In the Pages of a Dream Journal


Where do you go when you fall asleep? Have you ever wanted to know more about your dream land?

We writers encounter plot bunnies in bizarre things while awake. We find something that catches our interest and store it away for later, usually forgetting it–there’s no way for us to write all of our ideas.

Most of the time we overlook adventures we have while sleeping. Anyone who remembers their dreams will be baffled by the odd things that happen. Are your actions things you secretly hope for, or mere dust as your mind clean itself?

photo-1489703197108-878f05f4b31bWhatever the case, dreams deserve attention: they’re unpredictable. Dreams are special adventures that reveal colors we never encounter while awake.

Most of the time I remember dreams, but only recently have I taken up the challenge of recording them. My dream journal is unique because they’re stories I came up with–me but not me, uncharted territory of my brain.

It can be hard to hold details of a dream while I scramble for my journal, so I don’t record them chronologically. This journal isn’t organized like a novel; events and details are tangled. What matters is having as much as possible on the page for reflection.

This will become a collection of journeys that will one day puzzle me. I wrote this–yet I didn’t–it’s me but is not me. These are people I know doing things they probably wouldn’t in real life.

Maybe some of these entries will become proper tales.

I’ve only been keeping this journal for a few days, but it’s already worth the effort. Should you decide to take up the challenge, keep your journal somewhere you can reach it upon waking.

Be patient if events slip through your fingers, because there are no rules in dream land. The point isn’t to write an award-winning story, but to know yourself and have fun.

It is therapeutic to keep a journal, digging into the corners of your own inner wonderland. Have you kept a dream journal? What has it taught you about yourself?

Advertisements

Being a Traveling Pantser


DSCN9349.JPGI will always be a pantser, no matter where in the world I’m writing.

I had a loose outline for the third book of my series. I even made index cards by taking a notebook and cutting its pages into rectangles – I guess it’s easier for me to use index cards that aren’t real and not be afraid I’m wasting money?

Anyway, it’s a good thing I didn’t spend money on index cards, because the outline I made on these makeshift cards turned out to be a waste. I’m 20k into the first draft, and it’s nothing like I’d planned. At least for the Fallen Faery Tales, I will always be a pantser.

The story is coming along so easily! Words are spilling onto the page (or into the document) and I’m resisting the urge to edit, meaning I make faster progress. I think it’s the different location that keeps my Muse busy, making her feel generous.

dscn9350I’ve been trying to start a bullet journal, and though it isn’t pretty (certainly not Pinterest worthy!) my favorite feature is a writing goal tracker. At the end of the day, I fill in a box with the daily word count goal. I keep the goal small, just 2k a day, and have been able to fill in all of the little boxes since January 1. I hope to finish a new draft by the end of January, and if it winds up longer than the first two books, I’ll still be filling in little boxes come February.

When I’m not writing, I’m reading (The Count of Monte Cristo is quite a feat!) or enjoying the Peruvian summer (if it’s not too hot to enjoy.) We’ve gone to the beach and seen different parts of the city. All this helps with my projects.

Travel is a great for any artist. If you can get somewhere new, just for a little while, do it. Your story will thank you, your Muse will love you, and even if you don’t write during the vacation, there’ll be plenty of material to work with at home!

“my blood is a mix of coffee & tea”


coffee1circle

Recently I spoke to a friend about writing, specifically poetry. A couple of verses I wrote came to mind, verses I feel define me:

my blood is a mix of coffee & tea
and words from authors long dead

I wondered, how much of me is made of the words of authors long dead? Where do their voices end so mine can begin?

The question hit me because I’ve been trying my hand at poetry. Perhaps this is a case of Poet’s Block (a new phenomena to me) but when I try tapping into my deepest emotions–I rarely find words.

It’s easier for me to write poems about quarrels with my muse. I’m a creative being, but I don’t have secrets to spin poetry from–it’s all about writing, arguing with the elusive muse. I wonder if somehow I’ve set myself aside.

tearound

How do I absorb every book I read without canceling myself out? I’d already set this year aside as one for self-reflection; I know a writer is a thousand people in one, but it feels like I’ve made my own voice less audible.

It’s why I’ve gone back to keeping a journal. The root of the problem might be that I hadn’t kept a journal for the entirety of 2015. Journals help us keep in touch with our inner selves.

I know there’s a person in me aside from the books I write, because I encounter her in my old journals.

A writer might be a thousand people in one, but there’s still the soul who types the story. Things we read and experience shape a unique voice. In a bizarre way, I’m eager to find out what I have to say.

How can we use our unique voices if we don’t know what they sound like? There’s no problem living by truths taught in books–that’s what they’re for, and one of the reasons they’re beautiful!–but. As people, we are unique and have new truths to tell.

Keep a journal–you’ll learn so much about yourself, and years later will be glad you made the effort!

coffee2round

#wordstorm: looking at flowers


flower3

At the grocery store yesterday, I photographed many flower arrangements. It’s not spring yet, but flowers remind me of what’s to come! Time flies, and soon it will be warm. There’ll be more flowers, ladybugs, even bees (which I hate.) I’ll be able to wear shorter sleeves.

There’ll be a smell of new in the air.

A year ago today, Dissonance hadn’t yet been published. I was in the process of completing edits and honestly, I might not have published it had people not encouraged me. To put your book out for others to read and go from writer to author–that’s scary.

Sometimes I still can’t believe I went through with it, that people have read and enjoyed it.

That smell of new in the air could be new stories (I’m working on them,) new dreams, new friends. Springtime is exciting; there’s always a surprise! I look forward to sitting outside with my laptop and finishing Serenade so you can read it.

flower1

Winter isn’t bad, either. Those moments I spent huddled in bed with frozen toes were useful for meditation and plotting. I realized how much I’ve achieved since the book release, things I hadn’t dreamed of when Dissonance started out as a mermaid story.

I thought about new friends I’ve met, marveling that some have Dissonance on their shelves!

There’s beauty in the new and the old–the problem is finding balance, learning to anticipate the future without losing sight of the past. There are lessons to be learned and memories to be kept, even as we hold our breath for May.

I’ve never been good at living for the present (that’s something I’m working on.) However, I do feel that when I published Dissonance, I embarked on the path always meant for me. I started my career as an author, and things will only get better with time!

This year, I will get another potted plant and put it on my window. I’ll embrace the blessings I’ve been given since embarking on my path as an author. I thank every person who might take the time to read those 200 pages I worked so hard on.

Your time means so much to me.

flower2

New things emerge in the spring–friends, ideas, stories. I can’t wait to see what I’ll dream up in 2016–it’s a matter of controlling my procrastination. That way I can instead embark on more #wordstorms.

Those can lead anywhere, even to a new story more people will enjoy.

These flowers are for you, I hope you find them as beautiful as I did.