Treadmill, Jeopardy! & blogging fun

Blogging 101-Day 13

Today’s task: pick a blogging event from the Community Event Listings, and participate in the next round.

With that in mind, I have spent a good part of the day looking in the Community Event Listings trying to find a fun and worthwhile blogging event in which to participate. Despite my efforts, I couldn’t seem to find one with which I would feel comfortable.

After a while, I took a break from my search and spent nearly two hours with Scrivener rewriting another chapter of my ongoing novel–Birchwood’s Secret. As a result, I avoided frittering away the day and not accomplishing some writing. And I was pleased with how that chapter turned out, by the way. Can I repeat the same tomorrow morning?

Then there was the thirty-minute walk on the treadmill while I watched yesterday’s Jeopardy! just before noon. (Love that new fifty-eight inch flat screen with the nice sound bar). Good heavens, it’s only taken us a hundred years to realize that it’s easier to hear when the sound is directed toward us rather than out the back of the TV!

Are we really two old fogeys after all? At any rate, the walking time seemed to fly right on by as I competed with the contestants and listened to Alex scold and/or cajol the players.Unknown

As a result, I killed two birds with one stone: 1.) I exercised my mind in answering the clues; 2.) I exercised my body and got the heart working, after which I was ready to get back to finishing the Blogging 101 assignment. Besides, Jeopardy! was over and I needed a shower.

Soon after I was cleaned up and back in a writing frame of mind, I resumed my search for the perfect blogging event. Back to the Community Event Listings I trekked.

And then it hit me!

Right there in front of me, in the Community Event Listings, was one titled Write Anything Wednesday. Now that sounded exactly what I have been looking for.

It’s located on a blog named WRITERISH RAMBLINGS, to which I immediately journeyed. In reading the details of how the event would work, I was at once taken by the low-key flexibility of the event. It definitely seemed to be a place that encouraged having fun with writing: No pressure. No word counts. No deadlines. What I liked best, though, were the words that follow:

 Make Wednesday your weekly no-matter-what writing day. If this isn’t a good day then pick another. The important thing is to simply write.

In other words, we are to write anything! With that in mind, and feeling much better about how today’s assignment was going, it was very easy to create this post. Better still, I didn’t have to wait around to jump right in, either.

After all, it’s Wednesday!

Blogging 101-Day 11: In the Summertime

“Sunny conditions with a wind chill of -22°”

I read that over a couple of times to make sure I’m seeing it correctly, and there’s no doubt IMG_1395about it: It’s cold! Darn cold!

And though it’s a very comfortable 69 degrees here in my writing room, I can almost feel the numbing cold out there, and the bright sun in the clear blue sky is deceiving.

As such, my morning thoughts race ahead about five months to those delightful and glorious early days of summer, when the sun and the air are just right and we’re settling into our cottage on a lake in southwestern Michigan.

Late May. The feeling of newness and freshness is all around, and the air of wonderful anticipation for the memorable summer to be is everywhere. We re-connect with our “lake friends” once more and catch one another up on the past fall and winter exploits. We all agree that it’s good to be back, in the old familiar cottages, making summer memories all over again!

The first pontoon cruise of the season feels like the first one ever. Plying the waters during those early days is an annual rite that never fails to accentuate the fact that we’re here…free to breathe and forget winter’s chill! We’re all younger and healthier and happier than we’ve been in such a long time.

There are the Friday nights on our screened porch, talking and laughing and enjoying cold beer, where we fall just short of solving all of the world’s problems. But there will always be next time, we all believe.

There are days full of sun, spent on the pier and in the water, and playing kids’ “stuff” in the magical water. Weekends we moan about the out-of-control “weekend warriors” who show up for a couple of days and disturb our pristine and perfect conditions!

Come late Sunday afternoon, though, the noise level diminishes, the lake settles down, and our lives are peaceful once more. Dusk creeps in while we’re not looking, and the lights all around the lake begin to flicker on—one by one—as another summer night arrives.

Sometimes the days are void of sun and blue skies—that’s OK—given over to rain and low-hanging clouds. There is often thunder and lightning—terrifying at times—and we wonder how the ancient structure that is our cottage manages to remain upright.

The tall, old oaks sigh and groan at the wind’s persistence, tearing forcibly out of the southwest, straight across the lake waters.

A rainy day is welcome, after so many idyllic ones in a row. These kinds of days are my IMG_1074.jpg“writing times” when I work on my novel or short stories in the perfect spot on the porch, where I’m sheltered from the storm outside. I can look out over the curtain of gray pounding down through the trees and steadily pelting the lake. All is good!

Summer days. I haven’t given them much thought until just now. The frigid state of things outside, and the reality of the little blurb that popped up on my computer screen when I sat down to write, triggered thoughts and memories of so many summers past and the summer ahead.

And if only for a brief time this morning, I’m warmed by the good days that lie in wait five months away–far removed from -22° wind chill!

Blogging 101-Day 6

IMG_0140Today’s lesson involved creating an “Irresistible” ABOUT page, and though I had made one a few years ago, I felt a revision was called for. I’ve just finished doing so, and I think the thing reads much better, conveys the overall purpose of this blog, and cuts a lot of “deadwood” from the page. (At least I’m hoping that’s the case!)

This course has come at a very good time for me. The onset of the new year is a wonderful time to assess our priorities and make changes–subtle or otherwise–in all facets of our lives. And so some of those changes will be appearing in my blog over the next several days.

I appreciate any feedback. As always, I welcome all smiling folks to this journey. It’s cold here in northern Illinois, and I hope you’re keeping warm wherever you are! 🙂


Time to pull the plug?

When is it time to give up on writing a novel that just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, especially one that was begun several years before and has drawn my attention only in lackluster spurts ever since.

The book is to be a sort of sequel to my first novel, Black Wolf Lodge, featuring the same husband and wife main characters. And since the publication of Black Wolf Lodge in 2010 (was it that long ago?), I have had many people inquire as to when the next one is coming out because they really enjoyed the first.

That, in itself, has been an inspirational motivator—usually—to prod me into getting my butt in the chair and seriously working on the thing. It’s not as though I haven’t done so previously. I have well over 80,000 words in the Scrivener bank, but I find it very difficult to do the rewriting, revising, and editing on a regular, disciplined basis. And that, my friends, bothers me.

In my previous two novels, I was excited and eager each morning (when I do my writing) to get at it and pick up from the previous day’s efforts. Watching the stories develop and come together was fun and fulfilling, leaving me with feelings of having accomplished what I’d set out to do.

Now, though, I sometimes get distressed just thinking of the tatters in which the thing currently rests! My plot seems strong one moment, weak and crappy the next. I can’t help but wonder if this lack of enthusiasm to delve into finishing the story with my best efforts is telling me something: Put the thing away and move along to write other things I have been mulling over. (I wrote about this previously.)

As of this writing, that’s my dilemma. On one hand, I want the story to work and have the protagonist come through once again and have the readers hoping there’ll be a third book in the series. On the other hand, I’m just not sure if the story merits any more hemming and hawing on my part. Of course, I’ll never really know until I decide one way or the other. Which voice should I be listening to?

Any suggestions?