The 5 ways to NOT start anew.

A lot of lists these days just tell you how to do things, giving you a variety of helpful bits of advice to start whatever it is you want to start. Well, you know what, I’m not going to lecture you, nor am I going to pretend like I’m an authority on the subject. Because I’m not.

HOWEVER, as a college student, I do have the authority to tell you NOT how to start a new. Because, you know, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to start anew, and I didn’t take the chance. So, as I’ve experienced most of these first hand, I can tell you that this is NOT the way to succeed, and that you shouldn’t follow my example. If you want to succeed, and actually start anew, then don’t follow this list.

And if any of you are trying to start anew, but are following these examples on this list. You probably will fail. So don’t do it.

  1. Do nothing.

    Well, you know, it’s not like what you’re doing now is wrong, right? I mean, come on, YOLO, right? Let’s just go burn time watching Netflix or picking noses, because there’s really no reason to change anything.

  2. Procrastinate.

    I can just start something after finishing this book. Or I can change myself once this semester ends and summer begins. It’s not really a good time for it anyway, it’s still in the middle of the semester, so it’d be kind of weird to change now.

  3. Wait for someone or something to paint the Starting Line.

    You know, I’m going to wait until I buy this goldfish before I start changing myself. It’ll be my symbol of change with all of its glassy-eyed goodness. Something that signifies this change has to happen, right? I can’t just change by myself.

  4. Discourage yourself from doing it.

    Why do it anyway? Probably some other person out there does it better than I can. Besides, I’m not that strong of a person, there’s no way I’m going to be able to pull this off. I doubt there’s much little old me can do. I’ll just revert to my own ways and become miss shut in, no-friends, a no-change person. I mean, I’m already in the habit of doing things this way anyway, right? Why change anything?

  5. Don’t talk to anyone about it.

    I don’t want to burden my friends with all this useless talk. I mean, even if my entire life and everything I’ve ever learned is due to other people and how they’ve treated me, and even if I’m completely dependent on people, I can do this by myself, right? I’m not so pathetic that I need some other person to help me. It’s not like I’ll do something stupid if I don’t rationally think over my plans, right?

     

    If you’ve read over this list and are curious as to HOW to start anew, here it is: DO IT. Start changing!

    A lot of the time, the problem is that we push it off and overthink things and never start it. More than likely, if you start it, you’ll be able to continue it. Sure, it’s not a foolproof way it start anew, but at least it’s something.

    Otherwise, follow this list. Nothing will happen. Everyone will be just fine. We’ll fit into the same old routine. Like always.

     

    See you next week!

It’s Easter Weekend, I’m poor, and I’ve got too much time…. What now?

Well, I’ve now got four days of free time on my hands (other than going to church and the like) and in here lies the question: what should I do with my free time? Most of my friends have gone home, there are no classes to go to, and although there’s homework, there are no deadlines pressing enough to force me to do it.

So I’ve comprised this list to help me, and you, if you’re in the same predicament I’m in, to help you spend your free time without feeling like you’re wasting it and without spending too much money. As much as I’d love to say I could just read books for four days straight, not everyone can do that (and neither can I. Well, I could, but where’s the fun in that?).

So here it is:

  • Take a walk
    • That’s right. Take a walk. Even after you’ve gone to the gym and sweated your butt off, go take a walk. For me, it helps me cultivate ideas, and since the weather’s FINALLY warm enough where I’m at, it’s the time to take a walk.
  • Call someone you haven’t seen or heard from in a while.
    • Call some high school friends, or middle school friends, or just that neighbor that moved away all those years ago. Doesn’t matter. Could be someone you held a grudge on. Could be your childhood sweetheart. Could be your crazy uncle who raves on about laundry. Who cares who. Just call them.
  • Start on a Project you’ve been holding off on.
    • If you’re a procrastinator like me, then you’ve probably got some things that you’ve left to simmer in the back of your mental closet. If you’ve got free time, take it off the back burner and just START it. Starting it is the best way to not procrastinate. Go clean out your yard, plant those flowers, or write that novel you’ve always wanted to write.
  • Try a new restaurant
    • Basically, if you’ve got time to burn, then try something new. You might find something, or you might not.
  • Do some errands
    • I know, boring, right? But do these first if you can, and then do fun things later. Leaving errands off to times when you’re busy can end badly.
  • Do your homework
    • Great. More boring things. But if you do have an essay that you could be starting, do it now. Don’t let it be the monster that rears its ugly head right after you’ve enjoyed your Easter dinner.
  • Go to church
    • I did say that this list was to fulfill meaningful tasks, right? Well, here’s your main mission. Go to an Easter service. Chocolate and bunnies are nice and all, but they’re not the real reason for the holiday.
  • Do something you’ve wanted to do.
    • Wanted to take a class for a while? Do it. Wanted to learn something new? Find someone who can teach you. Go paint a picture, watch a TV show, whatever. Find your list of suggestions given by friends for shows that you haven’t started yet and at least knock a few of them out.
  • Go to the mall
    • You don’t have to buy anything. Just look. Be the annoying customer that looks at stuff and doesn’t buy anything. Sure, it’s awkward having to deal with over-friendly store clerks. But ignore them. (Or an alternative: kick them and run. Although violent, it’s effective.)
  • And finally, read a book.
    • Sure, this isn’t something you should do your entire weekend, but still take it into consideration. Books are wonderful. Maybe visit Barnes and Noble or BAM and get a latte while reading. It’s still meaningful, calming, and stories always teach you something.

       

    I know, life can be hard when there’s just so much time, and so little to do. But do not fret! This list can help it pass right by. I think. If you look at it hard enough.

     

    See you next week!

An introvert’s guide to surviving college.

College life can be rough. Especially for those of us who don’t find as much solace in parties or drinking or just overall leaving the home base. It’s all right, you can admit it. Being an introvert isn’t a crime or anything, it just means it’s a little harder to make friends, establish your roots, etc. But, don’t fret! It’s not like there’s no hope for us!

Having been in college for almost two years now, I can’t say I’m any expert at this or anything. But I’ve gone through the ups and downs of it. I faced pretty crippling depression at some points, but other times, I had the time of my life. Although this list can’t guarantee anything, I do hope it helps.

  1. Find a few friends, or just one, who you can be comfortable enough with.

    Go over to their room and they might invite you to something which you might become interested in. Or not. Either way, you might end up having the time of your life and find a group to hang out with.

  2. Or, better yet, be the one doing the inviting.
  3. Find a club / make a club.

    This might sound like a big jump for some, but honestly, clubs depend on how they’re run. It could just end up as a gathering place of people with similar interests. It is a bit of work, but it’s definitely worth it.

  4. Find some days to spend by yourself

    Play a video game, watch a movie, write a chapter of a book, or watch some anime, etc. Just relax. Spend some time doing things that you can talk to people about later, even.

  5. Determine what you need to do, for your own health and protection, and do it.

    Don’t be ashamed to go to a counselor, friend, parent, whoever, if you need help. Bad things happen, the way to live is learning to deal with it.

  6. Thrive in college your own way.

    You don’t have to be ‘successful’ in the same way as anyone else. If partying isn’t your way of thriving, don’t force yourself to do it just to have friends.

  7. Make a journal (OR any medium you express yourself the most in.)

    Every night, take out that piece of paper and be as honest with yourself as possible. It helps organize feelings and identify problems. Can’t solve the problem if you don’t even know what it is, right?

  8. Try to think positively as much as you can.

    A day can go good or bad depending on how stormy the weather is in your brain.

  9. Take care of yourself.

    You’re precious, so don’t hurt yourself. Do well in class if you can, or work so you can at least pass. Take care of your body, mind and soul.

  10. Join an internet community.

    At least on the internet, there’s less pressure to always be spending time with someone. They can be support when no one else is.

It’s hard being an introvert in an extrovert’s world, it really is. Especially during the time when you’re establishing your own identity. You’ll face both ups and downs, no doubt about it, but what’s important is to breathe, smile, and take it slowly. If that’s how you work, then work it. And have fun!

See you next week!

This blog’s anniversary!

No, today is not this blog’s anniversary, actually, I’m not even completely sure when this all began, but I do know it’s been over a year now. Wow. Okay, perhaps there were some months I didn’t really post anything, but it still doesn’t change the fact that I’ve had this website for so long, and it still receives views even today, thanks to dedicated friends and readers.

    So, thank you all. No really, thank you so much!

    After today, this blog is going to change to simply weekly posts, every Friday Afternoon! I know I used to do two to three a week last year, but I’ve been facing some tough obstacles that have really tripped me up, so that’s why I’m simply going to have one longer post on Fridays. J I look forward to writing for you guys again, and feel free to comment any time!

    Happy first anniversary, my blog! Now, next goal, the fifth year anniversary! Keep writing!

Some inspirational quotes from awesome authors.

“We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”
― Veronica RothDivergent

 

“There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications, and just go for it.”
― Judith McNaughtRemember When

 

“Thinking something does not make it true. Wanting something does not make it real.”
― Michelle HodkinThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

 

“I am my own biggest critic. Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me and I don’t want to spend my life with someone who is always critical. So I am going to stop being my own critic. It’s high time that I accept all the great things about me.”
― C. JoyBell C.

 

“In the end, all men die. How you lived will be far more important to the Almighty than what you accomplished.”
― Brandon SandersonThe Way of Kings

 

“You can take my life, but you’ll never break me.
So bring me your worst…
And I will definitely give you mine.”
― Sherrilyn KenyonNo Mercy

 

~~

Be strong, and remember to face life with a positive attitude! It’s a mindset that can make or break your day, so don’t keep beating yourself up! Keep going! And have a wonderful weekend!

~A.C. Rooks

 

 

Dear Stranger,

This started out as a writing prompt, but I kind of liked how it turned out. So I decided to edit it a little and post it here, if anyone needs a little pick-up for the day.

Throughout living, life will continue to give you lemons. He has too many to carry, so he has to give them away before they blossom from his arms and spill to the ground. He never wished you harm, but he knows he has to give them to you, and with a sad smile he sends you away with an armful of them. He can’t give you a lemonade-making machine nor any sugar to go with it. Life told us to make lemonade, but if you ask me, lemonade is too sour to drink all of them time. My lips couldn’t take the puckering.

But stranger, have hope.

Instead of lemonade, let’s make a lemon castle, like children build castles in the sand. Let’s make lemon forts and lemon huts to live in, and lemon playgrounds for the kids to play on. Let’s use them to light batteries, or put their juice into water guns and shoot them at each other. Let’s laugh along with Life, because things must be hard on him too. Life can’t stop giving us lemons, so instead, let’s use these stupid lemons however we want to. We’ll play with them until they rot.

I wish I could tell you pain would stop, how you can deal with it when it gets piled in heaps in your chest, but I can’t. I’m still trying to find that method for myself. But you know what? Just because life is uncertain and confusing as hell sometimes, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth waiting to see what will happen.

I want to be a writer, Stranger. I want to be around long enough to see myself become one. I’d love to see what you become too.

Call me strange, but at I want to look forward to something. So I can keep going forward along with these wads of lemons.

Blessings,

A.C. Rooks

20 things I’ve learned in 20 years

I thought I’d have a little fun and try to summarize some of the important things I’ve learned in life over these twenty years. Although I probably won’t hit everything, obviously, because there’s so much to learn even in just day to day things, but I’ll try my best! Feel free to comment your own life findings

  1. Nothing ever works when there’s a lack of communication.
  2. I don’t know about fiction, but in reality, being honest is the best way to go.
  3. If you never move forward, you will stay in the same place.
  4. There are two sides of the world, the one that is mathematical and calculated, the other is artistic and mysterious. True beauty is when both come together.
  5. Things will happen, things will change. Learn to embrace the new, but never forget the old.
  6. When meeting people, don’t only approach the situation expecting your friend to give you a good time. Don’t just be on the receiving end.  You also have to be willing to give or else the relationship will feel empty.
  7. Take note of the recommendations people tell you. If you see them again, they will ask you. If you didn’t do it, you’ve lost an enjoyable conversation.
  8. Don’t make excuses. No one wants to hear them, whether they’re true or not.
  9. Love your parents and friends if they treat you well. If they haven’t, at least respect the fact they’ve probably gone through as much shit as you.
  10. Anything can be a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just a matter of where you look with the kaleidoscope.
  11. Don’t expect what happens in fiction to happen to you. That’s like expecting yourself to step into a painting. It’s artful representation, not actual reality.
  12. However! Just because something isn’t real, doesn’t mean that its value is discounted. All stories/fiction with heart have value.
  13. Growing up doesn’t mean you have to throw away your inner child. It just means being able to know which situations need your inner child, and which ones need the outer adult.
  14. Success isn’t easy. School might have been easy at one point, but the real world isn’t your high school gym class. You need real effort.
  15. For kids in school who don’t feel like they fit in: don’t worry, the farther up the school ladder you go, the wider range of strange there is. By the time you’re in college, you’ll be the interesting person who finds all of the right people.
  16. Be careful who you choose to make friends with. Search for the ones who want to help you grow and want to see you mature into the best person you can possibly be.
  17. Take a philosophy class so you can learn how to think on your own and be able to argue without becoming defensive.
  18. Yelling never works. It only ends up with both sides hostile towards one another, and any bits of intellectual gold is ignored.
  19. Don’t go closing doors until you’re absolutely certain you can’t go that way.
  20. Don’t worry about things that don’t need to be worried about. The most interesting people, most of the time, still have no idea where they’re going in life, and follow their heart. Keep to the present and do whatever you can. That’s all one can do. That’s what keeps us humble.

I’m 20 years old now. What a scary thought.

Time is an annoying bastard. Regardless of how you think, he’ll run or he’ll drag his feet on the ground depending on his mood. The clock keeps moving when I feel like I’ve been glued to the ground, helpless to watch everything around me continue to spin and move while I stay the same. Here I am, two decades old, and I still have not a clue what I am. I’m not in the teens anymore, so I must be an adult, right?

Okay, there are many who would disagree with the above statement. There are too many water skiing grandmas. Too many young and old people in bodies unsuited to their age. Age is nothing in the face of the heart.

So then what is time to us anyway? My guess is it depends on the speed of time.

That might seem confusing, but think of the last time you lost someone. Did you feel like time stopped? If we lose someone important, we might grow angry that the rest of the world as it still goes on even with them gone. The baker will continue to bake his bread whether or not your deceased person is there or not. We will continue to breathe air, our feet will continue to carry us, until our own lives come to an end. It’s a frightening thought, really. Within the time of grieving, we’re forced to grow up and carry the slime time threw at us. You’re forced to shed your tears and keep moving, unless one will be left behind.

Then there’s the opposite, when time flies. During this point, Time means nothing because within your own world, time flows at its own pace. Your head is in a daze, and you lose track of what the rational world tells you. The time is so fun, so captivating, that it brings a lightness into your heart and you become a child again. Just for a bit. In that bit of time, you can just forget everything else and just fly.

There are other types of time too, bored time, indifferent time, etc. etc. All of it’s important. Even wasted time was for something. It just determines how much of a procrastinator you are. Time is dependent on the situation, and changes its speed because of it.

I apologize for rambling, but it is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Its fickle nature makes me curious. I want to flesh out time. To know what it means to me. To know what I will become because of it.

It’s hard to think I’ve lived a fourth of my life (well, if I’m lucky enough to hit the age of 80). It’s hard to think I’m not what society calls a child anymore, even when I still feel like one.

That’s why I’ve determined Time is a bastard. He doesn’t listen to me at all and just keeps going. Call me control freak, but sometimes I wish I could choose the kind of time I was having. If I could choose the type of time in any given moment, then I could probably make class so fun that I’d absorb every single part of it. Or I’d make time slow when I need to think of something to say in order to not make a fool of myself. But time tends to the opposite of what I wish. It does its own thing, continually humbling those who wish they could control it.

Enough of my ranting though. I’m kind of curious what people think of time. Feel free to post in the comments section about your own experience with time. J

I’ve Started My Third Draft…

I’ve begun my third draft, but I won’t have to be doing it at NaNoWriMo pace anymore. 1,667 words a day is good for forcing words out of someone, but eventually the well of words run dry and even if you can wear the ‘I wrote 1,667 words’ emblem, it’ll all be clunk anyway.

        NaNoWriMo taught me I need to prepare some things first before going headfirst into writing.

    This lesson here might leave you baffled, because if organization and planning come naturally to you, then you’d be telling me ‘of course it is, how other way is there to do anything’?. I am not one of those people who know every folder in their file cabinets, mental and physical. I cannot simply have to extend and hand and the document needed is between their pinching fingers. I wish I was this person sometimes, I really do.

    But alas, I am a slob. There are not many days of the week you can enter my room without finding my things strewn carelessly and messily on the floor. And this sloppiness applies to my writing as well. Most days, I simply write with the wind and hope to hell it comes out decent. I’ve been fortunate enough to say that most of my pieces do in fact come out of the mind works rather decently after a bit of scraping off the rough edges. I can work a draft or two and get a decent grade in English class. This may seem infuriating to some people out there, I know. You may tell me that you have worked so hard, or that you have spent hours slaving over a keyboard and yet here I am doing nearly nothing and achieving. I understand that feeling as well as you. If there are people like me, you can bet your bottom dollar you can find people who can do it even better.

    However, it’s infuriating for me as well. I’ve used this process so long, that I don’t even know how to reach my potential anymore. After so many years of half-hearted effort, I’m not even sure how I could put my all into it. I don’t know how to squeeze the metaphorical water from the towel anymore. How many more hours must I spend or things I must do to make it the end result I want? The sad thing is, I don’t know.

    After all of these years, I just simply wanted to forget about my possible potential, since I don’t seem to be able to draw it out myself. But then I did NaNoWriMo. And there’s no way that after writing yourself to hell like that, that you can pull off a novel before thinking of any of your settings, or characters or plot, etc.

    A novel is too large a thing to fit seamlessly to memory. Perhaps if I had more file cabinets up there, or a larger attic, I could stuff it up there and hope to God I can still find the right information at the right time. But we all know that’s not possible, unless you have the memory of Sherlock Holmes. But again, alas, I don’t possess that proficiency at memorizing.

    So I’ve picked up the old writing program I used to have, Write It Now, and as dinky as it looks, I love it. It keeps all of my characters and events and references all in one place. It can take my word count and guestimate the age of my audience. It has files and places for me to put stuff into, digitally, so I am unable to lose it.

    I can only hope my third draft will emerge something much better than the second, because at the pace I was working at, I can almost surmise it was worse than my first… which is infuriating. Remind me to actually plan my novel out before trying to attempt that again.

    To those of you writing, write away! And good luck!

    

Relearning the Same Lessons (2013)

In 2013, I ended up (almost) finishing two drafts, very different drafts, of a story I’ve been thinking of for the longest time. First was the summer, which I was writing for a creative writing course, where I would write 2,000 words a week and so on. The second was NaNoWriMo, where I had to write 1,667 words per day. Both were difficult to achieve, but the fruits of me effort were evident.

I could visibly see myself improve between the drafts. Which is such a cool thing. To place in metaphor, the butterfly doesn’t see itself change into a butterfly within its cocoon, so seeing myself making a step, even a tiny step, closer to my goal of becoming a novelist was just… awesome.

I will admit, I have a long road ahead, trust me. My characters need more development, my setting needs more character, and the plot fell short to what I’ve come to expect from books. But you know what? It’s getting there. As slowly as I’m moving, I’m getting there. And it’s exciting.

Over the second draft, I realized something that reminded me of what my old saxophone teacher used to tell me. I remember the small room in the corner of that Music tutoring business, fumbling over the notes of Charlie Parker’s transcribed solos and thanking the lord there was carpet on the wall to muffle my sound from the others in the building. The thing about Charlie Parker is, he’s a beast a music. If you look at some of his solos, some of those pages are slathered in ink from all the complicated and quick rhythms. There’s 32nd notes and 64th notes at ridiculous speeds, and if you don’t know how fast those are, then think of the fastest piece of music you’ve heard and multiply that by a million. I fell short every practice because I obsessed about the rhythm. But I could not pack so many notes in the right rhythm with so little time.

My teacher, seeing my continuous struggle, stopped me and told me this: don’t worry about the technicalities, just get the ‘feel’ of it.

    What he was getting at is, it’s MUSIC, so let music be music. If all we needed from music was the right rhythm, we could get a robot to play it for us. We have to remember that it’s an art, as well as it is a product of rhythm. The same goes with writing. Yes, writing needs its connection with reality. But is it reality? Of course not.

This principle is most easily applied to fantasy, because one of the things that’s always hammered into the heads of students about fantasy is: it must be connected with reality. It’s used to help us recognize ourselves in a foreign world, so we can see ourselves. It also helps us begin to understand it. If there’s something from our own world to cling on to, you’ll be able to see the rest of the view. However, if you’ve ever read Tolkien or Narnia, you know these worlds are way different than our own. Yes, they’re based off of reality somewhere, but it’s MORE than the reality. The beauty of this new world becomes an art form, where the setting becomes a painting. A painting doesn’t need to have the correct perspective or lines to convey its message.

Writing needs its bits of reality, and characters need to be based on people and yada yada yada. That will always be true, no matter how you look at it. But will it always be a direct translation from reality? NO! Actually, novels would be so much more boring if they were. Since frankly, very few people live the action-packed, drama-filled lives that a novel portrays.

Writing is an art form. The characters, settings, plots, do not have to be direct links to reality. They can be made into the different colors of a painting. Although the scene is familiar, the light and colors might be changed to come more artistic. My novels lack that at the moment, because I was so afraid to just let my characters be more than just humans trapped in my head.