Three Links 4/25/2020
1. https://killzoneblog.com/2020/04/focusing-on-the-writing.html “t’s okay to be distracted, to flounder about. Writing less is acceptable. For me, I find the following techniques helpful. I’ve used them when coming back from vacations, when it takes a while to find my writing groove, and they work as well for me in these crazy times.
Get rid of chores that will nag.
If you are going to worry about cleaning house, paying bills, going through email, take the time to get the critical things dealt with. Otherwise you’re not going to be focused on your writing. If you’re a ‘write first’ person, don’t open anything other than your word processing program.
Do critiques for my crit group.
This might seem counterproductive, but freeing your brain from your own plot issues and looking at someone else’s writing can help get your brain into thinking about the craft itself.
Work on other ‘writing’ chores.
For me, it can be blog posts, or forum participation. Just take it easy on social media time.
Deal with critique group feedback.” Starting back with blogs is helping me. It’s got my focus turned to what’s next: writing, naturally. And now, that’s coming along too.
2. https://rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/goals-goals-goals/ “I’m a planner, and one of the things that always makes me feel better when there are parts of my life that I can’t plan for is to focus on the things that are under my control – which means throwing myself into writing. If I can fall into the world of my books, even for a little while, then I’m a calmer, happier me. So how do we do that right now? How do we set goals that work for us in this moment?
I was listening to the Scriptnotes podcast recently and they offered this advice to writers, “How do you best take advantage of this time? […] I think it starts with making some sort of writing plan. List the projects you’re considering. Pick one of your projects. And then schedule time each day to write it. And make a plan for how you’re going to do it. Set some goals of effort. Not necessarily that you’re going to finish by a certain time but that you’re going to get a certain amount of work done each day. It could be pages. It could be words. Whatever. And find some system for holding yourself accountable. […] Spend some time over these next challenging couple of weeks and months with your Internet turned off, with your Twitter shut down, actually focusing on doing something productive and good creatively…”
I loved that. Spend your time doing something creatively good. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. I know we have wildly varying amounts of time and mental energy to devote to our writing right now, but every little bit builds toward something. Something good. Crafting our fortresses of words one brick at a time.
I actually had the hardest time over the last couple months when I was between projects. My brain wouldn’t stop whirring, but when I had a project I could mentally wrestle with it occupied my brain and kept the other mental wrestling to a minimum. So now I’m wading into a new book, wrestling with new plot problems. It helps to have something to create.
We’ve been at this social distancing thing for a while now and many of us are starting to settle into a routine. We’re starting to figure out what works for us and what doesn’t now that things have shifted. This is not the time for shoulda-coulda-woulda recriminations about what we haven’t done or didn’t do. This is when we point toward the future.
What are your goals? How are you planning to chip away at something productive and creatively good? With word count goals? With hours or sprints? (As Hope said on Monday, she’s still hosting them in the chat room!)
And just like when we do the Ruby Writing Festival, remember to make self-care part of your goals too. 🙂”
3. https://writersinthestormblog.com/2020/04/how-to-become-a-better-writer-in-quarantine/ “It sounds like a writer’s dream: hours of time at home, no expectations to go anywhere or do anything outside your house. You can really dedicate the time to better your writing, right? But what if you don’t feel like writing? Many writers have experienced a short-circuiting of their creative energy during this quarantine, with everyone stuck at home.
Maybe your creative space and time have been crowded out. Maybe worry, uncertainty, and even fear make it hard to concentrate on your craft. Perhaps the very sensitivity that makes artists artists might be working against your ability to create your art in such unsettled times.
But even if all you’re able to manage right now is curling up on the sofa with a book or the remote control, taking in other people’s stories can actually be a wonderful opportunity to learn to objectively assess your own and hone your skills.
So don’t worry if you just can’t find your creative spark at the moment. Trust me, it’s there—like a pilot light that never goes out—and you can feed it no matter”
Research & Fun Bits:
1. https://killzoneblog.com/2020/04/turning-a-crisis-into-fiction.html “It all started with something my twenty-year-old son said a couple of weeks ago: “You know, this pandemic could’ve been a lot worse.”
The Covid-19 crisis has forced the members of the Alpert family into closer contact than we’re accustomed to, and although this has led to many irritating consequences — battles over TV time, anguished demands for quiet, and the occasional shouting match — there have also been some benefits. We’ve had some fantastic dinners. We’ve discovered a few amazing television shows (“Mrs. America” on Hulu, “Unorthodox” on Netflix). And my wife and I are enjoying a reinvigorated relationship with our college-age kids, who are showing an admirable resilience in dealing with their online classes and the sudden transformation of their social lives.”
Some Things More Serious:
Teaser Fiction & Poetry:
Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:
1. https://blondewritemore.com/2020/04/29/bookreview-willows-wedding-vows/ “Wedding vows have never been this personal…
Willow has been living with marriage-shy Charlie for more years than she cares to remember and is old-fashioned enough to want a wedding band and a loads-of-sex honeymoon before stretchmarks and nipple shields.
So when the once-wary Charlie surprisingly goes down on one knee, Willow doesn’t question why her boyfriend is suddenly so keen to rush her into saying “I do”.
The first clue comes as Willow is zipped into her Cinderella dress, the second as she bobs into the wedding car, and the third as the Roller swings towards its fairy-tale destination… leaving a shell-shocked Willow desperately trying to figure out what to do next.
A bride can do anything she wants on her wedding day, but nobody expected her to do this.”
2. https://mariacatalinaegan.com/2020/04/29/spirits-of-the-earth-series-by-milo-james-fowler/ “The world isn’t how they left it. When the bunker airlocks release them after twenty years in hibernation, the survivors find a silent, barren world outside. But they are not alone. There is a presence here, alive in the dust—spirits of the earth, benevolent and malicious as they interact with the human remnant.
Milton is haunted by a violent past he’s unable to escape, despite the superhuman speed the spirits give him.
Not interested in bearing the next generation, Daiyna is determined to destroy the flesh-eating mutants lurking in the dark, pierced by her night-vision.
Luther is a man of conviction who believes the Creator has offered humankind a second chance, yet he’s uncertain they deserve it—and he’s perplexed by the talons that flex out of his fingers.
Willard is a brilliant engineer-turned-soldier who refuses to leave his bunker, afraid of becoming infected and willing to destroy any obstacle in his way.
As their lives collide, the mysteries of this strange new world start unraveling, culminating in the ultimate life-or-death decision one survivor will make for them all.
Don’t miss this Post Apocalyptic Adventure with a Paranormal Fantasy twist! It’s perfect for fans of Stephen King, T.W. Piperbrook, and The Walking Dead.”
3. http://booksbywomen.org/mom-babble-excerpt-crying-in-the-laundry/ “Have you ever curled up in a pile of laundry because it seemed like a good place to cry?
Have you ever sobbed in front of a mirror because you were in so much pain and you just wanted to be seen, but the only person around to share your suffering with was, well . . . yourself?
Have you ever hurt so deeply that you were certain your body would just stop functioning?
Have you ever cried until your eyes were swollen, your tears ran dry, and your face looked like it was stung by a hive of killer bees?
Have you ever let the shower run hot to cold as your shoulders shook with the inner sobs that no longer carried any sound?
If so, you aren’t alone.
If not, well, this is awkward.
Here’s the thing:”