In which we commence the dark season, a writer’s tribute

Happy Writing Season!

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Foggy landscape with dying begonias. But don’t worry, they’ll come back next year!

The autumnal equinox comes too early for me at a psychic level. I have always marked the start of the “dark season” by the calendar, making October 1st a kind of writer’s New Year’s Day.

True to form, we woke to a nice blanket of fog (maybe not too nice, as it has set the county bus schedule back 20 minutes).

Fog, for me, is perhaps the closest thing to a muse that I can claim. It begs coffee, warm socks, a fire on the hearth, music in the background, soup on the stove, and best of all? Writing.

Creative writing challenges in 2020

It’s been a tough year of writing for me. At least in the creative writing department of my writing life.

Blogging and my paid writing gigs notwithstanding (see my new #AmWriting report below), I’m slow to bringing new creative work to life, slow to submit, slow to catch up on writing classes now saved virtually on my computer.

Call me distracted. Between a rocky house sale during a pandemic, and the daily freak show that is American politics, it’s hard to get a literary word in edgewise. I had intended a week off at the beginning of September to generate new work but the smoke-ocalypse really messed with my energy and focus (which is why I’m trying again with time away for mental health this week).

Though I must add, it’s not all bad.

Sowing words

I had a great first start to gardening and landscaping at my new place, and I’m not even close to being done for the year.

That’s taken a lot of time away from creative writing in the seat, but that time spent among green things has fostered some creative writing ideas to develop and helped me to work out some plot problems as well.

No, I can’t claim new words from it, but massaging ideas while pruning tomato plants, cleaning up spent dill weed, and planting new lettuce and scallions for the fall is a great time to commence the sowing of future words.

Actually, Mr. Mansplaining Expert, I’m writing more than enough, thank you

Some of you also know that I tend to post an #amwriting post on my Facebook timeline every day I put out new work.

Note that I started that habit over two years ago when someone dared to suggest to me that the reason why I wasn’t getting published as frequently as I hoped (and why I don’t have a book with my name on it) was because I wasn’t writing enough.

The nerve of that guy, right? I laugh in his general direction. He’d mansplained the old million-word theory, that a writer can’t expect to actually be good enough to be published until they’ve written more than a million words.

Hmm. I’m pretty sure I generate more new writing than about 85 percent of the entire world’s writing population. As for a million words written, nobody can disprove this, but I can certainly point to achieving this beginner’s milestone well before I graduated from college 30 YEARS AGO.

But here’s the deal (sorry, I’m not copying Joe Biden; I also use this phrase a lot!)—I’ve put my personal wall on pause until some time after the election. It was becoming a source of anxiety, anger, frustration, and counterproductive thinking.

I’m still not sure when I’ll go back to actively posting, and am pretty happy with the more writing-focused utility and spirit of my FB page.

A new way to share progress: The #AmWriting Report

Instead of doing the #amwriting as-it-happens posts, I’m going to post here my monthly inventory of new writing. I’ll share links when available (some work is still waiting to be published). This will provide me with a reminder that my writing life is rich and full and will let you know what I’m up to.

Here’s September’s #AmWriting report. This monthly reckoning includes all new work written over the previous month (dates reflect completion, not publication). This includes paid work (live with links or still in the hopper), blog posts appearing here, and any new creative work I managed to sneak in.

Happy now, million-word guy? I sure would like to see your numbers, jackhole.

September 2020 #AmWriting Report

Total word count generated in September: 13,700



Total September word count—6,500



Total September word count—5,600 homeMULTIPLE SCLEROSIS ARTICLES

Total September word count—1,600


Windows Shortcut Keys: Open and Navigate Among Programs | Microassist Software TipsCREATIVE WRITING

Total September word count—0

With hopes to change this in both November and December. Stay tuned!

I haven’t given up on this for November, though I might adopt a “NaNoWriMo for Busy People” effort (to start the project in October and finish by November 30) being led in Twitter.

Wishing you a productive writing season: Happy Literary New Year!

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