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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Monday, January 14, 2019

Pass the Popcorn, Please!

I love a good scary movie, but because I am a giant chicken, I rarely venture out to the theaters to watch them. I much prefer curling up on the couch with popcorn, my husband nearby, and the remote control in my hand so I can press "pause" if I get too freaked out.

(Believe me, this works out well for everyone concerned. No one wants to hear me scream or watch me weep from terror. Even the tortoises roll their eyes at me - okay, it at least looks like they're rolling their eyes - before tucking themselves safely away in their shells.)

So, even though my chicken-ness means I have to wait for movies to be available to rent, I was still very excited to come across this article "Over 30 Horror Movies We Can't Wait to See in 2019" over on the Bloody Disgusting website. My Movies-to-Watch list is growing almost as fast as my Books-to-Read list! (Pfft. Not even close.)

I haven't watched any trailers yet, so my picks are based on other things -

For Stephen King fans - it's Pet Sematary 2019 versus Pet Sematary 1989! I remember loving the book, but I can't remember if I liked the movie. I'll probably give the new one a shot. I also want to see In the Tall Grass, which is based on a novella written by King and his son, Joe Hill. I will, however, skip IT: Chapter Two since I didn't really enjoy Chapter One.

Speaking of sequels - and remakes - I'm looking forward to Annabelle 3 and Grudge.

And I have high hopes for: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Body at Brighton Rock and The Lighthouse. Oh, and Midsommar by Ari Aster. Aster's movie, Hereditary, left me haunted for a good long while, so this new one should be - fingers crossed! - amazing.

Time to stock up on popcorn! And peanut M&Ms . . . and pizza . . . and wine. . . .


Do you like scary movies? Have any favorites? What about them makes them your favorites? Anything here - or anything else from the linked article  - sound good to you? (I have notes of more but couldn't list them all!)   

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

IWSG: Cautiously Optimistic

I used to approach pretty much every new year with "unbridled enthusiasm" (sorry - ever since Festivus, I've got "Seinfeld" on the brain....) I'd race down the road of life, aiming for an imaginary finish line. I'd fall into that New Year = New Everything mentality, and set my expectations so high, the fall would've killed me if I didn't have so much padding.

Now, after many years and many gray hairs, I've learned something about myself. I don't bounce back the way I used to. (Pft, nothing on me bounces back the way it used to....) I no longer want to hurtle down the road like a tortoise after a banana.

Don't get me wrong, I still have goals and projects for 2019 - two writing ones, some health-related, a few fun-for-me ideas. But instead of being all whoo-hoo as I approach the new year, I am cautiously optimistic. I can actually see the finish lines. I might end up moving them, but at least I can plod my way toward them. And you know what? I'm good with this new pace. 

If you're all gung-ho for the new year, more power to you, and I will cheer you on and root for you as you fly past me. But if you're taking it easier, going a little slower, come walk with me. We can keep each other company until our paths diverge.


What's your approach to the new year? Planning on doing anything differently? Have any big projects you're excited about? 

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Hunkering Down for the Holidays

I don't know about you all, but I am in need of some peace. My creativity is sapped (I love you, NaNo, but sheesh!) I am out of whack, emotionally and mentally (ah, anxiety, my old friend!) My body and my spirit just feel . . . frayed.

So, it's time to quiet down, tuck in. It's time to reflect and to renew. It's time to read books, eat chocolate, and binge watch shows that make me laugh (holiday episodes of Seinfeld, The Office or The Big Bang Theory) and even ones that make me cry (Game of Thrones, I'm looking at you . . . )

It might seem silly. My holidays are not particularly festive, they're not full of parties and travel. Some people think I should do things differently, I should act the way everybody else does, but I'm learning that I need to do what's right for me, to do what will keep me as healthy and as sane as possible.

All of us here at The Shellshank Redemption wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season - whatever you celebrate, however you celebrate. We'll see you all in the New Year!

(Cartoon by Marzi from Introvert Doodles. Check out her book!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

IWSG: Radicchio and the Rebel


We feed the tortoises the same food, but they don't eat the same way. One will often chow down while the other proceeds to walk through the food dish. (I still don't know if this in protest of what is served or just because they feel like it.) Whenever we'd put mixed greens in the dish, Mrs. Larry would go after any pieces of radicchio the way I go after chocolate. Meanwhile, Larry would let it languish in the dish. So, imagine our surprise when one day, Larry nibbled a piece of radicchio . . . then continued to plow through all the other greens hunting for more. Apparently, after years of thinking he didn't care for radicchio, Larry decided to give it a try and discovered he liked it.

This is what happened to me. Not with a vegetable - pfft! - but with my writing. I recently gave a project a try - something I never thought I would do, something I never thought I could do. It was a last-minute, give-it-a-whirl, why-not kind of project for this NaNo Rebel, and I went into it with little to no expectations. But the more I worked on it, the more I was pulled in, the more I liked it. It became my radicchio. 

So, as this year ends and a new one beckons, I wonder what this means - if anything - for my writing future. Maybe it's time for me, like Larry, to start digging under all those other greens and devour those spicy, crunchy, chicory leaves for myself . . . .


What are your writing plans for the rest of the month? For the New Year? Are you making any big changes? Or are you staying on the course you've set for yourself? 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IWSG: Cave Dweller

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I am way down here in the deep, dark NaNo caves, and I'm struggling to find my out, to find my way through. I'm searching for a rope so I can haul my word count to higher ground. I'm looking for a light to show my plot the way forward. I'm digging for hunks of confidence, buried like precious metals.

The other day, I was reading blogs (instead of working on NaNo!) when I came across these lines:

". . . I absolutely read what I wrote the day 
or hour before and believe that it is 
this horrible, unpublishable dreck. 
I'm usually typing away at something 
and shaking my head at the same time, 
because I think it sucks. 

It's true. I've got eight published novels . . . 
and guys - it just doesn't matter. 
Whatever I'm creating right now 
is going to be the book that reveals me 
as a fraud and a hack. 
I have no confidence when I'm creating, 
so if you're in the same place - congratulations. 
You're a writer."
(Mindy McGinnis)

Maybe I'm not as alone down here as I thought . . . .


Are you and your project stuck in a cave, too, or is the sun on your skin, the breeze ruffling your manuscript's pages? Any suggestions for how to get there? How's November, in general, going for you?