Cyber Hate — Online Trolls

Maybe information and communication are too free, and way too easy.  I never thought I would entertain that idea, especially as someone who trades on those very resources, but the growing use of cyberspace to taunt vulnerable kids to the point of ending their young lives has me questioning what kind of pandora’s box we have opened.  Now, I hear on the Today Show that it’s not enough to goad someone to their death, “online trolls”  are now preying on the loved ones of the deceased during their time of grief with cruel comments left on message boards and memorial sites.

Internet search makes it a breeze to find out about accidents, suicides or murders and to target families with hurtful messages, and even images, about those they have recently lost.  Most often, the perpetrators don’t even know the person they are bad-mouthing.  They have no connection to the family, and no remorse about skewering the heart of a parent who is suffering what I believe must be the worst kind of loss–that of a child.  Has our society become so callous that we look the other way at this kind of assault to our sense of right and wrong?

The messages on boards, chat rooms and blogs that espouse this kind of evil are not against the law — but they are against any kind of law of decency.  I also have a sinking feeling that the recent violence in our political arena is somehow related.  What will we tolerate in order to preserve our freedom of expression?  Certainly this is one of many wake-up calls for us to take a hard look at what we teach our children, how we educate them, and what we promote as having value.

I can’t help thinking what this kind of harassment would have done to my own parents when they lost their child to a plane crash, and I’m grateful that their tragedy was in gentler times when they could rely on their neighbors, and many strangers, to reach out to them in comfort. To add to that kind of pain with cruel taunting is an unfathomable breach of even the lowest moral standards.

#Writers — Another Tip to Get Unblocked

So, you’ve gone to the library (see last post) and now you have a stack of books that represents your possible next project. And, you stare at them on your desk, willing the information to be absorbed into your brain.  Sadly, you are wasting valuable brain cells!  There is no getting around it–you have to open the books. As you leaf through the books, there are ways to start filtering your information–whether or not you’ve zeroed in on what you want to write about.  Here are some suggestions:

Organize:  This is a fall back technique that has lifted me out of many creative ruts.  Choose your own weapons. I tend toward file boxes, index cards and bulletin boards.  At the beginning of a project, or just to be inspired–I write myself notes where I can see them everyday. On a white board at eye level I might just write: WRITE SOMETHING TODAY!!

My index file box may have different dividers, depending on where I am in a project.  Here are some possible sections to include:

  1. Themes
  2. Characters
  3. Settings
  4. Topic Facts
  5. Philosophy (your own over-riding ideas about a topic)
  6. Why Write It (your personal reasons for writing about the topic)

Once I start to really work on the project, I like to use index cards in plain view on my bulletin board to help me along.  If I’m working on plot, for instance, I may map it out on cards on my bulletin board to be able to rearrange them as I write.

I KNOW you writers out there have tips of your own that you can share to help us all get writing and stay on track, so please share them here in the comments section.  And, subscribe to this blog to keep up on new ideas as they are added to the posts.

Happy writing!

Tips to Unblock #Writers Block: Installment #1

Whether you are #writing a #memoir, or anything that requires creative juice, there will be times when nothing comes to you.  I like to think of the Grateful Dead song with the line “heads all empty and I don’t care”–but the truth is I do care.  I care a lot! And, if you are a writer working on a project, or trying to find your next project–I know you care too. So, I thought I’d share some of the ways I’ve found to combat the dreaded empty head. So, here is your Friday afternoon tip:

Go to the library.

It may sound simple. But, especially if you are looking for a new project, this can unstick even the most stuck brain cells. You can do this from your office using the Internet–but I find having all those books around me has some kind of magical power.

Bring a small notebook with you to the library. Make yourself a list of possible topics that interest you, either from a factual or fictional viewpoint. Proceed to the computerized card catalog and look up any and all related topics that may help spark your imagination. When you have five or six books or articles you want to read, go find them and start leafing through. Don’t be afraid to get side-tracked.  In fact, that might be the best thing that can happen.  You may just wind up going down a road you had never envisioned before–so keep an open mind and have fun.  This is your brain on information saturation–and it’s a beautiful thing! Let’s face it, we have no clue where our best ideas come from.  Feed your brain fascinating facts and it will reward you with a journey into your imagination.

Let me know if you have some helpful tips of your own to share in the comments section here.  I’ll be adding to the list each week, too, so sign on the RSS of the blog to be sure to get the next installment.

Happy writing!!