Tag: A.R. Morrison

Music and Writing

I don’t think I could write without music.

Music plays such a large role in everything from background noise while I pour words onto a page to exploring and assigning key emotions for the scenes I write and without it, I don’t feel I would be able to write as compellingly. Whether it’s parts for Dreamweaver, jotting down personal pieces, or developing other storylines, all of my projects have music that I attribute to them in some way. It not only helps me to connect to my work, but helps me to understand it better as well.

Shockingly (or not for those who know me well, I suppose) I’ve never been good with emotions, especially when it comes to describing how I am feeling. And since I am good at explaining just about everything else, the fact that I struggle with conveying emotion leads to many episodes of writer’s block fueled by large amounts of frustration. I have a hard time with emotional attachment and vulnerability, and my rough exterior often inhibits my ability to properly construct an authentic emotional response or relationship within my characters. This is probably my biggest weakness as a writer.

I think a lot of people can relate, however, to the emotional response and relatability of music. I know that it has been a driving force in overcoming my weaker writing areas and I have found that using music to conjure the right way to attribute my own emotions as well as my characters has helped me strengthen this aspect of my craft.

My taste in music is rather eclectic, so I have a pretty wide variety to draw from depending on my mood or inspirational need.

Here’s my current playlist:

  • Pittsburgh – The Amity Affliction
  • Shine On – The Amity Affliction
  • Machines – Crown the Empire
  • Satellites (intro) – Crown the Empire
  • I’d Rather See Your Star Explode – Slaves
  • Broken vs. The Way We Were Born – Emarosa
  • I Still Feel Her Pt. 4 – Emarosa
  • Fear – Blue October
  • Stay – Blue October
  • Vaulted Ceilings – Memphis May Fire
  • Don’t Lose Your Heart – Dream On Dreamer
  • In Too Deep – The Sweeplings
  • Feed the Flames – Michael Malarkey
  • Clair de Lune – Debussy
  • The entire Skyrim soundrack

As you can see, there is quite a bit of diversity. Clair de Lune tends to be my go-to for general writing, as is the soundtrack to the game Skyrim, and they are permanent residents on my list. I have to have pieces without words in order to concentrate wholeheartedly, so the classical and instrumental scores work to keep me engaged without distracting me.

The rest are ones I’ve been listening to a lot in order to draw inspiration for certain scenes that require a particular tone, mood, or emotion. This is when I have a pen and paper and randomly scrawl notes to myself to look back on later when I switch gears and actually work on my stories.

I can’t recommend any of these enough, though, so if you’re looking for some good, deep tunes, give them a listen. And let me know what you’re listening to, or if there’s something you think I should add to my list! I’m always interested in sharing music and finding new tunes to aid in my writing endeavors.

Sunday Snippet

Needless to say, it’s been quite a weekend here in the United States and around the world, really. We’ve seen a beloved president leave, a new one step in, and protests and marches take place.

While I know the election has created turbulence at home and abroad, I hope you will join me in reaching out to family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers, and embrace them with kindness during what is proving to be a difficult time many. We don’t have to agree in order to be kind.

Love trumps hate, my friends, and the minute we give in to hate, we lose.

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A Little Background

Hey guys!

Many of my followers and readers either know me personally or they have been connected to me in some way long enough to know a little more about me than just the usual information you can find while perusing the Internet.

There are many of you, however, that might not know my “story,” so I wanted to take this time to give you some background in the hopes that it might let you get to know me a little better not just as an author, but a human being in general.

Up until a little over 4 years ago, I was a single mom to a beautiful little girl. I was working for my hometown’s school district while attending college full-time and my daughter was enjoying the life of a normal kindergartner. Our entire life changed, however, when my best friend came home for a visit after returning from his deployment to Africa. After years of horrible timing on both of our parts, we finally reconnected and the rest is history. My daughter and I moved to his duty station in California, he and I were married, and our son was born six months later in September of 2013.

We spent just shy of 3 years in California while my husband finished up his contract with the Navy, and in September 2015, we moved back to our home state of Washington. During our time in California, my husband and I had a serious talk about what I wanted to do with my future and he wholeheartedly encouraged me to pursue my dream of writing. With that little push, I applied and was accepted into Arizona State University and started on my Bachelor’s in English. Fast-forward to present day and I am in my final year of my degree program and hitting the ground running to build my career as an author.

It hasn’t always been easy — with so many moves due to the Navy, I have had to take a few breaks along the way and there have been many late nights and even earlier mornings. It has been worth it, though, and the amount of success I have seen so far, though small to some and especially since I am still working on my first novel, has meant the world to me.

When I’m not writing, working on my sites, or interacting with my followers, I’m chasing my very wild 3-year-old son. I have also taken on the task of homeschooling our daughter who is 10 now and in the 4th grade, and it has been quite an adventure thus far. And of course, a large portion of my attention goes toward my school work as well. When I’m not busy with grown-up type stuff, I enjoy reading, working out, taking family walks, and having dance parties with my kiddos — their energy and laughter is medicine for my soul. I also love watching my husband play his video games and when he’s not hogging the T.V., I enjoy catching up on the latest movies. I live for a good storyline!

I don’t want to drone on about myself too much, but I hope that this post has given you some insight into my life and what I’m up to when I’m not pouring myself into my work. Life is all about balance and I try my best to keep the scales even!

I’ll catch up with all again soon!

 

Hello, 2017

Hey, guys! Happy New Year!

I’ve been reflecting a bit as we say goodbye to 2016, which I’ve now decided is the Voldemort of all years (we must not speak its name!) and I’ve come up with some thoughts that I think round out my intentions for the coming year pretty well.

However, I can’t go much further without first touching on the losses we felt toward the end of Year Voldemort. I know it’s rampant across the interwebs, but my heart is still broken over the passing of Carrie Fisher, and it broke even further for her family when her mother, Debbie Reynolds, passed a day later. I actually received a Barnes & Noble gift card for Christmas and put it toward purchasing Carrie’s new book, The Princess Diarist. I’ll admit it was hard to read periodically – she jumped all over the place at times – but it was a great book nonetheless. Even if you’re not into Star Wars, pick it up. It’s good stuff.

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We lost so many others, who I won’t list because I don’t want to create an unreal aura of sadness around this post, and their losses were felt deeply. May they all rest in peace.

Okay, on to business.

As I sat reflecting last night and throughout most of today, I found myself pouring over my current goals and projects and asking myself what I might choose as my resolution. I’ve never been one for the “new year, new me” sort of thing – mostly because I don’t find that it works – and I wanted to choose something that was meaningful to me. No cliché weight loss goal (already have that one going anyway), no daily FitBit goal, no “I’ll end this bad habit at 00:00 and never touch it again” goal. I wanted something I knew was something for me, deep down.

So I sat…and thought…and sat some more…and then I got up and walked a bit because I do already have a daily FitBit goal (haha!)…

And I came up with a pretty damn good resolution:

2017 will be the year that I live unapologetically.

And of course, I put this on Facebook and received some feedback. Good stuff, as always, because I have some kick-ass friends.

Anyway, back to deep and profound thoughts. I decided that this needed to be my resolution for a few reasons…

First, because I spend far too much of my time questioning my decisions and whether they are “right,” meaning, whether I think they appear “right.” Not whether they are right for me or my family, but whether they appear right to those who know me, follow me, or might be in either of those categories at some point in the future.

Second, because I don’t owe an explanation to anyone. Except my husband and my kids, of course, because they tend to be directly affected by choices I make. But anyone else? Psshh, nope. They can water their own side of the fence while I plant insanely bright flowers on mine.

Finally, I realized (and with great sadness) that I have been living this half-life of sorts, censoring who I am and not just putting out there the authentic bad-ass chick that is me. I spend so much time taming my inner-self and creating this false persona that I don’t let all of myself shine through, and that’s disheartening. Yeah? Yeah. And I’m done doing it!

If you haven’t committed to a resolution yet, feel free to join me, and if you do, leave a comment. I’d love to confab about how awesome this sense of freedom is.

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Anyway, on to businessier-business…

Dreamweaver. This tricky little project that I’ve got going on has been giving me a hard time and while I hoped for a Christmas update, I have nothing that I’m willing to share because, well, it isn’t ready. Plain and simple. And since I’m living unapologetically, well…it just is what it is. I do hope you understand and that you continue to have patience. I don’t want to put something out to the world that isn’t ready, and so far, it is telling me that it still isn’t ready. I have discovered so many additional pieces to this story that require more time and fine-tuning to get the details just right and even though it is frustrating as hell, I know they’re going to bring this whole thing together in a way I could never have imagined when I first came up with the idea for it.

Which brings me to another a-ha! moment I had in the last few days:

Not everything I write needs to be profound or insightful to be meaningful.

It doesn’t have to move mountains. What does matter is that I write. Period. It can be absolute crap or it can be a masterpiece. It doesn’t even matter what it is. All that matters is that it’s done, and done authentically. Writing is never done well when it is forced. End of story. Pun not intended.

Once I stopped trying to push myself to only write these philosophically-fueled pieces, for Dreamweaver or a brain dump or whatever, I felt this huge weight fall off my shoulders and found the words pouring out of me again. I don’t always have to create a work of art – that’s what editing is for anyway. 😉

Those are my thoughts for going into this new year. I will live unapologetically and authentically and I will write much the same.

Oh, and since it’s technically Monday, I do have a mantra befitting of the hashtag:

“Bitches get stuff done.”

I had posted a fairly pathetic goodbye to the year which shall not be named on Facebook and a family friend responded to it. She said,

“You’re a fighter and a doer. You’ve got this…we are all entitled to a little self-pity every once in a while. It’s human. Just have to brush yourself off and keep going which I know you always do. I’m a doer which sometimes makes me a bitch but bitches get stuff done.”

So there’s my #MondayMantra. Bitches get stuff done. And it is probably the best piece of advice I will receive all year.

Okay, that’s all for now. Check back or keep up with my social media for details alluding to an update on Dreamweaver, and kick the pants off of your Monday!

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

It’s no secret that we all have our own unique ideas about what we want our lives to look like. They may change or evolve over time, but the wish to achieve our heart’s desire is always there, and I know this to be true because my own dreams have changed drastically over the years.

When I was younger, I wanted to be a teacher. After having my daughter at 17, I seriously contemplated becoming an advocate for other teen moms and building a life coaching career around it in order to empower young mothers. In 2008, I gravitated again toward education and becoming a high school English teacher when I was hired as a paraeducator. I shifted again toward a focus on special education and Autism since my students had had such a profound impact on me, and I actually started college with the goal of a Master’s in Education with a focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder. Along with these paths, I also toyed with the idea of cracking down on my fitness and nutrition and building a career out of that because I felt it would hold me accountable and I could help others at the same time. And to build on that, I considered life coaching again after some great feedback from friends. I was also all but signed up to attend culinary school at one point but didn’t have the support necessary to be successful.

I’ve dabbled in many areas (including retail which I will gladly never do again, sorry not sorry) and while many of the things I have been interested in would make me happy, it wasn’t until I remarried that I was pushed to follow my biggest dream – one that I had always been told was foolish and wouldn’t provide for me or my daughter while it was just the two of us. I have always, always wanted to write for a living. Freelance work, novels, my blog; I just wanted to share my ideas and creativity with the world. But it wasn’t until my husband offered me his unconditional support in this endeavor that I decided to say to heck with the nay-sayers and go for it. I got into Arizona State University, but instead of working toward my original goal, I decided on a Bachelor’s in English. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. I am just a year shy of completing my program and have begun getting my feet wet in the writing world. I have two books and a screenplay in the works, a horror collaboration with a good friend starting up, this blog, and some freelance work happening on the side.

So why all of this talk about dreams? Well, I’m a firm believer, especially now, that you should do whatever it is your heart is set on doing no matter what anyone says. At the end of the day, this life is your own and you should spend it doing what makes you happy. Want to be a chef? Do it. Want to be an engineer? Do it. Want to work at NASA? Make it happen! There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t strive to give our hearts what they desire the most in this life and if we don’t, we are only selling ourselves short. I don’t know where my life will end up in five, ten, or twenty years, but I do know that I want to spend those years creating a career that I can look back on with a smile on my face and pride in what I have accomplished.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Any goal we set for ourselves that is worthwhile won’t be all unicorns and rainbows. It will take work, determination, perseverance, and tenacity, but if it is important to you, then the effort will be worth it in the long run. I see so many friends who simply throw in the towel because they don’t believe they’re capable of the work it takes or they opt to quit because someone is critical of their plans. Well, I’m here to say that I believe in each and every person who decides to make their dreams a reality, and I urge anyone on the fence because of someone else’s opinion to shut that negativity out. Everyone deserves to have the happiness that comes from doing what they love each and every day. Take it from me. Not only did I follow my dream of writing, but I now have a platform with this site where I can discuss and share my passions. Following my dream has given me the ability to address all of my diverse interests and gives me the opportunity to share my insight, ideas, skills, and knowledge with the world.

Another factor that prevents people from bringing their dreams to fruition is that they never act on them; they never bother to set goals or deadlines for themselves. If you want to do anything in this world, you most certainly need a plan. Heck, even running my house on a day-to-day basis requires a plan, better known as my “to-do” list. 😉 And an important aspect to remember about making plans is that they do change, so if this happens do not get discouraged! Adaptability is KEY. I originally started school with one degree path in mind and halfway through I completely changed it. Remember: it’s okay to change your plan when necessary, as long as you continue to have a plan in general. Adapting to these changes with grace will not only guide you down a positive path toward your goals, but it will also keep you sane. If I hadn’t learned to let go and let God, I don’t think I would have made it this far.

So, if you find yourselves questioning whether you’re truly doing what you want to do, I urge you to take a long, hard look at how you can get from where you’re at now to where you want to be. Trust yourself. Be confident in your abilities. Know that you are capable and understand that failure is a part of the game. But above all else, at least give yourself the opportunity to make your dreams a reality. We only have one short life on this Earth and too many of us spend it doing things that do not serve our souls or our purpose. If anyone stands against you, well, that’s their problem and most certainly not yours. You should not be defined by someone else’s standards.

And please, feel free to reach out to me! I would love to hear about your dreams and goals and how you plan to make it all happen! I will never tell you that you cannot do something; I will only ever offer positive and constructive feedback to help you on this path as well as support and encouragement. Leave a comment if you’re comfortable doing so, and if not, you can contact me through the link above or direct message via Twitter or Facebook. ❤