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Writer losing her mojo

We all have heard the saying that “writers write as simple as that” and it is really is as simple as that, but most don’t actually do it as regularly as they should or at least believe they should.  For me, I do not write as much as I believe I should because in the last few years I have lost my mojo, I forgot what it meant for me to write and I have done a lot of soul searching in the past year to find out where the passion has gone.

I did something rare for me – I re-read a book, usually I don’t re-read books unless I put them into a reference category but this particular book I re-read and saw it with fresh eyes and read things I didn’t remember were in the book in the first place.  The name of the book was “Big Magic” written by Elizabeth Gilbert.  When I read this book I asked myself a question; “Why do I think I have lost my love for writing”?  It was a simple answer really upon reflection and I would never have gotten this answer if it wasn’t for this book.  My writing became too focused on financial panic, the urge to write as much as I can so I can earn a living because I needed to break out of debts, but instead, this kind of pressure halted everything about my creative mind and I found I couldn’t do anything other than dramatic self-pitying poetry on mass, the stories and the playtime died, literally.

For the word, nothing has been published except for the things that are published on this blog simply because I didn’t want to approach a publisher with such depressing poetical themes, because I still hold to the idea that I am primarily a fantasy and horror story writer, not a poet!  I am also an essayist I suppose, because I like writing and hoarding information I have learned about my favourite subjects, but I am not sure how to become a paid essay writer and I am not really going to approach that as a career until I learn more about it. 

Anyway – getting back to the main subject of this post.  I forgot how to play – yes, even in real life, I have forgotten how to play and to laugh because of my severe depression, breakdown and financial worries.  I became so down in the dumps about my life that I had two years of being carefully guarded by Paul my fiancé because I couldn’t be left alone for fear I’d commit suicide, seriously.  One point it got so bad, Paul had to go out somewhere without me and he needed to ask a neighbour to sit in with me.  To say I am over that now, would be wrong, the slightest thing brings it back, but I am not as bad as I used to be, the self-harming has stopped a little bit and I am more predictable these days; but ultimately, the depression is still there and I am trying hard to find out how to play again, how to feel happy again and how to enjoy life.  I don’t enjoy anything anymore and it is getting increasingly difficult since the doctor is now looking into what they believe to be a very serious neurological problem, either MS or motor neurone disease, but like always there is a long waiting list here in the UK and I won’t really know what’s going on with me for several months apparently.

So, how does one go about trying to find out how to be happy again and learn to play again?  It turns out according to the book “Big Magic” and a couple of other books I have read recently that it is something most adults get out of practise of, that once you start trying to become playful and do things which are generally playful (even if you don’t feel happy doing it or feel that it is playful) you will eventually trick your mind to becoming playful and you will build up a type of momentum.  Once the momentum is built up, you will start to feel a change – well I hope so.

I thought hard about how I write stories now in comparison to how I wrote them ten years ago, was there any notable differences in how I produced work back then than now?

Yes there was a huge fundamental difference in fact. 

A decade ago I wasn’t afraid to be thought of as eccentric or insane, I would play with my imagination and I would share my thoughts and ideas no matter how obscure and strange they were with people around me and then I would write about those ideas.  I used to have a lot more creative friends too, but many of them have creative careers which have made them too busy to socialise even online, some have died, some have decided that they too have lost their playful side and have become super conservative people.

I have also found that my social circle is smaller these days which is amazing because I used to think my social circle couldn’t get any smaller ten years ago, the people who I do talk to these days are very serious people who have a worried look on their faces whenever anybody talks about anything out of the ordinary, even if you were to explain that you are an artist and a writer so it’s not a mental health problem, it’s just my mind playing with ideas and therefore there is a story in this.  You’d be surprise how people like that can dry up your will to be imaginative or to share your ideas.

Some people who have very little imagination tell me that they wished they had more of an imagination and they start to tinker with my story ideas themselves (which I don’t mind) but then they start demanding that they must change my concept on my fantasy worlds because things are just not plausible and that readers are real people who live in the real world and they want something believable, so they start pulling at the threads of my fantasy infrastructure and start literally pulling my fantasy communities apart by the seams.  It turns out that even my perfect all powerful fantasy God is not infallible, that he has other beings that will cause problems he can’t deal with and that even this God ponders who created him and so forth.  I told the person, you are going too deep here buddy, I don’t want to go that way in my story, but they insist that I must.

I became a fantasy writer because I find the real world too boring and predictable for me to want to think about and write, the idea of making a fantasy based novel plausible, to me, is laughable, because fantasy is supposed to be anything BUT normal. 

To cut myself off from such people will almost completely isolate me again, which I don’t want.  But can I really sit through another conversation where my worlds are being shattered write before my eyes?  I often feel like screaming at the top of my voice “Of course this fantasy God has a creator you dumbass, it is me, I am their goddess, I made them, but I am not egotistical enough to put myself in the book as the all-power”, does any other writer go through this?  Or is this situation totally unique to me?

So I am currently on a journey to find “My tribe” as Elizabeth Gilbert puts it and to find my playful imaginative self again and to have the confidence and focus of not listening to those who are dismantling my worlds and to continue with what I had always planned instead.  Which is a shame because these people used to feed me ideas, used to support me, but these days it is just soul destroying.  I have to ignore the world destroyers.

I wanted to join a writers group, but not sure what is involved with those and I am scared to find more people who are like that, once they’ve heard my stories.  I am trying to forget the people who are making me focus on writing purely for financial reasons and try to focus once again on writing for me, for fun, for release and for pleasure; the way it should be for all writers.

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TASKS AND PASTS

I have this book called “365 Ways to get you writing daily, inspiration and advice for creative writers” by Jane Cooper.  I have been thinking about what to post on my blog to keep it active, I am not sure I want to post up my snippets for actual things I am planning as I find it a bit personal, but I thought that perhaps these tasks would help me show you my creative writing so you can critique me, thus help improve my style or enhance my work. 

I don’t lack confidence in my writing, because each to their own and I understand that not everyone is going to like my stuff, but I do want to be more involved with my blog and I do want to know if my writing does need more improvement.

I don’t want to worry about grammar and punctuation at the moment, because the priority for me is to get writing and be more active in the creative community than be a pedant, because being a pedant (and coming across many other pedants) was what made my writing stop for several years.

I have many friends who are artists and not many that are writers and the artists tell me that the worst thing that any artist can do with their creativity is to try and make it too perfect before it’s finished, because then you lose the heart and soul of your work and nobody will like it then; writing is not different, many writers like to look at themselves as a form of artist and visual artists like to consider anyone who is creative as an artist too!  Actors = performance artists, writers are verbal artists, painters are visual artists, singers are music artists, you get the picture – if you are creating something or trying to show something in a new light YOU ARE AN ARTIST!

One big thing I learned recently is that my writing from 2002 is completely different than the writing I did in 2008 and though you would think that I had been writing that time and had obviously improved my craft, you would be wrong!  I became a pedant and people who read my work were also pedants, they were grammar Nazis and they were not interested in my genre and they were going on about honing in on my style of writing before I actually wrote the stories I aimed to write to the extent, I found I lost my heart and soul and so did my stories.  I became a show don’t tell writer who turned into a tell don’t show writer and I didn’t know it until only last month, when I was revising three neglected stories to revive, two of which came from before 2002 and were rewritten in 2008 and 2016 – that is how I could tell that I had lost my way. 

I also sat back and wondered about why I had lost my passion to research, read and write?  I blamed a lot of things and people for it, but ultimately it was because I had lost heart and I was no longer giving momentum to those three things that used to bring me joy every day.

I lost contact with several of my favourite forums and journal sites because of some spiteful bullying I endured at the beginning of 2009 from a scorned ex – that broke my network big time, I had developed decade long relationships which were broken down very quickly with his childish games and I just didn’t want to be anywhere where his energy had been at the time.  This caused me to go into what I call “Creative Isolation”.  I had only two creative friends who stuck by me after that event which spread across thirty websites!

But anyway, the blame still lies with me.  I allowed this to affect me in such a way that I created this creative bubble around myself, thus my writing suffered due to lack of oxygen and lack of oxygen made me lose momentum and once momentum is gone it takes will power and a lot of pushing yourself to get it back again, but you can get it back again. 

This is why I mentioned the above book.  I am going to do tasks in the book and post them on my blog for you to critique, I may not respond for a few days at times, as I often forget to check my mails and comments, but I will get to you in time.  I take my craft very seriously, sometimes too seriously that I forget sometimes that it is supposed to be fun.  I know the book has 365 ways, but I will not do one task per day, I may do many a day or my own random tasks whenever I can.

Another post may follow tonight, dependant on what’s going on with the family tonight; We’ve been pretty busy lately and it’s not just me who appears to be sick either, so bear with me. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nano Nano

I have written 12826 words towards my goal all told, today I only added 1764, better than I was expecting considering I am still ill and crawled out of bed just to do these words and 750words.com and the blog posts.

all told today with nanowrimo, poetry, blog post, 750words.com and other things I have written 5261 words today.  Now may I please collapse?

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Nightmare of writer’s block or the stories argument!

Gargoyles, leprechauns and witches oh my, they sit and clog up in my head. No room for vampires they always say, aren’t vampires now nearly dead?
They always have been, I reply, that’s their charm and wonder and grace.
But the others they sit and they frown in despair as though I have slapped their face!
Stop this jealousy, I always cry, it’s the vampires turn not yours
But the leprechauns sit and they chastise me a lot for not allowing them to finish their wars.
Then the witches with their bleak little cackles threaten to curse me if I forget, to add to their stories a little more gory, about a curse they’ve beset.
The gargoyle just moans and groans and cries out words like ALAS! Get on with my story, do not ignore me or I will kick you up the ass!
Now that’s quite enough bad language from you, says I with a determined glare
If I want to sit and write something else, I shall and it’s the vampire’s lair!
Not him again, they all shout and cry once again for the umpteenth time, you have to finish us before you start another story, song or rhyme!
Oh for peace sake, I say in an irate moan, I’ll burn you to ashes if I please, if you annoy me just once more you’re out of the door, stop bringing me to my knees
It is vampires tonight, whether you want it or like, I need to get them down too, so I start on the story, it’s a little bit gory, so the vampire sits in the queue.
Why stop there in my elaborate lair? Asks the vampire looking at me
Oh don’t you start, I say to him, don’t become like the other three!
Just leave me alone whilst I sit and think and sip at my sweet black tea.
Now where was I? I say to myself, oh yes, the miserable banshee!

The poem above reflects on my exact thoughts as a writer.  My stories which are put on hold are literally lining up to nag me to think of them even now I intend to focus on just one or two.  I hope a lot of writers who have unfinished projects agree that they also go through the same thing as me, because if not, then perhaps I need a therapist, ha-ha!

I often struggle with which of my stories to concentrate on day to day; some ideas have been coming on and off the shelf for the last twenty six years, yes, twenty six years!  I have stories about leprechauns, gargoyles, witches, banshees, and zombies, girls cooped up in a mental asylum, demon animals, vampires and many more.  Back in 2009 I decided to make a list of all the stories I had started but never finished past the first draft and the list came to 76; I lost the list when moving house and I have since added to it, I also lost a lot of papers when moving house so a lot of the ideas I started are lost somewhere in time and space.

Due to the motivational archive I found on YouTube recently, I discovered that it’s not that I lacked momentum when I was writing for all these years; I lacked consistency with sticking with something to the end.  I didn’t prioritise which idea I wanted to finish the most and that is what I have been focusing on since mid-September, I have been trying to focus my ideas on just two books and I have set myself a goal, which the archives suggested would help me.  I am to finish the leprechaun novel by June 2019 but the vampire novel must be finished by the end of January. 

The vampire novel I am working on is part of NaNoWriMo, but I know in my hearts of heart that 50,000 words is just too short for the story I am writing, wrimo is merely giving me the boost that I need to press on with it, so I shan’t be stopping at the end of November.  I also found other sites where writers can set their own goals, I found it through http://writetrack.davidsgale.com and there is another one called http://nanocountdown.com/advanced.html  you can set your own schedules and daily word count, it helps keeps you focused.

There will be another, very short post later on today when I have finished writing for the day to update you on how much I’ve done on the monthly challenge and other writing projects.

Ciao for now.

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NaNoWriMo update 5th November

Doing well, despite being in bed most of the day, sick with whatever I’ve got.  I think it’s mostly throat and ear infection rather than flu, but anyway.  Forced myself to do 2592 words towards my novel today and 1717 words towards the nano badge of 750words.com

Not bad considering I feel like passing out, though everything took me four hours longer than it would have been on a normal day to do.

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Ugh, flu season earlier than expected by 2 weeks

Woke up today feeling really ill, yes the flu season is upon us but it hit me earlier than I expected, anyway, I forced myself, literally forced myself to write for NaNoWriMo and 750words.com today, the internet has been tetchy off and on today where I thought for a long time that I won’t be able to add any updates to any website too, so I really did feel the fates were against me today, but I pushed through willy nilly and I managed to do both my 750words and 2191 words towards NaNoWriMo – take that, negative vibes!

According to the NaNoWriMo website, if I continue to write as much as I am doing, I should be finished by the 21st November, now how’s that?

Hope things don’t get worse!

 

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NaNoWriMo Day 3

I have written 2361 words today towards my NaNoWriMo focused novel, I don’t often focus more than two thousand words a fortnight to any one novel usually, but I decided I needed to crack on and put a bit more focus into my writing life or else a book will never get written in my life time.

I have several novels on the go usually and most of them take around fifteen years to complete, which is utterly ridiculous, so I have decided to focus on no more than three books at a time, but during NaNoWriMo month, I have decided that only one novel will be focused on throughout the whole of wrimo month this year.  If it works, then I should be making this a lifestyle change!

So far throughout the whole of 2018’s NaNoWriMo I have accomplished 7393 words for the chosen focused novel – the novel is based on a section of my beloved vampires and may or may not be published someday, unsure.

I know a lot of people will be sitting back and wondering, well why are you bothering to write it then if you are not going to get it published?  Well, I am writing it because I want to write it, because the idea in my head has been nagging at me for over ten years and I am sick of it, it need to get out of my head and onto paper so it can hopefully shut up.

It has been hard to do as much as I have done so far because it was the school half term and I had my 8yr old son around my ankles all week and he has been rather badly behaved in comparison too and the whole family has been under general stress, financial worries, poorliness, new rabbit, bad weather, house falling apart, my ear infections again and a migraine today to boot, but I still got the words done and they aren’t that bad either.

If you are going to wait for a perfect time to get writing, wait forever and decide you aren’t really that serious about writing.  Seriously, stop saying you will if only… because perfect days are rare, very, very rare, so stop lying to yourself and write or just give up lovelies. 

I have chosen to be a word warrior, fight on through all the pain and misery and get these books out of my head, I may or may not be successful if I do, I may or may not get published someday if I do write them, but write them I will and I just wait for the mercy of fate to decide what she’s going to do with the manuscripts I’ve made.

So should you, so get slogging or don’t.

 

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Words, NaNoWriMo and more…

A pixabay image

Despite what I had promised myself last year, I am trying to do NaNoWriMo again this year – why did I make this decision?  Simple, in the past six weeks I have been consistently writing daily my 750 words along with a random two thousand other words (mostly not towards a novel). 

To those who are not in the know, you may be thinking “What are 750 words”?  Well, 750 words should be daily written and is an idea based on Julia Cameron’s activities for helping your inner creativity to flow.  This idea can be found in a book she wrote called “The Artist Way”.  There is a website to help you track these daily words, Julia doesn’t specify 750 words, she specifies three pages of long hand written work to be done in the morning, I don’t do long hand so I decided to join this website called 750words.com which worked out that three pages of long hand writing averages to around 750 words per day.

So every day I try to accomplish 750 words from the website, plus adding to my novel and doing poetry, writing songs and research papers for my novels and short stories.  All in all I average around three to four thousand words a day, not really focused in one area – NaNoWriMo is trying to teach me to focus my efforts on one particular thing – I may be successful this year, who knows?

I have heard of a method which kind of makes wrimo easier for people during the flu season, which is reversed NaNoWriMo, where you do three thousand and odd words on the first day and condense it down every day so that on the last day you only write one word, which I think is a brilliant idea because most people are pumped up for NaNoWriMo in the first ten days and then they kind of get fed up, a bit like a diet.  Not to mention a lot of people quit halfway through wrimo because of the flu, as I said it is flu season, so, do a lot now whilst you’re healthy and you can lose a day or two without affecting your goal.

Anyway, daily updates on NaNoWriMo and other writing activities will be posted on here.  There may be fewer poems this month, who knows?

The words for NaNoWriMo yesterday were 1672 (I know, not the three thousand I said I wanted to do – that’s for today) along with 1711 words for my 750words.com account (sometimes I get carried away ranting about life) and another 495 words elsewhere. 

Today so far I have done 1784 words for 750words.com and nothing towards wrimo and around 500 words with this post and I do have an urge to write a poem right now.

So I am going to get going with that and I shall do my wrimo words when my son is in bed tonight.

Fingers crossed I will accomplish wrimo this month and this year, just for the feel good factor, I am writing about my vampires in a new story, as I said many times before, I am very possessive of my vampires so it is unlikely I will get that book published by the end of it.

Ciao for now.

 

 

 

 

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Blog updates & I am not always so miserable you know?

My poems are so morbid, but when I am in my depressions I can’t seem to be able to write anything else other than all of this negative dribble and the more I am around other negative people, the more dribble I write.

No offence for those who are currently in my life, not all of you are negative, in fact some of you can be very uplifting and I don’t think you really realise your value to me.

I am trying very hard to keep this blog active again and to come a little away from poetry a bit and concentrate on the intended theme of the blog – fantasy.

I have also thought about posting more regular pictures of my art, sketches and nature photography.

I have recently joined as an inactive member to a new website I discovered called Curensea.com

The site is like DeviantArt crossed with Twitter, you post your creative endeavours, whatever they may be onto the site and give and receive opinions for it with the exchange of points or credits which can in turn become real money at the end of the money dependent upon how many tokens you receive that month.  The people’s messages are usually based on constructive criticism to help improve you in your chosen creative path – it is not meant to be destructive and should not be considered destructive at all if the criticisms are not to your favour.

Though I am currently inactive, that is my choice as at the moment life on the financial front are on tenterhooks for me, I need to get some advice about this as I don’t know if getting the tokens and being paid per month is considered self-employment or gift money as far as HM customs are concerned.

I also wanted to add another section to the blog based on something I have been trying to work really hard on in the last 2yrs – cosmic ordering and positive thinking.  Despite my woeful interludes with poetry online, I have quite a positive outlook on life in general, but like a true manic depressive I can go from really cheerful, happy-clappy summer camp rep to Wednesday Addams in a blink!

I am also learning a lot more about the Science Fiction genre too, so there might be some experiments with that someday soon too.  I know I have done some sci-fi art already with soft pastels.

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Reading, Writing and Psychotic Creators

I am most unusual for a fantasy, sci-fi and horror fans for the fact that I don’t actually read or watch much of the big famous stuff like Game of Thrones, Supernatural, Angel, Being Human, 24, etc.

I don’t do it on purpose, it is almost always accidental or because something has got into the way of me being able to watch or read it, finances or simply not having access to a certain television channel or the time to watch copious amounts of TV in general.  I am also unusual for modern humanity in general, I watch approximately six hours of television a week and that is about it, unless of course it is a special occasion, such as Spring Watch and the other Watch programs or the BBC Proms, Crufts or the RHS shows.  Then you have to consider I don’t watch a lot of what I want to watch because I sometimes lose my hearing completely due to an ear disease I have and regular infections.

I am also an extremely slow reader.  An average reader reads at the rate of 250 words a minute, I can barely read 180 words a minute, 150 words a minute ensures I comprehend at least 73% of what I’ve read and can relay it, and I’ve done an online test for that.  http://www.readingsoft.com/index.html#results

All of this is strange because when I read non-fiction I must faster and I have a better comprehension rate, I can read about 300 words per minute with a comprehension of 84%, but I can understand it – when I read fiction I visualise too much, like I am watching a movie, I read it with a voice in my head; when I read non-fiction the voice goes and I more or less skim read but I actually remember what I am reading more.

Anyway the cusp of the subject for this post is that I am not well versed in the subjects I love the most simply because I don’t read as much as the average fan of those genres, or at least what I do read are very obscure to present fans of those genres because they are from authors who are hardly known or were a big thing in the Victorian age or the 60s, 70s and 80s. 

I tend to stumble upon movies and forgotten television series that had flopped, sank or got axed due to lack of interest from the public or were simply rated as B movies.  So after talking to several fans of these genres about what I love the most, they often say to me “So you really love crap then huh”?  This hurts, because I find those so called B movies more diverse and fresh than the big stuff.  OK the acting is often poor along with the special effects but the imagination for bigger things is there, but the average observer doesn’t see that, especially if they are not creatively inclined.

For me, a lot of my ideas come from these forgotten (or tucked away in shame) shores.  Told this, those people who know me can’t understand how my work is as good as it is, they say to me “but surely if you fill your brain with such rubbish you will produce rubbish, I think you should lay off these things in case it starts polluting away your actual talent”.  I feel flattered for that, but I also feel that if I started to read and watch the more popular big stuff, then I will start to look like everyone else and I won’t come across as fresh.

Now, I have had almost an instinctive inclination to NEVER read or watch certain fantasies especially.  I never knew why my instinct acts up whenever I try to read a handful of the big stuff, but it became clear to me in the last couple of days when I actually ignored this instinct and decided to read the first book in The Game of Thrones.  I am only 76 pages in and I have almost lost the will to continue the 2 fantasy novel ideas I had because there are 7 major things in this book that matches exactly what I have been writing for the last decade, even down to names and clothing descriptions.  Now I am trying to sit myself down and talk to my inner creator rationally about how it is not such a big thing because those are just names and names of events etc. the actual idea is not going to be copyright invasion because it is going to be a very different story, but my inner creator hasn’t stopped whining about this yet.  My inner creator was sure that I may have accidentally slipped up online a few years ago about my plans, but I had to remind my inner creator that this book was published when we were 17 and we only started on our idea when we was around 21.  I do have to treat my creator self as though I am a separate person because this is how I cope with it all, so excuse me if I sound a little you know… psychotic. 

I have an idea so far into the book that is a similar story to the war of the roses but with a fantasy twist, this is how Game of Thrones looks to me so far.  My story isn’t like that, my story is much different, yes there are royals and there is war, but the factions are not warring against themselves, families are not warring with each other if they are blood related, there is a different factor.  I am also trying to tell my inner creator the idea of the 12 banners I had can still be effective, because in ancient Earth cultures every clan had a war banner, this is not going to harm my novel or our reputation at all.  But she still panics.

When you want to be a writer you have to separate yourself from your work to maintain some sort of sanity and control over your initial tantrums, your initial emotions, you have to sort of step outside of yourself and talk to yourself like you are somebody else.  If you struggle in doing this, then these sorts of things will consistently stop you from writing and you will not finish anything; because you throw your novel across the room in a fit of rage about the unfairness of the world and sulk for the rest of your life about it, whereas it is totally unnecessary because your book will be very different.  If you sit back and view the whole situation as a second person, you will rationalise it all and be able to continue the work you love.

I have had such irrational things spout out of my inner creators mouth that I had to more or less act like a patient psychiatrist to my inner creator and say to them… “Look, how can this be so?  The author who has stolen your BIG idea died in 1886” see how irrational your inner creator can get sometimes?

Just write whatever you want to, don’t worry about copying someone else or having someone else copy you, because you need to get over this first draft, then you can weed these similarities out.  The first draft doesn’t really matter that much, because there will be many, many drafts after it before it is polished.  That is how you can write and finish your book.

Also, if you need more convincing on this matter please read this book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, I consider her a genius on this kind of stuff.  Elizabeth Gilbert tells us that ideas are alive, they have a spirit of their own, they go from person to person looking for someone to write about them but sometimes the ideas are not happy with the result so they go on and on until they feel perfected by someone and oftentimes many people will get the same idea at the same time, but all of them with their individualities will be slightly different to each other.  No one can be 100% identical in the way you write, what you write, how you write it, how the ideas came to you and how others are going to feel about the work. 

Yes there are coincidences in the world, this is a world of constant coincidences and that is all it is “Coincidence”, synchronising a little from other brain waves, but never being 100% the same, just similar and you can’t get sued for being a little bit similar, unless of course you have copious amounts of sentences in your book which matches people identically, but that’s a different subject for a different time.

So stop procrastinating by reading this post and get on with your work.

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