Showing posts with label short stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label short stories. Show all posts

Thursday, June 30, 2016

5 Ways Summer Makes Your Writing Possible

Summer brings sun and fun (and vacation plans and the kids summer schedule to manage). The last thing you want to do is sit inside a hot house while everyone else enjoys the season. But don’t pack away your writing just yet.

While summer may be looked upon as throwing a wrench in a well executed writing schedule, there are actually a few advantages it affords you may not be taking advantage of yet.
Here are the 5 ways summer makes your writing possible.

1. Those summer days fit in more than usual.

Longer hours means that even given the usual work, socializing, yardwork, and beach trips; there will still be early morning or late night pockets in which to write. Why lay in a warm bed when you can't sleep? Sit on the back deck with a notebook and write a few lines instead. Especially if you're working with an outline, those small writing sessions will add up to something substantial over the summer.

2. Relaxed routines means chores can be a snap.

If there was ever a time to give up a full on meat and potatoes dinner and made beds, it's now. A rotisserie chicken and a salad equal a balanced dinner and if your family hasn't heard the research yet, especially in warm weather, it's a bad health idea to make the bed. Use the extra time to finish up the rest of that short story and submit it to a writing contest.

3. Summer's happenings give you more writing material to work with.

Summer brings new experiences from food to events to road trips, not to mention more restaurant patio dwellers (if you're not above eavesdropping to glean plot points for your next book) If you're writing for a commercial market, your day trips can be turned into new articles for local and national publications

4. Nature is at its inspirational peak.

Step into the outdoors and into nature at its inspirational peak. Not only do you gather the benefits of reduced stress, bolstered immune system and connection to family and friends, but nature is a created entity like creativity. When you engage with it as you were designed to, you will experience heightened awareness (descriptive phrases popping into your head, colors you didn't previously notice, and more plot line what if's happening) Don't forget to take along your notebook.

5. Your office is portable. 
      All you need is a notebook and then a story can find you anywhere: sitting on a park bench, in the back yard, on a rock on a trail. People watching is plentiful. Your creative energy is up. There are no artificial lights buzzing at you. You are able to focus on your story. Get it down in those little inspirational moments. No one will know how much you're scribing but you. There is still time for many summer memories outside of the pages of a book.

      Are any of these strategies ones you use already? What else helps you write in the summertime?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

3 Ways your Writing can Benefit from a Bad Day

Of course we'd all like perfect days in which to do life and in which to fit writing. Because shouldn't one make sure everything is going smoothly before trying to fit in something else? I don't believe so.

We can't control whether all of the conditions are ideal, but we can control how we respond to any conditions we find ourselves in. Responding with creativity is the best way to turn things around. And a bad day often makes the best creative fodder.
Here are the 3 ways your writing can benefit from a bad day:

1. It gives you believable characters.

A bad day makes you able to empathize with your characters. No one's life is perfect and writing about perfect lives is boring. We know what we know, but we also write about people different from ourselves. We need a broad range of experiences to give to these characters to bring them to life in order to resonate with readers. If one of your developing characters now gets put into your bad day situation, you can think through their response to it and work it into the storyline. A believable character is one who faces situations we can see ourselves facing and has human responses to them.

2. It can serve as a good read for someone else.

For your own benefit, writing your bad day onto paper serves to give you some distance. For others, it can be entertainment. Whether you write it humorously or poignantly, it can serve as a good read for someone else (who may well be escaping his or her own bad day) Good for you -- helping your readers out! A great story is one you can sink into. Readers who have this experience will be back for more.

3. Your writing will benefit from a production boost if you use it as a distraction technique.

Sometimes you'll need a break from whatever was going on that made it a bad day. Writing is the perfect fix. Getting into someone else's story is the exact opposite of minding your own business and it's a great break from reality. Your word count will thank you.

Sometimes a little rain is good for your art in a way that nothing else is. Benefit from it and then move on and have a great day tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

the next book's homestretch

tackled laundry mountain on my snow day.
released another finished short story to my reading team.
googled story research -- this morning -- what would be the typical heart rate of someone on life support?
this week is about getting my cover finalized in preparation for the new book's release in the next few months.
keep an eye on the blog for the countdown.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

fitting in words wherever they fit

fitting in words on my lunch break. updates: did join after all (thanks, sue for the good advice) just finished Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen and am re-reading A Moveable Feast -- both of which have not yet been recorded on the aforementioned GR. my office is decorated with quotes to work by and my Christmas gift from little c (who cut up a spotted webkinz and one of d's socks to craft his take on an etsy staple -- you know I love it :) if you have writer's block -- might I recommend "birthday cake tea" by David's Tea? (one of my co-workers got me hooked a few years ago -- it's like drinking dessert minus the calories) A note for you if you're located in the Fraser Valley and have thought of blogging but haven't been able to set aside the time to learn and set your blog up. Come to Blogging 101: we'll get you set-up, ready to go, and help you stock-pile posts. Because who has time for anything more complicated?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

task delegation

having the short story collection and novel both in progress right now is so back and forth. as soon as i get in a bit deep to one, the other makes a siren call. it could be a subconcious procrastination, but words are getting to page so i'm not going to mess with the process. so think deadline doubled. i'm going to hang up the novel outline this weekend so i can try and trick my typing brain into just focusing on it for a while.

to stay on task, i'll let the kids make the important household decisions like groceries ;) hopefully the asian apples at list end save us from scurvy

d is already in bed reading from his great big stack of books i bought today (his and her stacks because the thrift store was doing 50% off the reading materials. if you don't hear from us for a while that's why ;) i'm off to read, then sleep, then write.

enjoy your weekend

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

the season of comfort foods and hand stitching

comfort food courtesy of papa murphy's, local egg farmers, impulse pasta sauce purchase (selected the same sophisticated way i buy wine -- for the cute label ;), hand stitched home sweet home, photo capture of the coexist of knitting & boy tech entertainment

remember my theory about crafting reducing stress? well it works for people in really stressful situations too. like this. love the implications of that. creativity is something we can tap into, no matter who we are. often, having limited resources (even if it's just the nature stuff outside) is the catalyst for such projects. so if we learn the skill and teach it to our children and those we minister to, each will have another avenue of self care. every little thing, even hand stitching, has its important place in the big picture of life.

i am struck afresh at how our job today is like every day's: no matter the circumstance -- it is an opportunity to live out love, to walk away from the events that play out with a clear conscience, knowing you did not add to another's pain or heap more on your own. love covers everything and sharing life's hard stuff spreads it over more shoulders and lessens the burdens among us. look for your way to love today.

yesterday's short story (titled "OK every second day") went in to my favorite reader late in the day. I'm working on the remaining ones like I read books (one on top of another) perhaps they will wrap up like the books did on sunday (three within 40 minutes) one can hope.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

snippets of conversation and weekend

the big deal school fundraiser of the year behind us
cue funny from d and i's conversation the other day:
me: i like my life. it's a good one
d: if you like volunteering

ha ha.
i do. and am besotted with my kids' school so it's all good.
that said, i am gearing up for a whole bunch of short story collection wrap-up that's been on the back burner. and you know i am itching to break out the Christmas celebrating
(minus the seasonal snow shovelling)

i love that at the garage sale part of yesterday's fundraiser, my big and middle boys manned stations and my friend monica who knows the way to my heart is taking my littlest off my hands for a little while and i got to hang out at the same station.
middle boy also made my retro crafty heart swell with his purchases (can of random spray paint, little girl's bike he revisioned as a little trick bike, and a burl wood clock for his bedroom)

off to sunday with d, recharged by coffee with my blond sister, and before that my church girlfriends this morning. writing time to commence in 17 hours...

self made necklace du jour (as part of Friday's night relaxing agenda)
steps for the interested
1. deem one of your favorite teatowels too wide
2. cut 1 cm wide strips
3. cut out of them 8 cm lengths
4. knot in succession
5. tie to costume pearl strand with extra pieces
6. pin on vintage brooch to finish

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

my 6 year old is sure he's in his early twenties

no other way to explain his room that can't wait to grow up

it started with the IKEA poster of the Eiffel tower (and that he is certain we are all going to Paris in celebration of his 10th birthday in 4 years ;) my blond sister gave to me which he nabbed and then painted on to the wall (yes paint as glue with the edge hanging an inch off the corner) i looked the other way as to keep on ♥ing him ;)

then he moved in many of the older members of family's books and arranged them in big stacks under his window. i assumed it was for atmosphere more than use

then he took my newly acquired antique typewriter up a floor and put it atop an overturned plastic bin and drafted many first drafts of either lengthy correspondence or a first novel.

and when i came in to check on him the other night, i realized he had fallen asleep by way of a much too old read.

but you cannot smirk when you tell him. he takes his scholarly life very seriously ;)
another writing day closer to short story collection deadline. not enough progress to brag but enough to not feel panicked.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

regular nice is just as good as special nice

the house is quiet and actually picked up for once
the story collection details are waiting in one of my favorite readers' inbox
and i have a new book to read in bed.
wednesday, you're too good to me
adorable vintage tea towel a thrifty chick find

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

the writing's on the wall

i was in the steamy bathroom last night and realized someone had left a secret message on the mirror. checking the angles like a detective revealed it read "I love Mrs.B" so it turns out i'm not the only one who admires little c's teacher ;)

that little c, who has been losing teeth left and right, but has too many older brothers to believe in the tooth fairy, still hasn't cashed in his second one. guess he's waiting for an occasion he needs funds. what he has been doing though is reading -- tons -- and he is loathe to do it without an audience ;) finally he told me it was ok if i listened with my eyes closed. (must review that slacker mom manual again so i don't feel bad)

more progress on the short story collection today -- the nuts and bolts of it. i'd drop more hints about them, but i'm off to watch telly with d and stitch things because i'm exciting like that ;)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

back to life, back to reality

you know how when your kid has a birthday and you start throwing parties, it never seems to stop. (friends, dad's side of the family, mom's side of the family...) well, we're done now and it was fun and the boy is officially ten.
on to other stuff.
which is probably something to do with the kids' school
but when it isn't, will be that office worker at the company golf tournament story that is refusing to wrap up
good news though, the end of the short story collection is in sight.
will keep you posted
2 thrifty chicks sourced typewriter i love

Thursday, October 21, 2010

surprisingly, more golf. not surprisingly, more pink

this afternoon i sat on one of those little grade one chairs in my new pink hurt my friend heather's feet so i inherited them shoes and stapled papers and mac tac-ed books as parent helper and tried not to shout out "i love my kids' school!" as little c's teacher taught the kids more reading and writing tricks while including everybody and making them all feel so smart and on top of things. and they were.

along with my not shouting restraint, i did not ask her what she orders at starbucks even though i want to know because i suspect it might be triple shot worthy (in asking, i run the risk of finding out she drinks zen green tea & is naturally that bubbly and energetic so really not wanting to know ;)

last night those girls i recently golfed with and i hit the driving range to pretend we are dedicated to improving our game. it's ok that wine and appys after took twice the time of the actual ball hitting, right? ;) we are thinking of calling this our fall league to make it official. going out to golf in winter might be a bit obvious, but i'm sure we will think of something. indoor play, perhaps? anyone have a source?

sometimes the day job and the PTAesque lady gig digs into my writing energy. tonight is one of those times. not above bribing myself with some scrapbooking and a overly bubbled late night bubble bath. so that's what i'm going to do. hopefully the stories don't turn out too girlie as that would be a bit ackward for office guy as i wrap up his.

Monday, October 18, 2010

the best laid plans of room painters and storytellers

it's been this kind of weekend -- a big fat emergency room allergic reaction for the 6 year old right in the middle of painting his room tropical holiday blue.
so we're in a bit of disarray, but the stories are still getting to page and he's on the mend. and i think i've earned the right to sit down and read a bit. the out of place house can wait.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

hello artsy thursday

the kind of fall day that begs for mini pumpkin pies and plenty of coffee
and the kids collecting rock eggs in old egg cartons and painting them and a bit of my kitchen floor (i still haven't finished it myself so it's ok ;) and then picking up pretty bits of nature to display in my glassware to make up for it
the rock painting and mural creating bought me a bit of time to transform the kind of thing people throw away into something keepish (steps for the interested below)
and a bit more narrative on the short story du jour (today the main character went to work lunch and out for drinks after so he is probably short of money by now)

the steps to your own coffee house art:

1. pressed wood dated art is easy to cover with a coat of paint and already has hangers on the back if you don't feel like propping (if you use paint you have used all over your house like i did, it's an instant match with decor and faster than shopping and agonizing for a color direction)
2. google art images for one to copy. i started out trying for a starbucks mural look but it quickly diverged into something messier. you know your taste. layer til you find it. (if you are not a freehand art-er, cut out quotes in large black printed script and use wet paint surface to position and glue)
tip (blobbing paint and then sitting to dry flat for half the time and stand up for the other makes a last minute drippy effect)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

when you are a scavenger

of ideas and inspiration and just plain stuff.

you are likely to spend mid-day with a good friend thrifting for vintage hair jewels,
scoop all the skirt hangers you desperately need from the free bin outside the clothes shoppe next to your coffee depot,
and spot a cute trend you're employing next on the garbageman hanging off the truck in front of you.
while pondering the next moves of your au current story characters (a super dependable housewife in the novel and entry level office boy in the short story)

it's not for everyone, but i like it.

Monday, October 04, 2010

how to win "most swings" at your local golf tournament

yes, i am that accomplished ;)
there was a reason my golf game is so hilarious to d.
turns out, it's hilarious to me too
kudos to my cute blond team for putting up with me
especially lori who would yell "good job" for any shot, no matter how repeated.
let's just say d will be getting more golf balls in his stocking for Christmas

it's a monday with a writing slot in it. i'm just warning you, it could be a sporty story.

Monday, September 27, 2010

charming paper crafts

i don't believe in hiding from my kids my occasional weekend cigar, but for those of you who do, i think we can both agree that you will never look over at your littlest in church (where he was on top of his sitting still game) and find him drawing this sweet picture of you. ;)

speaking of charming paper crafts, i almost accidentally recycled this hand weapon the other day until i saw what it was. love the kind you know they can't whack their brother over the head with if things get heated.

finally have the edits into lorene's fabulous book project. summer put a damper on my productivity like nobody's business. fall is so much more accomodating. pjs, coffees, and more dark hours within to write. the short story collection is getting ahead of the increasingly complex novel so i'm guessing that will be released first. you know i'm going to turn the tables on lorene (don't worry, she told me i could) and ask for some editor eyes on it first.

that said, i am going to have a promotion for pre-buyers so make sure i have your name and contact info if you are interested in an upcoming copy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

move along, there's nothing to look at

writing is not speeding along today. i'm blaming my sore right index finger. (it might even be my dominate typing hand if there is such a thing) remember when i was giggling at my adorable cousin for getting injured during step aerobics? well, i just got mine.

my finger was nearly sliced in half through the nail down horizontally while i was making my bed. (right before bed because it does not make sense to me to make it after you get out of it -- who's going to enjoy that? ;)
not even kidding. (even sadder was that it was so bad it actually required pain meds) my finger got stuck in a small loose thread in the middle of the quilt and i only felt a small pull & without looking pulled it loose so fast that the string cut down through the nail into the finger. nope, i'm not including a pic of that (besides the fact that i'm only a fan of pretty pics, i don't have the stomach for checking it out myself) d looked at it last night as he was wrapping it up and when i asked him to look at it this morning, he said he couldn't ;) it grossed him out enough yesterday.

anyone ever have a similar injury? i contemplated going to the doctor's, but can't imagine what treatment would be -- it's not like you can stitch through nail bed.

to distract myself, i'm reading and indulged in mid-day chinese takeout with my mom (who better to make one feel better?)

once i get my fictional couple out of therapy, i'm sure the next one will have an industrial accident. because i'm cheery like that.

Monday, May 10, 2010

didn't we just start a work week just a second ago?

because it totally feels like that.
ok, i am craving summer and its long days of nothing. not because i won't have to work, but because it won't feel like work with everyone around doing their relaxed thing.

i so know that by the end of it i will be looking forward to back to school and then Christmas.

it's all part of anticipating the seasons -- a healthy checking out the greener grass in your own life, drawing on memories from seasons past to make it more intense.

and i've been looking through our scrapbooks and the summers with the beaching just jump right out ;)

off to make lunches now. will write part of that ongoing story right before i head out on the kindergartener's mother's tea.

if you're not laying on the beach, i wish you a cozy day instead.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

one step closer to crafting dryer lint

plastic bag craft flower
scrapbook page featuring kid art
ok, still haven't thought of something to incorporate dryer lint into (i take my eco-girl identity seriously ;) but i might have found a solution to the world's plastic bag problem if what it needs instead is millions of little plastic bag flower embellishments ;)
it's been a busy fiction submission couple of days. working on the third in two days -- the one that was previously not being cooperative. sometimes it's good to set it sit tight while you work on other stories and craft away. my newest page was inspired by C.D Muckosky's page in Creating Keepsakes january 2008 issue. i don't usually use idea books, but i loved the background graphics and went from there.