#IWSG July

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

July 7th optional question – What would make you quit writing?
The awesome co-hosts for the July 7 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

First off, how in the world is it July? The pace of the world is certainly different now that the world is opening up more.

There is nothing that could make me quit writing all together. I have tried to take breaks in the past and I always come back to it. It is my default setting. It is how I think and how I figure out what is going on in my brain that has way too many drawers open at once.

When I feel bad I go to the page. When I feel good I come to the page. I start my morning with coffee and writing every day no matter what.

The past few weeks have been rough emotionally for me and also filled with travel so the amount of writing that has been done on the page has been much less. Most days when I am in my regular routine my writing time can range between 1 hour to 4 before I go for my walk. I made sure to write my 10 minutes every morning but I felt like I was in practicing just the physical movement more. The thoughts and ideas were marinating.

I have found that the connection to my husband, my coffee, and my daily walks are vital to my creative life. It has been an interesting reflection period these last few weeks!

June #CoffeeShare

Welcome to Sunday! It is COFFEE TIME! But honestly, when is it not?

#thankyouforsharing

Thank you to Natalie for hosting the link party for all things Weekend Coffee Share!

#lastdays

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my last day of this school year was Thursday. I am relieved to be done. This past year was full of a lot of success but too many pivots.

#BradburyRevisionChallenge.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you for my Bradbury Revision Challenge today I read

Story: https://flashboulevard.wordpress.com/2021/06/12/sherrie-flick-the-bear-and-i/

Poem: https://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2020/02/28/heid-e-erdrich-i-feel-like-a-fool-do-you/chronicles/poetry/

Essays: The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg – Schedule

And Not a Novel A Memoir in Pieces Jenny Erpenbeck On “The Old Child”

I am obsessed with Sherrie Flick lately and she had several new stories published yesterday. They are weird ones about bears and I like them a lot. I pay attention to her endings.

The poem I heard about from the How Do You Write? podcast from Rachael Herron and the author was her guest. It was a fascinating interview and I love this. poem.

The NG chapter was about the schedule of silence and readings at a retreat. NG says that you can use the schedule for yourself or a group. I have a retreat document that I need to revisit and revise. I have not deployed it yet but need to plan a day for it.

Would you like a refill? Some water? Something stronger? I feel like talking for a bit longer.

#writing

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I continue to write every day. With more time I am experimenting with some techniques and processes. I use my walks as part of my writing time. I do feel a bit of a transition of schedule as I do every summer. There is a changing of roles and primary responsibility when the schedule changes this much for me.

My plan is not to take any new courses right now. I have taken so many over the past year and need to play with some of the techniques and just write. With my Tuesday PUSH groups I have the opportunity to take my curated learning and share it with other writers. This gathering is a highlight of my week and something I had dreamed of creating for a long time.

Since I am teaching for the Sarah Selecky school this fall, I am reworking through some of the course materials as well to refresh. Having contact with the other teachers in the school will help in this endeavor as well. You can check out the course here. Sign ups are open until June 24th.

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Thank you for joining me for a coffee today. I always love when we chat!

I would love to hear what you are working on and what you find inspiring.

I am already looking forward to our chat next week!

June #CoffeeShare

Welcome to Sunday! It is COFFEE TIME! But honestly, when is it not?

#thankyouforsharing

Thank you to Natalie for hosting the link party for all things Weekend Coffee Share!

#lastdays

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my students’ last day was Friday. It was a strange feeling to have two last days since I had cohorts for the last 2 months of school. It didn’t feel real. It was a good last two days actually. Thursday was field day all morning and then Friday we pet baby chicks, made cube models out of marshmallows and toothpicks, had a scavenger hunt with Bomb pops at the end, and had hot dogs for lunch. I have a week of teacher days still but planning for kids is over for this school year. I am tired and burnt out and am looking forward to resting.

#graduation

If we were having coffee, I would tell you this weekend is busy. My two oldest are graduating. I am excited for them and what they are moving forward with in their lives in the fall. It is going to be 90 degree celebrations!

#BradburyRevisionChallenge.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I would love for you to join me for the Bradbury Challenge this month. I am posting daily what I am reading for revision. I am reading a poem, short story, and essay each day and applying those lens to a story already in my drive.

Would you like a refill? Some water? Something stronger? I feel like talking for a bit longer.

#fabulousflashfiction

If we were having coffee, I would tell you registration is open for a short time longer for my Fabulous Flash Fiction class I am teaching June 9-13th. Slots are already filling up! If you cannot make it but know someone who would be interested please share the link with them! You can find more info here. There is a kick off Zoom meeting that will be recorded if you are unable to attend. The class is asynchronous so you can do it at your own pace and schedule. There are no other live meetings.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you it was a busy weekend. We went to two graduation ceremonies and a graduation party. It was an emotional two days. Honestly, it was a build up so it was more than just a few days.

——-

Thank you for joining me for a coffee today. I always love when we chat!

I would love to hear what you are working on and what you find inspiring.

I am already looking forward to our chat next week!

#IWSG June

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

June Question


June 2 question – For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?
The awesome co-hosts for the June 2 posting of the IWSG are J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!

Short stories and flash fiction are shelved for at least a month. Honestly, I draft so much that there has to be a reminder of a particular story or when i am searching for something else it appears.

The story has to light me up in order for me to revise it.

I usually go through spurts of being in creation mode or revision mode. I typically draft in the morning and then do revision work in the afternoons or evenings.

To trick myself to revise this June I made a challenge for myself. I am using the self-directed Bradbury MFA idea of reading a poem, short story, and essay each day as a lens for revision. Sometimes it will be a direct craft move from the author to one of my own pieces and other times I am working with the idea that good words in mean good words out.

Over the weekend, I was organizing my drive and found so many unfinished and unpolished flash pieces.

I usually operate under the idea to “just get the words down” and “I can fix it later”. However, later rarely comes because I love drafting and the new so much. One of the reasons I am drawn to writing short fiction is because I get bored easily. In a writing podcast last week I learned of an author who writes 1000 words a day. The next day she rereads her words and cuts and revises. She then writes forward from her favorite sentence.

I have been trying to utilize this technique for the last few days. To reread something I have written to get my eyes on it in small chunks. I have a limiting belief that revisions have to be “serious” and sometimes I set aside large chunks of time for. This is the case in some instances but I can make a lot of progress with just 10 minutes of revision time.

#happyreading #happywriting

#Day31- #StoryadayMay2021

We made it! The last day of the challenge! WHOOT WHOOT!! I wrote a story for 31 days and blogged about the process. GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!

TODAY’S PROMPT

Write a story about someone who has just completed a huge challenge. What have they learned? What did they sacrifice? Was it worth it?

Julie Duffy is the author of this prompt.

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I am not resonating with today’s prompt as a story prompt as strongly today. Yes, my experience is that I did a challenge but it is too close to write a fictional story about it today. I need more distance from real life to story.

I like the idea of using a character named some form of Janus, the Roman God, since he is the symbol for looking forward and looking back. It is where the word January comes from. One of my other prompts is to write an angry letter to an object without cliches….not sure if I will be able to work that in or not.

I watched the Netflix show Midnight Dinner yesterday from a recommendation on a podcast. I am fascinated by food at midnight anyway especially from The Night Circus book. It is in Japanese with subtitles so it is not a relaxing show to watch. This concept influenced my story today.

Janus is walking from his cabin to meet his two friends at the little diner where they chat. One of the friends gives Janus a flight of books from his library that will become important later. At the end of the dinner they part ways but something tragic happens that prevents them from seeing each other for over a year.

anchors: muse fairy, book flight, enchanted gate, visit from a stranger

Happy Writing!

I am imposing a revision challenge to myself in the month of June. [Come back to the blog tomorrow for details and my poem, story, and essay selections.] In the spirit of that intention, I pulled a snippet from my drive from June of 2018 and added it to the story. It took the plot in an unexpected direction which I appreciated! This story is going to have to be a little longer than the first draft. I like it so far! What a pleasant surprise!

What did you write today? How did your challenge go if you participated?

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. You can register here.

#Day30- #StoryadayMay2021 + Reflection

Tomorrow is the last day of May and the Challenge.

How did your month go? Did you find it fueling [with whatever you chose to spend your time on?]

Reflection is an important part of the creative process. One of the reasons I love challenges is because in one sense it is a data collection of my own patterns. If I notice the patterns I can continue the ones that work and let go of the pieces that do not.

I use the same method in teaching.

Sometimes, it is simply asking 1. What is working? and 2. What is not working?

This May I followed the prompts fairly closely. I liked the prompts this year. I do not have to like the prompt to write to it however. I struggled with the happy story prompt but I also had several conversations with writer friends about this one prompt. If I reframed the idea of what was happy for a character then it worked better for me.

I often have a list of story ideas but it is in the form of my lists of 10. On certain days I searched my drive for a specific word or phrase to see if something I had saved popped up. On the spot writing seemed to trigger most of the ideas. I feel this is due to my strong freewriting practice. It is a habit I have cultivated.

I find that other things I do in life – shows I watch, places I visit, my daily walks, writing conversations – all fuel my writing. Sometimes it is more of an adjacent way as an idea will get logged and then used later.

My best time for writing is when I wake up but I can write at other times of day. I do enjoy writing with a small creative group on Zoom as well. The words flow easier in the morning for me.

I work best when I write everyday. This translates into other areas of my life as well. I guess I like the idea of streaks! Writing is fueling to me and is my happy place.

In the morning, I write in bed. I also write on my walks and in between activities at my day job. I always have my notebook with me.

I intended to write 31 stories for the month which I will complete tomorrow. To keep myself accountable I intended to reflect on my progress daily and post it to the blog which I accomplished. I also kept the theme of Everyday Magic. I liked that if I felt stuck I had that thread to come back to every day.

TODAY’S PROMPT

Take a story you wrote earlier this month, and write it again in a different way.

Julie Duffy is the author of this prompt.

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I am not resonating with today’s prompt.

Yesterday, my family and I went to Devil’s Lake park. There was a hotel there that was removed in 1905 that I have become obsessed with. There is little documentation about the hotel and I want to put it into a story. I am thinking a Karen Russell sort of vibe for this story.

Cliff House Hotel

When we were there on one of the rocks that jut out over the treetops I caught the vision of someone sitting on a rock behind me. When I looked there was nothing there. A ghost in a dark blue jacket maybe?

This is the story I am writing today. Mysteries and disappearance of people and buildings from Devil’s Lake. It is a story that I have been wanting to write since we visited last time.

Here is the rock I “saw” him sitting on:

Happy Writing!

What did you write today?

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. You can register here. Space is limited, so don’t wait! Spaces are filling up.

May Holiday #CoffeeShare

Welcome to Sunday! It is COFFEE TIME! But honestly, when is it not?

#thankyouforsharing

Thank you to Natalie for hosting the link party for all things Weekend Coffee Share!

#challengequeen

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my storyaday challenge is done tomorrow. I have written a story every day, sometimes more than one, and reflected on this blog daily about the process. I am not sure I learned anything new necessarily about my writing. Giving myself the challenge of posting it publicly insured I did think about HOW I did the writing. A portion of my post today is about reflecting on the month as a whole.

If you would like to check out some of the past day’s reflections you can do so here:

May 20 and 21

May 17

May 5

May 1 – Where I outline the goal and process

#memorialdaybreak

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was so ready for this three day weekend. My students are finished next week and then I have teacher days for the following week. We are officially done on June 10th. I am ready to return to my full time writer schedule in the summer. This school year has been full of pivots and stress and I need to recharge to come back fresh in the fall.

#BradburyRevisionChallenge.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I would love for you to join me for the Bradbury Challenge in June. I will read a poem, short story, and essay each day with the idea to use them as revision tools. I need to get into my Drive and revise a bunch of flash fiction and short story pieces. I will be posting at least once a week and sharing some of what I read and how I am utilizing the work for my writing. You can follow along with the blog. I also will be sharing some things in my Slack group for my Patreon.

Would you like a refill? Some water? Something stronger? I feel like talking for a bit longer.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you registration is open for a short time longer for my Fabulous Flash Fiction class I am teaching June 9-13th. Slots are already filling up! If you cannot make it but know someone who would be interested please share the link with them! You can find more info here. There is a kick off Zoom meeting that will be recorded if you are unable to attend. The class is asynchronous so you can do it at your own pace and schedule. There are no other live meetings.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I went to Devil’s Lake park yesterday and the weather was perfect. There are several trails and rock formations. It is a beautiful place on earth. There were not that many people there when we started which makes it easier to navigate the trails. I can breath easy there.

Devil’s Doorway

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Thank you for joining me for a coffee today. I always love when we chat!

I would love to hear what you are working on and what you find inspiring.

I am already looking forward to our chat next week!

Day 29- #StoryadayMay2021

How do you feel about prompts?

Prompts are a gateway into writing. I inspire others, but I also have systems set up so I keep myself fueled. This has been trial and error of course. Also, when new learning comes in I change what I am doing to meet my needs.

I use prompts with students of all ages. Many are intimidated by the blank page and a prompt eliminates this problem. One of my teachers advises start the sentence and then just finish it. Then write the next one. It is simple but works. Whatever your brain wants you to write will come out no matter what prompt you start with.

I read poetry because I love it. I always have. I started writing poetry first when I was single digit age. I laugh it is because I love concise sentences and prose but also because I like to be cryptic. It becomes a game of sorts where you are taking these flashes of lightening and trying to figure out what type of storm it is. For this reason, I get several daily poem emails so I have new ones to read every day. Some days I read the whole poem, and others it doesn’t resonate and it gets deleted.

The Paris Review sent me this poem today: Poem Revised in a Twelfth-Floor Hotel Room After Seeing a Man in the Building Across the Street Holding What Appeared to be Binoculars
by Camille Dungy
Issue no. 230 (Fall 2019)

Isn’t that an amazing title? I am going to use it for inspiration for my flash title today.

It was a comfort to find this is common practice among poets of reading and discarding poems. When I took my poetry class with Chris LaTray in April we talked about it in one session and everyone was surprised that everyone followed much the same structure.

I keep lists of notes everywhere. I have tried to contain them in my Keep app on my phone and one “walking around” notebook.

One of the other emails I get daily is from Readwise. It is a service that takes the highlights from Kindle and sends me a list of 15 quotes I have highlighted in my reading. It is great for beginning lines for freewrites, new stories, or a way to play with the sentence structure another author used. It also reminds me of past books I haven’t looked at in a while.

I am a visual person and like piles, especially of books. I “lose” books on the Kindle when they go to the bottom of the list.

THE PROMPT for Today:

Write a story in three sections, each section recounting the same event from a different character’s point of view

Julie Duffy is the author of this prompt.

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Today’s prompt is one of my favorites from Julie – a classic Storyaday prompt. One of the first stories that was published in my 100 Rejections project came from writing with this prompt.

The story I wrote today is about a dinner party. The three POV’s are from guests and they are all thinking about the square plates in the place setting in relationship to their lives and the conversation at the table.

The working title based on the poem title referenced above is: A Conversation Revised At The Dinner Party Argument with the Square Plates after what appeared to be An Experiment

Happy Writing!

What did you write today?

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. You can register here. Space is limited, so don’t wait! Spaces are filling up.

Day 28- #StoryadayMay2021

A couple more days…

THE PROMPT for Today:

“Loretta’s face was hidden by the wide brimmed hat boldly covered in ribbons and one rose. Rising slowly from the fourth pew, she raised her chin towards the minister and declared, “I object.”

Leslie Stack is the author of this prompt.

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Today’s story draft was written early in the morning. I reread several day’s stories and did some revision and cutting. It is a strange practice to go back into documents you don’t exactly recall writing! Early morning writing does this to me. I am in that half asleep mode and don’t always hold onto a story after it ends up on the page either digitally or in the notebook.

It is how I let go of things too. If I write them down, I know they are safe and out of my head.

Today’s story is about a secret that one person at the wedding has and is deciding whether to share it or not. She is struggling with her own motivation and decides she is going to ruin his life, in this moment, just because she can. There is magic in three words.

I do not like the name Loretta for this character so will change it. Names are important to me. In fact, I have been thinking about my own name and how it has never fit me. I cannot seem to land on one that does however. I have been doing some freewriting around this in my notebook this week.

Today is the day the thoughts were coming too fast and I wrote this draft on the computer.

Often, especially if I am drafting a lot of stories in a short time, characters have no names. I am not sure if this is a productive practice some days. A name lends itself to a character developing and also to the emotional connection a reader has to them. I sometimes focus too much on WHAT is happening even though I read a lot of character driven fiction.

Sometimes after looking back over a series of short pieces I realize they are all about the same character essentially and then I can combine the scenes and name the character. Then I can flesh out more of the details of their quirks and personality.

Writing is a funny process somedays!

3 days left!

What did you write today?

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. You can register here. Space is limited, so don’t wait! Spaces are filling up.

Day 27- #StoryadayMay2021

We are nearing the end of the challenge and the month!

THE PROMPT for Today:

Write a story for children. Prompt is “The Golden Rule,” treat others are you wish to be treated.

Miriam Laundry is the author of this prompt.

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Today a fairy tale like story came out about Azur who is the protector of the glass heart but is bored with his position. He is warned but falls into a hole and no one will help him. He has to answer three questions in order to be rescued.

The author of the prompt has a link to a video and a PDF, but I was unable to open it on my phone. I was going to try to use her blueprint for stories but didn’t want to get out the computer yet. I was handwriting in my notebook.

I heard on a podcast yesterday about an author who writes 1000 words a day. The following day she rereads and edits/deletes words from the previous day and then writes forward from her favorite sentence. I have always adhered to the rule of no editing while you are drafting but have an overload of words in my files. I think this may be a manageable way to get through some words.

June is going to be about revision for me. I plan to use my Bradbury Challenge of reading a poem, short story, and essay as inspiration for the changes I make in my own stories.

Anchors: glass heart, crow, horse, 3 questions

Visual: crow on top of a sign that reads: Danger- No Trespassing

What did you write today?

I am teaching a Fabulous Flash Fiction class June 9-13! You won’t want to miss it. You can register here. Space is limited, so don’t wait! Spaces are filling up.