Writing Goals

It’s no secret that the biggest roadblock along my path to success is my lack of self-motivation. Depression, anxiety, and ADHD team up to make sure I rarely have any. Anything I manage to create is done so whenever the fog of mental illness dissipates enough for me to see a little sunshine through the clouds.

I keep trying, though, and for that, I applaud myself. It’d be all too easy to give up for good. But I won’t. Though writing is hard, unbelievably hard some days, it’s still something I love to do, and I think I’d go crazy if I couldn’t write.

I have a couple of writing goals I’d like to accomplish this year. I’m going to record them here for some accountability. By the end of 2021, I would like to have at least 15,000 words of my novel written. I would also like to have my poetry chapbook ready for publication. I plan to go the traditional route first. If that doesn’t pan out, I will consider self-publication.

I’m both excited and not. It’s going to take a lot of work. Depression is telling me I’ll never be able to do it, and anxiety is telling me even if I did manage to finish my chapbook, no one would want to publish it. I wish there was a way to make them shut up forever.

All I can do is try my best. Onward!

A Day in the Life of Henry VIII: A Poem

Na/GloPoWriMo has come out with some interesting prompts these past few days. Yesterday’s prompt to write from the perspective of the dead had me writing about Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury. Today’s prompt to write the to-do list of an unusual person or character birthed a Shakespearean sonnet about King Henry VIII.

See below for a short preview.

A Day in the Life of Henry VIII


Whether by ties or death should he sever
them from this most sacred and solemn vow,
he can be assured of his rightful choice
and take such succor as offered him now,
be it food or skin above a rich bodice!
Whoever she be, shall she be my queen
or be hanged for failure to make a king?

To Tell a Fib

I’ve been very casually keeping track of what’s going on over at Na/GloPoWriMo. I haven’t written every day, and what I have written has been off-prompt. I liked today’s prompt, though, which was to write a Shadorma or a Fib. Each are six-line poems with specific syllable counts. The Shadorma syllable count by line is 3/5/3/3/7/5, while the Fib’s syllable count is 1/1/2/3/5/8.

I, naturally, chose what felt like the harder of the two. I like to challenge myself this way; it makes me more conscientious of the language I use, and I think, by doing so, I write better poetry.

Here’s my contribution for today:

opera games

an
act
two-faced
masquerades
or opera games
a riddle behind ivory
peel away the venetian lace
you still won’t see me
I’m hidden
by more
than
masks

Getting Back on the Horse

I feel I should apologize for my sudden absence but doing so sounds exhausting. So, I’m going to spare myself that hassle and just say: I’m back!

Some explanation is in order, though. Mid-September of last year, I descended into a sudden depressive episode. I’ll spare you the details, but essentially, it killed all desire to do anything but read and play video games. It’s taken me this long to feel marginally okay again.

It’s really disheartening how mental illness can be a roadblock to success. I was feeling super excited about all kinds of prospects last August. I was writing, a couple of my poems were accepted for publication, and I was trying to get an editing business up and running.

In what felt like one day, it all unraveled. I didn’t want to write anymore. I lost all confidence in the quality of what I had already written and felt like nothing I might write in the future would be good. I even gave up on the editing gig. It didn’t take off, anyway, which felt like a swift nail in the coffin of my dream of being an editor.

In short, I felt hopeless and like I wasn’t good enough, wouldn’t ever be good enough, so why bother trying?

I’ve been telling myself that for most of my life. Boy, I’m really tired of me.

With the turn of the weather, I’ve felt much better. I’ve started writing again! I even submitted a couple of pieces for publication. Keep your fingers crossed for good news!

As for the editing gig…it’s still something I’d like to do and think I’d be good at. I realize now it’s a hard field to break into, though, and I’m wondering if perhaps I was too ambitious to think I could crack it, at least in such a short time frame. I’ll need to think on it more and do some research.

I feel more like myself again–it’s good to be back. And this time, I hope to stay for a long, long time.

Donald Trump’s Titanic: A Poem

I wrote a poem called Donald Trump’s Titanic which was recently accepted for publication in the online literary collective Writers Resist. Please give it a read, and of course, I would love to hear your thoughts!

See below for a short preview.

The world today
is like watching a shipwreck in slow motion.

Donald Trump
is the iceberg, and America is
the Titanic. We laughed
about being able to smell ice
when it’s near—

Iceberg, right ahead!
We elected him anyway.

Silence!

Everyone who has ever written anything knows writing is hard. There are many reasons why, and every writer’s journey is different. Something I struggle with may be easy for someone else and vice-versa.

I could write a novel about why writing a novel is difficult for me–I won’t. Not today, anyway. I have something specific in mind and it’s universal to all forms of writing.

How does one deal with their inner critic?

I can’t say much yet, but yesterday, I wrote a poem comparing Donald Trump to the Titanic. I wrote it in a rush of creative madness, knocking out a 32-line poem in about twenty minutes. I bragged about it to my friend and on social media, and even texted my husband while he was at work, something I rarely do.

I thought I was so clever, and I was positive I could publish it.

And an hour later, I hated it. The more I re-read it, the more I thought it sounded like pretentious garbage, and I wondered how anyone could ever like it, much less anything else I write.

For the record, I’m back to believing in my cleverness. I finished editing the poem and have already scouted out some places I’d like to submit it to. Wish me luck!

But I know it’s just a momentary respite. Once I hit “Submit,” my fears will return.

So…how do you silence your inner critic? A girl could use some advice.

The Forest: A Novel Teaser #1

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I don’t usually write novels. It’s much easier for me to write poetry or short stories, as I’m too flighty for such a big commitment as a novel.

I began my first novel in 2007. I had just discovered NaNoWriMo and I was excited. I rode that high the entire month of November and I “won,” but only just (my final word count came in at 50,134 words). I’ve failed every year since.

Still, I hold out hope that, someday, I’ll finish a novel (and hopefully publish it). A little over a month ago, I got a new idea for a story I’m rather excited about. I’ve written about 3,000 words of it and haven’t lost interest. Perhaps this will be the one?

Continue reading for a short preview of the first chapter of The Forest, a story about a young girl whose family gets trapped inside a story.

Gwen enjoyed a good blizzard. They were a part of her, after all, she had been born during one. She had weathered so many, storms of her own making and ones of the earth, that no matter how much snow fell or how hard the wind blew, she never grew frightened.

As she stood at the edge of the void, all she could feel was fear. Staring into it, she couldn’t help but feel something was staring back.

It was unlike anything she had ever experienced. Even the worst blizzards could not have prepared her for the absence of everything, the startling white of the nothingness before her. Even when the snows fell two or three feet deep, there was always color left in the world. Like a painter who had come through with his brush to touch up any faded spots in a piece of artwork, the world was more colorful after a blizzard. The rough browns of the tree trunks were darker. Evergreen boughs took on a heartier hue. Glossy, red winterberries, which always lit a fire in Gwen’s heart on cold nights, were brighter when contrasted against the blank canvas.

Behind her, the forest existed as it always had. The trees shook in the wind, animals rustled in the bracken, and the river burbled its merry song. In front of her was…nothing. Not even a stray bird in the sky or a tendril of smoke from someone’s fire. She could feel the implications of it pushing at the boundaries of her mind, looking for any chink in her psyche to pour madness into.

Oh, is This Your First Time?

Among all the changes to my life I’ve made since I turned thirty, I also decided I was going to begin submitting my writing. If I want to be published someday, I have to start putting myself out there. Opportunities aren’t just going to fall into my lap, after all!

Though, wouldn’t it be nice if they did?

During my research, I stumbled across a great online literary magazine called Mother’s Always Write, and I thought, why not? I’m a mother, and I write. Sometimes I even write about being a mother. Perfect fit, right?

I am proud to announce that my poem, “The Robin,” will be published in the late summer issue on Monday, August 24th. Please look forward to it!

In the meantime, enjoy this short preview:

The robin bops
along, hurried,
harried,
at wit’s end—
I reckon she regrets
ever lying with a man.