Less Than A Month Away…Oh God

High Anxiety
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It occurred to me today that it is October. While this by itself is nothing all that special, I realized that November is less than a month away and a severe hit of anxiety pumled me about the head.  why anxiety? Well as any self respecting, self loathing, self abusing…okay…any writer, might tell you, November is National Novel Writing Month. That’s right: NaNoWriMo!

Last year’s NaNoWriMo is what got sme started on my writing again.  I flailed about inefectually for a few weeks, okay months, and never did finish my NaNoWriMo novel.  I swore that next year would be different.

So far this year is not looking all that promising either. I have a bit more of a heads up this time, but I still have nothing prepared for it.  No outline, no characters, nothing.  I haven’t even started brainstorming an idea.  I want to go from fresh and hit that 50,000 word mark by the end of November.

So, instead of focusing my energies on the project preparation I am blogging here.  Are you planning on participating? Will you be my NaNoWriMo friend? What do you do for preparation? Are you ready to start writing? Have you already started (you cheater you!)?

Editing is Hard

my workstation

I have been working on the editing thing for almost a week now.  Its not all that I’ve been doing.  I’ve written a couple of short stories, worked on my 100-word challenge and punched out a few blogs, oh and lets not forget work, being with my family and coaching soccer. I feel like I should be making more progress despite the rest of my life keeping me busy.

What it really comes down to is that editing is hard work.  First you have to re-read your own material, which can be hard enough on its own. Then you have to look for errors and things that need fixing including grammar, punctuation, plot holes and just plain bad writing, while trying not to be overly critical because as your own worst critic you may very well want to take your work and delete the whole thing.  Having written Alone in the way that I did I have discovered some major changes I need to make in the style and tense.  It started out in present tense with a bit of a flashback and I know that later on I turn it into a sort of journal, but the last half or so I write in past tense from the perspective of events long past. Shit. Shit. Shit. So I’ve started making some of the corrections as I’m going and will fix the bigger parts as I get to them.  Worst case I will have to do a major re-write of the first half of the book, which I suppose is what the editing and rewriting process is all about.

On a semi-related note, I finally got the information about the North Carolina writer’s conference in November. Yeah, I am so not going. Doing it for one day on the cheap will still end up costing me $200 and that’s not including food, gas or anything else. Its kind of looking like this conference is for those who do this whole writing thing for a living. Sure I could write it off for tax puposes, but I can’t afford it in the first place.  Oh well, maybe next year.

My Green Eyed Monster and the Obsession It Has Created

This month has been a rough one writing wise.  I am behind my goal curve and though I have time to make up the difference I have a hard time imagining my doing so.  I think I’m a little burned out from the massive effort of last month, but i’m trying not to let that happen.  My two main projects have been a struggle for me as of late.  Last month the words came so easy, but now i look at the screen and i feel nothing.  I am thinking that I may try for another short story just to help break things up and get the creativity flowing again.  Perhaps I will spend some time this weekend looking for a publication that I will aim at getting published in. Continue reading “My Green Eyed Monster and the Obsession It Has Created”

100 Word Challenge

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So a couple of years ago I was reading a book about about being a better writer (I’ll hunt it down and let you know what it is later) and one of the chapters was about forcing yourself to write.  Now I have been pretty good since about October with writing consistantly even if my ADD keeps me from writing on only one project at a time and so I bounce around all over the place and though I am currently behind on my word count for April I’m hoping that I can make up some of that ground in the last half of the month.  Anyhow, the point of this bit of rambling is that one of the exercises in the book was to work on your story 100 words at a time.  Just sit down and write 100 words.  Whether it takes you five minutes or two hours, just get 100 words down on paper (or on the screen I suppose).  I tried doing this for a while and felt good about doing it, but the challenge, like the rest of my writing, fell to the wayside as work and school dominated my life.  I was re-reading the beginnings of the story I had already done for the challenge and I thought it might be fun to re-visit the story, if for no other reason to force myself to write on the days where I get busy and fail to produce more.  So here I go again…back on the 100 word challenge wagon.  I am going to post my 100 word tidbits on here, starting with the orginal posts, so in about a month and a half you’ll be reading the newer parts of the exercise.

Do you do little challenges like this to motivate yourself or do you have any other little tricks you’d like to share?

Forgotten Works

So last year, when I still used Myspace, I had started retyping some of the short/flash fiction I had written back when I was 19-20.  I would correct any grammar and punctuation issues then post them on my blog as an exquisite form of self-torture.  I only managed to post two or three such pieces before I all but abandoned Myspace, but in reading some of the works that didn’t even make it to the re-typing file I can say I am pretty glad that the effort stopped early.

I am an optimist at heart (though you may not think that from reading my fiction) and so I look at these nearly twenty year old snippets and tell myself, “wow, look how much further along I am now as opposed to then.”  The self critic inside of me kind of laughs at this notion, but in all honesty I think I have gotten better in the last fifteen years and I can only think that I would have made even more progress by now if I had been more consistent in my efforts.

What brings all of this up is that I had a brainstorm yesterday.  Now keep in mind that this brainstorm of mine made me feel singularly stupid for having not thought of it long ago, but my brilliant thought was to use a scanner and OCR technology to scan these old stories so that I wouldn’t have to re-type them.  Finally I can digitize all of the work I have only in paper format without having to go through the odious task of typing.  I am a pretty speedy typist for a hunt and pecker (probably not the best choice of word here but if the shoe fits right?), but I am the worlds slowest transcriber, which probably contributed to the short lived project named earlier.

Now before you start backing away and heading for that escape key let me say that I have absolutely no intention of posting the horrors I put to paper nearly two decades ago.  I will however scan them, edit them and file them away for potential future use as the basis for something considerably better.  I am sure that some of the pieces are very much unrecoverable, but you never know right.  I’m a bit of a pack rat too, so getting rid of anything, no matter how bad much it might need to head to the recycle bin goes against my nature (no…I’m not a hoarder…moving twice in two years helped cure me of that possibility), so they will sit in my archives, waiting, silently plotting the day when they will rise up and take their day in the sun.

As long as they don’t bring my poetry up with them we should all be okay.

So how about you?  Do you have an archive filled with abandoned works?  Have you ever shared them?

Announcing the March Writer’s Challenge!

  Welcome to the first My Writer’s Cramp Writing Challenge!


Since I’ve started this blog I’ve met some great people and some great writers and I thought it might be fun to do a little writing challenge to share the works of my friends, introduce all of us to some new people and give us all a little something more to read (like we don’t all have more than enough right?).

The challenge will be broken into two categories: Short Fiction and Flash Fiction.

For purposes of this writing challenge Short Fiction we be defined as being between 1000 and 7500 words; Flash Fiction will be no more than 1000 words.

So what is the challenge? The challenge will be incorporating three of nine elements listed below. The more important to the story you make the elements the better, but if you simply mention them in passing that’s okay too. Its important to note that its not about using the word specifically but the concept. An example would be if the element was “sword” and you never mention the word, but your story involves a pirate who uses a saber when he boards a merchant ship, that would be a successful use of the element.

So here are the elements:

Swashbuckling Mismanaged Psychopathic
Rocketry Bedevilled Agape
Parricide Jive Rakish

Thank you to Creativity Tools Random Word Generator by Watch Out 4 Snakes for the random selection of elements. Continue reading “Announcing the March Writer’s Challenge!”

Distractions and Foci

Civilization V
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Last weekend I had the major part of a day all to myself. I had nothing planned for except a phone call with a friend (which ended up not happening), yet I managed to get very little written during that time. That evening I wrote considerably more and ended the day about 1000 words short of my goal. I sat down and wrote the next day and was about as productive, though I spent the bulk of the day distracted by my parental duties. On the third day I punched out almost as much as I had during the previous two days combined although I was every bit as busy as the day before.

As I looked at the results of my weekend I asked myself what had made the difference in how much I was able to write during each day and at the different times of day. I questioned what had distracted me and what had helped me focus on my work and then I pondered what about the distractions and focus enhancers made them what they were. Continue reading “Distractions and Foci”


“You know this can never last right?” Sheila looked up at Vince with a smile. She was lying on her side, barely covered by a rumpled sheet that had been pushed down to the bed only a few minutes earlier.

“I know,” Vince sighed, “we both knew that from the moment this started, but how long do you think we can make it work?” He stood facing the bed, buttoning his shirt, his eyes drawn to the gentle curve of the fabric that barely covered the body of his buddy’s wife.

“I think we can keep it going for quite a while longer,” Sheila sat up, tucking her legs beneath her and pulling up the sheet just enough to tease him with a little false modesty, “Jack and Linda both work so much that it’s easy for us to sneak in a little time together. I guess it is always possible that one of them could come home early and on the wrong day that could certainly put an end to things in a rather dramatic way, but I honestly don’t see that happening.” Their respective spouses had been A type personalities since college and getting into the workforce had pushed them both into overdrive. Vince and Sheila were simply along for the ride as Jack and Linda relentlessly climbed the corporate ladder. Continue reading “Partners”

A Simple Conversation

“So what do you do?”

“I’m an office manager.”

“Oh yeah?  Where at?”

“Franklin and Sons. We make and sell those car freshener’s that you hang off your review mirror.”

“Like the pine trees?”

“Yeah, like the pine trees.  It’s pretty dull work really, just making sure that people are working when they’re supposed to and doing what they’re supposed to.  I always imagined that I would be doing something nobler with my life, but things just didn’t work out that way.”

“I know what you mean.  I never imagined being an unmarried mother of three working as a waitress, but this is where life led me, so I try to make the best of it you know?”


“More coffee?”

“Please.  So what did you want to be when you were a kid?” Continue reading “A Simple Conversation”