Category Archives: Writing

06Oct/12

Arizona Bay

I’ve been keeping up with the story writing so far this month. I took a break on Thursday, and only wrote a 55-word flash piece. You can see it on Austin Brigg’s site, along with a few others I’ve written.

I wrote four pieces yesterday to make up for my break on Thursday. I feel pretty ambivalent towards most of them, but following is the one that I still liked this morning. It’s from the Flash Fiction Project on Google+, and also partially inspired by a song by Tool called Aenima.

Arizona Bay

Looking out at the dark waves now, it’s hard to imagine how things used to be. Grandpa said this was desert, one of the hottest places on earth. That was before. There were a lot of things that were before. Grandpa shows me pictures sometimes, but they are hard to believe. I can’t make my brain believe in white clouds in a blue sky, or in a huge place they called the City of Angels. Grandpa was here when it happened though. He has the pictures. He tells the stories. It’s still exciting to him, in that terrible way that tragedies continue to be exciting. When he sees another old-timer, they always ask the same question.

“Where were you when it happened?”

Their eyes sparkle with the tears as they recount lives lost. They always talk about Disneyland. The Happiest Place on Earth, they say. I find it hard to believe, except that all the old-timers remember. They point out across the water and tell me about the ancient trees, and the big red bridge, and Hollywood. And their eyes glitter with the memories, like it was really something to behold. I stare out across the water and try to imagine it, but all I see is a lot of dirty water. I look at the sky and try to imagine it, but I see the same muddy air I’ve always seen. It’s the ashes, Grandpa says. They’re still there, up in the atmosphere. Everything was covered in ash, he says, even as far away as Europe and Australia. All the world was burning, he says.

But I don’t really believe him. How could the world burn when there’s so much water?

 

Thanks for reading!

03Oct/12

Nightmare Fuel, Day 3: Money Machine

Photo credit: maydaymassacre on Flickr

*Note: This is part of the Nightmare Fuel series of prompts running on Google+. What follows is another attempt at a horror story. Read at your own risk.

 

Money Machine

Sarah shuffled toward the employee lot nestled in the back corner of one of the hospital’s oldest buildings. When she got to her car, she could cry, she told herself. For now, she had to appear strong. No one wanted to see a crying nurse, especially not near the emergency room. People had enough worries of their own. She tried to think of pleasant things, not the family of the young cancer patient gathered around his bed to say their goodbyes, not the elderly woman who gripped her husband’s liver-spotted hands and begged him not to leave her. Sarah especially tried not to think of the woman who had been in a tragic accident outside a local convenience store.
Sarah couldn’t get the images of the woman out of her mind. Sarah had seen terrible things before. She had seen burn victims and gunshot victims and what remained of the hand of the man who had held a firecracker as it exploded. This woman was an exaggerated version of all of them. No one could tell what had happened to her, or how she continued to survive the ordeal. Sarah had never seen anything like it. Nor had Doctor Parkins, from what Sarah could tell. It was the first time she had seen the man visibly shaken, and he’d spent thirty years of his life in that hospital emergency room.

It was Doctor Parkins’s expression that scared Sarah the most. In even the worst accidents, he kept a professional demeanor. He was the one that made lighthearted jokes and smiled warmly for even the most difficult patients. Nothing shook him. Nothing phased him. Until tonight.

Sarah tried not to think of it. She tried to think of happy things. Baxter would be waiting by the door for her, frantically wagging his tail and trying not to jump on her in his happiness. She looked forward to getting home and letting his affection overcome the day’s troubles.

An image of unrecognizable flesh screamed in Sarah’s mind. She saw the woman in her hospital bed, all tubes and wires, gauze covering what had once been a face. There should have been eyes and ears and softly blushed cheeks. Instead, there was a tangle of sinew and hair and burnt skin. Sarah wondered how long the woman might survive. In her heart, Sarah thought it would be a mercy if the poor woman passed on, but as a nurse she had to do everything in her power to keep the woman alive.

Sarah tried to shake the image from her mind. She looked around her, trying to regain reality. She was in the hospital lot. The city was around her. The air was cool and thick and with that odd combination of scents that identified an industrial district: burning oil and hot metal and mildewy plants.

Everything was as it should be. Except for an ATM standing a few feet away.

Sarah stopped mid step and looked at it, cocking her head to the side. Had there been an ATM here before? It was a dingy old thing, marked with rust and grease spots. It had a filthy piece of canvas draped over the top of it, for, Sarah assumed, a sun-screen. It looked like it had been standing for quite a while. Sarah thought it strange that she didn’t remember seeing it before.

Sarah kept walking.

“Spare some change for a war hero?” a voice asked.

Sarah spun around, expecting to see one of the numerous unshowered homeless men that prowled the premises. She was surprised to find Doctor Parkins taking long strides to catch up to her.

“Rough day, huh?” Parkins said. Sarah nodded. She tried not to think about the faceless woman’s tidy wool blazer and silk blouse, still tucked neatly into her skirt, even while the shoulders were burnt and exploded into tatters.

“Why don’t you let me take you out for a drink?” Parkins asked. He gave Sarah an awkward smile. If it was any other man, Sarah might think she was being hit on.

“I’m not sure what Mrs. Parkins would think of that,” Sarah said.

“I’ll invite her too. She’ll be thrilled that you asked.” He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket to make the call.

Sarah smiled. Baxter would have to wait a little longer tonight.

Another image flashed through her mind, this time of herself, still in scrubs, her face blown completely away. She shivered, and put her hand up to her face to verify she still had lips and a nose. She would have to talk to one of the trauma counselors if these terrible images kept popping up.

Doctor Parkins finished his call and pulled his wallet out of his back pocket.

“I’ll be just a minute,” he said. “The missus asked me to get cash.” He winked at Sarah and walked toward the ATM.

Sarah imagined the faceless woman at the convenience store, standing in front of an ATM, her hand outstretched to slide her card. The woman’s right arm had also been mutilated nearly beyond recognition. Sarah’s heart raced.

“Wait!” Sarah yelled. Parkins stopped, his fingers on the bottom of the canvas screen.

“Let’s use another machine,” she said.

“This is the closest one,” he said, and he started to lift the screen. Sarah imagined the doctor in a hospital bed, with the monitors slowly beeping, gauze covering his face, his wife and children surrounding his bedside and begging him to survive.

“Then let me go first,” Sarah said. “I… I need to get some cash too.”

The doctor let go of the dirty canvas and stepped aside with a polite smile. “After you, miss,” he said with a chivalrous gesture. Sarah managed a weak smile. She managed the steps it took to face the terrible machine. She managed to get hold of the rough canvas between her fingers. She looked back at the doctor. He was standing just behind her.

“Do you mind stepping a few feet away?” she asked. “I like my privacy.”

The doctor smiled and walked a few steps away, feigning interest in the ragged bushes that surrounded the parking lot.

Sarah stood in front of the machine. Her mind raced. She tried to tell herself that it was nothing to worry about. People used the machines hundreds of times a day. There was no evidence that the faceless woman in the hospital today had been using one. It was a simple cash machine. For all she knew, it had been here for years. There was nothing to be afraid of.

“Are you finished there?” Doctor Parkins asked.

“Just about,” Sarah answered.

She lifted the canvas screen. She heard a small click. She held her breath.

Nothing happened.

She breathed a sigh of relief and pulled her card out of her purse. As she fed her card into the machine, Sarah noticed that there was no computer screen on the ATM, only a gaping hole. As the light erupted from the blackness, Sarah hoped that someone would remember to feed Baxter.

01Oct/12

Nightmare Fuel, Day 1

I’m participating in a great series of prompts at Google+, called Nightmare Fuel. This is the second year Bliss Morgan has run the challenges, with a number of pictures from other plussers and the internet-at-large.

I’ve decided to spend the month of October taking a break from my other projects and just playing around with writing again. So I’ll also be taking part in another group of prompts from the Flash Fiction Project. I finished my story for that one and posted it there today if you’re inclined to read it.

Today is my first attempt at a horror story. If you’re squeamish, or not a fan of horror stories, then I will not be offended if you choose not to read this one. 🙂 If you do read, I’d love to know what you think. I want to get better at this.

 

Home Sweet Home

Her husband was waiting.

Mara thought about Daniel as she walked, increasing the pace of her tight steps. He would be angry if she was late. She dug around in her purse one more time for her cell phone. Why did she have to forget it tonight of all nights? She hated running errands after dark.

She mumbled curses under her breath. She hated the junker of a car that wouldn’t start. She hated her husband for not getting it fixed months ago. She hated the scratch of her wool skirt against her legs as she walked. She hated the echo of her shoes clacking against the ground.

She tried to walk more quietly, so as not to disturb the darkness. It was a strange thing about the night, that it always made her feel like whispering. Even her breath seemed loud, whistling through her nose in frantic bursts.

The sidewalk ended abruptly without her notice. Kara stepped off of it, twisting and tumbling to the ground in a rough patch of gravel and untended weeds. Sharp spikes of pain shot through her where the rocks pierced her skin. She rubbed them off, feeling the cold, moist dirt mixed with her warm, damp blood. She tried to stand, but her ankle turned beneath her.

Her cries echoed back at her, and her heart hobbled at the sound. Taking a deep breath of the sour fall air, she told herself it was only the night. She tried to conjure an image in her mind of this place in the daytime. Only when she realized where she was did she trust her suspicious heart.

She was outside of the cemetery.

It was no reason to get spooked, she told herself. She came near the cemetery every day. There were cemeteries in every city in every country of the world. People had to be buried somewhere.

Mara caught her bearings. If she walked through the cemetery, she could be home faster. It was a straight line across the sprawling park rather than a zigzag over paved roads. With another vision of her husband’s disapproving face, she turned and walked into the dark garden.

The park was eerily silent, as though sound itself had been buried in the still ground. Mara could feel her feet sinking into the earth, but her quick footsteps made no noise here. Something about it made her walk even faster, despite the pain in her damaged ankle. She put her hand in her purse again, feeling for some item that might offer her help or comfort. Her cell phone would make everything better.

“I’m not afraid,” she said to try to calm herself.

“I’m not afraid,” echoed a scratchy voice in the dark.

Mara stopped cold. Beside her, arms draped dramatically over a stone cross, was Daniel’s ex-wife Claudia. Mara closed her eyes and shook her head, trying to clear her mind of the image. When Mara opened her eyes again, Claudia was still there staring at her with colorless eyes. Claudia’s skin was blue with the sheen of death, dark circles around her eyes and cheeks, her dress hanging in tatters. But Mara knew it was her. There was something about her expression, about the cold hatred behind her eyes. It couldn’t be. Claudia had died three years ago.

“You’re a figment of my imagination,” Mara said.

“You’re a figment of my imagination,” the creature parroted.

“I have to get home,” Mara said, “or Daniel will be angry.”

“Daniel will be angry,” Claudia said, and a malicious smile formed out of the purple remains of her lips.

Mara turned and ran. She tried to scream, but the sound fell flat around her. Her purse fell from her shoulder and landed in the crook of her elbow with a frightening jerk. She tried to untangle herself from the twisting leather, but her movements toppled her off-balance. In her frantic dance, she did not see the freshly-dug grave near her feet.

She fell and landed with all her weight on her back. Her breath was forced from her lungs. Every cell of her body with screaming, soundlessly. The last thing she saw was Claudia’s dead eyes peering over the lip of the grave and a cascade of dirt falling on top of her.

Her husband was waiting.

26Sep/12

The Five Stages of Rejection

Just when I thought I was getting better at this rejection thing, I got a doozy of a letter last week. Granted, it came on a day when I was already feeling too much angst over real life issues. I like to think I’m emotionally stable about these things, but I was reminded that even a robotic INTJ like myself can have hurt feelings sometimes.

Denial

Before I tell you about my rejection, I ought to tell you that the story I sent was brilliant. It’s a strangely surreal tale of a woman being reunited with her husband during a near-death experience. One of my beta-readers told me that it was most likely her favorite thing she had ever read. I thought the story was perfect, and I was pretty proud of it. So when that email came through, I thought, “This is it. This is my first acceptance.”

When I started reading and found out it was a form rejection, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Then I read further to the editor’s personal comment and read the words, “it didn’t work for me.” What? I sat there in shock for several minutes, wondering if perhaps they had read the wrong story, or perhaps they sent the wrong letter.

Anger

The shock didn’t last too long. My second move was to email my friend and tell her the story had been rejected. I won’t write the exact words here, but there was quite a lot of name-calling involved over this bastard editor who couldn’t understand the brilliance of my story. It’s strange. All my rejections for my other stories had been so kind and positive, but something about that phrase, “it didn’t work for me” stung. It took me back to my college days of piano juries, when I had played my heart out on a piece and a harsh instructor wrote just two words on my evaluation: “Nice try.”

Bargaining

My next move was to head over to Google Plus for some sympathy. I knew my friends there would help me get over this rejection. But one of the first comments was, “As an editor, I don’t take rejections personally. If it doesn’t work for me, it doesn’t work.” Now, I’m all about preaching the “don’t take it personally” line, but this one was just WRONG.

do not want

I shot back, asking what the phrase meant and how it was supposed to help me with my writing. She said that she usually included some comment about what didn’t work, and that the phrase is more of a feeling, not a criticism, like saying, “This doesn’t fit with our publication” or something wishy-washy like that.

Her words gave me pause. I realized I was taking the phrase like a punch in the gut, when it was no different from what other editors had said. It wasn’t that the piece itself was broken, just that it didn’t work for that publication. Well, okay then.

Depression

At this point, I decided that writing was a ridiculous hobby and I shouldn’t take part in it anymore. My stories tend to be strangely surreal so they don’t exactly fit anywhere. And anyway, it’s such a waste of time, isn’t it? I am a homeschooling mother, I run a small piano studio, and there are at least a dozen Korean dramas I haven’t watched yet.

I am embarrassed to say this, but I moped. I moped around for several days. I comforted myself with grilled cheese and tomato soup and a bag of candy corn from the bulk bin. My family was kind to me. My husband kept saying, “It wasn’t you they rejected. They just rejected the opportunity to publish your story.” I understand that with my head, but it didn’t make me feel any better.

Acceptance

I started getting sick of myself moping around. Three days later, I decided to open up that rejection letter again. This time, I saw that the editor had included a note about not connecting with the main character. I’m sure I had noticed, but skimmed over it because of the “didn’t work” phrase. Besides, who wouldn’t be able to connect with my character? That’s just silly crazy editor talk.

Then on Monday, I opened the file with the story and read through it again. The editor was right. My main character didn’t even have a NAME, for goodness sake! I thought it was a style issue, but I saw how it made it difficult to feel emotional attachment. I also saw how the use of present tense made things awkward, and how I had neglected to introduce the antagonist until right near the end. Even though it was painful, I started the hard work of revising and rewriting the story to give it more character and make it easier to connect with the work.

I’ll admit, I’m still not done. I still get a little ticked off, and then I get embarrassed, and then I think I want to quit, and I think my stories are stupid and terrible, and I think my stories are brilliant and misunderstood. And this is why I believe that no one in their right mind would choose the writing life. The writing life chooses you.

19Sep/12

The Journey

Over the last few weeks, I’ve come to realize how much I’ve changed since I started this blog. I actually plan to come back and post here at least once or twice a week now and update my progress, so you get a better idea what I’m about. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s a good step. Just for kicks, here’s a timeline of my writing journey thus far:

1. I thought I might like to be a writer. It had always sounded interesting, and I knew I enjoyed writing when I did it. But there was a lot of fear involved, mostly due to some bad experiences in the past.

2. I started telling a few people I wanted to be a writer. At the time, I was editing a church newsletter and I had also kept a blog for several years before, so it wasn’t much of a step (or, other people didn’t think so).

3. I started writing. Strangely enough, I was an award-winning screenwriter in college and had my poetry published in several anthologies. But it had been 10 years since I had put pen to paper to do any sort of creative writing. I started with a terrible novel during NaNoWriMo in 2009. I wrote the full 50,000 word novel that November. But then I stopped.

4. I joined Script Frenzy in April 2010. That’s about the time I started here. I was getting a little more serious about considering myself to be a writer, but not because I actually wrote much. When I did do one of the OLL contests, I felt like a superstar though, although I never let anyone read anything.

5. I started attending meetings of my local writer’s guild in September 2010. I wrote another 50,000 word novel in November that year. It was during one of the write-ins that I mentioned a book (Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way) to my fellow writers and discovered they all had a copy hidden away. The rest is history.

6. I founded an Artist Way group in January 2011, and facilitated weekly meetings. At one point, there were 8 people attending. By the time the twelve week course was completed, there were 5 of us. We started as a ragtag group of broken people, and bloomed into a tribe of accepting and encouraging creatives. We still meet even though it’s been over a year since we finished the book.

7. One of the other members of the group was interested in screenwriting, and we committed to writing together. We brainstormed, researched, plotted, planned, and wrote feature-length scripts during the spring.

8. Thanks to the group and the writers guild, I was asked to give a screenwriting workshop in March 2011. It was a huge success, and people still talk to me about it sometimes.

9. Around April or May of 2011, I discovered flash fiction. I started hitting the point that I really wanted to improve my skills as a writer and storyteller, and I learned about five minute prompts. I started doing the prompts with my Artist Way group, and we would read them aloud to each other. This was incredibly frightening at first, and incredibly freeing after a while.

10. During the summer of 2011, I wrote a few 55-word pieces of flash and entered them in online contests. I tied for 3rd place and won $30 for one of them. That fall, I was asked to give a flash fiction workshop for the guild. It was frightening, but wonderful, and hearing everyone’s stories was a huge encouragement to me.

11. In August 2011, I wrote a real story. It was an idea I had been toying with for a while. I wrote it from start to finish in my notebook. I loved it so much, I let my Artist Way group read it. Then I let my husband read it. It was the first time I’d let him see my writing. He was impressed and hugely encouraging. I started pulling out that story whenever anyone expressed an interest in my writing.

12. In October 2011, I submitted that story, in proper manuscript format, to a call for submissions. This was a big step for me. The story was rejected, without so much as a comment, so I put it away for a while.

13. I wrote another story, and submitted it for a different contest. Again, rejection.

14. The new year came. WIP500 happened. The Writers Accountability group started on Google+. The commitment to write 500 words every day meant that all those stories and characters and ideas stuck in my brain started coming out.

15. In February, one of my Artist Way friends sent me a link to a story call and said my first story would work well for it. I was scared, but decided to submit. It was rejected, but with a personal note to send more stories.

16. I’ve since earned 8 rejections on that story, each one more positive than the last. I’m starting to understand that the rejections are not personal and are all about timing and theme and what fits with what.

17. Sometime during August of this year, I started feeling a strange angsty feeling about my writing that I hadn’t felt before. I want readers. I don’t want my work to be hidden anymore. I want to find the people who will enjoy my writing. It’s a strange feeling for me, considering I’ve hidden my creativity away for so long. This is when I realized I was growing up as a writer.

18. In the past seven days, I’ve submitted two new stories to calls. I now have a total of four stories floating around out there, waiting to find homes. This is work that I’m proud of, and want to share. This is work I will continue to shop out, even if it gets rejected again. This is work I may self-publish in the future. This is work that I send to my husband and my friends and my brother and proudly say, “Read my new story! What do you think?” and then change things that they find confusing. Because I don’t mind good criticism anymore.

It’s pretty great, actually. I’ve gone from wanting to write, to actually writing, to letting my creations out into the wild. I still need more courage to tackle the editing on the three novels I’ve written and the fourth one that I’m currently working on. I feel like my devotion to flash fiction and short stories is like a series of baby steps to longer fiction. And maybe, in another few years, I’ll be even further along than I am right now.

I mostly put this here to remind myself, but if you read all of this, thank you for being one of the friends who has encouraged me along the way. I hope to report good things to you all in the future! Who knows, maybe one of those stories will find a home soon.

02Jan/12

Winter Wrap Up and the WIP 500

The last year ended up being a very eventful one for me. There are two things I consider the best things I did: I started weekly date nights with my husband, and I facilitated an Artists Way group. One kept me closer to my family – we never scheduled over our date, and even if we just watched a movie, we had that time together. And the other provided me one of the best, most encouraging group of friends I’ve ever had.

Thanks to those two things, I am quite happy with how 2011 turned out. I even did a few truly terrifying things, like running Screenwriting and Flash Fiction workshops and playing the piano for people. Not only that, but I have been writing.

I have always enjoyed writing. It’s taken me a while to better understand it. I’ve always kept journals, scribbled out bad poems, written weird songs, and made up all sorts of nonsense about the characters that occupy my head. And in 2011, thanks to a challenge from a friend to write a screenplay in 30 days, I got back to writing every day. I wrote the screenplay. Then a novel. Then a few flash fiction stories. Then some regular short stories. And I started submitting my work. I let people read my stuff. And now I’m working on a novel that I am rather fond of.

Which leads me to the WIP500. I joined a group of writers from across the internets who are taking part in a challenge to write 500 words each and every day this year. My goal is to write every day, and to let the days average to 500 words (because some days of the week are far more difficult than others). Yesterday I wrote a short 144-word story. Today I will write more on my novel. I may not make it all 366 days, but I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in 2012.

Do you have creative goals for your year? I’d love to hear about them. Leave me a comment and let me know what you’ll be working on in 2012. 🙂

09Sep/11

Abraham Lincoln, the Artist

My 5-yr old daughter wanted to read a story to me last night. She opened her Bible, put it in her lap, and read me this:

“Abraham Lincoln was a very good artist. He went to college, and then went back home to his family. But no one in his family like his drawings. So he decided to make a new friend. But his friend was blind! Abraham Lincoln drew the eyes on his friend, but the robot still didn’t work. The robot was a statue.

“So Abraham Lincoln got a piece of paper and made batteries. Then he used another piece of paper to make a robot. But it was blind, too, until Abraham Lincoln drew its eyes. Then, the robot ran away. But Abraham Lincoln caught up to it because he was super fast. He had Dragon Speed, like Emma.”

Here, Emma looked amazed. She said, “Hey! My name is in this story! They must have known about me and my Dragon Speed. I think we have met before. We must have met online.”

Sometimes it seems that kids get their creativity from their parents, but I wonder how much creativity adults can get from their kids. I hope you enjoyed Emma’s story as much as I did. 🙂

15May/11

Celebrating

 Recently I discovered something so key to my personality that I wish I knew it decades ago: I like to celebrate.

Yeah, so does everyone else, I’m sure. But for one of the stodgiest, most serious, quietest, hermit-like people in the world (that would be me), this desire to celebrate came as a revelation.

I gave a screenwriting workshop along with a friend back in March. During the planning, she made sure we planned a party afterward, as part of the workshop. I thought it was silly, to be honest, but I went along with it. Then a strange thing happened. As I planned the workshop, I started looking forward to the party afterward more than the workshop itself. I kept repeating the mantra of my friend: “No matter what happens, we’re still celebrating when this is over.” And we did. The workshop was a grand success, and even though we thought we were too tired afterward to do anything fun, we made ourselves celebrate. We ate good food and drank good wine and partied with good friends, and it was amazing.

Instead of going home alone and reliving every mistake I made during the night, I got to be with people who talked about all the great things we did. I felt like a superstar.

Fast forward to April. I finished a screenplay, a project requiring many hours of grueling hard work (most of it just trying to make myself sit down and write the damn thing). I started in January. I finished on the last day of April. And I fully planned to go home alone and feel ambivalent and depressed about it. I know the writing needs work. I know the story has holes. How can a rough draft be something worth celebrating?

Thanks to my good friend, I didn’t have a choice. She dragged me downtown to a shopping event (okay, I went willingly) and we bought matching cards to commemorate our successes (she wrote a screenplay too. She finished hers first). And just to make sure we did it right, there was actually free champagne at one of the stores. We met friends there. We all toasted to finishing, to meeting goals and destroying them. We celebrated!

What did I learn from all this? I learned that I accomplished something grand and it was worth celebrating. How different that is from feeling ashamed of a mere rough draft and wanting to hide away! I wrote the first draft of a 112-page screenplay and that is a BIG DEAL. Now that I know what it feels like to celebrate, how different it is from sinking into that anti-climactic ambivalence, I will never go back to my old ways.

And guess what? I’m looking forward to the next celebration so much that I’m working harder than ever. I’m even excited to tackle the rough draft of that screenplay and make it something better – something worth a big party, even.

What was the last thing you did that was worth celebrating? How did you celebrate? I hope you’ll take the time to find joy in your next accomplishment – you may find it makes all the difference in the world.

25Feb/11

On Fear

We have to do it“Why is it that the thing we want to do most in the world, the thing we dream about fervently and study religiously, is the same thing we would rather die than attempt?”

I wrote this in an email to a friend last night. She and I have been working on screenplays together, but the majority of our time together (in person and via email) is spent avoiding writing. We lament our lack of creativity and skill, but compose long works on the desolate wastelands of our souls. Neither of us lack skill. We have both won awards for our writing. We study constantly. What we lack is courage. For us, the option is to Write or Die. Most of the time, death seems the better choice.

In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes, “The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” He calls this feeling Resistance. I am familiar with this feeling. I feel it right now. I want to write this blog post. I do. But I’m afraid. This fear tells me that I have to write this post, then I have to click Publish and let it out into the world.

What is your dream? What is the thing that both tantalizes and terrifies you at the same time? What would happen if you sat down *right now* and worked on it? Get out your camera, or those art supplies, or that pen, and be courageous. Then leave me a comment and let me know how you conquered your fear. Thanks for reading!

04May/10

On Motivation

StairsI finished Script Frenzy. Yes, indeed. I filled 101 pages with drivel and dreck, but I finished it. Some people who won got highly excited. Sadly, it was easy for me to discount the accomplishment, knowing the quality of the writing involved.

However, in the 4 days since Script Frenzy ended, I have come to realize just how much I did during April.

I wrote. That was the point, right? I wrote at least 6 days a week, sometimes more, and even I can admit that *some* of my writing was quality. Even those few lines and a shaky skeleton of a story is more than I had before the month started.

But how do I keep up that motivation the rest of the time?

When my main creative outlet was Digital Scrapbooking, I used to join challenges and creative teams that gave me deadlines galore. I thrive on them! I realize now that, given a deadline, I can easily organize my time and energy over a period of time to meet it. But for some reason, I can’t seem to follow through on self-inflicted deadlines. I’m not sure why.

Deadlines motivate me, especially if someone else is on the other end keeping track of my progress. So I’ve asked a friend, a fellow writer, to bug me. So far, it’s working. I promised her I’d post on the blog this week, so here I am.

What about you? What motivates you to continue on in your creative endeavors? I’d love to hear any ideas you have about self-imposed deadlines too – because I really flounder without someone on the other end to stare angrily when I let them down.