“Wake Up Weight” Published

250133728_1feee80d2fSorry I’ve been remiss in my posting lately, but life sometimes beckons me away from this blogging thing. I just wanted to let you know that I had a short-short story published today over at Six Sentences called “Wake Up Weight.”

And a tidbit of background information for you: I actually woke up a few weeks ago and felt like someone was sitting next to me. It was weird, but I’m glad for brain misfires, because creativity bounds in those awkward, “Am I awake or am I dreaming?” moments.

More soon, I promise.

Article Output Challenge for 9-24-09 Winner Revealed!

914885_winners_diceThe day has come to an end and one lucky person has guessed the correct number of articles I wrote today. A simple task, but it helped to keep me motivated throughout the day. 

People submitted their guesses via the comment section and via tweets. So, without further adieu, my total number of articles completed was: 

9!

That means @screenwritr, who submitted a revised guess at the last minute, wins! I think I might not allow revising bids in the future, but since I didn’t specify this time, you’re the winner! Contact me with your shipping address and my copy of The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum is yours.

I think this was a decent success with seven entries–not too bad for my new blog. Maybe it’ll be a weekly thing? Or whenever I have a book to give away?

Thanks to everyone for playing and for helping me stay motivated. You guys rock!

Article Output Challenge: September 24, 2009

1176000_black_notebook_with_pencilI’m issuing a challenge. No, not to you. But if you want to play along, you’re more than welcome. This challenge is intended to get my butt in gear and I want you to watch. Okay, that sounded wrong. 

The objective of this challenge is to write as many articles as I can tomorrow between the hours of 9am PST to 4pm. PST, not including a break between 1 and 2 for lunch. So that’s, wait, let me do some math here–six hours of article writing time. 

I hardly ever write straight through like this. My work day usually looks something like this:

  • Outline an article
  • Start researching
  • Surf the web
  • Finish researching
  • Hit up Twitter/Facebook, Huffington Post, YouTube and generally waste time
  • Write article
  • Edit article
  • Repeat process

As you can imagine, this isn’t a very productive process for me. Let me put it to you straight: I need to up my output. That’s where you come in.

My dear readers, you will act as my shame police tomorrow. Post in the comment section how many articles you think I can write tomorrow (Thursday) between the hours of 9am and 4pm. I did a mini-version of this contest last week and I managed four 400-word articles in two hours. As a hint to you, that was somewhere between slow and average writing pace for me.

I’ll accept guesses on my article output all day tomorrow, as I won’t let slip how many I’ve actually written until after 4pm. 

So, what’s in it for you? This:

Photo 4

I have a used copy of The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum sitting here that needs a home. I enjoyed it but I am completely (and I mean completely) out of shelving space. 

Go ahead, take a stab at how many articles I can write in six hours tomorrow. If you’re on the money (or the closest guess) I’ll be in touch for your shipping address. Yes, you’ll get a free book just for guessing how many articles I manage to write. It’s just that simple. 

What are you waiting for? Have at it, folks. I look forward to hearing your guesses and getting to work in the a.m.!

Writing About Writing: The Ultimate Writer’s Curse?

579286_screamingI’ve noticed something. Now that I have a functional blog, all I want to do is blog. Well, when it comes to my personal writing time, that is. I have a bunch of short stories in progress, many edits that need to be completed and I just keep blogging away.

What does this mean? I’m not sure. But my intuition is telling me that the more I write about writing the less actual* writing I do.

(*Blogging is actual writing, but not fiction writing, which is what I’m referring to. I hope that makes sense)

Don’t have too much else to say other than that. But I thought I’d throw it out there. What do you think about the writing about writing vs. writing fiction predicament? Do the two compete for your time? Is one more satisfying than the other? How do you finish your projects when all you want to do is share your rejuvenated love of blogging with everyone you know? Don’t mind my manic screaming on the way out.

The Too-Many-Stories Problem

1170196_bookcaseI have a problem. You see, I have this tendency to get a bit over-exuberant when it comes to story ideas and try to write four or five at once. I know, I know. “Don’t start another story until you finish the one in progress,” some say. “You’re setting yourself up for failure,” others offer. Despite knowing this fact, I still can’t seem to stop writing numerous stories–all at once.

Let me level with you. As of this moment I have:

  • 2 short stories that need revising,
  • 2 old short stories that need re-envisioning,
  • 3 short stories in progress, and
  • 1 novel in progress.

Yikes, typing it all out makes it even scarier. 

Problem is, I just have too many ideas that I want to see on the page. Sure, they’re fragmented, disjointed and generally don’t make sense until I make a story out of these blob-like ideas, but they demand to be written anyway. Add on top of my too-many-stories problem the fact that I write articles, press releases and web content for a living, my fingers are clacking away on the keyboard for a ridiculous portion of the day. 

I know I could just make a list of story ideas and check them off as I complete them, but something happens when I get an idea and let it sit too long: it gets stale. I can no longer picture what made the idea so great. Hence my hurry up and get it on the page mentality. 

So, what’s the solution? I really couldn’t tell you. What I do know is that I’m making a vow right now to finish one of the stories in my ever-growing queue before I start another. Hopefully, that will be a start back to the road of sanity.

Talk Like A Pirate Day – The Rat Edition

Today was Talk Like a Pirate Day. This may have been confusing for some who didn’t know of this glorious day, with all the “arrs” and “avast me mateys.” Nevertheless, today is meant for honoring all that is piracy in the grand old romanticized sense of the term. 

In honor of me hearties, here are two pictures my fiance has concocted of our pet rats:

Meet Parka Scallywag Jones 

parkaP

 and Pixel Scurvylegs McGee

pixieP

Intolerably cute? I’d say so.

The Dilemma of Dilemna

Okay. I have a problem. I tried to write the word dilemma a bit ago and kept getting little red squiggles beneath my repeated spelling attempts. Dilemna is what I wanted to type, but my word processor would have none of it. I could have sworn dilemma had an “n” in it. But no. 

644397_burzaA quick Google search showed that the correct spelling is, in fact, “dilemma” with two “m’s” not the odd construction “mn.” So what, you might be thinking? Who cares? You spelled a word wrong. Big deal!

I’ll give you the last one. It’s not a big deal,  but it is a weird deal. Let me explain:

The notion of placing a silent “n” in a word like dilemma is counterintuitive. When you learn new vocabulary words in school, you go for the phonetic approach first. Then, if there’s some weird spelling rule or exception, you commit that to memory. The natural inclination for spelling dilemma is with two “m’s.” It is unnatural to try and squeeze in an “n” when you’d have to mangle the word pretty badly in pronunciation to get an “n” sound in there.

This leads me to believe that I was taught to spell dilemma with a silent “n.” I even used the device where you sound out a word phonetically, a la “bee-ay-oo-tiful” for “beautiful.” 

I don’t know what all of this means, but what I do know is that trying to spell dilemma earlier this evening made me feel like a crazy person. Or at the very least puzzled like the puppy above. Apparently, a lot of other people learned to spell the word the wrong way, too, as a quick web search will prove. 

How did you learn to spell dilemma? Why do you think this misspelling is so common and so rooted into many people’s minds? I’d love to hear your thoughts.