Trying to find my footing

Every month I plan to start on the 1st.  I don’t know why, but there’s something about starting the month fresh.

And then the 1st passes, and I hesitate and wait and then it becomes a vicious cycle.

I know I have writer’s block, and the best way to get rid of it is to just write.  So that’s my plan.  I have a hard time thinking of how I want to say something, but I certainly have a million things to say.  I’m going to try to stick to a routine and post every other day.  Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Tuesdays, I’ll talk about life in Japan.  Often I find myself googling something for cooking or cleaning, and I often have to visit a few sites to get all the information I need.  I’d like to compile those and make it simpler for others (and myself!) to access.  I’d also like to talk about adjusting to life here and the differences between America and Japan.

On Thursdays, I’d like to do a little bit of TBT.  For now, I’m sure I’ll run out of old things I want to talk about, but I’ll try to think of some interesting stories… I’ve got a lot of fun ones from my last Japan.

Saturdays will be about opinions and my ideas.  There are so many terrible things going on in the world right now, I’d like to present my take on things and try to have a good discussion among readers.

That’s the plan for now.  It’s approaching Monday night here in Japan, so I’ll be heading off to bed soon.  Look forward to something tomorrow.  I’ll also continue to creatively write over at My Creative Writing Blog and I’m also writing with a friend over at Pen Strokes and Paw Prints. So be sure to head on over and check those out as well.

Back on my game, and finding my niche.  Time to reach for my dreams.

Another month gone

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I’ve been here for 9 months… It’ll be 10 in four days.  Sometimes I have nightmares that I’m back in America, back at my old, terrible job, trying to suffer through life.

Making the decision to come here certainly wasn’t easy, but it is by far the best thing that has ever happened to me.  There are still some stressful days, and there are days when I wish for some of the comforts I had in America (everyone speaking English is by far the biggest one) but I love the challenge.  I’m loving this challenge.  Every day my listening skills with Japanese improve and I’m working on my speaking.  I’m trying to carve a life for myself here.  I have an insanely good support system, and I’ve met really amazing people.  So if I had to go back in time, I would still make this decision.

Being here has also given me the chance to open up my more creative side.  I don’t feel quite so ‘blocked’ now, for the last couple of years I’ve been trying to write several things and they never really came out.  The most important piece, and one I’ve been meaning to write, was ‘Spark.’  It was almost like after I let all of that bottled up emotion out that other things finally started to fall into place.  I still have a long way to go to achieve my dreams, but I have so many people supporting me now that I know I can achieve them.  It’s time to do it.

As for my writing goals this month, I did a lot better than I had expected.  I have a chart immediately to my right that asks, ‘Did you write today?’ and I’m still shocked at how many smiley faces I made on it.  It truly is amazing the things we can accomplish when we challenge ourselves.  I hope to have even more in August.  I know some days it just won’t be possible… there are some days I just don’t have anything to say.  But I’m going to push through.

This month I have a lot of good things planned for myself, but I’m not sharing!

And lastly, I finished up my ‘Sentence a Day’ challenge over at Scribblin’ About Life.  Check it out, let me know what you think.  This was an interesting experiment and one I plan to keep on doing.  The person who I wrote this piece about keeps me on my toes, and I usually wrote every day still riding on the emotions I felt from them.  It’s really interesting for me because I can tell which days I was irritated with him and the days I was enamored.  It’ll be fun to look back on this in a couple of months and read into the emotions I was feeling at the time.

http://strokeofthepen.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/july/

Happy August! (=^ェ^=)

An Introduction of Sorts…

I’ve had this blog for a while, but only last year did I really start to update it.  And then I fell off the band wagon, of course.  Haha.

So, in honor of the New Year and the blogging challenge I’ve started (Zero to Blogging Hero, check it out in my sidebar), I want to give a brief introduction of myself.  ^^

Who I Am

DSCN2019

My name is Megan, I’m a 25-year old English teacher living abroad in Japan.  I’m currently in Fukuoka city and I love it.  I graduated from college with a double major in Journalism and Japanese Studies.  It took me a couple years to make the decision to return to Japan, but I finally did in May of 2013 and I couldn’t be happier about my current situation.

Why I’m Writing

I’m a Journalist.  I say that very lightly.  I think ‘struggling’ Journalist would be a better idea.  While I was living in America I had a really difficult time finding a job, even though I had quite a bit of experience and skills.  So, I eventually gave up and applied for an English teaching company in Japan.  This isn’t my end-goal though, I’m still a long way off.  I want to eventually live and support myself by writing.  This blog is my first step in that direction.

I started this with the intention of writing every day.  It got to be too daunting last year, especially with a big move to Japan and not having internet for over a month.  But now that I’m well-adjusted to my life here and have finally figured out a routine, I plan on blogging as much as I can.  I don’t want to say ‘every day’ because let’s be realistic, there might just be some days where I can’t physically do it.  But I’ll try.

And hopefully, exercising my brain and my fingertips every day will help me to clear up my writer’s block.  I’ve been pretty blocked up for over 3 years now, so this is also an attempt to help get my creative juices flowing again.

What Makes me Unique

If I had to describe myself in one sentence, it would be: ‘I am a 25-year old book devouring, video game conquering, bunny loving, crazy craft addict.’

I once briefly flirted with the idea of having a blog dedicated to reading that list of 100 best books, but I never got to it.  Maybe I’ll start it up as a side project later on.  It’s hard to get English books here in Japan though.

I read a lot.  It’s just like watching a movie for me.  My imagination gets so active that sometimes I’ll forget where I am.  Yeah, I was that girl who walked home from school reading, tripped over a bump in the sidewalk and scrapped my arms/hands up just so I wouldn’t ruin the book.  Ahhh, some of the best years of my life.

My favorite author is Karin Slaughter.  She writes crime fiction, and boy is she good at it.  I’ve been hooked since book one.  I’ve met her in person one time and I almost died I was so excited.  I’ve always won one of her contests… I won the consolation ‘Don’t ever bake cupcakes again’ prize.  You can check it out here: http://www.karinslaughter.com/cupcakes2.shtml

I’m also a pretty big gamer and I have been my whole life.  I grew up with Nintendo.  I love anything Mario related and if it’s an RPG, I have to at least try it.  Two of my all-time favorite games are: Baten Kaitos and Tales of Symphonia.  I just recently bought a PS3 and have been addicted to Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed.  I’m always looking for new games to play, so throw some suggestions my way.  Tales of Xillia is arriving in the mail sometime next week, so of course I’ll be holed up playing that.

I have a healthy an unhealthy addiction to bunnies.  I got my first rabbit when I was 13.  His name was Cream.  He had a brother that I named Cookies.  One day I’ll scrounge up a photo of the two of them.  This is Cream.

Cream

He was my best friend for a really long time.  He passed away two days after my 23rd birthday.  That’s right, I had him for 10 years.  That’s an incredibly long time for a dwarf bunny.  I still miss him every single day.  Every one used to laugh and say that he was an exact copy of me, just in rabbit form.  He had the perfect attitude and everything.  That was my baby.  So, from having him for so long, stemmed this addiction to bunnies.

I love all types of bunnies.  Big, floppy eared bunnies to small, fuzzy fluff ball bunnies.  And everything in-between.  If it looks like a rabbit, I’ve probably saved the pictures, pinned it on Pinterest and posted it on my blog.  I’m a Grade A bunny enthusiast.  And I am NOT ashamed.

And lastly, I’m a craft addict.  It’s hard to be addicted to crafts in a country where you read/speak minimal Japanese, but as I learn more every day I plan on getting back into my crafting.  I used to make my own Christmas cards and do other random crafts I found on Pinterest.  I grew up in a house that really fostered creativity.  To this day my mom’s basement is full of every possible crafting item you might need.  Seriously, it’s like craft haven.  I miss it sometimes.  I could just go down there and create whatever I wanted.  For Halloween this year my best friends and I painted skulls.

1381733_621762726195_365712538_n

I’ll definitely be one of those moms that always does a bunch of crafts with their kids.  I’ll probably enjoy them more than the kids will.  ^^

What to Expect

Some days, I’m not even sure what I’m going to post.  Yesterday it was a collection of my favorite YouTube artists.  Tomorrow it might finally be a post I’ve been meaning to write since September.  Or maybe we’ll talk about skin cancer.  Or, honestly, maybe I’ll revisit illiteracy in America again.  Who knows.

And that’s honestly what makes blogging so much fun for me.  I never have a set plan, I never have set goals.  I just write, which is sometimes the best way to do it.  If something inspires me, I want to just take it and run with it.  I do have some loose plans for things I would like to do, but it’s never concrete.  I blog pretty much the way I live my life, ‘Whatever happens, happens.’

And you know what, I’m ok with that.

So sit down, shut up, keep your hands and feet in the car at all times, and hang on.  It’s going to be a wild ride.  Let’s embrace 2014 together, with a smile on our face and the wind at our backs!

Confessions

In keeping with the LOTR theme, I wanted to delve into the real reason why I’m so obsessed with the LOTR universe.  And also offer up the explanation to my username, that dozens of people have asked me about through the years.  This is a confession I’ve held in for a long time, not a lot of people know this.  It’s not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but it’s usually a part of myself that I keep, well, to myself.

It all started when the first LOTR movie came out, the Fellowship of the Ring.  I was just barley 13 years old, a freshman in high school.  And I became massively obsessed with role-playing online.  It was really the first big thing I learned about on the internet.  And I fell in love almost instantaneously.

I remember watching the movie for the first time, and being fascinated.  Both my mother and brother had read the book before, but I had no idea what it was.  They took me to watch the movie and something just clicked.  I had always loved Elijah Wood, but I knew it wasn’t just his character in the movie, but the whole thing.  So, I got home, hopped online, and looked for the role-playing forum of the website I was on.

I was horrible at first.  I had never done anything like this before, and I was 13.  I sounded like a 13-year-old.  I knew I was horrible, a Mary Sue, but I quickly found a group of friends online (all of us from all-over the globe) that accepted me for all of my horrible role-playing flaws, and began to encourage me.  This is really where my writing ability grew leaps and bounds.  I began to recognize what cliches were, and how to actually illustrate something with words, rather than typing it out bit by bit to convey the same message.

They were the group that gave me my nickname, blinksan.  I had some sort of _blinklvr_02_ username (I was 13, alright) and they shortened it to Blink.  Everyday I was greeted with Blink, Blinkers, until finally, someone used Blinksan.  And it has stuck ever since.

I quickly found myself on these role-playing boards everyday.  I created my own character (I felt I just couldn’t do the actual characters from the novel justice) and had a lot of fun.  We’d go on random quests for no purpose, hang out in the Shire for a day, or trudge up the sides of Mt. Doom to destroy the ring together.  It was in these moments that I really felt the pull of writing and the fantasy world.  We began to create different worlds, and I expanded into other fandoms and began to role-play in the x-men universe, among others.  (It was a while ago, my brain is faulty!)

Back to the creation aspect; some people were simply amazing.  They would illustrate these beautiful worlds from just a couple sentences, and all of a sudden there I was, sitting on the grass, watching as my own character interacted with everyone else.  We created something that was ours, something that was special.  And after a couple years, my writing ability was honed into the talent I have today.  I really feel that if it weren’t for those few years role-playing I really wouldn’t be able to craft the pieces I have.  I gained something invaluable from those years, a real skill.  It’s one thing to have all these glorious ideas; I’ve always had them.  It’s a different thing to be able to write down what’s in your head in such a way that it’s like everyone else is reading your mind.  That’s a gift.  And one I plan to use for the rest of my life.

There ‘s this beautiful world inside of my head, just begging to come out.  At this point, it’s almost like it’s threatening to come out.  With this blog, I’ve slowly started to chisel away at the plug that sits deep in my creativity.  For years, I’ve been stunted, unable to produce anything.  I’ve had writer’s block, or so that’s what I’ve said.  I just really haven’t had the desire to let anything escape.  But now, with each word that appears in this screen, I feel another strike of the hammer.  A deep, resonating sound fills the space between my ears and travels down into the depths of my soul.  And bit by bit, the plug crumbles away… every so often, a bit of colorful flair, a sense of my old creativity bleeds out, gracing page, sitting and waiting for the rest to come tumbling out.  And as I continue everyday, the process quickens, until one day, I know it will break free, the plug with finally disintegrate into dust.  I’ll draw in a deep breath, and for a moment, I know I’ll pause.  I’ll look back at the past three years, and think of all the time I’ve wasted.  And for a moment, I know I’ll mourn.  And then, with a slight smile, I’ll let out my breath and blow every last speck of my inhibitions away and let my words speak for themselves.

Until that moment, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.  But I know it’s coming.  I can feel it, so acutely, that sometimes it’s almost painful.  But the knowledge of what awaits me on the other side is enough to keep me going.  One day I’ll overcome this obstacle as well, and then there will be no holding me back.

On the Wagon

Music is my inspiration.  This song has always held a special place in my heart, and always makes me want to write.

I broke the promise to myself yesterday, but I knew I would.  After working 13 hours, I had plans and didn’t get home until after midnight.  So I missed a ‘day’ in my ‘everyday’ goal, but, like all humans, I knew that while I have good intentions, that everyday just wasn’t going to happen.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to fall off the wagon though.

Like Samwise Gamgee promises Gandalf, and as he tells Frodo about it:

“I made a promise, Mr. Frodo.  A promise!  ‘Don’t you leave him Samwise Gamgee.’ And I don’t mean to.  I don’t mean to.”

In my case, it would be more along the lines of:

“I made a promise, Megan.  A promise!  ‘You write in this blog everyday, even if you have nothing to say.’  And I mean to.  I mean to.” 

So, in lieu of that, I thought I would talk about inspiration for a moment.

Everyone gets inspired differently.  Some people can look at a picture and feel inspiration… Some people can look at a person and feel something… I more often than not, get inspiration from music.  A lyric in a song will catch my interest, and off my mind races, constructing characters and worlds, putting names to faces and thoughts with tears.  Usually I just let this inspiration pass me by, and a couple hours later something new will pop up.  It’s when something is really monumental that I sit down and let it out.  Maybe that’s the problem recently, I haven’t felt anything really monumental.

A lot of times, I write to let out emotions that I can’t express any other way.  I, like many other Sagittarius’, don’t like to express our emotions.  We prefer to experience them and move on, never really letting them out.  So, when I bottle things up for too long, they usually come out in written word.  It serves as a form of catharsis for me, and recently I haven’t written anything.  Maybe it’s why I’ve been so stressed out, I need to release some pent up emotion.

As I’m sitting here, I’m listening to the Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars.  I’ve always loved this song too.

That’s another huge factor for me when I’m writing.  Headphones on, music so loud I can feel the bass beating deep in my soul… It’s the only way to write.  The music drowns out everything else around me: the whir of the fan, the creaking of the floor boards as my neighbor moves around above me.  It’s in these moments, that lyrics that inspire me, turn into my own work.  I take a simple line, ‘I beg for the rest of my life’ and feel it speak to me.  And then it tumbles out, each letter connecting to the other in a way that, somehow, makes sense.

And when I finish, I always feel a sense of accomplishment, and a little bit of relief.  That I’ve written something else, I’m not a dried up well, but rather vibrant and thriving.  That’s what I need to find again, and that’s what I’ve started writing this blog for.  Eventually, I’ll get back to my roots and I’ll really shine.  It’s going to take a little bit of time, but I’m going to work everyday to get to where I need to be.

You made a promise, Megan.  A promise!

Same Shit, Different Day

I feel like I say that phrase entirely too frequently.  Someone asked me at work this morning how it was going, and that seems to be my typical response.  And, well, it’s true.  It really is SSDD.  Thank you Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher for that wonderful phrase.

Anyways, here begins Day Two of the vow to myself to jump-start getting over my writer’s block.  Would you call it writer’s block at this point?  I feel like I’m in writer’s hell to be honest; everything that seems to come out isn’t any good.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – FDR

99% of the time, writer’s block is nothing more than fear. You’re afraid you’re out of ideas. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid that you’re a phony. You’re afraid that you’ve exposed too much of yourself, or not enough. You’re afraid of failure. You’re afraid you’re not the genius you wanted to be when you started.”
(http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2011/11/30/cure-writers-block/)

I think this pretty much sums up everything going through my head right now.  I know I’m a good writer, I’ve been told that I’m exceptional and have a gift, but then I sit down and want to write and all I can think about is how everything that I’m writing isn’t quite cutting it, that it’s not good enough.  Will what I have to say ever be good enough?  Even now, as I’m laying here writing this, I feel like this is pointless.  A useless attempt to cure someone, who maybe, at this point, is just all dried up.  Maybe there is nothing left.

Maybe I should stop whining and just write.

It really is a fear, a fear of inadequacy.  But, as anyone who knows me would say, I don’t back down from a challenge, and this is just another wall to scale.  Every letter forms a word, every word combined into a sentence.  These seemingly pointless sentences slowly build into a paragraph, and then this short, miniscule paragraphs become a blog.  And then I post it for the rest of the world (or maybe just myself, aha!) to read, and hopefully relate to on some level.

I think that’s what I want most out of my writing, to find and attain a sense of relatability (I know it’s not word, oh well).  I want to read this five years from now and still relate to my  younger self.

I think, what I want most out of everything, and it is something I’ve said for a very long time, is to be successful.  I don’t necessarily want to be successful in the sense that I have a big business, lots of money, fame, etc etc.  I want to be successful in following and achieving my dreams.  I want to gain true success in my life, to find fulfillment.  I’ve always been a dreamer.  Everyday my head is usually so far in the clouds that people have to pull me out of my silent reveries.

But it’s time to stop dreaming, to stop wishing and hoping and waiting.   It’s time to take that first initial baby step forward, and reach out, and even though I might fear failing or still being inadequate, I’m going to reach with all of my might.  I might slip, stumble and get bruised along the way, but if there is one thing I know for sure, I will achieve my dreams.

And this, this blog, this moment and these words, are that first initial baby step.  No more looking back, from this point onward I am looking only forward.  I have the confidence, desire and drive to find everything I’m looking for.  So here goes nothing…