Tag Archives: technology

The Joy of Words

Well, last week had this in it.

Image: v8.en.memegenerator.net

Image: v8.en.memegenerator.net

For the unclickables among you, I’ll paraphrase the article I’ve linked to above: in essence, a new app is in development which allows people to read at speeds of up to 500 words per minute, mainly due to the fact that you don’t need to move your eyes at all. The app flashes the words in front of you, with one letter highlighted in red (apparently, just at the optimum point in the word for your brain to recognise and process it without even realising it’s doing so), and your eyes remain steady throughout. All you need to do is look at the red letter, and you read the word automatically.

Image: financialanalystwarrior.com

Image: financialanalystwarrior.com

Yeah. I’m with yonder sceptical dog.

The article I’ve linked to has a trial run of the app (called Spritz), and you can see what I’m talking about for yourself. You can also give it a go, and see how it makes you feel. For me, when I got to the 500 words per minute section, I have to admit the letters were zipping by so fast that I did miss a word or two every so often; my brain put together the sense of the sentence, all the same, but it actually felt like more work, to me, than ‘ordinary’ reading. It also made me feel like I’d just stepped off one of these:

Image: zuzutop.com

Image: zuzutop.com

More than that, though, it made me feel a bit sad. Has it come to this, that we’re living in a world where reading is seen as just another chore, something else to plough through at top speed so that we can get back to playing Candy Crush Saga?

I don’t know. Perhaps the app is intended for people who have to read long technical documents, or complicated legal rulings, or government papers, or something like that. I don’t deny the science behind it; certainly, it worked, exactly as it said it would. But it sucked every droplet of joy out of the act of reading, and I think that’s a retrograde step. There was no time to pause, to reflect, to luxuriate in a beautifully constructed sentence; there was no time to appreciate the skill with which the words were laced together. It was like sitting down before a gorgeous meal, prepared with love and care and painstaking effort, and just tipping the whole lot down your neck, oyster-fashion. Not only will you not enjoy the food, but you won’t enjoy the act of eating, either – the two are closely linked.

A lot like the joy of words, and the act of reading. Just in case you didn’t get the metaphor.

Then, I’m speaking as a person who reads quickly anyway, and who enjoys fluency with words. I’m aware that not everyone is like me, and perhaps this app will help some readers who find it hard to get through longer documents; if it’s useful to someone, then it’s to be welcomed, of course. But, to me, reading (for leisure, that is) should be a pleasant and immersive experience, taken at your own pace – whatever that pace may be. It should allow you time for thought and absorption, time to enjoy the words as well as the content.

Or, maybe it’s just my inner technophobe rising to the fore again.

Image: somedesignblog.com

Image: somedesignblog.com

Anyway.

As well as learning about Spritzing, last week was a word-filled one for me in other ways. I spent it glued to the computer going through ‘Emmeline’, making a concerted push to edit it, and repolish it, and finally reach a point where I can say: ‘Yes. This book is ready.’ It had already had five edits before I even began this process, but as late as Friday I was going through it and still seeing extraneous words, unclear descriptions, frankly stupid continuity errors and places where the dialogue could have been sharpened.

It just goes to show that an editor’s job is never done. However, a writer’s job is to get their work to a point where they can say they’ve done their best, and then let their words go. That, friends, is the challenge facing me this week.

Today is the day I start to submit ‘Emmeline.’

Quite. Image: athenna.com

Quite.
Image: athenna.com

I am proud of my work, and I don’t think it’s wrong to say so. I am happy with ‘Emmeline’, I am glad to have written it, I love my characters and I think the story is enjoyable. Now, we’ll see what the publishing industry thinks of it, and I’ll report back to you when I have more information.

If you never hear from me again, you’ll know what happened.

 

 

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

So, yesterday was awesome.

*feedback squeals* Image: ths.gardenweb.com

*feedback squeals*
Image: ths.gardenweb.com

Admittedly I didn’t do a lot of writing yesterday, but I did my next best favourite thing, which is: meeting wonderful people. It was doubly amazing that this also involved such things as drinking coffee, visiting places of cultural and/or historical significance and lots (and lots) of walking, but the true highlight was spending a whole day in the company of a pair of truly lovely people. I’m tired today, but it was all so worth it. And the most amazing bit of all? I have this blog to thank for yesterday’s happiness.

One of my favourite aspects of keeping this blog has been the fact that it has allowed me to ‘meet’ people from all over the world. Through sharing posts and comments and paying visits to other blogs, I have encountered all manner of kind, supportive, talented and frankly amazing folk. I do wonder, at times, what it would be like to meet some of these fellow bloggers in the flesh, and yesterday, I had a chance to do just that. My hitherto online-only friend Kate, and her husband Andrew, are on holiday in Ireland and the UK all the way from Australia, and I’ve been looking forward to meeting them for months now. Yesterday was the day it finally happened, and – as I’ve said – it was awesome.

(Linguistic note: I don’t use the word ‘awesome’ very often, mainly because very little in life truly warrants it. However, there simply is nothing else in the English language which does yesterday justice, so ‘awesome’ it is.)

Image: moreintelligentlife.com

Image: moreintelligentlife.com

I took my new friends on an impromptu walking tour of Dublin, taking in such sights as the Book of Kells, the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle, the Queen of Tarts teashop on Dame Street (heartily recommended, beverage fans), Christchurch Cathedral and the National Gallery of Ireland. I gestured vaguely at lots of stuff – buildings, statues, landmarks – hoping that my descriptions of them were accurate and not something I’d half-picked up in school, probably backwards; they seemed reasonably happy with the trip, so I’m counting it as a success.

The only sad thing is, of course, that yesterday may be the only time I ever get to meet Kate and Andrew in person. Australia’s a long way away. We spoke a lot about the links between Ireland and Australia in terms of the transportation of convicts and criminals from my country to theirs in past centuries, and how if a person was taken from Ireland and put on the boat to Australia, their family essentially had to think of them as being dead, because they knew they’d never see one another again. The links between our countries – and, of course, between Australia and the UK – are strong and unbreakable, and arguably Australia isn’t as far away now as it has been in the past. But it’s still a journey I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to make.

But even if I never set foot in Australia, or if they never make it back over here, I’m so glad to have met them, and to have had the opportunity to spend a joyous day in their company. We drank a coffee-toast to the internet, and WordPress, and blogging, at the end of our day together, and I am truly thankful for the technology that allowed us to ‘meet’, first virtually and then in person.

I hope that the remainder of their ‘holiday of a lifetime’ in the British Isles is a rip-roaring success, and that they bring home memories and photographs that will bring them joy for many years to come. It was truly a pleasure to meet them both, and I’m doing my best to forget the tang of sorrow in thinking we might never meet again. Thank you, Kate and Andrew, for taking time out of your holiday to spend a day with me – and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Image: nandikanurfitria.wordpress.com

Image: nandikanurfitria.wordpress.com

Techno-Twittery

My mobile telephonic device, she is busted. This makes me sad.

This little fella says it better than I ever could... Image: publicdomainpictures.net

This little fella says it better than I ever could…
Image: publicdomainpictures.net

It couldn’t have happened at a worse time, either. I was just stepping onto the train that would carry me on the first leg of my journey home (well, to my parents’ home, really) for the weekend when I discovered that my phone had decided enough was enough. It was a strange moment for me. I haven’t been mobile-phoneless for about fifteen years – which is scary, when you think about it – and, of course, the trains I took both ended up running late (this is Ireland, after all), which delayed my arrival. For the first time in a very long time, I was unable to contact anyone to let them know. I could send no texts, receive no texts, make no calls. For four hours, nobody I knew could speak to me. It was weird. If aliens had chosen that moment to appear out of the clouds and abduct me, my family would never have known. If I had been inspired in that moment to tap out a particularly beautiful text message to a loved one, it would have had to go unsent. Truly, it was a tragedy of the technological age.

As well as my train-journeying, I was supposed to be meeting some old schoolfriends over the weekend. Naturally, then, I needed my phone in order to make plans, change plans, break plans, or whatever. ‘Typical,’ I fumed, raging at my phone’s tiny screen. ‘You work fine for months on end when I don’t really, truth be told, need you; just when you become indispensable, you decide to go belly-up!’ Somewhere in there is an important life lesson, even if I haven’t quite separated it out from all the crimson fury just yet. I was surprised at the depth of my own anger, to be honest. It seems silly that a small lump of plastic and glass could have such an effect on me, but there you are. It did.

Image: publicdomainpictures.net

Image: publicdomainpictures.net

And so, of course, my phone will have to be replaced. But the question is: what with?

So far into my telephonic life, I have resisted the lure of the smartphone. I have no need for such a device, I tell myself; all I want from a phone is the ability to make and take calls, and to send and receive text messages. I don’t want a phone which can run my life for me (despite the fact that I have trouble running it myself, sometimes), which is smarter than I am, or which is able to tell me what the weather is like in Kuala Lumpur at the drop of a hat. I am a troglodyte, and I want my phone to match. The phone I had – the one which has just broken – was a pretty ordinary model, but it did have a touchscreen, upon which its functionality depended; this touchscreen is the part which is now broken, which renders the whole thing useless. (This doesn’t sound all that smart, to me.) The phone I had before this one was a standard Nokia ‘brick’ – pretty much indestructible, easily able to survive being dropped down stairs or sat on for prolonged periods or being stored carelessly in a pocket – and I had it for about six years, without a problem. I was persuaded to ‘upgrade’ to the slightly fancier model less than a year ago, and now I find myself in my current predicament. In a way, this is entirely as it should be. Show me something sparkly and technological, and I bet I’ll have it broken (accidentally, of course) before the day is out.

It’s a strange situation, this. When I come to replace my broken phone, I am pretty sure that I will have to go with a smartphone. Phones are pretty much all morphing into mini computers, these days; it’s not easy to get a phone that just does phone-stuff, and none of the Personal Assistant-stuff. However, the ‘smarter’ a phone is, the more vulnerable it is, don’t you think? The more likely it is to break, or throw a hissy-fit, or be stolen, or sat on (because its flashy ultra-slim case is impossible to see, and it’s too light to make any sort of impression in your pocket, leading you to forget it’s even there at all); the more moving parts it has, the more likely it is to give you a nervous breakdown, is my philosophy. So, truly, the least smart thing I could do is purchase myself a smartphone.

I have a feeling that’s exactly what I’ll be doing, though. I won’t have a choice in the matter. It’ll be a case of ‘go smart, or go home.’

So, today will be about bowing to the inevitable, and spending uncomfortable amounts of money on something at which I will squint, and mumble, and swear under my breath for months to come. Occasionally, perhaps, I will make a call on it or send a message, though this remains to be seen. In a way it’s sad that my new phone will be a piece of technology more powerful than the rocket which brought men to the moon; I will probably use it for scheduling the time at which I get out of bed in the morning and for throwing irritable feathered things at stupid porcine things. I just hope I get slightly more than a year out of it, or there will be trouble…

This is more like it! Image: welcometolensville.wordpress.com

This is more like it!
Image: welcometolensville.wordpress.com

On the upside, it might make checking my online life (swiftly growing more interesting than my real-life life) a bit easier, and I’ll certainly be able to keep you all apprised of any impending alien abductions.

I hope you all had wonderful weekends, stress-free and technologically unchallenged, and that you’re fresh and ready for a new week. Happy Monday!

Tumblin’

So. I set up a Tumblr blog.

Ever since I did so, I’ve been looking at it little like this:

*bok?* *boooook?* Yes, exactly, Mr. Chicken. Exactly. Image: flickr.com

*bok?* *boooook?* Yes, exactly, Mr. Chicken. Exactly.
Image: flickr.com

It’s difficult for a person like me, who grew up in the Stone Age, to keep up with all this progress. I had just barely managed to get a handle on Facebook when suddenly Twitter burst on the scene; I resisted for years, but eventually caved. Now, every time I turn on my computer there’s some new and largely terrifying-looking technology staring me in the face, trying to convince me my life is meaningless without it. I’m finding Tumblr tough, I’ve got to say – it requires a level of coolness that I don’t think I possess. Not yet, at least. And as for Vine? Don’t even ask me. I set up a Pinterest page a while back, too – or, well, I opened a Pinterest account, which isn’t quite the same thing as pretending to have a Pinterest page, really – which also bamboozles me.

All of these have different passwords, too, of course. Sometimes I feel like a modern chatelaine, except my keys aren’t hanging from my belt – they’re rattling around inside my skull instead.

This is my chatelaine, because I am the *boss*, all right? All right. Image: nps.gov

This is my chatelaine, because I am the *boss*, all right? All right.
Image: nps.gov

Because my skull can be a bit porous when it comes to remembering things like passwords, though, I have them all written down on random scraps of paper, masquerading under codenames, too – I must get them all together, one of these days, so I don’t have to scramble around for half an hour to find a password simply in order to spent five seconds on a particular website. Every time this happens, I tell myself not to let it happen again, and yet it does, repeatedly – as soon as the search is over, you see, the decision to put away the password gets forgotten again. For a person whose working day is largely self-directed, I can at times be the most unorganised klutz in existence. At other times, however, I am more efficient than a cuckoo-clock factory, so let’s hope they balance one another out most of the time.

The benefits of Tumblr – at least, the ones I’ve seen so far – are many. It’s sort of a cross between a blog, Twitter and Pinterest, insofar as you can put up really small blog posts – more like thoughts, really – and you can ‘reblog’ images or .gifs or quotes or whatever you like from other Tumblr users. Because it seems a little less formal a space than WordPress, I went a little bit loopy yesterday and posted a poem to my Tumblr blog, one I wrote myself; it was an experiment, more than anything else, to see how it would appear on the site once I’d posted it. It taught me a lot about how to keep your temper when a document’s formatting won’t appear the way you want it, and how far my patience goes when something just won’t work, and the point at which I’m prepared to sacrifice my artistic vision in order to just get something to post to a website.

(For those who are interested: I’m not very good at keeping my temper when a document’s formatting won’t work; my patience (stretched thin at the best of times) doesn’t go very far when technological stuff refuses to cooperate, and I’m prepared to throw in the artistic vision towel pretty quickly if it means I can wriggle out of trying to figure out things beyond my intelligence level and get back to reading, or writing, or something else I enjoy. So, now you know.)

Anyway, so – a poem. Yeah. Written by me. I really enjoy poetry, but writing it is not my forté, at all. I love to read it, and some of my favourite books are collections of poetry – Sylvia Plath’s ‘Ariel’, for instance, which I often just dip into for the sheer beauty of it – and I marvel at how a good poet can make the whole world shimmer as you read. Anyway, if you do take the long and arduous trip over to my Tumblr blog, and you read the poem, don’t be expecting Sylvia Plath, is all I’ll say, but if you do read it I hope you enjoy it.

And before anyone asks – no, don’t worry. I’m not considering becoming a poet full-time or anything, so you can all relax on that score.

Trust me, I'm a President. There ain't gonna be no more poetry. Image: blogs.psychcentral.com

Trust me, I’m a President. There ain’t gonna be no more poetry.
Image: blogs.psychcentral.com

It’s Friday, and the sun is shining here, and I’m about to get stuck into another bunch of words. I hope your day is looking good, and that your weekend is shaping up to be a good one. And if anyone wants to send me some Tumblr tips, you know, feel free!

 

 

Starting Early

Did you see this wonderful news story yesterday?

For those who don’t do clicking, or who can’t click on links, I’ll tell you what I’m talking about. Yesterday on Twitter someone linked to a story about a novelist who has just published his second book, and who is writing the final part in his trilogy about a pair of magician brothers. The books explore dark magic and the twisty intrigue of secret magical societies, as well as the complicated relationship between the brothers. The stories sounded amazing enough as they were, but when it emerged that the author is nine years of age (yes – nine), well. You could’ve knocked me down with a feather.

Joe Prendergast, for it is he, is far from being the only author who has been published at a tender age. Irish author Claire Hennessy, for instance, was first published while she was still at school, and Catherine Webb had written five books by the time she turned twenty – and all of them were brilliant.

Both Claire Hennessy and Catherine Webb are still writing, and have carved out successful careers for themselves in the literary world. Hopefully, then, if young Mr. Prendergast wants a career as a writer when he grows older, he should have no problem achieving that aim.

The young and talented Mr. Prendergast himself! Image: independent.ie

The young and talented Mr. Prendergast himself!
Image: independent.ie

It’s wonderful to see this young author meeting with the support and encouragement he needed to finish his series of books, and not only that, but to see them through to publication too. It goes to show the brilliant things that can happen when a person with talent, determination and a great idea for a book meets the technology to get it out into the world; Joe was first spotted by an online publisher, who championed him and made his books available through their website. There are also fantastic sites like Wattpad, used by millions of young people all over the world, allowing them to write for the sheer joy of it and share stories with one another with ease. Sometimes I wish these things had been available when I was young and at school. I’m not saying that anything I was writing at that stage was worth reading (not by a long shot!) but it would have been such a thrill to be able to publish work to a website, to see your words somewhere outside your own head, and to imagine what it might be like to be a published author.

Then again, I was a terribly shy and awkward teenager. I’m not sure that I’d have availed of a service like Wattpad, or even WordPress, as a young person; the very idea that other people might be able to read what I’d written might have thrown me into a fit of nerves so serious as to be life-threatening. I was certainly writing – prolifically – as a nine-year-old and all the way through my teens, but it’s probably a good thing that nobody ever saw a word that fell out of my fevered brain. Then, on the other hand, if I’d had the chance to share my words with the world via the internet as a younger person, perhaps I’d be winning literary prizes right now and be working on my thirty-fifth book – the earlier you start to get feedback, the stronger your work will become, of course. It’s a bit of a pain to be only beginning the whole process now, as a person in her *cough* thirties. I can only imagine how much stronger my writing would be if I’d been doing it seriously for twenty years or more at this stage.

Then, I guess it’s better late than never. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make up for lost time in the years that I have left to me. And if you’re a person who wants to write (no matter what age you are), then let this story be a lesson. You’re never too young, or too old, to get your ideas out there and share your words with the story of the world. There’s no excuse these days!

Today, April 23rd, is also an important day in the world of books, in case you didn’t know already. As well as being the birth (and death) day of Shakespeare, and the birthday of Cervantes, it’s also World Book Night tonight.

Image: mediabistro.com

Image: mediabistro.com

Designed to encourage and foster a love of reading among people who may not otherwise take up an opportunity to pick up a book, World Book Night is a fantastic endeavour. For, of course, if we’re going to encourage people to write, we’ll need to recruit a whole new batch of readers, too. I don’t think there’s anything more valuable that we can give to our children than a love of reading and a desire to create, share and consume stories. I’d love to see a world where reading, and a love of reading, came to people as naturally as breathing. I have a suspicion the world would be a happier place if this could be a reality.

So – start early, whether you’re reading or writing; ideally, do both. It’s never too late to start, and it’s always worth giving it a go.

Happy World Book Night! May your words flow.

Keeping Up

Have you ever taken the time to really search the internet for writing competitions? Perhaps it’s because I’m based in Ireland (the land of Saints and Scholars, lest we forget), but it feels as though there are literally hundreds of competitions and possibilities for submission. Everywhere you go there are more and more.

Image: spc-intheworld.com

Image: spc-intheworld.com

I’m definitely not complaining about this. It’s wonderful that there are so many places interested in, and willing to take a chance on, unpublished work and authors that are just starting the process of carving out a career. The only problem I have is keeping up with them all. For every opportunity I find, I know I’m missing ten more; I have to tell myself that this is okay, and hope that I’m being drawn to the ‘right’ ones. It’s annoying to not know about a competition until after the closing date has passed, particularly when it sounds like one which would have been really enjoyable and challenging – and even more particularly when the closing date has only just passed.

I’ve no idea how hard this process must have been before the internet existed, and all these competition notifications weren’t available at the touch of a few buttons. I presume, perhaps, that people were more proactive about attending writers’ groups or events and actually talking to one another about what sorts of openings were available. That’s not always practical or possible, of course – it’s a lot more convenient to keep up to date with this sort of information through the web. There’s literally no excuse not to submit work, at least not in terms of there being a lack of opportunity – the opposite is definitely the case. It’s a full-time job in itself keeping on top of everything, though. I’m the first to admit I don’t always manage it.

In the past four or five weeks, I’ve written about twenty-five short stories of various lengths and styles. The longest was 3,500 words, and the shortest 99; I’ve experimented with form, voice, and content. Some of them have found homes in competitions or in submissions, but most of them are just like delicate linens, wrapped in soft tissue and stored out of direct sunlight. I hope that these stories will be brought out and displayed at some point, but there’s no real guarantee of that. A lot of competitions, and even some literary magazines which call for submissions, will be looking for stories written to a particular theme. This can be very inspirational – being given a theme and/or a word limit can definitely spark the creative flow – but it also means that if you’re drawn to writing stories about psychopathic rabbits dressed in luminous spats who go on to reform their characters and fight crime against cucumbers, you might struggle to place your work with some literary magazines. Also, there aren’t a lot of competitions (at least, not that I’ve seen) which call for that particular theme, though the world would be a better place if there were.

I’ve tended to write whatever stories come to mind, not worrying too much about writing ‘to order’, and I’m enjoying the feeling of building up my personal stockpile. I’ve actually enjoyed this process so much that I don’t really want to bring it to an end (or even to a temporary halt), but I do plan to do that during April in order to focus again on my longer pieces. I wish I’d tried to write short stories years ago! It goes against my instincts to edit or change a finished piece, one that I’m happy with, to suit a particular competition or fit with particular submission criteria, so I hope I’ll be able to find a place to let all these more or less miscellaneous tales out into the open sometime in the future, just as they are. Even if they never get lifted out of their storage drawer, their value lies in the fact that writing them stretched my brain and got me to think, and that’s fantastic.

Image: colourbox.com

Image: colourbox.com

A lot of competitions and calls for submissions are quarterly, which means that March 31st is a deadline I’m seeing all over the place. This is why I feel April is a good time to get back into the novels I’ve neglected for the past while – I can spend a few weeks, perhaps a month, immersed in the longer forms before focusing on shorter works once again. I can’t believe how much I’ve enjoyed my experiments with short fiction, though, and it’s quite possible my brain will drag me back to the short story form a little bit ahead of schedule. Of course, I can keep my eye on the various calls for submissions that regularly pop up even while I’m not focusing on the shorter forms, and if a story I’ve written is suitable I can happily send it on its merry way. It’s great to get the best of both worlds.

I’m lucky to have a husband who does his best to help my writing endeavours whatever way he can; this includes making me a nifty Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all the stories, submissions and competitions I’ve entered, as well as those I want to enter. I also keep a separate folder in my documents file for each magazine or competition to which I submit work, so there’s no confusion over what I’ve submitted, and when I submitted it. As well as that, a lot of places use software called Submittable, which is a great way of tracking your submissions and finding out at a glance what stage your submissions are at. Technology can help not only in finding out where the opportunities are, but also keeping track of what pieces have gone where. It wouldn’t do to submit the same story twice to two different places, of course. You want to give yourself the best chance, so it’d be a shame to disqualify yourself over a silly mistake.

The most important thing, of course, is to enjoy what you’re writing and not stress overmuch about competitions and submissions. But when you’re ready to submit, there’s no shortage of opportunity. When and if you do, good luck!

 

Imagination

Well, good morning.  I’m feeling a bit better today – a little bit stronger, a little bit more settled.  I hope the writing will flow a little easier today.  The going has been slow for the past few weeks on my WiP, partly due to the fact that I’ve been distracted by real life a little more than normal, but today I hope I’ll have a focused day.  *crosses fingers*

I’m thinking about imagination this morning, perhaps due to the fact that both my husband and myself had extremely detailed – and remarkably similar – dreams last night; we both dreamed about natural disasters, oddly enough.  In his case it was a volcanic eruption, and in mine it was a landslide, which I could ‘see’ as clearly as if it was happening three feet away from me.  It started me off thinking about the human brain, its capacity to imagine and dream, and how or why we place limits on our minds, sometimes.

I’m engaged in a battle with the climax of my book at the moment.  My characters are right in the middle of one of the big showdowns, and as I was writing yesterday I actually kept thinking ‘I can’t write that.  It sounds ridiculous.  I have to scale that back a little, surely.’  I caught myself doing this just as I had come up with something really interesting – and something I’d certainly never seen or read before – and it was enough to bring my work to a complete stop.  It was like I’d reached an impasse with myself.  My creative brain wanted to forge ahead and write this idea to its fullest, but my logical brain scoffed at it, almost as if it was afraid to break new ground, and decided it wasn’t happening.  I still haven’t resolved this argument, but I think I’ll revisit the issue today and hope my creative brain is a bit stronger than it was yesterday, and better able to stand up for itself.

This morning, after my husband and I realised we’d both had amazing dreams, I started to think again about imagination, and the freedom involved in letting it loose.  I wondered, too, why I’d stopped myself using my imagination yesterday.  In my dream last night, I surfed down a landslide as if it was a wave and I was a champion surfer, and my ‘rational’ brain had no objection.  It was all pure imagination, pure creative brain, and it felt wonderful to let it loose.  When it comes to writing, though, I regularly feel as though I’m urging myself to hold back, to explain everything, to make sure everything ‘makes sense’, to take care, to go slowly… it causes me great stress and anxiety, sometimes.  I’m all in favour of just writing, getting the story out, and then going back to ‘fix’ things later – I just can’t seem to do it myself.  I got myself so wrapped up in knots a few weeks ago trying to sort out some of the technology being used in my fictive world that I nearly drove myself to drink.  It didn’t occur to me for days that this is my world: I created this place, and it can run whatever way I want it to.  When I did finally realise that, it was as if I’d been allowed to take a deep breath after weeks of wearing a too-tight corset.  Once I’d given myself that freedom, the scene started to work as if by magic – I sorted out the technology, it was all fine, and the work proceeded easily.

You’d think I’d learn from that experience, but it seems not.  Here I am doing it to myself again.

So, I am going to learn from my dreams today.  Let your imagination run free, and see where it takes you.  Remember that writing is supposed to be fun.  It’s supposed to be about creativity and self-expression, as well as the challenge of creating a story and a world that ‘works’ and holds itself together.  I need to remember the bits about fun and creativity – the rest, as I’ve seen, will follow on naturally.  It makes sense that allowing your brain the freedom to breathe creatively will help your work – I just keep allowing myself to forget that part!

If you’re writing (or even if you’re not), good luck with whatever your brain is trying to get up to today.  And remember – your brain knows more than you think!