Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Walking in a Winter Wonderland | www.eccentricowl.comWalking in a Winter Wonderland | www.eccentricowl.com

As the New Year gives us a fresh start, I thought it would be most appropriate to share the first snow of the year, which is fresh and clean in and of itself! There is something magical about the snow, and the first days of the new year;  both are crisp and new, both wipe the slate clean, both instill a sense of wonder and excitement for the times ahead. To start out the new year with snow feels incredibly appropriate.

It’s always hard to write the first post of the year, for me. I always want it to be something special, yet, generally, nothing has really happened in those first days of a new year. This year, though, is a little different.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland | www.eccentricowl.com

This year, I’ve already written nearly 5,000 words on a new novel. I began with no idea what it would be about, utilizing the site WriteOrDie to push myself to just write. I thought the idea was ridiculous, cliche, boring, and cheesy. And then last night, as I ended the first chapter, I had a sudden idea to transform the novel from blasé to (I hope) exciting, and I am now raring to go!

I haven’t been this into my writing since I sputtered to a stop with Sweet Ireland Air. Everything I tried to write since then I didn’t like. Either I wasn’t feeling its vibe, or I didn’t like the ideas, or I floundered for a way to continue writing because my creative imagination wasn’t what it used to be. I think a lot of my writer’s block has to do with having gotten married and gone through the realities of romance.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland | www.eccentricowl.comWalking in a Winter Wonderland | www.eccentricowl.com

Because for me, real life  romance is nothing like a novel. I rarely get butterflies in my stomach; I wasn’t tongue-tied and blushing and giddy over new love. My first kiss was anticlimactic and I didn’t like it much, even while absolutely knowing I wanted to marry the man who first kissed me (spoilers: if you didn’t know, I did marry him, and now I very much like kissing him. 😉 ) Nothing about our life and romance was really what I had expected or, honestly, even hoped for.

And to be clear: it was so much better and exactly what I needed, and I wouldn’t have us happen any other way. I am absolutely in love with my husband. It just doesn’t manifest itself in the way of novels. (Go figure. What does, really?) But, since it wasn’t like the novels I’d read — and I didn’t expect it to be exactly like them, but I did think I’d feel some semblance of the butterflies all these novelists and myself had written about (my husband got them, lucky fellow!) — I felt as though continuing all of these books I’d written with the same sort of feelings was false.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland | www.eccentricowl.com

So, for a while, I stopped. I desperately wanted to write novels. I desperately missed writing. But I had no idea where my place in the writing world was, now that I knew love and romance were not what I’d written about. Not for me, at least. And I couldn’t really continue writing in the same way. I couldn’t write about something so close to my heart as love when it wasn’t the way I had romanticized it to be.

Thus, my pen — or rather, keyboard — went untouched for four years and I let writing in novel form sit on a backburner. And then at the end of last year, I realized that I did not want to let my writing go, and that somehow I had to at least try. If writing was lost on me forever, then I would give it up. But I wasn’t going to let it go without a fight!

Walking in a Winter Wonderland | www.eccentricowl.com

So I made a goal to write for 30 minutes a day, as you saw in my goals post. I used Write Or Die to motivate me, because I get really determined to meet challenges. That first day, I wrote over 1, 667 words in under 30 minutes (1,667 is the number of words needed to write a 50,000 word novel in a month) and while I thought the idea itself was a bit silly, I felt excited to have at least written so much in so little time. I was happy to see that I still “had it” in the sense of being able to produce some sort of story when it was demanded of me.

And I didn’t really like the idea, but it was writing and I figured this would just be the gateway to something more original and creative.

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And then, last night, as I went to begin my next writing session, my husband threw out an idea as he often does when I tell him of my stories, and my brain started turning. I had just written the end of the chapter with a sentence that meant I needed to introduce the motivation of the plot, but I had no idea how I was going to make it an interesting plot until he started offering his own ideas. (Which I rarely actually use, because I want my stories to be mine and not someone else’s. I’m stubborn like that.) And his idea spurred my own… and I am now incredibly excited for this story!

Walking in a Winter Wonderland | www.eccentricowl.com Walking in a Winter Wonderland | www.eccentricowl.com

It gave me the title, the plot points, the ending, a few future scenes; all things I can never quite do without when I’m writing a story. The title is always especially important to me. A title tells you so much about the story, and it’s kind of the thing that needs to pull a reader in. I rarely choose books with boring titles.

So now, I have to decide if I will share snippets of it as it’s being written, or if I’ll keep it all to myself until I can proudly announce that I’ve been officially published. Being myself, a person who loves to share stories with others, I will probably give in and share bits of the story here.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland | www.eccentricowl.com

Coat and scarf, (old) c/o Oasap | shirt and headscarf, thrifted | tights, Target | shoes, Modcloth | earrings, Rocksbox
Pictures by my husband | Suko Photography

But for now, I will leave you with the title and the temporary summary (I’m still working on it) and leave you to wonder about the rest.

The Wolves of Moehr

In September of 1849, Irene Brennan travels to Ireland from her home in America to rediscover the heritage of her grandfather, and to find her own purpose in a life that expects little more of her than to care for house and home. But when she arrives, a chance meeting tumbles her deep into a world of mystery and change, where everything she thought to be true is a charade, and her life is irrevocably entangled with the mysterious wolves of Moehr.

 

Three words to describe this story: Victorian. Ireland. Werewolves.

Happy 2016!

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Peter pan collar, hearts, and more ways to mix patterns

Peter pan collar, hearts, and more ways to mix patterns | www.eccentricowl.comPeter pan collar, hearts, and more ways to mix patterns | www.eccentricowl.com When I first started writing longer stories, I thought that writing would always come in the flood that happened whenever I sat to type. I though that a writer who had the gift never lost that gift — that prose would be easy, as it was for me at the time, that writer’s block only happened for a week or two, that I’d never run out of stories to tell and obsess over and perfect.

But for the last three or four years, I haven’t felt that surge to write. I don’t think of myself as a writer any longer because I don’t sit for hours typing away through chapters and chapters of books I’m working on. I struggle to even create blog content that a good writer could consider journalistic. Peter pan collar, hearts, and more ways to mix patterns | www.eccentricowl.comPeter pan collar, hearts, and more ways to mix patterns | www.eccentricowl.com And I have never been a good journalist. Every time I sit to write about life, it becomes less an opportunity to make an interesting story out of every day, and more just a narrative of the sporadic thoughts going through my head at that moment.

So for my birthday, I bought myself a journal, which I have vowed to write in every day as much as I can, whether it’s just one line or a few pages worth of thoughts. I have always believed that the best cure for writer’s block is holding pen to paper, away from the internet and distractions, in a quiet corner of the house where no one can interrupt and all of the cat videos are unreachable. Peter pan collar, hearts, and more ways to mix patterns | www.eccentricowl.com Peter pan collar, hearts, and more ways to mix patterns | www.eccentricowl.comI’ve given myself permission to write absolutely anything in this journal, unlike the books I’ve tried to fill in days past wherein I attempted to stick with a theme, and even if I never end up getting back to that fevered young author that I used to be, at least I will have a place to jot down anything I want to with no worries that someone will be expecting me to finish that thought, publish that book, continue that story. Peter pan collar, hearts, and more ways to mix patterns | www.eccentricowl.comPeter pan collar, hearts, and more ways to mix patterns | www.eccentricowl.com Writing has always been so personal to me. I know that part of the reason the flood slowed to a trickle was that everyone expected (or expects, perhaps) me to put it out in the world for money, and attaching a monetary value to the things that come out of my heart just felt so cold and impersonal. I felt as though there was pressure to write for money, and not for the love of writing. To make a gain from the most intimate thing, the skill I have that has always embodied my heart and imagination and personality. In a sense, I felt as though I was being asked to sell a part of myself. My soul, as it were.

It got to a point where I became annoyed any time someone asked when I would publish, any time I received another review urging me to complete a story on Fiction Press, any time I was pressed about what I was writing and when it would be put up for others to read. I started not wanting to write, because these were my stories, and I wanted to share them at my own pace, on my own time. Peter pan collar, hearts, and more ways to mix patterns | www.eccentricowl.comPeter pan collar, hearts, and more ways to mix patterns | www.eccentricowl.com

Top and belt, thrifted | vintage skirt, c/o Cut and Chic vintage | flats, Target | journal, Fred Meyer | glasses, c/o Firmoo

And perhaps someday I will publish a novel, or a book of poetry, or a short story compilation. But for now, I will keep my writing in the pages of this journal, and perhaps occasionally in the lines of this blog. It’s time for me to reclaim the love of writing, and drop the frustration that rises when I realize I am not the writer I used to be. Instead of trying to be the eager young girl penning fantasies, I need to discover a new identity for the author in my heart.

Maybe this blog is it. Or maybe someday, my novels will be published, on bookshelves here and there, satisfying that small part of me that wants to hold what I write in book form.

I hope you are all having a good week! Happy Thursday!

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Graphic cardigan and star-print tights

Graphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.comGraphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.com

The stars in her eyes
Reflect the grandiose dreams of
One who has seen it all, yet
Desperately hopes for more

Graphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.com

Dreamer, is she
Creator of worlds beyond the seen
Harbinger of the doom or success
Of fictional creatures she hoards
In the depths of her mind’s palaces

Graphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.comGraphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.com

Dreamer,
Lost and found again
Rejecting the hard cold truth for
A prison of faeries’ making
Buried deep beneath the intoxication
Of voraciously consuming words

Graphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.com Graphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.com

Breathing in the scent of
Pages long since penned by
Authors whose bodies rot
And feed the needs of the earth’s fauna
And flora

Graphic cardigan and star-print tights | www.eccentricowl.comDress and tights, Target | cardigan and necklace, c/o Oasap | boots, Kohl’s

Eternity swirling and glowing in the
Hopeless depths
Of her eyes.
Dreamer, is she

Bone-raw fingertips pounding
At keys too real to express
The desperation of her mind.

Um… I didn’t know what to talk about today, so I wrote you a poem inspired by these star-and-moon print tights, which you have to admit are pretty awesome. I feel like a chameleon and/or a rockstar today, because this entire outfit is not my usual vintage or retro, and… lots of black.

Happy Monday!

(P.S. If you happen to get these tights, size up. These SAY they fit 5’5-5’11 and 140-190lbs, but… if these were meant to be waist-high, they only came to barely over my rear-end. With lots of stretching and struggling.)

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Sparkle and Shine

1 I’m sorry if I look slightly annoyed in these pictures; it’s hot and I was feeling a bit sick. And then Asa started crying, so we didn’t have time to shoot more pictures. Ah, this weekend has not been good for taking outfit photos; on Saturday I wanted to get shots of my outfit but realized the camera batteries were both dead and we were taking a trip up to Port Townsend so we couldn’t charge the batteries… so… no camera.

I hate those days when you love what you’re wearing, but then things just stack against being able to get pictures. But, oh well. We had lots of fun in Port Townsend, and I am enjoying the hot weather even if it does make me a bit sick.

4 But funny story: we went to Starbucks yesterday (when I wore this), and the barista said “Hey, I used to have a shirt just like that! Old Navy, right?” to which I just shrugged and said “I don’t know, I got it at Goodwill” (as I do like… everything, haha!) and she laughed and went “Oh my gosh, that was probably mine!!!”

I didn’t really know how to react. So I just said it was a pretty shirt (because it is!) and we went on our merry way.

But later we realized she was wrong, because this isn’t an Old Navy brand shirt. 7 And can we talk about how much I love this arm cuff? I got it at the Reniassance Faire last year, and I definitely intend to get more if I can this year. LOVE. It’s such a perfect summer accessory, and it makes me feel a little bit rock-n-roll. Or something. 6

So this past week, I finally finished reading Sweet Ireland Air, and I’m working on a new chapter. Hopefully I’m not jinxing myself by saying I’m thinking I’ll be posting something new by the end of the week! I’ve also been uploading the old version of My Beloved, since so many people have been begging me for it over the years. Re-reading those two stories and getting good feedback from people currently reading them has helped inspire me so much! I’ve figured out why I quit writing Sweet Ireland Air, and now I know what I need to write next. It’s just… really exciting!

And now I need to think about keeping up with those writing videos! After we moved, there was just too much going on and I totally forgot about making videos. But I’ll be trying to make another one soon!5

Dress, skirt, and belt, Thrifted | heels, Target (old) | Arm cuff, Washington Renaissance Faire | earrings, gift

I love writing. I had forgotten how much it captures my soul, and how much I’ve missed it! It’s so exciting to have figured out why I stopped writing certain stories, and know how I can get going again.

And with that, I’m off to do a little writing before Asa falls asleep and I have to work! The bug has officially bitten me again.

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday!

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Collaborative writing (I am not good at it.)

I recorded this last Friday, and I finally re-watched it right now. I say “it’s interesting” a lot. Funny how you don’t notice your verbal habits until you start vlogging again! So excuse the repeated phrases, and the distraction at the end. Haha!

But in regards to collaborative writing vs independent writing: what are your strengths and weaknesses?

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