Tuesday, May 3, 2016

What is Stress?

"Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind." - Aristotle
We've all said it at one point or another; "I'm stressed out!" But what is stress? We all feel and experience it. Some of us deal with it better than others. There are varying degrees, and it usually builds when not dealt with. Though, when we use this word, that one little word hardly describes how we are actually feeling. "I'm stressed," hardly explains the turmoil and struggle we are going through, or so we think. I feel this way about a lot of words; they just don't explain how I'm really feeling.

Or do they? The definition for stress packs quite a punch. Even though it feels severely inadequate, there is a lot more to these five letters than meets the eye. Stress refers to a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. This definition definitely stresses the word stress, but I don't get quite the same satisfaction from using one word as I do from looking at this definition.  

When people ask what's wrong, I'll start by saying I'm sad or angry or stressed. We all do. Then I plunge into a long explanation of why I'm stressed, trying desperately to stress just how intricate and complex my stress is.

Strain means to force oneself to make a strenuous or unusually great effort, or to make severe or excessive demands, excessive meaning more than is necessary, normal or desirable. Now this sounds far more satisfying. "I have asked my mind and emotions to do more than is normal, or necessary, or even desirable." Now doesn't that sounds much more stressful than saying we are stressed?

Why does the word stress not stress how stressful stress really is?

(The word stress is beginning to not even look like a word.)

The truth is, as I saw when I broke down and explored the definition, it really does! We just don't know the true meaning! We have either lost or never really learned or remembered what the word stress actually means. We do this, all the time. I do this with all sorts of words. I'm never satisfied because I don't know or can't remember what a word actually means. Sure, I can tell you what a word means in my own words, but it's usually very far fetched from the intended, or true meaning.

We can't walk around saying, "I am in a state where my mind and emotions have done more than is normal, necessary and desirable." Stress is a powerful word, if we throw our own definitions out the window and re-learn the real definition. I don't have the answer, or at least not a perfect answer for how we get around this problem. My perfect answer if this was a perfect world would be that we all walk around with dictionaries and take vocabulary classes every day and society never stopped learning.

This is not a perfect world, as we all know. No matter how frustrating it is, it's physically and mentally impossible to know the actual definition of every word.

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

This is my mission; in life, in writing, in blogging. Explore definitions, learn something new every single day! Use words the way they were intended and understand what they were intended to communicate without directly expressing it. Language is a beauty, an art. Every word is intricate and complex, their definition even more so. There definition is meant to be unspoken and intended, not forgotten or overlooked.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this blog posting. If you enjoyed it, share it with your friends, leave a comment below and tweet @TresaWriter. Share your thoughts. Happy reading and writing, friends!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

10 Questions Writers Should Ask Themselves

As a new, fresh, amateur, sometimes even beginning writer, there are a whole host of questions I ask myself, everyday, every single time I write. Mostly, I ask myself these questions during my spirals of self-doubt, when I am feeling discouraged and seriously lacking motivation. It's alright; it happens to the best of us. It's normal, and healthy! A little self-doubt can go a long way, if you embrace it!

Every writer has questions. Every writer likes to think they have all the right answers. I'm here to say that I don't have the answers. You may not, either, and that's okay! As a beginner or an amateur writer, I've come to realize that even if you don't have all the answers, you still need to write! If you want to write, you need to write before you have the answers. You need to figure it out as you go! You won't find the answers just staring at a blank piece of paper or screen.

These terribly daunting questions can discourage even the most sure, dedicated writer, and make them question their entire purpose. Here are 10 questions every writer should ask themselves, almost everyday, (and it's okay if you don't have all the answers).

"It's okay if you don't have all the answers."

1) Who am I? (What kind of writer am I?) 
This question scares me. It's by far the most daunting question out there for writers, but don't get discouraged. My first thought is, 'I have no idea!' Most days, I'm not even sure what kind of writer I want to be.

2) What do I stand for? (What is my mission?)  

Again, don't get discouraged. Most days, my mission is, 'A blog that revolves around words, definitions and their true, intended meanings, which have been lost.' Some days, I lose sight of that. 
3) Where am I going (as a writer)? 

Feeling the burn, yet? This question is just as impossible to know the answer to as, 'Where am I going in life?' While it's a great question to think about, you can't get too hung up on the answer.

4) Are my expectations realistic?
As writers, we need to be realistic. We need to understand that fame isn't going to happen overnight. It takes hard work. It's tedious. Focus on the enjoyable, but also analyze your expectations and realign them with reality.

5) Am I good enough? 

Some days, yes. Others, no. Here's the point; it doesn't matter! You will never be your best if you let this question (or any question) stop you. I have no idea if I am good enough right now. The answer is probably, 'NO!' And that's okay, because it's not up to me! It's up to our readers. They decide if our content is good enough. The good news is, if you keeping writing, every day, you'll get better. And better is good enough.

6) What makes me remarkable?
Again, it's okay! You don't need the answer to be able to write. Embrace it! This is part of being a writer; you won't have all the answers at first, maybe not even after a month, six months, a year. Don't get discouraged! You still need to write, or else you'll never find the answers.

7) Why should people care about what I write? 

Ouch! This one hurts most days, but it is essential in your everyday writing. You have to ask yourself this question, because it'll bring you one step closer to finding your purpose, even though there are a million steps between here and there!

8) Do I believe in myself or my writing?

Most days, not really. Sometimes, I am just unmotivated, uninspired and discouraged beyond help. Sometimes I think I am so full of crap that my readers can see right through my writing and see just how much of a fake I really am! I read an article by creativindie.com, 10 Catastrophic Blogging Mistakes That I'm Still Making, and I've never read anything more true;

"Even if you write 6 months of crap and then start over, you'll be so much further down the road! You can't 'skip over' the brutal learning period by avoiding it or waiting. Just hold your breath and dive in."

Even though the thought of writing absolute garbage for six months is terrifying, you still have to put in the time. You still have to make the effort.

9) How will I deal with failure? 
I'm not saying you need a back-up or contingency plan, but you need a plan, everyday, for how you are going to re-motivate yourself. You will run into tiny failures everyday, and some days, these tiny failures will ruin you! 'I lost 15 followers today! What am I doing wrong?!' Don't give up; head back to the drawing board. Persevere!

10) Am I being too hard on myself? 

This is a very important question to ask yourself, every single day. We are always too hard on ourselves; some days we need it. Others, we are just unnecessarily brutal to ourselves. Give yourself a break. It's okay to walk away from an unfinished project. Plan ahead for these delays in your writing. I plan to write all of my blog posts the day before I plan to post them. So I post my blog for the day and then later that day, I do my homework for tomorrow's blog post. Tomorrow I edit it and then post it, and start all over again. Give yourself some room for error, for those unmotivated times, or even days.

Make a list of questions you feel you should ask yourself every day. Questions that make you think, make you ponder your purpose. You should always be re-evaluating your purpose, revamping to make yourself better, reminding yourself of said purpose.

What questions would be or are on your list? How often do you ask yourself these questions?

As always, thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to leave a comment below and share with your friends. Tweet @TresaWriter and let me know your thoughts! Happy reading and writing friends.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Are Writers Also Artists?

I consider myself a writer; I've written fiction, blogs, books, etc. I also consider myself an artist; I co-own and run an art studio, with a wide range of media. We dabble in clay, paint, glass, wood, and more. I've considered myself both of these professions or titles for a reasonable amount of time. 

While writing a previous blog post, Motivation & Inspiration, I came across a thought; 'Can writers also be considered artists? Do we create art?' Are the terms, titles, professions interchangeable? Can a writer also be artistic? 

At first, I thought no. 

I thought they were two separate schools of thought. Two very different professions that were not meant to co-mingle. The question came to me when I defined the word inspirationwhich is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially something creative. In a different blog post, What Is Creativity, I explored what it meant to be creative. If you haven't read that post, it's definitely worth a read. 

Being creative means relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artist work. This was when I wondered if writers were also artists, in a literal sense. I wondered if it was ever meant to be that way, or if the definition allowed for it to be that way. 

Artistic means to be aesthetically pleasing, which means in a way that gives pleasure through beauty. I thought, 'Well, these definitions make me think of visual art, especially when I hear the word aesthetically.' This was when I was certain the word artistic, in its most literal sense, was meant exclusively for artists. 

Though, after defining the word beauty, I was humming a different tune. 

Beauty means a combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense. At this point the definition takes a turn towards yes for me, and morphs into something that sounds much more 'writer-like'. Before, aesthetically and beauty sounded very 'artist-like', but the words intellect and moral sense definitely make this worth discussion. 

Our moral sense refers to our ability to distinguish between right and wrong and our intellect is our faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively, especially with regard to abstract or academic matters. I've underlined the word abstract, but we will come back to that. So, beauty is a combination of qualities that appeal to our ability to distinguish between right and wrong, and our physical power of reading and understanding, which is very wordy and intelligent. This part of the definition provides a strong argument for writers also being considered artists. 

Abstract simply means the theoretical consideration of something. At first, I wasn't really sure; when I hear the word abstract, I definitely think of art, such as a painting with weird lines and no real point. But, that was just the word. For me, the actual definition changed the game and made me think that writers could absolutely be considered artists. I myself believe that when I am writing, I am creating something that is aesthetically pleasing, which stimulates and appeals to our mind and is mostly based on theory instead of practical applications. Of the utmost importance, at the very core, I believe that I am being creative every single time I write. 

I'm curious to know what my readers think, whether you're writers, authors, bloggers, artists, etc. My last controversial topic of Authors vs Writers was a huge hit, and I hope you all enjoy this one just as much! 

As always, thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post, leave a comment below and share your thoughts. Be sure to share with your friends and tweet at me @TresaWriter! Happy reading and writing my friends. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Famous vs Infamous

How many times a day do you think the world infamous is used wrong? Once? Twice? I can't tell you how many times I have heard someone say they want to be infamous, when what they really want is fame. I'll also hear someone talk about how 'infamous that guy over there is', when he's really just a nobody, and they feel sorry for how unknown he is. 

I know the difference between fame and infamy, but it turned out I didn't know enough. I knew infamous wasn't the exact opposite of famous. Famous simply means known by many people. What I didn't know, was that infamous was actually considered a synonym of famous! The antonym for famous is unknown

Infamous actually means to be well known for some bad quality or deed, which I also did not know; though, I knew there was some bad connotation that went along with infamy. I realized, as I do every time I define a word, that I didn't really know. Not in my conscious, ever present mind, at least. There are so many words that I think I know the definition of, but I really don't. We really don't, and I have a theory. 

I think that people are so used to needing to prove that they know everything. It starts off as something as simple as, 'I bet you didn't know that one!' Someone gloats about knowing something that you didn't and all of the sudden you have this big chip on your shoulder because you didn't know. Now you're constantly going around saying, 'I already knew that. Of course I knew that.' 

Don't lie; we are all guilty! 

We don't want anyone thinking we are less educated than they are. It's human nature! We want to prove that we are better than everyone else. Be honest! It makes us feel good when we get to gloat! And it's okay. I'll be honest and admit that I'm guilty of it, too! I'll say, 'Oh yea, sure. I knew that.' Then I'll turn around and ask Google what in the world that person was talking about. It's funny, really, and sad. 

As a writer, I try to be more conscious; I try to do this less and less, because it's bad! It's a terrible habit. I find I'm no longer too proud to ask, 'Well, what does that mean?' When I became serious about writing, my pride went out the window and I became a sponge, wanting to soak up every ounce of knowledge I can. Especially now, when it comes to words. 

Knowledge and intelligence, I think, is situational. We shouldn't be walking around with big chips on our shoulders, worried about who is smarter because of what they know. Someone who knows everything there is to know about mechanics isn't smarter than someone who doesn't. Someone else could know equally as much, quantity wise, about physics. We shouldn't be afraid or ashamed to learn from each other. 

The next time you don't really know something, ask! I'm sure whoever has the knowledge will be more than happy to share it, and you'll walk away knowing something new. 

As always, thank you for taking the time to read. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to leave a comment below and contribute. After that, feel free to share this post with your friends. Tweet at @TresaWriter and let me know your thoughts! Happy reading and writing! 

Friday, April 8, 2016

What Is Creativity?

In a previous post I wrote about motivation and inspiration. While exploring what it meant to become motivated and inspired, I came across the word creativity. If you haven't read my post about Motivation and Inspiration, it's worth a read. Every writer battles with creativity problems, writers block, whichever you prefer. I touch on this and many other ideas. In my post, I also suggested a simple trick to solving these problems. 

While exploring these problems, something in the definition of inspiration spoke to me. Inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially something creative. When I define a word, I underline any other word in that definition that I don't know the true meaning of, or a word that makes me wonder. I made a note to come back to this word, because a question came to me; 'What does it mean to be creative?' 

Sure, as writers we are creative everyday. Well, we try to be creative every single day. Some days it's difficult and others it comes naturally. But how many of us creative minds actually know what it means? As writers, we represent a a very creative group. I always heard when I was younger, 'It's just a book. Just sit down and write it.' Some days it was just a book. It was that easy, but other days it was terribly difficult, for a whole host of reasons. I wondered what it really meant to be creative. What was the process of creativity, what was it meant to mean... I am often in pursuit of the true meaning of a word or words. Whether you're a writer, author, blogger or reader, I hope that you are, too.  

Creative means relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. This brought another question to mind; 'Are writers also artists?' Are they interchangeable? Can a writer also be an artist? But I will touch on that in a later post. Today I want to talk about what it means to be creative. 

Now, when I think of the word imagination, I think of a child. I hear an argument between couples, 'You're imagining it!' This is dismissive of our imagination, of our skill, which I'm not interested in. I also hear, 'That kids got an overactive imagination.' You think of the kid with the imaginary friends who talks to himself. Imagination means the action of forming new ideas, images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses, external meaning coming or derived from a source outside the subject affected. While I still see the kid with the imaginary friends, I also see a far more intricate definition than I was anticipating. And creativity is just that; intricate, complex and fascinating. 

This definition, in a simpler state, means that our imagination is responsible for the process of creating new ideas that do not currently exist where our senses of sight, scent, hearing, taste and touch are concerned. Imagination also means the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful. I actually adore this definition. It brings us back to our original question of creativity, which brings the definition full circle, and I love when that happens. 

Though, the simplest definition of all is the part of the mind that imagines things. I thought two things, 'Well what does imagine mean, and what part of the brain is responsible for this?' In a past life, I would've gone into full detail about the literal sense of which part of the brain handled imagining and imagination. I love psychology and philosophy, but there's only so much time in a life, let alone in a day.  There are a million different avenues I would pursue in life if I had the time; for now, I'll pursue the definition of to imagine, which means to form a mental image or concept of. 

In its very simplest form, creativity means exactly what we all think it means; to imagine. To dream. Day dream, even. But true creativity, complex creativity is so much more than that, and a complex and intricate level of creativity is required to be more than a child with imaginary friends. We prove that everyday as writers, as authors, as artists. We have the ability to connect these mental images and string them along into books and drawings and speeches and analytics. I often read about being your true self, letting yourself shine through in your writing, rather than diminishing your light and watering yourself down in hopes of gaining popularity! Embrace your ability to be creative! Let it shine through your work, no matter what sort of work it is! Be proud that you can do something with your imagination and creativity. 

As always, thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed today's post. If you did, feel free to leave a comment below, amble through other similar posts, and don't forget to tweet @TresaWriter! Happy reading and writing my friends. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

100% Follow Back; Yes Or No?

Since I've come back to blogging, and mostly Twitter, I've seen a lot of commotion about this '100% Follow Back' and '#MReTweet' trend. A fellow follower asked me a question about the whole concept. I said I didn't quite understand the idea, but my understanding was that if you followed someone who was on a 100% Follow Back list, they would follow you back, no matter what. They said it sounded like a great way to boost numbers and gain followers, and it does. Finally, I said that if this retweet, follow back concept was content based, I would be all over it. 

That was when I really started thinking about it. Though it sounded like a great idea at first, the more I thought about it, the more turned off I became. As I'm fairly new to Twitter, I have about 200 followers and I follow just under 150 people, so far. I receive about 10-15 followers a day when I'm really active. As a writer, the 150 people I follow are people whose content I actually enjoy reading, retweeting and promoting to my fellow writers, bloggers, followers, etc. The people that I follow are people that I support and agree with. 

Ive seen the lists for 100% follow back go up to 500; five hundred people who swear that if you follow them, they will follow you. No questions asked. I find this concept dizzying! 

Think about it; if you follow every singlen person on that list, that's an extra 500 people. That could mean 500 very different posts every day, at least! Some people post 5-10 times a day on Twitter! Sometimes even more. Sure, that's a 'so-called' guaranteed 500 followers (if they don't unfollow you in a few days when they think you won't notice one missing follower), but what happens to your content? What happens to your feed when you're a writer liking and retweeting something that's completely irrelevant to your usual content? It becomes messy! Sure, maybe after 500 followers it won't matter; your feed will already be a mess, overflowing with hundreds and hundreds of tweets a day. 

While I get giddy and squeal like a school girl every time I get a new follower, at least I know that these new followers are following me for the right reasons. Each follower has decided to follow me for a reason, and that reason has something to do with the content I post, the content I chose to share with them, the people I chose to retweet and promote. And honestly, it's all relevant. It's reliable! You can guarantee that content like that will be consistent. If I start posting about ponies, people are going to stop following me because that wasn't what they followed me for. They followed me and developed expectations based on what I posted at the time they followed. 

Honestly, I feel the follow back trend cheapens the experience, the purpose of Twitter. Maybe it's just me; as a new writer to Twitter, I want to follow people based on their content, content that I enjoy reading. I also want my followers to follow me because I intrigued them, made them think, and they enjoyed reading what I had to say. I don't want to cheapen the experience by submitting myself and promising to follow back every single person who follows me. At least when I follow you or follow you back, you know that I chose to. I didn't do so out of obligation. I didn't pledge to treat you the same as every other person on Twitter. I saw something I liked, read something I enjoyed and decided I wanted to see more! I can't speak for whoever created Twitter, but I would think that was what they had in mind. 

What do you think? ReTweetTrain, yes or no? Good or bad? Right or wrong? As always, thank you for reading. If you enjoyed it, take a moment to share, have any thoughts, leave a comment below or tweet at me @TresaWriter and let me know what you thought! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What is a Logophile?

I consider myself a logophile, which is very simply a lover of words. There are many other writers and bloggers who consider themselves logophiles, but what does it mean to be a lover of words? It's certainly not simple. A lover is a person having a sexual or romantic relationship with someone, often outside of marriage. Late last night this question came to me and I wondered, 'Hmm, am I having an affair with words?!' 

Is it possible to have an affair with words? 

Besides the initial meaning, being a lover can also be a person who likes or enjoys something specific. Well, very specifically I like and enjoy words, and I hope my reads do, too. This leads me to my next question; 'What is a word?' 

word is a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing used with other words to form a sentence. If I'm being honest, it doesn't sound like I want to have an affair with words. It sounds like I would be changing my relationship status to 'it's complicated'. A word can also be a comment, password or motto, a basic unit of data in a computer, a message or even the smallest amount of something spoken or written

Going back to my question, it is possible (or possibly even necessary) to have a romantic relationship with words? Romantic means conducive to or characterized by the expression of love, which means an intense feeling of deep affectionAffection meaning a gentle feeling of fondness or liking. (As opposed to an aggressive one?) And a relationship is the way in which two or more concepts, objects or people are connected. It sounds like I'm a stalker, forcing words to have a romantic relationship with me. I'll admit, I am a little obsessed when it comes to words. So much so they I am writing a blog post about what it means to love them. (Seems I may have lost a few marbles.) I think a writer needs to be a logophile. I think you have to love words in order to be a good writer, even borderline obsessed. After all, our world revolves around words, right? 

Though, if we are having a romantic relationship with words, it's a one way highway and lonely at times. I love words, but do words love me? 

We do all the work as logophiles. We worship at our partners feet, hoping they will just reward us, treat us the way we want to be treated. We treat words so well; we explore them, cherish them, accept all of their flaws and even their curves. 

After exploring and thoroughly dissecting the definition, a logophile is a person who expresses  an intense, yet gentle feeling of fondness with the building blocks of sentences. I think it's safe to say that logophiles also need to be a little crazy. 

How about it? Would you say as a logophile, you and words are connected by an intense feeling of deep affection? 

As always, thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this blog post, take a moment and share it, tweet at me @TresaWriter, leave a comment below and share your thoughts! Happy ready and writing my friends!