Writer’s Block: Is it Real?

Over the years, while I was constantly convincing myself that a career in writing was unfeasible, I would hear of successful writers complain of writer’s block. It has been hinted at, expounded upon, and driven plots throughout short stories, novels, TV shows, and movies. But, is it real? Do writers actually hit a wall, are they lazy, or is it just a crap day with no inspiration?

In my short time as a writer, I have certainly experienced days where I just couldn’t come up with something that advanced the story I was working on. However, I have noticed that those are good days to begin or continue another project, unless I am trying to meet a deadline.

If meeting a deadline is the issue and I must get it done in a timely fashion, I’ll take my dog for a walk, call someone and have a conversation, or better yet, I’ll ask someone that I trust to read it and give me an honest opinion. Sometimes, the opinion given sparks an idea or new path to take within the story. Other times, I try to put myself in the shoes of the reader so that I am able to experience it from their point of view. While the latter usually helps with copy editing and finding plot holes, everything that can be done to break up the monotony of staring at a computer screen, eventually leads to getting back on track with my work.

So, back to the original question. Is writer’s block real? For myself, it doesn’t really exist. For other writers, it may in some form or another. Either way, it’s not forever, and keeping your eyes open for the next hint of inspiration should be your main priority.

writers block 2

 

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The Key to the Vegas Golden Knights’ Success

Hockey fans from around the globe have been scratching their heads since the beginning of the season. Why, you make ask? The answer is simple. They’re wondering how the hell a group of self-proclaimed “misfits”, which apparently weren’t good enough for their original teams to protect, could do so well? They’ve even made it to the playoffs, steamrolling the favoured LA Kings and San Jose Sharks in the first and second rounds, respectively. This is no fluke. There are some very solid reasons as to why they are doing so damn well.

They’re No Slouches

The team was drafted mainly out of second and third string players that are all battling for the top spot. There are no weak links, or constant call-ups, except for the debacle with goalies at the beginning of the season, of which they still managed to pull through. Guys like William Karlsson, James Neal, and Jonathan Marchessault, just to name a few, have either been great players in the past and later forgotten, or passed over for bigger names on former teams. These guys are proving their worth now, and it has been incredible to witness.

A Playoff-Worthy Goalie

Everyone knows that you don’t stand a chance in the playoffs if you don’t have a goalie, and Marc-Andre Fleury has been unstoppable for the Knights. Sprawling, diving, and making absolutely clutch saves when it counts has been, arguably, the number one reason why they are doing as well as they are. He also has Stanley Cup finals experience, including three championship rings, has been an All-star three times, and carries a laundry list of other awards.

Finishing Checks and Winning Battles

Whether it’s a stick or body check, finishing the task is the key to winning a battle. Swiping your stick at an opposing player then circling away is worse than doing nothing, because now your back is turned to the puck carrier, deeming you almost useless. Instead, every player digs and fights for the puck every chance that they get. They are then rewarded for their efforts with puck possession, leading to them advancing further up the ice, and eventually more scoring opportunities.

All-in-all the Vegas Golden Knights have been crushing the competition because they’ve been playing hockey the way it’s supposed to be played – with heart!

Daily Prompt: Tide

via Daily Prompt: Tide

This would be an easy prompt to pick on foolish teenagers for eating Tide pods, because ingesting harmful chemicals is just plain stupid. However, while most people over 18 years of age can’t wrap their heads around this, many of those same people smoke cigarettes, drink excessive amounts of caffeinated, alcoholic or sugary beverages, and eat garbage food everyday.

Healthy living is about avoiding these excessive or unnecessary poisons as often as possible. For those who have trained themselves to require that caffeine jolt in the morning, one coffee per day is enough. You don’t need four. In fact, you could wean yourself off of coffee altogether and still be able to function normally.

You’ve heard the old saying, “Moderation is the key.” That statement applies to everything in life, not just food and drinks, but also excessive work schedules, exercise, and rest or lack thereof.

If you don’t require another, just put it down. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my six Big Mac meals are ready.

Daily Prompt: Song

via Daily Prompt: Song

What constitutes a good song? Is it a slammin’ beat, great melodies, lyrics that you can connect with, or no lyrics at all? Does it have real or synthesized instruments? Is it an epic tune at 8-13 minutes, or the standard radio length of about 3 1/2? Does it have to be by a band or performer that you like? Can it be from a genre that you despise?

Music like many other forms of art is completely subjective, and a song that one person might love, could sound like nails on a chalkboard to another. Sometimes a song that you once loved can be overplayed, leading to a level of disdain toward it; only to become a favourite again in ten years when you hear it at a party or bar.

Songs are as individual as the people listening, which is what makes music in general so unbelievably fantastic. The feelings or memories that a certain song can invoke are what connects us to the music on an emotional level. There really is no right or wrong answer to what constitutes a good song. Unless it’s country… then it’s just awful.

420

Legend has it that the origin of the term 420 comes from some high school students from California in the 70’s. After school they would meet up at 4:20pm to hang out and smoke some of that sweet sweet cheeba. It eventually spread across the US, into Canada, and then across the entire world.

This explanation is far more plausible than the rumours of there being 420 active chemicals in cannabis, or the police code for possession being 420, which it is not.

Today we honour this event on the 20th of April, by getting together with friends and continuing the tradition of indulging in some of the finest herb available. It is a time for peace, love, and positivity. And definitely a few laughs.

So find a friend, light up, and enjoy. And for those who are dead set against it, lighten up, it’s a plant!

Daily Prompt: Rush

via Daily Prompt: Rush

Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart form Rush, which is in my opinion, the greatest Canadian rock band ever. Ok, maybe they’re tied with The Hip. But top two none-the-less.

Songs like Tom Sawyer, Lakeside Park, Limelight, and YYZ showcase their immense talent. Peart’s unspeakable understanding and connection with his drums set the stage for Lifeson’s face melting riffs and solos, balancing perfectly with Lee’s tight bass lines, and keys. Although their sound may have changed throughout the years, the spirit of the music always remained the same.

Unfortunately Rush is no longer, however their music lives on whether it’s a classic vinyl, or your favourite music streaming platform; and in the hearts and minds of fans lucky enough to observe the spectacle first hand.

Daily Prompt: Explore

via Daily Prompt: Explore

Exploration is one of the keys to self awareness and personal growth. Many different aspects of life can be explored, all leading to the same discovery: happiness.

Work

Regardless of age, you should be exploring every avenue available. Take different jobs, work for different companies, move laterally or up, and volunteer some time. Find out what you enjoy doing, then kick ass at it. For some, they figure it out early, and for others it takes years. Either way, don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things.

Social Life

Meet new people everyday. Engage in a friendly conversation with a stranger. It could be in line at the grocery store, or while standing on a street corner waiting for your turn to cross the street.  You don’t have to make a new best friend, but a simple conversation can teach you a lot about yourself. You never know who you might meet, and it’s great practice for networking.

Travel

Even though the entire planet has been mapped out, it doesn’t mean that you can’t explore your city, country, or any other place. New destinations come with new experiences, new people, new architecture, and new food, which are some of the building blocks of personal growth.

Ultimately exploration is about finding yourself. You’ll never know what you might like, if you don’t try it.

Daily Prompt: Churn

via Daily Prompt: Churn

“Hitchin up the buggy, churnin’ lots of butter, raised a barn on Monday, soon I’ll raise another. Think you’re really righteous? Think you’re pure at heart? Well, I know I’m a million times as humble as thou art.”

– “Weird” Al Yankovic, Amish Paradise

Daily Prompt: Toxic

via Daily Prompt: Toxic

7 Signs That You Work In A Toxic Environment

A job I once had provided an unwanted look into what a toxic work environment can be. It frustrated me everyday, and quickly turned into something I loathed thinking about, even during my off time. The signs of a toxic environment are not always easily identifiable, but once you are made aware of what they look like, recognizing them is simple. What you do after that is up to you.

  1. You have a boss, not a leader.

A real leader is willing to put in work alongside their employees, not crack a whip from the safety of an office. They don’t point fingers and search for someone to blame if something goes wrong either. Instead, an effective leader will work with the team or individual to improve their understanding and hopefully their results.

2. Management is feared, not respected.

Ruling through fear only works for someone who doesn’t understand what respect is or how it works. However, most adults in the workforce fully understand that by showing respect, they get it in return. This creates a positive cycle of respect being shown to everyone else that they may encounter throughout the day. As a result of a positive and respectful work environment, there will inevitably be an increase in productivity and morale.

3. Only failures are recognized, not successes.

Every manager is different. The good ones will point out successes, either through email, a private conversation, or in front of colleagues and co-workers. They will also point out failures, but usually behind closed doors, and will be willing to spend time to help you correct the issue. A bad manager tends to only dwell on failures, call you out like a child in front of everyone, and can even stoop so low as to continually bring up old failures, even in unrelated situations. These bad managers will almost never give you recognition or praise for your success.

4. Absentee ownership.

This is more important to the health of the company than the individual employee. Absentee ownership is probably the worst offence an entrepreneur can can commit. If you’re 65 years old and have a well established team, perhaps you can take more time off, but if your company is struggling, it, as well as the employees, can benefit by having you spend more time there, not less.

5. Unhealthy competition.

Sales competitions can be a great motivator, helping to drive in some extra revenue, especially in the slow times when employees can tend to get complacent. But overlapping of territories or customers can result in animosity between employees, and a disdain for the manager who implemented the contest. Hopefully, any form of competition is well thought out ahead of time, and outlined in full detail with the employees before it begins.

6. Drugs and alcohol at work.

This is pretty straightforward. Drugs and alcohol consumed at work is dangerous to everyone, and a sign of a serious addiction. If anyone is at the point that they require drugs and/or alcohol to get through the day, serious psychological help should be acquired.

 

7. Nepotism.

In my experience, when I worked for family members, I was always expected to output more effort and productivity than other employees. It taught me that regardless of how I got my job, I had to work to keep it. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Too often, family members are hired, put in a few years of actual work, then coast for the rest of their career. Ultimately, they manufacture a sense of entitlement, which leads to an abuse of power, unprofessional actions, and a distrust between the employees and employer.

Daily Prompt: Warning

via Daily Prompt: Warning

 

Warnings used to be reserved for dangers that weren’t inherently obvious to the average person. They kept us from doing things that we may or may not have been aware of otherwise.

Today, warnings seem to be on everything. Caution: Hot Coffee, or Warning: Slippery When Wet, are two things that anyone with even a shred of common sense would not have to be told. However, as the old adage goes, common sense isn’t that common.

Sometimes I wonder who these warnings are for. Then I have a look around, and there’s usually someone that reminds me of one reason or another. You’d think that over time, we would learn from certain situations or accidents, and not repeat the same mistakes. But some people just never learn, leading to lawmakers to have to protect us from ourselves. Unfortunately, the more that lawmakers try to protect us, the more dangerous to our own well-being we become.

As any parent would know, if you coddle your child for too long, that child will remain helpless and susceptible to the dangers of the world, without knowing how to navigate the landscape of life.

Parents and mentors need to point those who look to them for guidance in the right direction, and the best way to do it, is by showing them how to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others.