writing recap 2019: w16

I have not been very good about blogging in between these writing recaps. I’m also kind of rethinking whether or not to do the weekly recaps. I started these as a way for me to track progress and keep in mind what I’ve accomplished during the week, but it all feels so vague and hand-wavey since I can’t really share the stuff I’m working on here.

Hrm. Something to think about, I suppose.

In any event. Had a productive week. I finished the piece of flash I was working on for submission, got some eyes on it, and am going to do a final polishing pass before submitting (likely tomorrow).

Now that that’s done, I have to work on my application for a writing workshop this fall. I’m nervous about that, but I’ve gotten very good feedback so far, so. Worst case scenario, they say no, right? (I love that that phrase is used as a friendly platitude. Most days, I can take it as such. Some days, my brain is like YES YES THAT WOULD BE THE WOOORRRRRRST.)

In other news, had the first meeting of the new writing group yesterday. It was fun and productive. We did some structured critiques and caught up on life since the intensive. I think this is going to be a good thing.

ALSO. Butterscotch Shenanigans released Levelhead into early access on Steam on Thurs! If you like challenging platformers a la Super Meat Boy, you should check it out. There’s also a level-editing component, so it nicely fills the Super Mario Maker shaped hole in the PC market. I got caught up in the excitement of watching the launch, and lost a good day and a half to it. (See it here. Link opens a Steam page.)

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This upcoming week is going to be a busy one. Lots of life stuff scheduled, which ends up breaking up my day and making it so I feel less productive. I’ve also lapsed somewhat in the writing of morning pages. Probably something I should get back into, though right now, my brain is saying we’ll be okay without them. But then, I’ve heard that before.

resistance and love

Resistance is directly proportional to love. If you’re feeling massive Resistance, the good news is, it means there’s tremendous love there too. If you didn’t love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn’t feel anything. The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference.

The more Resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to you — and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it.

– Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

writing recap 2019: w15

Something of a tough week. Mechanically rather than creatively. I spent the majority of it finishing a short story that I started during the MRK Short Story Intensive. This story really did not want to be out in the world — each word was like pulling teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth. Requiring lots of heavy machinery. Or, if you’d rather, I really had to mine for each word.

I’m not sure exactly why this is. I had the same feeling writing the beginning of this piece during the intensive, and I was convinced that it was terrible because it felt so hard to write. But when I went back to read it, it was fine. I received good feedback from my fellow MRKers too.

I’m wondering if it’s because I’m trying to use a specific outlining technique. Normally when I write, I start by discovery writing to find a direction. Well, scratch that. I start by noodling on an idea, holding it in my brain and feeling some of the edges. Usually, I catch on something and I go with that. Then I discovery write to figure out where it wants to go. But what ends up happening is that my arc lacks meaningful conflict and tension (so more of a line than an arc, I guess). Or, for longer form works, I get lost in the middle and I’m not sure where to go.

This is an issue I’ve run up against repeatedly.

And this is where the MRK Short Story Intensive* came in.

Continue reading

mistakes

Be proud of your mistakes. Well, proud may not be exactly the right word, but respect them, treasure them, be kind to them, learn from them.

And, more than that, and more important than that, make them.

Make mistakes. Make great mistakes, make wonderful mistakes, make glorious mistakes. Better to make a hundred mistakes than to stare at a blank piece of paper too scared to do anything wrong, too scared to do anything.

– Neil Gaiman, “2004 Harvey Awards Speech” from The View from the Cheap Seats

writing recap 2019: w14

THIS. PAST. WEEK. I’m still reeling.

Last weekend, I took Mary Robinette Kowal’s Short Story Intensive. It was absolutely amazing, and I’m still processing it and trying to figure out how to put it into words. It was a legitimately intense couple of days, but I got so much out of it, and it fueled me for this entire week. STILL SO AMPED.

I started my flash fiction April project, which has been going well. The piece that I wrote on Wednesday, I’m going to polish and submit to a contest. I’m clarifying some of my writing goals and working on nailing down deadlines for myself. I’m going to start submitting this month.

The intensive introduced me to a great group of fellow writers, so we’re forming a critique group together. I spent a good amount of time figuring out the logistics of that — our first meeting is next weekend.

Also, one of my friend’s from residency came for a short visit to apartment hunt since she’s moving to St. Louis this summer!

just reach out

There are a limited number of plots (some say seven, some say twelve, some say thirty). There is no limit to the number of stories. Everybody in the world has their story; every meeting of one person with another may begin a story. Somebody asked Willie Nelson where he got his songs, and he said, “The air’s full of melodies, you just reach out.” The world’s full of stories, you just reach out.

– Ursula K. Le Guin, Steering the Craft

camp nano april: flash fiction challenge

Camp NaNoWriMo starts today!

For this camp, I’m going to do another flash fiction challenge like the one I did during Inktober. It was a good way for me to play with ideas on a small scale, identify recurrent structural issues I have, and practice a little flexible creativity.

If you want to participate alongside me, here are the details.

THE CHALLENGE