Coffee Dates: Houses

Good Morning, Creatives!

Okay, all ya’ll are about to laugh at me. And not because I said all ya’ll. I’m allowed to say that because technically I was born in Texas and thus have the right to say ya’ll. And there are more than five of you, so it’s definitely all ya’ll.

I know these things.

Anyway, this week’s question is going to make you laugh at me. It’s silly and ridiculous and totally inconsequential, a question with no merit and no deep meaning.

I’m really excited.

Since we were talking about personality tests last week—specifically the Myers-Briggs test—this week, I wanted to ask about a different personality test. Specifically, Hogwarts houses.

My Process

I am pure Ravenclaw. I love books, I think too much, and I am not a biggest fan of having one ‘right way’ to do things.

Okay, ‘not a big fan’ is an understatement.

If there was one right answer to every question, no one would actually need to think.

My Struggles Within That

I have struggled deeply with this one. (Not really.) I wanted to be a Hufflepuff. I was so, so sure I was a Hufflepuff. My whole existence is a Hufflepuff kind of existence. They just seem like such warm-hearted, gentle, brilliant kind of people. The kind of brilliant that doesn’t quite make sense to most people.

But no. Knowledge is power. So I am a Ravenclaw.

Your Thoughts

Are there any Harry Potter fans out there? What is your house? Any other Ravenclaws around? Tell me in the comments!

Coffee Dates: Myers Briggs

Good Morning, Creatives!

Does anyone else need caffeine this morning? I do. Maybe not a straight cup of coffee or espresso, but I would not say no to a few cups of black tea with a little cream and honey. Just to get my brain moving in the right direction.

But! The weekend is near, O people of the pen, so take heart! We’re going to make it through!

Now, before I ask this week’s question, I want to clarify that I do not think any sort of test can put people in a box. We are created as beautiful, infinite beings with endless potential and ability to change. Our minds and our choices are our own, and what we decide to do with them shapes our brains.

However, sometimes the tests are fun. Personally, they make me laugh, and sometimes it really is fun to read through the descriptions and snicker over how close they came.

So, that said, today’s question is all about personality types! According to the Myers Briggs test, what is yours?

My Process

I am an INFJ, which stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judgement. I have never been one to search too deeply into ‘societies definition’ of what that means, but for me, it means that I spend a great deal of time alone, I am incredibly empathetic and can almost always tell when someone is having an off-day—sometimes just by glancing across the room—and it takes me a very long time to connect with and trust someone.

I also have an enormous amount of patience for a long task, thus my writing career.

My Struggles Within That

I hate public events! Parties are the worst. Especially if I don’t have one person I can latch onto and dig into the deep parts of life with, instead of struggling through small talk. I hate talking about myself in job interviews and meet-and-greets, and I hate pitching my novels! But I do it. Because I am an adult, and I do things I don’t necessarily like to do.

Your Thoughts

What is your personality type? More than that, what do those four letters mean to you? Are you outgoing and the life of the party, but struggle to maintain lasting friendships? Do you write, but scream sometimes because you need human interaction? Do you, like me, HATE pitching your novel? Tell me about it in the comments!

Coffee Dates: Night Owl or Early Bird

Good Morning, Creatives!

Can we just have a round of applause for those of us who made it through this week? Like, seriously, congratulations! It’s the weekend! We get to rest and write and read books!

Hopefully. Sometimes weekends get booked solid and life gets in the way. But we do our best.

That’s one of the reasons that I love writing in the morning so much. I’ve found over the years that I do my best writing between five and eight in the morning when the world is quiet and the sun is still rising.

Which leads to today’s question! Are you a night owl or an early bird?

My Process

I am definitely an early writer. I like to get up while it’s still gray and misty outside, switch on my fairy lights, and sit down with my kitty to read my bible before the sun rises. Then I go straight to the computer, and most mornings I can fly through 500-1000 words before I even get up for breakfast. Such a good feeling!

My Struggles Within That

Early mornings don’t always happen! Sometimes I really am too tired to move, and that snooze button on my alarm starts looking very nice. Other days, I can’t sleep in to save my life. 5:30 rolls around, and ding, my brain is awake and ready to go, no matter how I happen to feel about it. Sometimes—especially on vacation—it really would be nice to sleep in a bit!

Your Thoughts

What about you? Are you a morning writer, typing with the sunrise and enjoying an early cup of tea to welcome the new dawn? Or do you haunt the deepest watches of the night and compose your words by starlight and moonlight? Tell me about it in the comments!

Living Courageously

I have a confession to make.

I have been keeping secrets from y’all.

Big secrets. Secret secrets.

Some of them are so big and so secret that I can’t even tell you about them yet. (I promise I will soon.)

But I can tell you the first one today.

About a month ago, I got dressed up and went into town for a job interview. My third interview with this particular company, in fact.

A third interview is a big deal, guys. There’s a lot of pressure. And a lot of people to impress. Especially if you want the job as much as I did. So, the whole 45 minute drive into town—I’ve mentioned I live in the middle of absolutely nowhere—I was praying. And worshiping. And reciting scripture. And basically doing anything and everything I knew how to do to keep my anxiety from bursting out and swallowing me whole before I got to the interview.

Because it’s really not a good first impression when you’re visibly panicking while trying to greet people and hold a conversation.

I made it all the way to the parking lot before I started to freak out. Actually, I made it onto the sidewalk.  Like, I made it far. Cause I’m a warrior, y’all. The trouble was, I still had to go inside and actually make it through the interview, which, considering the previous interviews, could have gone anywhere from an hour to two hours.

Which, for an introvert, is a long time to smile and talk to people.

Do you know what ended up giving me courage? You’re going to laugh.

It was Kate DiCamillo, and her wonderful, wonderful book, The Tale of Despereaux.

Specifically, this line:

“Once upon a time,” he said out loud to the darkness. He said those words because they were the best, the most powerful words that he knew and just the saying of them comforted him.

I said it to myself as I went through the doors, and while I smiled and talked with the receptionist, and while I sat and waited for my interviewer to come and retrieve me.

Once upon a time.

Once upon a time.

She was right. Just the saying of them comforted me.

In case you’re wondering, I made it into the interview without panicking. And I sat and talked with twelve people all at once, several of whom had skyped in so they could get a look at me. I smiled and answered questions and asked semi-intelligent ones myself, and when it was over I walked out feeling courageous.

For an introvert who, ten years ago, couldn’t look an adult—or almost anyone else—in the eyes, that was pretty brave.

And yes, after a month of waiting with bated breath, they offered me the job. So how’s that for courageous?

What is something particularly courageous that you have done lately? Brag to me in the comments! I’d love to hear about it!

Coffee Dates: Favorites

Good Morning, Creatives!

How was the week? Anyone make it all the way through? I hope so, because I have such a fun question for you all this week, and it would be a shame to waste it on empty space because all of my friends got flattened by adult responsibilities.

So, here’s to hoping that didn’t happen.

This week’s question is about favorites! Writers have so many different caps they have to wear, but I personally would be lying if I didn’t have one or two that I favored above the rest.

My Process

Everyone has their own favorite part of the writing process! I personally love description and building new worlds out of pen and paper. I put on music, usually something from Two Steps From Hell, and give myself as much time as I need to explore the new surroundings and see everything I need to see before I try to put anything on paper. It’s an adventure every time, and it’s a huge part of what I love about writing. We writers get to visit such extraordinary places!

My Struggles Within That

I am a chronic overwriter! My editor is always despairing over it. I have to limit myself to only a few especially beautiful settings within a single book, when I would much rather explore every single room in the castles, every single dungeon, and every single deep wooded hollow I come across.

I’m learning to keep to the settings that really matter to the story, but sometimes I definitely run away with myself.

Your Thoughts

What is your favorite part of being a writer? Do you love your characters? Suspense? Stunning plot twists? Descriptions and intrigue? Tell me about it in the comments!

Coffee Dates: Frustrations

Good Morning, Creatives!

Tomorrow’s the weekend! Anyone have any plans? Writing, adventuring, or just sleeping? (I’m mostly planning on sleeping, if at all possible.)

Since I need sleep (and I always do) this week’s question is about frustration. Which part of your writing journey frustrates you the most? What gets you really heated and annoyed with it for interrupting your story’s flow?

My Process

Writing can be so, so frustrating, and it’s never more frustrating for me than when I know I have limited time, I know I have a pile of work to get finished, and all I can do is stare at a blank screen or pound out wooden words that I can’t enjoy or savor at all.

I’m sure I’m not the only one in this, right?

If I’m honest, these moments crop up because my body and my brain need REST, and I am not very good at resting. I like to have my to-do list, finish my to-do list, and get a bit extra done for luck. Anyone with me in this?

My Struggles Within That

I cannot convince my poor tired brain to cooperate without taking proper care of it. Which irritates me. It makes sense, of course, and I know it makes sense, but I would rather it didn’t make sense and I was able to force out a few thousand words whenever I felt like it.

Because I am impatient.

So, instead, when I start staring blankly at a screen, I am learning to take a pause, take a minute, and just rest. Read a good book, lie back and close my eyes, or just stare out the window for a while.

Someday, I’ll convince myself to do this on a regular basis.

Your Thoughts

What is one of your biggest frustrations while you’re writing? What steps have you taken/would you like to take to counter that frustration? Tell me about it in the comments!

Fighting Goliath

On Saturday, my writing group came to my house.

Coming to my house is an adventure in itself. I’ve mentioned frequently that I live in the middle of nowhere, right? So, sometimes even Google Maps has a hard time leading people up my driveway.

Two of my imagination buddies got lost.

Then they called me.

Then their cellphones lost service, and I had to decide if I was going to mount an expedition to rescue them or trust that they would figure it out on their own.

Shockingly, considering the maze of dirt roads, back lanes, and dead ends leading to my house, they made it on their own.

I’m assuming they all made it home safely afterward, but as no one has confirmed this for me, I can’t actually be sure.

Besides living in the middle of nowhere, I also live in a very, very small house. So, Gloria, thank you for volunteering to sit on the floor and not complaining about the plants that were practically in your lap the whole time.

You’re a trooper.

Despite the cramped quarters and the long drive and my cat being super awkward and staring at people in a weird way, we had a marvelous time. We all got a chance to read everyone’s books, make comments, fangirl a little bit over our favorite characters, and offer a bit of constructive criticism. We met old friends, made new friends, and all got a bit of a better look at the stories we have.

I can’t speak for the rest of them, but I certainly broke through a block that’s been bugging me for weeks.

It was about time.

Besides doing critique work, we had plenty of time to just sit back and talk. About life, about jobs, about our writing. And about our fears in entering the publishing world. Sometimes wanting to be an author and trying to break into the world of agents, publishers, and critics feels impossibly hard. It’s a long, long slog, and it’s not something that is ever going to come easily. In the end, we decided it feels like fighting Goliath.

Which, for a group of mostly introverts that are definitely not the battling types, is very intimidating.

But, really, that’s the point of our writing group. Because who wants to fight Goliath alone? We come together to offer support, give encouragement, and keep the others fighting when it feels impossible. And the harder it gets, the more we have to hold each other up and remember that the goal is worth the fight.

Honestly, there is no one else in the world that I would rather face Goliath with than my imagination buddies.

Do you have an imagination buddy? Tell me about them in the comments, or simply introduce yourself if you’d like one! I’m always excited to befriend a new writer!