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


For more information

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? 

Monday, April 24, 2017

May the (Creative) Force Be With You!

Believe me, I can use all the help I can get since this May, I will be participating in Story A Day! 




Story A Day is all about promoting creativity. The goal: write - and finish! - a story every day in May.

Now, as founder Julie Duffy says, there is some flexibility:

"Since the StoryADay May challenge began in 2010 I have always said: make your own rules. For some people, the challenge of writing a story every day is the thing that excites them the most and helps them to embrace the challenge. For other people it’s unrealistic. Those writers simply decide how many days this month they’re going to write. The key is to make your own rules and then stick to them. Some years, for example, I take Sundays off."

But she is a stickler for one thing: FINISHING.

"This is the only place where I am quite strict. There is a power in finishing a story and so I encourage you to push through to the end of your story every day. This does not mean writing a brilliant draft. Sometimes you have to cheat. You can write “[something clever happens here]” and then sketch out a resolution and final paragraph if that’s what it takes to get used to the end of the story. Doing this at least teaches you to keep the mood to keep the story moving towards a place of resolution."
So, my plan for May: write and finish a story Monday through Friday with weekends off OR five stories a week, just in case I need a little wiggle room. I hope to reconnect with the core of my writing, the joy and the passion I used to feel. I'm going to have fun with my writing again, people. 
Wish me luck!
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Have you heard of Story A Day? Plan on giving it a try? There's still time to sign up! Are you participating in any other challenges, creative or otherwise? 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Worth It

I came across the following quote right when I needed it the most. I just love when that kind of thing happens, don't you? So, I'm sharing the words here with you all, just in case you, or someone you know, is in need of them, too.

LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO WAKE UP 
IN THE MORNING WITH REGRETS,
SO LOVE THE PEOPLE WHO TREAT YOU RIGHT,
FORGET ABOUT THE ONES WHO DON'T,
AND BELIEVE THAT EVERYTHING
HAPPENS FOR A REASON.

IF YOU GET A CHANCE, TAKE IT.
IF IT CHANGES YOUR LIFE, LET IT.

NOBODY SAID IT'D BE EASY,
THEY JUST PROMISED IT WOULD BE
WORTH IT.
(Harvey Mackay)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Pillow Talk, Pink Ponies Dancing - Nailpolish Stories

The Spring issue of Nailpolish Stories: A Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal is up, and I am pleased to say it includes two of my stories - Pillow Talk and Pink Ponies Dancing.

Now don't let those titles fool you. You all know by now that my imagination does not cross at the intersection of Soft and Pretty.