Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thoughts on Writing Goals: Aim Low

I wrote the last 700 words of a short story draft this morning (working title: "The Bells, Bells, Balls, and Rain, Dear"). I also wrote the first 4,100 words of a new story with the working title "Barn Frog." My most prolific day in a long time--I feel GREAT. 

And it reminds me of something I've maybe mentioned here before: what really works for me, or has from 2011-now, is to not set my goals TOO high. I have a busy life and other responsibilities. 

I have a basic goal of writing at least 5/7 days for at least 15-30 minutes. That's it. I always meet it, for the most part. And when I write 7 days, or write for 3 hours instead of 30 minutes like I did this morning, I feel great. Set a small goal that you can meet, and avoid the guilt that comes with not meeting it! 

That said, thanks to Jessica McHugh for the "Story a Week" challenge. I have finished drafts of 12 new stories since New year's because of it!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book That Influenced Me Most?

A creative writing student asked me this afternoon what book I'd read that had influenced my fiction writing the most. The answer came tumbling out, easy as you please: 

Waylon GD Jennings' autobiography. And it's the absolute truth. Anyone who knows me at all knows I have an obsession with Waylon; it's like some people with the Beatles (who I do not care for, at all)--I know every period of his career, can track the changes in style . . .

But how has he affected my writing? Well, I listen to him all the time, for one. Along with Johnny Cash, and the Highwaymen. And the stories within the songs are inspiration. The autobiography itself has a great voice--I can hear Waylon talking and telling his stories, though I'm sure his co-author "cleaned it up" a bit.

Mostly, though, I reckon it was/is Waylon's fuck-it-all, I'm-doing-things-my-way attitude with his music, his passion. It inspires me to attempt the same with my stories, to not cater to convention or trends or publishers and the industry, but to try and be unique, while still having respect for and a connection to those weird tales/horror writers before me, like Waylon did for Hank and Jimmie Rodgers and all.

Finally, he had his demons and God knows I've got mine. Thank the Lord for the creative outlets he provided for Waylon and provides for me. Getting things out is a good thing.