This year, I decided I would write every day – and it didn’t matter if it was 5 words of fiction or 5,000, as long as it was every single day. No, I didn’t decide this on January 1st; that would have been far too convenient. I decided to do it on January 18th, right as I was in the middle of working on the pantry turnover project.
(Every year, I put a sticker on each and every item in the pantry. This way, I not only go through the entire thing, but I also get to see exactly what is still stickered from a year ago, and hasn’t been used yet. It leads to a month+ of interesting one-off meals, using up oddball ingredients, along with much lower grocery bills for the duration, organized pantries, and the sincere but unkept vow not to have so much “Oh! I want to try that!” that I never got to next year.)
This is relevant because this year I got a pack of gold star stickers for the pantry, and ended up with almost 500 excess gold star stickers. Having them right there, I resolved there was no time to start like the present, and put up the gag-gift wall calendar (shirtless men in kilts, with sayings like “Once you go plaid you’ll never be sad”), and started giving myself a gold star every day I managed to write at least 5 words of fiction.
For those of you rolling your eyes or laughing at the mental image, hey, writing may be serious business, but no one said we had to take it seriously!
I was invited to an anthology.
No, that’s not quite right. I looked up from my food, as Jim Curtis said, “You need to write more.”
I cleverly replied, “What?” He looked at me. I looked at him. “Uh… I haven’t gotten the latest chapter to you to beta, but I am working on it…”
“No, I need you to write something 8,000 words.”
“Jim, I haven’t figured out how to write a sequel, and you want me to learn to write a short story?”
“Yep. I’ll shoot you the anthology contract.” Read more
At what point do you cease having allergies, and allergies have you? Three years after moving to Texas, I’d gone from living in a happy, healthy environment to having a wide range of local things I’m allergic to (including mesquite, cedar, cottonwood, and pecan pollen.) I’m running out of biomes for living.
When people ask “Are you a pantser or a plotter”, they often speak of pantsing as though it was a very linear thing – that you start with a beginning and write through to the end, accreting story and meandering around until you somehow end up with a plot in retrospect.
This is not the only way to pants. In fact, following a plot from beginning to end isn’t the only way to do it, either. As Kipling wrote, “There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays, and every single one is right!” (In the Neolithic Age) Read more
Not really secret, given he posted it on Facebook… but on the other hand, Facebook is the prime example of unsearchable kludgely software that is designed to stimulate outrage and make it impossible to easily find or carry on a normal conversation.
So, cheerfully saved here, in order to find it later!
January 23, 2018
I’m editing House of Assassins now, and I got to thinking about a trick I do. Maybe this will help aspiring writers. Read more
My darling husband sent me an article (can’t find it again! Drat, where did it go?) on the link between ADHD symptoms and asthma medication. Which I kind of knew – I mean, watch small children right after their “bedtime” breathing treatment leaves them rocketing around the house.
But I hadn’t applied that to my own condition. It’s been a little over a year since I started treating the steadily worsening asthma… and while I knew the writing had gone away as the asthma got worse, I hadn’t thought about why it was so very fitful when it came back. Read more
Yes, the shaking. Back when I was a young pilot in Alaska, so new eggshell was still stuck behind my ears, I got myself into a situation that I just barely had enough skill to get myself out of. (Luck played an important part in that, and the grace of G-d, as well as training.)
After the airplane was no longer trying to become one with the most firma terra, after I’d flown home, after the airplane was parked and tied down (for the elements and the machine will never stop trying to kill you, until the flight is fully finished), I sat down and shook. For almost an hour.
Later, when talking to a mentor who’s been there and done that has worn out the stack of t-shirts, I was rather shamefaced and chagrined at the whole thing – and quite embarrassed at shaking like the last leaf still stuck on a tree in an artic gale ripping through the pass at over a hundred knots. And he said, very gently, “It’s all right to shake, after it’s over. It’s normal. It’s… everybody does that, girl. The key is – after it’s over. Do what you have to do, and then shake and scream and cry and cuss afterwards. Nobody who’s been there is going to look down on you for that.”
So… 2019. Yeah, it’s pretty much all over but the shaking, the after-action review, and the paperwork. Speaking of, 4th quarter taxes are due on Jan 15.