Slacker Report

So, I’ve been absent from my blog this week. I’m just not a great blogger. Tis true. But I am writing. And reading. A lot.

Added a little over 3000 words to my story last weekend. Woo hoo! Got a great start on this weekend with 1369 words this morning at Starbucks.

About Starbucks-I have learned that, at least for right now, I write much better when I’m not at home. Weird.


Seven Day Blog Challenge Day One: Create a Manifesto

So I joined Jeff Goins in a seven day blog challenge. His day one assignment? Write manifesto. Seriously. Hardcore much, Jeff?

But as I read the assignment on a quick break at work today I starting thinking. Yeah, me. Really. What is my writing manifesto?

And what do you know, I think all that thinking might have paid off. That’s what happens when you’re stuck on an almost broken train on the way home from downtown Nashville.

To help frame the assignment, Jeff suggested answering these three questions:

  1. What’s the problem?
  2. What’s the solution?
  3. What’s the next step?

All those questions are tied up, for me, in the power of story.

What is the problem? Well, which one? I’ll go big here-the loss or lack of hope, the death of dreams, angst, depression. Those are problems.

What’s the solution? That’s tough, and can be very individual, but I think can circle back to the power of story. What’s your story? What happened to steal your hope? What plot twist in your story can give it back? What’s your character arc?

What’s the next step? For me, writing. Writing is the next, and only, step. The only step that makes sense, that gives wings to that childhood dream.

The Power of Story

Yep, that’s it.

Don’t buy it? Listen to this-the first line from Charlotte’s Web (one of the most amazing pieces of literature ever written) “Where’s Papa going with that ax?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.

Folks, there is power there. Who can stop there? Who can resist reading the next sentence, and the next, and the next after that? Not me as a six-year-old, and not me as a fifty-one year old.

Here’s another. This is from Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water, Reflections on Faith and Art: The artist, if he is not to forget how to listen, must retain the vision which includes angels and dragons and unicorns and all the lovely creatures which our world would put in a box marked Children Only.

Words have power. Art has power. Story is the ultimate power, whether fiction or non-fiction. A well crafted story can change a life, often the author’s, but also the reader’s. Truth lies in story.

So come close, we’ve got some unpacking to do. Help me open that box to free those angels and dragons and unicorns. Let’s remember what we absolutely knew as children-the power of story.

Friday Favorites

My new favorite thing? Riding the train to work. Really.

A few years ago the regional transit folks in middle Tennessee resurrected an old passenger rail line. Just one line which serves only one corridor into Nashville. It was kind of a test, I think.

I didn’t buy in for a while. Decided to give it a try this week. Man, do I love the Music City Star! No driving in Nashville traffic. Heaven on rails!!!

Now to get in a routine where I can write for the 30 minutes I’m on the train twice a day. 🙂

March Goals: Week One Follow Up or Where Am I?

Even though it ‘s not a full week into March, I’m going to do my first week follow up today. Sunday will be a day of reflection and follow up as far as my writing goals are concerned.

So how did I do?

Over all, pretty good. I’m satisfied with my progress in a way that leaves me excited about where I’m headed.


Goal One: Two days off per week

This may be the easiest goal to accomplish since I’m basically lazy. 😀 But, yes, met this one. Took a couple of days off earlier in the week. What that means is that I need to write today since Sunday has typically been my day off writing.


Goal Two: Add 3000 words to WIP each week

I only added 2349 words to my WIP, so I failed to meet this goal. But the month (week) only started Tuesday, and I do plan to write today, so I’ll count this as a draw rather than a loss.


Goal Three: Complete the rough draft of one article

I have not worked on this yet. It’s not due until the end of the month. I do have work on this project scheduled this week. I’ll have an update next Sunday.


Goal Four: Complete the rough draft of one short story

Same as above. I have not started this project yet, but do have some work on it scheduled.


Goal Five: Set up a WIP word count tracker

Done! Woo Hoo! I’m using StoryToolz. You can see the counter in the sidebar on the right side of the page.


Goal Six: Research magazine markets

I have started this. I have a the Kindle version of the  2016 Writer’s Market. I ordered the 2016 Children’s Magazine Market from Institute of Children’s Literature late last week. I hope to receive it this week.


Overall, I think I’m off to a great start. Next weekend during my reflection time I will start working on writing out my April goals.

Have you made progress on your March goals? How do you track your progress?

Reading and Writing Day

Today-reading and writing on the menu. I must finish the book I’m currently reading. I’m enjoying the story. Took me a bit to get into it, but now that I am into I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. The book is Call of the Herald by Brian Rathbone.

But I also need to get some serious writing time in today. I’m going to do a couple of #1k1hr sprints this afternoon and evening.


Things I Learned During the #LeapAheadWritingMarathon

In February I joined my friend, Kaye Dacus, in a writing marathon. Kaye set up the marathon to focus more on developing commitment to writing rather than setting a word count goal alone. With great enthusiasm, I joined in the fun.

Along the way I (re) learned some things about myself and my approach to writing.

  1. My heart’s deep desire is to write. I’d let that passion dim over the years due to fear.
  2. I LOVE children’s literature and want to write it. I started out writing for kids, but turned to writing for adults years ago. I can’t even remember why. But this month, I returned to my roots.
  3. The more I write in my personal journal, the more I write other things.
  4. Although I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, AKA pantser, I need to develop and use some way to create a story skeleton. Not a detailed outline. That might choke me to death. But a bare bones, one or two sentences about each story beat guide to keep me at least in the same story world throughout the process.
  5. Even though I’m an introvert of the highest order, I need my friends. My writing friends, especially, help me stay grounded, and keep me inspired.
  6. Social media derails me. Shortly after the start of the #LeapAheadWritingMarathon I began to limit my social media time. Wow, what a difference, not only in my productivity, but in my emotional state.
  7. Finally, I learned that I can be committed to writing and be afraid at the same time, and my head won’t spontaneously ignite.

Today March blew in with gusto, and Kaye started another writing marathon for our private little group of writing friends. I’m so stoked!! My goals for March may seem weird, but hang with me.

  1. Take two days per week off writing. I can still study and plan, but no actual writing. (Journaling doesn’ count.)
  2. Add at least 3,000 words per week to my novel length WIP.
  3. Complete the rough draft of at least one article.
  4. Complete the rough draft of at least one short story.
  5. Set up some type of WIP and word count tracker. (Maybe Story Toolz?)
  6. Start researching markets for the short pieces. I plan to spend one of the non-writing days each week on this.

I can’t even begin to explain how GREAT it feels to the passion for my dream back. 😀