Some people shy away from that question, usually because they do not want others to think they have an ego; after all, the practice itself is called ego surfing, or even vanity searching, because of the assumption that you have to be vain to search for yourself online, but it’s actually really important, especially if you’re an author or an artist and have published copyrighted content.
Personally, I google myself on a weekly basis. I search for my name, my aliases, my published novels, my to-be published novels and even the fanfiction stories I wrote many years ago. I’m not ashamed to admit it. My work is important to me, and I want to make sure that nobody is abusing it or using it for their own personal gain at my personal expense. Plus, occasionally you may come across something nice that you hadn’t been aware of before… a little mention here, a little compliment there, a review you never noticed… it’s all pretty interesting.
Results may vary.
I don’t know about you, but when life stresses me out – and it has been doing that a lot lately – I find the best way to unwind is by spending a little money on things that make me happy. Well, all right, I’ll come clean; I spent more than a little, but today’s retail therapy did wonders to me. Wonders I tell you. With the overwhelming amount of work at the office, my recent escapade of paranoia, and my still-persistent headaches, it was nice to go out and have fun… and celebrate my recent Freshly Pressed status (I may sound all casual about it now but I was squealing my head off when I found out!).
So yes, retail therapy! What is it without sweets? If you’re on a diet the following pictures may be bad for you. I should know. I’m on a diet. But I do not regret what I ate! No, every single dish was completely worth it. I took my sister with me and between the two of us we shared three desserts, the first being a delectable (and extremely rich) Nutella pie.
I have never eaten so much Nutella in one sitting!
You’d heard your coworkers gossiping about it at lunch break, apparently something’s happened down at the old manor next to the graveyard. You’ve seen that manor before, it always gave you the creeps, but at the same time you wished you could go exploring. Your significant other never seemed interested, and your friends always liked to do something a bit more “light-hearted”, so all you ever did was stand before the wrought iron gates and wonder what was hidden behind those boarded up windows.
“Linda told me she heard voices.”
“Yeah. Apparently someone was making a lot of ruckus last night. Of course she didn’t stop to investigate, she’d have to be out of her mind to do that. Personally I think something’s fishy’s going on. That house is creepy, but there’s never been any voices!”
Do you 2) ignore what they say, or 3) decide to go to the house?
(This is in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge. I thought I’d have a little fun with it. Make sure to click the number that corresponds to your choice!)
Whenever someone disses math and I end up defending it, I get funny looks. A lot of funny looks. The fact that I like math makes me seem abnormal to others, and there are some who say, “What is even there to like about math? Of all the subjects you could’ve picked for a favourite…”
I like math for the problem solving aspect of it. Complex things were always fun for me – I liked working to get to the proper solution, even if it took me hours. I remember that one time I sat working for two hours straight to get a two-digit answer. It sounds bad, yes, but when I put the pen down and rested back in my chair, I felt absolutely elated. When I found out that I had been the only one to get to the solution, I was glowing with pride.
Why did I feel compelled to talk about math of all things? Well because of the common misconception that liking things most people dislike (or vice versa) doesn’t make you normal. Continue reading
Placing myself on a self-imposed reading ban has always been out of the question. I loved books too much to do that. Even when I swamped with work and exams, I would make sure I shared a few minutes with fictional characters. And it’s not just books either, I also love reading blogs. One of my favourite activities during the day is browsing through my Reader and picking out the posts that seemed interesting to me. However, for the past week or so I’ve avoided both.
It started with the headaches. I spend at least 10 hours of my day sitting before a computer screen, working, browsing the internet, talking to friends, then I spend at least an hour per day reading, sometimes even when I’m dead tired and yearning to go to bed. Ten days ago my head started pounding persistently. I ignored the pain at first, tried to tame it with a couple of pills, but it continued. I went to bed and woke up in the morning and the headache was still there. Then my vision became a bit blurry and oh boy did I panic. A visit to my nearest WebMD made me absolutely positive I had brain cancer, and I spent a couple of days drowning in depression and trying to figure out how much time I had left.
Not really my finest hour, I’ll grant you that. Continue reading
That’s my official name on paper, the name I sign my credit card purchases with, the name I give when somebody wants to list me down for something; however, I go by a different name among my inner circles – Zen. In a way it feels like having a double identity. Formally I’m Zeinab, a quiet, reserved girl who never toes the line and stays behind her books. Informally I’m Zen, a clumsy dork who enjoys childish things and eats more chocolate than is healthy.
My parents gave me the first name that occurred to them. Maybe if they had slept on it instead of naming me within the hour of my birth, they would’ve realized I’m not much of a Zeinab. It’s not that I dislike it, but I’m just not sure if it suits me. To be honest, I don’t even know what other name I would’ve chosen for myself instead, but I would’ve definitely preferred something less common. It’s a bit discomfiting when one out of 10-20 girls bears my name… at least where I live. If you stand on a crowded street and call that name, you will be sure to turn the heads of a considerable number of girls.
What does it mean? Zeinab is an Arabic name that stands for “Daddy’s precious jewel” or “a fragrant plant”, though my parents didn’t choose it for its meaning – even though dad did spoil me a lot and mum did make sure I always smelled nice - but rather because it’s the name of an important historical character. It’s been also said that Zeinabs are associated with chubby, rosy cheeks, so I guess that part hits the mark, haha. How do you pronounce it? Zay-nab. Incidentally, my new “identity” came about because my little cousin found it difficult to pronounce it and took to calling me “Zen”. I didn’t mind it; in fact, I felt more at home with it. My friends thought it was cool, and the name stuck and expanded to include variations like Zenny and ZenZen. Some people called me ZeeZee Za Zombie (and still do)… but that’s a story for another time.
My face when I get a good review.
Authors love reviews. We really, really do. Call it vanity, call it self-indulgence, but we really like it when people sing the praises of our books. At the same time, we feel somewhat afraid of them. I’ve received an okay number of reviews, and fortunately most of them were good, though two or three have managed to make cracks in my cocoon of review-induced happiness.
The best reviews are those written by complete strangers who you’ve never spoken to before, those who love your book even though they’re not under any obligation to be nice to you. Such reviews always fill me with such joy. On the other hand you have the reviews that make you feel as if someone wrenched your heart out and stepped on it. Then finally you have reviews from friends and family, which have to be good by default. In my previous post I wrote about how movie ratings are a lie. This applies to books too, where friends and family members are the biggest “liars”. Usually. Continue reading
Book shopping has been proving a little bit difficult lately. Not because I’m trying to cut down on my purchases (though that has been rather difficult), but mostly because whenever I start to pick up a book, I have to consider whether I want to make a commitment to the rest of the books in its family. It’s like wanting to get married to one person, then end up “marrying” the in-laws as well.
… I gotta stop with these weird analogies.
But what I mean to say is: there are just way too many sequels out there today. When I browse the books on the shelves, I try to see if they belong to any series, and whether or not the series is complete. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have anything against series. Some of my favourite books are part of series. But the thing about series is… once the first book hooks me, I know I’m in deep trouble. Continue reading
I used to come and watch you for a few hours each day. I would press my face against the shop’s display window and stare at your extravagant beauty. You modeled there, but I knew for a fact that you weren’t one of those dumb, painted mannequins; no, you were alive and radiant.
I let my eyes soak up your lush exquisiteness, your smooth skin… oh, how I longed to touch and caress you. How I longed to march straight into that shop and run my hands all over you. But I knew I couldn’t. Why, you ask? Because if I ever did hold you, I wouldn’t be able to let go.
I even went to look at you when I went out with my girlfriend. I know that was totally out of line, but I couldn’t help it; you were so beautiful. I had many rows with my girl about you, I would tell her that she was more important, but she wouldn’t buy it – I can’t blame her, because I had been lying then. In the end, she finally made me choose between you and her. I was thrown out of the apartment within the next minute. Continue reading
The best kind of twins.
My most recent bout of Writer’s Block lasted more than three months. It’s nothing compared to my five-year Block, but it was still frustrating. I felt stuck and didn’t know how to move forwards or backwards from a specific point in Penny for Your Dreams. For the first time since forever, I was actually editing and rewriting before completing my first draft. I rewrote one particular scene five or six times in hopes of striking an appropriate chord with my novel. Ultimately the solution turned out to be rather simple.
I was incorporating what I’d hopped would be Weasley twins incarnates into my novel. I liked them. I wanted to give them a lot of spotlight. I really wanted other people to like them. However, I ended up realising I could never produce characters that measure up to the Weasley twins. Not only that, I can’t even write twins without making them sound cliché or cheesy. So I did the next best thing and got rid of them. Well… more or less. Continue reading