I forgot I had this link saved to my Tumblr so I’m saving it here. 🙂
I recently wrote an article called “The ‘Lack Mentality’ Is Killing Us” and it is quite a direct discussion about how we hold ourselves back by reinforcing a self-defeating mentality. Writers and other artistic spirits really need to consider this, I think, because often the way we think blockades what we feel and often what we feel is the ink in our pens. Sometimes the stresses we put on our mentality make us run out of ink too quickly. Of course, I’m considering the external and uncontrollable factors in life that contribute to poor mental health as well, but nothing kills the creative drive faster than the “lack mentality”, which I define as: “the constant focus on what you don’t have or the habit of running away from the truth of your reality.” It truly is a slow, subtle suicide.
Real quick, I’m going to go over the points in my article and put them in a writer’s perspective:
- Unrealistic Expectations: A writer who sets super high or super low expectations on whatever they’re working on is encouraging delusion. Of course we want our writing to be good. Of course it may not be like some of the authors we admire. Having expectations is a taught behavior. Why not challenge yourself to see your writing just as it is? Keep it neutral. I’m working on a science-fantasy novel. I’m nearly at 58k words. That’s it. No shame. No forced praise. I’m writing a book. The goal is to finish it, get it published, and share it. (Goals are different than expectations. Goals are realistic marks to work towards in the present reality. Expectations are intangible illusions floating in your consciousness without substance in your present reality.)
- Shameful Views of the Authentic Self: Stop shitting on yourself. Please. Shame is not humility. Oh you made mistakes in your first or final draft? That’s okay. Your mistakes DO NOT erase your progress. No matter what kind of skill or resources you believe you’re missing to become successful, it will NEVER be a valid excuse to tear yourself or your work down. Period.
- Perpetual Negativity = Dis-ease: It didn’t hit me that disease was “dis-ease” until I started studying metaphysics. If you have dis-ease, aka discomfort, within you mentally or emotions, it needs to be addressed. Each moment you turn a blind eye to it for whatever self-depreciating reason you have, you are hurting your art. If you had a physical injury, you would go to the doctor immediately so it doesn’t get worse. Do the same for your mental and emotional health. You deserve it. The realms of thought and emotion is where your writing thrives! Writing is a wonderful vent and it can be a very good tool for being introspective, but there are some traumas that need even more serious attention. You are worth the attention, but ultimately, the choice is yours.
- Poor Application of Support and Resources: I recently discovered that if you follow people who tweet the #writerscommunity tag, they will follow back, chat with you, share their thoughts on writing and more. If you reinforce your own “lack mentality” you may think to yourself “What’s the point? Will they really like my writing? How could that advice help me when I’m not a good writer? I could try, but it won’t bring much progress.” Building those connections takes time and honestly, with the internet, it may not be as long as you think and may help you more than you realize. Whether it takes forever or not to network and market your writing, stop expecting (see point 1 again) instant gratification. Just like your writing process takes time, seeing the results of the support and resources you have applied to your work will also take time. In fact, your lack mentality took time to develop; it will take time to tear down its development too.
- No Sense of Prioritizing Health (Impulsivity): Quick story. When I was clinically depressed in 2016, to the point of indulging in self-destructive behaviors, such as physical harm, I deleted A LOT of the writing, artwork, and music that I created. I was making a little bit of money with it too, but I destroyed it all. My priorities for my artistry were shot to shit. My impulses took over and I wanted to do everything in my power to destroy my dream career because I felt I didn’t deserve it. I wanted to escape my own dreams. Little remnants survived that chaos and that’s why I’m here today writing this. If I had addressed the help I needed instead of clinging to temporary satisfactions that helped me distance myself from what was bothering me, things would be different. Your impulses aren’t always what you need. It’s not the same as instinct. Impulse is natural, but it’s worth understanding and evaluating whether it benefits your essential needs or not. So, writers, what are you escaping from? Does your procrastination benefit you in the long run or is it just temporary satisfaction?
- Invest In Yourself: 2016 was a year of hell for me, but I’m pretty sure my depression existed so much earlier than that. As it goes on, it’s hard to value yourself, your skills, and your ambitions. You must believe you are worth investing in if you’re going to fight the lack mentality. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying it’s necessary. It’s a need that must be prioritized. “If you come to terms with what your lack mentality truly is, eventually surviving it will become living.”
So yeah, I felt the need to share that. Read the full article here if you’d like. Thank you for reading and I really hope this helped.
My novel in progress, Spirit Strings, explores several metaphysical concepts, one of them being the chakras. Chakras are centers of energy that follow the spine and are often correlated with kundalini energy. I feel like hearing about the chakras is something that everyone relatively knows about, but delving into the intricacies of what they are and their origin gets a bit overwhelming.
That’s why when I write articles on the chakras, I try to keep it general, yet blunt. However, I want to discuss the details of the research I’ve done so far and how it’s helped me be more thoughtful about characterization.
(Disclaimer: the chakra pictures aren’t mine. I don’t take ownership of any of them.)
My article titled “Root Chakra and Grounding Crystals and Gemstones” has a list of stones for those who already know what the root chakra is, are into crystal healing meditation, and want to become more grounded. The metaphysical properties of the stones have some common themes: protection and balancing (specifically yin/yang or feminine/masculine energy).
Writing advice: Conflict is so important for our characters, whether it be internal or external, so they’re relatable and their development throughout the story is actually intriguing. You also gain this secondhand empowerment when they assert a sense of identity after the trials they go through or when they solidify any new or old philosophies they had about the life they live. That’s what grounding is all about, really.
The next article in the chakra series is “Sacral Chakra and Emotional Health Crystals and Gemstones” where the metaphysical themes the stones have in common are: stability and embracing personal power. I also like to mention any metaphysical/new age vendors that sell crystals/gemstones for chakra balancing. If you happen to be one, send me a message, please! I’ll mention you!
Writing advice: Similar to conflict, instability can be intriguing in stories too. Some of us like the over-emotional characters or relate to the ones that are insecure to a fault. They’re versatile in any genre and can be sculpted in any way. When I think of a character who has a blocked or overactive sacral chakra, I think about what they’ll need to go through or what events in their environment need to happen to encourage them to realize their purpose and get themselves together. A character tapping into their own creative power, especially when that power is triggered by an emotional hook is pretty mesmerizing. (However, I do think this can also be overdone when “the power of friendship” makes someone invincible. Like really? Kill this cliché.)
Solar Plexus Chakra
Then, I wrote about the “Solar Plexus Chakra and Self-Esteem Crystals and Gemstones” , which gives a list of stones who had these metaphysical properties in common: cleansing and purifying one’s willpower.
Writing advice: Think about the last person who made you feel great about yourself. Now think about the last person who made you feel like shit about yourself. Yeah, so humanity is interconnected and the human will does sort of an ebb and flow with our confidence. It’s all based on action. So when an event or a character causes something, there is a reaction and action to follow. Similar to the sacral chakra, events of causation encourages the embrace of personal power, but it also helps differentiate if the people we are acting for are bringing that personal power to its purest state of authenticity or transforming it into something else. Willpower can be manipulated, which is why my article offers stones that help people contemplate what kind of karmic hooks are in their lives. Characters in stories have to do the same (I know my main character does! She gets manipulated into joining a cult!).
The last chakra stones article I have up for now is “Heart Chakra and Self-Acceptance Crystals and Gemstones“, where the metaphysical properties of the stones provided have these common themes: harmony and healing.
Writing advice: The heart is where our dreams either prosper or wither away. Many writers talk about how it’s important that your characters have goals and ambitions. It’s important because it is the most relatable aspect of a character, if you ask me. Whether the goal is noble, selfish, mundane, or extravagant, their goal is what encourages the audience to follow the character on their journey. As they pursue that goal, there are some people they’re going to harmonize with and some people who are going to kick their ass (literally and figuratively). They may even be the same people. For someone to harmonize with who they are and find others they connect with, they have to reflect, heal, and cope with the pain they’re enduring. The desperado archetype often goes through this as they’re running from their past, but end up running into something or someone that makes them face it. They’ll probably hate it, but desperadoes are already mopey, so a little more angst won’t hurt.
That’s all I have for the stones. I still need to write a list for the throat chakra, third eye chakra, and crown chakra. However, I want to mention that those seven chakra aren’t the only chakras AND IT DRIVES ME NUTS THAT PEOPLE DON’T TALK ABOUT THEM MORE! There are subpersonal or transpersonal chakras that are fascinating to learn about. I recently wrote an article called, “The Chakra More People Should Talk About: The Earth Star Chakra“. I shared it with the chakra subreddit and, not surprising, some people had no idea what it was. Guess how it helped me with writing characters?
Writing advice: I called this the “learn from history” chakra in my article because it’s the energy center that not only gives you the insight to identify harmful patterns in your life, but also encourages you to apply the knowledge you gain from learning about your past to your present reality. Isn’t this exactly what most of our characters are expected to do? And when they don’t learn, the circumstances of their actions screw them over again. This is not only relatable, it borders on cliché. It’s one of those “good” clichés I think because audiences often expect characters to stop making stupid decisions that disempower them (unless it’s quite funny and they cleverly escape out of the crappy situation they put themselves in). But honestly, the earth star chakra is all the lower chakras wrapped up into one and it’s an energy we all resonate with, which is another thing the earth star chakra does! It’s an energy many of us understand and you connect or harmonize with those who get that as well, just like a main character crosses paths or journeys with characters that get them.
All in all, chakras are awesome. I can’t wait to write more crystals and gemstones like the rock-loving freak I am, but I wanted to share this because the study of metaphysics and the philosophies that come with it are mesmerizing. It’s the heart of my science-fantasy novel, truly. Go to my homepage if you want to read a summary of the story. Hope you enjoyed this read. I’ll share the findings behind more of my research soon!
If you read my articles on the chakras, thank you so much. Every read and tip I get supports me financially.
This website has been my go-to for referencing and double-checking some historical or mythological knowledge. Because my novel is about aliens who learn from the gods who inhabited earth for a while, I like to make sure any symbolism or mention of any beliefs/philosophies linked to them are generally correct.
Here it is: Ancient History Encyclopedia
Part of my writer paranoia, even though I’m writing under the genre of science-fantasy, the most “what if this happened even though it’s not completely historical or practical” genre ever, is the fear of being called out on not portraying characters who I base off of mythology, history, folklore, or the like in a substantial or entertaining way. The greater majority of my characters are more original, but I have several mythology based characters I simply don’t want “out of character” or… “out of lore”. I don’t know what to call that. I don’t know. Maybe all of this is simply pagan paranoia. I don’t want to dishonor any deities or legends, fictional or not.
If anyone has any other sources, feel free to share.
Dialogue tags – or speech tags – are what writers use to indicate which character is speaking. Their function is, for the most part, mechanical. This article is about how to use them effectively. Continue reading HERE
I simply loved this, so I’m saving it here.
God! So I’ve had a bundle of characters slowly emerging into fully-formed characters instead of jumbled tid-bits of information in my head and when I finally got to introducing them in my novel, my mind went blank and I went into the “I have to write this well or else everyone will hate it mode,” and dear god that was the worst few minutes of my life because I felt so STUCK.
Here’s how I got around it.
First, I posted this on Instagram.
Then, I did a bunch of crappy stream of consciousness writing. I didn’t just stick to statements. I asked myself questions about the characters, where they were from, why do they look they way they do in my head, why do they act like that, who do they know, etc. It was a mental interrogation that got the gears rolling in my head. I did this for every character in the group and transitioned from spammed questions and anxiety driven writing to decent descriptions of my characters; who they were, what their abilities were, where they came from, how they got to the moment where they’re introduced in the story.
It was like:
Writing part of brain: Who the hell is?
Creative part of brain: Uhhh
Writing part of brain: Why do they look like that? Why do they sound like that? What happened to his legs?
Creative part of brain: I don’t really know. I think he shredded them into pieces?
Writing part of brain: Pieces…Fleshy pieces or mechanical?
Creative part of brain: Mechanical. He’s an android.
Writing part of brain: How the hell did an android like him turn out to be so crazy?
Creative part of brain: Well, it started with this girl he REALLY liked…
It was actually…really cool and gave me a little bit of hope for writing more about them today. Sometimes writing is just letting the words, no matter how delirious they sound, just flow. Trying too hard to sound like a narrator that says nothing wrong totally stunts the flare of any style you’re trying to add to your writing, I think. First is the writing, then there’s the editing. Sometimes you gotta get it out, goddamn it. Open the flood gates.
So, I had a few chapters of my novel on Tapas.io for a while, but I don’t find it to be the right platform. Instead, I’m going to post excerpts of my novel I find I’m really proud of. I’m still considering Wattpad, but I don’t know yet. We’ll see.
I’ve been working on Spirit Strings since I was 18. It was an on and off thing, but I’m hoping to keep permanently on.
The novel is currently at 44k words. My goal is for it to reach 80-100k only because I expect it to be that extensive.
I just want to get the novel done. I want to finish the first draft, polish it as best as my years of professional editing experience can, and self-publish it.
I am also a digital artist and musician as well and because most science/fantasy requires a lot of world building, I’m hoping to provide visuals in due time.
For now, I’m taking it one step at a time. Novel first.
Thanks for reading.