Tuesday Talks: A Second Look

As I mentioned in my “What Am I Reading” post, reading “Your Brain at Work” has made me take a second look at a story I started years ago. I was fourteen years old and reading stories on Quizilla, Mibba, Wattpad, and Fanfiction on top of the YA novels and classics I was into at the time. Back then, I was writing crappy poetry and a couple of fanfiction one-shots. My first multi-chapter original work never had a consistent title and was full of cheesy cliches and high school life the way my freshman brain dramatized it and replicated it from movies and TV. In college, I went back and made it look more professional with manuscript formatting and updated vocabulary, but the plot was still the same because I was so busy with other writing assignments for classes.

Now, at twenty-three, I’ve come across a book that’s in a completely different genre and has nothing to do with teenage drama. The experience of reading “Your Brain at Work” by David Rock has been the closest I’ve come to finding enjoyment while reading about the brain over the years. Maybe it’s the way Rock sets up the novel in acts and scenes like a play. Or how he incorporated characters into a book filled with research and studies on how the brain works in regards to productivity and focus.

Somehow after reading the first few pages, an idea struck me. This concept had me thinking back on that old story and seeing a new plot that I could build on. A plot that didn’t feel cheesy and I could see an ending for. I was already beginning to contemplate taking a step back from my current WIP because of real-world events that made writing not fun; it’s based in a post-nuclear war society and I wasn’t sure how I wanted to handle race in a novel where humans had another way to be connected, grouped, and judged. The threat of nuclear war and the current climate in society and the YA community’s on race made me really think hard about my work.

I think the biggest things I’ve taken from this experience is that the smallest idea or exposure to something can completely change how a writer views their work. Also, just because you put a work on pause or hate it doesn’t mean you’ll never pick it back up or find the inspiration to revamp it.  One fact about the brain and its behavior gave me a way to revamp a seven-year-old story that I had put away almost completely for three years. Reading is fundamental to growing as a writer not only to see what others are doing style wise and to see what’s being published, but also because inspiration can be in the pages of someone else’s labor of love, in someone else’s words.

What have you read that inspires you? What work have you put aside that could now have a new beginning?

Kira Elise




What I’m Reading Pt. 1

As promised, I’m sharing some of my thoughts so far on “Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long” by David Rock. So far, I can say that this book has already given me some ideas and shifted my perspective a bit on how to work smarter, not only when writing my WIP and doing freelance work, but for how I plan my days and how to handle fanfiction projects.

After reading the first bit of the book, an idea for an old project I got stuck on came to me. I paused in my reading and went, “Wow, that could turn into something great.” I decided to re-read what I have so far and start working on it from this new angle. I took a break from my other WIP for reasons I’ll explain in my next Tuesday Talk post.

“Your Brain” really goes into some of the science behind our brains and how best to plan and think to be productive longer and more effectively. I took a psychology class in high school and the introductory course in college, so at one point in time I knew some things about the human brain. But, as with all kinds of information, when you don’t consistently use it little facts and scholarly studies slip my mind.

One thing that stuck out to me was Rock’s discussion on the pre-frontal cortex. Although it’s the smallest part of our brain it’s pretty much the most important. The pre-frontal cortex is responsible for humans’ ability to make decisions. The cortex “chews up metabolic fuel, such as glucose and oxygen faster than people realize.” This concept makes me think of all the people who don’t eat breakfast in the morning. For me, it’s the first thing I do because otherwise, I’m grumpy and unfocused. Rock’s information emphasized the importance of fueling yourself. How do those people make it through the day before lunch?

Another thing that stuck out to me in the first part of the book is the fact that studies have shown that when we have to compare items, the optimal number of items is two. More than that and we can’t make effective comparisons. For writers, we make decisions about our work constantly. From word choice to character names and when to stop a chapter. Some of us will have five different ideas about how we want a scene to turn out. Now, I know why I feel like quitting sometimes when I’m not sure where to take a scene. I’m trying to compare too many options.

Fuel your brain and minimize how much you try and make your brain think about and handle at one time.

What are you reading?

Kira Elise

Song of the Week

Happy Friday!

The song I choose this week has been stuck in my head. Today’s pick for song of the week is “Too Good at Goodbyes” by Sam Smith. Congratulations to Sam on a strong return and a catchy and relatable song.  I missed his soft but powerful voice. I love the song. I think it speaks to the mindset of millennials and even some of the older members of generation Z when it comes to relationships. So many people no longer have a positive outlook on relationships either through personal experience or because social media makes it looks like nobody can be trusted. The lines that stuck out to me were:

I’m never gonna let you close to me
Even though you mean the most to me
‘Cause every time I open up, it hurts
So I’m never gonna get too close to you
Even when I mean the most to you
In case you go and leave me in the dirt

It’s a mindset that is common nowadays. While I’m glad Sam can speak to those feelings through his song, I hope that while we’re all singing it and thinking about it we really think about the walls we put up and why we do so. Sam said during his break that he lived life and had experiences. Based on “Too Good at Goodbyes”, one of those experiences was heartbreak and that sucks. On the flip side, it resulted in a good song. When you follow a musician you never want them to go through crappy things, but sadly, or not depending on how you look at it, some great work comes out of pain. I can’t wait to hear Smith’s new music.

Check out the song the video that was released on Monday below.

Kira Elise

Song of the Week

Happy Friday, folks!

This week’s song of the week needed to be upbeat to bring some good vibes and joy into the world with everything going on from governmental decisions to natural disasters and storms. The song I picked is “Mi Gente by J. Balvin and Willy William.

This song makes me dance whenever it comes on. I can imagine myself jamming to this if I ever found myself at a party and this song was playing. Check it out here!

If you’re wondering what the song is about and or Spanish isn’t your first language, here’s the English translation.

This week’s honorable mention goes to Zayn and Sia’s new song “Dusk Till Dawn” which was released yesterday. I’m off to listen to Sam Smith’s new song right after I post this. Here’s the video for “Dusk Till Dawn”.

What do you think of this week’s Song of the Week? Are you a fan of Zayn’s new song?

Well wishes and prayers go out to everyone in the West Indies islands, Puerto Rico, and Florida in the path of Hurrican Irma. Please stay safe.

Kira Elise

Wednesday Words

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Here are this week’s quotes to keep you thinking, inspired, and motivated.

“Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” – Swami Sivananda
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”                                                                                                -Steve Jobs

It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.
– C. J. Cherryh

Hopefully, these quotes helped someone today. As for my “What Am I Reading?” post, I’m working my way through “Your Brain at Work” and will share some of my favorite parts soon. 

Kira Elise

What I’m Reading

Happy Thursday!

I took a trip to the library yesterday and the change of scenery did wonders for my productivity. While I was there I was able to grab a few books. The first of the three books I’ll be reading is Your Brain at Work: Strategies for overcoming distraction, regaining focus, and working smarter all day long by David Rock. I decided that while I’m reading, I’ll share lines that stuck with me or that I found especially helpful.Image result for your brain at work

As I get back into my novel and other writings, I’m hoping the book will give me some strategies and understanding on how to keep myself mentally refreshed and rested. I decided that while I’m reading, I’ll share lines that stuck with me or that I found especially helpful. Hopefully, some of the things I learn will be helpful to someone else as well.

Kira Elise

Wednesday Words

Happy Wednesday,

Here are some inspirational quotes to get you thinking, invoke motivation, and just make you feel better today. Also, today is #NetNeutralityDay. Leave comments for the FCC and call your Congressmen and women and let them you know you’re fighting to protect a free and open internet. As writers and bloggers who rely on our personal websites to network, share, and promote our work, we have to support net neutrality.

Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

– Sylvia Plath

Don’t listen to people who tell you that very few people get published and you won’t be one of them. Don’t listen to your friend who says you are better than Tolkien and don’t have to try anymore. Keep writing, keep faith in the idea that you have unique stories to tell, and tell them.

– Robin Hobb

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

– Michael Jordan


Kira Elise

Six Months

IMG_5839It’s been six months and sometimes I almost forget that you’re not somewhere traveling or enjoying that new reclining chair you bought last year. Last month was unbearable at times. Your birthday and Father’s Day both in one week.

It was the first time ever that I didn’t buy some kind of grandfather card. I cried in the card aisle when I realized that I no longer had to buy you birthday, Father’s Day, or Christmas cards or presents. We won’t have your famous chicken wings with the special barbecue sauce on Christmas dinner.

I did okay until the casket closed. I did okay until I was reminded that we had to bury you. It was like a punch in the stomach. It felt like all the air in my lungs was sucked away. You’re really gone. It was impossible to push that ache to the back of mind. I couldn’t bury those thoughts. The youngest of nine, but gone before six others.

I miss you.

via Daily Prompt: Bury

Song of the Week

Happy Friday, folks!

Here we are again at the end of another week. Hopefully, you all had a good week. Summer is usually the time when everyone falls in love with a handful of songs and declare them the songs of the summer. This summer, I have yet to give a song that title. I know DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” and Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” are in the running for many people. What’s your pick?

One song that I really like right now is “Want You Back” by HAIM. The sibling trio returned this year with new music and I love it so far. Their new album Something to Tell You dropped today. It’s playing right now as I write this. “Want You Back” makes me want to dance and has a funky rock feel to it when it really picks up. It’s one thing I love about the band’s music. I’ve seen some trying to categorize it as pop, but it has flavor from different genres that it’s hard to nail their music down. I mean these girls rock out. You can’t really lump that in with artist like Ariana Grande. And that’s no shade to Ariana because we all know the girl can sang!

Check out “Want You Back” and give Something to Tell You a listen and if you love it enough toss some dollars HAIM’s way.


P.S. Dua Lipa just dropped the video for “New Rules”, which was my last Song of the Week pick. It’s an interesting video. Other albums I’m listening to today include Sevyn’s Girl Disrupted. Happy birthday, Sevyn.

Kira Elise