Wednesday, May 1, 2019

IWSG: Bring It On, May!

Did you ever have one of those times when it felt like for every one step forward, you ended up taking two steps backward? Welcome to my April.

I cut back on social media . . . but not as much as I'd intended. My plan was to regroup and re-energize, to find focus off screen, but I still found myself online more often than not.

I worked on my novella . . . only to go back and change the POV again. And again. And again. Even my characters are annoyed. I've caught them huddled up, casting sly glances over their shoulders at me, plotting an evil takeover. Hmm, maybe I should let them  . . . .

And don't even get me started on the life-related things I barely made progress on. I'm pretty sure the tortoises accomplished more than I did last month. They definitely ate more fruits and vegetables, walked around a lot, and spent time relaxing in the sun.

Okay, I did complete a short story and submit it before a mid-April deadline. And I entered one of literary agent Janet Reid's recent flash fiction contests and even though my story didn't make the finals, it did receive this comment -

"Madeline Mora-Summonte scares me."

So, yes, I'm going to take that as a compliment, thank you very much. And I'm going to use it as a reminder and as a kick in the pants, use it for motivation and for momentum. Bring it on, May!

*****

How was your April? Did you make good progress on a project or did you get stymied? What are you hoping to accomplish this month, with your writing or otherwise? Do I scare you? 


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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

IWSG: Banana on the Horizon

Every once in a while, I find one of the tortoises flipped over. Usually this happens when they're doing something they're not supposed to, and I'm starting to wonder if the same goes for me.

That shiny new project from last month? It had an upcoming submission deadline that I was so sure I could make. Pffft. No way.

A short story rejection? Puh-leeze. That's nothing new around here. It's part of the writing life. But a recent rejection sent me spiraling deeper than usual, and I don't know why.

Add in the usual life stuff, and it's been quite the March.

But much like a flipped over tortoise who knows there will be banana on the horizon one of these days, and you have to be on your feet to eat it, I will regroup and right myself!

One way I'm doing this is to take April off from most social media. I'll still be around, but there's a short story I want to write, and a novella draft that needs finishing. After that, I don't really know. But I do believe there's banana out there for me, and when I find it, I will turn it into the best banana split ever. (Seriously, did you think I was going to go through all this introspective hoopla for a plain old banana? Sheesh!)

*****

Have you taken a social media break recently? Planning on taking one? What do you focus on when you do - a particular project, re-filling the creative well, traveling? What else? Any suggestions for me?


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Monday, March 11, 2019

Sight - 101 Fiction


Kooky Clara draws a map, even though she can't read it. 

Jenny can, even though she's about to wish she hadn't. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

IWSG: The Cake Fork vs. The Pen

Just when I made a decision regarding my next writing project, a new opportunity started waving at me and yelling, "Hey, you! Put down that cake fork and pick up a pen! Get over here!"

My first thought was to keep my head down and follow through on my goal. That's what focused people do. That's what accomplished adults do. That's what successful professionals do.

Since I am none of those things, I decided to chuck my original plan and follow this new opportunity's siren song.

Now, this siren song could be a deliciously haunting opera with dark notes and seductive shadows that premieres to standing ovations. Of course, it could be the cigarette-huskied ditty of an evil bag lady who wants to stab my creativity with a cake fork and add it to her collection of doomed writers' souls she pushes around in her cart.

I'm willing to take that chance.

So, for the next month or so, I'll be keeping my head down and following through . . . on this new project. Wish me luck!

*****

Have you been swayed lately by a new idea, a new opportunity? Or did you stick to your original plan? How did you decide? 

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Monday, February 18, 2019

How, Not What

I have two excellent posts I'd like to share with you all. 

The first - "A Writer's Manifesto" - is by Julie Duffy. You might know her, as I do, from StoryADay, but she wrote this for Writer Unboxed. 

"A writer’s manifesto is a highly personal document that,

  • Is about your identity as a writer.
  • Gives you a unified sense of what you want to achieve in all your writing.
  • Transcends genres and projects.
  • Is more motivating than individual goals."
She not only shares her own manifesto, but she also gives guidance on how to create our own. I wrote one up for myself and put it on my bulletin board. I look at it every day, and it does exactly what she says it does. 

"When you find yourself struggling, ask yourself how you want to be writing. Not what characters or stories or subjects you’ll tackle or how you’ll make this scene perfect, but what you want to achieve with your writing. Pick up your manifesto and ask how you can make today’s writing align with your values."

*****

Now, any post that starts off referencing actor Bryan Cranston as dentist Tim Whatley from Seinfeld has me hooked. So, of course, I kept reading James Scott Bell's "What Bryan Cranston Can Teach Writers" over at The Kill Zone.

Bell talks about Cranston's autobiography, A Life in Parts, where Cranston talks about his acting career and the moment he started focusing on the process and stopped focusing on the outcome. Bell relates it to writing. 

"You’re not here to get something, 
you’re here to give something—
entertainment value to a reader."

An excellent reminder! 

*****

Do you have a writer's manifesto? Plan on creating one? Are you able, for the most part, to focus on the process and let the rest go? 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

IWSG: Between a Rock and a Crazy Place

The title of this post is from an episode of The Big Bang Theory, and it pretty much sums up how I feel about my writing right now.

My plan for 2019 was to work on two big writing projects. They differ in some ways, but are similar in others. They're at different stages in development. And I'm equally excited about both of them. I can totally do this! I told myself. I'll come up with a plan, and I will rock it!

Well, the only rock around here is the one I'm hitting my head against, over and over. What was I thinking?

I was thinking, I should be able to do this. Other writers do it all the time.

But maybe I can't. Maybe I'm not disciplined enough or strategic enough in my planning. Maybe my middle-aged, anxiety-riddled, worry-wringing brain can't carry everything - multiple characters, reams of dialogue, scenes galore, etc - around the way it used to. Maybe I don't have the creative energy or the physical energy to take on two big projects.

Or maybe I just work better focusing on one project at a time. Maybe I should let one wait its turn. But which one? And you know as soon as I put it aside, I'll be struck by a brilliant plot twist or a super-duper scene stealing moment.

Hmm, maybe I'll just sit here on my rock awhile and see if you all have any thoughts. . . .

*****

How do you work best? Do you prefer to focus on one project at a time or do you like lots going at once? How do you handle multiple projects re: scheduling, creative energy, etc.? Should I give my 2019 plan a little longer, see if I can make it work? 


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