I am getting to know my characters.

I always had this fantasy I’d create these amazing characters for my novels. I’d pull out of my ass all kinds of fascinating things about them! I’d have the perfect characters! Larger than life! They’d be perfect and astonishing in every way. All my characters would be so fascinating. So original, so full of wow factor, brimming with life…

What a ridiculous motivation.

I’m getting really into an idea I’ve been working on since Fall 2013. Only, to be honest, I haven’t been working on it all this time. It’s been sitting on the back burner for six to eight months.

To be even more honest, I have been beating myself up over that too — like every other writer filled with guilt and shame. What are we? Living charmed lives in which everything is taken care of for us? Are we independently wealthy with maids and people to manage everything from our laundry to money? No. We are real people with real lives. Do we sometimes go days, weeks, even months without working on our creative projects? YES! Should we feel bad about that? NO!

I’ve been busy all year doing something I felt very compelled to do. That took precedence over this. I started my own business as a Reiki Master. It’s called You Deserve Reiki in Wichita, Kansas. I rent a little room (still under construction, like most of my life) at White Dove metaphysical book store/yoga studio at 2947 E. Kellogg. I’m there Tuesdays noon-4 and Wednesdays 3-6.IMG_0139

 

I also work a “real job” or what I like to call my “corporate job” because it’s an honest-to-God full-time job with benefits. I have a desk and an office and everything.

So that’s 50 hours of my week right there.

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No, I am not going to whine that I am too busy to write. It would be a great and valid excuse as I am finally blogging here after six months only because I am on vacation and carved this day out to be a “me day.”

I am glad I have been working on other things besides writing all this time because now I am going back over the rough draft of the idea I was passionate about and realized why it had to marinate a while. I wasn’t ready to write it. But now I am. You see, I was going to create these perfect knockout characters. They were going to be flawless once again, like every other idea I’ve began. But now they are not going to be like that. Now I see deeper into their layers and into the themes of the story I am giving birth to. I am getting to know these characters, these bitches with ulterior motives! Oh, I love and hate them at the same time. I see their flaws now. I see beneath their surface and can’t wait for the reader to do that too.

I wasn’t ready to write the story yet when it came to me last fall. But I am ready now. Now I know without a doubt that I have to “go there” with this story and make it dangerous. The characters are telling me that is their truth — that they are dangerous.

Do your characters talk to you too? What do they say? How do you get to know them?

~Heather Larson, Writer and Reiki Master

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The power of blogging

I have this friend who has the ultimate slash career.  He’s a teacher/radio DJ/wrestling ring announcer/wedding DJ/comedian/actor/small business owner/entrepreneur.  He’s doing pretty well with his businesses but he has a new one he wants to spread the word about.  But he says he doesn’t know how.  I told him he needs to go online to market this new business, called Arizona Top Secret Chefs.  I explained to him that a good blog with a few SEO tricks thrown in could help drive traffic to his site.  I told him to get on Twitter and Facebook.

I also told him that blogging opens up a whole world of fun.  You blog and people find you.  You can blog about something obscure like CJD as I do.  My Cure CJD blog has helped quite a few people get in touch with me as they lost someone to the disease or afterwards.  Sometimes people comment on the blog, other times they email me privately.  It makes me feel good that I can help someone else find answers and that I can share my experience.  I shouldn’t have had to suffer through watching my mom die of that horrific disease for no reason; my words can help others.  Emailing with complete strangers about the disease still helps me heal to this day.

Promoting my blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn helps get some page views.  But I find on my blogs that people come across them because they’re looking for a certain topic I have written about.  It always amazes me what gets the most page views over a period of time.  The analytics WordPress provides on each of my blogs are fascinating.

So I encourage anyone to blog about their business, passion in life, or just the life they live.  One of my friends has a blog about expat life in Germany that I love to read because of her stories about adjusting to German life.  She posts tons of travel information and great photos.  You really get the feel for what her new life in the country is like.  The blog also helps her to keep in touch with family and friends back home.  Sure, you could post the same stuff on Facebook.  But at the end of the experience, will Facebook provide you with the same kind of “scrapbook” a blog will?  Probably not.  Your photos and experiences will be buried in everyone’s Farmville and Mafia Wards updates.

I use my blogs to show that I can blog, that I do blog, and though it should be obvious — I know how to blog. Journalism pays the rent, but it’s not all I know how to do.  I began blogging in my SEO content writing days with my first blog about CJD.  I’m not just a journalist or a radio on-air personality.  I’m a journalist and DJ who can blog too! But it doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in.  You’ll probably find yourself blogging at some point.  Maybe you’ll have to be the public, expert face your company puts on a blog.  Maybe you’re like my friend who wants a new way to promote his business.  But give it a try.  It can’t hurt and you don’t need any prior experience to do it.  Do you have ideas to share?  Can you write and use spellcheck?  Go for it!