Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? Write something!

I’ll admit it – I’m not the world’s most organized person.

  • Sometimes I’ll start a project and realize halfway through that, oops, that other project I started has a deadline.
  • Sometimes I’ll completely forget I have something to do until it’s too late to get it done well.
  • Sometimes I’ve got something I really want or need to do, but I get stuck and frustrated, letting writer’s block keep me from moving forward.

brain-954823_1920And on and on.

And I know I’m not the only one. I hear similar things from other writers (and non-writers too) all the time.

Some of it is bad planning and time management – not really knowing how long something is going to take. Some of it is ADD, or should we call that Creative Brain Syndrome – just about every creative type I know suffers from this to some extent. And some of it is probably also fear – not trusting myself to be able to do something well, and so putting it off until I have no other choice.

Since my procrastination is very often in the realm of writing, I’m going to use writing to break my procrastination. In other words, I’m just going to do it, even if I feel overwhelmed, scattered, or nervous and afraid.

And I’m going to invite you to come along for the ride.

Get Writing Promptly

I have a story that I have to get written for the Blog Hop planned later this month. So here’s a writing prompt that I’m giving myself for that story:

Write a 500 word story about someone who gets in completely over their head.

If you want to play along you’re more than welcome! And if you don’t want to write fiction, feel free to turn it into a non-fiction prompt:

I couln’t believe I’d gotten in so far over my head… Write 500 words about a time when you discovered you had too much to do and not enough time to get it done.

I’ll be sharing my story at the blog hop on July 27th. If you want to share yours, feel free to post it in the comments below!

Shouldn’t I be writing?

Really I should print this out and keep a copy right by my desk at all times…. as a reminder.

Yes, that’s the reason. It’s a reminder.

AtoZ Blogging Challenge – Final wrap-up and the Future

atoz [2015] - BANNER - 910

A to Z Wrapup

The bookWhew!

That was a busy month.

I have to admit, I’m glad it’s over.

Developing a fresh story on a daily basis was harder than I expected. But I’ll also admit, it was also easier than I thought it would be in some ways.

Hard because, as I mentioned last week, it takes a lot of mental/creative energy to write a complete story, even one that is very short.

survivor-atoz 2015 - sm_zpsmfnq4uovEasy, though, because I made the commitment to just do it. I didn’t expect perfection. I didn’t really even expect to like every story. My commitment to myself was just to get it done. So even when I didn’t feel like I had a “good enough” idea, I would just write. I got it done.

And with the exception of my U-is-for-Undecided story (I admit it… that was a bunt…), every story I posted holds the potential to be polished, expanded, fixed, and repurposed.

None of it was complete crap, even though I gave myself permission for it to be crap. That’s kind of a big deal.

So here I am, after a sometimes exhausting month. And instead of burnt out and tired, I feel completely energized.

I’m ready to take on the world… or at least my next writing project.

Look out, world. Here I come.

Looking Ahead

pen-622037_1280Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this month as much as I have.

Maybe you’re wondering what will come next.

Here’s my reality – as much as I’d love to keep up the story-a-day format, it flat-out ain’t gonna happen. I have other work I also need to be doing, and I can’t keep up the pace indefinitely.

However, I do still intend to be posting on this blog regularly. Here’s my current plan, subject to tweaking as I work out any potential kinks.

  • Monday – Personal updates/what I’m doing kind of stuff. Hopefully you’ll get to know me a little better—my other hobbies and interests, my family, my work process.
  • Wednesday – Words! I’m thinking maybe a weekly post about words themselves. Either the definition and etymology of a specific word I’ve come across in my reading, or maybe something about using words, inventing words, how words change over time. Whatever. I admit to being a little bit of a word nerd (not nearly as bad as some I know) and this would just be fun for me.
  • Friday – Flash Fiction! I don’t want to give up posting stories on my site altogether. I figure one new story a week might keep natives from getting restless. If I’m working on a longer story or a novel, you might get a scene or snippet from that instead. But maybe not – keeping up the short-short writing is just good practice.
  • Occasionally – Book reviews! I want to get back in the habit of keeping a personal commentary on books I enjoy or find useful. This will usually take the form of recommendations, but I might also weigh in on books that aren’t worth the trouble.
  • Other stuff – I will post other things on my site as they come up. Special offers or bonuses. Publication information when I have new things coming out. Eloquent narratives about the amazing pizza I ate last week… who knows what might come up if the fancy strikes me.

I don’t know exactly what this looks like yet. I guess I’ll figure it out as we go along.

Questions

  • Did you you have a favorite story from my challenge? Something you’d like to see expanded into something bigger? Or even just a type of story that you would want to see more of?
  • Suggestions? Is there anything I haven’t mentioned that you want to see on this blog? Is there particular information that you want me to share? I really want to know what you want!

Answer either or both of these questions by leaving a comment or shooting me a message on my contact form!
I hope to hear from you soon. 🙂

I’ve missed my deadline – here’s your consolation prize

I had every intention of having another collection of flash fiction pulled together by no later than today. It didn’t happen. I got close, but I had days where words seemed hard to come by, and other parts of life sometimes seemed to conspire against me.

I’m still planning to get that collection finished, polished, and ready for sale. But in the mean time, I’m giving you a special treat. This is one of the flash stories I’ve been working on for that collection. And, frankly, it really doesn’t fit the tone of the rest of the collection. I like the story, but I think I’d rather give it away here than try and make it work with other stories that are considerably darker than this one.

Also, tomorrow begins the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. I’m slightly terrified. I had intended to have at least a few stories ready to go ahead of time, and it just did not happen. So over the next month you’re going to be seeing some extremely raw, thrown together writing. I think most will still be fiction, probably flash. But there may be some poetry, microfiction, or just personal writing tossed in for good measure. My blogging challenge will be the basis for publication number 4 of 12 for 2015.  (Publication #3 is the collection that didn’t get published today.)

The best stories from April will get polished, expanded, or repurposed and put in a collection, so feel free to let me know what your favorites are!

Now, without further ado, I give you a flash story.

Big Enough

“I’m not a baby.” Dylissa muttered to herself as she stomped through the woods. “I’m seven-and-a-half years old, and I’m BIG ENOUGH!” She shouted the last two words at nobody in particular.

In fact, Dylissa being big enough was, in large part, what she was proving to everybody by running away. At seven-and-a-half, Dylissa was braver than many who were twice, or even three-times, as old and as big as she was.

The problem, in her eyes, was that nobody ever let her do anything. When her brother Alpin went to sword practice, Dylissa was sent to the kitchen to help Cook make biscuits. When her sister Lexine trained on horses, Dylissa was sent to the governess to practice her reading.

Dylissa found the differences in their training hugely unfair, despite the fact that everyone told her that when Alpin and Lexine were seven-and-a half, that they had to do kitchen chores and lessons, too. “It’s just not fair,” she grumbled, wandering, as she did, further into the forest.

Presently, as seven-and-a-half-year-olds often do, Dylissa found that she was tired and her feet hurt. So she found a nice pile of leaves beneath a tree, curled up, closed her eyes, and went to sleep.

Dylissa opened her eyes, as a great rumbling shook the woods around her. She sat up and looked around warily, wondering what could have made the noise. It was darker in the woods than it had been, and she noticed an amber light flickering between the trees.

Fire? She decided she should go check; fire could destroy the entire forest. dragon-29761_1280

Hurrying towards the light, Dylissa soon found herself in a small clearing, facing the smallest dragon she could imagine. The beast shimmered a shimmery red over its green scales, and it blew small but intense flames out it’s bulbous nose. It was about the size of her father’s hunting dog.

Covering her mouth to stifle a nervous giggle, Dylissa inched closer to the fearsome creature. She couldn’t resist–it was just too cute.

When she was close enough, she reached over and gingerly patted the tiny dragon’s back. The animal turned yellow eyes toward her, causing Dylissa to take a step backwards. But as it moved towards her, she noticed it limping on one foreleg.

A cloud of concern crossed the little girl’s face. “What’s ‘a matter?” Dylissa asked. She forgot to be nervous as she quickly swooped forward, lifted the dragon’s foot, and deftly pulled a sizable splinter from between its toes. As the sliver came free, a single drop of the dragon’s green blood smeared Dylissa’s fingers.

Just as she was wiping the mess on the hem of her skirt, she heard her name echoing through the trees.

“They’re coming for us,” she told her new companion. “I won’t let them hurt you.” She scrambled to her feet, picked up a nearby stick, and prepared to stand her ground against all foes.

“Dylissa!” Her father nearly ran to her, but stopped short as he noticed the weapon she held.

Frowning at her father, who was now surrounded by Alpin, Lexine, and several members of the household staff, Dylissa stood as straight as she could. “You can’t take him,” she said.

“I can’t take who?” Father’s eyes widened in shock as the mossy rock behind his youngest daughter lifted its head and blew a tiny spurt of flame in his direction.

Lexine screamed. Alpin drew his dagger. Someone collapsed in a heap; Dylissa suspected it was her governess.

“You can’t take him,” she repeated, brandishing her stick.

Father stared at her a moment, no longer looking surprised. Dylissa could tell when he decided. He got that look.

“Dylissa,” he said, “you are seven-and-a-half. I believe you’re big enough to train this beast. If you’re brave enough to try, we will call down the Beast Master and you will begin lessons next week.”

A smile split her face as she leapt into Father’s open arms.

Please note that this is unedited, raw writing, and that I still fully assert my copyright on this story. If you want to share it, send someone a link. Please do not copy and share the story itself.

 

You’ll want these bonuses for HTTS

I promised some bonuses for How To Think Sideways, but Holly has promised some bonuses too. The first 25 people who register for the class when it opens are going to get these sweet deals. If you’re thinking about it, jump quickly!

FIRST CONFIRMED SALE:

3 private recorded (so you can keep a copy and don’t have to take notes) half-hour Skype chats with me, where you can ask me your HTTS writing questions, brainstorm a story idea or issues with your WIP, or just chat*, PLUS any 3 workshops of your choice from the Workshops List. PLUS BONUSES FOR 4th – 10th and 11th – 25th confirmed sales.

SECOND CONFIRMED SALE:

2 private recorded (so you can keep a copy and don’t have to take notes) half-hour Skype chats with me, where you can ask me your HTTS writing questions, brainstorm a story idea or your WIP, or just chat.* PLUS any 2 workshops of your choice from the Workshops List. PLUS BONUSES FOR 4th – 10th and 11th – 25th confirmed sales.

THIRD CONFIRMED SALE:

1 private recorded (so you can keep a copy and don’t have to take notes) half-hour Skype chat with me, where you can ask me your HTTS writing questions, brainstorm a story idea or your WIP, or just chat.* PLUS any 1 workshops of your choice from the Workshops List. PLUS BONUSES FOR 4th – 10th and 11th – 25th confirmed sales.

4th – 10th CONFIRMED:

1 group webinar** (1 hour+) on a writing topic chosen by the group, with Q&A afterwards, plus two Short Courses of your choice (does not include bundle). PLUS BONUS FOR 11th – 25th confirmed sales.

11th – 25th CONFIRMED:

1 group webinar** (1 hour+) on a writing topic chosen by the group, with Q&A afterwards.
The launch starts tomorrow Friday, Feb. 27th at 10:00 AM ET, and a lot of folks are going to be lined up waiting for the page to go live.
While you’re waiting, though, you can still get her Free 3-Day Workshop. ALL THREE DAYS are available now.

http://www.hollylisle.net/Think-Sideways-Class.html

Now I’ve done it

I signed up for the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

Why? Why do I subject myself to such tortures? The world may never know. But there you have it. Expect to see more of me come April. Possibly more than you ever wanted to see.

Any thoughts on a theme? Perhaps I will write flash/micro fiction for my posts. That might be fun. 🙂 But I haven’t decided for sure yet, so you’ll have to check back with me closer to the challenge date.

If you are also participating, please feel free to share your blog location in the comments. I’ll try to visit if I can. 🙂

Also, I think it might be wise if I change my email updates from “every time I post to the blog” to “a single weekly digest type email” just to keep from annoying everyone and blowing up your mailboxes.

Flash fiction collection coming soon!

I’ve been bad about staying updated here on my blog. Busy hardly seems to cover it.

That said, I haven’t been entirely neglecting my writing. I haven’t written as many words as I could have hoped, but I have written.

Therefore I’m extremely pleased to announce that I will have a flash fiction collection available on Amazon within about the next week! I don’t have an exact release date yet, but the stories are all written and edited. I still have some work to do on the cover, and I’m still waiting for some feedback from beta readers, but as far as I’m concerned, this is in the bag. WooHoo!!!

I *THINK* the collection will be titled New Skin. That, however, is still subject to change, so we’ll see.

I have every expectation that I’ll be posting again within the next day or two with more details.

Watch this space!

Watch Night is finally available!

WatchNight-KindleIt’s up, it’s up, it’s up!

I know I haven’t been communicating as much as I intended lately, but partly that’s related to the fact that I’ve been busy putting the finishing touches on my short story!

Anyway, my story, Watch Night, is now available for download. The catch is, the only way to get it is to join my mailing list. You can do that by going here and signing up. (And never fear, I despise spam. This is a low-volume list that is only to let you know what’s going on with my writing, and what’s coming up in my publishing world.)

I’m really looking forward to hearing your feedback on this, so make sure you go sign up now!

 

Now, where was I?

Ok, so I blinked and 2 months went by.

I almost wish I could say I’d been sitting around eating bon bons and just “forgot” to be blogging, writing, and getting on with things because I was having too darn much fun.

And if wishes were pages, I’d have written a whole library by now.

The reality is that my “real job” doing desktop publishing got crazy for a while. Plus I was off the grid for a bit visiting family. Add to that some stress over how I was going to wrap up my work in progress, and you’ve got the trifecta that is the bane of every writer’s existence: unplanned busyness, personal obligations, and writers’ block.

*insert a heavy sigh here*

I do want to say, though, that I was, in fact, having fun. I mean, come on. Creative play on my laptop and a trip to California? How much more fun could I have? It’s just that those sorts of activities tend to sap all my creative energy and there’s not enough left for writing. Especially when I’m trying to figure out some piece of my story. :-/

But that, as they say, was then. This is now. And today I’m here on my blog. Today I have a finished draft for my short story. FINALLY!!! Today I’m really happy with my world. (My story world, that is. Actually, I guess I’m pretty happy with the actual, real world too.)

So yeah. Today. Today was a good day. And very soon, I will have a free story available for you to download, if you so choose. Hopefully that means today is a good day for you, too. 🙂

 

Sign up for my mailing list if you want to be the first to know when my story is finally going to be available.

Watch Night

moongirlI’m super excited about how my current writing project is coming.

I’ve been working on a short story tentatively titled Watch Night which is a fantasy story about a young girl apprenticed to the Temple of the Light. This child will have decisions to make that will affect her entire culture, her entire world. But her day starts in simple contemplation with other apprentices.

It goes to show… you never know what the day is going to bring!

When I’m done, this story will be available ONLY to those subscribed to my mailing list. Make sure you don’t miss out! Join now by clicking here.