The sky and sea were frantic. Every cannon on every ship was now propelling bottles through the air, and the sky and sea felt every blast and every projectile. On the shore the sand grated against Talan’s ankles as the combined force of the blasts shook the earth. Although the very first cannon blast sent him into a panic this barrage was so deafening the cannon blasts melted into the background, and all he could hear were the thunk, thunk, thunk of messages being received from all directions.
He reached down to scratch his ankles to relieve the irritation from the biting sand, and broke his gaze from the sky briefly to watch the sand dance across the ground. As he began to look back towards the sky he noticed a pair of depressions that resembled crude footprints. He took a few steps, knelt, and inspected the footprints. The footprints lead straight into the sea, but there were no indications that anyone was out in the water unless they were on-board one of the ships.
He had to get to one of the ships. He had to know what was going on. Maybe someone knew where the great library was. Someone had to know.
Placing his index finger at the toes of one of the footprints he dragged it through the sand leaving a small trough. Before the waves made their return he quickly pulled out his bota bag and filled the trough with fresh water. From the trough small vines began to sprout and radiate out over the footprints.
Once the vines completely covered the footprints one vine split-off, approached Talan’s feet, and interwove itself among his toes.
The ships varied widely in shape and size, and Talan quickly found himself lost in their mystique, but before his mind could wander too far a thundering blast assaulted his ears. He fumbled for his ears as he tried to cover them and determine where the blast had come from. Looking across the sea he thought he saw a wisp of smoke coming from a ship a short way north. Immediately he thought the ship had been hit by something and he would soon see the whole thing go up in flames, but as he made his way north and could see the ship better– there was no smoke.
Suddenly, a second blast to the south grabbed his attention and he spun around to find out what was going on. Scanning the sky something caught his eye- if he wasn’t mistaken it was a message in a bottle sailing just below the clouds. He followed it as it reflected the sun, and it made its descent toward one of the ships nearest to the shore. With a loud thunk the bottle was sucked into a tube standing a few feet off the ship. That’s when he noticed what looked to be a cannon near the bow of the ship. His observation was soon confirmed when the cannon sent a bottle flying south. Another thunk echoed off the ships and Talan knew the message had been received.
Then the sea shattered.
Yesterday Kateri Morton, a fellow Blaugust participant, said something that really stuck with me:
My struggle at the moment is not having nothing to write about, but not having long enough to do the posts I want to do properly.
This is exactly how I feel. I’ve been keeping a list of topics to write about, and I can always refer to the writing prompts over on Anook. But on days like today when I am not exactly sure what to write and I’ve given myself little time to write- I look at the things I want to write about and I feel like I won’t be able to do them justice. So far I’ve deliberately avoided topics that require anything more than a little research. It would probably help if I just picked a topic at the beginning of the day or night before and brainstormed ideas throughout the day until I was ready to write, but that hasn’t happened much.
Anything I have been writing outside of Blaugust has taken me a few days to collect my thoughts and write down. And, that is more of the norm when I write. Lots of thinking, lots of listing, more thinking, a bit of procrastination, and then write. With Blaugust it’s been different, and I’ve had to change my normal writing habits and fight those mental blocks (especially when it comes to starting) to make sure I am posting daily.
It all makes me a bit uncomfortable and insecure about my writing, but at the same time it is a much needed challenge. If I want to overcome years worth of built-up aversion to writing- I’m going to have to write.
As I read more and more about drawing and writing one of the things I keep coming across is the necessity to get all bad drawings and bad drafts out of the way as soon as you can. This quote or some variation of it tends to show up often:
“We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us. The sooner we get them out the better.”
For some us we may have to do those 10,000 drawing or write 9 novels before we’ve crossed the threshold of beginner and finally are proficient at our craft. Others may not have to produce near as much. To get good, we have to put in the work and push ourselves.
We have to let go of perfectionism and produce drawings and drafts that are terrible. The grammar stinks, the perspective is off, characters lack depth, and the composition makes your eyes go crazy. But, with each new drawing and each revision or new draft we learn more and eventually we start to get better because we’ve put in the effort.
Blaugust fits into this concept. It’s about quantity, not quality. Proving to ourselves that we can write everyday- that we can in fact get words on a page even when we are not feeling it. Quality comes later after we’ve made mistakes and learned from them.
Just don’t give up even when you’re not happy with what your producing. Keep trying, keep learning. One day you’ll look back and realize you’ve mastered that skill and didn’t even notice the transition from all those bad drawings or drafts into the good ones.
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
-Thomas A. Edison
[A few days ago I said “at this point nothing is off-limits for this blog- within reason of course” and now I find myself writing about something that I did not expect to.]
In the past when it comes to writing I think the only thing I have loathed more than writing in general is writing poetry. I have nothing against poetry, and quite enjoy reading it, but writing it felt like torture.
The only times I have written poetry that I can recall are in school- mainly high school. Where we were generally given a subject and asked to base our poem on it or were asked to write a certain type of poem. After these experiences I never expected that I would voluntarily write poetry- write it for fun, write it to clear my head, or to sift through my thoughts.
Yet, on Friday just before leaving for a walk a little saying popped in my head, and from there it developed into a short poem as I strolled from street to street.
Words are fickle
Words are fine
Weave them, mold them
In your mind.
Relinquish your hold,
Break the binds
Share them. Pair them.
Let them shine.
After I realized what I had done my mind entered a state of shock, trying to process what was going on. All I could think about was all the times I’ve toiled over words and despised my attempts at constructing poetry. Yet, at the same time my brain was flitting about enjoying the words it joined together.
Later on Friday, I think as way to process I wrote another poem.
I do not know what’s going on
But to the words I must succumb.
To flit, to fly
to reach the sky.
Forsaken worries in fact were not .
For the journey of the meek will start
If only fear and doubt depart.
When Saturday rolled around I didn’t expect to write anymore, but before morning’s end I had written three short poems. Here are two of them:
A soiled path
A sullied journey
My path in wake.
If only for a moment to
Forget what’s not,
And start anew.
Indeed I feared I broke the line
Severed the path on which you mine
Now I flee
Only to hope you now be free
And today, I wrote another. Although it took me nearly all day to find the words.
In this land content I lay
A cool wind to guide my way.
And in the sky a giant waits,
And as I turn I see,
a dewdrop hanging listlessly.
Signaling the stars to wake.
I have shared three of these on Twitter and find myself wondering things like: Are others going to read it the same way I read it or say it? Is the punctuation or lack thereof conveying the rhythm I was hoping for? And, can I sacrifice grammar for rhyme?
While poetry still confounds me I now have a newfound respect for anyone that writes it.
The halfway point is here. Time to reflect a little.
Blogging and writing every day has been good. Even when I have been unsure what to talk about I’ve been able to work through it. The main thing I need to work on is giving myself more time to write. The hard part of Blaugust has been keeping up with all the other participants. I love seeing my feed reader full and always having something new to read. I’m curious how other people have been consuming Blaugust. I would like to be reading everyone’s posts on the day they post them, but instead I have been reading one blog at a time and trying to catch-up on that one blog and then move on to the next.
The problem I have been running into is that if I don’t feel like I am going to have the time or if there is a chance of interruption I end up reading nothing. I’ve got to push past this though and just read. I feel better and more inspired when I am reading other people’s blogs, liking their posts, and leaving comments.
I’m excited for what the rest of Blaugust holds. There are so many good writing prompts and topics people have touched on so far I’m not really worried about getting those next 16 posts out.
Today is the first day of Blaugust, a challenge started by Belghast over at Tales of the Aggronaut inviting bloggers to write 31 posts during the month of August. It doesn’t matter if you blog about games, drawing, books, life, or just stuff- everyone is welcome to join in.
I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to start off Blaugust with, but luckily Belghast posted a writing prompt that will act as a great way to start things off. (Throughout Blaugust you will be able to find writing prompts over on the 2015 Writing Prompts thread posted on Anook. These prompts aren’t required, they’re just a way to get those fingers moving if you don’t know what to write about. Void from A Green Mushroom has already posted a bunch of great prompts to get you started.)
What are you hoping to get out of Blaugust this year?
I’ll start off with what I have already got out of Blaugust this year, and that is the successful launch of this blog. Mustering up the courage to start a blog has been something I’ve been struggling with for awhile now, but with all the buzz around twitter and across the blogosphere about Blaugust I finally decided it was time to stop making excuses and just dive in.
Now for what I hope to gain. Over the years I have struggled with writing, it has become something I loathe. This is mostly because it seems to take me an eternity to form and organize my ideas into something coherent enough that I feel comfortable writing it down. I sit there in my chair or on the couch and think for more time than I care to admit. Eventually, I come to a point where I have written out most of what I am going to write in my head and I can finally put pen to paper. I want to move past this aversion to writing, and just let the words flow while still being mindful and deliberate about what I am saying. There was a time when I enjoyed writing. I fondly remember concocting stories of evil care bears, giant cockroaches attacking band kids, carrots traveling to Mars, and battling Bigfoot with Nerf guns.
So maybe I don’t want to be telling the same kind of stories as I was in Middle School, but I do want to enjoy writing again.
During Blaugust, I also hope to connect with the great, vibrant, and thriving community of bloggers out there. For the past year, I have discovered so many great blogs written by thoughtful, interesting, and creative people. It’s time to step beyond
lurking reading, and start interacting with the authors of the blogs I enjoy and the new ones I discover thanks to Blaugust.
Lastly, I leave you with a challenge I have set for myself during Blaugust, and that is to read every post written by my fellow Blaugustians. Sure, my eyes may rebel and I may fall asleep and drool all over your post but it will be worth it, right? Right!?
Goodluck my fellow Blaugustians, it should be a fun ride.