Writing is a great way to explore pushing boundaries.

Let’s take care of business right off the bat: consider my newest book on Amazon, Resisting Bristol Parker (print) or Kindle edition. It will be available on other platforms soon.

It’s one thing to have thoughts about someone we aren’t supposed to. Then add in the question of ethics. Which wins? I’m not talking about cheating in a marriage or something as that has been written about to death. What about crossing the line when it comes to the doctor/patient relationship?

I am drawing from real life a tiny bit – which I won’t go into but at some point I started the process of note taking and vomiting story ideas into the computer. What would happen when a damaged young girl being treated by a psychiatrist having a mid life crisis fell for each other?

I actually concocted the idea years ago but every which way I thought of it – I didn’t like it. But a few months ago I picked it up and busted out a 219 page book. I’m working on the sequel right now.

All of this is to say, maybe stuff is too taboo or unheard of in real life. Or plain wrong. Why not write about it? Your brain will figure out if it should take form on paper (or screen) and if others should read your creation. I have written things – full books, that I have decided are not going to find their way into the hands or minds of anyone. This could be for a number of reasons.

Writing is a thing of vast beauty. Even if you aren’t aiming to publish, may I urge you to write? No – not texting or emailing or commenting on social media. That isn’t writing…. and that is a blog post for another time.

So cross a boundary. Live a little though writing.

Writer Distractibility

I may have written about procrastination in a former post. Procrastinating is not the same as being distracted but they overlap. I don’t know what the cure is for procrastinating but I try and think of how good I feel once a project is done and not hanging over me.

Distractions are a bit out of our control but how we handle them is the real trick. Some days I’m a pro while other days I can hear a bird tweet and it’s the end of my concentration.

On a daily basis I deal with a number of things:

  • My son getting stuck with school work (can hardly be called distraction because school is important)
  • The dogs needing something; a walk, water, food, play
  • Downstairs neighbors slamming doors
  • Downstairs neighbors cooking nauseating food
  • Downstairs neighbors playing loud music
  • Phone calls from friends
  • Loud weather outside
  • Son talking super loud to friends over Xbox live (video games)
  • Emails
  • Laundry machine noise
  • TV I left on but am too lazy to get up and go turn it off.
  • Coyotes howling outside. (Yes, happens a lot).
  • Sirens outside. (Sparks paranoia; who’s place is on fire and will I have to evacuate?)
  • Test of the Emergency Broadcast System. Why is this necessary so often?
  • Allergy attack. Sneezing, coughing, now I have to get up and go find tissue.
  • UPS at the door. (FedEx man is truly special and doesn’t knock because he knows it sets off my dogs.)
  • Someone screaming outside.
  • *Car accident. (I live in a nice apartment on the second floor but still hear ALL these things below and yonder).
  • iPhone. Text messages coming in. Who is it and can it wait? Will they be mad if I don’t respond for an hour?

I used to have a pair of noise cancelling headphones, which I greatly suggest if you are riddled by distraction. You can get cheap ones at the hardware store or some fancy types online. They can be slightly annoying if you wear glasses (pressing into the sides of your head). I find that well meaning people still come in to disrupt you see the headphones and go, “Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt. By the way, when is dinner?”

There’s s reason people retire to some cabin on the top of a mountain and do their best work during snow storms. It’s quiet as heck. Which can work adversely and before you know it procrastination crops up. Either that or you have darker problems like Jack Torrance in the Shining.

I find if I practice I can get good at ignoring distractions but it’s hard and my brain is fickle. One day can be different than the next. I practice tuning out everything as if I’m in a bubble – but doesn’t always work. Mindfulness actually helps. It seems counter intuitive, but as we learned from therapy for our son the more you fight against what bothers you – the more it will bother you. Acknowledge it. Let it wash over you and give it no power. It’s there and not much you can do about it. Pretty soon it becomes powerless.

If you want to fully test the limits of your distractibility go sit in Starbucks on a busy day with tablet or laptop and try and write. No – not surfing social media – that’s different than writing a novel. Or blog entry.

Come to think of it…I do need some coffee right now. The Keurig will have to do.

*One time I heard a terrible screech and large thud. Had to look out the window, couldn’t see anything. Went back to computer. Later on when walking the dogs I learned some teenager had plunged her car over a median into the left side of the road and into several street signs, taking out large plants along the way. Car parts were scattered for a hundred feet or more. She fled the scene. Reno, NV is full of this kind of thing so distractions run high all the time.

Write a Novel on Your Phone?!

I was in Best Buy getting a cloud printer for my laptop that ended up not working and now I have to return it. I picked up a Bluetooth keyboard when it occurred to me I could use it to type on my iPhone.

So I downloaded Microsoft Word and paired the little Logitech keyboard to my phone and started typing sentences. Other than the screen being small -it is actually clearer than my stupid laptop. I could actually write something of length with a keyboard and phone. Downside would be lack of a mouse.

I’m old school. Started off on a massive tank of a machine – a 386 computer with DOS. I’ve had all sorts of Macs and PCs and laptops over the years. Nothing has been my “favorite”. I do get really excited when it comes to Open Source and Linux and therefore hate Apple’s proprietary stance.

Chromebooks are my thing for now. Maybe at some point I’ll even give that up and write on a phone or tablet.

Anything is really possible. I’m going to keep telling myself that.

Don’t Trick Your Audience

That’s a headline for a post that could be really long. Oops, adverb. I don’t have the Roundup loaded either. Maybe Monsanto does.

So do you feel mislead or tricked yet? I was doing some major procrastination, eating some strange mix with Cheetos and Sun Chips at the computer just now. Every single website I went to had flashing bits, pop ups and at least one very outlandish box that prevented me from seeing what was behind it until I either clicked it away or signed up for their unwanted newsletter – subjecting my inbox to further junk I’ll never read.

As a former web designer (then developer then master…) let’s review some basics, shall we?

  • Make content available fast. Don’t tease. Don’t trick. Don’t make them sign up, jump through hoops, answer questions, take polls or watch commercials. I’m going to repeat this because you may not understand it the first time.
  • People don’t read online anymore. They scan. At least with a computer. It gets worse with a tablet and even more brain dead with a smart phone. Get the to the point and if you don’t have one, rethink your content importance and relevance.
  • The web IS writing. Even YouTube videos have some writing to them. For blogs, story blurbs, descriptions, social media posts even titles – chose wisely, don’t be afraid to change, edit, revamp.
  • We’ve turned to making money off advertising and not ideas or content leading to ideas. 99.9% of websites out there are doing it wrong. But that’s a whole other segment on “new media”.
  • People very often turn to the web for information which in some cases narrows down to a specific type of help. Don’t promise help and not deliver.
  • Intrigue but don’t trick. Writing a book about an orange coloured monster who gathers cult status across a nation and becomes president? Then don’t promote that book or story by saying, “hottest read of all time…will take you on epic journey of self discovery”.
  • Don’t lay out a string of promises and then make the reader/customer/user do something in order to obtain it. At least minimize what they have to do. There are exceptions but this is why people abandon your content. They’re tired of visual noise, clutter and hoops to jump through.
  • Integrating flashing, bouncing, crowded, eye candy, attention blowing stuff? Well then you really missed my point. Go back to the top and start again.

Example to illustrate one or more of my points above:

This holiday season I turned to the internet looking for recipes. I would hit sites that had descriptions or flashy titles of “Best Bourbon Balls EVER”, “Mom’s homemade cherry pie”, “The fluffiest pancakes”. And yet when I clicked on them – I could not find the recipe. I went back and changed my search query to include “recipe”. All I was pulling up was articles that went on and on and on and had a lot of pointless jargon and stories and weeds and I could never make it to the end……because of pop ups, email newsletter sign up boxes, other floating boxes and a page – (that because of crappy code) – jumped around so much I had a seizure.

Where was the recipe? I don’t know. Maybe at the bottom. But I gave up. I turned to old fashioned PAPER cookbooks instead.

Don’t trick and tease. Yes, even in an erotic novel. Well, okay trick and tease but deliver the goods at some point. Deliver being the optimal word.

You Don’t Date Your Therapist

But you’d like to right? 

Revealing and sharing to a person you really don’t know. Who isn’t supposed to judge. And then they make you feel better. That’s a recipe for some taboo thoughts…

What a great idea for a book.

I haven’t written much in the past couple years due to…well, therapy or a large onslaught of things that hit my life causing me to suffer several emotional and mental break downs.

Really all you can do is give something time. And realize we really aren’t in control of what happens to our lives but we can control what we do with our lives.

We can stop hoping for easy lives and focus on building inner strength to enjoy the difficult lives we all have.

(Some famous therapist said that.)

I’m back at it. And thinking it’s time for a new laptop as well. My old desktop tower is getting tired. 

New Year’s Resolutions: shun all social media except blogging. Run more even if my brain works overtime to convince me not to. Stop crying when listening to Ghost’s “Life Eternal” (if Satanism or Metal bothers you – don’t look it up). And start going to bed at a decent hour. I would include write more but that’s not going to be a resolution – I’m just doing it no matter what. Fluff and fan fair cut out – writing is happening. 

See you in 2019! 


Jaws was good. Maybe great.

My great uncle and aunt used to pause and glance at the TV show I was watching and would utter, what is this?? Back in my day….

One could argue with each passing generation the change in technology, movies, books, genre and socially acceptable behavior is harder and harder to adapt to.

Murder never used to be on TV. Graphic sex was never in books. Yet now it’s commonplace, even boring.

I was watching Jaws the other day and couldn’t decide if it was past memories, past connections that ignited my fondness for a blood thirsty fish or if it was something more.

The music. That haunting clarinet and heavy reliance on deep brass instruments. The perfect way the music danced along and defined the characters.

Shot on film. Hey, yes, film! Our eyes love film. No matter how much CGI progresses, I have an unscientific theory that our brains will always respond more to gelatin emulsion and silver halide. No scene in Jaws (final cut) was unnecessary. Everything tied together. No senseless garbage and subplots. But that gets me to writing….

Writing. Jaws is a simple story. An archaic beast threatens humans. Our safety and life is put into play. That’s been told as long as people have been scribbling on cave walls. But the WAY it’s been told…now that’s clever. You are kept at the edge of your seat. You are entertained but out of your comfort zone. You want to look away but you don’t…

Jaws was great. Let’s face it. (Go watch it on Netflix.) All great movies start with writing. And all great writing starts with an idea. Turns out – that the idea doesn’t have to break the sound barrier or wow everyone with special effects. It has to effect the most important person around: the fan. The viewer. The reader. The follower.

Now…the Jaws sequels…..hmm

 

Off Twitter for Good

I don’t think much is real on there. I think it’s a popularity contest…who can get the most followers. Who can get the most re-tweets, likes, etc. Who can say the most sludge and get mentioned on CNN.

Most of all I didn’t like a strange evil version of myself that had evolved on Twitter. It wasn’t me anymore.

For my own sanity, self respect and desire to have some faith in humanity, I needed to leave. Sorry if I offended you. Don’t get me wrong – it was the “other me”. The “evil me”.

There’s a few of you who said kind things and gave me likes and rt’s that warmed my soul. Thanks for that. I get a sense of who is real and who is in a blind rage of an agenda driven roller coaster.

Twitter isn’t right for me. It’s not time well spent.

I’ll be blogging…because it forces me to slow down and think of words. Extract real emotion. Contemplate.

One less footprint on the web. Perhaps more in real life….