Must-Haves

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means another IWSG Day! In the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, we get together (at least) once a month to exchange stories along the writing journey. This month’s optional question asks us what five things we have in our writing space. For me, there are just a couple of things I absolutely need: music and liquid refreshment.

Everything else is optional. For example: a computer. Sometimes, I like to write by hand. Sometimes, I even write on the go by recording words onto an audio file. The medium doesn’t really matter all that much. Sometimes, I need access to research and a dictionary. Sometimes, though, those things only get in the way.

For example, am I the only person who occasionally falls into the rabbit hole of etymology? Words are interesting – but they’re not always the point. Where did the phrase down the rabbit hole come from anyway – did it start with Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll? Or was it around before that? Interested literary minds want to know!

7006060_medium_1444880011Picture from the actual Bunny Trail in Williamsburg, Virginia. You’re welcome.

Distractions are everywhere. And they multiply. Like … rabbits. I could literally spend all day doing this. But, no. No.

What about you? What are things you must have on hand in order to write? What are the things that you maybe think you need – but only in moderation?

IWSG: New Improved Resolutions

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Happy New Year and Happy IWSG Day!

Hard to believe 2018 is here. Not sure about everyone else but here in the Northeast U.S. it’s been super cold and now they’re throwing out scary words like “bomb” to describe the weather. Fortunately, I’m not on the coast but the cold has made getting out of bed and working more difficult.

Not that I really need an excuse.

My main resolution this year is to treat writing like a real job with real hours. I got this idea from a Great Courses lecture I listened to called How to Read and Write About Any Subject. I feel like I’ve made a habit of setting unreasonable goals in terms of deadlines I know I can’t possibly meet, so – for now – more attainable goals in terms of hours a day seem better. That way I force myself to do something while (hopefully) setting up a pattern of success.

Another resolution I’m making now is to more regularly blog. I’m going to say once a week and not just on IWSG Day. Maybe one flash fiction a week. I’ll have to think about that – but I will resolve to do it. Because I have so been neglecting this blog. Okay and true confession I had to take a long break away from social media following a certain presidential election. Because there’s still a part of me that feels like – if not for Facebook and Twitter…. But I need to bounce back. The Internet needs positive voices more now than ever. If not mine, then definitely others. Fight the power and all that.

For now, I’ve been doing a lot of ghost copywriting and also writing romance under Not My Real Name. The idea of putting myself out there is scary. I guess, because I am an Insecure Writer!

How is 2018 going so far? Any resolutions? Any assessment and re-assessment of prior resolutions?

HAPPY 2018!!!

 

IWSG: Show Don’t Tell – Evoke

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First, Happy IWSG Day! This is the first Wednesday of the month and that means it is time for Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day, where once a month we gather to share our fears, insecurities and encouragement as we walk down this winding writerly road.

This month, the question of the month is how we make time to write when we’re busy. I’m literally writing on the road, on my way back from a long trip out west which turned out longer than I planned but that’s okay. I can answer the question honestly by saying I’m always honing my craft.

On my way across two countries, I got to experience so many amazing things and meet so many amazing people and occasionally write by hand in farflung places like the Rockies of Canada and Yellowstone National Park. I’ve also been listening to some great audiobooks from authors who inspire me, like Larry Niven, who I got to see speak at this year’s Worldcon, and Ernest Cline, whose nostalgia-inspired Ready Player One is a book I could listen to forever.

Worldcon panel with Niven giving my phone somewhat a doofy look while I take my fangirl pic (loved the hat!):

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Funny enough, considering I’m presently writing in Iowa home of the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop, I’ve also been listening to Professor James Hynes, former workshop prof, a lecture entitled “Writing Great Fiction.”

What Haynes has to say about evocation is opening my eyes to lapses in my own fiction. True confession: I have a Bachelor in English, Creative Writing, and that means I’ve taken Creative Writing seminars. We were told show don’t tell but until this moment I don’t think I ever understood what that meant. I thought show don’t tell meant (for example) – don’t tell the reader the character is angry. Show them slamming their hands on the desk, shouting, throwing things.

Evocation is more than that. Evocation means creating magic, poetry, using metaphor and sounds that evoke the image. In other words show the reader the character smacking the desk like stamping out an already-dying fire, stoking the flames of resentment.

Have you ever learned something new, something you already thought you knew, but started to see in a whole new light?

I am exhausted and still a long way from home, but so glad for the chances to catch my breath. I’m still hopeful one day I’ll be a “real writer” – whatever that means.

Old Faithful near sunset, still doing its thing.2016-08-31 18.53.55.jpg

IWSG: Stick-With-It-Ness

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Here’s my monthly post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where the first Wednesday of every month we get together to share our concerns and support one another in this ongoing writing journey.

This month, I feel like – well, there’s nothing astounding to report again. Making tiny amounts of money from writing, not enough to live on. Doing lots of edits. Living life.

But here’s what I can say: I’m still here. I haven’t given up yet! And then I thought, I like the phrase stick-with-it-ness, one of those fun phrases people use now and again when we need to grin with our gritted teeth. Here’s to plain old determination – and you know what else? I love language. I love how language works and I love the fun, crazy, awesome things we do with it.

And that’s why I’m a writer. Because I love language and literature and human speech. Sometimes, I need to remember that too.

How about you? Any news to report? (Including the news that you’re still plugging on? That definitely counts!)

Looking forward to the monthly pick me up.