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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Hello, my name is Melissa and I’m a procrastinator.

Yes, it’s that dreaded nightmare that holds people back from continuing their plans (or even getting started on something). I admit that I can be a really bad procrastinator. Back in school, if I could put something off, I would usually do it. I always liked to think I just got distracted really easily (which I do, trust me), but I can’t put all of the blame on that.  Sometimes, it’s not distractions that hold me back. It’s not having the drive to do it or putting it off to the side so I can “Finish it later.” We all know that never really happens.

Have I been procrastinating finishing my book? Yes. Have I been doing anything about that? No.

A part of it is definitely fear. Fear of what’s next after that last word is written. After the editing is completed and the book is ready to find a publishing home.  Self-publishing or not? If I do go self-pub, how am I going to do it? How in the hell am I going to afford it? Those questions race through my mind and makes the procrastination monster rear it’s ugly head.

Tomorrow, I’m making an effort to try and write more. It’s important to get this finished even when I don’t know what I’m doing afterwards. I have to worry about that after I’m finished. Not right now.

I also plan on blogging on here more. I’ve been so busy trying to make jewelry and hair accessories to put in my etsy shop so I can save up money to actually publish my book.  I’m still not seeing much success, but I guess it’s all about patience, right?  If you want to read all about my jewelry and hair accessory making, you should check out my new blog which talks all about that. 🙂  I also have one that I started on blogspot for all of you on that site to follow. I’m probably going to make the switch to that one soon.

I’ll leave you with this flower headband I just made that’s in my etsy shop.

Cute, yeah?

Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll be back to talk about my views on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. Stay tuned!

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That Evil Inner Critic

It appears I did it again…..

I neglected this blog yet again. I think this was like the third time now.  Again, I’m really sorry. My internet connection sucked. Okay, I’ll admit that I lived in the land of Dial-Up. Yes, that does actually still exist.  It was unreliable and super slow, so blogging took awhile. I got busy with other things included trying to get my book to the end (we’ll talk about that in a moment) and working on my jewelry and hair accessories that I sell (It would make me the happiest girl in the world if you checked out my etsy store…. just saying..)

So here I am, back at my blog now with high speed internet. Yes, I have finally made it out of dial up. Thank goodness. So hopefully I’ll be able to blog more now that it won’t take me hours to post.  Of course, it can make writing a little more difficult considering the distraction it can be. But, good news is that I’m about three or four chapters away from finishing my book.  That’s always a good thing, right?

My problem always has been finishing though. I sort of freeze up and really start to feel the pressure. Everyone starts asking if I have finished yet, what am I going to do with afterwards, how I’m going to get it published. Blah, blah, blah. All of this pressure starts to build up and I freeze. I start getting really critical about the words I type and whether it’s good enough to actually publish.  Yes, my book is about the start of a zombie apocalypse, but it’s not completely full of zombies either. It’s really character driven and sometimes I’m not sure if that’s what people want. I know you can’t please everyone and we all have bad critics who want to bash everything we do but……. I don’t know. Sometimes it’s hard to get past the inner critic in my own head to get to those outside critics.

That’s my biggest problem. The inner critic always wants to bring me down. Will I let it? Of course not. But, it’s always a bitch to get over.  How do you turn off the inner critic in your head to get the work completed? Let me know in the comments section below!

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Yes, another absence from this blog. It was completely unintentional this time around.  After I finished NaNoWriMo in two weeks (I’m still amazed I actually “won” after a couple of years of trying..), my creativity just shut down.  The last thing I wanted to do was write.  I had these great plans to get back to the w.i.p I set aside for NaNoWriMo and finally finish the sucker. Has it happened? Nope.  I have worked on it a bit, but it’s still sitting at a lovely 55,000 words. Not bad really. I’m almost there, but the idea of finishing that right now just wasn’t on my radar.

Neither was blogging, to be perfectly honest. I guess I had to take a step back and take a “vacation” from writing completely.  For anyone who hasn’t done NaNoWriMo, you can’t really understand how much it takes out of you.  For me, all I did was write. I think I took two days off in the two week span that it took for me to get to 50k words., and that wasn’t even because I wanted to. I just had other things to do.  Did I end up wearing myself out during that time? Probably. Do I regret it? Absolutely not.

Yes, NaNoWriMo caused me  to take some time out to take a break from writing afterwards.   But I’ve also learned new things about me as a writer and that’s the most important lesson I could ever take away from something like that. I wouldn’t trade that in for anything.

It’s okay to take a step back and collect your thoughts. It’s okay to take a break from your writing when you feel like you can’t write anymore.  Don’t push it. Just let it flow naturally. If your brain is tired and is screaming for relaxation, do what it says.  You will thank me later. 🙂

Oh, and congratulations to all of the fellow NaNoWriMo “winners” out there! Great job on getting to that glorious 50k finish line!  I’ll also say great job to everyone who participated. Whether you won or didn’t, pat yourself on the back for at least trying!

In other “news”, it’s come to my attention that I have received a few blog awards. Thanks to those who have given them to me. I’ll start handing them out to others in tomorrow’s post! If I don’t forget… Knowing me, that may happen. 🙂

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This week, I wanted to help spark some creativity for those who may be suffering from the dreaded Mid-NaNo slump. Hopefully, this prompt will get you started up again! Hang in there! You can do it. 🙂

You find yourself sitting at your desk, watching the cursor on your computer blink over and over again. With each blink, your eyes become more heavy and soon you fall asleep. Moments later, you awake to find yourself not sitting at your desk, but in a strange land. Describe where you are, who you meet, and how you try to get home (if you even want to, that is..).

I just want to remind everyone that if you have a writing prompt you wish to share here for Writing Prompt Wednesday, please send them to me at thestoryinme (at) gmail dot com. Don’t forget to include your name and blog address so I can give you credit!

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…and I didn’t pull out all of my hair in the process!

Originally, I had this nice, long post about this earlier and then my blog decided to eat it or take it away to the dark blog abyss. What a jerk. Anyways, as a NaNoWriMo finisher, let me try and be your NaNoWriMo coach (self-appointed, of course) and help guide you to the 50k NaNo finish line. Or at least, I’ll try to. 🙂

First off, I should mention that writing is my full-time “job”. I know it’s harder for those who have jobs and families to take care of to fit in a decent writing schedule. My best advice is to try and schedule in at least 60 minutes of writing time. I always tell people not to bother me unless the house is on fire or someone needs to be taken to the hospital. You know, the emergency stuff. Once you have that figured out, write in 15 minute intervals, making sure to take five minute breaks. During those breaks, do whatever you can to rest your brain. Take a walk or relax on the couch. Just make sure it doesn’t last very long. You need to get back to writing as soon as you can. If the internet ends up being a distraction, unplug or disconnect it. I have a bad habit of becoming engrossed with Twitter and blogs, so I had to unplug my internet and hide it while I was writing. Trust me, it helps.

Write down your word count goal of the day. I tried to write at least 2,000 words a day. Sometimes I met it, sometimes I didn’t. There were times when I exceeded it. Put your word count goal near your computer so it’s there for you to see if you’re having a rough time. When you do get to that goal, reward yourself. Go out for some ice cream or coffee with friends. Go out to a nice restaurant or to a movie. It could be something small like watching television (for me, a great motivator was letting myself watch episodes of The Walking Dead. Great show.) No matter what the reward is, just make sure you enjoy it. It’s a great motivator.

This year, I had a better writing support system than the year before. I think it’s important to have a group of people there for you as you try and tackle such an event as this. Go on Twitter and search for #NaNoWriMo and join in on the conversations there. Send messages to writing buddies on the NaNoWriMo website. Talk to your friends and family about your goals and achievements. It’s nice to have people encourage you along the way. If you can, go to a write-in in your area. Unfortunately for myself, I didn’t have any close by. Stupid rural Missouri.

My main advice is to keep writing. Whenever I felt a wall coming up, I just busted right through by not stopping my flow. No matter what, just write. Even if it doesn’t sound that great. Ignore the inner editor we all have (admit it, you have one) and don’t go back to edit what you’ve written. If you’ve written something that sounds horrible, change that font color to white so you can’t see it. I had to do that a couple of times and it really helped me move past from it. This month, it’s all about quantity and not quality. Write in November and edit in December.

As a NaNoWriMo finisher, I know there are some people struggling to get their word counts up there. Just keep in mind that it’s okay not to finish. This month isn’t about “winning”. It’s about finding out who you are as a writer and learning something new about yourself. Just know that you have a NaNoWriMo coach here cheering you on.

Words to remember this month

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First off, I’d like to apologize for my absence these past couple of weeks. After NaNoWriMo started last Tuesday, I’ve been so focused on getting a good lead that at the end of the day, I couldn’t even imagine writing blog posts haha.  So how am I doing so far with my word count? Well, for those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter (but why aren’t you? Hmm?), here’s my progress report:

As of November 12th, I have written over 50,026 words. Yes, that’s right. I’m already finished with NaNoWriMo.  If you remember my failed attempt at doing this last year, you’ll realize how much of an accomplishment that is to me. To finish this major writing even in a little over a week and a half is mind-blowing to me.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about how I managed to complete NaNo so quickly this year, but for today, I just wanted to say hi and let you all know that I did it. I showed the ones who doubted me that they were wrong about me and for those who did believe in me, well, I did it. 🙂  Before I did NaNo this year, I’m not sure if I would have suggested any other writer to do it, but now I think everyone should experience it.  I learned a lot about who I am as a writer and that it is possible to write 50,000 words so soon. It is possible to get that far with enough determination and support.

For my NaNoWriMo buddies (you know who you are), I’d just like to thank you all for the awesome support and encouragement that you have given me. There were times when I would hit a small wall and want to give up because it seemed like such a huge task, but you never let me. You all picked me up and told me to keep going. I’m not sure I would have done this without all of the support I have received. So thank you for that. For those who are still working on getting to that 50k finish line, just know that I’ll be there cheering you on! You can do it.

It is awfully nice at the finish line.  Very comfy and relaxing haha. Although I wish there some cookies or something….

If you’re still working on NaNoWriMo, comment below with how you’re doing.  If you need any encouragement, well, I’m  here haha.

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Today is the day for our Spooktacular Halloween Short Story Blog Fest! Later on, I’ll post a link with all the participants so you guys can check out their stories as well! Enjoy!

Photo credit unknown

What The House Knows

The house looked just like it did when I left many years before. It seemed like it took to taking care of itself, despite being abandoned for so long. The only thing different was the white paint peeling off the sides of the house and the porch railings leaned more than they did.
I stood in front of it, frozen in place, unwilling to take another step forward. I felt the memories consume me, almost to the point of suffocation. Clutching my chest, I tried to control myself. They can’t get me now, I thought. You’re safe now.
But was I really? I didn’t want to come back to this place, but my husband, Tom, thought it was a great idea.
“I want to see where you came from,” he said, smiling after announcing the idea at the breakfast table one morning. “I want to experience rural life for awhile.”
After hearing that, the only thing I could do was paste on a fake smile and nod my head mechanically. Once Tom got in an idea in his head, it was hard to get it out. Over to my left, he was pulling suitcases out of the back of our beat up station wagon. He came over to me and put his arm around my shoulders.
“Man, this place is gorgeous,” he said. “I can’t wait to start my book here.”
Tom was a great writer, but he claimed the city life was getting too distracting for him. He wanted peace and quiet. Unfortunately, I knew we wouldn’t really find that here.
“I can’t believe you still have this place. Why wouldn’t anyone else snatch it up?”
I tried to smile. “Maybe people don’t like the area. Or the house.” I added, quickly.
His eyes widened and he threw out his arms. “How could you not love this place? I think we should move here permanently.”
It felt like my heart dropped to my stomach. “Let’s not be hasty,” I replied. “I think you should stay here for a night and then think about that.”
Tom waved me away and started moving our bags into the house. A few days before, one of my parents oldest friends came in and cleaned it out for us. Matilda asked me if this was something I wanted to do and I lied. Of course it was, I said. Tom wants to see it, so what’s the harm in a few nights?
Now that I was actually standing in front of it again, I was beginning to regret those words.
Walking inside, my insides screamed out in protest. I leaned against the wall as the memories invaded my brain. I could hear the screams and the objects being thrown against the walls. Glancing over at the couch, I could still see the blood smeared on the fabric. I knew that it wasn’t the same couch that I grew up with, but it was still there. In my mind, every horrible memory was still there.
A hand grabbed my shoulder and I jumped, letting out a scream. Tom’s eyes widened and he took away his hand.
“What is the matter with you, Madeline?” he asked. “You’ve been uncomfortable since we got here.”
I shrugged it off. “Nothing. I’m fine. Maybe we should get some dinner in town. I just need to eat, I think.”
Tom nodded, agreeing that was probably a good idea. Luckily, there was no food in the house for us to eat anyways. He had no choice but to agree.
I tried my hardest to stay away from the farm as long as we could. Tom could only be distracted with dinner and shopping for so long before he wanted to get back and settle into the house. I sighed and didn’t argue with him as we went back to the house where I knew everything was waiting.
That night, I found myself wide awake while Tom continued to snore beside me. After dinner, he found inspiration on the back porch of the farmhouse. If only he knew that was where it all began.
I wouldn’t go up to the master bedroom alone. I waited for him to finally feel exhaustion and close up his laptop so we could go to bed. But, even with him sleeping beside me, I still saw the images in my mind. Looking at the new beige carpet, I still saw the pools of blood forming around their bodies. Tears sprang to my eyes as I heard the house creaking in protest. Shadows danced on the walls in the moon lit room.
Suddenly, I heard a door creak open downstairs and footsteps on the wood floors. Thump, thump, thump.
With each step, my heart started to pound faster in my chest. I sat up, shaking, wondering what to do. As the noises downstairs got louder, I shook Tom awake.
He opened his eyes and looked up at me. “What’s the matter?” he mumbled half asleep.
“There’s something downstairs,” I whispered. “I think someone is in the house.”
“What?” he asked, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. “I don’t hear anything. What is going on with you?”
I sighed and shoved fingers through messy hair. “I don’t know if I can stay here. This house knows too much.”
“What are you talking about?”
A tear fell down my cheek. “My parents were murdered in this house. I found them on the floor in this room after a sleepover party. They laid on that floor, stabbed and left to bleed to death.” A crash downstairs caused me to jump out of bed.
Even Tom heard that. He took a deep breath and searched for pistol he brought with us for extra security. He bent over and kissed my cheek.
“Stay here.”
I wanted to stop him from not going, but I couldn’t find the words as he disappeared out of the room. For the next few moments, I sat in the silence of the night and prayed that it was just my imagination playing tricks on me. Everything’s fine, I thought. You’re okay.
It was the shouting that caused my eyes to fly open. The gun shot that followed made my heart leap in my chest.
As I sat there, frozen to the bed, the shadows danced more quickly on the walls. It was like they were taunting me. The creaking got louder and the room got darker. I tried to calm my nerves and see what was going on downstairs.
As I stood up my shaking body, I looked over and saw a figure standing near the doorway. I jumped back, knocking the lamp beside the bed onto the floor with a crash. It came towards me slowly and I got a closer look. With a gasp, I recognized the long brown hair and big, blue eyes.
My mother smiled at me and reached out her hands. Hesitantly, I looked at her. She seemed just like I remembered, wearing her long white nightgown with her hair spilling onto her back.
“It’s okay, Madeline,” she said. “It’s all in your head.”
As she said those words, I could see the blood forming on her nightgown. She smiled again as I gasped, rushing out of the room. I ran downstairs, anxiously searching for Tom. Please let him be okay, I thought. Please don’t let this happen to me again.
The living room appeared to be empty. There were no shadows looming above me or figures standing in the doorway.
“Tom?” I whispered. “Where are you?”
My heart continued to race as I reached over to turn on the lamp beside the couch. Walking towards it, I slipped on something wet on the floor. Catching my balance on the arm of the couch, I turned on the lamp and flooded the room with light. As my eyes adjusted to the change, I looked around the room, not finding anyone standing there. Something on the floor caught my eye and I looked down slowly. My hands went to my mouth as I saw Tom laying there with a pool of blood forming around him.
“No, no, no,” I cried. “This can’t be happening to me.”
It almost felt like the house began to shake with laughter. It knew my fears and played with them. It knew everything.
A figure appeared by the doorway and smirked at me with cold eyes staring me down. I fell down on the couch and screamed as its hands went towards me.
“Madeline? Madeline, wake up.”
My eyes flew open. I sat up in my bed, shaking and covered in sweat. Looking around, I found myself safe in my own home, far away from the house that knew everything. Tom put his hand on my shoulder, looking concerned.
“Did you have another nightmare?” he asked. When I nodded, he sighed. “Honey, that’s the fourth one this week. Do you want to talk about it?”
I shook my head almost violently. I didn’t want to talk about it in fear that saying it would bring it to life again.
“It’s just a dream,” I said, putting my head on his shoulder.
The next morning, Tom made me breakfast in bed. It helped ease my mind and we tried to forget the nightmare.
“You know, I’ve been thinking that we need to take a vacation somewhere. Let’s get out of the city and relax. I think that’s what you need,” he said, smiling.
I nodded my head, putting some raspberry jam on a slice of toast. “And where do you suppose we go?”
His smile got even bigger. “Well, I was thinking about that old farmhouse from your childhood.”
My hands slipped and jam spilled all over the carpets, causing a red stain. Oh, no, I thought as Tom continued to talk. Wake up. Please wake up.
But I couldn’t. It was real this time. That house and it’s inhabitants was waiting for my return.

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