Monday, October 30, 2023

Writing from the road, an Open Book blog hop


Welcome to Open Book Blog Hop. You can find us every Monday talking about the writing life. I hope you'll check out all the posts: you'll find the links at the bottom of this post.

Do you write while you are travelling? How do you make it work? ______________________

What a great topic to welcome me back to this blog hop---since the reason I haven't participated in a few weeks has been travel! 

I was in the Pacific Northwest, if you're curious, visiting my sister with my Mum. 

Some holiday pictures

So, yes, I do write when I travel. I write every day. No matter what. How I work that out depends on what kind of travel. 

When I'm visiting my Mom and Dad or attending a convention, I know I'll get a little time to myself in a day--so I bring my laptop with me, and I write a little every day. Usually it's less than I would have written at home, but I stick to my every day writing habit as usual, keeping going on my regular projects. 

But if I'm traveling far or focused on vacation, I don't want to mess with bringing my laptop and I want to stay in the moment, not leaving to hand out with my imaginary friends, so instead of writing on my regular projects, I keep a detailed travel journal on paper--taking an hour or so each night before I sleep to record what I did with my day and my impressions of all I saw. 

These travel journals have proven useful to me in my writing life, as I use those memories and settings in things I write, as well as just for my own memories. When I'm trying to put together my photo album to share with family and friends, those notes fill in the details and remind me about the small things I'd forgotten, like the name of the cool shop or who that guy represented by that statue was. 

It's not the same as making progress on my latest novel directly, but it all feeds my work. 

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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Is AI our friend or our enemy? An IWSG post


Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month. You know what that means! It's time to let our insecurities hang out. Yep, it's the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. If you're a writer at any stage of career, I highly recommend this blog hop as a way to connect with other writers for support, sympathy, ideas, and networking. If you're a reader, it's a great way to peek behind the curtain of a writing life.

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG. The awesome co-hosts for the October 4 posting of the IWSG are Natalie Aguirre, Kim Lajevardi, Debs Carey, Gwen Gardner, Patricia Josephine, and Rebecca Douglass!

October 4 question: The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts? 

(I took this topic on recently, so today's post is a re-post of those thoughts)

As much as I enjoy reading stories about AI, I haven't really had much interest in trying it out in my writing life in the real world. I've got a process that's working for me right now, and it doesn't involve using AI. 

For starters, in these early days, the ethics are unclear. Is this really just a form of plagiarism? Can people really take credit for work co-written this way? Is it just another way exploitative method of undercutting and devaluing writing and art

image source

Obviously technology evolves and it changes the way art is produced. I'm not against that. I'm grateful to be typing this blogpost on my laptop rather than turning over my longhand notes to a literal typesetter who lays it out in trays and presses copies. I enjoy eBooks and audiobooks and am happy about some of the ways new technologies increase access. 

But, something about AI tools in writing, at least so far, stinks of exploitation and laziness. 

When ChatGPT was all everyone was talking about earlier this year, several well-respected magazine were deluged with submissions that had been AI-created

More people looking for a shortcut and thinking they can make some moolah without investing any effort, let alone a slice of their soul. (I haven't read anything about this actually working for anyone so far, by the way--a story written by AI, copied and pasted and submitted has yet to find fame or fortune in a news-making way). 

image source

I do have a couple of writing friends who say they find it helpful in the brainstorming phases of things, that they use it to get unstuck. I can see that. I can respect using a tool in support of your creativity, but in place of it?

But I don't have anyone in my writing life using it in the place of their creative impetus. But then again, I don't hang with a mercenary literary crowd. While we'd all love to make money from our work, we do the work because we love it and it expresses an essential part of our selves. Why would you hand the best part over to a computer mind? 

So, yeah, I'll stick to reading about AI and talking to the one in my kitchen. 

Some stories about AI I've enjoyed recently: 

How about you? Any AI in your real life? Any AI you've loved in fiction? I'd love to hear about it in the comments. 

Monday, October 2, 2023

Mom, my first teacher and audience: an open book blog hop post

Welcome to Open Book Blog Hop. You can find us every Monday talking about the writing life. I hope you'll check out all the posts: you'll find the links at the bottom of this post.

Who was the first person who believed in you?  

I have been lucky to have support for me as a person and me as a creative from the get-go. My first cheerleader was (and still is) my mother. 

From the very beginning, she fostered my interest in reading and writing, taking me to the library, running to catch the book mobile, taking me to the used book store on the avenue and letting me spend some of her precious and limited monthly book budget, sharing her own love of story. 

It takes a special person to support the writing of a child--to understand the balance of praise and pushing to do something better. My mom really *got* me as a creative and exercised such patience as I told her my stories and wrote those early poems. She has been my first audience and teacher wrapped up in one. 

a woman standing in a pool of light surrounded by greenery.
My mom, in the magic light, on our trip to Ireland in 2022.

One could definitely argue that I wouldn't have become a writer if I hadn't had my mother, or at least that it would have been less likely. 

My family has been very supportive in general--my dad, my sister, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my grandparents and then my husband and our children, too. When I see how hard some of my writing friends have had to fight for their writing lives, I know I am lucky beyond the pale. 

How about you? Did you have to fight for your creative self? Or did you find support when you needed it? I'd love to hear about it in the comments. 

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