The Snowball Experience in Writing

I was talking to my best friend the other day and we were wondering if the concept of snowball was for real. We remembered the snowballs you see in cartoons, rolling down getting bigger and bigger getting memento and engulfing bears, beavers and other characters.

When I decided to go skiing we decided I had to make an experiment and we laughed with the imagination of me releasing a small little ball at the top of the mountain and it growing taking many skiers before it got to the base of the mountain.

snowball trail

When I went to the top of the world I make good on our promised and released the ball. I made sure there was a structure on the way to stop the disaster from happening. I released a small one, the size of a tennis ball and it rolled surprisingly quickly, getting slightly bigger and rounder. But it got stopped by any imperfection on the snow surface. A ski trail, a slight depression was enough.

I think that if the balls were bigger, at least big enough to not be stopped by shallow creases on the snow, it would become a cartoon-like snowball. It was at least as large as a soccer ball…

That got me thinking about writing and the way you need to get to a certain body of work before your ball rolls without being stopped by any intersession. If you take the time to create your soccer ball, eventually, things will become easier, growing and rolling unimpeded.

You will still need to keep creating and offering the ball enough snow-words to amass and keep going.

One little ball won’t go very far, but a good sized amount of writing will get you somewhere with many surprises and new characters being picked up on the way.

What Happened to Orble.com?

Orble.com, a large community of bloggers, disappeared overnight taking with it years of work and sweat of thousands of writers.

What I find strange is that I couldn’t find anything explaining what happened. No chat over the internet, no emails advising it would happen.

It is so disrespectful to the writers. I know it was a free community but there is responsibility even if the currency wasn’t money. We have offered the community our most precious gift, our talents, passions in words. Even a post-the-fact announcement would have been better than nothing.

In my last statistics report, from the 27th August, 2015, one of my blogs “Aussie Folly” stated:

Rank for www.orble.com (Aussie Folly): 477 out of 21910

21,910 blog sites gone…

I am fortunate to have had all my writings backed-up offline but it still makes one sad to see the history, the work I have done, simply vanished. I noticed things were going badly once the special domains went offline and I managed to copy the main blog here.

In the end this has made me move to WordPress and learn how to make the best of it. It gave me incentive for the change and developing new blogging skills and knowledge.

If you have been an Orble blogger and knows anything of what have happened please post a comment. Just knowing more about it would help with the feeling of loss not only mine but of all the community members.

Into Focus

It is working. Having made a decision on what to write, I’m feeling inspired and motivated. I am re-creating my website in WordPress, for now it is www.taniacreations.wordpress.com once it is complete I will divert my domain name to it.

What I am looking for is something many creatives say you should not look for: validation. What I call “the green book”, The Icarus Deception, is the book that made me understand the internal need we have for validation and how to transform it in me.

In a sense what I am looking for is not for others to validate my writing, it is for others to recognise what I know it is true: that my writing has value.

Not because I need this internally but it’s public view will help me in my future pursues. I intend to submit texts for competitions and any sort of writer incentives I can find. Having viewers, blogs, votes and prizes will help with statistics when continuing my path to becoming a full time writer.

Unfocused

I had been feeling quite unfocused in my writing. I have completed my Masters in creative writing and felt myself a bit addrift. I have found that I have hundreds, or better, many hundreds of ideas for writing, they are from ideas for blog entries, short stories, and books, I even have full books delineated. Ideas I had forgotten about and only found now that I decided to organise my “ideas for writing”. I am putting them down into Scrivener, separating them in types and into appropriated project folders.

For a couple of months I was simply without focus and that left me completely unsettled. Whenever I sat down for writing I didn’t know what to write and always felt I should be working on something else.

Then I saw this TED talk about the science of happiness and understood that until you make a decision about something — or until you are given no other choice by circumstances — it is difficult for the brain to create happiness about anything. That explained why I felt it was so difficult writing about one thing alone.

That is when I realised that if I decided anything, anything at all, it would be all right. I put down a list of all the projects I could be attacking and the moment I wrote “organise my ideas for writing” I knew this was “the one”.

That one decision took me out of my unproductive phase. I started organising and lost the will to do that. But the drive to write more often in this blog replaced it. Then I felt like re-writing my website taniacreations.com which is quite old now.

I have Brazilian friends who have lived in Australia and were not happy because they missed Brazil, then they went back to Brazil and now they miss Australia and are still feeling dissatisfied. That probably happens because they live inside the eternal possibility of being here or there without making a decision for real.

Making one decision doesn’t mean you will not change your mind. However, if you decide with certainty for something and a new possibility presents itself you might make a new decision, with certainty for a new thing. By doing that you will leave your brain free to create the hormones and sinapses necessary to provide you with happiness. Doubts, indecisiveness, no acceptance, are not conducive to creativity and peace.

My solution to any doubt is: decide anything, as long as it is certain. Even if five minutes later you decide something else.

So now, I feel quite happy… writing away!

Is all creative writing channelled writing?

I keep wondering if all writing is channelled writing. If my words come from me or the spirit world (laugh). I wrote a book in Portuguese with a co-author.  Because we used to write and then send to each other the stories we never knew what was happening next.

I am writing the second book of that series now on my own but following the same idea we did with the first, I didn’t plan where the story is going I just sit down and write whatever happens. I have some fun ideas I intend to include but that is all. I am discovering the story as I write it, as if it wasn’t my own.

I often wonder, where does inspiration comes from?

It is very intriguing.

(Orble Votes: 19)

In Love with Scrivener

It feels fantastic when your systems are working for you rather than against you. I am in love with the software Scrivener, which is a specific tool created for writers.

I found out about it during a Non-Fiction Festival from the NSW Writers Centre (www.nswwc.org.au) last year. Ben Law talked about it and I decided to investigate.

It is one of those things that you don’t know how you lived without it before. The same way I feel about the GPS and mobile phones. I remember the panic of using a paper map guide and turning the wrong way and I have no idea what you did when you were going to be late to meet mom at the mall.

The reason Scrivener is so fantastic is because it makes it easier to organise your thoughts. I have just published a new book in Portuguese at Amazon using Scrivener (“Simplesmente Gerva”)

Converting to Mobi was very easy and quick and none of the issues I used to have with word processors happened. I didn’t need to check all titles were in the same style, check for double spaces or any other ridiculous task that were obligatory before.

Going back to organising my thoughts, each chapter is given a summary card.

For this book, I noted on the cards when, where and who were in each chapter and with this I was able to get an overview of the time flow. Sometimes my character started something on Monday and suddenly it was Wednesday without any change in the day. With this technique and tool it was easy to see the overall picture.

I also acquired a MacBook Air once I discovered that Scrivener doesn’t run on iPad and decided that my writing tools are my number one priority. With the awesome help with my parents I got my new computer, new software and every day I am a happier person.

When I open my small bag, pull out my light, fast, potent little computer, put all my ideas (including this blog) into Scrivener and it can go straight into any format desired, it makes my heart dance with joy.

A bit of pleasure every day…

(Orble Votes: 29)

Real Writer

I remember years ago when I arrived in Australia and I entered the NSW State Library, Michel room and started crying. It was an emotion I couldn’t control.
People have different values and that is why they appreciate different things. This morning I found a new (still with the tag) pair of trousers inside my wardrobe. I think I have a vague recollection of being in the store the tag told me it was from.
Friends who appreciate clothes and shoes could not understand how I had a new garment in my wardrobe and completely forgot to use it, that I had bought it even. They also could not understand how I could cry in a room full of books.

NSW State Library2
I don’t even want to read these books, they are reference books. But the emotion of seeing a large foyer with three levels of bookshelves all around was just too much for me then.
A few days ago I told this story to my friend, we mentioned the library, she said she hadn’t been here and would like to come. Today, my Writing meeting group changed venues and convened here. I felt inspired to write about it. It is as beautiful as I remembered, as emotional now as then.
To try to locate why it gave me such an emotion, it was like being in a dream place, a library you would see in movies. In a third world country culture is far from people’s minds and there is more effort put into more basic needs. That is why I hadn’t seen a place like this before. Only after moving to Australia and going back to Brazil that I visited the National Library in Rio de Janeiro. I cried there too.
Another place that took my breath away was the study room in the Customs House library but returning there years later it didn’t seem as bright as my first impression, I’m not sure if something changed or it was me.
I am here now, with a funny smile on my face and a strange satisfaction in my belly.
I feel like a real writer!

(Orble Votes: 20)

Siri doesn’t get me

The more I try to get the local accent, the more people politely ask me “where is your accent from?”
My phone also doesn’t really get my accent.
I was trying to use it to type some things while walking one day.
So I said to it:
“I am from Brazil but have been living in Sydney for a while”
The phone typed:
“IM imbecile but have been leaving in Sydney for a while”
I replied to that:
“Imbecile is your mother!”
It dutifully typed:
“In this still is your mother”
(Orble Votes: 19)

50 Thousand Words to Nano Victory

2013 nanowrimo winner certificate

Link: nanowrimo.org 

Last November (2013) I did it. I have ‘won’ the NaNoWriMo. I have written 50 thousand words in a month. I did expect to feel happy and a sense of achievement, but I didn’t expect to learn so much about myself while doing it.
The book is not ready, not even as a first draft, but the produce of that month is an infrastructure. It made me feel ready for the next step. I’m still searching for the elusive structure and coming to terms with my narrator. The challenge is that this narrator has to be strong enough to provide colour to the story but not too strong to detract from the main character.
This year is my final year on my Masters of creative writing and the two subjects left are projects where I intend to nail this, and having over 80,000 words written (counting 2012 nano’s plus many pieces I have written for subjects) should give me a good place to start.
What I learnt from the marathon was the capacity to write no matter what, tired after a whole day of hard work, uninspired, sick, write in the morning, in the afternoon, at night. I went through the fallacy that you need inspiration to write and found a well of capacity to do what it takes.
It also introduced me to something that I find hilarious: writing groups. A group of people who get together at a pub, sit down and write together. They barely say hello, there is very little chit chat, often I only learn the name of one or two people in a group of fifteen.
We meet, we put our individual music inside our ears, and we write alone, in a group.
I found groups that keep meeting even after the marathon and keep going to them. Something about having others like you doing the same as you do, having a time allocated and putting the energy to the task makes is highly productive.

NanoWrimo Progress
(Orble Votes: 28)

Indoors Saturday

Link: nswwc.org.au

Here I am on a Saturday, with an average of five speakers and a couple of hundred people talking about the intricacies of writing. “The take that people have on your take of them”.

It is the creative non-fiction festival at the New South Wales Writers Centre. I love being in the room thinking about what to write and not and the consequences of our words.
What to do when you are interviewing people who are big?
It is funny to think that for 10 minutes of my life I was in the same league as the lectures. With my interview with Justin Bieber I know and I knew at the time, I had no idea what I was doing… but did it. I did prepare, got over 60 questions ready, got two recorders which was great as one stopped and then did the best that I could.
Here I see a deeper level and even how wrong it could have gone.
Being in your passion makes anything interesting and talking about hurt sommeliers over a humorous article is just one of them.
(Orble Votes: 21)