Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Read My Fiction, Poetry & Nonfiction Online

Abstract elongated hour glass in blues and blacks, with half the sand in the top and half in the bottom. Across the left side, vertically, in light blue it says #5MinuteFiction and horizontally on the right across the upper part of the glass in dark blue it says Winner!
Thanks very much to everyone who voted for my story at the 5 Minute Fiction Challenge. I won! A lovely surprise for my first time trying a timed writing contest. I definitely want to do it again.

In all honesty, I was worried that I only won because I tweeted, blogged, and posted on Facebook about the contest. I was concerned that my friends would vote for me just because they were trying to be supportive. However, two people emailed me today, independently, to tell me that they would not have voted for my story if it wasn't the best, and in their opinion it was. So, I feel relieved.

You see, I suffer from impostor syndrome. Someday I'll probably devote a post or ten to that topic. Writers are particularly prone to the condition, especially if they are women or otherwise marginalized. Such as, oh, say, having a disability, just as a random theoretical example.

However, this contest was actually one in a string of writing-related pats-on-the-back I've received lately, so I was on quite a high at being a finalist. I was starting to feel downright almost-not-totally wracked by self-doubt. Lest I get too comfortable however, I received a rejection of a poetry submission about an hour after I was declared a finalist in the flash fiction contest. It's all part of the Great Circle of Uncertainty.

All this contest excitement and new blog building, combined with going on a searching-for-submission-opportunities binge has left me wiped out. I need more sleep, more spacing out, and more dog training. Too much business-of-writing keeps me in my head, and then I get that "squirrel-on-a-wheel" sensation where I can't stop my thoughts from running around in a frenzy inside the cage of my skull, searching for bird feeders to empty, with Barnum jumping up to put his paws on the window sills and watching them for hours. You see? I have totally lost control of my metaphors.

Anynoodle (yes, I'm carrying my little neologism with me from After Gadget), if you liked my flash piece, you might also like to read some of my other published fiction, poetry, essays, and humor columns. I have gathered a whole bunch of links on my new page, "Read My Published Works."

These pieces are all online, so they're free! Eventually, I'll put up links for the anthologies and chapbooks that have some of my best stuff, but not tonight.

And hey, let me know you're out there! It's lonely here with just me and the squirrel in my brain. (Yes, I know Barnum is here, too, but he's much too big to fit in my brain.) Please comment: tell me what you like, and what you'd like to see more of. Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Finalist in my First Foray into Five-Minute Fiction!

Hello to my friends and readers from After Gadget! Thank you for following me here. And welcome to those who are "meeting" me for the first time. Here's my first official post at my writing-and-non-dog blog!

I discovered a fabulous blog a few days ago, Write Me! which hosts the #5MinuteFiction contest. The deal is that every week, blogger Leah Petersen puts up a prompt at 1:30 PM Eastern Time, and then you have until 1:45 PM to write a short story and post it as a comment!

As soon as I read past contests, I knew I wanted to enter the next one, but the chances of me waking up in time, being functional, and being able to do anything fast, were extremely slim. However, I've been getting a lot of pats on the back as a writer in the last few weeks, which has given me additional confidence. So, why the hell not try?

I woke up at 1 PM today, of course completely forgetting that it was Tuesday. I was in a fair amount of pain and just lying in bed trying to decide what I was capable of, when I clicked my Twitter tab and saw the reminder for the contest.

What does a chronically ill writer do to get prepared for a writing contest in less than half an hour?
  • Pee! I just knew as soon as the contest started, I'd have to pee, so I got that out of the way. Then I was in more pain and exhaustion, but some things cannot be avoided.
  • Find my keyboard, mouse, lap desk, and clipboard. I use my clipboard as my mouse pad. It had fallen off my bed during the night. Searching and finding it was another time-and-energy drain.
  • Arrange pillows for maximum comfort and functionality (arm bolstering).
  • Ignore the ringing telephone. (That reminds me -- gotta check my voicemail!)
  • Hope like hell that my computer and internet connection cooperate.
By the time I did all that, it was 1:31! I looked at the prompt and tried to "multitask" by thinking about what I wanted to write while I filled in my name, email, and blog address.

I actually used a fair amount of time dithering about which blog address to give. I decided to give this one, my new writing one, even though I didn't have any content yet. Hell, I don't even have my widgets and links and such set up. It's just soooo unlike me to not get all my ducks in a row before going public. But this is part of my new strategy of believing I will actually accomplish the things I want to accomplish. Blogging with the confidence that eventually, I'll have the rest of this site looking how I want.

Of course, if I'd had more than 10 minutes to write, I'd have revised, cut, tightened, proofed, and otherwise tweaked the story. But much like videotaping my dog-training sessions, seeing what I wrote after that thinking-on-your-feet burst has already helped me to see what I like about what I wrote, and what I don't like. (Guess which one wins out?) Yes, there's a lot I wish I'd done differently, that I want to do better next time.

Oh yes, there will be a next time. I'm hooked. I'm pretty sure that this weekly contest, when I'm able to participate, will make me a better writer, especially of, as Anne Lamott says, "Shitty first drafts."

Anyway, I'm one of the five finalists out of 30-something stories, I think. (I can't remember how many there were.)

What does a chronically ill writer do after she has finished the writing contest? Take her pain medication and try to get the word out about being a finalist! These two activities turn out to be a bad match, today. I thought I'd had enough breakfast before taking my meds, but apparently not, because I'm all fuzzy-headed now. I hope this post makes sense!

The winner is announced tomorrow at 9:00 AM Eastern Time, so please go to Write Me! and read the Week 64 Finalists, and vote! Obviously, I'd like it if you voted for me, but really you should vote for the story you think deserves to win.

This is a fun way to start my writing blog.

P.S. Please spread the word about the contest and voting, and about my new blog!

Monday, August 8, 2011

This Blog Is Under Construction


This will be my blog related to the writer's life:
  • Links to my written work,
  • snippets of forthcoming or published pieces,
  • how I approach writing, 
  • what I'm working on at the moment, 
  • and occasional forays into some of my favorite topics -- erotica, disability, and humor.
Until I get going here, please stop by my very active (and dog-centric) blog, After Gadget. Stay tuned.

The bedhead,