When things get Tough

The last few months with COVID, going to school, and having the kids at home makes it hard to get anything done. The kids demand attention. My wife wants me to be more than just a body clacking at the keyboard. This is all understandable. The kids are just kids. They don’t understand the greater picture of what is going on. They don’t understand that writing my novels is my job. I’ve managed to talk to them about what is going on, and I think I have convinced them. However, when they ask a thousand silly questions in a row, I have my doubts.

My wife is another story. She is my confidant and business partner. She helps me with some of the non-writing aspects as well as being a sounding board for me to figure things out like new story plots and such.

There is also financial toughness. COVID has put millions of people out of work, and that causes hardship. Paying rent, bills, food, etc. That is all up in the air for most people. For me, this is not the case as I am going to school and have student loans, among other things.

For me, toughness is when things stagnate and slow down. I like having a purpose and being able to strive to accomplish that purpose. This is a big part of my writing. Having a goal and a mission to keep things from going sideways.

For many people during this COVID pandemic, they are without work, stuck in their homes, and bored. They have no purpose — their purpose was work. They have to passion — it was watching the game on Sunday. Many are being paid unemployment or some type of subsidy to get them through financial difficulties. However, the abundant amount of spare time leaves the mind idle.

So, after all of this, I ask what are you doing during this pandemic. For me, the answer is simple. I’m writing and publishing.

This journey is not something I can do alone. It takes support from many people for it to become a reality. The easiest way is to visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. They are available in all countries and for free in Kindle Unlimited. I do have a tip jar set up at Ko-Fe, where you can buy me a coffee. Or you can also visit me on Facebook. Your help and support are much appreciated.

Thinking Positive vs Negative Thinking

A university is a gathering place of all people, and you find a cross-section of people there. Going back to university has brought me to talk to many different people of all types. 

One thing I noticed is that there is a large number of people who have negative mindsets. They can’t do anything without seeing the dark gray cloud standing above them. The get an ‘A’ on a paper, and they make comments like, “It only an ‘A-‘ and is one step from being a ‘D.'”

I’ve listened to them tell me that there is nothing they can do is right. Or how everything they do will fall apart. 

In all fairness, some of the people I talk to, have had a string of what could be called “unfortunate incidents.” Their car breaks down, followed by their backpack opening up running to class spilling their laptop onto the ground. 

That part, I can understand. Things happen, and not all of it favourable to you. 

However, how much of it is things happening and how much of it has to do with your negative mindset. 

A human mind is a powerful tool. It works 24 hours a day, seven days a week and only shuts off right before you talk to someone you are interested in. 

As a person goes through life, their mind processes the information they receive through their senses. The mind interprets the world, creating a unique point of view. When something happens like the car breaking down, as per the example above, their mind interprets the event as a bad thing. 

In some ways, it is terrible. Their car will be an expensive fix, and they will need a tow. All of it will need to be addressed. However, sitting on the side of the highway, is there time to deal with that problem? 

A negative mindset clouds one’s judgement; it sends them into a spiral that forces them into self-destructive, which only ends up one way — their own destruction. A positive mindset, however, leaves the mind clear. A person that can see what is happening with that clear mind will be able to find the solution quicker than someone without.

Back to the problem of being stuck on the highway with the broken down car.  

They have to get to class and are stuck. A negative person fixates on that issue while losing the big picture. They dwell on the negative parts crying, “Woe is me. My life sucks. I’m a failure.”

A positive person will look at the positive aspects of the situation, or at least will have a clear enough mind to think the problem through. It might be just a lecture class; maybe they can get the notes from someone. Perhaps they have left early, and they have time to get to class by another way; a taxi or a friend. 

The brain is a muscle. A muscle in the sense that it is only when someone uses it does it stretch and grow. If a person lets it sit unused, then the brain will slow down and atrophy. When a person thinks positively, they open up neural pathways following the positive side of the brain. It becomes easier to think positively by making it a habit.

When a person thinks negatively, they do the same for that side of the brain, which is why when I talk to a negative minded person, they say that they can’t help it. 

Having a negative mind and forcing yourself to think positive is like trying not to overeat. It is easier said than done, but the only way to make a dent in the habit is to try. This is from someone who had spent years of his life looking at the negative parts of things. 

If you like what you are reading and wish to support me in my endeavours, please sign up to my newsletter, visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. Or buy me a coffee. Your help and support are much appreciated. 

The Horror! The Torture! The College Students!

Well. It’s been a while since I talked to you all. Today I am going to talk to you about perspective and beginner writers.

There are many different people that will have there own opinion and knowledge on the subject. Many of whom are much smarter than I am and are much better writers as well.

But today I am going to give my opinion on the subject as I am an opinionated S.O.B. and I feel like standing on the soap box.

You see, yesterday I wrote the majority of this blog post in a tiny note book as I was being tortured by an unspeakable horror. I was taken captive by my wife to go to listen to her college creative writing class read portions of there ‘manuscripts’. (Please note that I did find about four of the story exerts enjoyable. My wife’s was included in that number.)

I use the term manuscript lightly.

In there defense, they are all mostly beginners and they don’t know any better. They don’t know about show, don’t tell (unless you want to). They don’t know about proper dialogue techniques. Or plotting methods to make a story easier to plot out. They don’t know about a lot of things that only experience gets you.

But all of that is okay. I can usually ignore those mistakes and enjoy the moment. I can usually try and turn off that critical part of my brain. To simply enjoy listening to these passionate new writers enjoy the beginnings of their journeys as writers. But I couldn’t. Not that night.

Which is why I wrote this blog post on a tiny note book at the back of the crowded room.

The reason for my lack of enjoyment was the fact that most of the writers wrote their pieces in First Person Perspective. Author after author did it. Like herpes, it spread to most of the class and wouldn’t go away.

So as I sat there, I wondered why did they do it? The first answer to jump into my mind was that it is a college setting and it is all ‘Literary’ fiction. And that theory is possible. But there was a fantasy novel and a historical one. There was a Horror and a couple comedies. Maybe the fact that colleges push the notion of ‘Literary’ fiction isn’t the case.

Maybe the teacher gave them permission and encouragement to do First Person? And that theory is also possible. The teacher is trying to get them to put pen to paper and if a student was going to write in first, who is he to stop him. She is writing, right? Right?

Or maybe the students were all lazy and thought that writing it in First Person was the easier way to go? They are college kids after all and most of them don’t have fine arts majors. This class was supposed to be an easy elective to break up the hardship of their major. A reprise.

My theory is that it is a mix between the second and the third theories. The teacher gave permission and encouragement. And the students were just being lazy. The students took what looked like the easy road.

But is First Person Perspective the easier way to go. Is it easier than Third Person Limited?

My opinion is no. It is not easier. It seems like it at first glance. Like that flat straight farming road. No turns or curves as far as the eye can see. But just beyond sight are dangers. by taking this road for it can quickly turn into a mud pit if you don’t tread carefully.

First Person is more restrictive than Third Person Limited.

In First Person you can’t see or hear anything outside of the range of your main character’s sight and hearing. If the main character can’t see it or hear it, they don’t know about it.

That leads to situations where it is impossible to move the plot forward. Or the plot moves forward but the writer has no way to tell the reader what is going on as the main character doesn’t know. It is also very hard to hide anything from the reader without coming off as cheating.

It is very hard to jump back and forth in time and forget about showing a different characters Point-of-View as writing a book with multiple First Person Point-of-View’s is not something anyone should try. Too many ‘I’s’ to keep track of. There is no ‘I’ in team.

In Third Person Limited, you are inside the Point-of-View of one specific character. You can hear the thoughts of that character when you want to. Or not as you see fit. You can’t, however, hear the thoughts of other characters around the Point-of-View character.

That is Third Person Omniscient and different than Third Person Limited. Also not apart of this blog post.

In Third Person Limited, you can run into similar problems as First Person. It is limited as the reader is only experiencing what the Point-of-View character experiences. He has no knowledge of what is happening on the other floor, etc. But with Third Person Limited, you can always jump into the Point-of-View of another character to let the reader know what was happening. If is easy to hide things from the reader without coming off as cheating.

Like First Person, you are still describing the setting, etc from the Point-of-View’s perspective. The intimacy that comes from a First Person Perspective story is still in a Third Person Limited, but just less of it and only at the authors discretion. However, with Third Person Limited a standard pitfall is the characterization coming off as hollow or only skin deep.

So does First Person have a time and place to be used?

Simple answer. It does.

On the other side of an airlock.