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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Stress and Delight - IWSG December 2021

 

 

 

It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is 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. IWSG is the brainchild of the amazing and generous  Alex Cavanaugh. Thank you to this month’s co-hosts: PJ Colando, Diane Burton, Louise – Fundy Blue, Natalie Aguirre, and Jacqui Murray! To find links to other IWSG contributors, click here.

This month’s optional question: In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

Querying and all that goes with causes me the most stress lately. It's challenging and time-consuming to research agents and it seems more often than not, even those who seem like an absolute fit respond with something like: “Intriguing premise and solid writing, but but I'm focusing on _______ (fill in the blank) at this time.” I play mind games with myself before I send a query, rereading my letter a million times for typo’s then waiting until the computer clock lands on a number I like before pressing send. Even-numbers are good. Digits that correspond to important dates are better (say, 7:22 for my birthday). Sometimes I simply wait for a number I like, say 4:56 or 2:22. When it comes to querying, nothing replaces a good story and strong writing, but timing and luck can’t hurt. We’ve all heard tales of agents who turned down a particular project for whatever reason, only to have it end up as a best seller, right? (Woe to those who rejected Harry Potter back in the day!) So, in that vein, I play as many odds as I can. Maybe 4:44 pm is exactly the time all the good juju in the world will land on a particular agent and they’ll fall in love with one of my novels. Okay. It's a stretch, but it isn't hurting anyone!

As for what delights me, well, the writing of course. There’s nothing better than landing in that zone where ideas and words collide and find their way to the page. How grateful I am for the days I sit down to edit a line and look up hours later having lost myself in my story. I suppose the soul-defeating nature of querying is a small price to pay for something that brings such joy.

What causes you stress in writing these days?

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Writing Power - IWSG November 2021

 

It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is 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. IWSG is the brainchild of the amazing and generous  Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to other IWSG contributors, click here. Thank you to co-hosts for November's IWSG: Kim Lajevardi, Victoria Marie Lees, Joylene Nowell Butler, Erika Beebe, and Lee Lowery!

 

As I draft this post, (five days before you'll read it) we are 72-hours into a power failure after a devastating nor’easter. My entire town has lost electricity. These days, I’ve got a full-house generator which we arranged to put in when my husband was sick. Ironically, it wasn’t fully operational until a few weeks after we lost him, but my daughter and I are blessed with it now. There is not much worse than sitting for days in a freezing house praying for the power to go on, but this time we've got heat, hot water and lights. No cable or WiFi, but still, it’s all good.

In more irony, I was supposed to have four, hundred-foot pine trees taken down the day before the storm but the tree guy was delayed. We live in a pine grove and for various reasons, trees have been dropping like matchsticks over the past several years. My four are now exposed. Two of the four were struck by lightning this summer and while they remain(ed) standing, the damage forced me to pull the trigger. I’ve been waiting over two months for their removal and now, I’m a day late and a dollar short, as they say. One of the lightening-struck trees snapped in Tuesday’s wind and its top is now decorates my yard. An oak that never worried me also cracked.The damaged crown, still attached, dangles over the generator in what they call a "widow-maker." Ugh, yes. But while all this is a worry, I have to put it into perspective. Down the street, a tree rests on the shattered windshield of a neighbor’s car. Elsewhere, uprooted trees landed on several houses. Those with severe damage take priority of course, so now it's time to cultivate patience. Given the tree devastation around here, who knows when the tree guy will make it back to me.

So, what has my storm experience to do with writing? Not much, really. Only, this is my first significant storm with a full-house generator. I'm not used to having access to anything electrical during power outages so it didn’t dawn on me until earlier today I can fire up the laptop, edit my WIP and create this blog post. (Fingers crossed on actually being able to publish it!)

Today is a day to count blessings. My daughter was with me through one of the loudest, longest and scariest storms I have ever experienced. We have light and warmth. A fuel company delivered more propane to the generator today. And once I figured out I have the power to open the laptop and write my IWSG post, this 500 hundred word vent helped things feel a smidge more normal.

Update: Power restored. Undying gratitude offered to the multitude of power workers who descended on us from places as far away as Alabama, North Carolina and Canada to repair our electric grid.









Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Best Left Unsaid - IWSG October 2021

 

It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is 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. IWSG is the brainchild of the amazing and generous  Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to other IWSG contributors, click here. Thank you to co-hosts for the October’s IWSG: Jemima Pitt, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

This month’s optional question: In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

Sometimes, I imagine myself as a ninety-nine-year-old woman reading my writing of today. I suspect these earlier renditions of me may come across as simplistic, maybe even na├»ve. Perhaps I’ll chuckle at the dated nature of the content, but I know I won’t find anything controversial. For me, it’s easy to draw a line. Anything I write and publish today may last far beyond me and when I’m bearing down on 100, what will I have left if not a good reputation?

For the most part, I write what I like to read, which means no blood, gore or graphic sex. I can’t write horror because it scares me.  Perhaps this inclination to keep things on the clean and neat side is because I read for pleasure, not angst, and wish to create that experience for others. 

But maybe, it’s something more. My daughter rolls her eyes at how old fashioned I am, but I was a sensitive creature growing up and some lessons stuck. We were so drilled not to discuss those taboo topics of religion, money or politics in polite company, to the point that even at this late age I can’t find pleasure in writing about them. You can pretty much guarantee a happy ending in my fiction, or at least an ending in which happiness is imaginable. The suspense, or conflict comes from wondering how the characters will find their way around roadblocks to get there. As for non-fiction, well, what you see here is what you get. I pretty much write from the heart.

Of course, I’m nowhere near perfect. Words that would have had me locked in my room as a kid are sadly a part of my regular vocabulary. I can’t pretend not to have discussed (or railed about) politics lately, although only with people sympathetic to my way of thinking. But as much as I may slip in my personal life, you’re not going to find much evidence of it written down. With the exception of fiction where I have to create conflict, I have no interest in promoting anxiety, animosity, or discomfort. To my way of thinking, it’s a hard, and angry world out there. It’s no help to anyone if I contribute to it.