The Work

black ball point pen with brown spiral notebook

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on



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. 

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.

Scrivener ?



This is the first NaNoWriMo that I will be writing where I have Scrivener. Unfortunately, I have not used it at all, since the month that I purchased it. So, I’m a bit reluctant to try using the software in November because of that. However, I wanted to try to devote at least two to three days next week to it before I make a final decision. I wanted Scrivener so bad and this would be the perfect time to use it.

I have also decided that I want to write my project on my desktop computer which will make it easier to save (since my laptop has virtually no memory) and to use Scrivener. But on the lazy days where I just want to nap, I know that will be difficult. As a way to combat that, I am going to try to develop and stick to a writing schedule/routine that is earlier in the day around 6-8 pm where I can get my writing completed before I get distracted by the TV or things around the house. That time will also allow me to take a nap after work and still cook dinner and get settled to write.

One of the things that I really love about Scrivener is that I can import notes and scenes that I’ve already written. I also noticed that there are sections for settings and characters. Since the story that I’m planning on working on will be changing to a fictional town in Virginia I am really excited about giving those components a try and having all of my information in one place.

Has anyone here successfully used Scrivener for any of their writing projects? How was it? Do you have any tips or recommendations?