Monday, June 12, 2017

Perception - 101 Fiction


The little girl's a sweetie.

The old lady's crazy.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Depends on how you look at it.

And if you head over to 101 Fiction's June issue, you can read my story, Perception, and judge for yourself.

After all, the devil is in the details.


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I'm taking a blogging break for the rest of June. I'll still be around but won't be posting anything new (probably) until July's IWSG. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG: And . . . Done!


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Last month, I participated in the Story A Day challenge, where I set myself the goal of writing a story every Monday-Friday during May, hopefully ending up with a total of 23 stories.

I did it!

I set myself the task, and I saw it through to the end. I pushed myself creatively, emotionally and mentally, and I came out the other side stronger and more confident in my writing and in myself.

That is what I hope and want for you all!

Whether you try Story A Day, Camp NaNo, NaNo or a challenge you set for your writing and/or for yourself, go for it! You can do it. You are creative and persistent, smart and strong, and your IWSG family has your back. We are cheering you on!

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Please show my fellow co-hosts - JH Moncrieff, Jen ChandlerMegan MorganHeather Gardner - some IWSG love!

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Click here for more information
about the IWSG's new anthology

Monday, May 29, 2017

When the Snake Slithers In

The other day, literary agent Janet Reid wrote a fantastic post advising someone who'd received destructive feedback on their work AND on themselves as a writer. Even though Ms. Reid's words are geared toward the writing life, I think they work on a personal level as well.

Ms. Reid, referring to the beta reader, says, "She's quite clearly someone who takes great satisfaction in making people feel small . . . It's the behavior of a third grade bully. Again, not the conduct of a self-actualized adult . . . ."

Have you ever dealt with someone like that? I have, and I admit, I was gobsmacked (love that word!) by the incident. But as time went on, I became more upset with myself than the person because I continued to let the words hurt me. They would slither into my brain, a snake sinking its venomous fangs into my spirit, poisoning all that was creative and good and wacky in my mind. I struggled with how to stop it from happening, but I didn't have the antidote.

Until now. 

"There is no way her words won't continue to cut at you. Words do that. It will take a while to stop thinking about what she said. One way to do that (and you do need to stop that) is give yourself a mantra to say every time you think of her, and a specific thing to divert your mind to instead. (I use the rosary for this; when I think of something that is unsettling me I recite one Hail Mary and then turn my mind to something else. It takes practice but it works.)"

I probably won't use the Hail Mary (much to my maternal grandmother's chagrin) so I'm open to suggestions. I've got lots of affirming and positive quotes I can fish through but I'm turning to you all first. What's your antidote for that darn snake, your go-to mantra, your action plan? How do you keep the bullies from winning?

Monday, May 22, 2017

'Round Here

Here are some pics from my neck of the woods . . . .

This guy was crossing the road in our development. Usually, my husband dons work gloves and picks up the turtle but this one was big and the kind that can reach back and bite. Instead, we kept an eye on the traffic until this big guy made it safely across.


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Our neighborhood Sandhill Cranes had their babies! The "colts" are still small and fuzzy, but they'll grow into their long legs soon enough.


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This beauty was hanging out in the garden section of Lowe's.


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Early in the day, at the beach.... 


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The sunset, through the palms.... 



Monday, May 15, 2017

Progress Report: Breathing Again

The Goal = 23 stories written - and finished! - for Story A Day in May

Stories Completed So Far = 10

Stories Still To Go = 13

Well, I'm about halfway through the Story A Day Challenge, and honestly? I'm loving it.

Don't get me wrong, it's not easy. Some of my stories stink. Two - so far - might actually be scenes for a bigger project, like a novella or novel (what?! no, no, no! focus, woman, focus!) And some days I stare at the blank notebook page - yes, I'm going old school - and wish I hadn't gotten out of bed. Ever.

But then there's the story I revised and submitted already. And the handful I can definitely see myself returning to, revising. And the biggest benefit so far?

Finding my way back to creativity, to reviving a part of myself that was struggling to breathe, that was drowning beneath layers upon layers of anxiety and doubt, fear and normalcy. Now, when I finish a story, a sense of peace, of completeness, of rightness fills me, and I believe it's because - to paraphrase something Julie Duffy said in one of her Story A Day podcasts - I've done the thing that makes me, me. Writing.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Doubt, The Dream-Killer

How many times have you said to yourself some version of the following -

I don't think I can do this . . . .

I'm not sure I'm creative/smart/strong enough . . . .

Maybe everyone is right and I should just give up my dream/idea/plans . . . .

Yeah, me too.

But here's a reminder, something I'm going to say to myself over and over until it's tattooed on my heart - 


DOUBT KILLS MORE DREAMS 
THAN FAILURE EVER WILL.
(Suzy Kassem)


Believe, people. 

Believe. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

IWSG: Retrain My Brain


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I'm participating in Story A Day, and one of the suggestions for keeping momentum going through this month of daily writing is gathering Story Sparks. Basically Story Sparks - details from the world around you, "What if?' questions, memories, etc. - spark or enrich a story. Now, as founder Julie Duffy says:

"Set yourself a goal of gathering three story sparks every day and you will find yourself seeing the world in a different way (a writer’s way). Aim to have 15 at the end of each week, but don’t collect them all on one day. By getting into the habit of observing the world around you and capturing story sparks daily, you are training your brain to see the world through an artist’s filter. This will help immeasurably when you sit down to write."
Well, I'm pretty sure my "artist's filter" looks like my dryer's lint trap - gray and fuzzy and leaving my ideas like my clothes - damp, limp and funky-smelling. The older I get, the more other stuff - fluffs of reality! bunnies of dust! - clogs my creativity, vagues my vision.  

I definitely have to clean off my imagination, but scraping my nails around my brain and throwing away the gunk isn't really an option. How do I clean up my focus, get it clear and sharp again? How do I retrain my brain to see those sparks?