What Is The Proper Response To Evil?

by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador

Some people complain that responses to bad things happening in the world today have dissolved into a #hashtag for people to post in social media and make themselves feel like they’ve done something. Continue reading

Writing and Creativity As A Practice of Freedom

by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador

Are you practicing your freedom today?

flags, photo by kristin nador

Happy Independence Day America!

July 4th is almost here. It’s a great day to relax, enjoy time with loved ones, do something American like go on family picnics (invented by the Victorian English), eat hot dogs (invented by the Germans), corn on the cob (first cooked by the Maya Indians), slurp snow cones (invented by Italians, specifically Roman emperor Nero), go to the local amusement park (invented by the Danish), blow up fireworks (invented by the Chinese), and attend a baseball game (uniquely American). A true celebration of America’s melting pot philosophy. I hope you and yours enjoy the holiday. Continue reading

Organize Your Day For Maximum Writing Productivity

740px-Digital_kitchen_timer-1

photo courtesy Hustvedt, Creative Commons

By Kristin Nador/@KristinNador

Does finding time for writing leave you overwhelmed?

The tug of your creative life versus ‘regular life’ got you feeling guilty?

You’re not alone. Continue reading

5 Ways Blog Reader Surveys Help Increase Your Blogging Audience

Frontier Fiesta, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries

Frontier Fiesta, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries

by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador

 

Do you wonder if anyone is reading your blog?

 

The comment area looks so lonesome, the analytics don’t change a lot. You’re writing good content. At least you think so.

So what’s the problem?

Maybe you need to do a blog survey and find out. Continue reading

9 Questions Before You Become A Blogging Statistic

'Blog', courtesy of cortege9, Wikimedia Commons

‘Blog’, courtesy of cortege9, Wikimedia Commons

Are you tired of blogging?

I am.

I know that’s sacrilege to admit on your own blog. The stress of moving, illness, and the fact I haven’t posted consistently has me questioning my commitment to blogging.

Am I really getting a return on investment of the time I put into blogging?

Shouldn’t I be focusing on ‘real’ writing?

My blogging journey started almost three years ago. I researched for three months before taking the plunge, thinking about my goals for my blog. I didn’t want to start something new and shiny, to later run out of steam. (I have a tendency to do that.)

I liked sharing and meeting new people. Researching and writing about creativity, blogging, and social media fascinated me. And I loved sharing my write anywhere adventures.

But lately blogging has felt like a burden, a deadline that looms over me and highlights my penchant for procrastination. I’m considering taking a break, or a complete reboot. Should I start over? Will anyone care?

Continue reading

Writing Process Blog Hop: My Writing Process

Today I’m part of ‘The Writing Process’ Blog Hop.

Author Linda Austin graciously invited me to join. Linda is the author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight and Poems That Come To Mind. She also helps others tell their life stories and focuses on the WWII generation. Please visit her over at Moonbridge Books where you can discover her writing process and more of her writings. Thanks Linda!

The blog hop asks 4 questions to each author about their writing process. Here are the questions and my answers:

1) What are you working on?

I am currently revising my first novel, which I finished at the end of December 2013. It’s a contemporary suspense novel about a female Iraq war veteran’s fight to keep herself and her daughter alive during a weekend in Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains. She must face an enemy she never expected, as well as the ghosts haunting her since those days in the Iraqi desert.

I’ve also been doing some basic outlining on a generational historical fiction set in St. Louis and Denver in the 1890’s. And to be real, because I’ve been busy moving from Oklahoma to Kentucky, I’ve only been working sporadically on these projects for the last six weeks or so. I’m looking forward to settling into a writing routine again.

2) How does your work differ from others of this genre?

My focus is on writing stories of strong, courageous women. The genres may be different, but what connects them are vital, determined women hoping to make a difference in their worlds.

3) Why do you want to write what you write?

I think all the stories I want to tell are in some way exploring myself, peeling back the layers in a ’safe’ way. But I also discover these characters, these women, who want to tell their story, and they demand a voice. I guess that’s what keeps me from giving up and flushing it all down the toilet. 🙂

4) How does your writing process work?

When I’m ready to get to work, hot tea and listening to christian monks sing gregorian chant (yes, it’s on iTunes) sort of ‘clears the pipes’ and I sit down at my desk. Some days I’m on the keyboard. When I want to hash something out, I write it longhand. Sometimes I use a timer to work in 20 or 30 minutes chunks. Other times I sort of multi-task (which means play on social media) and I get some writing done, but not as much as if I force myself to focus. Imagine all the books that would have been written if we writers weren’t so busy liking and tweeting! Truth.

Now that I’ve answered the questions about my writing process, join my three author friends next Monday, April 14th, when they join the blog hop and give you the scoop on their writing process.

What is your writing process like? What are your answers to the four questions? Please share in the comments. Happy Writing!

Writing Through The Pain

Tracks_Chalbi_Desert

Tracks Chalbi Desert, Marsabit County, photo courtesy Filberto Strazzari, Creative Commons

Writer’s block.

Have you ever dealt with it?

Some writers talk about writer’s block like it’s a virus you catch, and with all the right ‘home remedies’ (everyone has one) you’ll get well and writer’s block will disappear.

Other writers give writer’s block the name of Resistance, as if naming this shadowy criminal makes it easier to conquer. Some say Resistance is actually a natural obstacle to creating art. If you’re getting Resistance in your writing, you’re doing something right, so blow up the block like you’re freaking John McClane.

Still others say writer’s block doesn’t exist, it’s just another excuse to avoid writing.

I’ve had a series of set backs lately. It’s not your average ‘I had a bad day’ but almost its own novel, when things go bad, and you don’t think anything can get worse, it does. Repeatedly. There’s physical pain and emotional pain. It’s a well-planned attack of Resistance.

And it’s more.

It’s a spiritual attack.

I believe we have all been given gifts to fulfill our destiny, and our gifts give others the strength and wisdom to fulfill their destiny. These gifts flow through the spirit. Our spirits can be attacked to the point that our souls are sapped of creative strength if we are caught unaware.

What do you do when life is painful? Do you find solace in your writing or run from it?

My tendency is retreat. I retreat into myself, rehearse all that is going wrong, wallow in the negative, and then there’s no time or energy for writing. Sometimes I can’t transition from that depressive state and focus on a creative project. So the pen lays stagnant.

I intellectually acknowledge that a step towards writing will help me throw off this state of mind, but the inertia that goes with the feelings keeps me from acting. Waves of guilt, especially as I read blogs and social media statuses of writers completing Herculean acts of productivity, try to wash me away and drag me out to sea.

When this curtain of spiritual Resistance descends on me, I try to fight my way out with prayer. I take a walk. I write in a journal, although I have the beginnings of dozens of journals. I make a list of positive things. I talk to someone. I channel the emotions into a character in my writing if I’m feeling particularly brave.

I wish I could say these are my ‘home remedies’ and they always work, but they don’t.

The truth is that sometimes I’m stuck.

Sometimes I’m not ‘Super-Writer’ leaping tall plots and intricate character arcs in a single bound. I know when this happens, it’s just a season, the feelings will pass, but in the midst of the messiness it’s hard to see.

Do you run to your writing or run away from it when life’s troubles come your way? How do you deal with blocks to writing?

Week #1 NaNoWriMo Check-In: Resistance Is Inevitable (Plus Some Tips)

photo courtesy Btindall45, Creative Commons

photo courtesy Btindall45, Creative Commons

The first week of the National Novel Writing Month Challenge, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo, has passed. For you writers who have accepted the challenge:

How are you doing? Continue reading

The Introvert’s Guide To Winning Friends and Influencing People (and What Extraverts Can Learn From It)

Cafe de la Paix, Constantin Korovine, public domain

‘Cafe de la Paix’, Constantin Korovine, public domain

I suffer from a most curious malady. As a teenager, I was convinced I was abnormal because of it. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve accepted it, and even embraced it. It’s not really a malady, but in the cultural Kardashiverse of look-at-me, social media oversharing, and viral guerilla marketing, it can feel that way.

I am an introvert.

Introverts have a personality bent more inclined to solitude and thinking. Some introverts are shy as well, but not all introverts are shy. Some just prefer quiet activities, their own company or the company of a few familiar friends. Their personality type craves solitude and can be drained by too much social interaction or stimuli in general.

Sometimes a stigma is attached to this type of behavior; introverts have been considered ‘painfully shy’, ‘anti-social’, ‘withdrawn’, ‘depressed’, or even ‘arrogant and stuck-up’.

Introverts make up about 40% of the general population, 60% of the gifted population, and 75% of those who consider themselves a creative or artistic person. If you’re not an introvert, you probably work with one, live with one, or will be sitting next to one at your next social activity.

Introversion and extroversion are not cut and dried. As with many personality traits, most people are a combination on the spectrum. Not surprisingly, a majority of writers consider themselves introverts. Writing is a perfect introvert activity.

However, when it comes to interacting with others in places like writing groups, writing conferences, or Heaven forbid, speaking in front of a book club or other group, some writers would prefer a root canal.With conference season coming upon us and writing groups always on our radar, what’s a dyed-in-the-wool introvert to do to connect in the writing community?

  • Stretch yourself

It’s hard to talk to someone you don’t know, whether in person or on social media. You don’t think you’ll have anything interesting to say. You overthink it. It’s easier to keep to yourself, lurk on blogs and Facebook pages. Find a way to be a part of the conversation. Take a chance and say hello. It may be the start of a mutually encouraging relationship.  Ask the other person about him/herself. People like to talk about themselves. When in doubt, these two questions will always get writers talking: What do you like to write? What are you working on right now?

  • View connecting with other writers as missionary work

Whether you call it sowing seeds, creating good karma, or paying it forward, reaching out to other writers, especially beginners, may seem like effort you don’t want to put forth. You never know when those good efforts will pay in a connection at the right time, a supportive word when you need it, or even a book sale. Not to mention the gratification you will receive by encouraging someone else.

  • Give yourself time to think before interaction

Introverts can be intimidated by social interaction because they like to take their time and think about things before they engage in conversation. When you know you will be in a group situation, take the time to think about it ahead of time, even writing down some notes to help you start a conversation. You don’t have to actually use your crib notes, but just thinking it through will help you feel more confident when you interact with people.

  • Connect authentically with one person

Introverts are usually good listeners, and deep thinkers. Use your skills to your advantage. Choose one person in a gathering and connect. Spend focused time listening, and giving thoughtful responses. The person will appreciate your undivided attention. You won’t be overwhelmed when you focus on the individual.

  • Smile

If you can’t bring yourself to interact at an activity or social function, smile. Your pearly whites will be a signal to others that you acknowledge their existence, and they might take the initiative and come talk to you. You can also accomplish this in the virtual world of social media by ‘liking’ posts on Facebook,  1 plussing posts on Google+ or retweeting others’ tweets on Twitter.

What if you’re not an introvert?

If you are an extravert, remember, in your writing group, workshop or writing class sits an introvert, probably right next to you. Do them a favor and smile, invite them to sit with you and your friends, ask them what they like to write. First, you’ll probably see them breathe a sigh of relief, and return the favor with some interesting conversation, or if you’re lucky, you’ll gain a good companion on the writing journey.

Introverts: Need more encouragement that introversion is not a ‘malady’?

Watch Susan Cain’s TED Talk The Power of Introverts

Introverts: Have you ever felt ‘abnormal’ for being an introvert? Do you have any tricks to avoid being overwhelmed by social situations?