Four Skills I Wish I Were Good At

Today, one of Mama Kat’s prompts is to write about something you wish you were good at. I can’t just name one thing, so instead, I’m going to make a list of skills I wish I possessed.

1. Creative writing. Like I said on Sunday, I don’t really have a vivid imagination at all and my works of creative writing aren’t all that original at all. Now of course Julia Cameron (from The Artist’s Way) and others say you really don’t have to have natural talent to be a creative. Maybe then, I wish I had the perseverance to actually sit down and write those tons of freewrites, raw drafts, etc. it takes to come up with a coherent story in the end.

2. Photography. Okay, I don’t really mean the ability to point the camera correctly, set the right filters, etc. That’s a skill I will never possess due to being blind. I rather mean the ability to find picture-worthy things in my environment and then direct my staff to take pictures.

3. Language learning. This is a broad skill. Again, it is not something I wish I were good at per se – I already think I’m a decent language learner if I set my mind to it. Of course, I wish I were better at phonics in general, so that I could more easily develop decent-sounding speech in the languages I know (which currently is singular language, honestly, as I only know English as a second language). However, as with creative writing, I wish I had the perseverance to actually devote myself to learning a language rather than wanting to be able to write a blog post in said language immediately.

4. Distress tolerance. Ha, let’s share a skill that isn’t just useful for the fun of it. I really wish I were good at tolerating frustration. In dialectical behavior therapy, this is considered a skill that can be learned indeed, but I honestly am highly skeptical about it in my case at least.

What do you wish you were good at?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Sunday Ramble: Creativity and Imagination

Today, I am a little uninspired with respect to my blog, so I thought I’d join in with E.M.’s Sunday Ramble, for which the prompt, interestingly, is creativity and imagination. The idea is that we answer E.M.’s five questions on the topic and ramble on as we see fit. Here goes.

1. When did you first discover your love of writing?
I honestly don’t think I ever knew how to write without loving it. That being said, I didn’t start writing stories or poems consistently until the fifth or sixth grade and I didn’t start a diary that I kept regularly until I was thirteen.

2. Would you say that you found your imagination at a young age or when you became older? If you want to, share something you discovered with your imagination.
Imagination? What imagination? I honestly don’t think my creative writing is particularly imaginative. My parents used to say I was a good writer, but they probably never meant it, as they too recognized my writing was full of plagiarism and, if it wasn’t, was pretty much a retelling of my own life.

That being said, when my sister and I did pretend play together, I was always the one making up the stories. I guess back in those days, they were imaginative enough for someone at that age. My imagination just never developed; it rather regressed.

3. What is your favorite genre to write about? (Example: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, True Crime, etc.)
Other than blog posts, I mostly write poetry and flash fiction. My poetry is just word vomit I guess and with respect to my flash fiction, the advantage is the fact that I don’t have to finish the story I started in an original way.

When I still wrote short stories and even a few novels-in-progress, my favorite genre was realistic young adult fiction. I did attempt to write a few short stories in this genre again recently, but really they got nowhere.

4. Do you ever get “writer’s block”? If so, do you have a reason of why it happens?
Sure I do; that’s why I’m writing this post rather than an original blog post. I honestly don’t know why it happens. In my case, my writing inspiration just tends to ebb and flow.

5. Can you tell me something that I do not know that you do not mind sharing about your style of writing?
I always write with an audience in mind. Even when I write in my private diary, I explain stuff that I myself know and write in a style that is “censored” in a kind of way. It didn’t use to be this way when I first started keeping a diary. In fact, when first starting an online diary in 2002, I was reminded that I had to explain things to people because they weren’t in my head like my private diary’s inner companion was. Now, nearly twenty years on, it’s the other way around.

Dear 2021…

Twenty-twenty won
That’s how you begun
For good or for bad
All that we had
Back then, you would continue
And you did

For most, it was probably a sad thing. COVID wasn’t over with. In fact, it’s likely here to stay.

For me, it was a good thing though. At the end of 2020, I was approved for the right level of one-on-one support for a year. I just found out last week that it got approved for another two years to come. I am so relieved! For me, I am more than happy that twenty-twenty won. At least in this respect.


This piece was written for Friday Writings, for which the optional prompt this week is “Dear 2021…”.

Why I Write What I Write #OpenBook

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” – Flannery O’Connor

Yesterday, I read Stevie Turner’s post for the Open Book Blog Hop and the topic really struck a chord, as did the accompanying quote, which I copied above. The question Stevie poses for this week’s hop is why we write what we write.

I mostly write personal essays, journal entries and other works of autobiographical nonfiction. It may surprise you that I didn’t start out this way. As a child, I wrote fiction more than I wrote diaries. I wasn’t too imaginative, but I tried my best and my parents and teachers were pretty impressed. I always wanted to be a writer.

I started writing a regular diary when I was thirteen. About nine months later, I read Anne Frank’s diary and pretty quickly decided I wanted my diaries published when I’d grow up. That never happened and isn’t going to happen either, not even here, since my crazy ramblings of the time are none of my current day readers’ business. It was 2000 at the time, so online diaries already existed, but I was unaware of their existence.

I continued to write some fiction on a semi-regular basis and aspire to get at least some pieces of fiction published at some point until my late teens or early twenties. Now, I don’t have any aspirations for getting any fiction published.

As for why I write what I write, there are two main reasons. The first is to express myself. I revived this specific blog in 2018 in an attempt to allow myself to write more from the heart than I was permitting myself to do on my old blog.

As an offshoot from the wish to express myself comes the wish to find likeminded individuals. I blog in English because the English-language blogosphere on WordPress and Blogger is much larger and by extension more diverse than the Dutch one, which consists primarily of wannabe “influencers”. Through my writing, I aim to connect to people who share similar experiences to mine.

With respect to my fiction, this has always been the goal of my writing, really, too. My fiction always had very strong autobiographical components and I was looking to diversify young adult fiction. I am sometimes surprised at how well-represented people in minority positions, including multiple minorities, are in fiction nowadays. As a teen, my goal was to be part of that movement. I guess by merely writing openly about my experiences online, even though I’m no longer engaged in activism, I may be doing this.

#IWSG: My Go-To Writing Book(s)

IWSG

Hi all! It’s the first Wednesday of the month and you know what that means? It’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) to meet. I have been doing really well in the writing department over the past month. In July, I published 30 blog posts, including some creative writing. I didn’t write everyday, at least not intentionally, but on the days I did write, I more than made up for this.

I have truly felt my creative juices flowing over the past month, not just with respect to writing, but crafting too. Whether this is due to my new psychiatric medication or not, I do not know. I can only hope that it will last for a long time still to come.

Now on to this month’s optional question. This month, we’re asked to write about our favorite writing craft books. Those books that, each time we open them, we learn something new or are inspired to write or try a new technique.

Well, I am not a big fan of writing “manuals” so to speak. I tried the book Diy Mfa and didn’t get beyond the first chapter. I prefer to just write and not be told how I should be doing it.

That being said, I do have a ton of go-to writing craft books. They are, however, collections of writing prompts. When I’m uninspired, I love to open one of those and see where the muse leads me. Most of these, of course, deal with journaling, as that’s my primary method of writing. Examples of books I love include The Year of You by Hannah Braeme, the eBook collection Journaling with Lisa Shea and 412 Journaling Exercises and Prompts for Personal Growth by Meredith Lane.

One series of books dealing with creative writing I love though is the Adventures in Writing series by Melissa Donovan. One of the books in the series is a collection of writing prompts. Another offers 101 more general writing exercises. The last one, Ready, Set, Write is more of a traditional “manual”. I like that one. I really think this series would be my go-to book series for inspiration that moves me out of my comfort zone.

#IWSG: Breaking a Record!

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Hi all! It’s the first Wednesday of the month and this means it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group to meet. At the moment, my thoughts aren’t with writing really. However, I wanted to share my contribution to the #IWSG anyway.

Last month, I was a real writing ninja. I, of course, participated in the #AtoZChallenge. That did get a bit boring as the challenge proceeded, but I managed to finish it after all. I’m so glad I did, because it gave me real new motivation for keeping up the blogging habit.

Not only did I write the 26 posts for the challenge, but I actually wrote more posts in the month of April than I had in any month before since being a blogger. I published 41 posts this month. Seriously, in all the more than eighteen years I’ve been blogging, I didn’t publish this many posts in one single month!

Blogging aside, I also wrote quite a few other pieces. I have been journaling almost daily for a few weeks now. Sometimes, I just wrote a couple of sentences, but sometimes I wrote more. I have particularly loved expressing my gratitude in my journal. I’ve also loved writing responses to Day One’s daily prompts. Some of them weren’t too inspiring, but some definitely were.

For the upcoming month, I hope to be able to write daily again, be it on my blog or elsewhere. I’d love to make use of the many journaling prompt collections I have. I transferred some from my computer to my iPhone, so that they will be more readily available to me.

Now on to this month’s optional question: has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? Well, not really. I mean, I get the occasional critical comment. For example, when I still blogged on my old blog, there was a person who commented on each of my posts mentioning my alters. Their comments invariably stereotyped people with dissociative identity disorder and told me that I was faking having alters and needed treatment for a personality disorder. Well, yes, those comments weren’t what I’d hoped for. Then again if I put myself out there like this, no doubt someone’s going to use it as a way to try to offend me. That’s how the Internet works.

Other than that, the most surprising comments I’ve got were compliments on my creative writing. I know that most people want to build each other up even if they don’t fully mean it, but still, it’s quite cool to get a compliment on a poem or piece of flash fiction. Similarly, having had my piece accepted into an anthology back in 2015, wasn’t what I’d expected at all. That one was creative nonfiction, but I honestly had written it in the span of like an hour or so and had been rather impulsive submitting it. I was so elated to have the piece accepted for publication.

How about you? Do people ever respond to your writing in a way that you haven’t expected?

#IWSG: Favorite Genres to Read

IWSG

Welcome to another installment in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) meeting. This past month, I’d set my expectations pretty high and, as such, was disappointed. I participated in #Write28Days with the aim of writing each day. Not surprisingly, that didn’t work out. I wrote 23 posts over the month of February. I also didn’t really broaden my horizons with respect to writing. That is, most of my posts were securely within my comfort zone. I really hope to be doing better this month.

Now on to the March 3 question: Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

Let me begin by saying my writing comfort zone is pretty narrow. I mostly write personal essays, if that’s even what my blog posts can be called. I would really like to write a memoir at some point, but I’ve been telling myself and others that for many years and yet never got down to actually doing it.

When I do write creatively, it’s usually poetry or very short pieces of flash fiction. I used to write some short stories and even have a young adult novel that I started writing as a teen yet never finished and that’s incredibly unimaginative I think.

My reading preferences do partly match my writing preferences, in that my favorite genre to read is memoir. Next to that comes young adult fiction about real problems, like the aforementioned work in progress also is.

I also read books that I couldn’t possibly be writing myself. Oh wait, I can’t really write a book at all, but oh well. I mean, I’ve recently developed an interest in science fiction and the like. I also occasionally read romance novels.

I rarely if ever read traditionally published poetry. That being said, I do love to read poems published on other people’s blogs. Same for personal essays and flash fiction. I mean, I’ve read a few books that were basically anthologies of personal essays, but I prefer to check out blogs for those.

With respect to what motivates my reading choice, I’m a true mood reader. I read a pretty wide variety of books, but they have to suit my mood at that time. I usually choose books based on the blurb. I can’t see the covers, obviously and I rarely read reviews on Amazon or Apple Books. When I do read reviews, it’s on other people’s blogs.

What about you? What motivates your reading choice?

#IWSG: Bloggy Friendships

IWSG

Hi everyone again. It’s the first Wednesday of the month and this means it’s time again for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) to meet. I must say I did pretty well with respect to my writing over the month of January. I wrote a blog post almost everyday. Of course, at the beginning of the month, I planned to do even better. That’s usual for me. I hope with #Write28Days in February, it doesn’t go in the same direction.

For those visiting from the IWSG who don’t know what #Write28Days is, it’s a kind of restart of the original #Write31Days October challenge, in which you pick a topic and write about it for the entire month. Thankfully, randomness is a topic too and we aren’t currently required to even have a topic. The idea is just to write everyday. Hence, this post really counts for #Write28Days too. I may or may not write another one this evening.

In addition to writing pretty consistently over the past month, I also took some steps outside of my comfort zone. I wrote two pieces of flash fiction. Both were extremely short, under 100 words each. I’m not sure they count as actual pieces and not just exerpts. In that case, there is no broader story as of yet.

Now on to this month’s optional question. Today, the IWSG crowd talk friendships and relationships developed because of blogging. I don’t honestly think I have any though. That is, I consider carol anne from Therapy Bits and Emilia from My Inner MishMash my friends, but I can’t remember whether I first “met” them through blogging or through E-mail lists.

Maybe though, I can count my husband. After all, though we met via a message board, one of the reasons he contacted me to meet up was that he’d read my blog. This blog, I’ve since made private because of the spammy visitors.

Other than this, I don’t think I’ve developed any bloggy friendships. I also must admit I’m horrible with reciprocating visits. I just realized, in fact, that, in general, I’m not that good at keeping in touch with friends, be it through my blog, the rest of the Internet or in real life. I really need to improve on that.

Flash Fiction: ER

I look(1) at the patient and notice(1) she’s cyanosing(2). I check her pulse, which is very faint(5). I tell my colleague in a whispering)3) voice: “Please get the doc. I don’t know what happened, but she has to come through.” I lovingly(4) stroke her arm. Despite being a nurse, I can’t act. I can’t imagine my own daughter is in such a feeble(5) condition.


This piece of flash fiction was written for MindloveMisery’s Menagerie’s Saturday Mix for this week, which was Same Same But Different. The challenge is to write about the five words provided, but not use them. The words were: see, blue, soft, kind and weak.

I saw that many participants used synonyms for “blue” such as “sad” and “moody”. For me though, immediately, words that convey the color blue came to mind.

Obviously, this piece is entirely the product of my own imagination. I have absolutely no idea whether there’s any realism about this tale, but I loved trying to come up with it.

#IWSG: Keep on Writing!

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Today is the first Wednesday of May and this means it’s another Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) day. I didn’t really understand the optional question for this month, but I have enough to share without answering it.

You see, I finally did pretty well in the writing department! Firstly, I finally completed the #AtoZChallenge for the first time in four years. I loved it actually. Of course, occasionally it got a little boring and difficult at the same time, but overall it was quite a cool experience. I got to know a few bloggers I hadn’t known before or only four or five years ago when I did the #AtoZChallenge on my old blog. It’s so cool to see bloggers actually keep blogging year after year.

Secondly, I wrote a few poems. I actually had some more in my head that I haven’t written down yet and I may’ve forgotten. I find it pretty easy to come up with particularly syllabic poetry. Not wanting to brag, of course, since I honestly don’t want to claim my poems are any good. However, the words flow quite naturally.

Next time it’s open at dVerse, I might try my hand at a quadrille. I had no idea what one was and thought it had a lot of rules. Apparently not.

I also wrote my very first piece of flash fiction. Looking back, I should have explained a little more, as my piece left a lot to be filled in by the reader. That was on purpose, but it did make it a little weird maybe.

I look forward to keeping up the writing mojo in May. Of course, I know I’ll face writer’s block, lack of motivation or both someday, but I hope I’ll continue to be inspired and motivated for a long time to come.