Tag Archives: past

Sharing Childhood Inspiration

26 Jun
This is what I looked like when I wrote this book.

This is what I looked like when I wrote this book.

Website Update: Minutes Before Sunset is falling behind on Goodreads Book of the Month. Please vote if you haven’t already. I could really use your help! Vote here

As writers, we’ve held the dream of writing for a long time. Finding out an author started writing at a very young age happens more often than not, and I think that’s something important to look into. It’s interesting to think that we, as children, may have understood our passion better than we do now (or with less questioning, because we didn’t understand everything we’d have to go through in order to chase our dreams.) But, theoretically, can’t we bring back our passion in moments of doubt by returning to our childhood in order to remember the simple joy we felt before the pressures of a career?

On Father’s Day, my brother and his fiancé were looking for pictures to use in their wedding, and my dad decided to bring up two boxes my late mother left behind. She made these boxes for my brother and I for when we had kids, but we decided to open them up early for my brother’s wedding, and it was an amazingly beautiful collection of childhood clothes, art, and pictures.

That’s when I found it:

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Two books I wrote as a child, which were printed by Crabapple Crossing Book Publishing. 

I wanted to share one today, because it brought me back to those moments before I even knew what publishing was, and I hope sharing something I wrote when I was in second grade might encourage you to look back and see how far you’ve come!

So “Max & Milo” is about two dogs having a birthday party before they move away and become pen pals with all of20130625_141947 their old friends. I found it pretty amusing (but interesting) because I had two dogs at the time (yes, they were named Max and Milo) and I also moved around a lot. Strangely enough, this follows the “Write what you know” tip that’s very common for beginning writers. I wish I could say I understood the “Show. Don’t Tell” rule at this age, but I think most of this was described through the pictures I drew. And, no, I’ve never been an artist, so the drawings amused me. (Apparently, the world was in x-ray vision.)

But what is the most encouraging part about looking back on these things? 

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I’ve achieved the dream I’ve strived for since I was seven, and I continue to do better every day. 

It was a great experience shifting through my childhood box to see what I could find that my memory didn’t remember as clearly as I thought. Not to mention how funny it was for my brother and I to compare things with one another.

Here’s to hoping this childhood post brings inspiration for other writers to look back on their goals, dreams, and creations to see how long the passion has been there, continue forward with encouragement, and/or to simply be amused by the lessons of life.

My plan is to continue posting writing tips this week, but my cousin is getting married! (Yay!) So I might get busier than I think. I will surely keep everyone updated, and I wanted to remind everyone to vote for Minutes Before Sunset as Book of the Month on Goodreads. We’re still in first place (Thank you!) at 46 votes, but I’d love to hit 50 (those number marks always make me spin in circles of happiness.)

Vote here, and thank you for all the special birthday wishes! I had a great time. I went to a Japanese Steakhouse with my brother, his fiancé, my dad, and my boyfriend. It was a lot of fun, and the picture is a rice heart with “22” written on top for me. It was sweet. They also gave me chopsticks, and I got to see my friends afterwards. Couldn’t have been happier with all the supportive people in my life 😀

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~SAT

June 28: Last Day to Vote

July 1: Winners

July 3: Holidays in Writing

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Writing Tips: Mother’s Day & Childhood Inspiration

12 May

Now, I have to admit that I’m unsure if this qualifies as “writing tips” or not, but I can’t seem to think of another way to explain it other than to explain recent events in my life and how I got to this decision to post about this.

On Friday night, I was driving home when I was hit by a drunk driver. Everyone was physically fine, but these moments often make you take a step back and wonder “what if?” or simply reflect on life. It’s also Mother’s Day, and, as many of you know, my mother passed away in 2003, so there’s been a lot of personal reflection happening for me over the past few days, and I wanted to share my thoughts on how reflecting can help your passionate spark if you feel as if it’s about to die.

Happy Mother's Day. This is Halloween, 1992, with my mother, my brother, and I. I was a ghost :] Probably perfect considering my paleness.

Happy Mother’s Day. This is Halloween, 1992, with my mother, my brother, and I. I was a ghost :] Probably perfect considering my paleness.

But, first, If you want something short and sweet, I posted this on my Twitter, and many followers found it comforting. “Do you sometimes feel like chasing your artistic dream is hard? This will cheer you up: click here.” 

Now–the bigger reflection: I’ve had more experiences in this sort of stuff than I’d like to admit to myself, but they always cause me to look back, and my childhood is often where I end up. I cannot say why this is other than it’s caused by a “flashback” sort of a thing. I begin thinking about what I’m grateful for, who I love, what I love, and everything that moves me from one day to another. But I’m going to concentrate on writing, because I want to stay in the “writing tips” as much as I possibly can.

So what in my childhood moved me forward into writing? (And many of you already know about my mother’s death being the biggest moment when I was pushed forward into taking it seriously, so, again, I’m going to talk about something else, although that is essential.)

Favorite Books:

I think this can be very important to remember, but, even more so, to return to every piece once in a while and read. Include first books, middle school reads, and beyond. On days where you’re feeling down, especially about writing, returning to these texts can spark your passion again, easily and without any strenuous effort. All you have to do is read, and you might be amazed at how quickly you’ll return to your timeless love for language, even if the original texts are simple and/or wouldn’t spark interest today if you hadn’t read it before.

Mine, as an example, includes childhood novels about Nancy Drew and Scooby Doo, young-adult series by Meg Cabot or Lynne Ewing (specifically Daughters of the Moon), and adult novels, generally memoirs like Mop Men, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, or A Long Way Gone. I can even return to literature I loved in school, my favorite being The Stranger.

As a comedic picture: this is me, shocked by novels, at 3 years old, and my great-grandmother quite thrown off by my craziness.

As a comedic picture: this is me, shocked by novels, at 3 years old, and my great-grandmother quite thrown off by my craziness.

Favorite Writing Experiences: 

These moments can bring back the original moments that brought you the utmost happiness before other moments brought you down. You can return yourself, especially to childhood, when you first started writing and you didn’t have the stresses of publication or critiques. These memories, although little, are very powerful.

My personal example? In second grade, my short story about my two dogs, Milo and Max, won the class writing competition, and I got to read it to the class. I still have it, and the drawings and wording often makes me giggle, but it also lightens my writing soul. I go right back to that podium, when I was fearless, and I feel it transition to today’s time.

Others who inspired:

Think beyond the top five people who inspire you today. Try to recall the first few who you may not remember on a regular basis but know that they linger somewhere in your artistic past (meaning they’re also in your artistic self today.) Most of the time, you might remember one, but then you’ll remember more and more, and you’ll soon have a list of small instances that led to your wonderful path you’re on today.

My personal example here is my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Metcalf. She was the first teacher to pull me aside and encourage my writing. When I was first writing back then, I was started my stories off with “Hi. I’m Henry, and this is my story…” and she taught me to start in the middle of action. I wrote her a story for Thanksgiving Break, and it started with a turkey running wild through a grocery store. Looking back on it, it was cheesy and poorly written, but she returned, having read the entire twenty pages, and encouraged me more and more, teaching me what else I could do in order to enhance my words. I was nine at the time, yet her teaching lingers today, and I’m grateful to have had such a wonderful teacher in my life at such a young age.

My hope is that you may take a moment today (or any day) to reflect on the moments that have brought you here today and remember never to give up on your dreams! It may seem cheesy, but it is, ultimately, very true, and I’m sure many of you know this, but many also have fleeting moments of doubt, and we can prevent these by reminding ourselves of what matters: life, love, and passionate dreams.

I always tell myself to write with passion; succeed with self-discipline. 

This is my personal philosophy, but I’d love to hear yours as well. Share below and spread the dream to others who may be struggling at this very moment in time (whether they read this today or two years from now.) Words are timeless. Let’s use that to embrace the love of art.

Have a great and meaningful day 😀

~SAT

P.S. Goodreads Quote of the day:

I leaned against the desk, ran my hand over my father’s paperwork, and picked up a pen. Turning around, I shoved it into my father’s hand.
“What’s this?” he asked, raising a brow.
“You’ll need it to sign my death certificate,” I said, pain vibrating my veins against my muscles and bones. “Are we done now?”

Eric, Minutes Before Sunset

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