Writing


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It’s turning into one of those nights where I throw up my hands and say, “You know what? Screw it.” (Only with stronger language…) There are several reasons I’ve lost the thread tonight. Originally, a friend and I had a Write Club scheduled, but due to unexpectedly bad weather, we had to cancel, which left a blank in my evening that I should fill with writing, but instead, now lacks the one motivating factor I had counted on to keep me going (through no one’s fault but the stinkin’ weather’s!). I’m tired. It’s Friday, and it’s a mid-weekend, which means the hubby’s working tomorrow and Sunday, which means there is no weekend for me, either. It gets long. And tiring. And the kiddo was in fits tonight after not napping and my inability to pay 100% attention to him while giving some support to a friend on the phone (that still means about 75% attention on him, btw). It’s rainy and stormy. I’m tired. I just want to relax and read Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin and watch the latest episode of Project Runway and the next episode of Gotham and just…drink a beer and chill.

In concession to my writerly dreams, I will work for five minutes retyping a scene that needs to move forward. That is my token offering. For the rest of the night, I will indulge myself and relax, because sometimes I need that, too.

Today in Mommy-Land

Trying to get back on the blogging horse! This morning, Andy, the Little Man, and I went out with my good friend K— to breakfast at Parker’s Maple Barn (deeeeelicious). Little Man had tastes of pancake, non-spicy sausage, potato fries, and french toast, which he loved very much. While K— and I caught up, he and Andy walked around. My mother got him some itty bitty baby shoes with good soles on them, and now that he’s discovered walking outside (it’s been so beautiful, weather-wise lately!), he almost never wants to stop. He looks so big wearing shoes! Like a proper toddler, and not much of a baby at all.

Yesterday, we took him to the library park for the first time, and he rode on the baby swings (pretty fun), sat on a wobbly thing (with support–kind of fascinating), spun on a whirligig with Mom (okay, kinda weird), and slid down a slide with Daddy (NOT FUN AT ALL, WHY ARE YOU TORTURING MEEEEE?!) Then we went to Mine Falls in Nashua, and walked around for quite a while. It was so beautiful out, and it’s been spoiling me something rotten to have Andy around mid-week. We figure we’ll soak it up now, since come July, I probably won’t see him for a year. XD

We also bought a pint of kumquats to try, since we’ve always toyed with the idea of getting a kumquat plant, but weren’t sure if we’d like it. I’m pleased to report, we do! They’re very citrusy–like an orange-lemon combo–with quite a tart kick, but very sweet, edible rinds. I, personally, prefer to remove the rind, since it has a way of sticking around in my teeth after I’ve eaten it, but otherwise, they’re quite tasty.

Today in Writer-Land

As is always the case when Andy’s around these days, I didn’t get any writing done yesterday, though I did start the retyping of a short story I’m editing on Monday, so that’s making slow but measurable progress. I also found out that one of my short stories, “Snap,” is being held at a really nice little small press publication, so fingers crossed on that one! Got two other rejections yesterday and today (rawr…), but got them both resubmitted this afternoon (yay!).

In keeping with the title, my small victory is this: I counted my total rejections from 2014 and 2015 (so far), and last year I got a total of 19 rejections, and so far just within the first four months of 2015, I’ve gotten 21! Now, this may not seem like a victory, but it is, and I’ll tell you why: in previous years (prior to 2014), I’m not sure I even submitted fiction 19 times. So that’s Victory #1. And then on top of that, I’ve already topped my 2014 total submissions, so I’m doing better than last year!

Here’s a question: What metrics–writing-wise–do you find helpful to track/keep a record of?

I’ve determined I need to focus more on competing with myself when it comes to writing, rather than constantly measuring myself up against more successful authors. For one, it’s not a fair measurement, because I only see the good things going on for them, and oftentimes they’ve been in the field a lot longer than I have. For two, it takes the focus off the writing, which is really the only thing I have control over. So I’m doubling-down on self-awareness and trying to be mindful about the kinds of discouraging thoughts that pop into my head on a near-constant basis. I also want to start tracking my own process metrics (total submissions, for example). I’ve been considering metrics like personalized-to-form rejections ratio from markets I submit to often, maybe word count (though that’s tricky with editing, which is most of what I’m doing these days), maybe length of project (how long it takes from when I start a new story vs. if/when I finish editing and submit it), etc. So what works for you/what data do you find interesting to follow?

It's all about the Data...

It’s all about the Data…

Today in Mommy-Land

Pretty standard day here in Mommy-Land, though I’m feeling much less hoarder-ish since I got the massive pile of laundry all tidied up Sunday. The Little Man took two naps–one about an hour and a half long (not bad), and one short forty-minute nap (meh) in bed. My mother also had a few minutes, so she watched him for a half-hour before his nap, which allowed me to get a little writing work started.

Also divided up the Little Man’s toys into three bins in the hopes that cycling through them from one day to the next will hold more of his interest. He’s quite inquisitive, but he exhausts things so quickly! We’ll see if the bin rotation helps.

Today in Writer-Land

Rejected. Rejected, rejected, rejected! *cries* Actually, I’m not super upset, but you know how it goes. I was really hoping this one would happen, especially since it’d gotten pushed up the editorial chain of command. But I did get a very nice and encouraging rejection notice, which I definitely appreciate (…as I wallow in self-pity).

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“It was really, really good, but no thanks!”

That said, I got it right back out again like a hot potato, so the infinite game continues! (Ouch! It burns! Submit! Submit! Submit!)

Also got 650+ words of the second scene started for this month’s rewrite. Took me quite a bit of time–rereading Sunday’s work–to get my shoulders into the story, but I suspect that’s just from yesterday’s heavy-duty brainstorming. It left me a bit fuzzy-headed. Ah well, there’s always tomorrow. :)

LM_InstaPro_Product Photo2It all started with a birthday gift for my little sister back some fifteen-odd years ago. My sister was really into the idea of becoming a vet, so for her birthday, my parents saved up a bunch of old medicine containers and filled them with tic-tacs, Pez, Skittles, and Chiclets to use as “medicine” for when we played vet. It was a great–and rather inexpensive–gift that we enjoyed the heck out of for months, carefully doling out tic-tacs to our stuffed animals (and, of course, eating them ourselves) and writing prescriptions, delighting in “curing” their faux aliments.

The funny thing is that the placebo-effect is actually quite strong. A couple of years ago, my husband (currently finishing up med-school himself) found an article regarding “the placebo-effect” that showed not only that placebos do–in fact–make a measurable, positive impact on people. More surprising than that, however, was the finding that even when you know what you’ve been given is just a placebo, it still creates a placebo-effect. You can take a tic-tac, for example, and say “If I take this, I’ll feel better,” and lo and behold! You just might. Might, of course, is the key word. It’s not actually changing anything in and of itself, but the brain is a powerful (and apparently suggestible) organ.

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A number of years ago I decided to play with the placebo-effect myself, and used a little antique glass bottle wrapped in a Post-It Note for “Productivity Pills.” I put white Tic-Tacs in it, and whenever I was feeling sluggish, or didn’t want to write, or didn’t want to focus at my day-job, I’d pop a “pill” and get back to work. Did the Tic-Tac actually do anything? No, of course not! Well, it may have made my breath a little minty fresh, but otherwise, no. However, popping one from that silly little bottle reminded me that I was supposed to be focusing on getting stuff done, and I got a LOT of writing and work stuff done during those years. Beyond that, it was just seriously fun and made me smile.

Which got me thinking–what if I could make little snake-oil bottles for all the various “writerly ailments” I suffered from? Things like writer’s block, or self-doubt, or rejection blues? When I really got to thinking about it, there were tons of “ailments,” so I decided to start making those snake-oil “cures” for them under two brands: Lucky Muse and Dr. Eponymous.

DrE_RutRemedy_PourLucky Muse is the snarky, snake-oil, cheater’s brand–the “cures” that promise instant success, brilliant prose, loads of money, and all without really having to work at it, because who wouldn’t love a book deal to fall into their laps? Dr. Eponymous is a bit more serious (though still quite snarky, because–hey, it’s me.) writerly ailments for those committed to improving their craft and surviving the day-to-day pains and aches of being a writer.

I’ve also created a few that are for a general audience, which I had a ton of fun giving as gifts this Christmas.

With a little prodding, I’ve finally opened an Etsy shop (called, what else? The Placebo Emporium!) where I sell some of these silly things, and I must say, I’m having a wonderful time! I’ve got quite a list of new “cures” to get designed and put up there, mostly for my own growing apothecary than anything else! Curious? Check out The Placebo Emporium here! Any particular writerly “cures” you’d like to see? Let me know!

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