One More Step — Friday Fictioneers

Title: One More Step
Source:  Friday Fictioneers sponsored by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple
Word count: 100 words

rr-tracks-at-harpers-ferry

PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn M. Miller

I step past the tangled tree limbs encroaching on the railroad bridge, stopping at the edge.

“Do you dare step onto the bridge?” the voice asked. “One more step and no one can save you.”

I crossed hundreds, thousands of bridges, in my traveling years. I had never heard this voice.

“One. More. Step.”

I glanced around. I was alone.

Fast-moving water churned thirty feet below, the chill wind tugged my threadbare coat, my pack dug into my shoulders the weight a ton of bricks.

I stood.

Minutes? Hours? A lifetime?

Time to go home. It was one more step.

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Dark Clouds — Weekly Writing Challenge

Title: Dark Clouds
Source:  Weekly Writing Challenge #170
The five words: LATE, STORM, FRAME, STRIKE, WRAP
Word count: 370 words

lightning-strike

Photo by Brandon Morgan on Unsplash

“Mom, we’re gonna be late,” Carrie yelled as she ran to the minivan. The large equipment bag hung from her shoulder, bouncing on her hip and her leg as she ran. She gripped the strap of the backpack slung over the top of equipment bag to keep it from sliding and crashing to the ground.

Missy stood under the gym canopy with the other moms while the girls chatted. She clicked the fob, unlocking the door for Carrie.

“Looks like it going to storm,” Rina said pointing to the dark clouds on the horizon.

Missy nodded, worry lines creased her forehead. She had checked her phone, finding angry red blotches on the radar display. It projected the storm would run straight at them.

“Mom lets go.”

Missy said goodbye to Rina, waved to the girls and hurried to the van.

***

The van’s windshield framed a massive lightning strike. Missy jumped, and Carrie screamed then giggled nervously.  Blinded by the brilliant flash Missy felt the hair on her neck and arms stand on end. She blinked, trying to focus on the highway in front of her.  Thunder cracked and boomed around her, slamming through her chest and rocking the van.

More lightning flashed, rippling across the sky, pulling giant chains of thunder through the sudden blackness it left behind. It was morning, but the sky was dark as night.

“Oh man,” Carrie said as she rubbed her hands over, her bare arms.

Then, almost on cue fat raindrops pelted the windshield and obliterated their view of the highway. Missy slowed the van and turned the wipers on high. The rain rose to the challenge and fell harder as the wipers danced. All around them the storm raged, and Missy slowed the van, pulling onto the shoulder before she stopped. It didn’t take long for the windows to fog as the temperature changed.

Carrie dug a hoodie from her bag, wrapping it around her in the sudden chill. They sat, huddled in the van and watched the greatest show on earth.

As the storm diminished Carrie reached over and held her mom’s hand.

“What a cool reason to be late.”

Missy smiled at her daughter and pulled back onto the highway.

 

__________________________________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Out with a Bang

Photo via LoSchmi via VisualHunt.com

Photo via LoSchmi via VisualHunt.com

Despite everything, yesterday turned out to be a good day for writing.

It had been a while since visiting my MC so I went back to re-read. But I soon found that I was wanting to make changes. The huge sensor monster wanted to commandeer the keyboard and “fix” things. It was a battle with me insisting that I only needed to see where I had left the story to move ahead. I forced myself to keep reading.

“Really? You are not going to fix THAT?” he demanded as he pointed at a glaring error where an entire word had been left out.

“Fine. I will fix that one, but no more. If I start now I won’t ever get this written. Please come back when I am in Edit mode.” I slammed on the keys as I added the missing word.

But holding the sensor monster at bay is hard work. Finally, after resorting to subterfuge, and misdirection I managed to stuff him back in his box. Knowing that if I kept reading he would manage to escape, so I gave up and decided just to write.

By this time, I had it all planned in my head. I knew exactly what I wanted to get down, but that didn’t happen. Nope, the story was highjacked by the MC and we took a detour that wasn’t on the map. He insisted on a flashback. The session ended up with him dictating and me writing. Normally I hate flashbacks. If this was something that I needed to know in the story, then why didn’t you tell me earlier?

But this one was kind of cool. It was sort of like having a tour guide give you an account on how the place came into existence. To be honest I didn’t mind being the stenographer since I really didn’t have to come up with much. Nope. Just write.

When we were done, the tally came to just over 1,200 words.

Keep on Writing

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

Photo credit: Pensiero via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Pensiero via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Yesterday I dusted off my crystal ball and saw some amazing things.

Lists are king. At least in my world they are. They are how I get things done, keep track of all the minor details and have all the ingredients I need to fix a wonderful meal without having to go back to the store because I forgot something. To say that I am a list junkie is a bit of an understatement, but they do keep me focused. They are also a bit of a ritual.

I don’t make New Year resolutions per se. Instead I make out a list of all the things I want to accomplish in the coming year and I don’t stop there. That list then gets prioritized and broken down into Little Goals and Big Goals. Little Goals are things I can get done in a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Big Goals are those things that take much longer, months, years even. Big Goals are treated much differently than Little Goals.

First, I only take on one Big Goal at a time. This is the thing that I will spend 80% of my time working on. Everything else gets the remaining 20%. You see the key to my lists is that I want to get things D-O-N-E, done. In the past, I have tried working on multiple Big Goals and nothing seems to ever get done. There is a reason for that. It has to do with time and the perception of success.

Consider the table below. Say I have 160 hours to work on my goals in a month. So, working on five goals that each take a month to complete if I work on them evenly, I will be 20% done with each goal at the end of the first month. At the end of five months all five goals are 100% complete. In theory.

table-1

But I will guarantee you, I know how my little pea brain works and by the end of Month #2, I will have given up on a couple of them. Working this way, I will be lucky to have two of the goals 100% complete by Month #5.

Now consider this table.

table-2

Same five goals that each take a month to complete. But here I only work on one goal in the first month. At the end of the month I have one goal D-O-N-E, done. Success! Then the same thing happens in Month #2, D-O-N-E, done. Success! Using this approach I am a goal obliterating superstar! At the end of Month #5 you had better believe that all five goals will be 100% complete. (Since I am a now a goal obliterating superstar I may have even added a goal or two.)

They say success breeds success and I am here to tell you that is absolutely correct. So, what happens when the one Big Goal that I am working on is going to take five months? Easy Pease. I just break that down into what I want to accomplish in each of the five months.

And then I take it one step further. Those monthly goals are broken down by week and day. Just like with Nano. How do you write 50,000 words in one month? You schedule to write 1,667 words every day. In theory.

I know that I am not a machine and there is no way I am going to be able to keep up with that schedule. Life gets in the way and your best friend who you haven’t seen in ages comes to spend the weekend. Do you think I am going to tell her “No”, “Don’t come I have to write 1,667 words”? Absolutely not. She is going to come and we will be up past our normal bedtimes doing girl stuff and I won’t write a word.

To make sure that life can happen and I still reach my goals, I schedule buffers, and catch-up days. For Nano I scheduled 2,500 words per day for 20 days. Still very do-able, and it gave me 10 days for life and to catch-up on those days that I couldn’t come up with even 500 words.

Yesterday’s gaze into the crystal ball reached well into 2019. Three whole years! Amazing! To get there I must take care of what is on the list for today. What happens in the future depends on what I do today.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

To Looking Forward

Photo credit: Cali2Okie (April) via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Cali2Okie (April) via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to the fast-approaching new year.

Here, the joy of Christmas was made more poignant due to a death in the family. My uncle’s passing served as a powerful reminder of the need to recognize what is truly important in life. Perhaps it was just me, but this season’s gatherings seemed to have more meaning for everyone. From the Christmas card that conveyed an expression of thanks for including their family in the festivities, to the way people lingered at the door, reluctant to leave as the time neared for the gathering to come to an end. All of this and more reinforced my belief that these celebrations need to happen all through the year.

While I have spent the last two weeks fully engaged with other priorities, the importance of getting the first draft of my book completed has skyrocketed to the top of the list. Speaking of lists, it is also that time of the year as well. Time to plot out the journey for the coming year. Time to dream of all the things that we want to accomplish. Time to figure out what mark we want to leave on 2017. Time when endless possibilities lie before us. We can take the best from the past to build on to make the new year unforgettable.

I have dusted off the crystal ball and am preparing to…

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Pressure

Photo via HebiFot via Visual Hunt

Photo via HebiFot via Visual Hunt

How I would love to say that I haven’t posted here because I have been writing like a fiend. My muse bound me to my chair and compelled me to spend hours at my keyboard while the words have spilled onto the page. Words and sentences and paragraphs flowing from my fingertips like water leaping over a cliff to create a magnificent waterfall with mist spraying into the air to adorn the creation with rainbows. The culmination being a story with wonderful dialog, stunning visual effects and a plot as solid as Gibraltar. A story that is destined to be on the best seller list with fans clamoring for the next two books in the series. Only seconds after writing the immortal word “The End”, producers bang down my door begging to be allowed to make my story into the next hit movie. It will be bigger than Star Wars they say.

Hmm, wait. Is my fever back?

Okay, the truth is that I have spent the better part of this week being sick. Just in time for the busy holiday season. Thankfully, today I feel better than I have since Monday. Somehow, as I lay knocked out by every over the counter medication I could get my hands on, time spun forward to a point where we are barely a week away from the fat man’s arrival. Boy am I behind schedule. There is still some Christmas shopping to do and some decorating and baking and grocery shopping and a house to clean for company and gifts that need to be mailed along with the “normal” stuff that needs doing. I wonder if I can convince the kids that Christmas has been rescheduled for next week? No? Probably not my best option.

I suppose there is nothing like the pressure of looming deadlines, other people’s expectations and the dread of being a disappointment to ignite a fire to get things done. So, I have modified my list, checked it twice and cranked up the holiday playlist. I have even planned to squeeze in some writing time. Wish me luck.

How is everyone else faring in the pre-holiday madness?

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Road Block

I figured out why the writing was going so slow.

I ran into a road block.

Photo credit: morgandobbins via Visual Hunt / CC BY

Photo credit: morgandobbins via Visual Hunt / CC BY

A little issue with the story which I discovered when I re-read a bit today. Writing you MC into a predicament is easy, get him out in a believable way can sometimes be a challenge. My MC was trying to tell me that my solution was not in line with his character. So, I set about fixing it. A little research helped a ton in putting things right. With this done, MC now seems happier. Yippee. I also mapped out a plan for where we are going next. I think we are now set to make some progress on the story. So tomorrow I push ahead.

Charge!

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Challenges

How is it Friday already?

Photo credit: Sangudo via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Sangudo via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

My targeted word count for this week is nowhere near what I wanted it to be. It is really disheartening. I often set some lofty goals for myself, fully realizing that I might not be able to get over the bar. But I also like a challenge. The harder and more unobtainable the goal appears to be, the more determined I am to prove that I can get there. Can you say competitive?

That being said, when I look at the rest of my never ending to-do list I see it is significantly shorter than it was on Monday. Hmm, I wonder what is going on here? Have I been avoiding the writing? Maybe a little. The truth is that a few of the items on the to-do list were starting to bug me, but now they are done, crossed off the list and nothing has been added to it. Yet.

Okay, nagging distractions out of the way, time to see if I can make it.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Focus

I thought I would give Sonya’s  Three Line Tales  prompt a go. You can find all the details over at Only 100 Words!

Focus

photo by Grant McCurdy via Unsplash

photo by Grant McCurdy via Unsplash

It all began with the Brownie box camera Santa brought her the Christmas of 1948. Capturing life through a lens was a passion that continued even when the camera changed. She fondly surveyed the cameras that lined the shelf of her studio, picked up her DSLR and headed out.

Now I am going to focus on getting some writing done.

Keep on Writing

Jo Hawk The Writer

 

Rock Star

Today I feel like a rock start with thousands of screaming fans vying for my attention.

Photo credit: Philippe_ via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Philippe_ via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

It is beyond me how this happened. All I did was ask myself what I should post about today. And that is when it started. Idea after idea came flooding into my mind. So, I grabbed my journal and started writing and writing. Now one journal is completely full and I have started a second one.

Here is the issue. None of those ideas was anything that I wanted to write about TODAY. That is not to say that I won’t, but just that I don’t have time for some of these ideas right now. The other issue is that this little exercise used up the time that I had on my schedule for working on my novel.

The good thing (I think) is I now do not have an excuse for not having a topic. Nope, all I need to do is pull open the journal, pick an idea, and get busy. Right now, I need to get busy with the other things on my to-do list.

I am hopeful tomorrow will be more productive.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer