Weekend Coffee Share: New View on Life

Good afternoon,

Thanks for taking the time to come by and visit. My wife’s birthday is today, so give a shout out before you leave. We have a lot of coffee choices today along with some teas, so dig in and I’ll brew them with the Keurig. 

A month back, I went to the optometrist for my latest checkup. Not surprising, he says my eyesight is getting worse and that I need a stronger pair of glasses. But we decided to go a different route. We decided I would try contacts. Understand this. I wore glasses since I was four. Going from that to having something deliberately in my eyes is a huge step. So we put in an order for a trial set. I got them this past Monday and started trying them out this weekend. (I’m taking a break from them today.)

In the three days I’ve been wearing contacts, I noticed three things. One, like any other change, it takes some time to adjust. Like I said, I wore glasses for most of my life. It’s taking time to get adjusted to the strength of the contacts, too. But it’s why the eye doctor insists on making a follow-up appointment.

Two, there’s a mental game that ensues. Putting something in my eyes terrifies me. But it’s why the doctor says to practice putting your fingers in your eyes for just a few seconds, so you can used to the feeling. But even then, it’s not the same as the real thing. It took a good amount of time to get my contacts in the first time. I psyched myself out more times than I can count. But as Colleen says, I just have to get them in there. Don’t think about it too much.

And three, having contacts is not enough for everyday life. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the past couple of days wearing my contacts. Received some flattering comments from co-workers and friends. Colleen wants to go shopping for sunglasses with me. But when it comes to reading anything with contacts, it’s not so easy, especially in low light. But the doctor told me reading will be an issue. He suggested buying reading glasses from the pharmacy. So I’m looking for a pair with the right strength I need.

So with the adjustment to a new form of corrective vision, writing has been hard, but somehow I made it work. I finished what I now dub “Story 1” of my barbershop series. I sent emails to writing friends. Overall, they enjoyed the short and feel it’s ready to be posted on my blog. One of my critique partners suggested, however, that I try submitting the story to a writing contest. That is one goal I want to accomplish this year. She gave me some links to websites that are accepting submissions. So now I’m torn. Do I take a chance in submitting this story? Do I go ahead and publish it on my blog? Decisions, decisions. Definitely need to mull it over. 

Well, that is all for today. Don’t forget to wish Colleen a happy birthday. 

Until next time…

Cutting Edge: An IWSG Follow-Up

Good afternoon,

I want to share a little something about what I’m writing right now. In my last IWSG post, I evaluated some goals for this year. One is to start a short story series. I tried the past couple of years to get the ball rolling, but I hit dead ends. Regardless of reasons, I failed to meet this goal. But this year, I believe I am on the verge of something. 

It started with a dare. My wife challenged me to write a light-hearted story set in a barbershop. I laughed it off, but wrote it anyway, thinking it was a waste. But I showed it to her and one of my writing friends on Facebook. They enjoyed it, much to my surprise.

I wrote the first draft three weeks ago. I’m on the fourth draft now. It’s much different than the first draft, including a new title (still temporary). I’m on the fence on whether or not to post this story on my blog. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to writing, so I want everything to be perfect. (I’m working on purging that mentality from my thought process.)

While writing drafts on this story, I thought about this as the first of a short story series. If I do post this story on my blog, the series will be exclusive. I have a title for the series, Cutting Edge. (The idea came from the name of a barbershop I visited when I was younger.) I’m brainstorming characters and storylines. I created a Pinterest board for the series, pinning hairstyles, models, and barbershops of course. (It’s a secret board for the time being.) And I spoke to a couple of friends on their experiences with the barbershop institution. I gained a lot of insight from the conversations. Insights that can lead to potential conflicts in and out the barbershop.

As I mentioned in the IWSG post, I am particularly passionate about this goal. I hear it’s better not to share your progress on a project. I know this to be true because I shared goals on this blog before and I felt disappointed when I failed to meet those goals. Too much pressure on myself, I suppose. But I learned another way to look at it. I believe seeing my goals on my blog gives me something to strive for. And, if other people see my goals, it can lead to accountability. So I’m taking a chance.

Until next time…

Weekend Coffee Share: Time to Get Writing

Good afternoon,

Please forgive me for starting this coffee session late. It’s been a busy morning. I’ve been up since 5:30. I had to take my sister-in-law to work. A couple of hours later, I took my daughter to karate class, where she got her white belt. I’m so proud of her. We hung out at the park for a little while. And now, we’re home.

So, if we were having coffee, I’d tell you that the choices are still slim. Continue reading “Weekend Coffee Share: Time to Get Writing”

NaNo Rebel Update

NaNoWriMo has passed one week. I’ve been reading stats and progress reports of writers and Rebels alike. Having said that, I thought I would chime in on my progress. 

On Monday, I finished the rough draft of “Carpe Nocturne,” a story where the title was attached to a story I thought about rewriting. But the writing powers-that-be slapped my creative side around and said to create a new story with that title. I ignored it for a while, but at some point, your creative side has to stop being so stubborn.

So, I decided to listen and give the title new life. I think the WPTB saw I had researched prompts on Pinterest and they pointed it out to my creative ego. I don’t think the CE was too keen on the prompts, so I decided to let Twitter decide the prompt. Three days later, they decided to use a 3AM wake-up call to drive the story. 

With the prompt set, it was time to iron out scenarios. But nothing was working. As I do sometimes, I aired my frustrations on Twitter. A fellow Rebel, Julie Reeser, offered this piece of advice:

“Just start writing. Don’t worry about plot so much.”

I’m paraphrasing, but the point was clear. I followed Julie’s advice and started pounding out words. All of a sudden, the words were flowing and I had my storyline. It took four days, writing during breaks and in between customers.

I finished the rough draft yesterday. So now I’m taking a couple of days off to let the story marinate. The next step is editing and getting the order right. Someone asked me if I was going to start writing something else. I said no only because I have two other stories that already have rough drafts. But I will look over them if I can find them on my journaling app. 

So that was last week. This week will be about pounding out an official first draft to share with fellow writers. I’m not sure what I’ll do with them after I have other writers read and critique them. I haven’t thought that far ahead. 

Best of luck to all my writer friends. 

In the Spirit of NaNoWriMo

Everyone is prepping for NaNo next month, which is approaching quickly. But to the angst of a lot of writers, I can’t see myself participating in it. I figure there are a lot of contributing factors for my hesistance. A fear of failure. Not making the time to write every day. Forgetting to write every day. Not having a goal–even one set by NaNo. Not having ideas for novels, though I could be using the next two weeks to come up with one. The list can go on and on if I really applied myself. At the same time, I could use that same energy to brainstorm ideas, compose character interviews, outline my story, and so on. I want to do something writing-related where I feel a sense of accomplishment without as much pressure. So, here’s what I’ve decided. 

For November, I want to finish the short stories I’ve started this year. By my count, I have about three stories that need completion. What to do with them once they’re done is another story. I know, it’s not much of a goal, but hear me out. There’s reasoning behind this endeavor. 

One, I have a bad habit of starting one thing, then jumping to something else. I try to multi-task with no success. Something gets neglected. The same can be said with my short stories. I’ll start a story, but the moment I don’t “feel” a story, I jump to something else. That’s a problem. I have scenes on my phone, story starters on my laptop and notebook. It’s exhausting keeping up with all of them.

And two, unlike most writers, I can’t complete a story in one sitting. And the reason why is because I want to edit while writing, and that slows everything down. It’s frustrating because the “editor” wants to nick-pick at every little word and detail. And I end up getting very little done. 

So how do I tackle this goal. Number one,  I have to set aside time to write. I have to look at my schedule and say to myself—and others—that I’m going to write at this time on this day. Two, I have to figure out which story will be easiest to complete with the time given. I have to look at my draft books and phone and see where I’m at with each story and determine if it’s viable enough to write. Three, I have to let the “creative” side lock the door, as it were, and not let anybody else in until he’s finished. This is probably going to be the most difficult step because of my perfectionism. But it must be done if I am going to conquer this task. 

I realize saying NaNo is not for me is more assumption than truth because I haven’t done it before. And to most writers, the reasons I listed for not doing NaNo can be labeled as excuses. But working on more manageable goals while still adhering to a deadline works better for me. I don’t feel as much pressure. Still, this is a task that will not be easy considering the circumstances. Wish me luck. 

Book Review: “And Thereby Hangs a Tale” by Jeffrey Archer

In any story, there’s a portion of yourself that goes into it. Whether it be someone from your past or a moment that stood out to you. And certainly Jeffrey Archer’s “And Thereby Hangs a Tale,” a collection of short stories, demonstrates this. He even admits in the author’s notes that most of the stories came from other storytellers. This wouldn’t be a big deal if there were more of Archer’s stories to balance them out.  Continue reading “Book Review: “And Thereby Hangs a Tale” by Jeffrey Archer”

Deadlines

Earlier this month, I commented on a 4am Writer post about writing something new. The piece would then be submitted and the winner earned a coaching session or a free copy of one of two writing handbooks. I signed up because I wanted a challenge. And I thought surely I could come up with something and submit it by the end of the month. Continue reading “Deadlines”