Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

I’ve been off this week at a sustainability / climate change conference.  It was equal parts “we can do this” optimism and “we’re all going to die” terror.

Good times.

There was also a plenary session by Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action.  It was fascinating to hear how she saw an issue, decided to do something about it, and started a major movement.  If you’re not familiar with Moms Demand Action, the Mothers Against Drunk Driving for gun violence, you can Google them.  They are doing great work which, based on today’s news, is needed more than ever.

After spending days learning, worrying, networking, and eating some really tasty food, I’m now trying to take care of all of the outstanding tasks that are littering my desk and inbox.

More good times.

Somewhere along the line I also need need to carve out some writing time so I can get today’s words on the page.  I think I’ll give the writing prompt and random words below a try and see where that takes me.

Care to join me?

For those of you working away on a story (whether a first draft or a polished version on its way to publication), if you’re not feeling random, we’d love to hear a bit – whether it’s a scene, a paragraph, or even a phrase that you are especially pleased with and would like to share.

If you don’t have a story in progress, or just want to work on something new, I hope today’s random words and writing prompt will catch your creative fancy.


What if: “Your character joins a new club?

Feel free to interpret the “What if” any way you choose (or ignore it completely) and include any (or all) of the following random words:

blight        bane          sparkle     blossoming

darkness   silence       scheme     cupcakes

ruin           promise     spirit        nature

fun            life             terror        shiny

I look forward to seeing your stories in the comments.  If you’re not feeling in the writing mood today, or don’t have time, feel free to post suggestions you might have for future “what-if” prompts.  Ideas are always welcome.

Happy writing to all!

Elizabeth: What I learned about story from jigsaw puzzles

Fun and educational too!

Recently my life has included more than its fair-share of jigsaw puzzles.  My current spate of puzzling actually started about a year ago when the National Gallery had a Black Friday sale on fine art puzzles.  I ordered one of a Monet painting and then spent “forever” putting it together – all those shades of blue!

More recently I was browsing in a store and came across a colorful “Women’s March” puzzle.  I was looking for a excuse not to write way to relax, so I gave it a try.  One puzzle led to another – a French street scene, a flower garden, an artistic grouping of globes – and suddenly I’d worked my way through about a dozen puzzles.  I’ve gone cold-turkey for NaNo, and not just because the only puzzle I have left is another fine-art-shades-of-blue masterpiece, but I did learn a few things from all that puzzling that seem relevant to writing. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Today is one of the days at work that I look forward to every year–the annual Holiday Lunch.  It is an early Thanksgiving, with turkey and all the trimmings, put on by management as a way of saying ‘thanks for all of your hard work’.  It’s also a chance to get together with other folks in the company, over brimming plates of food, to mingle and maybe even enjoy a piece of pie (or two).

My co-workers tend to roll their eyes at my fondness for the event.  To them it is apparently on the same level as saying I like cafeteria food or maybe airplane meals.  I’m pretty sure they’re planning to order lunch from a local BBQ place instead.

Well, their loss is my (leftover) gain.  The food may not reach the Michelin star level or taste like Grandma’s home cooking, but it’s abundant and provided by a really good local restaurant, whose cornbread stuffing is amazing.

It’s kind of fun to be served by executives too.  What I actually like though is the idea behind the event.  We’re all so busy with our day to day tasks that it’s easy to forget we’re all part of the same company.  It’s nice to have a brief break to pause, look up, and reconnect.

Of course a downside of the lunch is the almost overwhelming desire for a nap once it’s all done.  I’m guessing napping wouldn’t go over very well in my afternoon staff meeting.

I better make sure to have coffee with my pie.

Once my fun-filled workday is over, it will be time to refocus and get today’s NaNo words on the page.  My goal for the month is ’30 short stories in 30 days’.  I think I’ll see what I can come up with today, using the writing prompt and random words below as a starting point.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

My Knight in Shinning Armor is doing his best to keep me writing.

As I write this post, it is Day 5 of National Novel Writing Month.  According to my trusty calculator, that means that everyone who is playing along should have somewhere around 8,335 words on the page.

How’s that working out for you?

I am just wrapping up a 5-day weekend.  When I scheduled this time off from my day job months ago, I had visions of long productive hours of writing and a substantial word count.

You’d think I’d have learned by now.

For some odd reason, the more time I have, the less time I actually spend writing.  On the plus side, I got a tremendous amount of other things done during my time off, clearing the way for great bounds of productivity in the coming days.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy First Friday in November.

Wait, that can’t be right.

Pausing to check calendar . . .

OMG it is November already!

Well that certainly explains all those holiday decorations at the stores.

As I’m writing this post it is actually late on Halloween night.  The trick-or-treaters are nowhere to be seen.  I’m not sure if there ever were any in the neighborhood, but I am sure that none made it to my porch.  Perhaps they all went to one of the local trunk-or-treat events instead.  Or perhaps with all of the recent fires and evacuations and power outages no one was in the mood for going door to door.

While I didn’t see any little costumed ghosts or goblins at home, I did see a wide range of costumes today at work (well, I’m assuming at least some of those were costumes).  Sadly, my department was costume free today since we had a Big Important Meeting that required projecting a Professional Image!  A meeting that was, of course, cancelled at the last minute.

Talk about a trick!

Ah well, at least I won’t have to worry about meetings or image for the next five days; instead, I’ll be enjoying some time off work.  I’m planning to use the time to get a good start on this year’s NaNo story.  Before I start that writing, I have a book to finish reading.  Somewhat ironically, it’s Things You Save in a Fire, by Katherine Center.  I’m just a few chapters in but I’m pretty sure the “things” in the title doesn’t refer to physical things nor does the “fire” refer to an actual fire.  According to the blurb it is a novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds.

We’ll see.

Before I start my NaNo writing I think I’ll warm up my creativity by giving today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Today’s Inspiration

Sometimes I run across a quote that hits just the right spot at just the right time, like the quote above by Toni Morrison.  I don’t remember where I first saw it or what had caused me to save it in the first place, but when I came across the quote again while weeding through computer files today, it really resonated with me.

I’ve been spending some time recently giving up, or more correctly getting rid of many things that have been, both figuratively and literally, weighing me down.  My efforts have included clearing out computer files; shredding decades of useless paperwork (from my parents!); giving away unnecessary furnishings; and donating clothing that, no matter how cute it is, I am never going to wear again.

I feel lighter already. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Welcome to the end of another week.  We’re in the midst of that burst of summer-like weather that always seems to occur as soon as the summer clothes have been moved into storage.

I spent part of this week at an environmental conference where discussions veered from “it’s too late; we’re all going to die” to “don’t worry; we’ve got a plan.”

I tried to spend my time with the “we’ve got a plan” folks, and to make sure I had cake when I had to be around the others.  It all seemed to work out okay.

There is little in my world that can’t be made better with a latte and a piece of really good cake.

Sadly, the areas of California that are currently on fire are going to need a little more than cake to make things better.  If you could send thoughts for reduced winds, cooling temperatures and safe evacuations, I’m sure they’d be appreciated.

After days of thinking about carbon emissions, power grids, and politics, it’s time for something completely different.  I’m thinking giving today’s story prompt and random words a try would be just the thing.

Care to join me? Continue reading