Saturday, April 28, 2012

Negative Habit

[neg-uh-tiv] adjective, noun, adverb, verb, neg·a·tived, neg·a·tiv·ing, interjection
1.expressing or containing negation or denial: a negative response to the question.
2.refusing consent, as to a proposal: a negative reply to my request.
3.expressing refusal to do something: He maintained a negative attitude about cooperating.
4.prohibitory, as a command or order.
5.characterized by the absence of distinguishing or marked qualities or features; lacking positive attributes ( opposed to positive): a dull, lifeless, negative character

I am not a naturally laid-back person... I have to work at it. I know this seems like a paradox, but I tend to care about things a tad too much. What can I say, I'm a very passionate person. :)

I truly believe that negativity and complaining (constantly) are toxic to the body and mind, as well as addictive.

I strive for positive thoughts. After could always be worse, and you should count your blessings and be grateful. I try to keep my complaining to a minimum.

Don't get me wrong... I believe a good vent every now and then is very healthy... but I try to vent responsibly. No one likes that friend who still "vents" about the wrong that was suffered upon them last year.

I know this doesn't seem like a post about writing, but I truly believe that you need to have a positive outlook to be able to think creatively. Negative thought is very habit forming (not to mention, contagious), and if you are exposed to it on a regular basis, even if you try to stay positive, that negativity will seep in.

Once that negativity is in there... your confidence, energy, and even your characters suffer!

I never realized how common place it is, (at least in my neck of the woods), for these seemingly innocent little complaints, or negative thoughts to be used as the main structure of "small talk" until recently. It is simply terrible how many times I find myself in one of these conversations!

This is the stuff that blocks creativity, and I am actively trying to break this "Negativity Habit".

So the question is this: how do you block negativity from your day to day life when it is the socially accepted form of communication?  How do you keep a positive friendship with a negative friend?

Is this why writers tend to be hermit-ish? LOL!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Scouting for footholds...

I have never been one of those writers who can just sit down and write. You know who I mean, those people who “think with their fingers”, the free writers… I can’t even stand to just sit and type what I’m thinking!

If I were to get up each morning and sit down at my keyboard and free write for ten minutes, it might go something like this:
I have no real idea what to write today, but I’m going to sit my butt down here and type about my book until I get good and warmed up, even if.. I think I forgot to press the BREW button on the coffee pot, damn it… well… too late now, I set my egg timer already. It’s much too soon in the day to break my own rules. Speaking of egg timers, eggs sound really good right now… hmm.. I think that last thing I had to eat was that chicken snack wrap yesterday afternoon… that’s probably not very healthy. If I don’t eat better I’m gonna screw up my metabolism, at least that’s what mom tells me… speaking of mom, I should call her… I haven’t talked to her in a while… Maybe I’ll ask her to lunch this week. Maybe I’ll invite her to that new Cajun… crap! Write ABOUT THE BOOK, CASEY! Okay, about the book, the booookkk… soooo I’m thinking about maybe having my main character… oh you know what I think my villain maybe … um… suddenly there is an asteroid plummeting from the sky!!!
That is ten minutes of my life that I will never get back.

I think Ernest Hemingway said it best, in his quote:
“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”

If I’m expecting to climb Mount Manuscript, I’m going to bring my climbing gear, and I am not going to start climbing until I scout out my footholds. That is my route to the top. :) Especially as a newer “climber”, being less experienced, I don’t trust myself to go wandering around on that mountain side with out getting completely lost.

I usually have a "scene snapshot", that consists of about a sentence description of what comes next:


Its one line, shortened as much as possible, just enough to remind me what direction/emotion my story is heading in this next bit.  I write this line at the top of that days composition note book page (I keep a fresh composition notebook journal for each project.) and then I mull it over as I wait to fall asleep.  If I have any additional thoughts about the scene, any ah-hah! moments if you will... I jot them quickly on the comp page below the scene snapshot. 

I have been doing this for a little while now, and I really has doubled my productivity! I am happier with my writing day, and enjoying it much more.  I wake up excited to get to the WIP that I have been gearing up for all night! 

I would like to point out, that this is not the same as an outline, but it has some of the same benefits. :) It is, quite possibly, the best of both worlds... a harmony of outlined preparation, with discovery writing fun!


If you like this way of writing, I recommend reading Rachel Aaron's Pretentious Title (she has many of these styles in her toolbox, plus her blog is fun to read.)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Its official...

Okay, friends... I did it!  I took my husbands name. :) 

I am Casey L. Clark.

Currently my URL is

Since caseylclark.blogspot is taken, I have to put some thought into my new URL... I'll keep you guys posted on this, but for now, I'll just leave it as is. :)

I must admit, it wasn't an easy decision.  I have been Casey L. Conley for 31 years.  It was a bitter-sweet moment, when I hit delete on the Conley in my profile. 
I am happy, and excited for this new part of my life to begin, so I felt a tiny bit silly at being sad over changing my Twitter handle!

 *I know, right?*

I think we all have those moments, those little things that make us nostalgic. 

Exciting changes are happening, my friends!  In the last year I have undergone some major life shifts!  I have to say, its been a wild ride... but now I'm am so excited to settle into my new life (and a little peace and quiet!).

Its gonna be good. :)

p.s.  I have been a terrible blogger, with everything going on... but I shall do better! promise!!! :D

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What's in a name?

So, as some of you know... I just got married. *happy dance* 


I am in the process of taking my husbands name, do I change my public name? 

If I want to write under my legal name I should change everything now, before it is too complicated and I have contracts, etc... right? 

I have heard other authors talk about legal ramifications of using a different name for publication, when you switch publishing houses for whatever reason... not that I foresee this as an issue, but I do want to be smart about these things.

I would like to use my married name, Casey Clark. (the literary world loves Clarks :) *plus it has a Stan Lee style alliteration to it, much like my maiden name, only better!*

Decisions, decisions.

Grounding the reader using "The Pyramid of Abstraction"

In my geekery on writing education, I have stumbled upon a concept introduced in both of these sources by Brandon Sanderson (whom I have ...