The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – March 4

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Some days the best course of action is chucking your meticulously crafted schedule into the compost bin and letting your day go with the flow. Certain people can not or will not conform to your timeline. Forcing them to comply is an exercise in futility, guaranteed to increase your level of frustration and mental anguish on top of your already over-taxed desire to accomplish your stated tasks. It requires a willingness to step away from the Pomodoro timer, carefully hide your endless To-Do list and allow others to take the reins.

I heard you gasp, yes, I did, but you have to know your team, trust they have received your message, and let go. I cope by indulging in an extra-long lunch break, ignore your text messages, refuse to respond to emails, and see what happens. The range of emotions yesterday was epic. They included irritation at my non-responsiveness, which quickly built to panic, followed by a storm of activity as everyone scrambled to complete what we slated to have finished two weeks ago. At that point, I decided I needed a nap. Then came the barrage of sheepish responses, saying they were done. Only then did I reply by forwarding the checklist I sent at the project’s inception.

They did a decent job, they found and fixed some of their oversights, and they learned a lesson. I hope. The good news is I channeled my unexpected time-off towards a conversation with my new protagonist.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 362 (countable) words.

Did you write yesterday?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – March 3

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Tuesdays are always hit or miss, and yesterday was a series of hits that just kept coming. I handled everything in due time, but it left little opportunity to chat with my new best friends. They still offered me some wonderful little tidbits of information and some juicy dirt. I’m an excellent reporter and take copious handwritten notes on the back of a handy envelope. I don’t want to lose a single detail. You never know when the smallest scrap of a half-forgotten memory will come in handy.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 470 (countable) words.

Did you write yesterday?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – March 2

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Manic Monday or not, March Magic keeps lending me a hand. Yesterday fortune smiled on me, and I spent another hour furiously scribbling notes with my characters. I am accumulating a large pile of pages, but everything feels disjointed and unconnected. Nothing bears any resemblance to a cohesive story with predictable plot points, rising action, or any other convention you expect to find in a novel. Don’t get me started on where to begin or how to finish this monster. Right now, it is a big globby mess of a megadeath middle. Their accounts of the events have me mesmerized, but it is the world’s largest pile of tangled-up twine.

The fundamental problem is I dived into the deep end of the tale. Everyone is talking at once. Someone is always interrupting a line of thought to lead me down another twisting path, a dead-end street, and countless irrational tangents. Redirecting them to the original thread never seems to happen. In the meantime, I am enjoying this wild rollercoaster ride. I trust we will reach a point where the entire epic will click into crystal clarity, the story will solidify, the plot will unfold naturally, and I will at long last be able to sit and write.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 640 (countable) words.

Did you write yesterday?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – March 1

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Yesterday was another magical day. After conquering my Must-Do List for the weekend, I sequestered myself in my office, posted my Do Not Disturb sign, pulled out napkins, receipts, stray scraps of paper, the notes on my phone, and began my work. The story’s timeline filtered through first. Last week, a central figure divulged a shocking backstory that illuminated his motivations and created a natural tension with my principal character. This stage of the game is a handwriting marathon. I used bright yellow oversized pieces of paper and scribbling as quickly as possible.

A set of family trees are emerging, along with rough maps, floor plans, scheming plots, and treacherous conspiracies. Follow-up questions are circled and highlighted, arrows and asterisk populate the pages. When I reached the end of one sheet, I often forgot to include the oh so helpful page numbers on subsequent pages. I noticed I was having a tough time reading my previous sentence and discovered the sun had sunk below the horizon. A short recess allowed for an invigorating stretch, a hot cup of coffee, and better lighting, before returning to my interviews.

I could only handle four hours of grueling transcription before my hand refused to hold my pen any longer. We have barely scratched the surface. I need more knowledge of their world, answers to individual impulses and desires, and the scoop on the juicy intrigue. The cast is much larger than I ever imagined, and my characters continually reference kingdoms, regions, facts, and details I didn’t know existed. They inundated me with information, and it is more epic than the story I intended to write, but I am recording every bit. I am clueless about my actual word count, but I will transcribe everything into a word document in the next few days.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 380 (countable) words.

Did you write yesterday?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – February 28

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Yesterday my focus was to deal with all my commitments for the weekend. Check, check, and almost done. A few minor nuisances to attend to, and I will officially clear my Sunday for takeoff. Everyone has been advised, warned, and threatened to within an inch of their lives. If they dare to ignore the sign posted on my door, retribution is mandatory. No exceptions. No admittance. If you knock, I need to see a protruding bone, blood, or smell smoke alerting me to an actual fire. I hope my muse received my dire request for a meeting, followed by my hasty memo that none of the posted notices pertain to her.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 396 words.

Did you write yesterday?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – February 27

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Yesterday magic happened. I finished my work in record time, my Pandora’s box of unwanted emails remained silent, my phone did not ring, and silence spread with the warm sunshine. A dozen long overdue tasks mysteriously migrated to the Ta-Done tab. A pair of Mourning Doves found a snowless patch of ground in my garden for sunbathing, my muse whispered in my ear, and I wrote. Then I sat and indulged in a brainstorming session for my new project.

Last weekend a failed water fitting behind the refrigerator derailed my intention for a full two-day writing extravaganza. The required cleanup consumed my energy and left me discouraged and a little sad. Hope rises when we least expect it, and yesterday added fuel to the thought of resurrecting my plan. My calendar holds a handful of commitments blocked into my weekend schedule that I cannot change. But I am determined to minimize the distractions and maximize the pockets of time available for me to write.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 609 words.

Did you write yesterday?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – February 26

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Yesterday I wanted to crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my head, and sleep. It is a forbidden weekday luxury. So I made a steaming hot pot of strong coffee and rustled up the energy for putting in my appearances, taking care of business, and faking my way through the day. Nobody seems to notice, and no one truly cares, if they have reliable and timely information. We have agreements, understandings, and minimum levels of acceptable performance. A couple of slack days following the successful completion of a large project never raise too many eyebrows.

Working at home makes it is easier to hide behind the computer screen and muster enough enthusiasm to skate through an hour-long call. I’m uncertain I would be as fortunate if the meetings were still in person. Thankfully, we have reached Friday, and the prospects of a pleasant weekend color everyone’s conversations. Predictions of 40-degree temperatures and a chance of rain are a welcome relief from the past weeks of snow and cold.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 339 words.

Did you write yesterday?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – February 25

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Some days have a mind of their own. They grab hold of your agenda, and like a new puppy with a chew toy, they shake and gnaw and rip and tear until it bears no resemblance to what you remember. In the aftermath, your adorable destructive mutt looks at you with pride and exhaustion before they collapse, ready for a nap. It is your responsibility to salvage what you can from the gooey, slobbery mess and throw the rest in the trash. There is nothing left to do but return to the drawing board, start again, and hope for a better tomorrow.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 417 words.

Did you write yesterday?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – February 24

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Yesterday dawned with warmer temperatures, melting snow, an enormous pile of projects I needed to accomplish, and a demanding day at the office. Do we say that anymore? Technically, an employer’s worksite “office” no longer exists and has morphed into what used to be my living room. It’s been almost a year, and working from home still feels odd.

Maintaining a functioning home life has its demands. Tuesday demanded the final driveway cleanup to remove the last of the ice and a long-delayed trip to the grocery store. Grocery shopping is among my least favorite activities, ranking just below my bathroom janitorial responsibilities. I find the best plan for managing an unsavory task is to roll up your sleeves, plug your nose, dive in, and get the job done as quickly and efficiently possible. Occasionally, my scheduled writing sessions take on those characteristics. It can feel like one more thing to cross off the list. Experience has taught me those feelings evaporate when I plant my butt in the chair and let my fingers touch the keyboard.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 468 words.

Did you write yesterday?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – February 23

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Another Manic Monday, as the Bangles say, complete with a crazy job schedule and more driveway drama. The 2-4 inches of predicted snow materialized as 3 inches, covered by an inch of freezing rain. The result was a slushy, crunchy, slippery disaster waiting to happen. One thing changed yesterday, and I welcomed warmer temperatures that climbed above thirty-two degrees. Snow shovels don’t move ice and slop, so I swapped it in favor of a flat blade and got to work.

As I finished my thankless task, the sun broke through the gray clouds, the wind blew, and the cement dried. A lake has formed at the end of the drive. Mountains created by the plow cover the storm sewer and impedes the flow. I didn’t have the energy to cut a channel to the drain, to let the water escape. It looks like I have a project for Tuesday.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 396 words.

Did you write yesterday?

_________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer