Risking Criticism to Create Your Best Story – Daily Quote

the-final-proof-of-greatness-lies-in-being-able-to-endure-criticism-without-resentment.-elbert-hubbard

I searched for three years. On my quest, as with finding any satisfying relationship, I kissed frogs, toads, newts, and the occasional salamander before I finally heard the angels sing.

Each critique group has a vibe, a personality, a purpose that provides benefits for the members. I wanted something aligned with my goals. The first gathering revolved around coffee, chatting, and offering reasons for not producing. Their coffee was a little weak. Participants at a different venue served as acolytes to a published author. I prefer coffee over Kool-Aid. One bunch focused on everyone feeling “good” about their piece and stipulated they did not permit “harsh words.” In my book, high quality, strong, black coffee, doesn’t need cream and sugar.

Another meeting started with a friendly chat, then they eviscerated my submission. I could have been offended. I could have argued, defended my writing, insisted they didn’t understand and accused them of being wrong about what they were reading. Instead, I kept my mouth shut and my mind open. Truthful, honest feedback, delivered without malice, is a precious gift. It is a remarkable transformational tool, and if you can endure it, you will gain much.

Others see areas for improvement when we cannot. Unfiltered opinions help us consider our narrative from the reader’s perspective. The right critique group offers the perfect sounding board for creating our best story along with encouragement, camaraderie, and the pleasure of enjoying an excellent cup of coffee.

Have you found your critique group?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2020 Daily Writing Challenge – January 27

2020 Daily Writing Challenge

Writing is like driving at night in the fog.
You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow

Today is Day 27 of the 2020 Daily Writing Challenge.

Did you write yesterday?  If you didn’t, that’s okay, start today. Don’t let excuses get in your way. You don’t need an entire hour, an office, or fancy software to write.  They say the average person can type 40 words per minute. That means five minutes can yield 200 words.

You can use a pen and paper, a note-taking app on your phone, or an old school typewriter. You don’t have to wake at 4am, instead, carve out a few minutes during your lunch hour, while waiting at the doctor’s office, or in your favorite coffee shop.

Give it a try and let us know how you did in the comments below.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Committed to Working Toward the Spotlight – Daily Quote

sometimes-you-write-things-that-sound-really-great-when-youre-at-home-but-dont-work-when-you-shine-the-light-of-an-audience-on-them.-great-writing-and-live-writing-are-two-separate-thing

They are fleeting moments. The planets aligned, the house is quiet, my fingers fly, and I am certain I have channeled a brilliance that transcends what meager skills I possess. I am convinced I am a genius. The great American novel is within my grasp. Eat your heart out J. K. Rowling, move over Hemmingway. F. Scott, please be a dear and fetch me a glass of champagne. Tickled pink, full of myself, I shut my laptop and pour giddy little me into bed where I dream of red carpets and accolades. Oh, my, is that a Nobel Prize?

The next morning I float on a silver-lined cloud to my desk, smiling as I open the file and read.

“Wait, what is this?”

Disbelief morphs into frantic desperation as I check time stamps and backups, searching in vain for the scintillating words written mere hours ago.

“Who wrote this crap?” I scream.

A soft chuckle mocks me, and I groan. I know the answer. This crap belongs to me.

I could be steps away from throwing in the towel, giving up, succumbing to the fear gnawing at the edges of my resolve, and hitting the delete key. My gut says this isn’t my ending, only my beginning.

Revisions promise to be grueling, requiring countless hours, working day-in and day-out, climbing my thankless mountain. I have a responsibility to honor my burning desire, and the stories the cosmos planted in my soul. They give me purpose, passion, and drive. They make me different. I renew my vow to out-last the lucky and out-work the lazy.

What dreams inspire your writing?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2020 Daily Writing Challenge – January 26

2020 Daily Writing Challenge

Writing is like driving at night in the fog.
You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow

Today is Day 26 of the 2020 Daily Writing Challenge.

Did you write yesterday?  If you didn’t, that’s okay, start today. Don’t let excuses get in your way. You don’t need an entire hour, an office, or fancy software to write.  They say the average person can type 40 words per minute. That means five minutes can yield 200 words.

You can use a pen and paper, a note-taking app on your phone, or an old school typewriter. You don’t have to wake at 4am, instead, carve out a few minutes during your lunch hour, while waiting at the doctor’s office, or in your favorite coffee shop.

Give it a try and let us know how you did in the comments below.

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Building on the Rock – Weekend Writing Prompt

Title: Building on the Rock
Source:  Weekend Writing Prompt # 141– Imperious
Objective: Write a poem or piece of prose in exactly 123 words

Photo by Ronan Furuta on Unsplash

Mael confronted the Rock, hands on his hips, legs rooted to the ground, his decision made. Here he would forge his fated destiny.

“This is where I build my castle.”

His men gasped. An incredulous murmur rose.  The volume ascended, scaling the sheer obsidian cliff face until it drowned the sound of the relentless, crashing surf.

“Surely, he jests.”

“He can’t be serious?”

“No one dares to build upon Devil’s Bite Mountain.”

Mael spun, his rippling black cloak snapping in the wind, and his troops stood, quivering in the silence. Mael’s gaze impaled the solider who had dared to utter his last fateful thought.

His defiant roar shook the dark heavens, and his imperious words left no questions. His will would be obeyed.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Happy Chinese New Year – Daily Quote

happy-chinese-new-year

Happy Chinese New Year. Also known as the Spring Festival, or Lunar New Year, the festivities begin January 25th and conclude February 8th. Have you slipped with your good intentions, or maybe you haven’t even started your resolutions? Perhaps this is your opportunity to set aside the past and embrace your new moon lunar restart.

2020 is the year of the rat, the first animal of the calendar cycle. A myth recounts the legend of the Jade Emperor issuing a party invitation. He declared he would decide the animals’ placement in the zodiac, based on their order of arrival. The Rat asked his friend the Ox for a ride. As they reached the Emperor’s palace, the Rat jumped from the Ox’s back and entered ahead of him. Can we all take a page from the Rat’s story and get a jump on our goals?

There are taboos we should consider. One is not to use negative words, while another cautions us to avoid fighting and crying. If you ask me, that is excellent advice no matter the season.

The best tradition is purchasing a new wardrobe. They deem it auspicious as it offers protection from evil spirits. They further say to select red and skip black and white, colors that are unlucky and negative. A fresh collection of clothes, a second chance at a reboot, and the promise of finding my rightful place are encouraging. I am ready to kick off these celebrations.

How will you honor the start of the lunar new year?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2020 Daily Writing Challenge – January 25

2020 Daily Writing Challenge

Writing is like driving at night in the fog.
You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow

Today is Day 25 of the 2020 Daily Writing Challenge.

Did you write yesterday?  If you didn’t, that’s okay, start today. Don’t let excuses get in your way. You don’t need an entire hour, an office, or fancy software to write.  They say the average person can type 40 words per minute. That means five minutes can yield 200 words.

You can use a pen and paper, a note-taking app on your phone, or an old school typewriter. You don’t have to wake at 4am, instead, carve out a few minutes during your lunch hour, while waiting at the doctor’s office, or in your favorite coffee shop.

Give it a try and let us know how you did in the comments below.

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Value of Overcoming Hardships for Better Writing Success – Daily Quote

it-was-no-hardship-to-me-to-spend-long-hours-reading-and-writing.-patti-smith.

Writing is easy until it isn’t. I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I concede there are reasons and situations which often derail our best intentions.

It sounds simple, to sit down and put pen to paper, fingers to the keyboard, and the pedal to the metal. Many would-be writers discount learning and developing the required processes. Hitting on a brilliant novel premise, navigating hard to establish beginnings, mucking through messy middles, and devising satisfying endings to create your masterwork, are the initial steps to completing your first draft. Next comes ego-crushing revisions, where you remove your darlings, followed by never-ending edits. No pressure there.

The worst part is writing reveals our lack of knowledge or competence. When the narrative stalls, leaving us staring at a blank page, and volunteering to clean the bathroom, it is a sure sign we need to pinpoint the cause. Sometimes the solution is obvious. Concentration is difficult when we become tired, preoccupied, or stressed, and the remedy is taking care of ourselves before we begin. Perfectionism, over-analysis, and fear of failure stop us before we even start.

Other times the issue lies within the story we are creating. Maybe the real problem is a scene that doesn’t flow, and it prevents forward progress. We must identify the specific point where we have gone wrong. Would our character react the way we have written? Is there a logic flaw? Did we engage in information overload?  Or are facts missing? The more detailed we are, the sooner we can devise creative solutions, return to our regularly scheduled work routine, and write our best story.

How do you ensure productive writing time?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2020 Daily Writing Challenge – January 24

2020 Daily Writing Challenge

Writing is like driving at night in the fog.
You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow

Today is Day 24 of the 2020 Daily Writing Challenge.

Did you write yesterday?  If you didn’t, that’s okay, start today. Don’t let excuses get in your way. You don’t need an entire hour, an office, or fancy software to write.  They say the average person can type 40 words per minute. That means five minutes can yield 200 words.

You can use a pen and paper, a note-taking app on your phone, or an old school typewriter. You don’t have to wake at 4am, instead, carve out a few minutes during your lunch hour, while waiting at the doctor’s office, or in your favorite coffee shop.

Give it a try and let us know how you did in the comments below.

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Total Disregard – Friday Fictioneers

Title: Total Disregard
Source:  Friday Fictioneers sponsored by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple
Word count: 100 words

Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream Cup

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda

I woke disoriented.

Details flooded back. My body remembered searing agony.

“Remember to breathe.”

I peeked at my wrist. The needle, encased in Tegaderm and tape, confirmed I should be feeling no pain.

This was the price for not listening and disregarding the instructions.

The tv droned. I know I told them to turn it off. My lunch tray held a carton of milk, a cup of pudding, and a frosted container of ice cream, designed to tempt me.

Shaking my head, I pushed it aside. How many times must I tell them I am lactose intolerant? No, not kidding.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer