An Active Month

Hello to my writing and blogging friends.

Today, I’m going to share a few things about this month that have significant influence on me as a writer and person.

First, the personal stuff.

May is an important month in terms of my health because it is Mental Health Awareness Month. To be honest, I didn’t give this much thought. Until recently, I didn’t know there was a whole month dedicated to spreading awareness and educating people on this important, yet overlooked and scrutinized, aspect of our well-being. Outside of family, few people know my issues with mental health. To be brief, I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2005. I follow a strict regiment of care, including visits with a therapist. And I follow groups on social media that post articles about not merely adapting, but thriving, despite these issues. In the last several years, many celebrities are speaking up about their struggles with their mental health. Shannon Purser (Stranger Things, Riverdale) is the latest to come forward. Other notables include Demi Lovato, Maurice Bernard (General Hospital), Howie Mandel, and the late Carrie Fisher. Learning about their struggles gives me hope for the rest of the world. We need to take mental health more seriously. But we shouldn’t feel shame and run away from it. We shouldn’t let these issues define us. Rather, we should embrace it and say that we are going to live the best life possible in spite of it.

Ok, enough deep stuff. Let’s lighten things up.

May is the home stretch for many teachers and students. The anticipation of closing another school year is at a fever pitch.

Most schools are celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week, including my daughter’s school. It’s the time to show how appreciative we parents are for putting up with our growing bundle of joy for ten months. We shower them with presents every day this week, like fruit and gifts cards for coffee. There is also Field Day, which is a day long P. E. class. My wife and I are volunteering by bringing water bottles. It might be the one healthy thing the kids have all day.

And finally, May is Short Story Month. I had no idea this existed until my writing friend Julie quoted a tweet and tagged me on it. As a short story writer, this makes me so happy. I read a lot of articles about how short stories are making a comeback and how they can be a stepping stone for most novels. While I’m not focused on writing a novel, I will be working on a new story. Right now, I’m still gathering prompts and trying to make a decision on what story to write.A lot of friends have recently encouraged me to publish my stories on Wattpad, but only after writing a large cache of stories. A solid plan.

Prior to learning about Short Story Month, I created a Twitter list I named “The Short Work Fraternity.” As the name suggests, the members are short story writers, past and present. I feel a sense of joy that I hadn’t before. Knowing there are writers who share the same love of the short story as I do.

So, as you can see, May is a busy month. Busier than even I realized. But that’s a good thing. I have a lot to celebrate, a lot to learn, and a lot to write. Thanks for taking time to stop by and read.

Until next time…

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There Is A Season: An IWSG Post

Good day, my writing and blogging friends.

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Can’t believe we’re a third of the way through the year. And Spring is in full bloom. And at least where I live, it’s finally feeling like Spring. The bees are out in full force. Allergies are flaring. And many of us are prepping the yards for the summer. Continue reading “There Is A Season: An IWSG Post”

Quarterly Update: An IWSG Post

Good day, my writing/blogging friends.

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group entry. We’ve reached the end of the first three months of the year, going into the second three. There’s a lot going on in the writing/blogging community. There’s Camp NaNoWriMo, the A to Z Blogging Challenge, and National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo. Writers and bloggers are certainly keeping themselves busy. However, I’m not taking part in any of them. But I will be patrolling the blogs and following progresses on social media, cheering on my writing friends.

Today, I’m reflecting on my writing goals thus far and sharing my new goals for this quarter. A long time ago, I gave monthly updates. And honestly, I felt ashamed that I missed out on some goals and repeated myself, even when I didn’t share them on this blog. Recently, I watched some YouTube videos where other writers make quarterly goals and share them to the world. They say it keeps them from getting overwhelmed. After thinking about it, I’m deciding to make quarterly goals and share them with you, my writing and blogging friends.

Now, I didn’t have any quarterly goals for the first three months, but I’m going to share how my goals are going up to this point.

  • Write a short story a month. This was my loftiest goal. I thought I had a plan for this goal. The biggest problem was execution. I didn’t set deadlines and stick to them. I got easily discouraged with the big picture. This was an epic fail from the get-go, but I was determined to write some new stories. As such, I modified this goal to something more manageable. I’m going to write four stories in twelve months, which breaks down to a story every three months. And I did succeed in meeting this goal.
  • Submit a story to a contest/publication. This is an ongoing goal. I did succeed in this goal as well. I submitted a flash fiction story to a writing blog, Who Writes Short Shorts. And it got published. I’m very excited. However, I didn’t submit any stories to a contest. I wanted to enter one, but I had some personal issues that needed my attention. And I was nervous about entering a story. I ended up not entering, but I did write the story. So it was kind of 50-50.

Now, on to the new quarterly goals.

  • Write one new short story in a different genre. Writing new stories will be an ongoing goal. For this quarter, I want to try writing in a different genre. I made attempts in writing in different genres. But I stopped after reaching the end of the first draft. I thought what I wrote on paper didn’t translate onto the computer. So I gave up on it. For this quarter, I aim to see this project through. It will take some outlining and character mapping before I even start drafting. But I am determined to see this project through.
  • Submit a story to a contest. I strive to make great strides in my writing. The best way to do so is to get my work out there. I said on numerous occasiond I will submit stories to contests and publications, but fail to. Chalk it up to a fear of failure. Chalk it up to being lazy and putting it off. In any case, I want to push past the uncertain and get my work out there. And if it doesn’t get published, so be it. That’s how I learn, right?
  • Write a flash fiction piece a month to post on my blog. This may be a case where I’m biting off more than I can chew. However, I think flash fiction is easier to write. It can serve as a break from a bigger project. And it’s a good way to exercise those creative muscles and keep them sharp. I follow some writing friends and communities on Twitter and Facebook. Just about every day, they post prompt or challenges. This goes along with the submission goal, but it’s more for fun. And while it may not attract the attention I hope for, it’s a good way to showcase my writing skills.
  • Update my blog. On a recent post, I announced changes coming to my blog. I’m in the process of making those changes. I’m researching free WordPress themes. I’m contemplating adding a logo or header graphic. The content will relatively stay the same. I might add some new content, like excerpts from current WIPs. I read blogs where the writers share pieces of what they’re working on. This is something I’m considering. Nothing’s set in stone.
  • Read a book a month and write a review. Reading is something I don’t make time for. I had a discussion about this on Twitter recently; about how I didn’t read a lot of books outside of required reading. I didn’t read books in other genres. As such, I didn’t give a lot of books a chance. I gave up on them the moment I lost interest. But there are a plethora of possibilities. I like going to the library and finding books I may not see at bookstores, and vice versa. In any case, I want to get back to reading books. Try reading in different genres. And I want to post reviews on my blog. Some books might be older, but it’s a good way to support my fellow writers.

So those are my goals for the next three months. Sounds pretty reasonable and attainable. How successful I will be boils down to discipline. Having a plan helps. Finding people to hold me accountable also works. But discipline will be the deciding factor. I hope to write the next quarterly update saying I accomplished these goals.

What about you? Do you set quarterly goals? Care to share them? Comment and let me know if there’s any way I can encourage and support you.

Until next time, take care and keep plugging away.

Let’s Do A Makeover

Hi there, my writing and blogging friends.

I’m sorry for my lack of activity the last couple of months. Outside of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts, I haven’t been active on the blogging front. Lately, I’ve been dealing with some personal stuff and I’m hoping that they will resolve themselves so that I can get back into a writing groove.

Anyway, I wanted to let you guys know that I’m going to give Project Blacklight a little makeover. Allow me to backtrack for a moment.

I’ve been using the Twenty Sixteen WordPress theme for a couple of years now. It worked for me because it was simple. Recently, I read a post from another blogger on WordPress about making blogs stand out. One suggestion was adding pictures to the posts, which I was working on. It’s hard to find pictures that convey the message/theme I want to present in my posts. A blog I read suggested Pixabay, a website with millions of copyright-free images. They have an app as well, so I’m thinking about adding it to my iPhone.

Another suggestion was adding a graphic/logo. At its infancy, my blog had a logo and a tagline, but I took it down when I changed the original theme. It was too much to think about and I was worried about copyright infringement. And besides, the logo didn’t fit the title. (But I had second thoughts on the title after I made the blog live. Still do.)

I tweeted a poll on Twitter a couple of weeks ago on whether I should make some cosmetic changes changes to my blog; adding a header graphic or a logo. It was close, but people said I should make some changes. So now, I’m looking into WordPress themes, as well as searching free stock image websites, that will fit the style and aesthetic of my blog. It’s going to take some time, though. But the content will stay the same. I will still share my writing works and my insights on the writing process and my take on issues that I feel are important.

Until next time…

Establishing a Reward System: An IWSG Post

Good day, my writing/blogging friends.

It’s hard to believe we are entering a fourth of the new year. Where does the time go? Anyway, it’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. (Side note: I have to think of another way to introduce these posts. I enjoy writing them and I hope you guys enjoy reading them.)

Before I begin, I need to get something off my chest. I want to thank Alex Cavanaugh and the administrative team for allowing me to write these posts. Continue reading “Establishing a Reward System: An IWSG Post”

Resolving To Be Imperfect: An IWSG Post

Hello, my fellow writers.

It’s a rainy day here in Georgia. Usually a good time for writing. And being that it’s the first Wednesday of the month, it’s time for my Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. I have to say that for this month, I had a hard time deciding on what to talk about. I thought about answering the optional question, but I had this feeling I needed to talk about something else. Continue reading “Resolving To Be Imperfect: An IWSG Post”

#13Winterviews with K. J. Harrowick

Good day.

I’m very excited with what I’m presenting to you. A few months ago, sci-fi and fantasy author K. J. Harrowick selected thirteen authors for her Winterviews series, and I was one of them. I’ve never been asked to do an interview before, so this was a great honor. She started posting the interviews back in December and will continue throughout the season. If you want to learn more about her Winterviews series, click here.

I read other authors’ Winterviews up until mine. The authors cover different genres and formats. I have to admit I was apprehensive about participating in this series because I wasn’t writing a novel and I had no WIPs at the time, but K. J. was very accommodating. So I jumped in, and I’m glad I did.

I think this will not only gain me more recognition, but will spur me on to pursue something bigger. Especially with the short story I presented to her. So if you want to read my Winterview, click here.

This is indeed a great honor, and I’m looking forward to more opportunities like this in the future.

Until next time…

Hit the Ground Running: An IWSG Post

First of all, Happy New Year! 2018 is finally here. For some people, it couldn’t have come sooner. Time for fresh starts and new beginnings. Second, welcome to the first IWSG Post of the new year. For those of you new to my blog, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their writing journey—their triumphs and struggles—in order to encourage others on their own journey. Continue reading “Hit the Ground Running: An IWSG Post”