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 1 question – There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade? 

The awesome co-hosts for the July 1 posting of the IWSG are Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp, Liesbet, Tyrean Martinson, and Sandra Cox!

What comes to mind when I read the question above for this month’s IWSG post is the changes associated with the mindset about indie publishing and traditional. I had a writing conversation about what is next for me yesterday. I am participating in a 4 month writing program starting at the end of August. My outcome is to be a much better writer by the time December gets here. One of my goals for 2020 is to finally get my e-book onto Amazon. I had mentioned yesterday to put it off until after the workshop is over. Learning how to do it now would still be valuable however.

Several years ago the idea of publishing my own book of short stories would have not been possible – at least not as easily as it is now. I publish on Medium and here on this blog, but it isn’t the same.

There is still magic and status in my mind that comes along with traditional publishing. If a publisher came to me about any of my writing I wouldn’t tell them no. There is still validation in someone saying they see you and want to spread the joy of your writing.

There is no telling what reading and writing will look like in the next 10 years. I am sure the technology will make it even easier. With so many people at home now due to the new sheltering protocols I bet it will move even faster.

What changes do you anticipate?

Relentless

Efficient and Relentless | John Hembree

I have learned to pay attention to words my intuition pings at me. Today it is RELENTLESS. “Steady and relentless determination” is the phrase that stands out on the page that reminds me of when this word was used to describe me.

A coworker I respected used this word to describe my passion and drive for education. I had never seen anyone who had so many devices going at once: computer, iPad, two phones. He crunched numbers like his life depended on it. One of the first weekends I met him, he started to talk about data in connection to test scores and student achievement. I understood everything he said. He seemed surprised when I asked questions about stats he didn’t think I would understand.

I had been told by many in this organization that how I looked and what my resume read didn’t match to them. This was also the weekend where all my tattoos were visible. This aspect of. my appearance threw him off for days. It didn’t match to him.

Data man told me over and over how he appreciated my relentlessness for our organization to be the best. I had a desire and passion for all my students to achieve. I tried to set up a greenhouse effect for them to overcome whatever I could set up for them to pursue. I took it as a compliment at the time. It meant that I was hyper focused on achievement and the business like style of education. At that moment, it was serving me well.

One of the disadvantages of being relentless is that I have often been described as hard. As someone to be afraid of. Adults mostly feel this way, not kids. I have been called difficult, a bitch, hard to work with because I will not compromise my expectations. I like to know things and will relententlessly pursue knowledge. One of the things that people think I am is judgmental. Many feel that if they are not as dedicated to something as I am that I look down on them. Everyone has their own style of how they succeed. It has been one of the aspects I have had to brush aside knowing I cannot control other people and their reactions.

I learned that being relentless still makes you replaceable. If you do not teach reading through a computer like the CEO wants you to you are replaceable. Your days are numbered. Trite but true.

In the end, I am not sure that relentless was the best way to be. I thought if I was hard and driven then I would get more done. I think I scared people. But there was power in that I didn’t hate. People don’t question you if they are afraid. If you have an agenda placed before you in an unrealistic time frame this is a temporary solution.

There was a time that I thought all the time spent at school would help my students achieve more. I am not sure that is the case now. If I have nothing to give my students then I will burn out. 

I still think about school and my students almost all the time.

I am trying to learn to be persistent but a little more flexible.

I have made the decision to do so but will keep you posted.

3-2-1 Creative Sparks

Here is some Wednesday Inspiration

3 Challenges

STORYADAY MAY

Starts May 1st! Sign up for free prompts sent to your email every day at Storyaday.org. The Superstars community is one I am active in and enjoy especially during the month of May. There are several new members this year and the conversation has already taken off in the Slack channel.

You can go to the website and post under the daily prompt and find community there if you are looking for some fellow short story writers.

My goal will be to write 30 short stories over the course of the month. I give myself one day to not write a story from start to finish.

#the100dayproject

This challenge began April 7th. This challenge involves making a piece of art every day for 100 days. Follow the hashtag #the100dayproject on Instagram to see all kinds of projects. My project is to write #100randomsentences that I will meld together and make a short story connecting them all at the end.

Bradbury Trio

In order to keep myself inspired I am loosely following the idea from Ray Bradbury to read a poem, a short story, and an essay every day.

2 Podcasts

The Bradbury Challenge hosted by Literary Roadhouse

On a whim, I search “writing short stories” and this podcast popped up. There are not many short story specific podcasts. There are three writers that are writing a story a week for a year with the idea that you cannot write 52 bad stories in a row.

Keeping a Notebook by Nina Lacour

I love this podcast. Nina gives writing ideas and her voice is lovely to listen to. She runs the Slow Novel lab as well. She does the podcast in spurts when it moves her and fits into her schedule. It is honest and inspiring.

1 Subscription

I just renewed my Sarah Selecky daily prompts. I use these every morning in my notebook and hand write for at least 10 minutes. Some of the prompts are situational, some require description of a character or a different perspective of situation.

Bonus

Another set of prompts I have been using are the Keep Writing flash fiction prompts from https://deadlinesforwriters.com/. This is the same site that does the 12 Short Stories prompts and 12 Poems prompts. It is a closed community where you post your stories and can receive feedback in exchange for you reading other’s writing. The flash prompts are usually one word and a word count. In this Shelter in Place moment they work for me somehow.

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

Welcome back to Sunday! Thank you for joining me for coffee. I always love when we sit down and chat. I have french vanilla coffee today. It makes the house smell wonderful. Would you like that today or a cup of something else?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I made the last trip to Indiana for a while on Monday. We had a couple of loose ends to tie up and drove over for the day. I am glad to have those tasks done. They were looming in the back of my mind and I am glad for them to be gone now.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I wrote every day. There was the end of the Two Writing Teachers blog challenge on Tuesday which is always Llama Tuesday. New challenges started on April 1st for me.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the anniversary of my Oma’s death was Wednesday. I never forget the feeling of answering the phone to hear she was gone. Dreams this week have been of my childhood home and uncomfortable. They have not been about Oma exactly but unpleasant nevertheless. I am not sure what my subconscious is trying to tell me but I wish it would be more direct.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was interviewed for the Stop Writing Alone podcast on Tuesday and it was published on Thursday. The response was positive and it was a ton of fun to talk to my friend about something I am passionate about. I taught a class about more specifics about my submission practice and the #100rejectionsproject.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I ran every day. It has felt great to be outside doing something I love and running hills. Oh, the hills!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am trying to figure out how I do what I do. I had a coach tell me years ago that people do not move or think at the same pace I do. No one had ever told me this before. Many people have asked me how I write the way I do. I think it is partly just because I am me. I am trying to ask myself questions to uncover the secret formula. One thing I recognize is like James Clear talks about habit stacking I prompt stack. Clear talks about associating a new habit with an already established one. For instance, I write in my notebook right after I get my coffee. I have an internal pull to do so because I associate the coffee and the notebook now. I stack prompts — I combine them. I also will take a prompt and think through that lens all day when I am listening to podcasts, conversations, or reading. Then the ideas flow automatically. I also keep an “everything” notebook. All the morning pages, ideas, short stories, poems go into one master notebook. There is a timeline to them then and I can find things associated with time. As I transcribe this week for my #quarantineretreat goal I am sorting ideas into different documents in the Google folders.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my district is going to try to roll out distance learning with no prior experience. It should prove to be an interesting week. I am hosting a Zoom call for my kindergartners tomorrow and I am sure at the very least it will be entertaining. At least I can mute them all. HA!

Have a good week!

What’s Next?

Photo by Christian Fridell on Pexels.com

March has been FULL. But what is next on your creative list? There are many challenges in April you can take part in especially in the areas of poetry.

One thing I am participating in is Nicole Rivera’s Happy Camper Club. It even has a snappy happy name! You may know her name from her podcast, “Stop Writing Alone.”

The Happy Camper program is a community and support that will be focusing on a different writing aspect every day.

Here are Nicole’s Words about it:

On Mondays I PlotEach Monday I will host a live web call with attendees where we will discuss plots and plans. Mondays will be for goal setting, story structure, and other discussions related to the writing project(s) we are tackling during the month.
On Tuesdays I WriteTuesday will be all about getting words on the page.  I will host write-ins, writing sprints, and provide writing boosts (mini prompts to help writers get unstuck during the word mongering of the day).
On Wednesdays I DrinkWednesdays will be for support and chat. I will host a coffee hour live webinar for the attendees to check in with me and each other concerning how their week is going so far. We will decompress, celebrate our wins, and share our struggles.
On Thursdays I EditWhether the Happy Campers are drafting or working on rewriting during the month of April, all writers need to edit at some point. On Thursdays this April, I will be sharing tips with the group that they can either use immediately, or collect to use at the end of the month. Thursday will likely be the quietest day for me as host, but the resources will be plentiful.
On Fridays I DaydreamWhat a wonderful way to enter into each weekend — stretching out into our dreamer state. How does this translate into an offering from me? For one, Fridays are the day I always share my weekly writing prompts which I hope help writers to dream big and wonderful new creations, but I don’t want to end there. Writer daydreams also consist of thoughts of their writing career, so Fridays will include inspirations and pro tips on creating their dream writing career in addition to being a day of prompts.I had a plan. I have a plan. I laughed aloud as I realized this dream of a community project was inspired by pencils. The next step was to reveal it to the community and hope that others would be as excited as I was.The group of happy campers is growing, but as April grows nearer and the coronavirus has even more writers and creatives struggling to find their community connections, I thought I would extend the invitation a bit further, to you. If you are reading this, and you are intrigued by this month long project with fellow writers seeking to rise to some writing goal or challenge in the month of April — regardless of genre, regardless of whether you are looking to draft, rewrite, or revise — then this invitation is especially for you.The early bird pricing ended, but with all of the financial curve balls people are being thrown with this social distancing, I decided to cut the regular $49.99 price down to $30, basically one dollar per day for the month of April. You’ll have lifetime access to the group and the resources shared within. Any and all video calls that happen in the group will be recorded if you can not make the live event. It is my dream that you can make connections with the other happy campers to become your own writing tribe as you grow and write together. My mission is to get people to stop writing alone, this tight knit, highly accountable community is one of the best ways I can think of fostering that ideal in real time. If you think you’d like to join me for the experiment, here’s the link to join:

You can sign up here.

I will be there! Let’s have some fun and get some writing done with new friends. I will be writing fiction, but you can work on whatever tickles your fancy. I will probably do some planning for my May Storyaday as well.

I Remember…

Photo by Aidan Nguyen on Pexels.com

This month I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge. I will be posting slices from my very own life every day in March. This challenge is a part of the Two Writing Teachers blog. Click here to learn more information about the challenge.

Several years ago I learned about the 36 questions to become closer to someone. In the New York Times, the article was titled The 36 Questions that Lead to Love. I am always fascinated by questions. As an introvert, I learned to have a question ready when attending a social event in case the conversation lulled. I prefer to have deeper conversations as opposed to surface level ones.

As part of the challenge this year, I will be answering some of the questions and then you have the opportunity to journal about the question, ask a person you want to be closer to, or answer in the comments.

Why are the terrible memories the easiest to remember? There are many of these for me as I am sure there are for you as well. One of the most terrible is when I got the call that my Oma had died. The person on the phone told me she was gone. I misunderstood and asked where she went. She had been known to be ornery and get angry at my grandfather. Her getting in the car and leaving wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.

I did not believe she was dead. I drove the 3 hours in desperation to see her at the funeral home. She wasn’t dead until I really saw her lying there.

It was April 1, 2000 when she passed away. April Fools day which she would have found amusing. I still think of her often. She sent me the scent of roses before I opened my eyes that first year anniversary.

She did not meet my son. She did not meet my husband. She did not see me move jobs or states.

But, she did see me jump off the diving board at the Y for the first time. She did see me graduate from college. She did see me get my first teaching job. She saw me do a lot of firsts throughout my life.

Is there a silver lining in your terrible memory? Is there a positive frame to learn from?

Image

What Are You Grateful For?

db4de-slice-of-life_individual

I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March Blog Challenge. If you would like more information about this challenge click here.

Several years ago I learned about the 36 questions to become closer to someone. In the New York Times, the article was titled The 36 Questions that Lead to Love. I am always fascinated by questions. As an introvert, I learned to have a question ready when attending a social event in case the conversation lulled. I prefer to have deeper conversations as opposed to surface level ones.

As part of the challenge this year, I will be answering some of the questions and then you have the opportunity to journal about the question, ask a person you want to be closer to, or answer in the comments.

Grateful journals have been around for a long time now. I remember Oprah talking about it a long time ago. Madame Pamita talks about a 2 page journal spread where you write what you are grateful for on the left page and then what you want to manifest on the right. I tried it for a couple days. Now that I have more time with 3 weeks off I may try it more often. If you would like to hear her explanation check out her Youtube video. I do write affirmations now. I never used to like them until my friend Sam Kimberlie changed my mind.

I am grateful

-there were precautions taken to keep people safe.

-for the gift of three weeks.

-for writing and reading time.

-for the opportunity to rest.

-for time to connect with readers and writers online.

-for the people I work with and how wonderful they are.

-friends near and far.

-being an introvert and not being unnerved by the possibility of not leaving the house for awhile.

What are you grateful for at this strange time in our world?

Singing?

db4de-slice-of-life_individual

I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March Blog Challenge. If you would like more information about this challenge click here.

Several years ago I learned about the 36 questions to become closer to someone. In the New York Times, the article was titled The 36 Questions that Lead to Love. I am always fascinated by questions. As an introvert, I learned to have a question ready when attending a social event in case the conversation lulled. I prefer to have deeper conversations as opposed to surface level ones.

As part of the challenge this year, I will be answering some of the questions and then you have the opportunity to journal about the question, ask a person you want to be closer to, or answer in the comments.

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Last Wednesday was my son’s 17th birthday so we sang to him – as well as Alexa which was funny. The Dairy Queen ice cream cake is always a hit in my house. I sing with students, but don’t think I sing to them.

I sang to myself in the car this week to the radio. I often just have podcasts on but the app was being persnickety and I restarted the phone. I didn’t want the silence and turned. on the radio for a few minutes. I am so accustomed to input especially in the car.

Singing is something I do, but do not consider myself good at it. My son was in choir for years and loved it but moved on to other activities when he went to high school. It does make me feel vulnerable because I do not feel I am good at it.

What is your answer today?

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https://mailchi.mp/5b56d4ab80fb/lifelonglearning

Have You Seen This?

A list of inspiration things you may not have stumbled upon until now!

  1. Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party

This is an installation in the Brooklyn Museum which is a triangle table honoring 39 women with a place setting.

Judy Chicago (American, born 1939). The Dinner Party, 1974–79. Ceramic, porcelain, textile, 576 × 576 in. (1463 × 1463 cm). Brooklyn Museum; Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. (Photo: Donald Woodman

The triangle table is unusual. There is the thought of who would I honor in such a piece. I imagine this as short story with the description of the woman and the objects that are associated with them. This art piece has stuck with me for a while. I need to write the story!

2. Questions as Poetry Prompts

This is a picture of my copyright 1985!!! version of The Book Of Questions. I love this little treasure. I have used it to journal, have conversations, get to know someone, etc. Do you have a book you have had forever?

I heard an idea this week to use questions as poetry starters! I had not done this before and got out this book for the purpose. The poet (see #3) I was inspired by used Facebook questions that popped up on her feed for her poems.

3. Amy Watkins – Poet

Amy Watkins

While listening to The Drunken Odyssey podcast King interviewed the poet Amy Watkins. She wrote a book of poetry based on questions given to her through her feed on Facebook. She was actually angered by some of the questions. Check out her book LUCKY. Mine is on its way.