Taking Writing Risks #IWSG

 

I never thought of myself as a risk-taker. A writing rebel. But, thinking on it, I guess I am.

I’ve mentioned numerous times (as recently as last month’s IWSG post) that I write what I want regardless of whether it’s popular, fits into any known genre, or is marketable. That, in itself, is risky. Also, the form, subject matter, tone, and style make my writing a pretty tailored taste.

I’m currently finishing my MS that’s not-novel, not-short-story, not-novella. And I break the rules of how it’s supposed to be written.

Also, I just posted about the possible downfalls of changing the covers of my books, wondering whether or not I should do it. Yup, I am. And they’re going to be what I like, not what they “should” be.

Oh, and, as you all know, I’m a pantser. ‘Nuff said.

So, um, yeah, I’m a risk-taking writer.

 

Wow. After writing this post, I realized I take risks in just about every area of the writing process. Yikes. 

Do you take risks in your writing?   

 

 

IWSG Question of the Month April Prompt – Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work? IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)

 

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading & Writing in Specific Genres #IWSG

 

Genre. 

This topic vexes me. 

A few lines from my 2016 post, Footloose and Fantasy-Free

I wish my writing fit neatly into a specific genre.

[it’s easier to market your book and gain readers] if you can categorize what you’ve written.

The thing is, I write what I want and it’s not always tidy. 

Five years later, I’m still in the same unanchored boat. Bother. 

I do enjoy the freedom of writing without borders, without expectations… But, honestly, for simplicity, marketing, and pitching, it would be nice to have a specific genre.

Horror.

Boom. Quick and easy. Sometimes I’d love to say, “I’m a romance writer”, or “I write sci-fi”, or “I’m working on the seventh book in my cozy mystery series”. Alas, my genre doesn’t really exist. 

 

As far as my reading preferences, they can’t fit into the genre I write (because of the not existing thing).

I know what I don’t enjoy reading, but, other than that, I just go for what pops off the shelf, grabs me by the collar, and screams YOU MUST READ ME. (Always obey the books, my friends. They are powerful and all-knowing.)

Fun fact: Next to all sorts of of grown-up books, my shelves are chock-full of children’s, middle grade, and YA books. (Before you judge, there are quite a few truly remarkable, beautifully written books out there in these categories.) 

Whether it’s poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction, I enjoy quality writing. (There are exceptions. Sometimes I just crave a bit of escapism, you know?) All that to answer the question: What motivates my reading choices? Great writing. 

 

What do you like to read? What motivates your choices?

If you’re an author, do you tend to read in the genre you write in? (Do you even have a specific genre? Please tell me there’s someone else out there who’s genre-free.)

 

 

 

IWSG Question of the Month March Prompt – Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice? IWSG

 

 

(Insecure Writer’s Support Group) Insecure Writers Support Group Badge This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

 

 

 

 

The Friends I’ve Made Along the Way #IWSG

 

Much has been said about whether people we meet online are “real” friends, the differences between online friends and friends IRL (in real life), and what type of relationship we can have with people we’ve never met. 

So I won’t get into a whole thing.

I will say blogging’s been a long and rocky road. In my travels, I’ve met quite a few people. Some great ones. Some grumpy ones. *shrugs* That’s life, online or otherwise.

Mostly, though, I’ve met truly amazing individuals and developed relationships. I have some acquaintances, some pals, and some fellow cheese-and-chocolate-loving friends. Dear friends. The fact we connected through blogging takes nothing from that feeling. You know the feeling. The one where things just click. That says, quite clearly, this is one of your tribe, lady. Break out the wine. Those friendships have moved out of the blogosphere. (They live in the suburbs.) 

Before I found blog hops, writing prompts, photo prompts, tags, and the rest of the wonderful ways you connect with other bloggers, I just wrote and connected with my lovely bloggy friends fortuitously. Or because Mars was in retrograde. Who knows?

You’re supposed to have an “online presence”. More importantly, you’re supposed to have loads of followers. I don’t. And I’m good with that. Because I’m here. On Lemon Shark. Where I post about life, the universe, and everything. And Lemon Shark Reef, where my writer-of-flash-fiction side splashes around with words. So, yeah, I’m good. 

I could list dozens of reasons I love blogging but the main reason is the friends I’ve made along the way. 

 

Hate to type and run but this blog post is due today so off I go… Cheerio and good day, gentle readers. 

 

 

 

 

I’ve known about The Insecure Writers Support Group for years. I joked I was too insecure to sign up. Also, the old Groucho Marx quip: I wouldn’t want to belong to any group that would have me as a member. Alas, here I am, writing a post for IWSG. (I simply couldn’t resist the question for this month about blogging and friendships.) 

IWSG Question of the Month

February Prompt – Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere? 

 

 

IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) 
Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh.     

 

 

 

 

Q&A, FAQ, FYI #Tweets4Blogs

 

As you know, I created a writing prompt for my tweeps. It’s been wicked fun and I know a couple writers who have already used their tweets to write a flash or blog post (myself included).

But this is a new venture and I’m working out the kinks. So, today, I’ve ditched my poor Thought Bubble in favor of a follow-up FAQ to the original #Tweets4Blogs post.

 

Sarah Brentyn tweet4blogs - sig

 

I have a hat. For real. I’m using the old pick-a-name-out-of-a-hat trick. (Hee. Hat trick. Nice.) Anyway, each week, I’ll put in slips of paper with forms on them (1 line, memoir, haiku, etc.) to decide what we’ll be writing that week.

Yes. This is exactly what you’ve gotten yourself into. A prompt from a hat. But, hey, don’t underestimate the power of a hat. I mean, Harry Potter was sorted by one. It gave him a sword to defeat the basilisk in the (secret) chamber of secrets. Also, it sings. Wicked powerful.

After the hat business, I’ll make up a prompt. It’s going to be silly sometimes so bear with me.

Remember our mantra: It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be done.

I want you to have buckets full of gems to dig through for your blog so, when I create the prompt, I’ll keep that in mind. But I’ll also be thinking that I want you to have fun.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s unbecoming. And not allowed. I’m very strict about this rule.

Everything is good. We’re all shiny, happy people here. Okay, really not. Please don’t be a shiny, happy person near me. *shudders*

Okay! Rules!

Eh. No rules. (But here is a “FAQ” or “Q&A” page.) Also known as “FYI”. Pick one.

These tweets are yours. They are for you. Your own mine full of gold. But I’ll let you know some stuff. (And I’ll alter this page as we go along.)

 

#Tweets4Blogs Idea Sarah B

Original artwork by @ReeDwithaBee

 

The tweets from the last few weeks? Amazing. I’m blown away by the variety and quality of responses. Just awesome.

Here are the FAQs:

  • Why the heck are you doing this? To give you inspiration for your blogs (flash fiction, short stories, posts…whatever floats your boat). My glorious reward? Reading your awesome writing and knowing you’re building a gold mine.
  • When the heck are you doing this? Tuesdays. (I will pin the prompt to the top of my Twitter timeline.)
  • Is there a due date? No. These are ideas, sparks of inspiration. For you. Sticking to Tuesdays gives you a better chance at making sure you write weekly but, basically, “whenever” is a good time to tweet.
  • Should I “reply” to your tweet? No need to “reply” to my prompt, just write your own tweet using the hashtag #Tweets4Blogs. Also, you don’t need to link back to me, my tweet, or my blog. These are for your own, special Twitter library.
  • How do I write the hashtag? Hashtags are not case-sensitive so whether you write #Tweets4Blogs, #TWEETS4BLOGS, or #tweets4blogs, you’re good.
  • What are we writing? We’ll be using various forms of poetry and prose (see Forms below). Each form should follow the prompt for that week.
  • How many should I write? As many as you’d like. If you have time for one, write one. If you want to write two, ten, twelve, go for it.
  • Will you RT every tweet? I’ve actually decided not to RT these. Here’s why.
    • First, these are for you. I want the #Tweets4Blogs hashtag to be a fun way to get you tweeting interesting material that you can find in one quick step.
    • Second, I don’t want to miss anyone. It is SO easy to do. (I know this because I missed a few last week.) How did I manage that? I’ll tell you. Writers respond to the prompt on different days. Also, some people participating in this have private accounts so their tweets don’t show up under the hashtag. In addition, some Twitter twerps have started using the hashtag for their own nefarious purposes and mucking up the feed. Damn them! (It’s only been two weeks—how did they even find us???) So there you have it. Just know I am reading and loving these tweets you’ve written.

Forms:

First line – One sentence (the, erm, first line)
1 line
– One sentence
Micro fiction – A story/piece of fiction
Memoir – Nonfiction (about you or, at least, based on a true story)
6 words – Um. This would be six words (See what I did there?)
Haiku – A 3 line poem using the 5/7/5 format. First line 5 syllables. Second line 7. Third line 5.

Prompts:

This will be anything from “cookies” to “a 7-yr-old trying to take over the world”.

You’ll soon have a collection of awesome stuff you’ve written which you can quickly and easily find on Twitter. Using the search bar, enter your handle and the hashtag. Like this:

@sarahbrentyn #Tweets4Blogs

And, just like magic, all your words will pop up for you to admire and, hopefully, use on your blog.

Go forth and tweet, my fellow word weavers! And, remember our mantra: It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be done.

 

A few tweeps wanted to participate last week and said their writing was kind of, um, bad (for lack of a better word). My answer to that is as follows:

“No, no! You’re thinking about this all wrong. Bad writing, clichés, fragments, adverbs… All good.  This is a no-pressure prompt! Now go write!” See? No pressure. *mwah* Believe it or not, even what you think of now as “bad” writing can later spark an idea for a beautiful blog post. It happens. Trust me.

See you on Twitter. Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel.

 

Be Your Own Muse #Tweets4Blogs

 

Sarah Brentyn tweet4blogs - sig

 

I’m tired of my talented tweeps telling me they have nothing interesting to write. (Say that three times fast.) Whether on their blogs or on Twitter… Doesn’t matter.

So. We’re going to mine our tweets for inspiration. (Please do read that when you get a chance—it’s short.) Yes, you will have something to mine. And, no, it will not be boring.

I’ve had numerous fellow writers recently ask me about Twitter prompts.

I have pointed them (you know who you are!) in the direction of a variety of challenges but I think there’s some shyness or confusion somewhere.

No matter.

Here’s the deal. I am going to give you a prompt each week and you will write a poem or micro fiction or memoir in 140 characters or less.

It will take no time at all and you will soon have a collection to scroll through for your blog. You might spark an idea or an entire blog post. Maybe a flash fiction piece.

I’m going to make this easy.

Every Tuesday I will pin a prompt to the top of my timeline. Why Tuesday? Eh. Why not?

Follow the prompt, write something, and use this hashtag: #Tweets4Blogs

Like this:

I’m writing haiku
To demonstrate how easy
Tweets 4 Blogs will be 

#Tweets4Blogs

See, in that “haiku”, I’ve also managed to demonstrate how awful the writing can be. But that doesn’t matter. It’s the spark of the idea, remember? Good.

Once you’ve tweeted, move on with your day. That’s it. In a few weeks, use the search bar and enter your handle and the hashtag. Like this:

@sarahbrentyn #Tweets4Blogs

Look at the garden you have! No, seriously, look at that stuff. It’s gold.

The seeds of inspiration that move like ticker tape on a Twitter timeline don’t have to be masterpieces.

Here’s our mantra: It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be done.

Two minutes. Every week.

 

Be your own muse!

Visit me on Tuesdays for the prompt.

 

Pause and Smell the Roses

 

It all started with a writing prompt.

Every Friday, I participate in #FP (Friday Phrases) on Twitter. A few weeks ago, the theme was “pause” and one of the tweets I wrote was this:

This morning, I did pause. And was rewarded with red squirrels, grey squirrels, and chipmunks racing through bushes, chasing each other. Mourning doves cooed. Chickadees tweeted and blue jays squawked, fluttering from maples to pines.

I watched the clouds drift from brushstrokes into dragons and marveled at how the sky directly above the tree line is a watery blue which deepens in hue as your eyes travel upward—so subtle you’d miss it if you weren’t absorbed in its color.

I sat on my porch peeking between branches, at the ground, in the sky, dipping my finger in dew drops on our mini-pumpkins, all the while enjoying the intoxicating smell of my morning coffee and sipping the delicious brew.

I looked, listened, smelled, tasted, and touched. I used all my senses to appreciate the world around me. I didn’t stop. I paused. A minor distinction, perhaps, but a world of difference to me.

People are always saying I need to ‘stop’ when what I really needed was to ‘pause’.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

When is the last time you paused? Took life in? Enjoyed the moment? Take a pause today, gentle readers.