Tag Archive: personal


So for some of you who’ve been around on this blog for a while, you’ve heard me gush about this particular writing community from time to time. The Real LJ Idol can be found on livejournal.com, at therealljidol.livejournal.com. It is, perhaps, my favorite community on that particular website. It is a sprawling community, one that brings amateur and professional writers alike to its fold. Right now, it’s in between seasons, with the final season slated to take place in early 2014. 

I want to tell you all (and the world) how much I love LJI. How LJI has even changed my life, and produced irreplaceable friendships, and also a level of confidence in myself and my writing that I never quite had, before.

I’ve been writing for a long time. I have notebooks with my scrawling handwriting in them that date back to the late 90’s, when I was roughly 9-10 years old. I’ve posted fanfiction on fanfiction.net since the age of 12. But there was a time where I stopped writing. Most notably, it was after I got married. My whole marriage, I struggled with writing. It wasn’t as fun. I had ideas, but I couldn’t quite break the block. I was depressed.

And then, my ex-wife and I moved from North Carolina, back to our home state. And we were both unemployed, and looking for work, and we were living with my father. It was around that time, back in October 2011, that I discovered this writing community. A writing  competition, with reality show-esque twists like Survivor? Sure, I thought to myself, I’m game.

The commitment? Write one entry, based on a prompt given by the wonderful (and terrifying) host, Gary. Each piece was to be completed within 3-4 days. Sometimes, we got multiple prompts to do over longer periods of time. Sometimes, we’d get an Open Topic, which we all then would proceed to Flip the Fuck Out, because wtf does Gary have up his sleeve? Better bring our A Game! 

It’s because of this community that I found the commitment to write on a weekly basis again. And then on a daily basis and pursuing my own projects with renewed vigor, once I got voted out at 30 Weeks (and made it to the top 30 out of some 300+ contestants — not bad, if I do say so myself). It forced me to grow as a writer. To experiment. To learn how to tell non-fiction in a way that was compelling, that had a point, that didn’t feel like an LJ entry. 

This is a writing competition you simply cannot forget. The struggle, the pain, the cursing of Gary for some really absurdly weird prompts. The camaraderie you develop with your fellow contestants. I met my best friend Sarah through LJI Season 8. We started talking as the season was heading towards the end, and she made it to 4th place.

LJI restored my faith in myself as a writer. Made me realize that yes, writing is my life’s blood. I need it to breathe. I need it to cope. And I was competing in Exhibit B (a mini-season) when my ex-wife told me she wanted to end our marriage. It was Idol that carried me through those rough few months immediately following the news. Idol that kept me writing when all I wanted to do was quit, and give up, and never write again and never feel again. 

I implore you all, when I link the Sign Up Sheet, to get a livejournal account. To give Idol a spin, just like I did. It may be a writing marathon, a test of your skills and your ability to pull something out of your ass when there’s no time and no ideas, but it is, hands down, the best writing competition. It is the first of its kind, and no others can quite compete.

Thank you, LJI, for shaping me into who I am today. For shaping me into the writer I am today. For introducing me to wonderful, amazing people who enrich my life and make me a better person. For the support I found when my ex-wife severed emotional ties with me. 

And thank you, Gary, for pulling it all together for us every year, for veterans and noobs alike. This labor of love has done wonders for me, as I’m sure it’s done wonders for others, as well. ❤

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NaNoWriMo

Is it November yet? I swear, these days just keep getting longer and longer…

I started my job very early Monday morning (12am). I did manage to write about 1350 words yesterday, despite that. This week is basically a test drive up until Friday, so I can figure out how the hell I’m gonna manage to watch my kid and write my words and get some sleep during November. 

I’m also heavily crushing on a writer-friend of mine I met through LJ. His words have always taken my breath away, and getting to know him a little better has made that a little worse. 🙂 So I have romance on the brain, just a little bit, which is making me want to write even more — but right now, I’m trying to relax and let my brain settle and maybe nap (I woke up early this morning in an effort to help keep me vaguely on a schedule for tonight — when I go back in at midnight…).

I want to embark on this journey with the final draft so bad. I know I’m not going to go much over 50k — I’ve been averaging that the past few months, and while I like to make NaNo a challenge for myself (and last year, challenged myself to 90k a month or a finished book — and surpassed both goals), adjusting to working a crazy life of third shift and just plain working again after three years of NOT working, I think 50k will be a bit of a tough feat.

But I WILL write every day, and I WILL push myself to at least achieve that goal. Writing is my life. It’s who I am; it’s how I breathe — and I can never, ever forget that. 

Oops?

Sometimes, I write some pretty dark material. Part of it is because, like many other writers, I’m working out my own persona issues through the words on the page. I get in touch with emotions, explore ones I don’t like to explore and do it from the safety of my keyboard. It’s great.

It’s not so great when you’re coming to terms with how abusive your own marriage was/is. And you find yourself pulling direct dialogue from a conversation you’ve had from your (now ex) spouse. And all of those emotions — that anxiety you felt when she accused you of x y or z and how all you knew was the need to make it better, but being unsure of how to do so. I am very rarely triggered; I don’t take the term very, very lightly. I tend not to warn for things. 

Writing something that put me back into James’s shoes felt awful. Which means I either did it right, or I did it wrong. I’m not sure. But if I felt like it was hinting towards more sinister things to come, it made me realize how dangerously close I was to a situation that many would have deemed abusive without a second thought. With all of the manipulation and passive-aggressive and outright aggressive and abusive things said, I have plenty of first hand experience to play with. Dialogue to manipulate and utilize. Things I never would have considered abusive before are feeling that way, now. 

My therapist once told me I say “I understand,” a lot. To the point where he lightly suggested I may be too understanding. I’m really starting to see why. Oh boy.

And here’s the part that made me have to stop writing, today. I finished the section and stopped. Good thing was I already wrote 2k by that point. 🙂

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