Monday, December 11, 2017

Press Pause, Not Stop

It's time to do some cleaning-up and cleaning-out, so I am taking the next few weeks to do just that.

Papers will be tossed! Furniture will be moved! Goals will be set!

But I'll also take some down time -

Books will be read! TV shows and movies will be binge-watched! Beaches will be walked!

Even the tortoises have plans -

Basil will be eaten! Shells will be rubbed! Basking will be done!

I'll still be around the blogosphere and Goodreads, but the next posting here at TSR won't be until IWSG on January 3, 2018. (2018?! When did that happen?!)

All of us here at The Shellshank Redemption wish everyone a wonderful holiday season - whatever and however you shell-ebrate!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IWSG: No Idea


For More Information

Since my birthday is in October, I like to think of that as my new year, using the time between then and January 1st as a "soft opening" of sorts, when I play with new ideas, plan new projects, lay the foundation for the actual new year so I have a head start on those goals.

This year? Not so much.

I have no idea what 2018 will look like. It's all vague and blurry, like the landscape viewed through a steamed-up window. Ghostly shapes emerge - a big writing project, some smaller ones, an exercise routine, a plan to manage the anxiety and other issues - but all their edges are soft, smeared. And if I can't see them clearly, how will I know how far away they are? How will I know how to get there? And will I even recognize them when - if - I do?

These last few months have been rough, and I'm hoping December will be a time of reflection, of quiet, of clean-out and clean-up. Maybe I'll even take a squeegee to that window so I can finally get a good look at all the amazing possibilities that are on the other side.

*****

How were these last few months for you? What are your plans for December? Do you have a clear vision for 2018 or is your view obscured like mine?

Monday, November 27, 2017

I Got Nothing, or The November-NaNo Blues

This November and this NaNo are kicking my butt. My energy level is so low that the tortoises could beat me in a foot race. (And yes, I know they have four feet to my two but you get my point.) And my creative well is so dry . . . .  I can't come up with a good way to finish that sentence.

So, instead of more blather from me, I thought I'd share some more of my favorite comics from over at Introvert Doodles.












(Marzi's book is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon and would make a great gift for the holidays. I already own it and love it! And the only thing I get from talking about any of it, is the joy that comes from sharing something creative and fun.)

*****

How's your November? If you participated in NaNo, how was it? Think you could beat the tortoises in a foot race? (You might think twice if you've seen them hustle after a banana....)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Rah Rah! Go, Us!

I'm in the mood to do some cheerleading. (Funny, because I was never an actual cheerleader - I went to an all-girls high school and the college I attended didn't focus much on sports back then. This was waaaaaay back in the day.)

But as I get older, I find that as the holiday flurry ramps up, as the year winds down - and the end of NaNo looms large! - we sometimes lose sight of all the creativity and imagination and passion that suffused our year. Instead, we focus on all that we didn't do, all that we didn't accomplish. We feel like failures, losers.

The cheerleading part is coming, I promise!

At the holiday party, no one asks about our recently published work. During Thanksgiving dinner, Uncle Duke thinks the weather is far more interesting than our dreams. Over Christmas eggnog, Aunt Lola declares that writing is so easy - take a class, get an agent, a book deal, make some money. She doesn't care to know what we're talking about - rejection letters? Critique groups? Improving our craft? Pfft.

Yes, okay, okay. Here - finally! - are the words of wisdom I want to share -

"Self doubt. 
Imposter syndrome. 
Modesty that borders on self-deprecation. . . . 

You guys, this has got to stop. 

We have to stop talking down about ourselves 
just because we're afraid that others might beat us to it. 

We have to start celebrating our successes and strengths 
even though we still have failures and flaws. 

We have to be unabashedly awesome in all the ways that we are. 

We don't owe anyone a disclaimer for believing in ourselves. . . .

Because you are amazing, and you can do this." 
(Annie Neugebauer)

Let's not let anyone else tell us different.

Let's not let anyone else make us think otherwise.

Go, us!

(Pfft. Who needs pom-poms?)

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Curmudgeon on Caffeine

Here in the trenches of NaNoWriMo, I'm a little busy trying to figure out a couple of things, like why a secondary character has suddenly decided she'd like to be the antagonist (I mean, seriously?!) and how many cups of coffee can I drink before I start acting like Kramer from Seinfeld.




So, as you can see, my mind is not very focused on marketing or social media at the moment. But when I saw this quote in Writer's Digest (Nov/Dec 2017), I chuckled - okay, so it was more like caffeine-tinged-maniacal laughter - because not only is it an excellent strategy for social media but also for life in general.


"EVEN IF YOU ARE A NATURALLY CRANKY,
SNARKY, SOUR-TEMPERED PAIN IN THE ASS,
FOR GOD'S SAKE,  SHARE THAT 
WITH YOUR THERAPIST OR PRIEST. 

WHEN YOU GO ONLINE TO PROMOTE YOURSELF
AND THEREFORE YOUR PRODUCTS,
TRY NOT TO ACTUALLY SCARE
PEOPLE OFF YOUR LAWN."
(Jonathan Maberry)


As someone who, in real life, straddles the line between pleasantly polite yet keeps-to-herself and curmudgeonly crazy lady who peers through the blinds absolutely certain those kids on tricycles are up to no good, I really hope I'm at least keeping my digital lawn welcoming and well-tended.

*****

Are you running on caffeine right about now? Is your digital lawn full of weeds? How about your real lawn? Do you chase kids off your property or do you join them in a rousing game of hide-n-seek?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Maybe More Than a Little

Last week, a local theater ran the original Psycho. In honor of Halloween and the start of another NaNoWriMo, my husband and I went. We'd seen Psycho before but not on a big screen, not in a roomful of people with their own reasons for going. Soon, we were all lost in another time, another place. 

That's pretty much what happens to me during November - I get lost in a world of my own making. I look up from my keyboard and have to blink a few times to situate myself. I walk out of my office and catch a glimpse of a character running down the hall, darting into another room. I have to ask my poor husband to repeat his question a third time because I'm busy trying to figure out how - or if! - my protagonist will manage to kill the creature lurking in the shadows.

I am not easy to live with during the best of times, but November brings its own special kind of Hell for my long-suffering, patient husband. So, while we were watching Psycho, a particular scene made me laugh out loud because I'm pretty sure it sums up what my husband thinks of me during NaNoWriMo. (Okay, maybe he feels this way all the time, but he's too nice to say it.) 

"IT'S NOT LIKE [SHE'S] A MANIAC 
OR A RAVING THING.
SHE JUST GOES A LITTLE MAD SOMETIMES.
WE ALL GO A LITTLE MAD SOMETIMES.
HAVEN'T YOU?"
(Norman Bates)

*****

Do you wig out (pun intended!) during NaNoWriMo? Or when you're deep into a creative project? How does your spouse/significant other/support team handle you? Do you do anything to thank them when - if?! - sanity returns?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

The following quote hangs on the bulletin board in my office  -  

MY MIND IS A BAD NEIGHBORHOOD
I TRY NOT TO GO INTO ALONE.
(Anne Lamott)

Well, since I've basically moved in there already, easier said than done. Right now my neighbors are a creature I've only caught a glimpse of (and that was more than enough to induce nightmares, thank you very much) and an old man with a nice smile and a well-tended lawn who might be a really bad dude. I hope the little girl across the way has a better weapon than that manatee keychain because otherwise we are all in big trouble.    

Yes, it's NaNoWriMo time! 

And since I'm hunkering down and hiding from what I suspect is a truly hideous Welcome Wagon, I'm going to miss November's IWSG. I still plan on posting here and visiting you all throughout the month . . . unless my neighbors have other ideas . . . . Gulp.

*****

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, what are you working on? Do you like scary stories? Want to recommend a favorite horror novel or author?