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Posts tagged ‘Inspiration’

Adding the Funny

Look At This!
photo from: Department of the Interior

I’m adding the funny back into my writing. My last few stories that I’ve finished have had some real spots of humor. I’m not quite sure why this is happening, but I’m here for it. While serious fiction has its place and I am certainly not going to abandon it, I also find myself leaning more on the strange, humorous moments in life too.

Maybe this decade got a bit too serious for me.

Or maybe I am changing as a writer. (I don’t think so. If you read my story Where’s Rocky? you know how funny I can be.)

I guess it all comes back to my ideas about writing different kinds of stories. I not one of those writers that tells the same story over and over again. My imagination is sparked by so many different things, I want to explore them all. Imagination really is boundless.

And I want to laugh at it. Enjoy it. Delight in it.

Hmmm. Spring has made me more playful and fun.

Bye winter.

Saying Yes

I’m late to this bandwagon, but I’ll jump on anyway. Whatever late fee I have to pay, just let me know.

I finished Shonda Rhimes’s Year of Yes and loved it. I don’t normally read memoir type books, but I love Rhimes. The TV show Scandal was my jam. I never missed a Thursday night. Even now, I find myself saying every now and then, “It’s handled!” Never mind that no one else may be in the room.

The books is all about Rhime’s decision to come out of her shell, say yes to growing, taking risk, and learning more about herself. It’s touching and inspiring, and very, very, funny. Several times I laughed out loud.

Writing is a solitary act and seeing how another writer navigates this life is always interesting. I also like how this book talks about life outside of writing. Her children, her friends, her family all come into play at one point or another in the book. It’s a great reminder that, yes we are writer, but we are also friends, daughters/sons, spouses, and parents too.

I had a mini-year of yes myself in 2013. It was fun and satisfying too. That was the year I started submitting again after a long hiatus. I had to get over my fear of rejection and start putting myself out there more. I also started to write more stories about what I was interested in, not what I thought people wanted to read.

Wondrous things happen when you start saying “yes” to things that scare you.

With no fear, you can pursue stuff you’ve always wanted. Highly recommend.

It’s My Birthday (2019)

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today I turn forty-two. Not a monumental age. Not one that is supposed to mark a major turn in one’s life.

I think back ten years to thirty-two. Pretty sure that was when I really started to feel like an adult. I started to take my health more seriously, had my first major move, had a few jobs under my belt, and started this little, old blog. 🙂

If I think back twenty years to twenty-two, I was graduating from undergrad school. I was trying to figure out who I was and where I was going. I had no clue. I knew for sure I wanted to write and I looked for a job that would allow me to do this. No other plans.

At twelve, thirty years ago, I don’t remember much about sixth grade, except for one thing… This was the year I started writing. I remember very clearly writing on the bus home from school. I’m twelve and I think this is a fabulous idea. I’m excited everyday to work on my book.

Thirty years and I still try and hold on to the excitement. I would not say that writing is fun. Sometimes I have to write difficult, sad scenes. Other times I’m writing scenes that are scary. So, no, I would not say that writing is fun.

But I would say that it is exciting. I really do try and get myself revved up and excited to write. Remembering that twelve year-old on the bus helps. She skipped homework to write. She turned off the TV to write. I hold on to that feeling when I start my writing sessions.

Not sure how the next ten years are going to unfold.

I want to keep writing. I want to stay excited about what is to come. That’s all.

Write Different Pieces to Fire Up Your Creativity

I’ll tell you a secret.

I write really bad poetry.

It’s cheesy and rhymes. There is no point to a lot of them. They ramble on and on…

But I write them to write. They are in my head, so I write them down and then moved on to something else. When I was younger (like a teenager), I would write every idea that came into my head in spiral notebooks. I still have those ideas and half written stories in a box somewhere. Many of them are bad, but I wasn’t writing them to show anyone or to publish. I wrote them because I wanted to write.

I do this now mostly in my personal journal. I write about my day (or week) and then move on to the next piece. I have no intention of showing anyone my journal ever. Really it can be quite boring.

Some people may think, “What’s the point of writing stuff no one will read?”

Well… it does take the pressure off. Writing the poetry and the journals help me write with out expectation. No one will read it, so it doesn’t have to be great literature, or even make sense. I’m just writing to blow off steam, or create. It can be stupid, sentimental, words that make everyone roll their eyes if they read it, but it doesn’t matter because no one will.

For me, this freedom helps me move on to the other work that I want to share. Writing in my journal helps me write on this blog. Every now and then, I’ll say to myself, “This would make a good post!” So I take note and write the idea down. The bad poetry helps me think about images or ideas that I may explore in my fiction.

Sometimes I even write stories that I have no intention of submitting. Those stories help me work out a character, or a setting, or some technique I want to work on. I remember writing and erotica story just to get better at sex scenes. I didn’t like any of my previous attempts, but when I deliberately set out to write something sexy, my writing changed. I think it got better. But that story is in the (so called) trunk. It served its purpose and I’ve moved on.

Give yourself permission to write the bad stuff. It’ll help you grow. You’ll have fun. Don’t worry about what someone else is going to think. You’re not going to show anyone anyway.

New Story Published at Four Star Stories

Look A New Story!      photo: Department of the Interior


My new story “Future Virtual Love” is now live at the Four Star Stories website. Click here to read it in full!

For all of my fellow writers, I wanted to give some background info on the evolution of the story.

The first version was written sometime in late 2012. I later revised it and added more (about 1500 or so more words). I then workshopped it twice. The first time in summer 2013 and then later in fall 2013. During summer 2013, my professor encouraged me to submit. I had held off submitting, because I wanted to focus just on craft while in grad school, but she said that the story was strong, and I should try. So off it went into the cycle of submissions and rejections.

During my thesis in Spring 2015, my advisor said that I should try submitting it with a significant portion cut. It wasn’t that the story was bad, in fact the whole story was part of my thesis and accepted. Honestly, her advice came from the feedback the story was getting from editors. “The story is good,” they would say, “but not quite for us.” It got quite a few personal rejections and, yes, that spurred me on, but also made me take second, or even third looks at my work. Then, my advisor suggested that I submit the shorter version instead.

3.5 years after that first workshop… 1 year after thesis… 18 rejections later… I submitted to Four Star Stories in July 2016. In September 2017, I got the acceptance e-mail.

Now in February 2018, the story is published.


This experience taught me a lot, but there are TWO big lessons:

  1. Believe in your work. If you think your work is worth publishing, eventually others will as well. It may take time, but it will happen.
  2. Don’t be afraid to take a hard look at your writing and change it if YOU want to. (Don’t let anyone talk you into changing something you think is right and true.) No story is perfect, and don’t revise until the story is a mere shell, but do take a look at it and see if there is anything that can get better. As an artist, we should strive to be better at our craft then we were the day before.

Don’t stop learning.

Don’t stop growing.

Changes that Add Up

Five days in to this challenge and I’m realizing how good of an idea this is. There is something satisfying about finishing a story and starting fresh. I’ve always liked that feeling. It’s always hard to finish, especially when you have such a long way to go in longer pieces, but the beauty of this challenge is that everyday I get to start fresh. The other story is done and now I have something new to look forward too.

So far I have finished 4 this month. Right now I decided to take a break and write this post before I finish the rest of story #5. It’s a longer short story that I saved especially for the weekend. Weeknights, after a long day at work, I don’t have the patience for a story over 3K. But on the weekends, I can space it out over the day. Some in the morning. Go out and run a few errands. Come home and write more. Do laundry. Write more. Write the blog post. Etc.

I can’t say all these stories will be good. But some will. Some will be fun and interesting. But I will have a lot. I will practice my craft. Create, create, create. I get that now. I understand that my stories will not be produced in a rush of brilliance. They will be mined after millions of words written. They will grow from the millions of stories I write.

I read a couple of interesting articles this week. (I’ll link them below.) One was about what I’ve already talked about with writing and practicing your craft (Rusch). She writes it much better than me, so I won’t summarize. But the other story I read this morning really hit home with me.

A British cyclist team decided to improve everything in their lives by 1%. Not only did they start winning, but they did it, not with radical changes, but small ones that added up over time. For me, it just hammers home the idea that small changes add up over time. Sort of like the old saying, if you write a page a day, you will have a novel by the end of the year.

I may not be able to write a story everyday for the rest of my life. Illness, travel, family issues, or just life in general will come along and throw off my schedule. But that one percent improvement, that will move me forward. That change will add up.

Business Musing Column by Kristine Kathryn Rusch= A great column I discovered a few months ago.
Productivity Article in the Entrepreneur