IWSG: September Is Here!

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So it’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means IWSG Day and I completely forgot due to … I really don’t have a good excuse, except I’ve been busy. Writing-wise, I’ve been doing a lot of editing and backstory. Among other hopefully more productive things, I dug the first novel I ever wrote out of the trashbin of history and have been giving it a look over.

One of the things that strikes me is that when I first started writing I had much less skill but a lot more energy. I spent a lot of time working on details and a lot of energy taking chances, writing the kind of story I know better(?) than to take on now. It’s been an interesting experience.

So that’s what I have to say this month. Have you ever dug an old piece of writing out of the past? Has it ever made you see how you’ve grown (or at least changed…) as a writer?

Hope everyone has a great September!

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?

Celebrate the Small Things

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Happy Friday!

How was your week? I had a fairly productive one. I’ve made definite plans to go visit relatives in Canada who I’ve never met before. Depending on the how the Fall elections go here in the States, I may just ask about moving there permanently. (Just kidding!)

My other major accomplishment this week is the re-discovery of a manuscript/story I’ve been working on since I was a small child, my first novel ever. Re-reading it and seeing the concepts I’m struggling with to this day, I’ve decided to focus my editing on getting that story ready to be published for free, online – something which I have wanted to do for over a decade now. I love this story so much and so deeply I just want it out there. But I also want it to be beautiful. Also, I’m viewing this as a necessary learning experience for myself to grow as a writer.

These little, achievable writing goals. I definitely need them.

Also this week, got my cardio in every day. In lieu of the gym most days I’ve been walking the fitness loop at the mall because it’s much more convenient to get to.

In general, it’s been a pretty good week. How about yours?

IWSG: In the Beginning

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This month for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the question of the month is this: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

My first novel ever as an aspiring writer is called The Dark Circle and I first started writing it in my later single digit years, not exactly sure when, but I do remember the fuzzy red journal I used. This was back before everybody had a computer, let alone mobile devices. Sometimes I still like to hand-write partly because then it’s mine in a very personal way.

I’ve never published OR let go of that novel. Every few years or so I return to see if I’ve grown enough as a writer to finish it. It’s kind of like my white whale or maybe a treadmill where I always get something out of the trial. It’s very philosophical and full of naive youthful ambitions, starting in a world where people can recreate the world at will with their minds. In the opening scene the main character kills a fellow character out of sheer curiosity. She then gets into an argument with her current boyfriend. He’s from a different world and is horrified to discover that she doesn’t understand what murder is. The parent/creator of the person she killed is upset too, but mostly in a “you damaged my property” sort of way.

All of this sounds really horrible but she’s actually not a bad person, and she learns by the end of the first chapter. I love this novel. I do. It’s just super tricky.

What about you? Is there a hard, ongoing project you return to every now and again to see how much progress you can make this time?

Simple

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It’s an old story, old perhaps as time. My world changed the day we met and I can never quite figure out how. Mom pressured me to go spend time with you, because “you never know how long you’ll have.”

I hated the smell, the cloying perfume and flowers, the crowded collection of photos and knickknacks. I hated your tiny living space, the old log cabin in the middle of nowhere without cell phone service, without internet, just this crappy old landline. What was there to do for fun?

Then, you spoke. Then, we walked. You taught me about nature and the world we live in, about the simple joys of a simple life.

Here’s my Friday post for A-Z Challenge. Almost to the end now!