Jo Henderson hasn’t been back to her hometown of Leander, Michigan, in sixteen years, and the last person she expects to meet there is her childhood best friend — who has aged very well. Ezra Teller has grown into a handsome and successful bartender who seems just as excited to see her as she is to see him, and they quickly make a date. But things get complicated when her father, the town sheriff, never comes back from investigating a disturbance at Ezra’s bar, and soon evidence surfaces that Ezra himself may have been involved. Can she trust Ezra to help her find her father — before it’s too late?
- Blog posted: Monday Motivations; Ace of Cups
- Drabble Rock: height
- Drabble Rock: sector
- Drabble Rock: stamp
- Words written (Sweetheart Sweepstakes): 214
- Blog posted: 90 Days
- Blog posted: Fiction Friday; Dreaming With Ghosts
- Words written (Sweetheart Sweepstakes): 244
- Words written (Sweetheart Sweepstakes): 264
Nor can she recall where she came from, how old she might be, or even her own name. Her memory is as still as the grove around her.
But neither remain that way for long.
Something is tickling at the edge of the woman’s perception, like a low hum that she feels more than hears. The vibrations are almost comforting in their own way, and for several moments the woman is content to lay amongst the leaves and listen to them intensify. Yet, as the sound sharpens and becomes clear, she realizes what she is hearing: the deep, guttural growls
Hello friends and welcome to another whimsical week of writing.
It’s fitting that I should draw the Chariot again today of all Mondays, because this week I am launching not just a soft reboot of the blog but an ambitious project to go along with it.
I am prone to overthinking things. Pictured: an actual picture of me wearing an actual shirt I own:
So, when it comes to new ideas typically one of two things happens: I either get locked up in analysis paralysis and the idea never sees the light of day, or I rush headlong into it spur of the moment, planning or long term viability be damned.
Drabble Rock was going the way of option A when I suddenly got a bolt from the blue last week. I decided, right then and there in my car on the way to my daughter’s guitar lesson, that I was going to make this crazy idea my next big thing.
It’s probably a good thing I’m charging straight into it because if I hadn’t publicly committed to definitely launching this Drabble series last week, I’d probably be reminding myself right about now that I don’t have a great track record with these sorts of things. I get distracted or too busy or the flame for the project that once burned so bright fizzles out until it’s just another obligation on my time.
But I can’t be afraid to fail. More rather, I can’t let that fear prevent me from trying.
And that’s my motivation this week.
Hello friends and welcome to another short-form edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
If you’ve been following along the blog the last few weeks, you’ll know that I’ve felt creatively pent up of late. I haven’t had a freelance novella to work on since I turned in my last at the end of March, and my attempt to utilize Camp NaNoWriMo to draft my urban fantasy novella failed after I realized I hadn’t given myself enough time to outline.
I took a hiatus last week both to adjust to some non-fiction freelance work I picked up to fill the gaps, and to mull over some ideas to keep me creatively engaged. One idea I returned to was podcasting. I even bought a (cheap) microphone. But that is something that will take a lot more thought than idle fancy allows, and would require more planning than I am able to give at the moment. As such, it wouldn’t satisfy the itch I feel right now.
The second idea I had was returning to weekly short form entries. You may remember my earlier attempt at short form with my Short But Sweet vignettes. You may also recall that they were, ahem, short lived.
Was I too ambitious, perhaps, by keeping them all withing a single story idea/setting? Or did I fail to give myself enough structure to keep my neurotic need for rules in check? I honestly don’t know. But I do still like the idea of telling a story one short entry at a time.
That’s when I remembered how much I enjoyed writing drabbles during my days as a fanfiction maven. Give me a ship and a single word prompt, and I could pump those babies out with alarming frequency. It was a fun and relatively commitment-free way to engage with my fandoms and fellow shippers.
Drabbles, for those unfamiliar with the term, are short works of fiction of precisely 100 words. If you spend any amount of time on writing Twitter you might have seen the drabble’s spiritual successor, the #VSS or very short story.
While the #VSS was always a little too short for my preferences, I think drabbles are perfect for some fun, weekly posts. Right? Of course right.
But it wouldn’t be Just Another Struggling Writer if I didn’t make it just a little too hard on myself, because while driving around my daughter this afternoon an idea occurred to me. What if I told a contiguous story through weekly, 100-word increments?
Enter Dark Me.
But, Me, I said, wouldn’t that be putting too much pressure on myself?
Who cares, Dark Me replied, just have fun with it.
I don’t know, I thought. I kind of wanted to do just random drabbles. You know, generate a random word and challenge myself to write 100 words around it. My friends and followers could join in if they wanted, it would be like #VSS but drabble-y.
That’s the great thing, Dark Me said. YOU COULD DO BOTH!
Both?? I thought. Now that’s crazy talk. I’ll never be able to keep up with it!
TOO BAD WE’RE DOING IT ANYWAY
Welp, I guess I’m committed, I thought, having committed nothing whatsoever other than a series of goofy photos to the task.
And that was pretty much that. I pretty quickly decided thereupon that I would do random-word-prompted drabbles every Tuesday and The Ballad of Mercy May, told in 100-word increments, every Friday. I thought I might start as soon as tomorrow, so full of vigor for the idea I was, but I think it’s probably best for the health of the idea and my fragile psyche that I give it a week to percolate.
Two things can be true at once:
- I have failed to maintain ambitious projects like these long term in the past
- I am prone to overthinking and if I don’t seize on this spur of the moment energy I might never actually get around to starting what I am calling Drabble Rock
And, honestly, I am Over allowing past failures to determine future endeavors. Stifling my creative energy just because I didn’t live up to my own expectations last time hurts only myself and helps… exactly nothing.
So, friends, I hope you’ll follow along while I test drive this new project. I hope some of you join me in drabble writing and I hope the idea inspires you to foster your own ambition, even if it is a bit wayward.
Oh, and, uh, wish me luck.
Summer Reading Challenge
Did anyone else participate in the summer reading challenge at their local library? My grandparents always signed my siblings, cousins, and I up, and I always wanted to win. I’ll never forget the thrill of returning to the library after a week of furious reading and getting a sticker for yet another completed book.
Anyway, a full two years after my city opened the branch they’d been building across the street from my neighborhood, I finally decided to avail myself of their services. I also pressganged my kids into joining this year’s summer reading challenge, but they only agreed if I did it with them.
The first book in my Summer Reading TBR? A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kolzoff.
Friends, I’m 23% in and I am smitten. I don’t care that the POV jumps around. I don’t care that there’s a lot of characters and politics and not a ton of forward momentum in the first act. I don’t care because I love these things.
This is very much my kind of book.
So, what is everyone else reading this week? Let me know!
Alright, I think that’s quite enough out of me for the day. I’ll be back next week for your regularly scheduled Monday Motivations and Thursday blogs, aaaaaaaaaaand of course the new Drabble Rock posts. Until then, my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Hello friends and welcome to another well-rested week of writing.
Readers, I’ll be straightforward with you. I took the last ten or so days off from blogging/being perpetually online because, frankly, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with the new freelancing work I picked up. Its a new kind of writing that I have never really dabbled in before, and because of that it has been taking me longer than expected to complete my assignments. It piled up pretty quickly on me and I very nearly quit altogether.
I got it worked out eventually by paring back the amount of assignments I was willing to take on, so that I had time and space to adjust to the additional workload. Still, it’s not my favorite kind of work and it pays pennies. I’ve been wondering almost since the first few days I started if its worth the effort. I thought I would give it until my first paycheck before I made a final decision about whether or not I would stay on with this client long term, but the way things feel right now… my mind is already made up.
But all is not lost. I finally got an optimistic update on my novella pitches and I’m hoping to have contracts soon. And after a half dozen false starts on my urban fantasy series Seekers of Empyrean, I’m finally starting to get into the flow of that project as well.
Yet, despite my time being monopolized by all these different things, I still find myself… creatively unsatisfied. Even with my mouth full of things to chew on, I’m still looking for something else to cram in there.
I wonder if this is all part of the process of Growing as a Writer. Ever since I took those five days back in March to write two thirds of a novella due the following week, I have been itching to make writing my living. I want to create content, I want to engage with other writers, and I want to make friends in the community. I want the joy of seeing my earnings. I even want the sorrow of falling short of my certainly far too lofty expectations.
And that brings me full circle back to this marketing writing I’ve been doing. I’m not enjoying it and so far it hasn’t felt worth my time, at least not in terms of the money-to-stress ratio. But that doesn’t mean I should abandon it. I’m learning a lot about myself through this process, including the range of my talents and my limits. It might not be a long term job I want to pursue, but its valuable in its own right for what it is teaching me now.
So, until I’ve squeezed every last lesson I can from it, I’ll stick with it. And, in the meantime, I’ll be searching for other ways to expand my creative repertoire. I hope you all continue to follow along on my journey.
Hello friends and welcome to another wiry week of writing.
If you called on me every Monday to name a theme for my upcoming week, this time it would definitely be trimming the fat.
After what felt like eons with nothing to do, the freelance work has definitely picked up and suddenly I’m awash in assignments. It’s all a little bit daunting if I’m being totally honest. How am I supposed to squeeze in all this extra work around… all the other work. (Also I literally signed up for this; what was I thinking?)
For a good while now, probably the last 12 or 14 months even, I’ve been wanting, yet struggling, to finally let go of, well, time wasting activities. A lot of it is social media. Twitter, Reddit (the AITA page is a particular productivity suck), the usual. I also have the bad habit of coming home and throwing myself on my bed and not moving again until the alarm goes off the next morning.
Which is fine every once in a while. But it’s not really a sustainable way of life for a wannabe working writer.
I know this. I’ve known this, yet kicking the bad habit has been, up to this point, impossible. That’s because when it comes to self motivation, I’m as weak-willed as my 11 year old son in his first year staying home after school standing in front of a stocked pantry with no adults around to tell him to have a cup of applesauce for snack rather than five bags of goldfish and half a gallon of chocolate milk.
But! I am very, very motivated by outside expectations. Give me a deadline and I’ll work breakneck to meet it, even if that means giving up some of my precious doing-absolutely-nothing time.
So, yeah, maybe this influx of work is a little overwhelming. For the moment. But I don’t think it’s outside my capabilities. I just need to trim a little fat in my time budget. And that’s my motivation this week.
Until next time friends.
Hello friends and welcome to another hyperactive edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Friends, it’s been a big week. I landed some additional freelance work, which, while not fiction writing, will help expand my repertoire of skills and make me a little bit of scratch on the side. I also got through the depression fog and got back to working on my urban fantasy idea. And I came up with a cute idea for some weekly flash fiction I can try. Though I’m still waiting to hear back about my two latest Scribd pitches, I feel pretty confident those will come through soon, and then I’ll have so much to work on I won’t know what to do with myself.
If you were to ask me directly, I would say I’m pretty pleased. The itch is being scratched.
But this is Just Another Struggling Writer, and it wouldn’t be JASW if it didn’t come with a heaping dose of anxiety.
Have I bitten off more than I can chew, I can’t help but wonder. Apart from all this writing I am either being paid or want to do for myself, I still, after all, have a day job. I have a family. I have social obligations. And, of course, I very well may have.
But, despite what the anxiety brain is whispering in my ear, I’m not really that worried. Actually, I’m excited. I feel like it’s taken a long time, but I’ve finally taken real, tangible steps toward the ultimate goal of writing for a living. Yes, it’ll be a while (understatement) before I am making enough money off writing to afford leaving my day job, but this is how it starts. Sitting at my desk Twittering while a blank page and winking cursor wait for my next Big Idea, that’s not gonna help me much.
So, if I’m being totally honest, I don’t really know if taking on all this extra work is a good idea or not. Who knows, maybe I’ll flame out inside of six months. Or maybe, just maybe, it’ll kick my ass into a gear I’ve always known I was capable of but have yet to access.
Personally, I’m hoping for the latter.
That’s all from me this week friends. Here in the coming weeks I’m going to attempt to roll out my new flash fiction idea. But first, I gotta get over this cold. Until next time fellow aspiring authors, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Hello friends and welcome to another wishful week of writing.
I’ll be real honest friends. I was not feeling it this morning. It’s been a discouraging couple of weeks. My freelance endeavors are stalling, my personal writing has been sluggish and uninspired, and I’ve just had a sense of malaise settle over me that has been difficult to shake.
I keep trying to console (and cajole) myself out of this slump but it feels like my self-motivations have increasingly diminishing returns. That culminated this morning in a point blank refusal to accept any platitudes or promises that I’ll eventually crawl out of this slump.
Now, normally a mood like that would call for a mental health / self-care / don’t think at all about writing day, but honestly I think that would just make things worse. I want to be writing and working right now. But I can’t force it to come. Or can I?
I feel like I’m stuck in the middle of a “writers block isn’t real” debate and I don’t know which side is right. Do I allow myself a guilt free moment of respite or do I push through the mental barriers?
And that’s where I’m stuck. There is no motivation this week. Just a lot of conflicting advice.
Until next time my friends.
Hello friends and welcome to another restless edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Friends, I’m in a bit of a lull writing-wise right now. Yes, I know, I just talked last week (actually two weeks ago oops) about how my goal is to be prolific and I need to be writing an effing lot if I want to get there, and I still want that. In fact that’s one half of my problem this week.
I’m itchy, friends. I want to write. I want to be elbows deep in a draft or revisions. I want to feel the ideas radiating off the inside of my skull and through my fingertips. I want the joy of that moment when things finally click together, and I even want the agony of being stuck. I want the thrill of a deadline and the rush of a submission going out.
Trouble is, I’m between projects at the moment. I submitted two pitches on Friday and have yet to hear whether either of them have been accepted. I’ve also been sort of at odds with my current personal project, Seekers of Empyrean. I ran into a mental block mid-outline so I decided to start drafting a few scenes to see if any ideas shake out for later down the line. So while, yes, I do have a draft I’m writing, I’m taking things deliberately slow. I do not like operating without my outline, but just sitting on my hands waiting for the aha moment wasn’t helping my anxiety, so here I am.
However, being without paid writing work for the moment isn’t the sole reason for my itchiness. I was rejected for the editorial assistant position I applied for last week and while I was pretty confident that would be the outcome (and definitely understand/have no ill will about it), the denial has left me a little out of sorts. Again, not because I expected any different, but because for a moment I imagined what It would be like to be doing words for a living. I want it. I really want it. I mean, I’ve always known that quitting my job and being a full time writer was my end game, but the editorial assistant job posting helped me realize that there’s more than one way to reach that goal. In fact, there’s myriad.
So, I hopped on google this morning and looked at more open positions in publishing. Dissatisfied with the results, I broadened my search to freelance writing in general. I found a few postings, and I applied for them. Because I was serious when I said I want to be prolific, but what I probably should have said was I need to be.
Without writing I would just itch until I wore myself down to my bones.
Some blog news: I reached 100 followers! I still can’t believe it. Thanks to everyone who has put their eyes on my posts, gave me encouragement along the way either through I simple like or a comment here or there. I’m planning a major essay to celebrate. Please look forward to it.
That’s all from me this week. Until next time, my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.