Monday, June 22, 2015

Why I've Been Reading Short Stories

For a long time, I only read short stories for school. It never occurred to me that I might enjoy reading them outside of class. That all changed when I found a copy of Road Dahl's Skin and Other Stories at a thrift store a few months ago.

Of course I was a fan of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches and The BFG when I was a kid, but as a teenager I was introduced to his adult stuff. I had read his short story Lamb to the Slaughter for -you guessed it- school, and I really enjoyed it. I was surprised with how deliciously twisted it was, so when the collections of stories popped up, school had warmed me up enough to buy it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Don't Break the Chain: How I Got Motivated (Again)

Maybe motivation isn't a problem for you, but sometimes it is for me.

When it comes to blogging it's (usually) easy for me to sit down and write a post. It was harder when no one read my blog and no one ever commented. But now, I have all the factors working towards me. People read my blog, people (seem) to like my blog, I like my blog, I like to write on my blog. It's easy to create for my blog when I know that there's an immediate appreciation of it. I write a post, I post it and the next day there's comments on it. Perfect.

However, when it comes to writing for my personal projects, it's a different story. I'm a thinker. I come up with all the ideas and jot them down. I make story boards and plot graphs. I'm basically the queen of planning, but after a few weeks of working on a project that I was excited for, I lose motivation. Usually it's because I don't really think the project will be successful.

This mindset led me into a vicious cycle of not creating anything. For a wannabe writer, this is a bad place to be. I felt guilty for not doing something I knew I wanted needed to do for me, and at the same time I couldn't bring myself to put in the work that I knew would relieve that guilt. Normally, if I don't want to pursue a hobby then I don't. Why do something that's supposed to be fun if it's not fun? But writing is different; with the risk of sounding hokey, it's more than a hobby. The need to create something meaningful doesn't go away, and sometimes it's hard, but putting in that hard work is what makes it so sweet. Does that makes sense? I hope so.

Anyways, I was stuck in this guilt/no motivation rut, until the Fall semester of last year when I took a creative writing course. That course, obviously, had deadlines which prompted me to create pieces, finish them, and turn them in. The looming deadline was the motivation I needed. This class was the spark that got me writing again. It took away that strange fear and self-doubt that had prevented me from getting back into it.

However, once the course ended, I didn't jump right back into full-on writer mode. I let ideas stew in my brain for a few months, sometimes jotting down a few words on the weekend. I could feel myself slipping back into my usual habits, and I didn't want that to happen again. As Summer is beginning, so is the feeling of a fresh start, so what better time than now to make some new goals. To meet those goals, I used my tried and true method of the Don't Break the Chain calendar by Karen Kavett.

Don't Break the Chain is all about completing an activity every. single. day. Each day you get to cross off the date, creating a chain effect, that you don't want to break. If you don't do said activity, you don't get to cross off the date, thus breaking the chain. This is a mental game that works very well for me (I've been using it since January to remind me to read my Bible each day). What's even better is that Karen just came out with a specific Summertime Don't Break the Chain calendar for June, July, August and September.

So with my Don't Break the Chain calendar printed and at the ready, June 1st I committed to writing 100 words a day. It's not much, but it's enough to keep me going. It was exactly what I needed, and I'm proud(ish) to to say that I've made it through the first 15 days without breaking the chain.

I wanted to share this little anecdote of what worked for me, because I know that many of you are in the same boat. I also wanted to write this down for my own posterity. I get in these ruts often enough that I need to remind myself how I pulled myself out of them. If you're interested in using this method, for whatever you want to accomplish, you can check out her Summertime Calendar post here, and her full year Calendar post here.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have any projects that are calling your name this summer? Are you going to try the Don't Break the Chain calendar? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments!

Yay! It's the first of many summer posts on SOI again! Click here to read the ones from last year.

Reading: Rivals in the City by Y.S. Lee
Listening: The Astronaut Wives' Club by Lily Koppel on audiobook
Watching: Casey Neistat vlogs

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Readership Survey Results!

Recently, I created a readership survey to accompany my first ever link-up! The survey closed at the end of May, so I thought it was high time to share the results and my response to them.

What kind of readers does A Splash of Ink have?

95% of the people who read SOI are female. Honestly, I'm not surprised. I find the book blog-o-sphere to be a female dominated world. To the guys who read SOI, you're awesome (and you should leave links to your blogs so I can read them!). 

Another non-surprising fact was that 100% of the people that filled out the survey are bloggers (of varying degrees of commitment).

When I asked about ages, I really had no idea what to expect. This was really interesting. 
52% of SOI's readers are between the ages of 11-16. 
29% of SOI's readers are between 17-20 (my age bracket).
14% of SOI's readers are between 20-24.
5% of SOI's readers are between 25-35

I asked about other languages that people spoke (mostly out of curiosity) and some of the answers were: Spanish, Russian (but at a six year old level), Irish, German, Hindi. Some of the more humorous answers were: Geek, Pig-Latin, Fangirl, Sarcasm. In all of the open category sections you guys never failed to crack me up, so thanks for that! 

In response to this answer:

 "English, but I am rather fond of a good Scottish accent, if that counts."

Yes, a good Scottish accent always counts for something, haha. 
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