#IWSG December

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!

December 2 question – Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why? The awesome co-hosts for the December 2 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia,Sylvia Ney,Liesbet @ Roaming AboutCathrina Constantine, and Natalie Aguirre!

There are two seasons of writing for me that I have recognized. NICOLE GULOTTA talks about seasons of writing in her book Wild Words. My seasons are creation and revision. I will create until I pile up enough words that I feel that I have to do something with it. It is a system based on feeling.

I am inspired all the time but I have set up my writing life for me to be open to ideas to flow to me. Lines get added to the everything notebook and the notes app all the time. I feel like I have a writing antennae that is always on alert. I read and use other’s words to fuel my own. The children I come in contact during the week also get my brain moving because they see patterns others don’t. I also seek out poems. My inbox is also set up for me to be productive. I subscribe to poem of the day newsletters so there is always quality items to read there. Yesterday I got the alert that my issue of The Paris Review was ready to download and was thrilled to read in-between obligations.

At first I thought deadlines made me more productive but it is the routines I have set up in my writing practice. I decided to write every day. I decided I will post to my blog every Tuesday and the first Wednesday of the new month. So I do.

I have a writing community I am responsible to so I write and produce when I need to share. This has made me a better writer for sure.

Last summer I had an ideal writing schedule set up. I would write, walk, nap and then write again. The move and the pandemic required me to adjust this schedule. I am now back in a new routine where I am writing over 2750 words a day across the projects and I am happy and moving in the right direction!

Weekend Coffee Share

Happy Saturday!

Join me for a chat and a cup of coffee today will you? 
Let’s start with a quote like always as I pour your drink.

Would you like something in your coffee? Cream? Sugar? Caramel? Let’s start with a quote as I get your beverage.

The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.

-Tony Robbins



If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have been saying no to myself for a long time. I have said no to the ideas of growth because I didn’t think it was the right time, or that I didn’t have to skills, or that someone would say no to me. It also has to do with the beliefs and the untold stories from my childhood. 

I am done with that limiting belief.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I joined the UHPW (Unleash Her Power Within – Tony Robbins) call on Monday night with Karissa Kouchis and was reminded of how much I love personal development. Because growth is one of my top human needs I pulled out all my TR workbooks and started again. I have the Breakthrough app on my phone and listened to his words too. Tony Robbins is a fuel to my creative fire for sure!

I also took a flash fiction class on Tuesday night that was part of a series through a New England library. It was wonderful and it was free. This week’s class was about character. The leader led us through two exercises and it was fun! I am thankful because so many classes now are offered on Zoom and the reach for participants is much larger. In the class last week, two of the authors of exemplar stories shared were IN the class! That was pretty cool.


What is your favorite type of personal development? It could simply be reading or researching a topic. It doesn’t need to be a “program” or a person. It could be an awesome podcast you love. I have been listening this week to Poetry Unbound which has been amazing.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am grateful for you. Thank you for adding to my life. Thank you for reading my blog every week. Thank you for bringing who you are to the world. I am grateful every day not just on a Thursday in November, but want to take this moment to tell you.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you Thanksgiving was nice. It was a day of cooking all day for just a few people – but they are the important ones.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I did a lot of driving this week. The schedule this week dictated it. It is strange to me to think that 2+ hours of driving a day used to be my norm. I was able to listen to some new podcasts and think some new thoughts which of course leads to writing for me. Sometimes it leads to life-giving conversation.

Speaking of life-giving conversation, I would also tell you I joined a call with my writing teacher Sarah Selecky which was AMAZING on Wednesday! She had a theme and three questions that we were writing on and then we were put in breakout groups to share. Now normally I will admit that when they talking about the sharing part I would have been out but I stayed. It was magical. I am glad I said YES to myself.

I have been interacting with the other students in my short story class more as well. I started a Slack for us and that environment has been better for more casual conversation. It has been good for this small group. The class will officially be over the middle of December so hopefully, we can continue to be support for each other. There are some tentative plans to work on some things together so we will see what happens.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I got a short story rejection in the morning with amazing feedback and then an acceptance at a respected publication in the afternoon this week! It was a wonderful writing day! Are there goals you are striving for these last 34 days of 2020?

If we were having a drink, I would tell you I am enjoying my 100 writing prompt project on Patreon. Today’s prompt that went out was about what surrounds you when you write?

I am planning my next creative project iteration to share.  A free 5 day challenge is coming next month around the Bradbury challenge. Sign up here!

Next month the Patreon workshop is going to be about choosing your one word for 2021. 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you a full moon is coming next Tuesday! Hard to believe that it is time again and that Tuesday is December 1st! I think the tree is going to go up today so that should be fun. I am looking forward to snow.

Thank you for joining me for a coffee today. I would love to hear any of your reactions or answers to my shares!

I Recommend:
1. Poetry Unbound Podcast 
2. Jenna Britton’s Clarity and Connection Conversations
3.  My book is available here. It is my first collection of short stories.
4. Want more? Come on over to the Patreon for 100 days of writing prompts, community, workshops, and more!

#IWSG November

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!

November 4 question – Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write.

Why do you write what you write?


The awesome co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemi Fraser,Kim Lajevardi,L.G Keltner,Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

I have asked myself this question many times and it has been asked of me.

The short answer is I am compelled to write. I write stories of hope and being lost. I write about darkness and every day magic. I write what I hope to see in the world.

I write to be a better teacher of writing now because I desperately wanted a writing instructor as a child, and honestly, and as adult now I wish for the same thing. I seek out my own teachers of course. I also believe this is why I am obsessed with MFA programs. There is a lovely podcast where an MFA student interviews other students from various programs. They talk about writing and craft and then about the program itself. It is an escape I look forward to every time a new episode comes out.

With my writing, I hope to have an impact on others. So many author’s stories have stuck with me and I come back to them over and over. I want one of my stories to be as influential to someone else.

Being a writer helps me pay closer attention. I am always looking for things to write down on my lists of 10. I am listening to conversations and the way children phrase things. I write down what they think is funny.

Lately, I have felt like I want to be immersed in language. To read and write and talk about the process. I am trying to construct my life in this fashion. There are interruptions of course – sometimes from my own thoughts.

Interacting with my writing community is one of the daily delights! It is a close second to the writing itself. I learn from these people who are the best friends I have and most I have never met in person. It is a blessing that does not go unnoticed in my writing life.

For now my plan is to show up to the page every day. I write, I learn, I read, I submit, I publish.

It is a good process.

NANOWRIMO Day #1

Examining my Process…One day at a time

Some thoughts on my process today:

-I feel more resistance to NANOWRIMO this year – like more people are watching or something. This idea usually does not bother me….

-I think when I am done with a scene I am going to give it a descriptive title so I can search and find them later – or at least have them come up in the outline to piece them together later.

-Blue dress with the orange and pink streaks will come to play later for a pivotal moment.

-I do not like my 100 sentences that are part of my PREPTOBER for NANO

-I need to look at my plot embryo for my story. I often will write things down and then do not come back to them.

-I am writing 2750 words per day but am just counting everything to see how much I actually get down.

-I am using Sarah Selecky’s prompts and Nancy Stohlman’s FLASHNANO prompts to move my stories along.

Writing Retreat Day

Today is a treat for me…writing retreat day at home!

Photo by Kate Trifo on Pexels.com

Today I will write 2750 words in preparation for NANOWRIMO and the Million Words IN a YEAR challenge.

Today I will walk (likely in the rain).

Today I will host a write in and chat with my friends.

Today I will nap (if I feel like it).

Today I will write in different areas of the house.

I have a list of projects I want to come back to. One of which is a story set in New Orleans based on my trip there. I have prompts to schedule and posts to make for my short story intensive.

I have my white noise soundtrack going of a fireplace.

Today I will look through my new LEX magazine that came in the mail yesterday and write a letter.

Today I will read Nancy Stohlman’s new flash fiction book that I finally got in the mail yesterday!

I will make scrambled eggs and toast and enjoy every bite.

I may even dance around the house.

What will you write and delight in today?

#IWSG October

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!

October 7 question – When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like? The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett,Beth Camp,Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!

It is interesting to. me that this is the question posed for this month’s ISWG because it has been on mind.

I was doing an exercise examing the big negative energy depleters in my life and the idea of my “paycheck” work vs “fun” work came up. By day, I am a teacher and I love the aspects of the students and the actual teaching. The skills I have acquired through this career serves me well in all the other areas. I am a professonal writer.

I have been obsessed with the idea of an MFA for quite a while. I waver back and forth about how I feel about it in the vein of “do I need it”. I don’t and I know it. But what I do need is immersion in reading and writing and the community tied to those two things.

The shelter in place time allowed me to sustain a writers schedule. Now I have my schedule dictated to me and the transition has been tough.

A friend pointed out to me I have an MFA in experience and self guided study. I have created a community of trusted writers.

There is no choosing your cohort when you attend an MFA program. You have no idea if you are going to mesh creatively with these people.

I have attempted to find a place where all my writing needs are met and cannot seem to find the perfect fit. I think maybe that means I have to create my own!

I am modeling my working writer career after Nina LaCour right now and have been binge listening to all the podcasts she has been on and her own. She does a nice job of unpacking her own process. She also is an emotional writer which is an area I am currently working on.

3-2-1 Creative Sparks

3 Podcasts

The Secret Library Podcast

The new season started today and Caroline’s theme is the Nourished Writer. You can check out the podcast on most podcast catchers. You can click here for more information.

I always feel like I get deep advice and conversation from this podcast. It is one that I do not miss. I knew the new season was starting and kept thinking yesterday was Thursday because of it!

Keeping A Notebook

Nina LaCour is amazing. You need to listen to her podcast just to listen to her voice. It has a dream like quality that takes me to another place.

Her podcast is intermittent. During the pandemic she shared writing prompts and her feelings about the isolation with a spin off called Shelter In Place. She is real and honest. Another podcast I never miss an episode of.

The last couple are celebrating the publication of her new book, Watch Over Me, which is a ghost story. She read an excerpt and then talks about how she wrote that section and where the inspiration came from. It makes my writer heart so happy!

MFA Writers

I have been obsessed lately with MFA programs. This podcast is an interview format. An MFA student is asked questions about their writing and their program. How it works and details about workshops and boundaries pertaining to the individual program.

2 Writing Prompts

Set a timer for ten minutes. Let you pen move and do not censor yourself.

1 Book

Cait Flanders is an author that has a style of writing that is also magical. Her new book came out Tuesday and I am already a couple chapters in. I pre-ordered this book which is not something I do often.

Adventures in Opting Out cover by Amanda Sandlin

Writing Prompt and an Announcement

Starting on September 23rd if you join my Patreon community you will receive a daily prompt for 100 days like the one above. We have a Slack community as well so you can join other writers.

September 23rd starts a special time period – the last 100 days of 2020! Can you believe it???

The last 100 days is the perfect time to give yourself a challenge. You can join mine or create your own. I would love to hear what you plan to do.

Last year I vowed to do one yoga pose a day for the remaining 100 days of 2019. A friend wrote 100 word essays. The possibilities are endless. You could answer the same morning and evening questions. I follow Karissa Kouchis who is a national trainer for Tony Robbins. She has challenged herself to answer the same morning and evening questions for the next 30+ days for a training. I have been answering them in my journal as well.

What questions would propel you into a new reality if you committed to them for 100 days? One of the exercises in Tony Robbins Personal Power class is to construct questions you ask yourself every day. I have a list in my Google Keep Notes.

Here are the questions I am using right now from KK:

Morning:

  1. What are you most happy about in your life right now? How does that make you feel?
  2. What am I most proud of right now? How does that make me feel?
  3. What am I most committed to right now? How does that make me feel?

Do you see a pattern here?

Evening:

  1. What have I been given today?
  2. What have I given to others?
  3. What have I learned today?
  4. How has today added to the quality of the overall investment in my life?

Happy writing! Happy reflecting!

I would love to hear your ideas for the last 100 days. It is a perfect time for a self imposed challenge!

#IWSG September

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!

September 2 question – If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?
The awesome co-hosts for the September 2 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando,J Lenni Dorner,Deniz Bevan,Kim Lajevardi,Natalie Aguirre, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

The schedule feels new for the month of September. In the Northern Hemisphere it is time for school. Labor Day marks the beginning of time that feels different. Summer days fade and all the color seems different. Nature begins to shift.

The day for me always begins with writing and coffee. Sometimes it is 15 minutes of writing and gulping down hot liquid because now I am bound by the clock more than my natural rhythms. Today it is more than two hours because I am up early. Lots of words and coffee both.

My initial instinct for this question are my go to favorite authors. Neil Gaiman and Kelly Link start the list. I am not sure I could sit with them and talk writing and not be intimidated. I am sure they are lovely people. I have seen them both speak. One of the best times I have seen Neil speak is with a video call with V.E. Schwab. The mutual admiration was adorable.

I have tried to locate all the talks Kelly has given online. I hope one day to travel to her bookstore in the East.

Another author I would like to sit down with is Amber Sparks. In these pandemic times I have been able to hear her speak on several panels about writing. I admire her writing and her style. Sitting across a table talking about how stories get onto the page would be thrilling.

In all honesty, sitting down with any writer who writes and talking about technique and how words get on the page is thrilling to me. I love that conversation almost as much as the writing itself.

For my writing class I have to prepare a short story show and tell. This title is perfect for September, isn’t it? I take a favorite story and examine the craft. How it is put together from my perspective. I am looking forward to this exercise. Taking time to look at a story line by line is like having a conversation with the piece itself. There is no way to know what the exact intent is of the author but I can have this experience with the story. It is a different type of experience I can sink into.

As an educator, one of the reasons I like to hear authors speak is to get the nugget about writing the story no one knows. It is why I love podcasts. I heard David Shannon, the children’s author speak many years ago and learned he always puts his little white Scottie dog somewhere in the illustrations of his books. When I told my students this information there was a “Where’s Waldo?” hunt for the little dog. It is fun and makes you feel like you are in an inner circle of writers.

The inner circle is a great place to be.

Happy Writing!

I would love to hear what your favorite short story is….

IWSG August

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!

August 5 question – Quote: “Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don’t write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be.”
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

I have always been a writer but through my narrow writer experience I thought I had to write a novel. I had tried many times before finally figuring out flash and short stories were my favorite medium. I finally listened to the right podcast and found my tribe!

This summer the phrase, “Truth is always the best story.” keeps coming up. It has surfaced so many times I know to pay attention. As a fiction writer many of the stories I write are based in truth with the reality skewed a little. The characters feel my feelings similar to spaces I have been in. The settings are places I have been with the details changed to bend to my will. Why is it always the places we have been (and not currently in) are so much easier to write?

One of the reasons I love short stories is because I am able to play with the form. I have written stories in the form of job postings, mad libs, and recipes. I have written Twitter length stories and ones comprised of random sentences over time. No writing is wasted I have learned and many lines I have come back to that have marinated over time.

I never get bored writing or reading short stories.

There is magic in an author taking a story and weaving magic in a few 100 words. I have many models of great writing and I study them. I do not read in the same way anymore. There is pleasure but always intention to learn something new now.

One of my favorite things about writing is that it surprises me. I swear by freewriting for everything. If I do not know what I am thinking about a situation in my life I freewrite. It opens my eyes and helps me get out of my own way. I have learned to write and let it flow without censoring. Often a line or a word will appear on the page without conscious thought and it is a delight! When a description comes out in a unique way or a memory is triggered it is a delightful writing sessions. There are also those moments where I write a short piece and know I have another one that will go with it perfectly in the drive.

Short stories have a sense of mystery and uncertainty. Kelly Link is the master of short stories that do not answer all your questions. You are left wondering. A great short story is the one that stays with me and I keep wrangling with it to figure it out in a satisfying way.

As a writer this is part of my service to my readers – to make them think and feel something different than before they read my piece. I am always striving to do it better.