Tuesday, December 22, 2015

TO DO or not.

"Writers should not make TO DO lists"
 – what?  Gasp!  This can’t be right.  I almost close the book that suggests this, but I have agreed with much of what the author has said to this point.  I’ll keep reading.   

A bit of background; I believe in TO DO lists. I start my day by making a list.  TO DO lists can be wonderful for simple endeavors – laundry is laundry and if it is on my list then folding the last clean item and putting it in the drawer means I can cross laundry off my list.  Simple.  I use my lists for more complex goals as well.  And I monitor how well they work.  And they do work for me.  So I doubt that I will swear off them, but I read on. 

“You can all but feel a whip being cracked at your rear, can’t you? (When faced with a To Do list) Instead, set yourself up with daily intentions…” 

Hmmm, I think.  Are they not the same thing?  But as I read the different examples of a TO DO list and a list of intentions I begin to understand.  The difference lies in the intensity and achievability.  And there is a good point being made about the creative process.  Creativity does poorly in response to the pressure of hard and fast goals. The intention list serves as a friendly nudge in the right direction.    

So, I am happy I can still use lists but I will switch to a kinder and gentler list of intentions to help me fill the empty page. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

After NaNoWrMo

The month of November, aka NaNoWrMo, is over.  Despite my ambitions, I didn’t write a novel.  However, I had some successes.  My final word total was 25,000.  Congratulations me.    I have paragraphs and chapters that reached the page!  I call these my daydreams that made good.   I have to also feel pleased that I kept at it, long after I knew the month long blitz had some major drawbacks.    
For my readers that were also on the same trajectory, what about you?  What was your final word total?  Congratulations.  What else?  What accomplishments can you claim?    

I always consider self-discovery a success.   I tested my belief that I would find it difficult to give up if I told people my plans.  This simple public accountability pushed me through more days of this month that I dreamt possible.  I didn’t want to explain to anyone that I gave up, but in the end, I found the only person that I really didn’t want to disappoint was me.  I said I would give this my effort for November and I did. 
Problems got in the way; I didn’t have as much time as I thought I would.  I was unwell for several days.  This meant I had to modify my expectations; I wasn’t going to meet the word goals.  Then I became overwhelmed with the very idea of writing a novel, of handling all the story lines that I had begun.  I had to revise my goals again.  I would write what I could, perhaps a decent outline and several chapters; a more realistic goal.   I discovered the real challenge; to work through the problems. 

So now I know that I rebel against word count goals, and forcing myself to produce.  That’s useful information.  Also I have mixed feelings about competing.  Plus, I know that this attempt at a novel never gave me the same buzz that I get from writing a short story.  That doesn’t mean it was wrong to try.  At the end of the month, I was convinced that novel writing was not for me, but since then I have come to question other aspects of my experience such as the pace of the contest.  Perhaps I will write a novel in the future.  I’m reserving judgement on this aspect, while happily returning to a short story project, with no timeline/deadline at all. 
During this past month, I had breakthroughs.  I discovered a degree of dedication beyond my normal levels.   I found new pockets of time for writing.  I experimented with different approaches to the page.  Part of my preparations for November involved cue cards with writing prompts both familiar and new.  They were very useful.  I am sensing other ways to be more successful in the future.  It might be more helpful to my process to think of story arcs, or character development, instead of word goals.  Creativity is fluid, and while I can help by writing daily and other writer support habits, I can’t pressure myself.  I do best by approaching my writing with a sense of curiosity. 
Are there story elements that came out of my November writing that I will take forward?  I’d like to think that certain characters are more real to me and are about to tell me their story, but I don’t know that.  In the meantime, I’m on a different project.  Perhaps some of my November writing will sneak into it.   

So I and you might not have written a novel this month but this does not mean that the novel-in-a-month experiment has failed.  We write.  We learn.  We go on.  


Friday, November 27, 2015

Thinking Like an Author

Learning to write involves thinking like an author.  So I certainly find author interviews to be good reading. Good too, are essays about writing.  There are clues to be found.  How does this author think?  Is there something that clicks for me? 
The other day I read a very short article about the choice of subject matter for two recently published novels.  One story involves suicide and the author's life pointed directly to her exploring the subject.  How could she not write about it? She stated and I could see her point, she had lost two close family members to suicide. 
Often an author is told to write about their own life. 
The second involved a news clip that took root in the author's brain and evolved into the novel.  A bear attack that left two people dead became the story of what happens to the two children of a similar incident. 

This is a familiar method - one that is found in many how-to write article. Watch the news.
I like to experiment with different ways to get the story out.  And I know that I have written on subjects that have happened to me and I have used news clips as a source of inspiration.  And I will again.
Which leads me to think that I do think like an author.  An author is always looking for clues and inspiration.  Perfect.  Being an author is being a lifetime learner.    And that never gets old and I'm  never bored. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Write Now

The best way to focus on the task is to avoid distractions.  I give my writing full attention by following (as often as possible) these tips.
Guard the work/writing time.  Respect it and bring attention to it. 
Schedule writing time first.  It is an appointment that you keep. 
Schedule distracting duties second, but keep those appointments as well, your life has to happen too.   
Use lists.
Establish the supporting habits that help.

Friday, October 23, 2015

About Those Intentions

In a capsule form - Intentions need attention. 

Forming the intention almost doubles the chances that you will follow through.  Explicit Intentions, I believe makes the odds even better.  After breakfast, by 2:00, etc is an example of explicit intentions, sometime soon is not.  Tomorrow obviously is a slippery one, it can be explicit and it can be vague.  My examples are about time but there is other explicitness that comes into play.  To catch up with housework leaves the field open for distractions, perhaps it is the bathrooms that need attention, so do that.  It is easy to slip into an unending version of housework, as you vacuum the rugs and end up sorting though some corner of clutter and the bathrooms wait, while your whole day is gone and supper is about to be take out.  I’m assuming that housework is not your priority every day, although some days it will be.  So form an intention that includes time but also puts an accurate description on the activity chosen. 

Intentions can also come into play when there are problems.  If … then.  If I get tired, then I will persevere.  If I lose focus, then I will move my attention back to the task.  If a lot of things come up that seem to justify not following my intentions...
if I find one thing too difficult....
if I slip up or blow it....
then I will make sure it doesn’t become the new routine by getting back on track as soon as possible. 
I intended to open a file (intention) and give it a rounding out, a polish and publish.  That is to be done before it is time for coffee.  9:50. Done. 







Thursday, October 8, 2015

15 Minute Time Blocks


One thing I have learned; good advice is not just something to read, it is to be done.  Holding my desire to ‘do anything’ that will lead to a more productive self, (less procrastinating) I try to do that very thing.  So one day I read this:  Track your activities in 15-minute increments (or in time blocks, such as morning, afternoon etc.) this will let you see where you are being productive and where time is being wasted. It wasn’t long before I saw that my mornings were pretty well organized.  I had a routine that worked.  I followed it, honoring my intentions fairly well. But in the afternoon, I did not have any schedule at all.  I worked when I was inspired or when I was disgusted with the state of things, or occasionally when the mornings’ project was really, really interesting, I would continue with that.  So I felt that arrangement didn’t feel like it was working all that well.  Then I realized too, that I suffered from a frustration that was quite solvable.  My frustration was boredom essentially.  I wasn’t accomplishing anything, I wasn’t challenging myself, and my wheels were spinning.  Remedy?  See below.


The ability to write and be published depends on some effort.  I’ve managed to do both but lately I am pushing towards a substantially more complex goal than before.  I want to give this (writing thing) a fair shot.  I’m aiming to establish my place in the literary genre.  My reading reflects this, as I have embarked on a self-directed course of study.  First any fiction in the form of short stories is paramount for me to read.  Fiction writing techniques as spelt out by various workbooks, that’s a natural thing for me to do, I’ll always be a student.  But when I realized that my afternoons were open, I found another area that seemed natural for me.  I am now my own agent.  There is no sign painted on my door, but there is effort taking place.  I have an ongoing list of things that I believe will assist me.  And because I found a infrequently used segment of time, I do this in the afternoon.  FYI – I’m a writer in the morning, every morning.  I’m a student, or an agent, or a writer in the afternoon, every afternoon, for at least an hour.  It’s working.  Sweet. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Writing and the Alternate Activities that Lead to Procrastination

What about these alternate activities?  They are the ones that come to mind when I think about writing and seem so important that they have to be done first.  Once I’ve got (insert alternate activity here) then I’ll get at the writing, I’ve told myself.  Doesn’t work.  At least not if it is my habitual approach.  Having said that some days are chaotic and the writing has to get squeezed into the day’s corners while the other things take over.

But for the writing to be a priority, it takes some effort.  I have in the past maintained a journal titled Writing as a Priority Action Plan.  It got opened first.  It got notes added to it as the day progressed.  It worked.  So have other methods that I’ve used.  Such as the objective file mentioned in another posting.  And I am sure that I will return to this theme in the future.  Writing on this subject helps to focus my ambitions. 

Again though, I have to ask; What about the alternate activities?  The soup building morning is one example, the catch up with the accounting, the dinner invitations that I extend which means I’m cooking and cleaning, these are on my noble list.  My not so noble list has computer games, dithering about (usually begun by not making a decision about the writing or anything else), plus the occasional dip into mewing and puking into a blanket of doubt. 

Neurotic behavior aside, the alternate activities deserve time too.  Once the priority – writing - has been advanced, other things fit in.  Why?  Knowing that the dream is being advanced makes it easier to face the drudgery. 


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Practice the Craft

It certainly seems that I have not mastered the daily writing routine.  My life isn’t that orderly and perhaps I am not that disciplined.  So I have a number of tricks that help me return to my fiction writing.  One of my favorite tricks is to write about the writing process.  I can explore my writing habits and I can challenge or encourage the processes, depending on the effectiveness.  So that is one way that I get back writing.  Another is to devise exercises for myself, as I describe in this essay.   

“Practice the craft”

My current ‘practice the craft’ exercise concerns the transitional methods that can be used.  A transition is the movement from one thought, one action or one paragraph to another.  I have a list of common and ordinary transitions – after, at first, before long, suddenly, eventually, before and the like. 

The exercise I have devised is to take a short story written by someone else and to list the transitions used.  Then I can examine them. 

How does the transition work for the author’s purpose?  Is it effective? Do I like this?  Are the transitions used similar to each other?  What effect do transitions have on the style or the readability?  What do I think the author is trying to accomplish? 

And then I intend to do the same for one of my stories.  Is there another way?  Is this a place where my story falters?  What new knowledge can I apply? Can I do better as I practice the craft?


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In the Mail

Yesterday's mail included the acceptance of a short story from Prairie Journal.  They are among the very few markets that I send my stories to via the post office but they are Albertan and they treat me well.  Enough said.  The short story that they wish to publish is called 'Second Job'.  And I will share more about it when you can read it from its online home.  This is encouraging!  Back to the keyboard. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

"On the Verge"

My latest published short story is online at  Pif Magazine.  Mine is the second of the two featured macro fictions.  On the Verge began its creation when I read an article about the interview process.  Why I thought that there was a story to be based on this is a wonder.  However, I like this story just fine, no matter where it came from. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Story Placed

If you wondered if anything was happening with my writing world, the answer is yes.  And yes was the answer concerning a story titled "On the Verge."  I will link you to the site as soon as the story is online.  In the meantime, I'm doing the happy writer dance. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Easy To Be Too Busy

And then writing gets shuffled to the back seat.  But wait a minute.  I'm driving this vehicle.  Let's put the writing back where it belongs.  First choice each day.  First priority.  I'm back at it.  One good thing about the too busy to write break I've been on, the ideas and ambition has gathered and is about to spill. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

To Use or to Lose.

It’s a dance, this finding room to write.  And time and the quiet contemplation time that is necessary, to continue the thought, is the music.    

When time to write is granted to me, I do not always write.  If I have chosen not to be impatient and judgmental about how busy and noisy that it has been, or how my day has lead me to a state of exhaustion and I know the heart bottom feeling that my needs do not matter, and how I perhaps have authored this state of affairs I still have to figure out how to write.  Because it is when I can’t stand it any longer, and those few minutes of quiet opens up, I still have to shift my mind to being productive in an actual action now sort of way. 
And while I might start like a jitterbug on the dance floor while the tune is in ¾ time, I am out there and I’m doing something with my time.  It might only be 10 minutes, or it might expand to be a lot more, but it is mine to use.  Or lose. 

Stomp Dance - Miami, Oklahoma
I have to bring forth my ability to be comfortable with the empty screen.  I have to set side of all the possible various projects that make my mind frantic; all of the considerations that clutter my mind until I sway with the music.  For this is the time thing, mine to use or to lose.  And this is the writing thing, finding the rhythm and stepping out onto the floor. 




Saturday, June 20, 2015


I've not enjoyed the joys of a formal advanced education, but I've always been a reader.  And among my treasures in my library is a little book called "Brush up your Shakespeare."  The author entertains and guides me through Shakespeare quotes in a way that expands my mind.  Call it Shakespeare light.  Now I've borrowed 'Shakespeare for Dummies' from the library and find my knowledge of Shakespeare enlarging. 
The thing is essentially, Shakespeare was a writer and as I read the analysis, albeit simple versions that they are, I am reading about his process.  I do not intend to become a scholar of the bard but I have come upon a method to use as I generate my fiction. 
Act I - Writer gets an idea and begins to use it.  Act II - Writer understands more of what makes fiction work.  And Act III - Writer works at this.
What Light through Yonder Window Breaks?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Writers Gather

Lloydminster Reads had an evening with Gail Bowen on Monday evening and our writer's group travelled to enjoy the event.  This is my third time I have attended and I'm starting to recognize the audience.  Who are we?  I venture this guess.  A segment will be avid readers, another will be people involved with book sales or the library world.  And the third will be writers.  Writers working at their projects.  Writers hoping for inspiration.  Writers who have yet to commit to the actual work of writing.  Writers who have published, writers who have not.  Writers who cherish the dream, writers who struggle with the reality.  And we gather. 
Gail Bowen is also the host of a writer's workshop and a book signing at the local bookstore.  This busy lady and prolific writer entertained us, and for this writer and many more, inspired us.  Thank you Gail.  And thank you also for the great writer's group activity, Linda, Ruth and Cheryl.  Onward

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Being in Fiction Mode

I'm always in the preparation mode for fiction, because there are always stories.  You just have to look around.  Observation is the crucial ingredient.  But making a mental note of a character quirk is not writing fiction.  And coming up with a apt description of behavior or appearance isn't writing fiction either.  On the other hand, those mental notes can come forward the next time the fingers are poised over the keyboard.  In the end, I can gather all I want.  I can mull over thoughts, and I can garner real tidbits from people around me.  The preparation time for fiction includes all types and sorts of preparation but has to include keyboard time.  Simply put,  as an long ago writing mentor used to say, something has to happen. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Novel Thinking

To write a novel is writing, just like writing a short story.  Or so I thought.  Truth of the matter is, I'm going to have to think differently to make progress on the novel.  So be it.  I have to back up a little bit and train my mind to think long, instead of short.  I have to expand my vision and reach deeper and wider and broader.  I have been able to learn the mechanics of short stories, so this is the same idea, learn the mechanics.  Delight a little in the bigger playground.  Reach.  Grow.  Go forward. 
This year the tulips look a little sparse, but as they multiply they will fill in. 
Like a novel will, as I give it time and attention. 
Thanks for the tulip bulbs and the friendship and support, Linda. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Writing Stages

All of writing is a stage.
Yes, it is a little play on Shakespeare but indulge me as I continue.  This writer has the stage of discontent, usually when I am between projects, or I am slugging it through to the end of a project.  This stage has to be the darkest. 
Then there is the stage of anticipation.  There is a glimmer or a scent that I follow, stumbling along.  I find encouragement in these tentative first steps.  The urge to write is brightening the set. 
Along comes the most important stage – the stage of commitment.  Yes.  I will. 
Discovery follows.  This stage is populated by a pair of actors in dialogue.  One actor is decision, the other is development and between the two of them, a story line emerges.   And the immersion and the epiphany and the delight.  The exciting part of writing is here in this stage.  Not to mention the fulfillment that follows.  Take a bow, I say and then…

Exit the stage and get ready to repeat. 



Monday, May 11, 2015

No Break From Writing

Apparently a rest is not what I needed at all.  Welcome back to my readers.  There will be no break and right away there will be more postings. 

The first thing that happened when I contemplated a break from writing is that I felt worse.  Stressors multiplied, solutions eluded me.  I turned inwards with sorrow and I turned outward with blame.  To put it bluntly, things went for ‘shite’. 

Writing is the answer for me.  So just like the patient who is sorry they went off their meds and returns sheepishly to their doctor, I’m back. 

And my advice to myself – when something works, don’t quit it. 

Monday, April 27, 2015


I’ve been guilty of drifting away from the things that work for me.  Why this happens is a mystery.  Well, I’m back using the ‘cure’ that is known as the Action Plan Book which is a blank paged journal.  More than a list, although lists are involved, the action plan adds in the important element of time.  I have a five day plan underway.  April 25-April 30.  I have three goals, well stated and defined; two writing goals and one health-related goal.  And I will review each day as to my success.  I want 100% achievement but realistically I will be more than happy with any improvement over my current levels.  The journal will mark my progress. 

There are days when I don’t know whether writing is the problem or the solution, the condition that I struggle with or a choice that brings me great joy.  I guess it can be all of these, but eventually the blocked writer disease must be managed.  There’s no bottle of pills but there are starting points.  One point is to forget about results, but to focus on the process. 
Every skill requires some review, some additional training and the renewed enthusiasm to attend to the work of it.  I’m in retrain mode, and I’m back using my best tools. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Fear - Plain and Simple

The concept is sound, I thought.  I would use April to launch my novel writing project.  Now April 20, 2015, I am less sure.  The outcome is not what I expected.  The plan that I expected to outline hasn’t happened.  The start point has not emerged.  Planning may just well be another term for procrastination. 

I know what’s going on.  It’s fear – plain and simple that has me stalled.  And the cure for that is to begin.  I have no plan but I don’t need one.  Many of my stories have been written without a plan as I use the D&D method.  Discovery and Decisions in turn has served me well in the past.  And many of my stories have been written without a plan. 

One of my writer friends describes writing as involving bum glue -place butt in chair in front of the writing project and work.  I have heard the advice ‘Stay in the room’ -work through the difficulties.  So here I go:  in the room and on the chair.   

Sunday, April 12, 2015

More From April

I’ve taken on some large projects concerning my writing lately.  And one of the things that I’ve discovered is that there is a maximum duration for my enthusiasm.  I am a sucker for variety and the next new idea, so ideally I would have a plan that would provide me with those very things.  Unfortunately the moment I might tire of something is a little hard to predict. 
If slow and steady wins the race, what does moodiness and impulsiveness bring you? 
If I am going to reach my writing goals, I have to understand my weaknesses but I also have to become stronger as well.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I might be approaching this from the wrong direction.  I do not need a plan to avoid the enthusiasm slumps.  I need a plan to push my way through or discover a creative way to let the project pull me along.  Others have managed this, so can I.  I hope to put my enthusiasm duration on a graph and while there will be ups and downs; I want the line to stay above zero.  Onward.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Plans

What will I do next?  It’s March 31, 2015 and I have pushed myself to complete two big projects so that I can devote my time to a new venture.   But poised and eager as I am on this threshold, I am unsure of my next step. 

It seems to me that I need to think about this quite seriously.  My new venture is a novel.  And novels are big. 

I need a way to finish this sentence…. I am going to….

I am going to …write the ending first?  Develop a set of characters that I simply follow? 

I am going to….decide on the theme?  Plot line? 

I need to figure this out.  And then there is the biggest question of all. 

How exactly will I manage to write a whole novel? 
My past record doesn’t go all the way around the track.  I have several fat files; 20,000 words in one, 14,000 words in another and yet a third that is filled with completed exercises from a novel writing how to book.   The 20,000 word file might be called a novel if you wanted to be kind, but really it is not an example of how I can do this. 

I know this is out of my comfort zone, I know there are no easy answers.  And yet when I sat down for my writing time this morning, I sort of expected some words to flow.  At the very least I expected a plan to formulate on the page.  And then I recognized the bad habit of too high expectations had sat down with me.  The remedy for that it to remind myself that it’s okay not to know. 

Everything is not about going forward and I need time to figure this out.  I need prep time.  I need to consider the mechanics of this.  I need time to consider the inspiration sources.  I need April in which to ponder. 




Wednesday, March 25, 2015

When Projects Overlap

Since I have trained myself to follow through with goals, I am currently in the position of having a number of writing projects on the go.  I am used to this, but I don't necessarily think it is the most productive option.  So I am enjoying the revelation that they can overlap.  So my short story collection, written by John Updike, that I am using as a model for my own short stories has now become a resource for my novel project.  I've discovered that writers, including me, make connection between random ideas and that the mind holds many surprises.  Love it. 
Reports are that the Robins are back!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

New Project Growth

It hasn't been as productive a week as I'd hoped but while I wasn't sitting at home writing, I was catching up with friends and family.  Today, however, I am back at the keyboard.  And I have taken my little seed of an idea and now there are a couple of green leaves coming out of the soil.  That particular metaphor was easy as I have started some plants this year and that is exactly the stage my gardening project is at. 

This seed sprouting metaphor should tell you that I'm not the type of writer that does a lot of pre-plotting.  I have called my style of composition to be discovery and development.  So I have discovered the 'first thing' that happens.  I will develop that as I write.  But the good news is that the 'first thing' is large enough to carry the weight of a novel. 

Monday, March 16, 2015


I am pretty excited about a new project.  It's too soon to share, but I have begun and the idea meets all my criteria.  First it will be a challenge, second it will incorporate many elements that interest me, and third -it's a novel approach.  I'm ready.  It's started.  Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Prairie Journal - Forty Pounds

Just a note to anyone that wishes to read my short story 'Forty Pounds' at Prairie Journal.  You have to wait for the site to fully load before you will be able to get to my story.  So if you click on my name, and all you see is a blue menu with {title} then check to be sure that the whirling circle still isn't spinning.  But if the site is fully available it should read Forty Pounds and Bio.  As I said, sometimes it seems there are technical difficulties. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

97, 98, 99.....

I'm about to hit 100 submissions that have gone through the Submittable manager website.  Not every market that I submit to uses Submittable but a large percentage do.  It's pretty cool, actually.  It keeps track of things for the writer.  I can see whether my stories are marked as 'received' or 'in progress' at the active page, which lists my stories that are in the market place waiting for the editors to make up their minds.  My accepted list is rather short, my rejected list sincerely long, but just for kicks, I checked out the All page.  And there it was ...99.  That's the number of submissions I have made through this site since 2010.  I would have to dig into my records at home to add in the submissions made to other markets but for now, I think 99 is a pretty awesome record. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

In The Mail

I have mailed my entry to Alberta Views, with a kiss for luck and a stamp that cost me $1.90.  I'm tempted to add up the hours that I've worked on this particular story, but I think that's rather a bad idea. There were lots, but if I ever had any doubts about 'caring' for a piece of writing, this story proved that I care lots.  It features a World War 11 veteran in the year of 1999 and was inspired my Uncle Ralph's comment about money not being allowed in the extended care.  The rest of the story...well who really knows where stories come from. 
I certainly gave it my best efforts, including vetting it with my two writer friends, (thank you again Cheryl and Linda) and even letting my husband read it.  He's really excellent at finding the tiny spelling errors and sure enough, page 10 had one.  Nice catch.  So it's the best I could make it and it's sent.  On to the next thing. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Alberta Views Short Story Contest

Some time ago, I promised myself that I would enter Alberta Views Short Story Contest each year.  Which I have done.  The entry fee gives you a year subscription to the magazine so it's a win-win deal.  On Thursday, at the close of a writing project, I decided it was time to pick out my entry for 2015.  It had to be a story under 3000 words and one that isn't at any markets currently. 
I thought I would be choosing a story from the first draft files.  I would have to revise and polish until I was satisfied, but the hardest part (the first draft) would be done.  But I've chosen a story I wrote some 15 years ago from the days when I wasn't aggressively marketing.  I still have to revise and polish until I am satisfied.  I've learnt a bit about writing since this story was new and I think it will be interesting to see how it turns out. 
Tip - if you are entering a contest do it as soon as you can.  The judges have fresh eyes for the first stories submitted. 
Good luck to me! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Under the Gibbous Moon

What happens next is the question I sometimes ask myself while writing fiction.  Discovering the answer can be surprising.  That’s one of the joys of writing. 

Now what happened next after my post of enthusiasm deficit is not fiction but still quite surprising. 


I was in a slump but I did what I could to take stock with my ‘model the master story tellers’ project and distill a new technique to go forward.  It was coming together but I still felt like I needed more time to read and think.  Then a random, small item about the moon surfaced in my reading.   It named eight phases of the lunar orbit and coupled those with eight directives, not unlike horoscope capsule advice in nature.  With nothing better to think about I found that the moon was at the time in the Gibbous phase and to my surprise, I was 100% following the directives listed. 


GIBBOUS – analysis to determine what is needed in order to advance, attention to technique.   


And the full moon which follows the Gibbous phase has been assigned this directive. 


FULL - receptivity, the need to be flexible and fulfill the structural patterns laid down in the previous phase, the form giving way to content.


Sometimes my vague sense of direction is given words and wings but did the Gibbous moon have anything to do with it?  Hmmm.         


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Coming Soon - The Full Moon

No.  I'm not spouting juvenile poetry.  I do have an essay about the Gibbous moon that speaks to my last two posts.  It's not quite finished or I'd post it now.  Suffice it to say that the caring is always a good idea and the enthusiasm deficit is now a surplus.  (I hated to leave my readers wondering about my mood!  You weren't worried, were you?) 
By the way - at the bottom of this post is a line that says - No Comments.  Click on that spot and you can leave a comment!  Love to hear from you. 
we've got snow again!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Suffering an Enthusiasm Deficit

The title says it all, doesn't it? 
Sometimes it happens.  The good idea requires work and I'm feeling lazy.  So what am I to do?  Well, I took a few moments to see what I realistically expected out of myself.  There are factors to this little slow-down.  It's winter.  I have less quality writing time.  I seem to be a little less than 100% healthy. So okay.  Those are factors. 
Then I listed some potential solutions to these doldrums. 
I have accomplished quite a lot lately, so I gave myself some praise for that.  I also wondered if I was bored with my approach to writing.  Well, variety has always been the answer to boredom, so I generated a few new ideas to help me reach my writing goals. And I made some phone calls and sent a couple of emails to people I have neglected.  I took a nap.  I wrote this.  And then I felt a bit more enthusiasm. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

A New Level of Care - Writer's Process

 I undertook a little experiment three months ago.  I began to write my short stories with a   Countdown Method.   Day one’s work was titled with (10) as part of the file name.  Moving to day two, the story then became titled with (9) and so forth.  This has proved to keep me moving along.  Decisions had to be made as well as progress because by the time I get to (1), I wanted to have completed the first draft of the story.  It has worked for four stories, which is a significant success. 
Today I have launched a new experiment.  Each day I intend to write a statement that expresses my heart’s involvement with the story.  A sentence or paragraph titled -Why I Care.  Sometimes I can be detached from my writing.  I want that to change.  I want to be less ‘look at me, I’m writing’ and more ‘this is the birth and I am the midwife.’   
Reports will be made.  
Looking to the heart of things


Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Market List Fluctuates

Towards the end of each month in 2015, I intend to submit my fiction to the marketplace.  The stories are as complete as I can make them, so out they go.  Firstly I have to check each market to see if they have changed the rules, or they may have closed to submissions for a time period, or...the list goes on.  Unfortunately my list of potential markets shrunk this month,  alarmingly, because of the magazines or e-zines closure.  Done.  Kaput.  Not good for the number game that is submissions.  I send each story to five markets at a time (if possible) and then as they come back they are sent to five more.  I chose five because if my work is accepted in a market, I only have a few markets to notify.  And I will send to markets that disallow simultaneous submissions although that is not my first choice.  But back to the number of markets, shrunk as they were; it is obvious that I will also have to search for new markets on a monthly basis too.  And this is part of the marketing scene as well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Query Letter - Done This Morning!

The Update- 

Everything is finished.  The query letter has been sent.  The wait begins now.  This collaboration may or may not be accepted at the market, but it is already a success. Together with Linda White and Cheryl Whitten (visit their websites - see side bar) I have been part of a exciting journey to produce the article and the query letter.  Pretty cool.  And very satisfying as well.  Good job, all of us.

The original post -  


I am so thankful that I have fellow writers to help me.  I'm trying to draft a query letter and I am finding it very difficult.  So the e-mails go back and forth and slowly it is coming together.  It's my first query and I want to be as professional as possible.  It is a baby step towards a more intimidating goal, and with 'group' support I hope to take it successfully.  Thank you Wainwright Writers Group members Cheryl and Linda. 

The writer has to be a marketer too. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mission Statement

I write to transcend my life

to reach beyond it

to teach myself to speak to others

to record the journey with all its wonderings, to expand my world

to feed the sparkle

to find the meanings of those lives i examine. 

to know

to see

to share 

to feel the passions

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Showing Up

There is no other way for a writer to write than to show up.  And through the years I have taught myself how to do that.  I've had a keen interest in reading how other writers do this, but in the end it is up to Liz Betz to put herself at the keyboard. 
And there is where you'll find me. 
The writer process that I am employing at the moment is close reading of a master story teller.  John Updike's 'My Father's Tears' is my collection to study and use a model.  He's miles ahead of me, but I'm stretching myself to echo his methods. 
In the last few days I employed a set of 40 questions - from a Writer Digest book - to study my own feelings as I read one of his stories.  I loved what I discovered.  Not only did I get back in touch with being a reader, the writer in me discovered some very important concepts.  In all, it was great to show up for this.