Journal

Friday Update: Onto April

So many goals, so little time…

Well, I’ve given myself permission not to write a short story today. I was waiting to see if a contest prompt kind of kicked me into gear for a flash story, but the prompt hit me like a bellyflop in cold water, so we’re just gonna let that float there, I think…

But there’s four full weeks of April, so I’m going to try to write a short story each full week, starting next week. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve realized I probably need to think about the story earlier in the week, maybe no later than Tuesday, to have it somewhat thought-out before I have to write it Thursday/Friday.

Otherwise, it was a good week. I’ve changed up my exercise routine to include jogging again, which is–I’ll say it again and again–the absolute BEST pre-writing thing I’ve ever done. Something about getting a solid run in (even a half-solid run, like me, doing the Couch to 5K training app via the NHS) get the body just the right kind of tired.

Other exercise is better than nothing, but jogging specifically kicks the mental gears into a whirl and just lets the words dump out. It seemed to me that other workouts–even pretty intense ones–just left me drained, but not pumped. Jogging leaves me pumped, and that definitely impacts the writing afterwards. I need to make sure I’m jogging on the days I need to produce the most words!

Accomplished This Week…

I got my 3k done on the novel, and finally–FINALLY–pinned down a solid version of the last half and the end via summary draft. I love summary drafting. There’s something so refreshing about just dumping a story out on paper in the dumbest language (totally unreadable to anyone, and I’m not saying this just to be self-depreciating, I mean it includes text like, “So, the main character, she’s like–what?–seventeen? Yeah, that’s about right. So she’s going to get on that train, with the villains guys behind her, and she’s gonna hide. Where? Where would she hide? Under the seats? Nah, too easy. Maybe in the space between train cars? Could be, but won’t they check there, too? Luggage cabin? Maybe…”). It really helps me to see the big picture story, without worrying about POV/voice/style/setting–literally anything but plot. It’s fantastic.

Anyway. I got that written down, so next Monday, I’ll probably take a look at it and see about splitting it into usable scenes, combining scenes to keep the pace right, all that jazz. At least then I’ll be able to jump around when I’m writing and hit the scenes I’m most excited about first, and eventually fill in the parts I’m less motivated by later. That seems–at least for this book–to be a very functional process for me that keep the words flowing.

I didn’t write a short story, like I mentioned above, but I did re-read “The Showerlier” draft I wrote a couple weeks ago, and DAMN. I love that story. It needs a solid cut-and-polish pass, and there are some logic issues I need to finalize, but they’re minor, so I don’t think it’ll be too horrible. Maybe (maybe?!) I’ll actually get it up and out this month, which would be AH-MAZ-ING.

Inspiring Me This Week…

Okay, first, do yourself a favor and go read Joy Kennedy-O’Neill’s flash story “Build-A-Grudge” at Daily Science Fiction. It’s cool. I’ll wait. Come on, it can’t be more than six hundred, seven hundred words, tops, and it’s funny and heartwarming and just…it’s fantastic. Reminds me of what a pleasure a fun, well-crafted short story is.

Also inspiring me this week, Breasts and Eggs by Meiko Kawakami. I’ll probably chat about it more during my Poly-Reader Notes post next week, but I was so, so, so worried that this book was all hype. I’ve been seeing it everywhere, but given that I love Haruki Murakami novels despite almost exclusively being from the male POV, I was really hoping to get something similar in tone, but from a woman’s perspective. (I’m very much looking forward to reading Who We’re Reading When We’re Reading Murakami by David Karashima about how Murakami novels have been translated and promoted in the USA.)

And my word, Kawakami has not disappointed. I think I may be in love. And she’s clearly got a love of mugicha that rivals my own! (Seriously, the best summer drink ever is chilled mugicha with ice: no caffeine, super refreshing, and not plain water. I had a Japanese tutor back in high school who introduced me to mugicha with a side of biscotti, and that’s literally my food and beverage happy place.)

I haven’t been taking in a lot of TV or movies lately (Goldbug is at that age where he wants to go to bed earlier, but won’t sleep well if he wakes up and I’m not there–seriously, this kid is a major cling-on, unlike my first, who was totally cool with me laying him down, settling him, and then letting me sneak out. *sigh* We’ll get there.).

But I did start watching the latest season of Drive to Survive: Inside Formula 1 Racing–it’s part of my extreme sports hangup. I enjoyed the last two seasons, but this new one is…surreal. It starts right at the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s just the most bizarre thing to see people keeping distance and washing their hands a lot but not wearing masks and sitting in closed spaces, talking about the virus. Geez. Kind of gives me the heebie-jeebies in that “I know what’s coming” way, but it’s also, you know, about rivalry and intense competition and peak performance and really cool cars, so I’m all there.

Goals for Next Week…

Next week, we continue the pattern of 3k/novel and then trying to pen a new short story draft. We’ll see if that’s really feasible if I make sure I take time to think about what story I’d want to write. One of my favorite prompt tools is to keep a list of theme anthologies I thought looked really cool but didn’t have time/an idea for them at the time (I may do a post on why I hesitate to write to anthology calls someday) and use those as jumping off points for later stories. But it’s fun, because I can take what I want from the prompt, but nothing I don’t want, which is kind of nice.

Other than that, just keeping up with reading a short story a day. It’s a great habit! You should try it if you write short fiction! And you can start by reading Joy Kennedy-O’Neill’s piece right here! XD

^ ^ ^

Okay, but seriously. How was you guys’ week? Is impending Spring giving you a skip in your step? Or are you feeling listless and empty? Spring is such a strange creative time, when so much is bursting with potential, and yet the mud and rain kind of hold you back, you know?

Any goals for next week? Any exciting plans or books or stories or TV or movies that are blowing your mind right now? I’m always down for recommendations!

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