Monday, September 17, 2018

You Can't Handle the Truth!

Or so says Jack Nicholson as Col. Jessep in the movie A Few Good Men. Oh, but I disagree Col. J! I think we writers can handle the truth just fine, thank you very much.

Hmm, okay, maybe not. But at least we can handle these "25 Truths About the Work of Writing" written by Greer Macallister over at Writer Unboxed.

Like the first two:

1. Writing is the easiest work you'll ever do, more joy than labor, a flurry of words pouring from your fingers onto the page so beautifully and smoothly you're more witness than worker. Some days.

2. On the other days, it's so hard and slow and, yes, laborious, that you feel you must be doing it wrong because if it's this hard how could anyone possibly force themselves to do it?

My favorites:

16. Everyone works differently. You don't have to write every day or write what you know or stick to any other particular process that happens to work for other people. Even if it works for a lot of other people. All that matters is whether it works for you.

22. How you feel about the work of writing will change over time because you change over time. Don't be afraid to change your process or your goals. Something that worked for you 10 years ago may not work anymore. Explore. 

But the truest truth of them all?

7. It's work and it's magic and it's a mad alchemy.


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Do any of these truths - or others from the full post - ring true for you? (I'm smack in the middle of Number 22 myself. This is one of the reasons I'm now keeping a looser blogging schedule.) How is your writing - or other creative work - going?

Monday, September 3, 2018

Bound - 101 Fiction

How do you tell a Werewolf (or other Were-Creature) story in exactly 100 words with a one word title?

Here's my way: Bound.

And if you're looking for other ways, check out 101 Fiction's September 2018 issue (Issue 20).

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Time for a blogging break! I'll still be around though, just popping in and out. A new post will be up on Monday, September 17th! 

Monday, August 20, 2018

What If? - The Shambling Man

Sometimes I wish I was the kind of person who saw a field of pretty flowers for what it was and not as an excellent hiding place for slithering, slobbering creatures. Or who saw an old man at a garage sale as just that and not as a sinister Stephen King character shambling toward me . . . .

Scenario: You're wandering around a big neighborhood garage sale. It's a beautiful day, lots of people are out and about, and everyone is friendly. An old man - tall, thin, gangly - shambles toward you on the sidewalk. He moves as if his joints don't quite fit together, his limbs loose like a scarecrow. Hedge clippers - large, dull - hang heavy from his left hand. He doesn't smile, but he nods, says hello, shuffles past.

What if . . . he's on his way to take down more than the hedges around his property? What if he's going after his wife? A neighbor? Why?

What if . . . he believes he must protect himself from a time traveling murderer lurking in the woods beyond his fence? Or that he must slay a monster living in the bushes around his house? What if he's crazy? What if he's not?

What if . . . plants, weeds, spindly trees are growing where they shouldn't? In the attic? In the car? From the carpet in his living room, in his bedroom? What if they're starting to grow inside of him, sprouting out of him? What if he's the only one who can feel them, see them?

What if . . . the hedge clippers are cursed and everything they cut grows back faster, thicker? What if whatever they cut into actually bleeds? What if the people who sold them to the Shambling Man know exactly what they are, what they do, but this was the only way to free themselves?

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Your turn! What is this man's story? Did you ever make up stories about people at garage sales? Imagine the history behind the items being sold? Ever wish your imagination was wired differently, like in a way that would actually let you sleep at night? 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Synchronicity

You know how sometimes, when you're feeling blue or out of sorts, you stumble upon something - a quote, a picture - just when you really need it? And before you know it, you're feeling a little better, more connected to yourself, to others? This happened to me recently with a batch of Marzi Wilson's Introvert Doodles.

I hope the following Doodles give you strength and make you smile, the way they do for me. (Oh, and the last one makes me think of all of you out there in the blogosphere!)


BRAVERY


APOLOGETIC



REAL FRIENDS


(I've mentioned Introvert Doodles - the website! the book! - on this blog before and you all already know I don't receive any compensation. I'm just a fan!)

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Feeling brave today? Are you living your life unapologetically? Do you consider online friends "real" friends? I know I do!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

IWSG: The Writer as Whippersnapper


Join Us!

Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but this month's optional IWSG question - What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey? - got me thinking about two things I would tell the writing whippersnapper I once was. 

* DON'T bother defending yourself to others. *

I spent years trying to prove to people in my life that my writing was just as important as anyone else's job/career and that my time was just as valuable. Not only did it not make any difference, but it was also exhausting, draining me of energy I could've put toward my work. 

* DO focus on the joy. *  

Of creating, of imagining, of stories, of writing. Publication is thrilling and rejection stinks, but like Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book, Big Magic, "You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes and failures." Living a life in pursuit of a passion, dedicated to the journey and not the destination, is something to be proud of. 

This is what I would tell myself then.

This is what I remind myself of now. 

Question is - will either of us actually listen?

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Do these warnings sound familiar? What would you tell your younger writing self? Don't you just love the word "whippersnapper"? Have you read Big Magic?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

When Icy is a Compliment

It's no secret I've been in a bit of a creative slump lately. Blame it on the heat. Blame it on the second season of Netflix's GLOW being over. Blame it on Ben and Jerry. Blame it on the old guy on the next treadmill who runs faster than I ever will (unless I'm chasing Ben and Jerry.)

Whatever the case, I had to do something. So when literary agent Janet Reid ran another flash fiction contest recently, instead of whining to the tortoises - again! - that I have no business being a writer, I pulled on my Minion pajama pants and got going.

I wrote with no expectations. I wanted to experiment, to reach. I wanted to stretch and tone that flabby creative muscle.

My entry made the finals.

The always encouraging and supportive Reiders rooted for my work.

Ms. Reid blew me away with her comments about my story.

And . . . I won!

I'm not sure who's happier - me or the tortoises. (After all, I can - and do - whine a lot.)

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For the contest, we had a maximum limit of 100 words and had to include the following - city, lie, sam, hawke, woo hoo. If you'd like to read all the finalists, click here. My story and Ms. Reid's comments (in blue) are below. 

Deer Momma

I shouldn't open the door when your working, but Mister Sam
said it was an emrgenz. The city is full of flew bugs!

We're going someplace safe, sekret. He'll keep a hawk eye on
me until you come. He's a nabor, not a stranger so it's okay. And I scarred of bugs.

Missus Woo came, yelled NO GO! ALL LIES! Missus Woo hooked
her fingers into claws, scratched Mister Sam's face! They fighted until she fell down asleep.

Mister Sam screamed HURRY! so I am.

Don't be scarred, Momma. See you soon!

Your sun Marty

This made me gasp out loud.  The story is icy, but what elevates this is that it's written in a vernacular of sorts, but you still understand every word. That's not as easy as it looks. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

When Motivation Melts

It's been a long hot summer - is it really only the middle of July? Sheesh! - and my creative oomph is melting like chocolate ice cream down the sides of a sugar cone.

So, if you're feeling the same, these quotes might help - two for keeping on track, one for a good chuckle.  

Wait . . . do you hear that? Voices from the freezer. Ben? Jerry? Uh-oh, I better rescue them! I'll need a spoon. You know, just in case things get yummy . . . uh, I mean messy.

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"Stop looking at what other people are doing
and look at what you're achieving.
Stop looking sideways,
look at where you're going."
(Jocelyn Glei)

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"WRITER'S BLOCK IS BROUGHT ON
BY WANTING TO WRITE WELL
AND FEARING YOU'RE NOT.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO WRITE WELL,
YOU HAVE TO REVISE WELL."
(Janet Reid)

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"I AM EDITING ONE BOOK 
AND DRAFTING ANOTHER,
MOVING FROM PJS TO YOGA PANTS AND BACK
WITHOUT EVER MAKING A STOP
BY ACTUAL CLOTHES."
(Joshilyn Jackson)

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How's your creative oomph and motivation holding up so far this summer? Any advice for keeping it from melting? Do you have a favorite ice cream or other stay-cool treat?