Monday, November 21, 2011

Guest Post by Jay: A Little Perspective

What a fast paced world we live in. We nearly have instant everything, and thanks to constantly improving technology, we can stay “connected” virtually everywhere. We have stimulation coming from all directions twenty-four hours a day, and because of this our world can get very small. Our lives are busy with a million things to do and a million more clamoring for our attention.

In all of this it can be easy to get lost. By that I mean our focus narrows to the point where we see barely beyond our own selves and what immediately makes us happy. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back to get a little perspective.

The next time you’re up in a tall building, take a look out a window at your surroundings. Look off in the distance, or down to the ground far below. See the hundreds of people walking or driving around, hurriedly going from one place to another. How much of what they are doing is really important, and how much of it have they convinced themselves is important?

Did they take the time to enjoy anything that morning? A while ago, world class violinist Joshua Bell played his priceless Stradivarius in a DC metro stop during rush hour. One person stopped to listen to him. Now I realize that many of those people were genuinely busy, but one out of the thousands that walked past?

The next time you’re camping or otherwise outside under a clear starry night, take a moment to just look up at the sky. Stare at the stars long enough that you begin to grasp just how big the universe is. Find that constellation you used to look for as a child. Realize that many of those ‘stars’ you’re looking at are actually galaxies. Some of your problems will look a little smaller.

When you’re having a bon-fire and roasting marsh mellows with friends, let the fire mesmerize you like fire can. Watch the flames dance around and let your mind wander. Sometimes you’ll think about the past; you’ll recall memories you hadn’t thought of in years. Sometimes your mind will look to the future, about worries or goals you’ve had in mind but perhaps let slide.

Do you remember that scene in Ratatouille when the food critic says bring him a dish with a little perspective? Do you remember what happens to him when he eats the food? That’s exactly what I’m talking about here.

So don’t lose your perspective. It’s not the end of the world if things didn’t work out exactly as you planned. Grades are important, but they’re not all important. Your job is never more important than your family. Be glad to have a roof over your head and food to eat. A billion people don’t know what that feels like.

It sounds cliché, but there’s a great principle behind the saying to “stop and smell the roses.” We can get so thoroughly distracted by this hamster wheel called life that we don’t even take the time to see what’s right in front of us, like a brilliant musician putting on a free show.

My flight back to my home town is tomorrow!
So I decided to publish the first guest post before leaving.

I wasn't expecting such an intriguing response, but this was just brilliant. It's one of those posts which makes you think. I loved it! So thank you Jay for letting me publish this on my blog.

Share your views and don't forget to check out Jay's blog: Books, Music and Photographs
(He has managed to complete NaNoWriMo, which is a BIG accomplishment, so congrats to him!)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

PurpleMist's December Guest Post Series.

I'm having a guest post series in December. I will be away to my home-town, meaning I won't have much time to write. So I would LOVE it if you guys wrote something for THIS blog.
It can be anything, really.
For more details check out my Guest Posts page.
If you just can't think of any topics to write on, visit my Blogging List/ Ideas page :D
I hope you guys will be interested in sending your stuff so this blog won't be dead and empty in December!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Five Things To Do When You Have Writer’s Block.

You can easily find tips on how to overcome writers block by searching in google. Most of them are similar (change environment, go outside etc) and may not actually work for YOU.

So I've come up with a list of 5 things which helped me stay motivated when working on my novel. I know I'm not the best person to take tips from, but I think I can understand what new or young writers experience when trying to write.

I used my last year's NaNoWriMo experience and my problems with finding motivation to write before and after the challenge to come up with 5 things which helped me write through writer's block.
And if your writing habits are anything like mine, they might work or you too!

1. Use write or die.

Write or Die is a web application that encourages writing by punishing the tendency to avoid writing. Start typing in the box. As long as you keep typing, you’re fine, but once you stop typing, you have a grace period of a certain number of seconds and then there are consequences.

And it's free! There's an online version which you can use. I didn't think it would help me, but trust me it did. It literally forces you to write, which is exactly what you need to get rid of the block. Click on the picture to read more about it!

2. Find inspiration.

Writers love to write, but that doesn't mean they always WANT to do it. So, they need inspiration.
Ask yourself, what inspires you? And work from there. You can get inspiration from all sorts of things like song lyrics, other novels, movies, the things people around you say or do, or just random photos which tell stories. Find that thing which gives you an idea and use it for your next scene.

3. Remember why you started to write in the first place.

Writing isn't the easiest thing to do, so there must have been a reason why you decided to do it. Was it because you love it? Maybe you read a novel and you thought about how great it would be to write one yourself. Or maybe you wanted to challenge yourself, and prove to everyone around you that you can do it. Remember your reasons, your goals and hopes for why you started writing. Why stop now?

First of all, if you want to write, write. And second, don’t do it. It’s the loneliest, most depressing work you can do- Walker Percy.

4. Figure out the reason for your writer's block.

Is it because you can't find the words to write what you want?
Or is it because you don't know what to write?
This is specially the case in writing novels when the writer gets demotivated by the plot-holes which appear in the story line. This has happened to me a LOT. So I know how frustrating it is when all of a sudden your novel sounds like crap which isn't worth your time any more.

There can be many reasons you don't feel like writing. And it's not always because you're lazy or you don't feel creative. It can also be because you have no clue on how your story is going to progress. You have an amazing start and middle, but no clue what-so-ever on how it's going to end. That was the case for me, and it still is. But what I did was write an outline, plan out my novel over and over until all the scenes started to make sense.
(It's not easy, you might end up making a lot of changes, I'm still in the process of doing that!)

5. Write ANYTHING or write NOTHING.
Writing anything basically means you take out a piece of paper, and write whatever comes to mind. It doesn't even have to be about your novel. Just write, whatever it is. It could be 500 words of nonsense, but what matters is that you wrote something, instead of being stuck for days.

Write nothing- Just like you when you have insomnia, you shouldn't try and force sleep. So don’t try to force writing when you’re really stuck. It will always lead to frustration which will make you even more de-motivated. If you truly can’t get writing and you've tried everything- it may just not be your day. And that’s okay.
Take a break. Do other things. Then come back to your novel once you're ready.
It's better to stay away from your work than to spend too much time with it and hate it (this is also the case with people in general, no matter how much you love someone, you always need time away from them).

Hope you found these tips helpful!
And feel free to share ideas on this topic, I'd love to know what works for YOU :)
Here's an interesting article I found which talks about whether writer's block actually exists or we just use it as an excuse: Writers block: Excuse or real?

P.S. Only one exam left then I'm freeeee :D

Friday, November 11, 2011

Annoying Facebookers.

- People who 'like' their own photos/statuses.
What the hell is up with that? Obviously you liked that photo or status, that's why you put it up in the first place. It's like high fiving yourself. No one likes your status, so you like it yourself to make yourself look less pathetic. Some of them do it to increase the number of likes on their photo. It's sad, really.
I guess I can forgive you if you've done it before, but from now on, don't do it. People will think you are some sort of self-obsessed attention-seeker, or at least that's what I'll think :)

- People who type like this:
dat is soooooo coooolllll iii hadddd nnoooo ideaaaaa!!
omg r u srs lol hve 2 nt uze 2 mny ltters
lolzz, i Am s0 Kewlxxx and awsum, hehexx. <3
...yeah, just don't.

- People who treat their facebook as their personal diary.
Is it really necessary for you to update us on every single thing you do?
"Eating porridge for dinner"- wow that is SO interesting and I really needed to know that.
Also people who whine about how much their life sucks and share their depression with the rest of the world. Once in a while is okay, I do it too, but almost every single day? Too much.
Some people update their status around 10 times in one go. Which is basically like spamming my homepage. No, I do not appreciate that.
I specially hate it when people put statuses like: This is just so sad, I can't believe this is happening :( and then when people ask them what's wrong, they just ignore. Why did you put it on facebook if you didn't want your friends to know about it? What was your purpose? To get attention? Yeah I thought so.

- The Farmvillers.
Or any other annoying game. I know there's an option to just block invitations and such but I still see tonnes of posts on my homepage about their farm or country or whatever the hell they are wasting their time on creating.

- The ones who worry about what their next profile picture will be 24/7.
Is it just me, or are people taking photos JUST so they can have a new display picture on their facebook? It's kinda funny, and to be honest, I do that too sometimes.
But tagging/untagging yourself in the SAME profile picture just so more people 'like' or comment on it is a little pathetic.
And taking a picture of yourself with a pout on your face, in front of a mirror, in the bathroom, is a little weird. Just saying.

Ok I just have to add one more thing. I hate it when a person 'likes' half of the posts on his/her homepage even though he/she doesn't really know what the posts are actually about.

So tell me, are you guilty of any of those annoying habbits on facebook? :D

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Letter To Twefrence.

Remember when we were talking about how fun it would be to send handwritten letters? Not a quick email or a Facebook message, but to actually sit down for a while and write to someone, send it off and wonder when they will recieve it and reply you. It's old fashioned but I still love the whole concept (reminds me of Pride and Prejudice!).

I was thinking about this when I came up with the idea of doing a 'Letter to Twefrence' post. I didn't really plan on what I would write in that post before promising to write it, which is why it has taken me this long to actually come up with something to write to you. I didn't want to go back on what I said and just say that I can't come up with anything, so I made you wait until I finally stopped being lazy and just wrote what comes in mind :P Haha, I suck, I know.

So, let's see, I first met you in 2008 I think, when I moved to a new school which you already attended. My first impression on you was not so great. I thought you were super weird since you and another girl (who later became my friend too) were complete retards because you guys kept laughing and exchanging packets of candy. Seriously, that was a LOT of candy, and it was stacked neatly in ziplock bags, which kind of made it look like you were exchanging drugs or something. Freaky.

Another thing which I didn't understand about you (and the rest of the girls) is your obsession with stickers. I remember in Year 10, you guys decorated the entire front page of your homework diary with all sorts of 'cute' stickers. I mean, I like cute stuff, but your obsession with cute stuff is to a whole new level :P

We were friends since the beginning of the year but I think we actually became friends when we both went through the 'Twilight Obsession' phase. I'm still ashamed to admit that I was once completely in love with Twilight. Now I think it's a disgrace to vampires AND werewolves (after watching Vampire Diaries, haha) and it's just wrong on so many levels. But I'm glad it lead us to becoming better friends. I still remember how we used to gush over all the scenes/quotes and our other friends just used to roll their eyes at how lame we are. Fun times!

Year 10 was awesome. I loved how we had a small class, less than 20 students and we all got along pretty well. And not only our class, but the entire school population added up to a pretty low number, which gave the school a more 'home- like' feel. Basically, I thought I would hate the new school, but you guys made it so much more better than I had ever expected. This is not a 'letter to all my school friends' post so I'll stop there about school :P

I ended up joining the same college after my break so we did meet up on campus, but it just wasn't the same because we had different schedules. I still sometimes wonder what it would have been like if I had decided to join college right after the exams too, or if you had taken a break too. One thing's for sure, my college life would be a lot less boring :P

Which brings me to NOW. Well, you're done with college and you're taking a break away from studies while I'm here cramming to study as much as I can. I guess it's only fair since you have already been through the whole A'levels thing. Andddd.... You're going off to uni soon in another city while I'm staying here. I don't think I'll be seeing you very often. Which sucks! I probably won't be able to meet up properly even after my exams are over because just a few days after that I'm leaving for my hometown :(

Well, we don't actually 'see' each other that much, but we do talk on MSN/Facebook everyday, and we can still do that once you move away for university. But maybe you'll get busy with your studies and stuff and you won't have time. Or maybe I'll be too busy during my trip to my hometown to come online. But... change happens. It's not always good but we have to just deal with it.

Life sucks, and then you die.
(I may have gotten over my obsession with twilight but I still like this quote :D)

Anyways, as I'm writing this you're watching Stickaid and telling me all about it. I will never completely understand your obsession with YouTube. Though I have to admit, I get it more now that you've introduced me to a couple of YouTubers. But I'm still not someone who could sit for hours just watching YouTube, I would eventually get frustrated/bored.

(Warning: this is the more serious part of the letter :P)
I know you have some issues to deal with everyday at home and I know it's frustrating and it makes you angry. Honestly, I can't help you change the way things are but I just want you to know that, as a friend, I'll always be there if you need to vent and let it out. I may not have the words to make you feel better and most of the time I'm just as angry as you but just know that I'll listen (well, read, mostly...).

A lot of people don't always see the good things about themselves and I think you might be one of them? I know I am. Until someone tells me something positive about me, I don't believe it. Which is not always good. Anyways, I know I point out your flaws by telling you to stop being so judgemental, or stop obsessing over YouTube or and stop being so organised and over-analyse things so much. But as a whole you're definitely one of the most: creative (even when you're asleep, your dream the weirdest stuff I've heard of), loyal (to your friends and of course, to YouTubers :P), thoughtful (always bringing things for your friends whenever you go somewhere! I never think to do that because I can't decide on what to get and then later I feel guilty :P), funny (specially when you tell me about the weird stuff you did, I still remember when you ran around the house just to get more 'wind' while the power was out, hahahaha), and of course, weird (note that I like weird people), andddd 'unique' people I know! I also like that you have your own opinions and you don't let other people change what you think.

Before I end the serious part of the letter, I need to add one more thing. I know I've already said this before, but I just want to say a big thank you for supporting me throughout this blogging thing because you're literally the only person who has continued reading this blog since the beginning. And I really appreciate that.

So, I tried to write all that ^ in the least cheesy way I could, because I always think cheesy stuff sounds fake, and now the serious part is over :D

Time to talk about THE HUNGER GAMES! We have been anticipating and talking about the movie for so long and you won't be here so we can watch it together?
Nooooo. This is devastating :(
And you know that we are the ones who usually freak out over stuff like this the most. SO you must be here so we can freak out together!

You know I was going to add a bunch of 'lol's in this letter because I know it annoys you. Haha, but I didn't.

I think we probably talk to each other way too much. It's good because I suck at staying in touch with people, and I think the main reason I have lost a lot of friends or drifted away from a lot of people in the past is because I've failed to keep in contact with them. So the fact that we talk about what we did during the day almost everyday is awesome, even though most of the time we're just ranting about our lame lives to each other :P

I should end this letter now because it's super long! 
I feel like I'm probably leaving something out that I wanted to say but I can't remember what. 
Now that I re-read the letter I'm thinking about how letters don't have smilies. But I'm so used to talking to you on facebook with smilies so you know how exactly I'm saying the words... ok I need to stop ranting.

I hope you liked reading this letter and sorry if it was boring :P I know receiving one in the post would be a million times better but right now I can't do that. And plus, your mom would probably see it before you and ask a million questions. And if I told my dad to post a letter to my friend who is already in the same city, he would think I'm crazy :P
Anyways, SEE YOU SOON! When we watch Breaking Dawn together. Oh and the last day of my exams. Must celebrate my freedom :D
And I really really hope we can meet up a couple of times before you go off to uni!

Oh and when you reply to this you don't need to reply to every single thing, that will take you ages, I know, since this post is so long :P Just tell me that you liked it! Because I've been working on this for AGES.

Ok I should really stop typing now..
this feels weird because I'm already talking to you on facebook..
but I'm gonna say this anyways: 
Good luck for uni, try your best and have more fun! You deserve it!
And don't forget all your school friends, we love you loadssss ♥

(Imagine my signature here :P)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm grateful.

Almost every day I complain about how my life sucks and how I have too much stress from exams and college. I say that it isn't fair that I have to learn and study all this stuff (which I have no interest in) faster than most people do. I think it's not fair that in certain ways, my options are so limited. It sucks that I might never get to do certain things that I really want to, or I might never get to visit and see certain places and people in my life.
But I realised that it doesn't matter. I'm already luckier than most of the people in this world. And I should never take that for granted.

We all think that our problems are the worst and that no one understands what we're going through and they don't know how hard it is. People get depressed over things like heartbreaks, family drama, mistakes they made in the past, self-esteem issues, education problems, and what-not. This happens because they spend so much time worrying about the little things, thinking and complaining about their life so much that they forget what their life is really worth. They don't realise that there are people in this world who would kill to be in their place.

I think we should all take a minute to think about  how truly lucky we are and learn to appreciate our life, no matter how messed up it may be :)

"The good times and the bad times both will pass. It will pass. It will get easier. But the fact that it will get easier does not mean that it doesn’t hurt now. And when people try to minimize your pain they are doing you a disservice. And when you try to minimize your own pain you’re doing yourself a disservice. Don’t do that. The truth is that it hurts because it’s real. It hurts because it mattered. And that’s an important thing to acknowledge to yourself. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t end, that it won’t get better. Because it will."
- John Green