Tag Archives: writing inspiration

T. Bug

Ever heard of the travel bug?!

Here’s a poem I wrote for the Northern Bard poetry contest in #WhatsUpYukon 

With beautiful artwork by Lyndsie!

Check it out and if you like it, please comment on it in What’s Up Yukon or share it on your Twitter, Facebook, & other social media pages!

Thanks guys! xoxo

HJL

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The Vulnerability of Reading Aloud

Last night, I went to a monthly spoken word event here in Whitehorse called Brave New Words. I totally recommend it to any writers/readers general word enthusiasts in or around the Whitehorse area. I read a short fiction piece I’ve been working on. My palms were sweaty and my mouth was drier than a floured raison. In the quaint room full of well-loved books and strangers, I was so nervous I thought I might pee my pants. But as a relaxed and got into the third paragraph and then the fourth-and  heard a ‘mmm’ and a nod and a laugh- it got a little easier. And after hearing everyone share their own work: poetry, fiction, memoir, well some of us, like myself, may have arrived strangers, but we left: a community.

There’s just something so scary, and moving, and satisfying about reading something you have written aloud in the presence of others and hearing/seeing them react to it.

It isn’t something I have whole lot of experience doing. In my studies at UBC we handed out copies of our pieces to everyone and they all gave us feedback, orally in class, and written feedback to take home; I had very few classes in which the professor asked us to read our piece or a section of are piece aloud. I think it should be written into the curriculum. I think it should something every writer at least tries. It is so beneficial to read your work to others. It can really help you with the early drafts and the later drafts: all the drafts really. In a room full of people, you can hear the sigh, or the giggle, or the simultaneous scrunch of eyebrows furrowing in confusion. And it clicks: okay, that’s not the reaction I was going for there, but it’s spot on there, and needs just a wee bit of clarifying here.

Of course, there are certain genres that are meant to be heard and not read, but I really think even the most hard-paper genres can benefit from this exercise. Especially anything containing dialogue. Dialogue comes to life off the page, through the voice and the voices of the characters.

It can be difficult to find a space where you feel safe and brave enough to read your writing aloud. There is no denying the vulnerability of the act. This is your heart, your mind, your brain babies, your dear dear little darlings- and yes sometimes you do have to kill those darlings- but maybe not all of them! Sharing your work orally, may help you see which ones can stay and which ones have to be chopped.

Good luck, and thanks for listening 😉

xox

Heidi J. Loos

Hashtag #HaikuChallenge

Just as I was about to fall asleep last night, I had this intense urge to write a bunch of Haikus. And I had this thought:

One Hundred Haikus

Instead of Status Updates

New Writing Challenge.

Seriously though, how cool would it be if we just started replacing our tweets and Facebook updates with daily silly, dirty, goofy, sappy, wacky, witty, emotional and even radical haikus and we just flood the interwebs with micropoetry?! People won’t even see it coming, all the sudden, all over their newsfeeds it will be like BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM 5-7-5: Poems FROM everyone, FOR everyone. Literally, Poetry, Everywhere (on the internet). Then I looked up #HaikuChallenge on Twitter

and obviously it is already a thing! I’m just the last to know about it!

It’s not that surprising though, even though I have a degree in Creative Writing, I have never been that up to date with current trends of any kind. Things sort of need to weasel their way into bubble. I had never even attempted to write a Haiku until just over a week ago at a Brave New Writing workshop here in Whitehorse. I never took poetry at UBC, I mostly stuck to prose: short-fiction, long-fiction, non-fiction, writing for children, script-writing and song lyrics. Although arguably song lyrics are a form of poetry- melodic haikus were not included.

I think I was really inspired by my friend Shiphrah who is taking on the SketchaDay challenge for one year. I keep seeing all of her new art everyday on Facebook and I’m loving it. It’s such a nice break from all the usual viral videos, memes, and selfies on my feed. Plus it’s always amazing to witness how much anyone can improve at something if they do it every single day.

I often write about “Writing” on here: the challenges, obstacles, not having enough time for writing, comparing myself to other writers, things you shouldn’t do as a writer, etc… My biggest problem though, is my writing goals. Most of the time they are just too freaking big, they’re not obtainable. No one can write a novel in a day! Not that this was my goal, but, in a month maybe… Because some people can do it in a month!  But some people can write 15,000 words in a day, others 10,000 or 5,000 or just 5,00…but it doesn’t matter what other people do, or what they can do. It matters what you do. And, if you want to improve on something, you have to just buckle down and do it. Agreed? So start small, baby steps.

Three Lines a Day!

I am challenging myself to write ONE Haiku every day for One Hundred Days.

#HaikuChallenge #100Haikus

Some of them will likely suck, but some will be funny, and maybe even witty? I’ll post them to my Twitter and Facebook Page daily, so you can be the judge. I think it will be fun challenge. And not as easy as you may think, (at least not for me) for I struggle the MOST with short, brief, and concise. Just look at that sentence for example, I list synonyms constantly instead of just choosing one word. Because, I like them all: these words, and, I like a lot of words, so I like to use lots of words, and repeat a lot of my words, generally just get bogged down and wordy. So I think this challenge will not only help me to improve on my newest endeavour of haiku writing, it will also help me improve my writing for all genres!

If you want to, I’d love it if you would take on this #HaikuChallenge with me and write #100Haikus over the next 100 Days.

I believe in you

Let’s do this thing, together

One Hundred Haikus.

XOX,

HJL

Seven Steps to Self Love & Productivity

Some days I love myself, some days I absolutely despise myself… but on the days where I think I am pretty fucking awesome, I am way more productive and I allow myself to take creative risks that sometimes end up being winners. It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, an artist, a chef, a hairdresser, a nurse, an aspiring lawyer or whatever. If you have dreams and goals- it’s pretty damn hard to get anything done when you’re constantly putting yourself down. Here’s seven things that I tell myself and/or strive towards. It’s definitely not always easy, but when I do these things I tend to manifest results. I know some of them sound corny, like those little inspirational quotes or greeting cards but I promise: if you follow these steps you will feel better about yourself and you will be able to achieve more!

1. Be proud of what you have already accomplished.

Do not let the voices in your head try to minimize your successes. And you do have successes, we all do.  Try making a list when you’re feeling really up to reference when you’re having one of those ‘blah-I suck’ days. It might help!

2. TRY reeeeally hard not to compare yourself to others.

I say try, because this one is SO freaking hard. It’s so easy to scroll through the interwebs and say, see, this person is doing this and this and this, and what have I done?! But we are all on our own paths. They are not better than us. We are not better than them. We are equal. We are just different. 

3. Practice Practice Practice (whatever you are trying to get good at and also self-love)

Loving yourself comes naturally to a select few, but for many of us it comes later, with lots and lots of practice. Don’t stop trying! If you want to get better at something, you have to put in the work. But don’t believe anyone when they tell you, practice makes ‘perfect.’ Perfect is a silly word. Perfection is subjective. Just believe that practicing will help you improve. Practice giving yourself praise. Practice setting goals that are obtainable- and how do you practice this? –>

4. Allow yourself to FAIL

This is one I struggle with myself. Failure is scary. Rejection is scary. But we need to stop beating ourselves up about it. Accept that you may have a fear of failure. Accept that lots of people do.  Failing is part of life. Everyone fails at something. Allow yourself to learn and heal.

5. Spend time with yourself

Whether you hate being alone or you love alone time, it’s super important to spend time with yourself in order to know yourself. To love yourself you need to know who you are around other people and also who you are alone in the dark. You need to examine your fears in order to dismantle them.

6. Spend time doing the things you love

Even if this ‘something’ that you love is not ‘progressing’ your goal in any way. If you love doing it and it makes you happy it is SUPER important, and you should make time for it. Happy people are productive people. Well, that’s what they say anyway. And even though I’m very skeptical of anything they say. I have discovered that at least in my case it is true, I am more productive when I’m happy.

7. Reward Yourself!

Positive reinforcement, always. It works with puppies, it works with kids. Don’t beat yourself up for your mistakes and your failures. Reward yourself for trying. Reward yourself for being fucking awesome once in awhile; because you are.

XOX

Heidi J. Loos

Job Hunting with a Creative Writing Degree

Let’s be honest, it sucks.IMG_3015

I’m taking a 5 minute break from writing cover letters to write this.

It just sucks to be in that in between stage where you have a degree, but you don’t have a career. Then again a creative writing degree may not ever get you a career per say. Okay I’ll be more optimistic, it may, (I’ve seen it happen for some of the lucky ones) but also it may not. You may have to settle for a career completely out of your field and write on the side. But how much of your time will be spent doing that something else, something that you hate, or at the very best you can tolerate for a pay cheque. Will it suck up all your time and energy and leave an empty, uninspired shell with no drive or inspiration left write anything?

I really don’t want that.

But I also don’t want the judgement that comes with being jobless for too long, even if I am writing lots, and its exciting, and I’m feeling rejuvenated and ambitious and inspired to write more. The thing is, with the stuff I’m writing now: poetry, prose, scripts, blog posts there’s no guarantee of anything. There’s no guarantee anyone will even read it, let alone like it, and want to publish it or pay me for it.

So the job hunting continues.

It’s been a bit of a struggle so far. Since graduating from the UBC Creative Writing program in 2012, I haven’t stopped writing. But in the times where I’ve held jobs that I haven’t exactly loved, my writing seems to suffer, it even becomes a scarce occurrence, and the general quality just deteriorates- depression takes over.

The problem is, I have a dream. I dream of the perfect job. One that requires me to write, but not just anything, content I want to write, and it pays well.

Scrolling through the job postings, there is no such job. And in the postings, no body ever asks for a creative writing degree. The Requirements: Journalism degree, maybe, Marketing, Communications, yes, and English Degree, sometimes, but who doesn’t have a a degree in English in this day an age (well, me) but seriously it seems like every other person I meet has an BA in English. Are most of them working? Who knows. I don’t know these stats. It I did, perhaps I would have a degree in Statistics, and be employed, but then I’d most likely I’d be depressed.

Anyway, the hunt continues.

Wish me luck, I need it.

Xox

HJL

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas

December can be a stressful month for lots of reasons, but a big one is all of the added expenses: holiday get togethers, Christmas parties, staff parties, “Secret Santas”, co-workers to buy for, friends to buy for, family members to buy for, extended family to buy for… If you are someone who likes to give out presents (or even if you just feel pressured to get everyone something because you know at least some of them are going to get something for you) just remember gifts don’t have to be expensive, you don’t even have to buy them! I challenge you to make someone a homemade present this December.

When you think of a ‘homemade’ gift what comes to mind? Finger-painting and macaroni crafts? When was the last time you gave someone a genuine hand-crafted present. Homemade gifts shouldn’t be something we grow out of just because we have jobs. I for one, LOVE to receive homemade creations. It really means the world when someone takes the time and puts the energy and love into making something especially for you.

Before you go and start making excuses like, “but I’m not creative enough” there are lots of homemade gifts that are simple, practical, and amazing for all different people on your ‘to-buy-for’ list. Here are some ideas- and just so you know, I would be ECSTATIC to receive anything off this list. Hint hint, nudge nudge 😉

1. Homemade Holiday Baking

A basket or tin of sweet treats will make all the dessert lovers on your list squeal with glee.

Here are some Christmas classics: shortbread cookies, butter tarts, chocolate chip or m&m cookies, Nanaimo bars, haystacks, and gingersnaps.

But there are loads of other options to choose from, the internet is at your disposal with recipes galore! You could even charm the Vegan GlutenFree folks on your list using some of the amazing recipes off this awesome gluten-free recipe blog.

2. Knitted -Anything

If you can knit, the possibilities are endless. Hats, scarves, mittens, sweaters, socks, leg-warmers. Seriously, knitted stuff is awesome, but since not all of us can knit here’s another option

3. A Drawing or Painting

Original Art = the best.

4. Poetry

Write a poem for someone, send it in the mail. Frame it.

5. Scrapbooks!

IMG_1661

Not only are scrapbooks super fun to make, they are incredible to look through. You could make one for a family member, friend, or partner. Print off photos from Facebook, or find old photographs from that dusty box you’ve had stashed away. Write in quotes and memories, add drawings, stickers, old ticket stubs, anything, just personalize it, make it special, and they will LOVE it.

6. Calendars

I’ve made lots of homemade calendars, and they make the best presents! They’re so practical. The person you give it to can use it for the whole year, and they are super easy to make. You can design the calendar on Microsoft Word on your computer, add photos, quotes, poetry, anything and print the whole thing out. Or you can use post it notes like the picture above, or just print out the 2015 Calendar pages and make the pretty photo page scrapbook style with some scissors and gluestick. Does your friend really love pugs? Do they love kittens? bridges or architecture? Do they love sexy firefighters holding babies- sure you can buy some of these calendars in the store but you can’t buy one with a combination of all different things that this person loves, but you could make one 😀

7. Word of the Day Calendar

For all your literary word-guzzling folks. I had this idea because I’ve always wanted one of these, but they are actually really hard to find, but VOILA, easy to make. Sure it will take some time and energy on your part, but you’ll also learn stuff in the process- just use the web, or a dictionary. You could do 365 silly words, or words that aren’t used as much anymore, or just totally random. If you speak another language you could do a translation one, to help that person on your list get started on their endeavour of learning another language.

You could make a homemade joke-of-the day calendar, or quote of the day, haiku or dirty limerick of the day (that would AWESOME btw).

8. Homemade Body Products

You could make homemade soap, shampoo, lotion, lipchap, etc.

9. Candles

Check out those homemade rainbow candles, perfect for those PROUD queers on your list 😀 And have you ever made a beeswax candle? They smell amazing when you burn them…

10. Homemade Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity Cards

I was at a birthday party recently and some clever individuals brought personalized Cards Against Humanity cards which made for a great present, and a hilarious game. Make a holiday version that you can pull out and play and get everybody laughing!

11. Homemade Tarot Cards

Know someone who reads tarot? Perfect. All you need to know is all the cards and suits that need to be there. Put some love and magic into it. Draw or paint the cards, print out images, write inspirational words or quotes.

12. Jewelry

Beaded, braided, hemp, metal, feather, shells; you could make necklaces, earrings, bracelets, anklets, keychains, and more!

13. Carved Creations

Can you carve or widdle? You could make wooden art, or coasters, or a homemade back-scratcher!

14. Homemade Pet Toys or Treats

For all those pet lovers on your list. Make a mouse or feather wand, a doggy cupcake (seriously there’s recipes online) a scratching post, or stuffed toy. Cute!

15. JAM

My brother gave me homemade jam for Christmas once, and I thought what a perfect present. Thoughtful, sweet, and delicious!

Do you have other homemade gift suggestions? Please share 🙂

Happy Holidays Everybody!

XOX

Heidi J. Loos

Inspiration from the Uninspired

I finally made another video… it’s been awhile!! But hence the title I’ve been a little uninspired as of late and suffering from my annual case of seasonal depression, blah. Well, it wasn’t so bad last January when I was living in AUSTRALIA! Haha, but I’m pumping myself with vitamin D, and starting to see the light, making this video helped!
I recently got final cut pro X so I am going to be making lots of short videos in the coming days. 🙂 subscribe to my channel if you like what you see!

New Years Resolutions

time to party

I am NOT a hater of resolutions or written goals. Obviously they can’t be too too ambitious or you’re just setting yourself up for failure, like, don’t bother writing down ‘learn ten languages, travel the world, and cure cancer’  but it never hurt anybody to make a list! And hey, you COULD learn another language this year, and travel somewhere new, and run for the cure, or paint for the cure, or donate or whatever…

It’s a new year, a clean slate, all those things you want to do, you can start now, just WRITE THEM DOWN, pin the list to your wall preferably on your bedroom wall by the light switch or on the back of the bathroom door. And don’t take it down for 365 days, unless you move, and in that case bring it with you wherever you go.

You probably already know this about me but I LOVE LISTS, I am not ashamed to say I am a list pusher, to-do lists, to-make lists, to achieve lists… I have weekly resolutions and monthly goal quotas so why not a new years one too?! It just makes sense!

Last year one of my goals was to create a blog (this blog) and post every single week for an entire year, I think I did pretty well! I only missed a couple weeks here and there and doubled up on other weeks- so yay! Success! Here’s to another year of blogging! and YOU reading it, and us together, dreaming, and achieving…

2014

Here’s what I hope to achieve in 2014!!

* Continue to contribute regularly to Vancouver Weekly

* Do some free lance stuff for other papers/magazines

* Write at LEAST one short story and/or short script PER MONTH for the entire year

* Write some new songs

* Record some songs

* Complete ‘She’s Not Me’ Music Video

* Mess around with Final Cut Pro, and make some fun youtube videos

* Practice Violin regularly (and yes post some videos… finally)

*Start taking lessons again! WOOHOO ♫♪♫♪

*Jam with some new peeps

* Submit nonfiction piece to a bunch of contests

* Get a wicked awesome artsy job… or just ANYTHING outside the hospitality industry…

* READ MORE!!!!

* WRITE MORE!!!

* SING MORE!!! even if it is mostly in the shower 😉

* Keep exercising regularly and weight lifting… a.k.a obtain dream of bulgy biceps

* Submit pitch for crazy8’s 2015

* Continue the exciting adventure that is Chalk With Me, and chalk new messages in new places all year!

* Oh, and, last but not least, TRAVEL, somewhere hot.

What are your goals for 2014?!!? Do Share!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!! and thank-you for reading!

Also a big thank-you to all of my WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube followers who read, liked, and kept coming back for more this year, your support means the world to me.

XOX

Heidi J. Loos

The Rotten Olive

Image

With eyes turned inwards in contemplation

You write the words on the inside of your skull

You rehearse every line until its damn near perfect

So when it finally comes out it sounds like a recording

Not even your voice

Played back on their answering machine

With no response

No call back…

But this is real life, face to face,

you have no technology to hide behind

You say what you wanted,

what you needed to say, but it comes out sounding different than you imagined

A little more fucked up than you intended

Not like the conversations you practiced in your head

Filling the empty spaces with hypothetical responses

Words that were so sweet and understanding

They smelled like freshly washed laundry

Tasted like brie cheese with pear on salted crackers

And it all went down smoothly, and the guilt was fleeting

in your mind, like,

“So what if you indulged a little too freely and it shows in your Brunswick Street dress” 

But her silence is worse than the rotten olive stuck in your oesophagus 

you choke, reword, retell, try again

apologize.

No spoonfuls of steamy dialogue to drip down your chin

She tells you to strip that damn grin off your face

You strip off layers of fabric instead. 

And you laugh and smile harder because you’re nervous

about having another one of these hard conversations you don’t want to have

But know you have to

She asks you if you are just with her because it’s easy

“And you say seriously? This, easy?”

It’s not always easy, to be honest.