Tag Archives: Nicole Disney

Writing is an Act of Love … by Nicole Disney

This post was originally published on October 23, 2013

When I first decided it would be fun to try blogging, I had this vision of myself creating ten, twenty, even thirty posts. They were going to be stacked tight and aligned like a fresh ream of paper, somehow undisturbed by any of my three wall-vaulting cats. The contents of these pristine entries were to be brilliant, each of them a gem of insight.

Then real life happened, which looked a lot more like me cleaning the house with one hand, trying to tame my frizzy curls with the other, and perching my phone on my shoulder while attempting to plan my wedding well enough it would at least be recognizable as such. Each day was a succession of rushing to my full time job, then to my part time job, shoving a little dinner in my face, and getting in bed just in time to get that almost-enough-but-not-really, amount of sleep.

My blogging process was shoved anywhere I had a few extra minutes, and always concluded dangerously close to my deadline. I would spend my drive to work brainstorming topics, my first ten minute break writing my favorite ideas down and choosing one. At lunch break I would produce a rough version, and my half hour between jobs was used to type it into the computer and shine it up a little. All of this just for one silly, five to eight hundred word blog. The good news: I know I am not alone.

Writers achieve phenomenal feats of multitasking, job juggling, and personal relationship management. When writing a quick blog can accumulate the urgency and scatter of a SWAT raid, how do we hope to keep up with things like writing novels, submitting queries, and marketing? And yet, we do. Granted, most of us are plagued with a perpetual sensation of being behind, but when your brain is constantly sprouting new characters, plots, and chapter beginnings, it’s a wonder we get to things like doing the dishes.

So I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the immense accomplishment it is to be a writer. Yes, before you are a New York Times best seller, before you are published, before you have an agent, you are already achieving something most people cannot. I have heard countless stories of single parents who work three jobs and still have a prolific collection. When are they writing? Or better yet, why are they writing when they already do so much?

I think the answer is that we are always writing. We are always hearing those pesky voices and searching for scrap paper to record vague but priceless ideas. Writing is an act of love. And we make time for it because there must always be time for love. Writers come home from the scuffle of the world, underpaid and beaten down, and decide to spend the precious last moments left in the day to creating something. That is truly beautiful.

I hope each of you will always keep writing, even when it’s exhausting or means making sacrifices. This intense labor of love is worthwhile. It is necessary. It is a gift. Even though life will challenge this constantly, art is always better than money.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nicole Disney
Nicole Disney is the debut author of the contemporary lesbian fiction novel, Dissonance in A Minor. She lives in Denver, Colorado where she continues to write dark, edgy novels. She is also a martial arts instructor and teaches Krav Maga, Muay Thai, and Karate. For more about Nicole, please visit her website. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Love Thy Genres

By Nicole Disney

When I was in high school, I was struggling with the difference between genre fiction and literary fiction. Today, I know it is a distinction even the pros can sometimes find difficult to define. A teacher of mine told me that genre fiction is intended to entertainment, while literary fiction should challenge your views and perceptions of the world. And your vocabulary. And let’s face it, your attention span. The same teacher told me that the classics are literary fiction, that Pulitzer Prize winners are literary fiction, that anything you might ever be proud to proclaim you’ve read, is literary fiction.

Taking myself a little too seriously, I knew that was what I wanted to write. My goal has always been to write something that readers will someday say changed their lives. I wanted to tell truths never told and sculpt sentences so beautiful and full of meaning students would dissect them long after I’m gone. That those words would be so pure they would immortalize me. Ego, anyone?

It didn’t take long for me to discover the fantasy genre and fall in love with it. There were no limits, no rules, no reasons things couldn’t function the way they should, no reasons heroes would fail or love would fade. I had the power to make a world that rewarded bravery, loyalty, and sacrifice. Once my first novel was complete, I allowed my best friend to read it. I was proud and confident that she would agree it was a masterpiece. I had all but forgotten my teacher’s warning that it was, in fact, literary fiction that was intellectually valuable. My friend was quick to laugh at my dreams of Pulitzers and Nobel Prizes. But she didn’t cite the many faults of my manuscript as the reason it was impossible, only the genre.

I later moved into literary fiction. I admit I did feel I was creating something deeper, something more valuable. The setting was urban, the voice was gritty, the conflict dark, the ending tragic, and somehow that made it more respectable to my peers. I finally felt like the writer who was going to become famous after I die. The peaks of my mountainous writer’s self esteem were restored.

I recently began a new manuscript. It’s literary and even more depressing than my last story. It’s been causing me to crave a bit of carefree writing. I’ve found myself saying things like, “I just want to write something mindless and fun.” At last it dawned on me that this kind of thinking is simply unfair and disrespectful to genre writing. As a lover of fantasy, myself, how could I be so cruel to my own writing? Did my fantasy stories not handle conflict? Did my characters not face choices, fear, loss, love, even death? Did they not have something to say? Something of value to share?

Just as every person has something to offer, every story has something to give. Stories are teachers by their very nature. As long as we give them everything we have, nurture them like children, and love them from our souls, they will give us back truth and beauty.

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Nicole DisneyNicole Disney is the debut author of the contemporary lesbian fiction novel, Dissonance in A Minor. She lives in Denver, Colorado where she continues to write dark, edgy novels. She is also a martial arts instructor and teaches Krav Maga, Muay Thai, and Karate. For more about Nicole, please visit her website. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Writing is an Act of Love

By Nicole Disney

When I first decided it would be fun to try blogging, I had this vision of myself creating ten, twenty, even thirty posts. They were going to be stacked tight and aligned like a fresh ream of paper, somehow undisturbed by any of my three wall-vaulting cats. The contents of these pristine entries were to be brilliant, each of them a gem of insight.

Then real life happened, which looked a lot more like me cleaning the house with one hand, trying to tame my frizzy curls with the other, and perching my phone on my shoulder while attempting to plan my wedding well enough it would at least be recognizable as such. Each day was a succession of rushing to my full time job, then to my part time job, shoving a little dinner in my face, and getting in bed just in time to get that almost-enough-but-not-really, amount of sleep.

My blogging process was shoved anywhere I had a few extra minutes, and always concluded dangerously close to my deadline. I would spend my drive to work brainstorming topics, my first ten minute break writing my favorite ideas down and choosing one. At lunch break I would produce a rough version, and my half hour between jobs was used to type it into the computer and shine it up a little. All of this just for one silly, five to eight hundred word blog. The good news: I know I am not alone.

Writers achieve phenomenal feats of multitasking, job juggling, and personal relationship management. When writing a quick blog can accumulate the urgency and scatter of a SWAT raid, how do we hope to keep up with things like writing novels, submitting queries, and marketing? And yet, we do. Granted, most of us are plagued with a perpetual sensation of being behind, but when your brain is constantly sprouting new characters, plots, and chapter beginnings, it’s a wonder we get to things like doing the dishes.

So I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the immense accomplishment it is to be a writer. Yes, before you are a New York Times best seller, before you are published, before you have an agent, you are already achieving something most people cannot. I have heard countless stories of single parents who work three jobs and still have a prolific collection. When are they writing? Or better yet, why are they writing when they already do so much?

I think the answer is that we are always writing. We are always hearing those pesky voices and searching for scrap paper to record vague but priceless ideas. Writing is an act of love. And we make time for it because there must always be time for love. Writers come home from the scuffle of the world, underpaid and beaten down, and decide to spend the precious last moments left in the day to creating something. That is truly beautiful.

I hope each of you will always keep writing, even when it’s exhausting or means making sacrifices. This intense labor of love is worthwhile. It is necessary. It is a gift. Even though life will challenge this constantly, art is always better than money.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nicole Disney
Nicole Disney is the debut author of the contemporary lesbian fiction novel, Dissonance in A Minor. She lives in Denver, Colorado where she continues to write dark, edgy novels. She is also a martial arts instructor and teaches Krav Maga, Muay Thai, and Karate. For more about Nicole, please visit her website. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Passion is Inspiration

By Nicole Disney

We’ve all had that moment. You’re driving on the highway, in the middle of your shift at work, in the shower, and inspiration comes. The words draw each other together like reunited lovers in bursts so poetic and fleeting you must find a pen. Whether that means leaving the steering wheel of your speeding vehicle in the hands of your seven year old or turning your hair into a gum of leftover conditioner is hardly the point. The only problem is that there is an equal and opposite force out there that will leave the cursor blinking on a screen much too bright for the black room hours of paralysis have darkened.

Following another brilliant Colorado Gold Conference, I suspect most of us are still feeling buzzed on new ideas and potential agent and editor connections. Now may seem an unnecessary time to muse on inspiration. But like a New Year’s Resolution, this energy of immersion can so quickly fade into the tedium of reality. How do we hold onto this magical feeling of hope and motivation?

I can easily recall an uncomfortable number of times I spent my entire day fantasizing inside my characters’ minds and worlds, counting down until I could clock out from work, go home, and write. But something happened around hour nine or ten of work. Thoughts of my keyboard and favorite pens turned to thoughts of cuddling with my kittens, a movie, and bed.

Now I’ve learned to remind myself to compare writing not with what else I could do at home, but what I don’t want to do at work. Family time, meals, and sleep was never what we writers set out to replace, that’s just the way it often happens. But if we ever want to reach the coveted combination of laptops and cuddles, we have to boot the day jobs to the curb. It’s not writing versus reading a good book and sipping on wine; it’s writing versus waiting tables and double shifts.

That may be enough to get you to the keyboard, but what if all your brain will manifest is a vague and distant knowledge that you should probably blink more often to temper that kind of blank staring? Some will say write anyway. Force it, even if you know you’re going to delete every word of that cumbersome garbage. While I do appreciate the value of getting the pen moving, I’ve recently discovered something much more entertaining, something more fun than sheer will power.

I sit down and make a list of questions. Not just any question will do, these must be the most thought provoking, hot button, or otherwise offensive questions you can muster. Compile every subject a socially unobtrusive person would avoid and then go there. If you can figure out what makes other people mad, then you know what makes them care. Figure out what makes you care, and you’re a short step away from inspiration. A warning should be inherent in this exercise. Whether you go out and actually provoke people is completely dependent on your sense of adventure. What follows may be a disaster or great material, depending how you see the world.

Even if you only consider these issues in your mind, and even if you never actually write a story about any of them directly, these arguments with multiple valid and understandable stances are the guts of great stories and of believable characters. How they make you feel can be the oil that starts the wheels turning again. Passion is inspiration.

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Nicole Disney is the debut author of contemporary lesbian fiction novel, Dissonance in A Minor. She lives in Denver, Colorado where she continues to write dark, edgy novels. She is also a martial arts instructor and teaches Krav Maga, Muay Thai, and Karate. For more about Nicole, please visit her website. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Know What You Write

By Nicole Disney

Write what you know. It’s the one rule everyone knows, writer or not. It’s the only piece of advice your mother could give you when you came to her with the masochistic plan to be an author. It’s an automatic answer to the blank page problem. But it’s not as simple as it sounds.

Following the release of my debut novel, I quickly discovered how literally this lesson is sometimes being interpreted. I was shocked at the number of times I told someone my story is about a homeless musician who falls in love with a meth addict, only to receive a couple of flustered blinks and the question, “You were a meth addict?”. This was no misunderstanding of the difference between fiction and non fiction, but rather, a complete inability to understand how or why I would write about such a topic if I hadn’t experienced it. One day, someone finally leaned in and said, “Well, writers write what they know”, with a wink that was supposed to imply she knew I was lying about the events in my story being fiction.

So why is it that this adage we writers hold so dear has been drained of its wisdom to a simplicity that discourages creativity and adventure? Literature would be dull and lifeless if the limited scope of what we do in our daily lives defined our appropriate platform for storytelling. What a world of cashiers and dog walking and bill paying books would become.

Lucky for us, write what you know doesn’t mean you have to be your main character before you’re allowed to write the story. Fantasy writers aren’t vampires, mystery writers don’t have to be detectives, and historical fiction writers don’t have to have an abnormal lifespan. You don’t have to write what you know, you just have to know what you write. Research never hurt an avid reader and the most important thing you’ll ever know about your story is who the characters are in their darkest moments.

If you know the pain of loneliness, you are qualified to write about someone trapped on an island. If you know the adrenaline of panic, you are qualified to write about a clerk in a gas station robbery. If you know the shame of guilt, you are qualified to write about a construction worker who caused his co-worker’s accidental death. It is the theme a writer must know inside and out. It is the theme that makes stories so different from our normal lives familiar and recognizable. If the characters feel real, the story feels real, no matter how outrageous the plot may be.

As for the more practical details, write what you wish you knew. Find that mysterious world that calls to you and learn about it. The knowledge doesn’t have to be preexisting. It can be acquired. Don’t let boundaries of inexperience restrict what you imagine. You don’t have to write what you know, you just have to know what you write. If storytelling isn’t a trip into the strange and new, it’s just a replica of the tedium we are trying to escape when we pick up a book.

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Nicole Disney is the debut author of contemporary lesbian fiction novel, Dissonance in A Minor. She lives in Denver, Colorado where she continues to write dark, edgy novels. She is also a martial arts instructor and teaches Krav Maga, Muay Thai, and Karate. For more about Nicole, please visit her website.

Connect with Nicole on Twitter and Facebook.