Celebrate the Small Things – July 26

Nature

Photo courtesy of @Doug88888

I’m enjoying the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop and hope you also join in!

This week I’m celebrating some writing time. I managed to start a new short story and this has encouraged me to revisit a few other stories that need to be revised. I also did some brainstorming for blog posts and other writing projects.

What are you celebrating this week? 

A to Z Challenge – B for Bird by Bird

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Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott, is by far my favorite writing book. I often flip through it when I need some inspiration. It gives me a boost and helps me face a blank page with a little more courage. Lamott is candid, funny, and insightful throughout this essential resource. Even if you are not a writer, you’d still enjoy her clever, creative writing style.

Have you read Bird by Bird or any other Anne Lamott books?

Updates and Upcoming Projects

Flower sparkle

March will be all about preparation. Here are some updates:

My decluttering progress has been slow and steady. It felt good to donate a few bags of clothes and other items.  I’m getting my kids into the habit of going through their things to find what they’ve outgrown. I sometimes have to quietly dispose of items they don’t need, but they are getting used to finding things to donate. Now we have a tad bit more room, and someone else could actually use those things that were collecting dust in my home.

I’ve brainstormed for the A to Z Challenge. I’m still working on my list of post ideas, and it’s been fun narrowing down what I will write about. My goal is to write the first week’s worth of posts before April 1st. Having some posts done early will give me more time to read blogs.

I’ve revisited the short stories I wrote in October, and I’ve selected one to work on first. I have a few new ideas to make the story stronger. Oh the thrill of editing!

I’ve kept up with my reading and have finished 5 books already this year! Having audiobooks as an option is really good for me although some books are better read than listened to.

What are you up to these days? Any accomplishments you want to share?

So You Want to Write a Short Story (Part 2: Taking Action)

Writing
You have a story idea. You’ve narrowed down the plot points, characters, and conflict. You know exactly how the story will end…or not. Regardless of your preparation, you are ready to write your story. Make it a goal to write your first draft in a few weeks or even a month. Be sure it is a goal you are comfortable with. Next, think about the following concepts to help you through the process of writing your story:

1. Accountability

It’s important to be accountable with your goal. You can share this goal on your blog or any social media you prefer. Maybe you’ll share your goal with a trusted friend. Even if you just write your goal on an index card and post it on your wall, be sure to make yourself accountable in some way.

2. Mode

What writing tools work best for you? Do you prefer good ‘ole paper and pencil or the computer? I typically write on the computer, but I like to switch between writing long hand and various writing programs. 750words.com is a no-frills program that promotes writing daily. After logging in, you’ll find a blank screen that will keep track of your word count and alert you when you reach 750 words.  Write or Die allows you to set up a timer and word count goal. You have to beat the clock or the screen will start blinking and even start deleting your words if you stop writing. I also use Scrivener to keep track of my stories, notes, and lists.

3. Frequency

Will you write every day or a few times a week? Will you write for 15 − 20 minutes at a time or random 5 minute moments when you can write something down? It doesn’t matter how you organize this as long as you are writing. Maybe the only time you have to write is on Sunday evenings for an hour or two. Maybe you just have 10 minutes every morning. Whatever frequency you can manage, do it consistently. Make your goal easy to accomplish at first. Then you can add a little more time once you have a routine going.

Getting your story written means sitting down and getting to work on your first draft. However you decide to organize your writing time, take pride in knowing you are being proactive. Take pleasure in knowing you are doing something worthy. Add it to your routine as any other daily or weekly activity. This is IMPORTANT to you. You might have to let go of some activities so that you have a little more time to write, but it will eventually pay off in the end.

As for me, I completed my Four Short Stories Challenge in September. This month, I plan on editing these stories. Also see So You Want to Write a Short Story (Part 1: Getting Started).

Are you in the process of completing a short story? What is you progress so far?

What is your writing schedule?

Four Short Stories Challenge – Week #4 Check-In

Notebook collection

Photo Credit: dvortygirl

Writing four short stories in September was ambitious for me. Although meeting the challenge was hard, it was just what I needed to get back into writing fiction. I got these first drafts started, and now I can take them to the next level. These story ideas were ones I’ve thought about for a long time. One story has been in the works for years. I lost the first draft I wrote and never forgot about it, so I began it again with a different angle. These stories still don’t feel complete, but I will have to put more time into them to make them work.

Time will always be a factor when writing, but I am working on setting myself up for success.  I’ll have some extra time to write this month, so I will take advantage of this opportunity. This will mean getting out of the house to write so that I won’t have the usual distractions. With no internet, it will be much easier to focus.

Are you managing to make time for projects you enjoy?

Is there a creative outlet you have been meaning to pursue?

Four Short Stories Challenge – Week #3 Check-In

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I’ve completed three short story drafts this month. This last story was difficult to finish, but I was able to get something down. I’m glad to be 75% done with this challenge so that I can get to some editing soon. My next goal will be getting these stories in good shape to submit them to publications. Do I feel ready to do that? Not really, but I have to start getting used to it.

I don’t have a consistent writing schedule, but I usually write for at least a half hour every day. I would love to bump that up to two hours a day. I’m working on analyzing the way I spend my time so that I can see where I can fit in more writing time.

What do you do to fit in writing every day? What is your strategy?

Four Short Stories Challenge – Week #2 Check-In

Writing

 

My short story challenge is in full swing. I’m halfway done with meeting my goals, and I’m enjoying the process. The first draft to short story # 2 is complete. Each time I attempt a new short story, I learn something new or remind myself of some good advice I can apply to my writing.

During a jog last week, I had time to really think about my story so far and figure out how to best revise it. The first scene could be cut. Now I have a more exciting place to start. I was getting to know the characters and discovered that one of them could narrate the story well. She’s been keeping a secret from her friends, so it would be interesting to see how she deals with her relationships with that secret. I’ll try this out to see if the story works. If not, I’ll keep experimenting with the point of view.

 

Since I’m focusing on short story writing this month, I want to take apart some stories to explore how they are constructed.  I’ll continue reading The Girl in the Flammable Skirt: Stories by Aimee Bender. Her writing is unique and fascinating to me. I’m excited to read This is How You Lose Her, the latest short story collection by Junot Diaz. I also want to reread some favorite and memorable short stories. There are so many good ones out there.

What are your favorite short stories?

Are you writing a short story? Where are you in the writing process?

Photo courtesy of jjpacres