The Habit of Writing


Lately, I’ve been putting off writing. Not intentionally, it just happened. So, after a rather productive fall of creating new work along with compiling a collection I am now stuck. I have started several new pieces that have gone nowhere so far and now I am caught in a place where I should be writing but I am not. I can’t blame it on anything else. Not a nearly full schedule, not my family life nor trying to launch and plan other ideas. I am just caught in a space now where I am not writing which is extremely unusual for me.

One of the things that has become more apparent to me as I’ve developed as a writer is that creating is one of the things that you cannot take a prolonged break from. It has become, for me, an inherent habit. It is a thing that I have to feed in order to continue to benefit from it. In the past few months, I have spent time tweaking pieces and ensuring that my manuscript is a cohesive piece which took a lot of time away from creating new poetry or fiction.

I feel that more than anything, the inability to create right now is a product of foregoing writing for the past two months. Instead of leaving it to chance (muse or inspiration), I will be working hard to get back to creating. I am going to be working on some new pieces using writing prompts and I’m thinking about journaling lines as a means to ensure that I am working on new pieces.

I’ve been telling myself that it’s not writer’s block or a slump. Just a slight hiccup in my creative process and while I’ve been thinking about turning back to fiction as a way to jumpstart my writing; but I haven’t done that in a meaningful way either.

Please feel free to offer any tips that you’ve found helpful in the past or things that have been suggested to you.


This Month

Last week I realized that the project that was my big goal for 2018 has not been given much attention in the last two months. And I feel horrible about that because I was so excited about having it completed by this Wednesday. My poetry manuscript is essentially sitting on my laptop waiting for me to do something. It’s formatted, has a table of contents and that’s it.

I severely slacked off in the last month or so and I really have no excuses. I think I last worked on the project in early November when I revised the last two poems but that’s it. I haven’t even opened the document since then. In my defense, I have been teaching a full schedule, picking up project ideas and working on a collaboration with another writer but…no excuses.
So my plan is to work from the end of the semester(December 18th) on getting the project completed which includes coming up with a cover. I’m also going to be looking to have someone proofread the copy just because I don’t want it to be all over the place. Just because I think that it’s a cohesive collection that doesn’t mean that it really is. I’m hopeful to have a better update before 2019.


autumn background blur candle
Photo by Toni Cuenca on Pexels.com

In the month of October, I’m going to do something different. It’s called OctPoWriMo! I’ve decided that I’m not going to uselessly participate in Preptober knowing that I have in all likelihood given up on NaNoWriMo for the immediate future.  Instead I’m going to set my sights on creating one poem each day. No heavy revision until the month is over. Then I will reread them and decide if they’re worth keeping. One of the reasons that I’m excited about this is that I’ve decided that the poems created in October may be the bulk of my next collection; if I succeed.

I stumbled across the concept of OctPoWriMo while researching workshops in Southeastern Virginia. I was immediately taken by the idea of creating a series of poetry during the month. Even though I’m not going to enroll in the workshop that’s available; I knew that I was interested enough to give it a try. So, for the next thirty-one days I will be writing and creating new poetry which I may be posting throughout the month.

I’ve already been experimenting with shorter poems, so I anticipate having a nice mixture of pieces by the end of October. I’ll admit that some of the pieces may be based on drafts that already have two to six lines or ones that are incomplete but for the most part I will be creating based on whatever pops in my head. I will also be looking at some prompts on Poets & Writers.

Have any of you ever heard of or participated in OctPoWriMo before?


Working While Writing

woman in white dress shirt holding blue permanent marker
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com


The fall semester has begun for me and while I didn’t get a notable amount of writing done this summer I did manage to accomplish some things. Now that the semester has begun, I am going to spend the next few weeks trying to dedicate time to establishing a routine that will allow me to work on completing some fiction (before November) and to continue revising my poetry manuscript.

I am going to stick to the maxim of tackling one goal at a time so first and foremost, I need to find a way to balance teaching/grading/planning with dedicated writing time. I have these great stickers that mean that I can use my planner to set aside days/times for certain tasks; such as brainstorming, editing and revising. I’m hoping that by using my planner I will be able to stick to that routine. If that works, then I will be grabbing another planner or using a different type of planner where I can essentially use a section of it solely for writing tasks.

Then I’m going to start working on whatever fiction is next for me. By working on, I mean getting a concrete idea of what I plan to work on whether that’s an existing incomplete story or something new.  I will of course be sharing as soon as the idea has solidified and hopefully I will also be posting another update on the progress of the poetry collection (which is a solid draft at this point).


The Work

black ball point pen with brown spiral notebook
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com



For as long as I have been writing poetry, I have always considered creating it “the work.” Not necessarily the hard work because some of my pieces are written in one take and then I go back, and revise or tweak as needed. Even when I struggle with writing pieces, I never considered writing poetry to be hard. That’s one of the reasons that I resisted majoring in poetry while completing my MFA, I didn’t want anyone to steal the joy of creating it from me. Creating my own collection has always been in the back of my mind but I never took the steps to do it beyond what I needed to create for classes.

But as some of you may know, that’s a project that I’m currently working on. One of the ways that I have been ensuring that I keep working on compiling the manuscript is to make sure that I am going back to it at least once every two weeks just to look at the poems and review them. I have also made myself commit to getting the work together and having a rough version printed and bound by the end of this month so that I can decide which poems will make the cut and to get second and third opinions on whether the collection is cohesive.  What I never considered was that I would be doing this without one of my closest friends who was also my number one poetry advisor. However, I am slowly but surely piecing together a collection that I love. As I mentioned in a previous post, it will contain several of the poems that have been featured on the blog and some older poems that have been revised.

Hopefully, one of my first posts in August will feature an update on my progress and a picture of the printed and bound manuscript. If anyone else has self-published poetry please feel free to share any tips you have.



Writing Plans-2018



Here’s something that I haven’t done in a while but today’s post is a twist on it. Each year, I usually create a list of stories that I plan to complete as part of my writing goals for the year. I haven’t done it in a few years so this year I decided to tweak it and my writing goals.This year, I am sharing the pieces that I plan to complete in 2018. It’s quite a list and while I’m not including the plots for each piece I am sharing the work that will need to be completed on each one. I also realize that it’s March(almost April) but I have taken some steps while working on this. Not big steps but I have done some work.

The Pride :(organize, complete, edit) Possible poetry manuscript to publish/chapbook.

Jeopardy :(organize, complete, revise)

The Funeral: (write)

Savage Love: (complete, revise)

Tasting Salt:(revise/additions)


One of the pieces that I anticipate being the hardest is my thesis project, Tasting Salt, because it’s such an emotional piece for me. I may join a writer’s group and workshop that a bit to get some help on making revisions.

Have any of you set writing goals for the year? If so, what are they? And how successful have you been so far in working on them?




Outlining…It’s Not Just For Academic Writing

As some of you may know, I’m a long-standing member of the pantster party. In the past, I’ve had a general idea of where the story would go and let it try to get there. Even as I progressed through two writing programs I was firmly pantster with a hint of plotter. Over time that has changed to the point where I’m more 50-50. 

When planning for blog posts, I am all about writing things out, trying to figure out my tags and categories and the picture that will accompany it. Even when I’m writing poetry, I am constantly scribbling and tinkering until I think it’s just right. But it took me the longest time to accept how beneficial planning would be when writing fiction.

One of the things that I’ve been toying with while prepping for the new story I’m tackling is outlining. I know, I know…outlining is for academic writing. And it seems like so much work but I’ve found that it is really helping me develop my main ideas(and subplots) for the story. 

Let me explain, by outlining I don’t mean the way that we’ve been taught to do it when writing papers. What I’ve been doing is selecting maybe 10-15 major occurrences/plot points that I know need to take place. I then briefly sketch out each one and below that list, I add some subplot/minor character information that will help build certain elements of the story. I also not down little setting notes that may help me set scenes. 

Doing this is changing the way that I plan but it also helps me commit to getting a set amount of scenes and words per day. Later on this month, I’ll be trying to get out of the house once a day to write and I think this method will help me remain focused. 

Do any of you outline? Or plan your writing? How? Please share. 

rant, writing

Another NaNoWriMo Letdown

It’s official, I think I’m giving up on NaNoWriMo. Last year I attempted to come back after an epic meltdown in 2015 and a failure to compete in 2016. I had most of the story planned out and knew all of the major moments that would take place but…I just wasn’t interested in the characters. And some random person popped up and she threw the entire story off. All the way off! 

So as a way of still working during November, I went back to a story I’d started and shared with you before. Only to not have anywhere to go because I’d been focusing on the other story for quite a bit. Suffice it to say, I was a bit upset by this turnaround especially since I started out so well. 

In the intervening months, I had to think about whether it’s worth it for me to continue setting myself up for failure. And last week I decided that it wasn’t. I don’t have to participate in NaNoWriMo in order to be a productive writer or to complete any of my novels. 

As of now, I am over NaNoWriMo and I’m okay with that. 


When Planning Fails



Every year, my blogging plans are really basic. They are to blog every week each month. This year, I wanted to do that and to provide some new posts that would be interesting and give you an update on what’s been going on in my world. Well, as the above quote implies…

I don’t really have any logical explanation for not blogging. Although I have been planning several different things in addition to teaching a full load at this point, I still have time to post. In December, I even created a list of my first six blog posts for this month. What I have failed to do is plan beyond that. I only had that list. I usually plan out my posts, try to start typing them up and to get them edited before they’re posted. I have failed to do that and I will be working on getting back on track with my batch blogging this week.

I typically post at least three to four times a month and I realized last night that I have only posted once this month. That’s a terrible precedent to set for the first month of the new year and I plan to do better. In order to make up for those missed posts, I will be posting at least three times over the next week or so.

I hope that you are all doing significantly better on your goals that I am.


NaNoWriMo Update #1


It’s officially November and I’ve been working on this year’s NaNoWriMo project. Today, I just wanted to give a little mini update of how everything has been progressing so far. This is the least planned out writing that I have done in the past ten years (fiction wise). My characters and settings are all over the place and I really have no excuse since these are characters that appear in another story.

By day three of NaNoWriMo, I realized that I might never make it. I did great on the first day and okay on the second but on the third night it took me until well after midnight to get the required word count for the day. Day four was amazing, I made my word count a little before midnight. However, day five was interrupted by my decision to finally dig into Stranger Things so I only wrote 495 words and will be trying to catch up this week.

I have been writing on my laptop and will probably port everything into Scrivener on the last day of November.

I also can already tell that this will be the crappiest, least organized draft that I have ever written.  I will be giving another update later on this month but I hope that the month and the writing is going better for all of you.