IWSG: Advice Is a Form of Nostalgia

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First of all, Happy New Year! And Happy IWSG Day!

Yes, 2017 is upon us. Maybe that’s why this month’s question of the month is making me think of nostalgia and the (in)famous quote that “advice is form of nostalgia.” Then again, maybe “bad advice” is a form of nostalgia.

The question of the month is “What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?”

My answer is none, or none I can remember. I mean, it’s all part of the learning experience. When I think of memorably bad advice I’ve gotten, it all comes down to stories. And, I love stories.

Like the time I was told to self-publish now and not later, by someone who’d done the same and then proceeded to hawk his book to friends and family. This guy was in charge of the local writer’s group and a real character. I’m never going to do that again, but I’ll never forget the kick in the pants he gave us.

Then there’s the writing prof in college who basically told me not to bother with fantasy, because it doesn’t sell, which is more or less true. But, she did push me to think out of the fantasy box, and she did convince me I was a good writer, deep down, maybe.

A third story, I remember talking to someone I know about bad writing advice I’d gotten, which I honestly don’t even remember, because it was bad. My friend was saying how art groups are just failed artists exchanging the same bad advice, and it can be like that, but I still think it’s better to have people you can talk to. On a related note, last I heard, years later, this person is still waiting for “inspiration”.

Long story short, in my opinion, it’s better to make mistakes than to be frozen in place waiting for the stars to align so you can get to work. Maybe the only truly bad advice is the advice not to write at all, to wait for inspiration, to wait until I “feel like it.” And yes, there are people who actually tell me things like that – because to them it’s just a hobby.

What about you? What’s one piece of writing advice you wish you never heard?

Friday Fictioneers: Help

shaktiki-2

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When I came to,  I didn’t know where I was. My head throbbed,and the world shuddered in time. Slowly now, up on my elbows. Streetlights. People.

“Drunks on the street in broad daylight.”

“Someone should call the police.”

“I’m not getting involved.”

Your kind round concerned face, dark hair bright eyes.

“You okay man? Looks like you hit your head.”

“M-mugged. I was mugged.”

“Well, crap. Come on. The hospital is this way.”

Years later, I see your face again, on the news.

“Need a lawyer? For you, no charge.”

Friday Fictioneers: Homeland

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PHOTO PROMPT c. Roger Bultot

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Rose crossed the border illegally when she was still a small child, too young to remember. That’s the truth as they’ve told her, so says the immigration official with the kind but firm eyes.

She wants to join the military, to serve her country and, okay, to help herself through college. That’s how the truth came out.

In her heart, she is a patriot. She loves this country, the country of her heart – if not her legal birth.

She waits at the metal table with held breath to find out what will happen next.

Celebrate the Small Things

Celebrate blog hop

I haven’t written a post for Celebrate the Small Things in a while, and that’s partly because my life has been a little bit crazy lately, not enough hours in the day and also because I haven’t been feeling too hot with the cold and the long nights and now possibly coming down with the flu.

This past month I’m celebrating lots of time with family, maybe a little too much. Holidays. 🙂

Lots of writing goals met. Slogged my way through NaNoWriMo Research goals too, been doing a lot of reading of theology books for this project I can’t seem to let go of. Even made a quick trip over to lovely Lancaster Theological Seminary where I renewed my membership at their library.

Another little thing that I love. They re-did a park near us, Fort Hunter, and now they have this great area with swings and a view of the river with this world-record stone railroad bridge (or that’s what the sign says.) I love water and bridges and trains, so it’s a great place to go for lunch, which I sometimes do when I need a minute to just relax.

How was your week? What are you celebrating?

FF: Very Donkey Christmas & Inside the Locker

This is my post for this week’s Friday Fictioneers. I actually wrote two stories because somehow I found the wrong prompt (which I can’t find again) before writing the second story. The first story is the one in response to this week’s prompt. The second one is a bonus, I guess. =D Sorry. Having a really long week.

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A Very Donkey Christmas

Rachel only wanted one thing for Christmas: a brand new MP3 player loaded with all her favorite songs.

For the week leading up to Christmas, she was super nice: she only called her brother names twice. When he dropped a toy, she picked it up for him and only held it out of his reach for two, maybe three, seconds.

She was psyched. She was ready. Early Christmas morning, she crept downstairs and found

A donkey with a card attached to its collar.

Dear Rachel,
This is Wilbur. He was also bad this year.
Haw haw haw, Santa

Story two…

Inside the Locker

I used to believe the metal locker had everything. It was a gift from my father.

My mother finds me there, trying to figure out what to wear. I’m grown up now, almost thirteen.

“Something dark. It doesn’t matter.” She doesn’t get it.

“Something to bring him back. He said I could find anything.”

“Just another lie he told. Apparently. I’m sorry. Just get ready, okay?”

I am not okay. The locker is smaller than me now, but I wonder. If I climbed inside, would they bury me too? Of course not. I grab a dark t-shirt and jeans.

IWSG: Choices, Choices

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It’s the first Wednesday, and that means it’s time to post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I know I’ve definitely neglected my blog when the last post I see is also Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a month ago. This group is a great place to share encouragement, tips, and yes insecurities related to being a writer. Lately, I’ve noticed that most of the posts seem to concentrate more on the first two things.

This month, the IWSG question for the month has to do with our 5-year-plan. Where do we see ourselves in 5 years and what do we plan to do in order to make that dream a reality, what concrete steps?

Wow, what a bracing question, right? I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and to be honest like many I’ve dreamed about seeing my name on a newstand preferably with the words New York Times Bestselling Author in tiny print above it. I’d still like to see that one day, and I’d also like to win the lottery and meet Stephen King and J.K. face to face.

To be honest, though, in 5 years I’d really just like to see myself making a decent living, having fun, growing in the craft. To that end, I really need to start branching out more, forcing myself to grind through the jobs I know will pay me a decent hourly wage and also having the courage to take a chance on the work I love.

Most nights, sometimes I forget, I hand-write my goals for the next day, because I’ve found when I put pen to paper it sticks firmer in my mind than when I type them up. Most of the goals are repeats. For daily goals, I put down intermediate, achievable goals like today I will spend 3 hours business writing, 2 hours on romance, and 2 hours editing (novel title here). See how that works, refine for the next day, and so on. For broader spans of time, I say this week I want to edit three chapters of my novel, this month I want to finish a second a draft, complete a short story, get that submission into that publisher.

I definitely agree that definite goals are a good thing. They are also hard. Maybe it’s my generation, but I hate to be “tied down.” I was speaking to an older friend this past week about how all the options make it so much more difficult to choose one. I have every song in the world in my Android phone, and yet I find that I don’t enjoy them as much as when I have a single burn CD. All my time and energy gets taken up trying to decide what to listen to, and by the time I have this song I love playing it’s just not as fun to listen.

Have you ever had that experience? There’s something comforting and better about limitation. We might think we want the world. We might think we want to live a life with no plans, every moment coming as it will. I for one definitely believe that about myself. That’s probably why it came as such a shock to me, this silly little question of playlists that mostly came up because of a wonderful camping trip in Yellowstone National Forest this summer where I had almost nothing and it actually made me appreciate those few things I had all the more.

Spontaneity is awesome, but plans are good, and I for one really need to be reminded/reinforced in that again. Yet again, another awesome IWSG question.

IWSG: November is Here!

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I seriously can’t believe it’s November already. After this, one more month to go before 2017. Time is flying for me this year. Writing wise, I have to be honest, I’ve been pretty down but I always get gloomy-feeling in Fall so I’m used to it, and this too shall pass. My traditional fall humdrums are kind of funny viewed from a distance, this feeling like everything is so dark and so terrible and that will never change. Now that I’m older I can laugh at myself and think you feel that way every year!

The question for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group this month is, what do you like most about being a writer? And that’s an easy one for me. I love creativity. I love making new worlds. Actually that would be the main reason I write, to get something new out of my system and onto paper. There is no feeling quite like it.

Hope you’re having a great November wherever you are. What’s something that brings you special joy and clarity? Are there things you can laugh about when you really need it?

Happy IWSG Day!