Donut is learning the "Rob a Purse" rat trick!
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Honk for a treat🔊
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Anxiety and panic attack tips when you start to feel an attack coming on:
Put on your favorite comfort show or something that takes you back to a good part of your childhood
Focus on your breathing
Play a relaxing game
Keep your hands busy. Pet a soft blanket, stuffie or animal. Make bracelets, write in a journal or play a computer game
Eat hard candy and focus on the flavor, how your tongue feels and moves and how quickly it dissolves
Put your hands in ice water. The cold helps me personally a lot
Sit in front of a fan and feel the cool air on your face
Find like colors in the room and make it a point to find everything that’s the same color or count how many of a specific item you see
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How To Start Writing - Exercises and Prompts to Massage Your Imagination
Some would say that it’s the hardest part of the whole affair. How to actually put pen to paper and begin somewhere - to take the first step in a long walk. It is difficult but it doesn’t have to be and something that I’ve learned from my time at university is that ultimately it’s up to you to put your foot on the accelerator.
What can prove useful is taking writing exercises just to get you started. Here are some of my favourites.
1. “I Remember...”
This is a timed one and I recommend giving yourself fifteen minutes but you can go as high as thirty if I you feel you need it. Essentially, you picture a place or a time in your personal life - it could be just a particular season or a year or even your whole childhood - and start every sentence with “I remember” just to see what comes to mind. What is important to remember is that a lot of writing is based on personal experience whether we like it or not and tackling your own upbringing artistically could bring the best out of you.
The important caveat about this writing exercise is to not stop if you can help it. Write on impulse. Whatever comes to mind about say, when you were fourteen years old, get it written down. You never know which direction you could end up going in. You may be telling yourself that your life isn’t that interesting but you’d be surprised what you can recall and the poetry that comes with it. Think about the senses, thoughts and feelings that would be going through your mind at the time.
This exercise is for testing your descriptive ability.
2. Photo/Music/Object Prompts.
Grant Wood - “American Gothic”
This one is pretty free-form. Look at any image - preferably a painting - of landscaped scenery or of abstract art and see what comes to mind. You may think it’s simple, too easy or even limiting but the point about utilizing visual prompts is that you can always fall back on them. The best ideas are always happened upon accidentally. You may find that your mind is exploring a facet of life previously uncharted in your brain.
My favourite kind of prompt - music - can be incredibly provocative. This is especially true if it’s a genre or category of music that you aren’t necessarily familiar with. Whatever your preferred way of streaming music is, look through genre mixes, radios or playlists of stuff that you’re maybe only vaguely familiar with and just let it play. Close your eyes. Picture the music. Picture the story it’s telling. Put yourself in a new world.
You could even take a physical object and study it for a while. Think of a story for it. It might be a weird esoteric knick-knack or a statue that your mother has hung on to for 45 years for no good reason. What do you feel when you look at it? What goes through your mind? Where could it come from? You could even go to a place near you and engage that same creative mindset.
The possibilities are literally endless.
3. One-Word Prompts.
Specifically, limit yourself and see what comes out. For example, you have to start a one-page short story that starts with the sentence “The trees were made of gold”. Have a couple of attempts and see what happens. There are websites, Twitter accounts and probably even Tumblrs that generate prompts and challenges.
You could decide to write a short story with a certain title like a single word. Base the entire story around that word. This, of course, all counts for poetry or even if you’re doing a diary or a journal entry. The primary function is to get your mind thinking unilaterally about writing and how you approach it. Make something out of what is supposedly nothing.
4. Short As Possible (The Shape of Stories by Kurt Vonnegut)
This is more of an editing exercise and a practice in story-structuring. Take a pre-existing story, either one you have written or one by someone else, and make it as short as possible. Cut it down to the absolute basics and by doing this, you excavate the bones. You know what is important and what isn’t. In a way, it’s like planning posthumously.
To help me explain this, I’m going to use a favourite of mine: Kurt Vonnegut’s The Shape of Stories
Image Courtesy of OpenCulture.com
Vonnegut uses a chart system to explain how certain stories are shaped based around the fortunes of the protagonist. Higher on the wavelength equals better fortunes and lower equals worse and he points out that contrary to the proverb, things often get better before they get worse. But other types of stories follow different patterns with different events marked on each peak and trough to underline the great shape that stories all take. When you understand this, you are able to know the important events, why they happen and when they happen.
The point of this is to get a handle on what direction you’re going in your story when you cut everything down to basics. When you know what events are the important ones and what they do for your story, it can do wonders for your long term ability to draft a story.
...If that makes sense.
5. Don’t Write If You Don’t Feel Like It
This one is going to blow your mind.
If you’re sitting there, staring bare-faced at the paper with nothing coming out, banging the keyboard with frustration, I’ll illuminate you. Just stop.
Get up and turn away from the keyboard. Close the lid or shut the notebook. Put your work away and go and do something else with your time. Distract yourself. Watch a new TV show or a film. Go out for a walk. Read a book. Do anything else because one thing that you aren’t going to do in those moments of fierce writer’s block is write. Allow yourself a break and put your mind at rest for a bit because when you come back, you’ll be more ready to tackle your work. It’s an exercise because it’s a psychological difficulty to give yourself a break if you’re a creative individual. Time always hangs heavy on your hands but only if you let it.
“There is no such thing as “Writer’s Block”, only impatience”
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How to deal with the emotions of more distant characters
I was thinking the other day about the whole “let boys cry” expression. It’s an important part of today’s feminism, it’s no longer only about woman, it’s also about the way gender roles and stereotypes affect men.
And this made me think of a specific scene from my second book, I’m not going to go too far into detail because it’s not out, but basically there’s a scene that drives the female lead to tears, while not having the same affect on the male lead until they reach a safe space.
I was thinking about whether this scene was problematic, although my male lead did cry, he did it later. And I decided after a little while it wasn’t, partly because the female lead is shown to be very open with her emotions very early on, and she gets this from her father who teaches her to be open with her emotions and not feel guilty about them.
The male lead on the other hand is shown in the first book to be very distant with his emotions. He puts on a mask most of the time and keeps most of his loved one’s at arms length, there’s a good reason for this and it’s something he works on throughout the books.
So, how do you write the emotions of someone who is emotionally distant?
Well, for starters you have to know their limits. It’s not like throughout the scene the character is okay, he’s not, he’s just internalising that pain. That’s why he cries when he’s home. Which is the second thing, what is their safe space? Nobody can keep their emotions locked up forever, so when and where does he releases those emotions? Who are the people close enough to him that they’re allowed to see him cry?
Going back to their limits, how long could he have remained in that situation before breaking down?
They key to writing an emotionally distant character well, is remembering that they’re acting. They DO have emotions, those emotions are at play even if the reader isn’t seeing them, once you know that, you can see how they get closer to their limits and how those emotions drip through the mask.
As usual, check out my socials and book here.
What’s a distant character you enjoyed in a book, show or other media form?
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Donut doing a fun agility course - here I ask her to do both directions in order to make it a bit more interesting!
Trick tutorial on training rats agility courses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5Q-vAIpNME
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I MADE MYSELF A NEW HEART. MY OTHER HEART WAS MADE FOR GOD. 🍧
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David Lynch & James Signorelli - Hotel Room (1993)
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I have a bunch of stuff I would love to pin
But I can't pin them all so... here are some things and I will keep adding more.
For everytime I'm insecure, I'll just be reminded to read this. (This is a beautiful anon ask sent to me, but ya'll can read it too, you might relate!)
Stressing about life after school, money problems, jobs, etc? Here's something to help!
A thread of tips to help high school and college students academically!
Is your body being weird? Do you feel nauseous, or have a headache? Maybe this could assist you!
Are you a black trans woman being denied HRT or any other treatment within the United States?? This person on twitter will help you for free!
This post will help you make a great exam study plan!
Things that may help you get your life together!
Validation post you need if you're feeling down!
Procrastinating? Check out these helpful study tips!
Too lazy to write your own essay? Pay this lovely person who really needs the money to write it for you! They assure you it will be flawless.
Becoming an adult cheat sheet
Tips for college classes nobody tells you
How to study with a mental illness
Cool study playlists
Why you shouldn't do drugs (from a kids POV)
Synonyms for 'very'
Useful study apps and chrome extensions
Random sites that are extremely helpful
Inspiration and distractions masterpost
Here's some links that go to archives of flash games
Read any article blocked by a paywall
For a bad night
Lots of blank meme templates
Use the site linked here for writing inspiration
Being sexually abused by a hacker who's threatening to compromise your device? Here's something that could help
A little secret from Dr Bowles about the education sector
Survival tips for night owls
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An Optical Illusion with Two Geometric Circles.
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