#Blogtoberfest Day 26: Unplugging in November

Instead of doing #NaNoWriMo in November, I’m going to unplug – at least somewhat. What I will not be doing (or trying not to):

  • Blogging
  • Reading on Kindle
  • Watching travel videos on Youtube (okay, maybe once a week)
  • Sleeping with my iPhone
  • Playing gin rummy on my iPad

What I hope I will be doing:

  • Practicing the keys
  • Writing songs and/or fiction
  • Reading paperbacks and/or hard cover books
  • Going to Barnes & Noble
  • Visiting the Guitar Center

I also plan to delete my LinkedIn account. I only returned because the old Lynda.com was now part of LinkedIn and they forced me to rejoin LinkedIn to access it. Each time I renew for another month, they change how they work. Now you have to use iTunes to manage your payments, which I try to avoid as often as possible. iTunes – ugh! I”d like to delete LinkedIn immediately, but I still have access to classes for most of November.

Except for Twitter, I’ve deleted my other social media accounts. Even the word “social media” creeps me out – lol!

Ah, but then there’s YouTube. I subscribe to several travel Vloggers, but I’ve noticed that by watching their travel experiences, my travel experience is diminished. It’s helpful to read about places you might visit, but YouTube vlogs kinda take away the surprise, those things you stumble upon which make your experience so much richer.

And I really dislike all the begging to subscribe and share and donate money. I definitely think I need to avoid travel vloggers. At first I thought that might be the hardest thing for me to give up, but it’s getting old and I’m not enjoying the videos as much.

I have no idea how November might change me, but I hope to update you all in December.

 

#Blogtoberfest Day 18: Writing Lyrics (the Great Juggling Act)

I’m pretty sure I won’t really be doing NaNoWriMo – oh, sure, I’ll continue to write the tome I seem to be working on when the mood strikes, ie, a scene or emotion comes to me that I must write down. Maybe because these days music is my main focus. And that is quite a juggling act.

In Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure, published by Berklee Press, it says this about writing lyrics upfront, right in the introduction, the first page of the book:

You will have no trouble learning about lyric structure. It is simple, just like juggling. When a juggler keeps four balls in the air at once it may seem like magic, but there is no magic involved. The juggler learned by throwing one ball up and catching it, throwing and catching, stopping and starting the motion; always gaining greater control over the movement of the ball. Then came two balls, then three, throwing and catching, stopping and starting, with greater and greater control.

As a lyricist, you must learn to juggle four balls.

1. How many phrases does it have?

2. How long is each phrase?

3. What is the rhythm of each phrase?

4. How are rhymes arranged?

And that’s just the lyrics. Then there’s the music, and music production. Each piece requires great skill, learning the craft, and practice. And then they all must work together – prosody, that’s what it’s all about.

#Blogtoberfest Day 16: #NaNoWriMo Prep

Ever since my first NaNoWriMo about 2004, I’ve run fast from any mention of “NaNo.” What a big mess of a manuscript I wrote – something I could never edit into coherence.

The writer of this post thinks people should stop writing and start reading – that writers get way too much attention at book stores. I agree, that it isn’t for everybody and there are reasons to do it or not to do it – only you can make that decision. But here’s why I’m going to commit to doing it this year:

I’m reading the revised edition of “No Plot, No Problem” and the author made this statement:

“The year was 1999, and I was working as a writer in the San Francisco Bay Area, drinking way too much coffee and watching the dot-com boom rewrite the rules of life around me”

That was me, too!  After moving around quite a bit since then, I love the idea of reconnecting with Bay Area people who were there back then and maybe still there. But NaNoWriMo also connects me to a writing community and after writing in isolation for too many years from moving around a lot, stumbling around in the songwriting community, which is nothing like a writing community, I’m eager to reconnect with a writing community again.

So, yeah,  committing to #Blogtoberfest is the warm-up to writing every day and so I’m preparing to writing a novel during November, no matter how short or long, as long as there is a beginning, an ending, and a middle.

#Blogtoberfest Day 5: Social Media Makes You Stupid

I believe that people aren’t normally stupid. Dysfunction, inauthenticity makes people look stupid. Social media actually makes people do stupid. It dulls your brain, your thinking ability, lessens your communication/people skills.

Take writing, for example. It’s often been said that you need to exercise your writing muscle and write every day or most days to stay strong. So inactivity weakens that writing muscle. And if you’re inactively writing because you’re sharing photos and likes on social media, your brain becomes lazy.

And so I sit here day after day this October unable to focus on writing a scene. It’s like when I first started writing, only worse. Back then, it took me all day to actually sit down and write a scene. I had good intentions of starting my writing day int he morning. But I couldn’t get anything out of my head until about 4 p.m.

Now I’d be happy if I could do that. Instead, my brain is jello, my attention span is ridiculously short. It’s easier to flip through youtube channels, peek into Twitter, and play a game on my iPad. I might read, but even that seems like a challenge – all of that focus on understanding content.

This is sad and must come to an end. I must sit down  and write every day to get that flabby writing muscle in shape. Even music has become a crutch – it’s easier to open up Logic Pro and start auditioning Apple loops or keyboard a few midi notes.

Maybe that’s what #Blogtoberfest is all about for me – getting my writing muscle back in shape. A daily blog post is the warm-up, hopefully leading to writing a sentence, a paragraph, a page, three pages maybe. That used to come so easily. But one thing I’m noticing is that I feel such peace when I’m sitting down and actually writing something… anything.

 

Happy Easter, #NaPoWriMo, and #CampNaNo

Wow! So much happening on April 1st! And I didn’t even mention April Fool’s Day.

My first priority is Easter liturgy followed by an amazing brunch – details later on my other blog.

Then it’s my first poem for my first #NaPoWriMo and I might even work on a novel for #CampNaNo, although unofficially. Hubby signed up for a screenwriting challenge and I’m getting caught up in those exercises for my novel.

And then there’s sweet blessed music that pumps though my veins. I won’t be able to stay away.

 

April is Writing Month (#NaPoWriMo #CampNaNoWriMo)

I’ve been gearing up for writing 30 poems in 30 days for #NaPoWriMo this April but I’ve just learned of #CampNaNoWriMo (April version of #NaNoWriMo–Novel Writing Month). Something has got to give! After #FAWM (February Album Writing Month), I’ve decided that perhaps I should give my ears a break and write a novel and poetry instead. I can gear back up for 50/90 (50 Songs in 90 Days) from July-October.

I’ve never been a fan of these writing challenges before but, somehow, where I am in life is leading me to loving them.

I’d just joined TAXI, I still have two months of NSAI membership, recently enrolled in a Logic Pro X Music Production class and got some new killer speakers, so I am feeling a bit guilty about putting music aside to focus on other writing. But, I tell myself, it’s only for one month. I still have time for 50/90, and I still have time for the TAXI Road Rally in November.

Let’s see how this year plays out.

#NaNoWriMo, #NaPoWriMo, 50 Day Blog Challenge

Thankfully, today is the last day of NaNoWriMo, something I participated in once and never again. This year I was tempted to do something to feel part of a writing community but nothing quite attracted me. But when 3 things converged: NaNoWriMo, my subsequent discovery of NaPoWriMo (similar to NaNo but for poets), and a writer friend posted her 50 Day Blog Challenge, I decided to do a combo of all three.

Why poems? It started when I started feeling overwhelmed during this time of transition, selling our home in Las Vegas, moving back to Florida but living in temporary housing while waiting for our new house to be built. I was lying in bed, unable to sleep in the middle of the night, so I grabbed my iPhone and started expressing myself through poetry, thinking it could all be fodder for future songwriting.

Then I started getting addicted to expressing myself through poems. I also realized that those who advise you to do object writing as a songwriting exercise have it all wrong. It shouldn’t be about an object – it should be about a feeling. Certainly for me.

I think I ended up writing about 55 poems and so the challenge ends with the ending of NaNoWriMo, which ends today. I’ll probably continue to write poems because I find it quite a satisfying way to express a feeling or an idea or an observation. And it was a wonderful way to discover other poets and bloggers in the WordPress community who stopped by to follow my blog and/or “like” my poems. There are some really talented people out there.

Advent (#poem)

Her belly leaps with joy as he feels a mother’s love
And the presence, a promise of a loyal companion
A long ago story come down from above
And the reason for the season

Advent gives us hope in the midst of sin
The tragic results of a broken world
For we must repent before we can be forgiven
To do any less would negate the yes of a teen-aged girl

When a mother-to-be resists the gift
She inflicts a lifelong wound
When she cries every day, she creates a rift
One felt from within the womb

Whatever happens, we are not alone
Questions unanswered we hold in our hand
God is there and the light is shone
Someday, my child, we shall understand

A Young Girl’s Dreams (#poem)

A young girl dreams at ten or eleven
Of riches and fame, singing on stage
Elvis matinees and Beatlemania she starts writing songs of her own
She can see it now who she wants to be when fully grown

A young girl dreams at sweet sixteen strolling the streets in the city
A storefront window peeks her interest as she catches a glimpse in the mirror
The cradle beckons offering an inkling of what might become her future
Laughter, Love, a handsome man, a happily ever after

Looking back she wonders how she veered off track
Was it a lack of choice, the choices she made, or just circumstance
Whatever it was doesn’t matter now cuz there’s no going back
It wasn’t meant to be anyhow, not the dance she was meant to dance

So she picks up a guitar, a keyboard not far and she starts writing songs
Some dreams disappear and others appear
Revealing which were right and which were wrong
Following her heart all along

I Swore I Would Never Forget (#poem)

I swore I would never forget
What it was like to be young
To stay out late
To play loud music at the guard gate
Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and ‘girls just wanna have fun’

I swore I would never forget
What it was like to be a child
To wake up early
To play with my brother’s cars instead of dolls
Beatles and Elvis and ‘born to be wild’

I swore I would never forget
What it was like to feel desire and love
To risk it all
To be with the one I could not stop thinking of
A look, a touch, a ‘kiss is still a kiss,’ a sigh, a smile, and everything that makes life worthwhile

I swear I will never forget…