble on forever, like holy cow man put a lid on it already! I get exhausted reading through my own notes a week later. This is a problem of course – if you can’t read your own work, who else is going to put out the effort? So I did what any rational adult in my place would do and I just Googled around for like an hour looking for an easy way out.

Ugh, turns out there’s no easy way out. Well there might be, but the people with those secrets are greedy. All the advice I found regarding “How to end my goddang story” revolved around things like “5 ways to end your story. Number 7 will wig you out!” There’s probably a lot of good info out there, but my attention span is basically a knock knock joke and sometimes it’s easier done than said.

I ended up devising a cool practice to help me out. Yeah you guessed it – I just wrote a bunch of endings. I got a (basically) brand new notebook and a pen, and I wrote a brief concept and wrote a plot and ending immediately. Okay, the first try was ten pages long. That’s why it’s practice! I’ve got another few 8-10 page ideas thrown around in various places – I haven’t actually kept them together, that would be silly. The last few days I’ve actually managed to piece together a few one or two page ideas in an outline-able format. This might seem like a trivial issue to both accomplished- and non-writers, but remember: nobody reads stories for the beginning. I’ve never chatted up a fellow reader like “boy this book sure started out amazing. I’m going to spread the word, but just about the first 50 pages!” No way- they’re doing this for that sweet endorphine rush at the end. You gotta nail that bit.

There are probably quite a few authors and writers hanging out here thinking to themselves “Wow this guy is really dumb. I write 100 pages a day, it’s pretty easy.” I totally agree, kudos to your monstrous efforts on the 100 page thing, that’s really good. Lots of people I talk to personally or threads I read through on writing forums are all about how to move a story forward, or I wrote my character into a corner – how do I get out of this?

Try it out sometime – spitting out 300 pages of book into 5 pages is fast, you can write and re-write 20 times with various changes or whatever you want in any writing style that fits your theme. Mine usually don’t include names – the last one I wrote had a main character named “Kid,” supported by two characters named “bro” and “ninja” and the antagonists were “bastardlord” and “gloriousleader.” Of course they were fleeing from the country of THIS to the country of THAT. The important thing isn’t the details of these (hopefully throwaway) stories, it’s the practice you get in resolving those fine details.

Remember, names aren’t important, backstories giving your protagonist reasons to throw flaming landslides at people are important.

Always on my mind

Howdy everyone, Tina here!

So as another day has passed, I am now ever closer to that fateful day when my dear sweet little boy, goes to school.

Now I know what you all are thinking, “Congrats! You have made it 5 years without mortally wounding your child. Now you get to send him off for half the day and experience your own time.” Well my friends, you are so wrong!

The last few years that I have spent at home with Nik have been amazing. He is so inquisitive and full of life. I worry about how I will do without him. I know he is going to do amazing in school. He has been practicing his whole life.

 

 

 

Making friends. Check. He will say hi to nearly everyone he sees. He seems to have a knack for honing in on those people with extremely sour dispositions and doing everything he can to get them to acknowledge him or just say Hi if they are really stubborn. Many a rideshare driver has met and talked with Nik, which is great for me because I get to just sit back and let him do all the talking. Even with our mildly grumpy roommate Watson, Nik knows that he doesn’t really like kids but will tell him jokes or do silly things to his dad to get Watson to laugh or smile. He tries sneaky ways to try and get him to talk to him too. He is getting better at it and even Watson admits that he keeps forgetting his own rule to ignore anything that can’t spell in a video game.

Schooling. Check. As far as general education goes, he is so ready. He has been working on his vocabulary since he found out he could talk. Kris and my hard fast rule to never baby talk him made sure he understood everyone around him and that he was well understood. He loves watching shows with me and his dad, so we worked on showing him all the coolest shows we loved from our childhood. Magic School Bus, Bill Nye, Zoobumafu, among others. That had us finding ones he really liked like Octonauts, Finding Stuff Out, and Wild Kratts. He loves learning about animals, nature, and space. He told Kris and me that his goal is to become a Firefighter, policeman, and astronaut in that order. I have no fears that when it comes to learning that he will shun away from it. I think he will be the one gathering others to it, hopefully not to explode or anything.

Challenges. Check. This kid has the iron will of a rusted shut bear trap. When it comes down to getting Nik to do something he doesn’t want to do, I have learned. You don’t demand, you challenge. Which to some might sound silly. He’s my kid and should do what I say when I say it right? No, he is his own person with his own set of ideas about what he does. You want him to do something different, please explain. So I could yell and scream and hold my breath and stomp my feet and we both end up feeling bad, or I can explain it to him for hours on end until I feel like my head is going to explode, or I can make it a race, make it a game, make it a spoonful of sugar if you will. I can let his willfulness get the best of me or I can work with it and help him to find the challenges and fun in life. I would much rather he make every day things seem like a game than watch him ho-hum though life.

So, will I cry on Tuesday of next week? YOU CAN COUNT ON IT. Not because I am scared for him or it means he is growing up. He reminds me everyday that he is getting older and bigger. No, I will be crying because my brightest beam of joy and love will be missing for most of my day and being faced with his own new challenges and learning. I will stand there however, with a brave face and a warm smile and hug to see him off. I will wave to him as he goes off to class each day, ready to learn and enjoy the things he finds. I will smile each day he goes to school, because for him, this is his newest adventure, and for me as well.

Niko chill

That one time we(Tina) forgot

When starting this blog, Kris and I talked for a long time about the time and effort we would need to put into it. We both agreed that even if no one ever read the blog we would be happy as long as we kept ourselves engaged in writing. See, we both have a great love for books.

However, we both have the great desire to see stories like the ones we make up in our heads. Therefore we started writing. I wrote a story about the bonds that make up our life and how they can cause strife and friction. Kris writes short stories and mostly a glossary of all things in his world. He likes to write more about the world and the general history and setting. I like making a story inside it. We work pretty well with each other. So, when it comes to the blog, often times the conversation sounds like this; “Hey, you got the blog ready for tomorrow?” “Uhhhhhgh no, do you have anything to write?”

“Hey, you got the blog ready for tomorrow?” “Uhhhhhgh no, do you have anything to write?”

“Uhhhhhgh no, do you have anything to write?”

“Pshhh, no way. I can come up with something though.”

“No, no, it’s okay it is my week so I will figure this out.”

Shrugs and dismissal of the subject is the end of the conversation. This has happened both ways, me to Kris and Kris to me. We both seem to struggle when it comes to a biweekly commitment of finding a topic and just writing about it.

Is there something in your own life you really want to do and struggle to keep up the effort and time that it takes to do it? Surely we can’t be the only ones! (And no, I am not calling you Surely!)

I was going to post up another GGGS but I didn’t feel completely ready to dive into it. I want to make sure I look up all the possible information I might need. I like to be prepared. So I dropped the ball. I kept putting off writing something for the blog in favor of other research, and I am sorry. *puppy dog eyes* Please forgive me! Kris came up with the idea that we should release something special on Saturday as an apology for missing our own personal deadline. So please keep an eye out for Saturday’s mystery surprise and remember, read a book, write a poem or draw a picture, expand your brain and express yourself!

Getting back up

Whereas last week I was so sure that no one would like the blog. I even went so far as to not say anything about it being posted on our social media. This week I hope to take a little bit of a brighter outlook and share some of the joy and positivity that keeps me going despite all that keeps me down.

So I would like to present this blog’s first ever list.

Tina’s top 5 ways to show the world who’s boss:

1. Finding time, or Making time? That is the question – When I write I am most often consumed in a world of chaos. I have a child who demands my every firing neuron to be focused on him and him alone. He is a highly energetic child who loves to dance and sing and watch videos but when he sees my computer open, well that must be a sign that I need to play games with him on whatever game he is fascinated with at the time.

I love playing games with him. He gets to see my good sportsmanship and he gets to show off to me how much better he is at parkour in the game then I am. However, when I have things I need to get done I gotta focus. When  I took on the NaNoWriMo challenge last November I buckled down and made sure I got it done. I did too. I got 50,000 words of my story out of my head and into a format I could show someone. Not that I have yet, but, I forced myself to find the time, show my kiddo that I would play with him but I had other things that had to be done first. Since then I have been slacking hardcore but I have to accept that for what it is and just move on. I can and will do better and when it comes to writing. Well, I started this blog with my husband to force us to write more every week.

2. Happy places work like coffee- When I wake up in the morning, I get snuggles from my kiddo and we start off our day. I love coffee, but often the chance to make it is distant. When I can’t get my coffee or tea I can’t just turn off and stop being Mom. I have to make due with what I can. I sing, play funky music and make the kiddo dance to it, whatever gets us laughing and talking more. You give me 5 mins of quiet and I will meet you after my 2hr nap. Sleep is a happy place for me. However, waking up to the front door wide open and flour all over my kitchen is not. So making a happy place out of what I have in front of me is what I tend to do. Let me tell you when I say little man can dance. That boy get’s down and boogies!

3. Stickers, lots of stickers- I know, I am almost 30 and I should be grown out of silly things like that, but, I have these amazingly adorable panda stickers on my bamboo lap desk and they make me smile every time I look at them. When I was so sick and tired of my phone and wanted to chuck it at a wall for restarting for no reason over and over. I put tiny cute monsters stickers one the case. Some had mustaches! Seeing those guys would help me relax and forget about how my phone had just cut me off from sending a text to my husband for the 4th time.

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4. Understanding that things don’t stand still – I was raised in a HIGHLY Christian home and one of my favorite verses is, “This too shall pass.” It has been almost a self-mantra and a reminder that nothing stays the same. Good and bad. So enjoy the good when you have it and remember that the bad can’t last forever. I have a lot of health problems caused by being overweight and keeping me from moving and exercising to get rid of weight. I am in almost constant pain. Chest, ovaries, migraines, you name it I have most likely felt it. I joke with ER nurses on the regular and can tell you within minutes of meeting a nurse if she gives a shit or even believes you. Not all of them have treated me well, but I choose to understand that they are human and as such, they are bound to have bad days like the rest of us. Pain or no, I am always looking for the little ways I can help my family and make time to spend with them. Everything moves, and things will always change.

 

5. Awesome support – I can make my husband laugh even if he tries not to, because I know him and what makes him laugh. Well, he knows me and what makes me laugh. When my husband and kiddos team up I am full of the joy that seeing them being silly brings. I don’t have much support around me but I know that if I was feeling down I could give my Mom a call and we could just chat like we always do. When I am feeling out of sorts I have learned to just tell my husband. He understands and doesn’t judge me for this. He gives me hugs when I ask and sits on the other side of the room if I need. He has been a great pillar of support to me and when I look at what pushes me to be better or to buck up and try again. It is him. He believes in me and that means more to me than anything else in this world.

So when facing your own buckets of doubt, find the things in your own life that float. Find the people that make you smile and encourage you to reach even if you are too short to reach the top of the fridge…. like me.

Crafting up a good book

When you have a crippling addiction to stationary and office supplies like I do, you often run into the problem of not being able to find just what you want out of a notebook or journal. This problem has haunted me for years. I have a bookcase shelf dedicated to housing all the forgotten or impulse-bought notebooks of my past. When I start looking to buy a new one I always get the husband chiming in, “Do you REALLY need another notebook or do you just want it because it looks pretty?”

YOU KNOW WHAT HUSBAND! BOTH! Okay, both. I want the pretty looking notebook: so new and shiny and full of possibilities, and I need something to fulfill that want!

So as I watched some of my favorite DIYers on YouTube make a nice, thick notebook, I drooled a little. I have never seen a journal with 500+ pages in it! I hit the internet in a fever looking for something quick and easy to fill this new void I had discovered.

Well, this one is reasonably priced but the reviews suck. “You can see pencil through the page.” Well, that is right out. Oh, this one’s pretty. I like the cover. Oh, what is that? It is made from the hide of small children and costs $400? No, thank you.

What is a girl to do? I waited for Kris to get home and showed him the video that leads me to a path of sadness.

“You see? I watched this and then I was like, ‘I need a 500-page journal!’ and I couldn’t find anything on the internet. It is broken I say!”

Kris sat there for a bit and just stared at me. I waited. He almost laughed, then coughed and went back to his grumpy face. “You watched that video, where she MADE a journal you liked and thought ‘I need to buy one’? Tina. Make one. I know you could. Hell, you could probably figure out how to make your own paper too if you looked for a bit.”

I then wasted the next two hours of his time forcing him to watch videos on how to make paper. Pointing out the people who could have done it easier and watching the Reading Rainbow episode I watched as a kid to learn how to do it myself.

So I guess out of all of that, I am going to be taking on the task of learning to make my own journal for a creative time when I am not writing. I sometimes need time to think between events in my story to figure out how they would really react and not just how I want them to react. Once I get started and make my first journal I will be sure to post pictures and share my results.

Good luck out there,  see you guys next Wednesday.