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Writing Resolutions 2017

Posted by Rachel on January 10, 2017 in current event, discovery, editing, inspiration, planning, reading, writer's sketch, writing |

Last year I wrote a blog about my writing resolutions for 2016 and I more or less held myself to them all. Yay! Given the shit-storm that was 2016, I’m pretty surprised by that. Due to such an impressive feat, I’d like to complete a new list for this year and hopefully keep myself to those as well.

2017

Read a book a week. 2016 sucked. I think we can all agree there. As a result of my 2016 version of suckage, I fell off the cart of reading a book or more a week. For this new year, I’d like to return to that plan and keep reading- specifically ownvoices books including more WoC. Suggestions welcome!

Finish current edits. I need to be done with this story I’m working on so hard. I cannot express how much (read: MUCH). So, more or less, it’s time to move on. I fully intend to complete this tale and get back to better things.

Complete new book. Speaking of better things! I finished a draft of this new story (omg epic!) last year but ultimately it needs to be mostly rewritten (not so epic). I got about halfway through these changes before 2016 attacked with a vengeance. This year I’ll get this draft polished up and off to betas!

Ignore self-doubt. Like most writers, I suffer from bouts of self-doubt, but I try to keep myself in check and block out those thoughts. That proved difficult this last year so I’m going to work more on being aware of those feelings and knowing that they’re total crap and I’m awesome. Hear that? Awesome!

Get back to that other story. This is my resolution from last year that has carried over. I have an old MS that I think can become something incredible if I foster some time into it. I’ve been slowly brainstorming and letting ideas percolate. Hopefully this is the year that I can revisit and rework it 🙂

If you have some resolutions to share, please do! It’s always encouraging to hear other people’s goals. Shared motivation helps us all so here’s to a successful 2017, writer friends!

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Finding Your Way Back

Posted by Rachel on December 13, 2016 in current event, discovery, inspiration, writer's block, writing |

If you’re like me and many other writers, sometimes you lose your way. Whatever the reason might be– inspiration feels like it’s missing or maybe anxiety has become overwhelming– we all have gaps in our process. The important thing isn’t that the blank space has occurred or how long it’s been, those are merely distractions to keep you down. What you need to focus on is how to get back into the groove.

That’s about as far I got into this post before realizing I don’t really know how to do that. I wish I could say here are some exact steps, but that’s unfortunately not how this works. Honestly, when you feel stuck, it’s the worst feeling for us creative types. Our muse stops talking to us and the shimmer of life fades. Sometimes inspiration returns easily, sometimes it takes a while. Right now is one of those longer moments for a lot of us, I think. And you know what? That’s okay!

Right now we’re waiting for something to tell us it’s time. And that eternal sign doesn’t seem to be showing itself so…here’s you’re sign. It’s time. Writing every day is great but don’t feel like you’re a failure if you can’t make that happen now, or even if that doesn’t happen when everything is looking up. You write when you can. That’s what matters. Little by little you get back to what feels right.

In these challenging times, ignore the doubt flooding your thoughts and try to open your notebook, or document, or scrivener, and write a few words. Don’t force it to get a scene out or a chapter, maybe just brainstorm and start there. Maybe write about your character’s likes and dislikes rather than story content. Jump-start your creative process in whatever way works for you.

Most importantly though, whatever you do, please don’t give up. In these bouts of doubt or insecurity or plain old blahs, remember that your voice is needed in the pantheon of stories. Finding your way back to wording is vital not only to your well-being but the success of our entire community. Believe me, you matter and your story matters and we need you! It’s time to write again.

Even if it takes weeks or months to return to your regularly scheduled creative path, it’s crucial that you do. Know that you’re not alone. We all face this struggle at some point, in some cases, a few times over, so know you’ve got friends going through this same thing. Especially now. Together we’ll get through this 🙂

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Flash Fiction: Fright Night

Posted by Rachel on October 28, 2016 in characters, discovery, reading, writer's sketch, writing |

He works long hours in the fields. Back-breaking work, he says each night, but still he returns to the fields every sunrise. I’d help if I could. That’s out of the question now, however. An unfortunate tractor injury has kept me inside, confined to canning and prepping our harvest for market. But those fields aren’t going to tend to themselves…so we’ve hired help.

I watch the group of them work, laboring under the hot sun. Sweating enough to fill the horse troughs. Something about the glistening, sun-soaked bodies makes me miss it. Their muscles tense and taut, as if they will nearly burst apart their skin. That’s where I belong, to be honest–after all, canning has never been for me. I’d sooner trade my life than willingly put myself through another season of this. I’m not sure what’s worse, the waiting while each batch is bubbling, or feeling like I’m losing my mind by misplacing jars and tops, never to find them again.

Come to think of it, more than just the jars have gone missing. My great-grandfather’s boiling pot isn’t on the top shelf where I last put it. And the other day I couldn’t find any packets of jello left. They’re my husband’s favorite. I assume the hands we hired have sticky fingers and empty stomachs. Either way, I’ve made due. Although, boiling jars in a substandard pot means boil overs burns are far more likely.

No surprise when one such boil-over nearly peeled a patch of the skin on my hand right off. I’ve been sentenced to bed rest as per my husband’s orders. I told him this burn didn’t require that kind of rest, but I obliged to sooth his worries. Yet each day, as he tends to the fields, I swear I hear someone inside the house. I’ll call out, but there’s no response. From the nearby window I can see the field hands outside, but still the clanging and chiming of noise downstairs carries on throughout the day.

After so many instances, I can’t take it anymore and check from the top of the stairs. I call out to whoever may be down there, but like always there’s no reply. I tell my husband at night someone has been in the kitchen. Chopping. Boiling. Canning. He tells me the stress of not meeting our quote has gone and spoiled my thoughts. He tells me after tomorrow’s day of work, he’ll prepare a meal for me himself, to calm my worries this time.

I wait the entire day, shuddering at each jingle of noise from downstairs. I can’t count everyone in the field like days before. Someone is missing this time. Perhaps that explains to noise. Perhaps my dearest is getting a jump on tonight’s meal. Finally, he appears in the doorway. He has an apron on and a smile like nothing I’ve ever seen. Dinner is served he says. I make my way down, one stair at a time, to witness a holidays worth of food spread across our dining room table. Fruits of our labor, he says.

Seated under the flickering light of the dining room, we tuck in. He scoops spoonfuls of deliciousness onto my plate, filling it up until no piece of the china remains visible. He is careful to watch me as I consume the meal. Each mouthful I take gives him a sense of glee, something that shimmers–but not a twinkle in his eye, rather…in his teeth, almost.

As my plate is cleaned, I peer across the table to the shelf above the fridge where new cans lay filled. Their contents a deep earthen red, tightly packed inside the glass. I cannot place what vegetable could create such a meaty hue, but my husband is more than please with them. His smile breaks so wide his face appears to split.

It is then I’m asked, How does he taste?

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2016 Fall TV Round Up

Posted by Rachel on October 12, 2016 in current event, discovery, review |

I usually review half a dozen or so new shows each fall but this season didn’t have many that drew my attention, but these four are captivating ideas I had to check out. Here are my 2016 Fall TV Reviews:

The Good Place – The concept is super clever. A woman finds herself dead and in “the good place” but her identity has been mixed up with another and she doesn’t actually belong there. It’s incredibly funny and brings up a lot of fun questions about how you evaluate someone’s life. On top of that, the actual good place is designed to reflect the most ideal neighborhood imaginable, complete with froyo on every corner! Moreover, everyone meets their actual soul mate and there’s a an on-call service like Siri who can answer or provide anything to you. I think this show has solid ground to stand on and could develop into something fantastic but despite the comedy and twists in the first few episodes, I’m not completely convinced. I’ll keep watching to find out!

Designated Survivor- The idea of a designated survivor becoming the President after a terrorist attack is certainly interesting, but the execution feels a little short sighted. The newly appointed President faces troubles from the remaining congress-folk as well as many constituents not backing him after the attack. It feels like there’s almost too much drama, inevitably making the twists is a little obvious. The overly dramatic story continues to bank on said drama without really looking too far into potential future development which leaves the concept feeling lack-luster and wrapped up already just after a few episodes. I probably won’t stick around, I have much stronger political dramas on my list already, but it could be fun for the right viewer.

Timeless- The opening is a little slow to this new speculative drama, but as a big lover of spec fic, I was inclined to push through. To begin with, the concept of needing to go back in time to save certain catastrophic events by keeping them catastrophic is wonderfully tantalizing. How would you handle being plopped into history knowing something awful would happen? The team knows their present isn’t perfect but needs protecting, which means protecting the mistakes of the past. However, the whimsical plot suffers from a cliched villain, a cliched soldier trope, and an episodic feel that ultimately will grow tiresome. The main characters, Lucy and Rufus are awesome, so perhaps they can save my interest in the show but I’m not sure this one will stick around long if they don’t make the problems harder to solve.

Pitch- Well, folks, this is the show I was born to watch! Yes, it’s that good! Despite some personal triggers this show creates that makes it a little tough to watch, I’ve powered through in favor of supporting such a much-needed concept. The story grabs your heartstrings from the get-go and is a heartwarming, realistic view of that a sports story should look like in this day and age. The tension is smart, and propels a very important gender discussion that it handles with class and care. Ginny is an inspiration and her challenges can be felt at all levels of the story. This is a show families can watch to help address gender stereotypes and hopefully break down walls between each other. Can’t wait for more. Must watch!

What shows have you been tuning into this fall? Anything I should put on my radar?

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