A Very Productive Weekend

Writing wise I had a stellar weekend. I wrote my next 4 Medium posts (I plan on publishing 2 a week), started another and even created a draft story for submission to an open call. Whoo Hoo!

Unfortunately everything seems to come at a price. I’ve been laid low with a migraine the last 3 days due to the rain we got on Monday.

Oh well, good with the bad.

This evening I have managed to feel a bit better. Still dizzy and I still have an incredibly sore back, but I’m at least mobile.

I just posted my latest story to Medium and I polished that story draft and I’ve sent it off. Now off to dinner and an early bedtime!

And the good news continues…

I just received this email from Medium:

Hi there,

Our curators just read your story, Birdie, that you submitted for review. Based on its quality, they selected it to be recommended to readers interested in Fiction across our homepage, app, topic page, and emails.

This story will be distributed as part of Medium’s metered paywall, so feel free to share it with your fans using your Friend Link — this will ensure they don’t see the paywall. Your Friend Link is: https://medium.com/p/birdie-a0edd0555391?source=email-b81067da1c90–writer.postDistributed&sk=c8abeab4d0414b8e7febba00d9e68f26

You can also view stats for your story here. Thanks for writing,
Your friends at Medium

Medium’s editors read the submissions and choose some to promote. My story will appear in searches, is featured on the Fiction page and will be in email blasts!

I am on Cloud 9! Going out to buy a lottery ticket for tonight!!! 🙂

I AM a REAL Writer

I received my very first “paycheque” as a writer on Thursday!

As I had posted earlier, I have joined the online magazine Medium. I had posted one story on Sunday the 26th of May and Wednesday the 29th was their cutoff for calculating the payments. On Thursday, I received an email saying that they would be depositing $3.02 USD into my account!

I know, not much, but to me it’s the accomplishment, the validation that’s important. There were people that were interested in my story, there were people that read it and it was enough to generate income. To me that is HUGE!!!!

Who knows where this will go. I’ve already posted my second and my third story with a full month to go. Can’t wait for my email at the end of June!

A new outlet

I’ve been toying with this idea for a while now and today I finally took the plunge.

It satisfies two different objectives. It is an outlet for my personal story as someone growing up with a disability. It also is an opportunity to have my writing make me some money.

There is an online blog/magazine called Medium. It is a place where all kinds of writers share their stories. It is full of fiction, non fiction and everything in between on all matter of subjects. A person can read stories for free and there is also a paid service that allows you access to all of it’s content. As a writer, I get paid by having paying customers read my work and “clap” for it if they like it.

It’s scary and exciting all at the same time!

Here is the post: https://medium.com/@michelleanderson_27221/life-with-a-dis-ability-d09b1f5014ef

Slowly but surely

This has been an interesting journey so far. The classes were great and I plan on taking more in the Fall, even if this this Summer is a nice break. I’ve met some incredible people through Facebook from all over the world. Writers are generally an incredibly supportive group. I think we need that. We’re vulnerable. We do what we love and put it out there which is very scary.

Three things happened this week that make me feel like a real, honest to goodness writer.

I did a story exchange with someone from Facebook and we critiqued each others’ story and gave each other some much needed feedback.

I entered a head to head contest in one of my Facebook groups. There are almost a hundred of us in it and we’ve been split up into groups. We are given a prompt and a max word count…this week is REGRET and a max of 300 words. I wrote it in less than twenty minutes. I love this type of challenge. The idea behind the groups is that we are there to critique and support each other before we submit our story for the competition. It’s been a blast chatting with other writers about our chosen craft. I’ll post my story and the results once this week’s submissions are done.

The most recent thing that happened is that I was talking with a couple of co-workers and I don’t know how we got on the topic, but I did mention I was a writer in my spare time. One of my co-workers said that his daughter had written a book and would like to publish but didn’t know where to start. I spent an hour yesterday going through my notes and gathering some information to email to him. Sharing the knowledge I’ve gained over the past 6 months made me all warm and fuzzy inside.

I’d love to do more but work and my commute really get in my way. 🙂 I still have hope though…someone has to win the lotteries!

Mother’s Day

Yes, it’s Mother’s Day. For me, having lost my own mother almost 26 years ago, it’s a day full of reflection and memories. My mother was my best friend and confidant. She was also someone I butted heads with like I’ve done with no other in my life. We were two sides of the same coin, hell, sometimes we fought over the same side and that’s when the fireworks would go off.

My mother was many things but the one thing I could always and forever count on was that she was on my side. I never doubted that, not once. It’s a feeling I’ve never found again since she’s been gone. Yes, I know, I have a wonderfully supportive husband and I’m not throwing shade at that. However, with Ma, I just knew that she’d sacrifice everything for me, and sometimes she did just that.

All these years later she is often in my dreams. She really comes through when I’m wrestling with something important…things that really only come through my subconscious. Often, the dreams are cryptic, but she never misses the mark. To this day I cherish and honour her wisdom, like so many did before me.

Mom, never doubt how much you’re missed. I hope you are having the time of your life in heaven. You are surrounded by friends and family. Too many have gone since your passing but it’s you I miss the most.

Take care, I will love you always.

It’s been a while

There is no excuse and I’m not about to offer one. Let’s just say it was a period of reflection and out and out laziness. I got over the flu and finished my winter semester courses and I just kind of shut down.

I love writing, I really do. I had been gung ho for more than a year and all of a sudden the fire dwindled. I don’t know why or how. Luckily it didn’t go out. I was still getting ideas and have them safely tucked away in an idea journal I have, I just couldn’t commit to writing them out.

My summer course that I had signed up for was cancelled and without the impetus of having to write for a course I just sort of shut down.

To be honest, I was terrified. I’ve had a couple of rejections and the self doubt settled in. The little voice was back. You’re not good enough and you never will be. No one wants to read your tripe. No one is interested. Nothing you do is original. You have no voice. Who cares anyway? Yada Yada Yada.

Well, I’ve bludgeoned the little guy. He won’t bother me again.

I’ve said it before…I write for myself and my own entertainment. Plain and simple. Case closed!!!!!

I was scared, really scared. I knew I was coming up on a precipice and I put the brakes on, doing my damndest not to go over. I enjoy writing short stories and they’re still there and I’ll still write them. However, my dream was always to be a novelist. No, I don’t want to be the a novelist, I want to be the next great novelist!

The fear of failure is paralyzing. It’s been my dream for as long as I can remember. It’s been with me for as long as I could read. I’m not going to say how long it’s been, let’s just say it’s been decades!

I have entire novels written in my head. Some have been with me since my teenage years. They are stories and characters that I love and cherish. Every time I’ve ever tried to bring them to life they always come out flat and one dimensional.

I’m just not ready to tell those stories.

A couple of weekends ago, Brent and I were off on one of our drives. We both enjoy exploring, heading out on a car ride, often without a destination in mind. We happened to be driving down Lake Street – a street I drive at least every weekday morning and we passed a shop I’ve passed by a thousand times. By the time we hit the service road to the highway (two minutes max) I had an idea for a story. By the time we hit Beamsville it had taken on a life of it’s own.

For the last couple of weeks it’s been brewing and stewing inside my little noggin. I’ve done a bunch of research on the internet and last weekend Brent was kind enough to support my madness and we spent a few hours touring the area it takes place. We both took a ton of pictures and I made my little notes on my impressions of the area.

Today I began the process of writing it down. It just flowed from my fingertips. I’ve just put my toe in the water…600 words in. But it’s there and it’s solid. Only another 120,00 to go :).

This one I can do. It’s not a story I’ve lived and breathed for forever. It’s not yet one of my “children”. It’s a story and I’m just telling its tale.

To use a relatively current colloquialism, I’m back bitches!

Hate it, love it, I honestly don’t care. I’m writing, doing what I love and nothing is going to stop me now!

Assignment in!

Well, after weeks of pondering and blood sweat and tears, I finally managed 10 poems on a central theme for my poetry course.

I submitted the lot this afternoon and I’ve already received my grading for it. I wrote about news and how it has changed since I was young. Certainly received a decent grade, but as per usual, not a lot of critiques or explanations:

Really like the premise of this collection.  However, the poems need to come to life with more imagery and use of metaphor.  They read more like explanations of a topic, rather than image driven, layered verse. Also, be careful with your use of the “I”.  Sometimes using the “I” can interfere with your use of imagery.

If this course has taught me anything it’s that I am not a poet. I enjoy the exercise but certainly not my forte. Here are a couple of my favourite examples out of the 10:

Drowning

I would swim crystal blue waters to find you

Elegant coral reefs full of life

I chose those close to surface

Sunlight dancing with you

Bringing out your pastel colours in the azure sea

I always avoided those deep dark chasms

With their brilliant colours to lure the unwary in

Sharks lurking around every corner

Every passing year it becomes harder to find you

The water is filled with words and pictures

That the sharks now hide behind

I find myself drowning

Drowning in a sea of information

Longing

A gentle lover

Always speaking truth

Difficult conversations spoken with care

You took me to my highest highs

And to my lowest lows

But always with love and a soft caress

Now you treat me with contempt

Harsh words and lightening strikes

There is no gentleness in your delivery any more

Truth has become lies

I no longer know where I stand

How I long to have my lover back

A kiss, a touch and a shared vision

Submissions

Since taking the plunge on submitting my work to various calls in November 2018, I have made 5 submissions. That is an average of just over 1 a month. The first time I did 2 was in February. I have plans to submit 2 in March. I already know where they are going, I just have to decide between 3 stories on which to tweak and tweak again and then to submit.

I find that I am beating myself up about the number of stories I write and send in. It doesn’t feel like enough. Albeit, I do work a full time job, have over an hour commute one way, so over 2 hours in the car each and every day and I am currently taking 2 creative writing courses this semester. Plus I’m married with two fur-balls to take care of, housework and errands to do and somewhere in there, a life to lead. It still feels like I’m slacking.

I guess it’s just the nature of my internal beast.

For the most part, I have loved the jobs I’ve held during my career. I’ve worked in both Finance and IT (usually at the same time, in one way or another) and they are both fields that keep you busy and on your toes. Overtime is just a way of life and rarely have I ever begrudged that. I LOVE a challenge and the only times I’ve become restless are when I don’t have enough to do. Or, more accurately, more than enough to do.

Creative writing is a different world entirely. It cannot be rushed. You can’t force ideas to come. You can’t hurry up and get a project written, it comes in it’s own time. I actually relish the fact that it forces me to slow down. I thoroughly enjoy the process from beginning to end and I don’t ever want to jeopardize that. Some of my favourite authors have suffered from the publish or perish syndrome. They start out writing one or two novels a year and then with the pressures from agents, publishing companies, fans and the almighty dollar, have taken to publishing 4 or more times per year. Undeniably, their writing suffers because of this.

I don’t want that. All I want is to write. If it’s all for myself, so be it. I really have no desire to be a truly famous author, it seems to me that too often your life is never your own after that.

I just have to learn that this writing thing should never be akin to the other jobs I’ve held. I need to take my time and just enjoy it. The only pressures I’ve had to write come from my own making. I guess I just need to learn how to lighten up a little.