Thursday, October 30, 2014

Learning to Live from Walking Dead

How can you learn to live from a dead person?  Just pick up a biography, try these:  Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, and Steve Jobs.  These people changed the face of our planet.  

You can learn a lot from a dead guy.  

Now if that offends you, I can't apologize.  The person that has most influenced my life died some 2000 year ago.  You may have heard of him, Jesus.

The difference is that Jesus didn't stay dead and if you can believe that, Wow, what a life you can have.  You go on living.... forever, based on his biography, The Bible.  Yeah, it's all about him, even the difficult hard-to-understand parts.  

One of my favorite parts to read is John 8:36, see here.

It's about being set free, that's why he died.  For you and me to be free.

You may scratch your head at what's next.  I've learned a lot about living by watching the Walking Dead.  It's one thing to be the best you can be when things are going really well.  Throw in a plague, desolation, depravity, a group of cannibals hunting you down, loss of loved ones, starvation, and living dead people that want to eat you and... Wow, how to be the best you can be?

Character development is supreme in writing a novel someone will read, finish, and recommend.  Walking Dead doesn't hold back on character development and neither do the writers hold back on a character's complete and utter destruction.

Take Bob for example.

Bob wasn't always Happy.

He did some terrible things.  But in the end, he discovered he could find the good in life, have faith in humanity in the middle of total chaos.  All because someone gave him the opportunity to start over.

You can start over too.  You can have the good life in the middle of total chaos.  Because Jesus gives you the same opportunity.

"Nightmares end.  They shouldn’t end who you are.  That’s just this dead man’s opinion."
Bob Stookey, The Walking Dead (via the-landgiraffe)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

5 Things I Learned about Writing from Watching Walking Dead

In keeping with the October Halloween theme, I'm including one of my favorite TV shows in today's post.  

Can you guess which show I'm referring to?

Here are my top five lessons in writing that I've picked up from watching AMC's Walking Dead.
  1. Great writing includes Characters we love.
  2. Great writing includes Characters we love to hate.
  3. Great writing includes sacrificing the Characters we love.
  4. Great writing includes a weak Character's metamorphosis into a strong Character.
  5. Great writing includes allowing the enemy to (almost) have a complete victory.
I'm not sure who was my favorite character in the earlier seasons.  I felt for Rick, the main character of the series, but at the same time felt he never made the right decisions.  Carl, Rick's son, of course is just a kid and you want him to make it. 

Lori, Rick's wife and mother to Carl, is the character I found myself hating. That is until she sacrificed herself for her unborn baby, Judith. 

Carol, a battered wife who loses both husband and daughter, was the character that struggled so much through the first couple of seasons to have courage.  And when she found it, you wondered if she has lost all reason and compassion.

Every season a new enemy is introduced.  The enemy kills, steals, destroys, and seems to have everything while this group of survivors barely make it. But, in the end, they always do just that, survive.

I've learned one other thing while watching Walking Dead.  You may not agree with me and you may even judge me for watching such a violent graphic show.  But I've learn about tenacity. This band of survivors, well, they never give up. They plan ahead for victory at the threshold of defeat.  I'll take that lesson as well and implement it into my writing career.  I'm planning for success, victory, and I'll go down fighting for my day when I see my name scrolled across a book cover.

I'm not giving up.  How about you?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Writing and Health ~ Taking Care of Your Assets and Avoiding RSI

Writing can take a toll on your body. Your greatest assets are your wrists, hands, fingers, elbows, and back.  Sitting all day can also affect your heart, nervous system, while staring at a computer screen can damage your eyesight.  Not to mention, depression or mood swings that can punch you in the gut when things aren't going your way.

It's good for the body, mind, and soul to prevent as many of these as possible.  Repetitive Stress Injury, RSI, affects over 1.8 million workers each year according to studies done by the  Occupational Safety and Heath Administration, OSHA.  As a writer, you have a higher chance of RSI.  Some of the common RSI ailments include; Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis Elbow, and Trigger Finger.

I recently experienced RSI with one my wrists.  Years before, I had suffered through Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which was extremely painful and caused a two year vacation from my writing career.  I've made a few adjustments that have helped and keep me aware.  Hopefully these will save someone from the same painful vacation I took before I realized my poor work habits.

  • Keyboards are important: What type you use, how your hands flow over the keyboard, and how long you spend typing at one time are all factors to consider. 
  • Taking breaks and getting out of your sitting/typing position every thirty minuets is crucial to maintaining a healthy blood flow and recess from the repetitive movement that causes injury.
  • Posture Counts:  Are both feet flat on the floor?  Does your chair complement your back and neck or cause you to strain?

I've made the switch to an ergonomics keyboard which has a very easy and soft touch.  It's slightly different than a regular keyboard but hasn't taken that long to get use to.  Next on my list is an ergonomic chair.  There are many different types and brands on the market, I did some research and read reviews before I chose mine. I also use an ergonomics wrist pad and gloves to help with the pressure and tension placed on my hands during busier days.  A few of my picks are:
  1. Microsoft Ergonomics Keyboard
  2. Smartfish ErgoMotion Mouse
  3. IMAK Computer Glove
  4. Keyboard Wrist Rest

A few reminders to help prevent RSI in your wrists include:
  1. Don't type for over 30 minutes without taking at least a 5 minute break.
  2. Don't bend your hands at the wrists, even if you have a wrist pad rest.
  3. Keep your hands and wrist at a lower angle so that your elbows and shoulders are relaxed.
  4. Stretch your arms and get the circulation going.  See examples of stretches here.
  5. Invest in a voice activated typing software such as Dragon Dictate.  See more reviews here
  6. Purchase the necessary tools: Keyboard, chair, gloves, etc.
  7. Practice this simple preventive exercise:

Preventative health is the best type of health, but if you are already suffering from RSI or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, do your research and don't let it stop you from doing what you love.

Thanks for stopping by!
How have you overcome a health situation that effected your job?
(Let me know @Ceajones, #Cindymjones)