Designer Coffee and Disposable Dryers

Our clothes dryer started making funny noises the other day.

Not just strange noises – alarming noises; like the sound a battleship might make sliding out of a dry dock on its first launch.

I was less than thrilled with this development, since we just replaced our defunct dishwasher a couple of weeks ago. I was not in the mood to replace another appliance. (more…)

Patience

Early last December, my wife was running errands with our little girl. She had just parked in front of a strip mall to drop off my dry cleaning, when she glanced in her rear-view mirror and saw an out of control Jeep launching over a curb, headed right for her.

The Jeep plowed into the back of our car, driving it up onto a high curb and into a large stone planter. The driver was suffering from a seizure, and had lost control of his vehicle.

He didn’t even realize what he’d done.

He had come within a few seconds of killing half of my family, and he had no idea. (more…)

Thirty Days of Write

Thirty days.

Thirty days of writing and posting something daily.

Thirty days – without a break – of forcing myself to do what I love.

It seems silly that I would have to force myself to write, when writing is what I’d like to do for a career, but it’s true.

Writing requires effort, and effort requires discipline. Thirty days ago, I was a little lean on the discipline, and as a result I wasn’t making much effort.

Then I started the Write Every Day challenge, and I learned some pretty cool concepts along the way.

I learned that when you practice something long enough, it becomes a habit – it gets ingrained into your daily routine to the point that if you stop doing it, something feels wrong. (more…)

Laptop Larceny

I was on a roll this morning.

I had worked diligently on my novel, and was kicking around ideas for a post to the site, but I had to take a break, for, umm… er…

OK, OK, I had to use the bathroom.

Yup, being an author is pretty glamorous.

Anyway, I closed my laptop and went off to take care of the necessities, if not the niceties, of daily life. I planned to come back and work on a blog post, then do some bits of site management.

In other words, I was being productive, and feeling pretty good about it. One little bathroom break wasn’t going to break my stride. (more…)

Time in a Bottle

A lot can happen in ten years.

When we moved into our house nine years ago, the kid next door was a shy little six-year old. Today I glanced out the front window and saw him pass our house – driving his dad’s pickup.

My niece still enters my memory as what she was ten years ago when we left our hometown to move here – a tiny little girl with a mischievous grin. She’s now almost six feet tall, looks like a model, and is engaged to be married.

Wait, wait… slow down, it’s going too fast… (more…)

Tick Tock

Tick Tock

Yesterday I discussed time management, and how it can be useful for more than just keeping track of hourly earnings.

If you use time management software to track your productivity, you probably already know its value – but if you’re new to the topic, which program do you choose?

To be perfectly honest, I can’t really help you choose between two or more programs, because when I went looking for time management software to track my editing projects, I used the first one I tried – and never looked any further.

I’ve been using the free version of (more…)

Back to the Future

Yesterday’s post was a breakthrough of sorts.

It helped me to realize that my writing challenge can (and should) be accomplished with more than just blog posts. This site exists to give me a platform for my fiction writing, but if writing content for the site keeps me from writing fiction – it sort of defeats the purpose. I have to find a happy medium between writing usable and/or entertaining content and writing fiction for eventual publication. (more…)

Tweak This

Today’s post is a combination of things.

I’ve been wanting to post more of my fiction, humor and semi-biographical dysfunctional drama as part of my Write Every Day challenge, so for today’s post, I’ve started a new page on the site, called “Shorts.”

Look up.

To your right.

Oooh, a new button! (more…)

How’s the Journey?

Yesterday my friend John Muldoon from Monthly Experiments asked me a great question about my ongoing Write Every Day challenge:

“Hey MP. I have a question about your writing habit. From our perspective, watching your journey has been fantastic and inspiring. But how do YOU feel about all of this? I’d love to know what this journey has been like for you so far.”

Like I said, great question.

I’ve been so busy trying to stick to the parameters of the challenge (write/post something every day for as long as I can keep it up) that I didn’t really pay much attention to the side effects it might be having on other areas of my life (more…)

Your Mental Soundtrack

I make movies in my head.

When I write fiction (or even non-fiction for that matter), I visualize the action in my mind to help me get it into words. I try to imagine what the scene would look like if it was shot as a movie, which I think helps me to describe it with more realism.

This technique works well if you’re describing real events from memory, but it can also work if you’re describing fictional events from your own imagination. I think many writers do this in one variation of another, but I like to add another twist. (more…)

The Definition of a Writer

As a writer, you are in the business of creation.  It is your job to string together words and phrases in a manner that is engaging and valuable to your audience.

So what happens when your chosen audience ignores or rejects your work?

Are you still, then, a writer?

We’ve all experienced rejection and frustration on some level with our writing. (more…)