Finding time to think

Charles Colp
Finding Time

Every writer has their own method of getting past whatever roadblocks lay ahead. I love to meditate and do yoga. My oldest child who also is a writer, watches videos until an idea hits him. My youngest who has yet to start writing but can tell the most amazing stories, has decided to emulate me. I found it so funny I had to get a picture. he looked so serious about it I am sure he will pop a blood vessel if he tries any harder. I wanted to write this to remind everyone of a lesson I learned from my eight year-old. Don’t be so serious, don’t be so hard on yourself, don’t try so hard and just let it happen. If nothing else comes from this post you get a great picture of my little superman trying to meditate just being cute. Hope you all find time to think and plot and plan. 

No Worries,

Charles Colp

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If Only For A Little While

Many are asking why, many more truly don’t get depression. Depression and sadness do not come from the same source. Sadness dries up in the creek bed. Depression is a torrential river.
Speaking from experience, the best you can ever do is make yourself a pest. Making the depressed laugh makes you feel better. It does nothing for depression. Depression is a grave you dug for yourself to not burden others. The best thing a true friend can do is let you get mired down but sternly refuse to let you pull the dirt on top of yourself. Just be there when you are truly needed
Charles colp

Office Space

Setting up your work space can be as important as your plot lines. When I first started writing I took my laptop where ever I could find to be able to write in peace. I was usually uncomfortable and the writing was some of the most challenging. Not because the writing was so well thought out, because I was not in my own place. The first thing I did was get on Ebay and bought a big monitor. I had to compensate for my ultraportable laptop having such a tiny screen. I use a dell business class laptop, this way I can use a docking station like companies do and get the benefits of a desktop and still have it portable when I need it. 

Charles Colp
Large Monitor to reduce eye strain

 

I have found that using a monitor this size, I can turn the brightness to it’s lowest settings and reduce eye strain dramatically. Next up was my keyboard. I had to have something Mechanical. It had to sound and feel good when I typed on it. The programmable keys were just a plus. 

Charles Colp
Razor Blackwidow 2013 Mechanical keyboard.

 

I love the back-lighting and the responsive touch of the keys. The macros that let me program repetitive steps are nice as well. 

Next I found a mouse that was also programmable. It is nice to have a laser mouse that lets you assign copy and paste functions to certain buttons. Even better with this mouse is those assignments are only active when I am running specific programs.

Charles Colp
Logitech Laser Mouse

And the last thing I needed for my mini desk was something for focus. I love my jasmine candles and have several. I always wait for a sale on them and stock up when I can. It works for me, everyone is different. One of my friends uses a bonzai tree. This just happens to be my happy item on the desk. 

Charles Colp
Jasmine Candle for mood

Are any of these things necessary? Probably not. But they seem to make the writing process much more about the writing than the process. Everyone will have their own. I was asked by a friend what I used and thought I would share. 

Happy Writing,

Charles Colp

 

Changes

Charles Colp
Changes

As the long editing work on my first “Sprite” novel continues, I have been forced to realize some changes were needed. I am doing research for my third Sprite Series story, rebuilding my online network, and working on better themed photos for each part of Sprite as I write them.

To say I am stretching myself thin is an understatement. I would also like to say, I would have it no other way. You will be seeing some minor changes here including a menu change that will take you to my other works. I will separate each property by the type of content. I will have my 5 day per week serial work on one site, my random short stories on another, My personal life blogging on yet another. I will also include my social sites in easy to use links including my Tumblr, twitter, and Google Plus. I hope everyone finds what they want to read easily with my new structure. This site will remain about my thoughts on the writing life and so you should see no thematic changes in the posts. (well except this one) Thank you to everyone who has taken time to participate in my writing life. I will always do my best to remain thoughtful of others, mindful of context, and protective of personal feelings. No hate here, just writing for the love of writing.

Have a wonderful day!

Charles Colp

The Importance of making your own inspiration

I have many writer friends who flounder for inspiration regularly. One was even cross with my five day per week writing schedule. She wanted to know where I found this magic fountain of inspiration and share the damn thing. She Wasn’t happy with my answer but hopefully some of you will be. 

I am always on the lookout for anything unique, anything missed in the hectic rat race, just anything really. As an example I went out and walked to physical therapy instead of driving. It wasn’t far, and in less than half a mile I found my next short story. You are welcome to use the picture I took for your own inspiration. 

Charles Colp
Heading Home

You are even welcome to use the photo in your story if you like, just keep it creative commons friendly. The tracks reminded me of old times, They reminded me of my grandfather who adored trains and shared that love with me regularly. They also reminded me of all the disused track around my town. Then on the way back I saw several for sale signs on homes that had been redistricted from one of the best local schools to one of the worst. By the time I got home I had an entire story idea based off of a soon to be ghost town. Giving the town a voice in the comings and goings of the people. 

My friend was not happy. She told me it wasn’t fair that a set of train tracks and a for sale sign did all of that. I don’t know, I feel writing is such a personal thing maybe there is no such thing as a fountain of inspiration. Every persons brain works a little different. That is what makes all of the wonderful writers I follow on here and Google+ such a treat. I have wanted to type “I never would have thought of that” a dozen times a day after reading some of their stories. 

So in the end, do what makes you happy, write what you feel, that is why there are so many of us out here. Writing is personal. Even when it has nothing to do with you. 

Doctor in Room 18

Charles Colp
Doctor in Room 18

So I ignored my headache for a few days. I do this regularly until it becomes unbearable then I will take my medicine. I had two really bad migraines near the middle of last week and took my medicine for them but I am hyper-vigilant of taking it too often. I have had migraines since I was young. There was a time when some big name migraine meds were no longer working for me that I could count the days I didn’t have headaches easier than the ones I could. The upside after having a mini-TIA (mini-stroke) was they found something that helped. the downside. It could be addictive and could build up a tolerance in my system the way the big name stuff had before. So I live with them and tolerate the things I do to mitigate them. I wear Gunnar gaming glasses when I am looking at my screen for a long time. I try to eat healthy, I have lost weight, and have both increased and decreased stress. Yesterday I tried to write my next installment of my Bubbles Serial but could not get my hands to type. After four hours of typing, I managed three hundred words that were spelled incorrectly. So I got to spend most of my day in the hospital not getting anything written while they did CAT scans, made sure I had a heart, etc. I worried about missing my deadline even when I was laying in the CAT scan machine. They sent me home to arrange to see some specialists soon and I will.

The biggest thing I took away from this was just how important the writing process is to me. It may cause a bit of stress when I don’t make a deadline, but writing for me is like running is to some of my friends. They could go a day without it, but they would be thinking about it even sitting on a couch. I write not because I chose to do it, I write because I have to. It is the core of who I am, it is in everything I see and smell. I want to describe the world back to itself. If I do it well enough someone will see the beauty in the mundane parts of life.  

The other thing is my family, They have been amazing. I try to find time everyday to play with them do something special with them. Even the oldest who has become too much like me for words. My wife is one of the most amazing people I have ever known. She has put up with me for 17 years, that is a huge plus in her favor. My daughter is at that rocking age where she likes to test her limits frequently. Half-way between a kid and a woman, she is growing up more beautiful and warm-hearted than I could have hoped. My youngest is a hundred mile and hour fastball. If you blink he will have done five cute things and one not so cute thing in the middle for balance. He is the rockstar of the group. Between them, my mother, father, and brother who are still in my life daily, My mother-in-law that always keeps me guessing and surprises me regularly, and my friends who check on me daily. I am one blessed writer.

So often I look like I have had no sleep, and usually it is true. I can say I never feel as alive as when I am breathing life into a two-dimensional character and building a world around them. Headaches be damned bring on the next project. 

Charles Colp

Charles Colp looking dead

Character Driven Writing

I had a conversation with a reader today. She had a very good question that I thought I would expand upon and query the other authors in my little world. 

When I write a story, I create the general plot, the story question, and the main events. Then I create the Characters and flesh them out as fully as I can. When all of this is complete I turn the characters loose in my head. I let them act and react according to their predispositions and circumstances. This has led to many plot twists I had not planned. The person I had pegged as the bad guy/girl turns out to be innocent with someone else pulling the strings who clearly had more motive. I have had this backfire once or twice, but that is out of one hundred plus stories. Often the twists lead to the only character who could have been the antagonist all along. 

That is how I am sometimes surprised by my own stories. My readers seem to truly enjoy the twists and turns and unknowingly applaud my in depth planning to write such an interesting story. I hate to tell them, and I rarely do, that it isn’t as much planning as it is the nature of the people in the story.

My query is this: how many other writers use this technique? I always run into the same advice from authors to plan everything ahead of time. The author must know every step and set it up accordingly. I however have never been able to make this style of writing interesting enough. Is this due to a lack of discipline, or just differing methods? Any feedback is encouraged. I am not a writer whose ego belongs in a Christmas parade. 

No Worries,

Charles Colp

Charles Colp
No Worries

Mistakes Were made

Suspension of disbelief can only carry you so far in any genre. I found a problem with one of my stories and it was a complete breakdown of how a normal human being would act in a given situation. I am working on correcting it now, though it took ten complete read-throughs before I figured out what had bothered me about the story. If someone is in pure panic mode, no matter how rational they are normally, Panic mode always wins. My character was doing things he would normally do. The problem with that, was nothing was normal for him. It took the character out of the immediacy of the situation and the hind-brain reactionary response that he should have been wrapped in. I will have this correct before post editing is complete but it is really bugging me now. I so badly want to stop my editing and go back to see if this is a recurring problem for my writing style, or just a one-off issue. 

I will keep editing against my urge to check right now, and yes it will eat at me. I must remain focused though. Deadlines are looming, and my nearly week long migraine truly put me behind. I will not let it be an excuse though. I will just work longer hours and put more dedication into the current project and make it seem as though it was simple. 

That will also go against my nature, I like being transparent in my writing. I like admitting to mistakes and allowing other writers, like my son, know that it is OK to make mistakes. It is not OK to let them go to a published work. My hope is that through it all, I am able to inspire someone to become the next great writer. In the meantime, here is some peace and tranquility from my area. Cows in a pasture, just being cows.

Charles Colp
Mistakes Were Made

Migraines are evil

I have been away for a week with a four day migraine. It was torture but I am on the mend now. Still up in the air what triggered it. I will be getting back to writing, editing, reading, and commenting as soon as I am 100% and not in jeopardy of a relapse. I appreciate the patience, my normal snark and positive views should return shortly thereafter. 

No Worries,

Charles Colp