About Me

私の誕生日です!

私の誕生日です! (Watashi no tanjoubi desu!) (It’s my birthday!)

Sorry. Things just look and sound so much cooler in Japanese! (That’s for you, Philosopher! LOL).

WOOHOO! The big 2-4! Being twenty-four years old feels nearly exactly like being twenty-tree. Go figure. 😉

In honor of my birthday, I’m giving you all an incredibly short post.

In fact, that was it.

Have a terrific June 30th, everyone!

~L.M.

Writing

Protecting Your Eyes


Since I’ve started working from home full-time, I spend most of my work-day sitting in front of a computer screen. Most of you are probably used to this, but I am not quite adjusted yet. One thing I am struggling with is eye-strain. I have the unfortunate disadvantage of having horrible vision + astigmatism (bad astigmatism). I wear glasses, of course, but my prescription could probably stand to be updated soon. Because of this, my eyes are already jacked up. On top of it, my eyes are getting tired more frequently and they feel dry a lot. Sometimes I get headaches. I’ll bet some of you experience this, as well, and I decided to do a post dedicated to protecting your eyes while writing.

You can Google this yourself, of course, but I’m going to sum up some of the best tips I’ve found out there:

1. Let your eyes take a break. I’ve read that it is good to look away from your computer screen every now and then. Suggestions differ on the time to do this, but most agree that you should focus your eyes on one object that is far away from you for about 10-30 seconds.

2. Eye exercises can help. Yep. That’s right: you can exercise your eyes! Move your eyes away from your computer screen and move them around in lots of clockwise and counterclockwise circles. Also, practice the focusing trick mentioned in number 1.

3. Blink a lot. Blinking helps your eyes to secrete tears and fluids to keep your eyes hydrated.

4. If you wear contacts, maybe consider transitioning to glasses during computer time. Contacts increase the chance of your eyes drying out. Also, many people experience irritation when wearing contact lenses.

5. Use the amount of light in the room that makes your eyes feel comfortable. Most people agree that it is good to have extra light around when you’re staring at a computer screen for hours. I am TERRIBLE at this tip. I like writing in a dim room, but I suppose I’ll have to start turning on lamps or something!

6. Limit TV and computer time outside of writing hours. Because your eyes have just been staring at a screen for six-eight hours, give them a break when you have some leisure time. Read a book. Go for a walk. Play a game with your spouse or children. Just take a couple hours electronic- screen-free in order to let your eyes rest.

7. Get regular eye appointments with your vision doctor. Eye appointments are extremely important–especially for those of us who work at computers all day. My vision consistently needs an updated prescription and yours might as well.

8. Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water! This one is good not only for your eyes, but for every other part of you, too!

 

I hope these 8 tips helped give you some ideas for taking good care of your eyes! I wish you all an eye-strain-free day and a happy weekend!

 

Thanks for stopping by,

 

L.M.

Writing

When your characters have a plan, but you don’t know what it is…

“I think I have a plan,” Character A said. 

But I didn’t know what his plan was. That’s where I got stumped this morning during my writing time. When I typed those words, I knew it was true for Character A  to have a plan in his mind. He’s a smart guy after all. He figures things out. He’s good at solving puzzles. But I’m not. For a few moments, I sat scratching my head and staring off into space–afraid that Character A’s plan would derail my writing session today, because I didn’t know what his plan was!

I stared at the Sailor Moon wall scroll next to my desk. I watched my rats snuggle in their house. I stared at the carpet. I listened to the “Skyrim OST” on my iTunes. Then, finally, it hit–his plan! I started typing as fast as my fingers could go, afraid I’d forget the snippets of Character A’s plan that had come to my feeble mind. Thus, the writing continued quite smoothly until I’d written over my daily 2,000 word goal. *Whew*. We made it to the other side of Character A’s plan.

Isn’t it awkward when your characters know more about what’s going on in a story than you do? After all, didn’t you design your characters? Didn’t they come from your head to begin with? How is it possible, you might ask, for a character to have a plan and you not know what it is?

That’s a hard question to answer. As I’ve written here before, I truly feel like stories are already created and complete before you start unearthing the words that go with them. That’s why I maintain that Character A had a plan and it was a good one–I just didn’t quite see it yet.

How do we discover the plans our characters have? I don’t always know. Sometimes I have to rewrite. Perhaps I didn’t get the story quite right on the first go-round. Other times, like this morning, I’m able to somehow pull all the strings together and figure it out with grand “Aha!” moments. It’s still hard, though, and if you’re not careful, being out of sync with your characters can unravel a whole scene or chapter.

My advice? Don’t rewrite until you’re absolutely sure you can’t reconcile a character’s words or action with what needs to happen next. In some cases, you may need to step away for a while. Go write something else. Take a break, then come back and see if you can go on. If you can’t, chances are you might need to rework the dialogue or an entire scene. Other times, you have an epiphany and can get right back to work without rewriting; you’ve figured it out! Woohoo!

Writing is harder than most people think. Even for those people out there that have natural talent, writing is a skill that must  be nurtured and flexed as often as can be managed. For me, the hardest part about writing is plotting. Characters come very naturally to me, for some reason, but plotting? Nope. Especially since I’m mostly a pantser, writing a detailed, complex, and connecting plot can be a great challenge. Hence the reason Character A can have some grand plan in mind but my poor brain is stuck trying to figure out what it is…

Do you have any particular writing areas that you struggle with? Share with us and tell us how you go about correcting or exercising that area.

Thanks for stopping by, as always!

 

~L.M.

About Me · Balance · Haiku · Writing

Date-Night Haiku

Every week, my husband and I have “date-night”. Every Wednesday, my husband and I say “no” to any other plans and just spend time with each other. We started this tradition back in college, though it wasn’t always on Wednesdays. The day changes as needed, but since we’ve been married, Wednesday just works well for us. Since we do this in the middle of the week, it is a chance to rest, rejuvenate, and relax with each other. Sometimes we go out to dinner, sometimes we stay in. Typically, we watch a fun movie together or play a game. Either way, it is a magnificent night for snuggles and quality time  together.

In honor of tonight’s date-night, I thought I’d share a haiku. I’m a sucker for haiku, as you know.

Dreaming about you

I conjured your handsome face

Waiting for tonight

Awww, yay! A sappy, lovey-dovey haiku for you all! We writers have to make sure we’re taking adequate time to be intentional about our relationships. Most of us enjoy solitude and hiding away in our cave of wonders to get our writing done, but too much alone time can make you heartsick. Make sure you’re spending enough time with your spouse, significant others, friends, and families!

Do you have any special date-night traditions with your significant other? I’d love to hear! Share your comments!

~L.M.

Writing

Getting in the Writing “Zone”

I woke up this morning feeling extremely groggy. My husband left for work a bit later than he usually does and because of that, I was a tad bit later in getting to my office to sit down for work. As well, I received a phone call  I needed to answer mid-morning while I was writing.  On top of that, my focus has been very dodgy this morning. Despite it all, though, I have miraculously gotten some good writing in and finished with my 2,000 words a full 30 minutes earlier than I normally do. What’s my secret? Getting in the writing “zone”.

Just as many writers experience writer’s block, most of us also have this special place we can go to in our minds where, despite all distractions, we manage to get some of the best writing done. I like to call this my “zone”. My mind can somehow summon up creativity, the correct pattern of words, and the appropriate plot points even if I have trouble focusing. How I get in this zone is a mystery even to me, but I have some ideas of how it happens.

*I listen to similar music each day. Right now, I’m on a “Skyrim OST” kick (AMAZING for all you gamer nerds out there). Other days, I might listen to Celtic harp music. These two things share similarities of sound, so it helps my brain say, “Alright, L.M., time to write.”

*I write in comfortable clothing. I actually “get ready” much later in the morning instead of right after I wake up. I stay in pajamas until about 10:00 (after I’ve finished my manuscript writing) and then I take a shower and get ready. This keeps me feeling 100% comfortable while I’m writing. I think it helps my brain to feel warm and active.

*I keep my body hydrated. I drink a TON of water. It keeps my body functioning properly and it also helps the brain to perform the functions it should with optimum efficiency (the brain is something like 70-90% water!)

*I have a specific atmosphere in which I get amazing writing done. That can be different for all of us, but for me, I love low lighting, candle(s) burning, a fan blowing, and good music in the background.

*I put on my special robe. Yes, sounds weird, right? But in all seriousness, I have this fantastic, fluffy blue robe that I put on every morning before I write. It is like a magical robe! Okay, not really, but you get the idea.

I would probably feel comfortable assuming that most writers out there are creatures of habit. I think most of us probably have our weird, strange quirks in order to get our best work done. Just like professional athletes have strange “rituals” they do before games or tournaments, I think most writers develop their own daily rituals to get themselves in the mindset of creating and telling stories.

What do YOU do to get yourself in the writing “zone”, even if you have distractions in your life? I’d love to hear! Share a comment!

~Thanks for stopping by,

 

L.M.

 

 

About Me · Writing

On Today’s Agenda…

I totally could have slept in today. Like, for reals. I am SO sleepy! I also had crazy weird dreams. I tend to have extremely vivid, insane, colorful, movie-like dreams. For the last few nights, they’ve been nightmares. Thankfully, last night’s was a tamer sort of dream, but I still woke up feeling a bit strange. Thankfully, whatever I dreamed, I must have gotten good rest because I got my 2,000 words done this morning in record time! It only took me an hour and a half vs. several hours. I am on a roll! What’s up next for the day?

1. Finish blogging

2. Maiedae work

3. Editing 20 more pages of my novel

4. Mandatory 30 minutes of reading

5. Lunch with the hubby

6. Martial Arts classes (Taekwondo and Hapkido)

7. Maybe tidy the house if I’m feeling ultra-productive

Yay for productivity! I hope you all have terrific days! P.S>–I am wishing my precious furry children a happy birthday. You should check it out.

~Thanks for stopping by,

L.M.

About Me

Happy Birthday, Winterbell and Snowbell!

Happy Randomly-Picked Birthday to my fancy rats! Because I’ve had my rats for approximately two years, I thought it was a good time to wish them a random birthday! They didn’t get a proper celebration last year due to my own negligence, so I thought I’d give them a proper slew of birthday attention today! My girls are considered my “furry children” at the moment, since the Philosopher and I don’t have human children yet. I purchased the adorable sister pair after a really traumatic experience with a trio of gerbils. Despite the amazing care I had given them, all three of my gerbils died in the summer of 2010 after only living with me for about two months. Distraught and traumatized, I swore off gerbils forever and moved on to rats. I had read that rats were extremely hearty and very healthy. I can attest that those facts have certainly been true for my babies!

Winterbell and Snowbell have been a barrel of fun, cuddles, cuteness, and happiness. Rats are amazingly affectionate animals and have been compared to dogs in their level of loyalty to their owners. Through constant care and daily playtime with me, my girls have become joyful, tame, and happy rats. They get out-of-cage-time everyday and they love to climb all over my shoulders. If you have always wanted a rodent as a pet, I highly recommend rats. They are fastidiously clean (they bathe themselves like cats and will only go to the bathroom in their house–never outside their cage) and very good for taking out to play. My husband and I have never seen them poo or pee in a place they shouldn’t. Also, rats love you SO much! Every time my sweeties hear my voice, they come running to the edge of their cage and peek out to see if I’m close by. They also have incredibly different personalities. Winterbell is an introvert and a mama’s girl. Snowbell is very energetic and social. She’s always the one checking out new people who visit our house.

I will say, though, that if you get a rat, you need to get at least 1 friend for it. Rats are extremely playful and social. Since most of us are at work during the day, rats need a snuggle buddy, a play-time buddy, and a friend. You should all go get a pair of rats! Right away! They are very inexpensive and easy to care for!

Happy birthday, darlings! I love you so much!!!