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? 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Out of My Gourd

For some people, Fall means cool, crisp weather. For others, it means pumpkin-flavored everything. Since I'm still running my air conditioner, and I'd rather carve a pumpkin than eat it, nothing says Fall to me like National Novel Writing Month.

This time around, I'm a NaNo Rebel. I will write 50,000 words of fresh fiction, but it will not be a novel. At least, I don't think so. I have Plan A and Plan B, which means I'll probably end up with Plan W, but I'm okay with that.

See, somewhere along the line, my writing stopped being fun. This happened for more reasons than I can count or even define. And I really, really miss that energy, that joy. Then I came across this quote by R. L. Stine:

"The writers who go into a school, do an assembly and say to write from the heart, write your passion, write what you know . . . the kids who listen to them will never write a word . . . I've written 350 books, and not one has come from my heart, not a single one. It's true! They're all written to entertain people, for people to enjoy and have fun. But you don't have to write from the heart."

So, this November, I will have fun with my writing again! And if I have to take down every pumpkin in the vicinity to do it, I will! (Drama! Suspense! A Possible Serial Killer of Pumpkins!) I have no idea what will happen, but since the month will go by anyway, why not have something creative - brilliant? stinky? both? - to show at the end of it?


Are you NaNo-ing this November? Excited about your current project? Still having fun with your writing? Are you pro-pumpkin?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Relentless Ruby, Find Me An Oasis - Nailpolish Stories

One haunted past

* plus *

One barren future 

* equals *

Two mini stories - Relentless Ruby and Find Me An Oasis, each exactly 25 words - published in the October 2018 issue of Nailpolish Stories.

Now that's my kind of math.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

No Soup for You! Next!

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I recently saw Jerry Seinfeld perform on stage, and it was an absolute blast. I literally laughed so hard I cried. And I wasn't the only one. The audience roared with laughter, and we were on our feet in a standing ovation before he even left the stage. When I think about how much talent and hard work it takes to put on not only a show like that, but also a career, a lifetime, like that, it blows my mind. 

I'm in kind of a writing funk. The creative energy is there - or so I'd like to believe! - but it's at a simmer, waiting for me to turn up the heat. Problem is, I don't know what I'm cooking anymore, what I'm creating. French onion soup? Chicken noodle? Chili? A novel? A novella? A collection of stories? Something I've never tasted before?

A very long time ago, I had a recipe, a career plan. I've since swapped some ingredients, changed things up, but the results aren't what I'd imagined. 

I'm trying to figure out what to do next. Keep doing pretty much the same thing, maybe tweak a measurement here and there? Or wing it, throw everything I've got into the pot? It could boil over, spill and stain, burn everything in its path. But it could also, just maybe, bubble and burble, smell oddly delicious - like grilled cheese and new books and the sea! - and possibly end up weirdly tasty . . . .