I’m on Facebook now

Well, I’ve been on Facebook for a while, but I now have a public page for my blog that you can all like. Click here to visit and “like” my page. Also, if you actually want to see my posts in your newsfeed, don’t forget to hover over the like button and choose “see first.”

Click to visit and "Like" my blog's facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/marissabakerblog
Click to visit and “Like” my blog’s facebook page

Not Wanting To Write

It’s about 4:30 in the afternoon Sunday as I write this. Usually by this time I’m either proof-reading a completed post for Monday or wrapping-up my work on a finished idea. What’s worse, I don’t even I care that haven’t written a post yet. I mean, I’d probably care tomorrow when I wake up and realize I failed all of you readers, but at this point I’ve had too little sleep and too much Netflix to function as my normal self.

Well, perhaps not entirely. At least I’m writing about not wanting to write. It’s a start. I’ve been writing professionally long enough to know you can’t just sit around waiting for inspiration to strike if you want to get a blog post, article, story or book written. People who do that aren’t writers.

Not Wanting To Write | marissabaker.wordpress.com
photo credit: “Content writer” by Ritesh Nayak, CC BY-SA via Flickr

If you aren’t a writer you can get away with not writing when you don’t want to. Hobbies and pastimes are voluntary. But when writing is what you do you don’t just stop. In fact, if you’re doing things right, most of the time it feels like you can’t stop writing. For writers, not-writing should feel stranger than writing.

There’s a myth out there that writing is easy (“Oh, so you’re a writer? That’s cool. I might write a novel in my spare time some day”). It’s not. Yes, there will be days when the words flow out and you’re convinced what you’re writing is pure genius and you just know these words have the power to touch people’s souls. But mostly you have to sit down everyday with your pen or your laptop or your typewriter and make the words move from brain to fingers.

 

Struggling to write is perfectly okay just so long as you don’t give up. I suppose it’s that way with most things, actually. Anything worth doing is going to be hard at some point. What’s important is that we don’t stop, at least not for long. By all means take a break, eat a little chocolate and watch some anime (my sister hooked me on Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood), but don’t stay there.

It’s about 7:30 in the afternoon as I finish writing this. Look at that — we’ve got a finished blog post, even with the distractions of searching for quotes about writing and playing Star Trek Online. And you know what? I think I just might keep writing. My short story collection needs one more story, and there’s a character named Taline just waiting to be discovered …

 

Dancing the Night Away

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me and my sister

This post will be a bit random. I’m writing on Sunday, after a few hours sleep following a dance we got back from just before 3:00 in the morning. And that was after staying up past midnight the evening before talking about Myers-Briggs with someone who just learned he’s an INFJ. Dancing and typology being two of my favorite things, I’m happy. Add the fact that many of my good friends were at the dance, and I’m delighted.

On the topic to typing people, sometimes people online ask me, “How do you find out the personality types of so many people?” It’s really not all that difficult to bring up in conversation. When people ask what are your hobbies/interests or how you spend your time, I often bring up this blog and/or mention psychology. Then I just ask people if they’re taken a Myers-Briggs test. People love to talk about themselves, so it’s not usually all that hard from there. If they’re a good enough friend and haven’t taken the test yet, just point them to Personality Hacker. If you’re really ambitious, guess their personality once they have the result but before they tell you (the reaction is great if you’re right).

Taking this in a different direction, I think I’ve hit a personal growth milestone. My shyness/social anxiety really only showed up once last night. Once! And a week ago I raised my hand and said something in church (this is accepted/encouraged at my Messianic congregation, but I haven’t done anything like that in the 3 years since I graduated college and there wasn’t mandatory class participation). I think I’m actually starting to conquer a fear that’s been a part of me for so long. For INFJs, this sort of personal growth usually involves tapping into your secondary function, Extroverted Feeling, and I feel like I’m doing that with more consistency and confidence. The dance was a a great place to realize this, since it’s a setting which could have made me intensely uncomfortable a few years ago.

What about you? have you attended any events or had any experiences lately that highlighted some area where you’ve grown as a person?

Voila, That’s Life, Enjoy It!

My sister and I had yesterday all planned out. Doctor Who in the morning, lunch with our cousin, then an afternoon of dress shopping for a dance in a couple weeks. The first complication happened when we thought we were running early so we swung by a dance store looking for shoes. We got lost, finally stopped at the store, and when we left the car wouldn’t start. Not too much of a complication though — we changed out the faulty fuse that’s been plaguing my sister’s car, and finally got to lunch 1/2 an hour late.

Lunch was great, so that part of the plan went well. But then the car wouldn’t start again and changing fuses didn’t cut it (the mechanic warned this day would come). So there we were, stuck in Raising Cane’s parking lot waiting for a tow truck driver and my sister was starting to see things, to put it delicately, in a rather negative light.

Now, I’m all for the occasional cry-and-eat-chocolate pity party, but the sun was shining and it was a beautiful fall day and we just ate an awesome lunch with our cousin. I mean, it’s not like we were in the middle of nowhere when it was raining and dark. So I rolled out a guaranteed negativity buster:

I watched this film more times than I care to admit when I was younger. I’m worried it won’t hold up well to rewatching, especially after reading Jules Verne’s original In Search of the Castaways, so I haven’t seen it in a while. But I could still (mostly) sing this song.

There’s really quite a bit of truth in “Enjoy It” for such a silly little song. So much of whether or not we have a “bad day” or a “good day” depends on how we respond to the things that happen to us. Advice like, “A hurricane comes your way, enjoy the breeze” sounds ridiculous, but the principle of reframing incidents and looking on the bright side is sound. As the song points out, there’s no point in crying about things we can’t change — “Each moment is a treasure, enjoy it!”

If there’s a complication, enjoy it!
You’ve got imagination, employ it!
And you’ll see roses in the snow,
Joie de vivre will make them grow,
Voila, that’s life, enjoy it!

The Bookshelf Tag

I was going to skip having a post today because of my busy weekend, and then I saw Carissa’s post with this tag. The original tag comes from Raindrops On Roses and Whiskers On Kittens. Since I love my books so much (as you will know by the end of this post if you didn’t already), I thought it would be fun to write about them.

Describe your bookshelf (or wherever it is you keep your books-it doesn’t actually have to be a shelf!) and where you got it from:

The Bookshelf Tag | marissabaker.wordpress.comI have multiple book shelves. My computer desk has books on the shelves, then there’s a book shelf next to that and books in the china cabinet as well. One of the closets in my bedroom is a bookshelf, there’s 16-feet of shelf space above my sister’s bed, I have more books a dresser and cabinet that I think were designed for clothes, and a few crates of books in another closet. In total, I have 1,075 books that are on my master list of books I own (I recently cleaned out the book shelves — it was closer to 1,200 a few months ago).

Do you have any special or different way of organizing your books?

I have them loosely organized by subject. The system doesn’t make much sense to anyone else, but it rarely takes me more than 30 seconds to find any book I’m looking for.

What’s the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf?The Bookshelf Tag | marissabaker.wordpress.com

I’m not checking the page count, but I’m guessing The Riverside Shakespeare has all the others beat.

What’s the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf?

I have quite a few thin books, so I’m going to go with the thinnest on the shelves around my computer. It’s The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (and how to avoid them) by Jack M. Bickham.

Is there a book you received as a birthday gift?

Several, including Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and some of Regina Doman’s fairy tale retellings.

What’s the smallest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?

Robin’s Country by Monica Furlong.

What’s the biggest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?

For width it’s The Riverside Shakespeare again, but for height is The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles as translated and collated by Anne Savage.

Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?

Yes. Friends give me books fairly regularly 🙂

Most expensive book?

They aren’t the most valuable books I own, but my hardcover copies of The Lord of the Rings are probably the ones I spent the most money on.

The last book you read on your shelf?

I own and am currently reading Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.

Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read?

I have no idea. Maybe one of the Hardy Boy or Nancy Drew books? Of the ones just out here by my desk it was probably Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne.

Do you have more than one copy of a book?The Bookshelf Tag | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Yes. I have reading copies and display copies for The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, and I have several versions of some of my favorite classics like Pride and Prejudice.

Do you have the complete series of any book series?

Yes. I probably have more complete series than I do incomplete series.

What’s the newest addition to your shelf?

Shadow of the Giant by Orson Scott Card. I’ve been looking for a nice copy, and finally got one through Paperback Swap.

The Bookshelf Tag | marissabaker.wordpress.comWhat’s the most recently published book on your shelf?

I think it’s Allegiant by Veronica Roth.

The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old)?

An 1895 edition of Ivanhoe that I picked up at a little shop in Wisconsin.

A book you won?

I won an English Book Award my last year at The Ohio State University, and was given Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender and Sentimentality in the 1790s by Claudia L. Johnson, The Iron Pen: Frances Burney and the Politics of Women’s Writing by Julia Epstein, and The Swerve: How The World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt.

A book you’d hate to let out of your sight (aka a book you never let someone borrow)?

I’m pretty good about loaning books if people ask and I trust them, but I probably wouldn’t give out my nice copies of The Lord of the Rings or books with sentimental value like my mother’s copy of Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter (technically it’s still hers, but I swiped it from her bookshelf).

Most beat up book?

The Bookshelf Tag | marissabaker.wordpress.comA 1901 King James Bible we found in my grandparent’s house after Grandma died. It’s so fragile I’m scared to open it, but I love it.

Most pristine book?

That’s easy — my gorgeous blue Barns and Noble edition of  The Arabian Nights is still in it’s shrink-wrap plastic.

A book from your childhood?

So many — I have most of the original Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Tom Swift Jr. books.

A book that’s not actually your book?

Well, technically some of them may or may not belong to my sister …

A book with a special/different cover (e.g. leather bound, soft fuzzy cover etc.)?

Several of my Louis L’Amour books are leatherette bound, and my copy of The Hobbit has a lovely green cover with green speckles on the page edges.

Book that’s been on your shelf the longest that you STILL haven’t read?

Maybe my collection of Sherlock Holmes. I’ve read several stories from it, but not all of them. Or perhaps it’s one of my Charles Dickens books like Oliver Twist or David Copperfield.The Bookshelf Tag | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Any signed books?

My copy of The Drawing of the Dark by Tim Powers is signed up-side-down on the title page. I got it through Paperback Swap and wonder why someone who went to a book signing got rid of the book.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

very-inspiring-blogger-award1I was nominated by PearlGirl of INFJ Ramblings. Thank you so much! I wish I could nominate you back — you’re one of the bloggers whose posts I actually read on a regular basis 🙂 I’m so glad we connected through our blogging about INFJ things.

The Rules

  • Post the award on your blog
  • Thank your nominator because they’re awesome
  • List 7 facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 other blogs for their awesomeness
  • Post the rules so people know them

Seven Facts About Me:

  1. I can’t decide whether my favorite color is rose-pink or grass-green. Or possibly plum-purple.
  2. Even though my “to-read” list is humongous, there are a few books I take the time to re-read every year or so. Mara: Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw is at the top of that list. Seriously, drop everything and go read that book. There’s danger, love, intrigue, sacrifice and the only romantic attempted murder I’ve ever seen in fiction.
  3. Much as I love Jane Austen, my favorite classic is actually Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
  4. I’d be happy if I could wear Ren Faire Costumes all the time.
  5. I love kayaking. It’s the only “sport” type of activity that I truly enjoy, even though it has been life-threatening twice (caught in bad weather on Lake George and knocked up-side-down in shallow, fast-moving water on the Mohican River).
  6. I’m considered a “Garden Specialist” on eHow, and publish quite a few articles on that site.
  7. Cheesecake is my favorite dessert, and since I started coming up with my own cheesecake recipes I’ve become something of a cheesecake snob.

My Nominees:

Yes, you’re supposed to nominate 15 other bloggers and I’ve only nominated 7. I’ll try and make up for that by telling you why I like each one.

2HelpfulGuys — I only recently started following them, but I like what I’ve read so far.

Baptism For Life — this is my dad’s blog, and while I know he won’t take the time to accept the nomination you really should check out his posts if you’re looking for inspiring bloggers.

Idle Wanderings — I always enjoy Charity’s posts and if you’re watching Grimm, I highly recommend her recent articles.

Introvert, Dear — a blog and Facebook group that is great to follow if you’re an introvert and/or HSP

Science and Faith — he’s a new blogger, and the first two posts are great. Looking forward to more!

See, there’s this thing called biology… — occasionally I disagree with this blogger. Usually, though, I’m bouncing up and down in my seat pointing at the screen and saying “That’s exactly what I think!”

SmileSupport313 — her posts are always encouraging. And she’s one of my very best friends, so of course her blog is worth reading.