#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 Question

October 6 question – In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

The awesome co-hosts for the October 6 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pitt,J Lenni Dorner,Cathrina Constantine,Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

In my writing, I do not censor myself for the most part. If I feel it isn’t something to be shared, then I do not. That is up to me as a writer.

There are a couple topics that I feel I cannot write about…yet. Maybe I need to move to another state again to get more distance. I have been thinking a lot about the stories I retell over and over and to write them down. Some things that have happened in my life I feel I would never write about either because I do not want to relive the memories.

This month I am examining some more of my shadow self and try to examine why I do not want to revisit certain topics. I am paying attention to what I read and what appeals to me and what doesn’t.

I am certain it is a fine line.

#happyreading #happywriting

Endings and Beginnings

October Is Coming Pictures, Photos, and Images for Facebook, Tumblr,  Pinterest, and Twitter

Today is the last day of September and I am excited that tomorrow is October! Lots of great things are happening in the month for me!

The Storyaday prompt today is to look behind and forward. I revised the story I wrote in May this morning. There are several stories I revised this month through the prompts that will need to get final pass throughs and sent off into the world. I have two stories out to a reader for feedback. As soon as she is done with them I will rewrite and then send them off. I have some goals before the end of the year!

The next challenge for October is OCTPOWRIMO so I will write a poem a day. I have been reading a lot of poetry and enjoying it. There is a new podcast called The Slowdown which is hosted by Ada Limon who I adore. She has her own commentary before reading the poem and it is delightful. Her voice is amazing.

My #last100day2021 project is continuing. I am creating a #100dayMFA for myself. I am tracking all the writing life activities I engage in every day on a beautiful spreadsheet. I did my writing this morning but right when I felt I was on a roll was when I had to get ready for work. I did write a piece in my own PUSH group last night that I liked. I will transcribe that sometime over the next few days and see where I am at with it.

I am preparing for NANOWRIMO in November in my mind. There is a project I am kicking around in my head that came from a conversation with Kim Flodin. I highly recommend her intuitive readings. It was an eye opening process for me.

What are your creative plans for October? I would love to hear!

September Story Challenges

September means the Storyaday challenge I have been doing for years. This year is also means #septembersentences hosted by Caroline Donahue, and the continuation of daily Sarah Selecky’s freewrites.

Potentially, this could mean a lot of writing.

Caroline Donahue is posting prompts for her challenge of writing two sentences each day for September. Her prompts are shared on IG.

Sarah Selecky’s prompts are shared through her community CENTERED. You can find that link here.

For the Storyaday challenge, Julie reuses the prompts from May, so I have been diving into the Google file and revising those stories from 4 months ago. This is the first time I have done this. Usually I write a brand new story and add to the words and drafts in my drive. The prompts from May did resonate with me this year, and I was happy with most of the stories I wrote.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the amount of words and the quality of words I am producing and what to do with them afterwards [if anything.] The revision aspect seems to be working – these first couple of days anyway.

This morning while writing in my notebook I remembered that I had publicly reflected on the challenge!

Here was my agenda for May’s Challenge: If you would like to read my reflections from Day 4 in May click here

  • Reflect about how I approached the prompt – Did it resonate with me? Did I use it? Did I use something else or combine it with something else?
  • Write the story and analyze if it different as an outcome than what I expected when I started.
  • Would I use this prompt again?
  • Reflect if the writing surprised me.
  • Did I learn anything?

Today’s prompt is an ending line from my friend Neha. You can read the whole prompt here and find links to her work.

The story I wrote involved a character who emerged as a Mother Nature like figure and the story involves a magical gate.

Starting with an ending line leads you to where you are going.

Anchors for my May Day 4 story: gate, splinter, time, dark

Are you participating in any September writing challenges? I am certain we will be discussing them in my PUSH group. You should join us. This month we are using The Artist’s Way to drive our discussion. We meet every Wednesday evening at 7:30p.m. Central time.

#FMF City

Each Friday Kate shares a one word prompt for you to write for 5 minutes.

City

Chicago is a city full of hidden gems that people are either trying to find or to keep secret. 

Chicago is a place I have run, visited, shopped, attended field trips and each time I discover something new. I have seen the Harry Potter exhibit at Science and Industry, Monet at the Art Institute, had dinner at fancy restaurants, been to Second City and the Chicago Symphony. 

I have ridden rented bikes on the streets, got lost and carried the bike up three flights of stairs from lower Wacker trying to get back to where I started. I felt like I would be wandering forever.

I ran the Chicago marathon during an anniversary year when I vowed I never would. I should have stuck to my guns in that case.  It was a terrible race for me. I had to walk so many miles just to get back to my car and my stuff. 

I have taken Ubers, driven my own car,  and walked the concerte. I have eaten at Ed Debavacs, which is no longer there in physical space; only memories. I ate at Beard Award winning chef restaurants with friends. I have shopped the magnificent mile and frequented the Hard Rock Cafe. 

In what feels like another life, I saw Wicked, Grease and several other productions. I have taken pictures with the Bean but never ice skated. I have eaten Giordannos pizza.

My first half marathon was in the city. It was the Rock and Roll Half and the pictures only show me having fun, not racing yet. I would take it more serious after that when I got the taste of the thrill.

There is more to explore with each visit. The last trip we ate outside, found a hidden Tiki bar and stayed at a hotel that used to be the Playboy Club.

There is more history to find there and sparks to inspire my writing.

#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 Question


September 1 question – How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?
The awesome co-hosts for the September 1 posting of the IWSG are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

Over the years, the definition of success has been layered for me. At first, it was just to write and finish stories. Then it became about being published and I began my 100 submissions project. Then it became about teaching and sharing what I have learned.

Now it seems I am back to just the writing. It is what is fueling to me and always what it comes down to. The idea of what constitutes finished is different now though. I have to find a time that I will stick to revision. The ways of the past do not motivate me lately.

I think I bridge revision with submissions and sharing. I am not motivated by sharing my work at the present moment. Even a strict schedule I used to keep for the blog has fallen to the side and that is ok.

If I write, I am a writer and that fact will always be true.

#happyreading #happywriting

#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 4 question – What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

The awesome co-hosts for the August 4 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox!

There are so many favorite craft books, but the one I go back to over and over again is Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.

The chapters are short which encourages me to read a bit and then get right to writing. I have noted how her last sentences are zingers as well and most of them are underlined in my stained and water logged copy.

There is a simplicity to this book that is appealing. Most of the advice centers around, “just write” which is helpful for some reason coming from her.

I am inspired by her prompts like, “I remember..” that is referenced in many other writing classes. I love the idea of her Spontaneous Poetry Booth that she sets up at a fair.

Natalie writes alone, with other people, in notebooks, and for publication. She hikes and is a Buddhist. Reading her stories make me want to write my own.

I am looking forward to reading what books appeal to other members today in the group as well!

#FMF Summer

Each Friday Kate shares a one word prompt for you to write for 5 minutes.

Summer

There is an ease and magic to summer like no other season. Winter is my favorite with its cold and idea of being wrapped in blankets and the heat of the fire. The heat of summer blazes onto my skin as I walk through the trees and the fields logging the sounds of red winged blackbirds and horses as I pass. But summer is the time for iced drinks and watermelon too.

There is time in the summer for flow. The flow of writing and water. The flow of time. June went so quickly this year. It always does but now we are almost halfway through July and I am not ready. The two big trips happened already and there is a small excursion again next week. There are many things to still look forward to but I am trying to savor each moment and it feels like it is on fast forward.

The summer schedule is ideal for me. My writer’s agenda for the day starts with coffee and words in the morning, then a walk, good food plus inspiration. A simple existence which I crave. Scheduled meetings for talking to friends but minimal each week. Input of all types with reading, conversation, tv, and podcasts.

This summer is about work with my subconscious. The dreams and what I hide from myself. There are essays to write and notebooks to transcribe. There are stories to revise and workshops to plan. Morning pages have started again in preparation for The Artist’s Way group I am running in September. 

July is for hosting a 10 minute daily challenge. I inspire others to have a daily creative practice. It helps align me so I hope the same for others.

I am thankful for abundance and what is next. But mostly, I am savoring this moment.

#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!