Finding the Groove

I don’t want to toot my horn just yet (not too loudly, anyhow), but I am pleased that I seem to have settled on a writing routine that works. For the past four days (not counting Sunday), I wrote for at least an hour each morning.

This means getting up before my family at 5:45 A.M. and getting straight to work. Since I am not a morning person, this is challenging. Couple this with the fact that my family tends to keep me up late, and this is VERY challenging. However, the knowledge that the characters are waiting gets me moving after a couple of snooze-button mashes.

In this relatively short time, I’ve revised and submitted a short story to Strange Horizons. I also finished a new flash story (dream-inspired) temporarily titled “What’s That Pinging Sound?” that clocks in at just under 1K, and I’ve added over 700 words to a story seed, as yet to be titled.

At the risk of sounding trite, routine periods of isolation are the most important gifts writers can give themselves. If writing is your job, or you wish it was, you have to set aside time to do it every single day.

I have shared outside the blog (and a little here) the value I’m getting out of Stephen King’s On Writing. A few people have made disparaging remarks about the quality of King’s work, but I am not deterred because his advice is solid and honest (and his success speaks for itself). It’s not told me much that is radical and new, but it’s given me permission to do what I know I should be doing. It’s like having a mentor I can peek in on every few days, and when I do, he says “Try this,” and “What are you waiting for?”

Routine writing, every day, AT HOME, is one piece of advice he gives. Stop hiding in the library carrel or at the coffee shop with your laptop. Your work needs to be housed in your space, as a part of your life, not away somewhere else.

I am happy that I’ve given myself permission to find this groove and stick with it.

Flash Away!

Sent off a submission, finally. I hope Jordan and the other folks over at Every Day Fiction are nice to me (but not too nice). My thanks to Oso for pushing me forward in a better direction.

I thought flash fiction would be easier, but somehow it’s not. If anything can be said to be “easy” about the form, it’s the fact that word limitations force me (the wordy) to get to the point, advance the plot, and round out characters as much as possible in fewer words. These are NOT simple matters, obviously, but at least the form encourages me to make these things happen economically.

As an exercise, it teaches a useful lesson: if you don’t know where the story is going, you can’t get there. I’m considering writing “flash drafts” of longer pieces that are not coming together well.

On Fire

Woo-hoo! Ideas are brewing in the noggin!

I am very pleased with the fact that in spite of my busy life, I am creating. Mostly outlined and jotting, but new story seeds are being collected. I am also researching markets and have found three that I plan to submit to in the next month or so.

The freelance writing is also going well; I have two new projects.

Hopefully, a more substantive post will emerge a little later. Gotta go to see to that progress.


At last! Well, in one area, at least, at the expense of others.

You see, I haven’t had a working kitchen since sometime in February. My dishwasher leaked water everywhere, resulting in a parade, in and out of my house, by insurance adjusters and contractors. All the cabinets were ripped out, and the appliances had to be moved into the dining room. The floor was dried out and refinished by tough-looking men with noisy machines. This was all uncomfortably smelly and stressful. Then the Doing Nothing began, and that seemed worse.

Not being able to cook or do dishes is sort of novel at first, but then one gets tired of trying to figure out meals that the microwave can produce or that are electricity-free. And washing dishes in a dishpan on the dining table is not all that much fun. It’s a little like camping, without the good parts. So, we started using paper plates and plastic utensils (gasp!) and eating out a lot (which also sounds like a good time, at first).

The Doing Nothing phase meant lots of wistful staring into the empty kitchen but no actual painting or remodeling or anything. We’d decided to do it ourselves (haha) to save money. Paint was purchased and even a new sink cabinet and other kitchen-remodeling goodies. But Nothing happened. I felt too confused and crazed by all the other things going on (once again, ladies and gentlemen and other non-existent readers, the Main Point), so not much happened after that. More wistful staring and some fantasizing with IKEA catalog in hand, mostly while choking down yet another frozen Lean Cuisine or an instant something-or-other. Meanwhile, my child whines that there’s never anything good to eat and gets constipated from eating too much instant something-or-other (mostly generic Easy Mac), and I get depressed (more).

But today, there is progress! Happy day! The kitchen is almost entirely painted, and all systems are go for the sink and stove to be put in SOON. It may be that I am euphoric from inhaling paint fumes all day, but I’m so thrilled at the prospect of having a working kitchen. I’m not even especially worried about the fact that I didn’t spend any time at all today on the research project that’s due in three days.