Join a fun group with the purpose of inspiring you to write. Share your writing and get positive responses. Comment on what you liked or felt about the writing that is posted. Write your story (about you, the season, a Flash Fiction Story), excerpt, article or blog post then share a paragraph (4 sentences or less) in the Linkedin group with a link to the rest of your writing. See who will open your link and comment on your story or writing piece. They are the audience you want to reach out to. Each week I will post a prompt. Write about the prompt each week if possible. In my weekly Inspiring Writing Group, we were inspired by a prompt, and enjoyed seeing all the different styles of writing about it. Can’t wait to see what you have to share.
Just a few rules:
To join the Linkedin “Inspiring Writing Group,”
In the Search window type, “Inspiring Writing Group”
On the tab below the search window go to “Groups”
“Inspiring Writing Group” will show up in results
As soon as you are accepted into the group then,
Go to the group and introduce yourself.
It’s Thanksgiving Day; a busy day of preparation and cooking. It’s not the kind of day I think about writing. It’s more of a doing day. But as I was doing, I realized I need to put a celebration in my story. Every season and every celebration is fodder for a story. Whether you write down the story or not, you are creating a story for your day.
You choose what kind of day to have. Will it be a day of thankfulness? Some of you will be celebrating with family, but some have families too far away. You may even have to work on Thanksgiving Day. Ugh! So sorry. But thank you! I ran out of dish soap on a cooking day. Saved my the market that was open today.
Writing, cooking, and being thankful for my friends and family will fill my day. Ok, maybe you are not doing anything you like to do to today. How can you still be thankful? If you work in retail you can share a smile with everyone you meet. Be thankful to be alive, and then do something that feels vital and important to you. Enjoy the clouds, sun, rain or whatever happens to be in your sky.
I find that words are flowing much more freely now that I’m writing the NaNoWriMo challenge. I’m way behind but love the challenge. I won’t finish writing anywhere close to 50,000 words in a month, but I am writing more. I am challenging myself to just write whether I have anything to write about or not. I tend to over think everything I do, so this is a good challenge to just do it.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving Day and give thanks!
I always thought it would be too much of a challenge to write a novel in a month even if I signed up early. I must admit it is a real challenge to come to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) late. Starting a day late, I'm low on word count, but I'm writing everyday.
According to my stats online I've written 1446 words to date. At this rate I will finish my 50,000 word novel May 17, 2018. I guess I'd better step it up. I need to write 1943 words a day to finish by November 30th. Whew! Amazing I have set this goal, but I like to aim high. That is how I finished and published Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success, and Vegetable Kids in the Garden.
I'm already writing a novel––my first––and didn't want to start another, so I decided to write a prequel to the scifi story I am working on. Writing this novel will help me develop the background and characters. Who knows it might end up being a novel in itself. When you start writing, you never know where it will take you. Seeing my stats on the NaNoWriMo website is an eye opener as to how much I will need to write each day to finish on a specific date.
NaMoWriMo says today is not too late to start the challenge.
"You, writing a novel, are learning how to build worlds. You, writing a novel, are training to become a serial finisher. You, writing a novel, are exercising the simple faith that stories can help people reach each other, build bridges, and tap into a shared human bond.
Writing some of a novel is better than writing none. Post a comment if you are participating.
Sometimes it takes practice and a little research or training, but for the most part it just takes wanting to write badly enough to do it. We all have challenges to getting our work done and sharing it. Especially when we are not seeing an immediate paycheck for doing what we want to do. Wanting to make a difference, to help people, or change the world doesn’t necessarily come with immediate results or financial success. But typically these are not the biggest challenges. We are the biggest challenges to ourselves. I am a good example.
I had quite a year. In the last year I had pneumonia, cancer, and continue to have deteriorating corneas complicated by advanced glaucoma. Honestly, at the moment the most frustrating is plantar fasciitis. I depend on walking since I don’t drive, and it has become very painful to walk very far. Ok. I can come up with many reasons why I have not been blogging as much, my writing has slowed to a crawl, and I’m not reaching out to my audience. The truth is that I am letting myself get in the way of what I want to do.
I had a wake up call when I read Jon Morrow’s story. He has grown a business around blogging despite numerous challenges. He decided not to let his challenges get in his way. In other words he chose not to be disabled; instead he recognized his environmental challenges. Then he changed his environment. In his article, How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World, he tells his story of how he became paralyzed from the neck down and created a successful blogging business. Although you don't need to quit your job and move to Mexico to be successful, his story magnifies the fact that you can choose to change your environment––or change how you think about your environment––and become successful despite vast challenges.
Jon shares a video telling how he used guest blogging to get more traffic, A Simple Technique I used to get 100X More Traffic. Guest blogging is not a big secret, but for some of us it’s a matter of getting guest blogging ideas––Jon Morrow shares his––and then putting in the effort and getting it done. For me, it’s not letting the daily challenges and interruptions get in the way of what I want to do.
I have been following Jon Morrow for some time. I am very impressed with all of the free quality information he shares from his own success. You can follow his blog here, https://smartblogger.com/how-to-be-unforgettable/, if you would like to see how to shock your readers awake.
I woke myself up by challenging myself with a last minute Flash Fiction Contest in August. With my story, Little Brown Feet aka Circles of Light, I didn’t win but I got great editorial feedback at very little cost and an invitation to make a few changes and resubmit for the next Wow! Women On Writing Flash Fiction Contest.
You can choose what success means to you and then find opportunities to challenge yourself in new ways (not the same old challenges) and make a difference in your life and work.
Circles of light swirl in the cool blue water. It’s a perfect day for a swim. Pulling the water with my arms, then floating, and feeling the freshness of the day, I swam around the inlet watching the little swirls. Then they turned into ripples and I heard waves sloshing against the shore.
I looked up and saw a shadow flash between the trees. Then a bright light skittered across the sky. Where did it come from? Alone in the lake I felt something clinging to my ankle. Startled, I quickly shook it off and swam toward the shore. As I got closer, I saw little brown toes on the beach ahead of me. Where had they come from? I was afraid to look up and see what it might be. I paused and it was gone.
As I slipped on my shoes, a rustling in the bushes caught my attention as the sun was lowering itself across the sky. A slight tingling crept up my legs. “I’m not afraid,” I told myself so I could stop the tingling from reaching my belly and nesting deep inside.
I love the water. It is my refuge, my relaxation, my energy, and usually my peace. Today the water holds creeping things. The beach carries a strangeness, and the woods have a life of their own. The lake is where I usually come to cool my anxious thoughts. But not today. I see the shadows of dusk like doilies on the lake, and I am caught between the beauty and mystery of the scene.
As I walk across the cooling sand, it is smooth and there are no footprints on it. What were those toes that didn’t dent the soft sand? A cool breeze dashes against my wet shorts and I shiver. I don’t believe the crazy stories about visitations to the woods near the lake. The video I saw on YouTube late last night showing a creepy shadow in the woods and a flash across the sky was not very realistic but I had a dream about it. This morning the creepy feeling stayed with me through the woods to the lake.
As I look at the woods my curiosity draws me toward a different path at the edge of the trees. The path the shadow appeared to take. I hesitate. I should go left, my usual route, yet my feet take me to the right. I step into the shadows of the trees. I can’t stop myself. I need to know what is around the bend. I hear a slight rustling up ahead yet I take another step. Something jumps out of a low growing thicket like a shadow across the path. I creep over to the edge of the path, and see the dark shining eyes of a wood frog easily recognizable by the black robbers mask above its eyes.
I laugh out loud alone in the woods with the company of a brown frog staring up at me. I was a natural science major in college and love to tromp through the woods. No more YouTube silly videos for me. I’ll take a walk with a frog in the woods any day of the week over sitting in front of a computer.
With a word count of 543, this is the first Flash Fiction story I have written. I submitted it today to the Wow Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest. It would be fun to win, but it was so much fun writing a story in an afternoon meeting time and word count restraints, that the motivation to write in itself was worth it. Each contest has it's own guidelines, but this one allows you to enter a story that has already been published and share it wherever you would like. You own it! I am considering entering one of the other Flash Fiction Contests in the future.
Flash fiction is a complete short short story sometimes called sudden fiction or microfiction. A flash fiction contest is a fun way to challenge yourself to write within the time and word limit. I have been practicing spontaneous writing with a fabulous group of women in our Inspiring Writing Group, which really helps me write more quickly.
I recently discovered the Flash Fiction genre through WOW! Women On Writing Flash Fiction contest. I have three days to write a story for their contest. Whether I make the deadline or not, I will post a flash fiction story on my blog. It will be good practice. The WOW! Women On Writing Flash Fiction contest requires 250 – 750 words and a small entry fee. The author retains the copyright and can publish the story anywhere they would like.
After a Google search, I found many other Flash Fiction contests. Some have a fee while others are free to enter. It’s important to read the submission guidelines for the contest you want to enter. For an added fee you may be able to get a critique with your submission.
I’m not sure if I will make the August 31st deadline for the WOW! Women On Writing Flash Fiction contest, but it will be fun to write a short story and enter a short story contest. It’s a great motivation and challenge to write something short, creative, and meet a deadline. There are also Flash Nonfiction contests. Here are just a few of the Flash Fiction contests I ran across with a quick search. You are welcome to send links to other Flash Fiction contests.
The Timberline Review (a publication of Willamette Writers) Theme based flash, short story, novella, and novel excerpt.
Wow Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest
Brilliant Flash Fiction
Why you should not quickly write a Flash Fiction story with links to contests
Ernest Hemingway Flash Fiction Contest – yearly
Bath Flash Fiction Contest - UK
I submitted my Flash Fiction story on time to the Wow Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest. It was so fun to write a very short story with an open prompt––write about anything. I will have to do this again!
There are many ways to write an opening line for a novel, but there is no doubt the first sentence is important. The best advise I have heard is to write a sentence that draws the reader into the story so they will want to read more.
I write in bits and pieces and found that I had two different opening sentences for the scifi story I am writing. The opening could change as the story progresses, but the opening leads to the next paragraph so an enticing first sentence is important even for the initial draft of the story.
The point is that I need your help. Which of these sentences do you find more interesting, sentence one or sentence two?
Whether or not you like to read science fiction, would purchase this book, or read my blog, I have a feeling you would have an opinion about the sentence you like best. I’d love to hear from you.
“I like the approach that Nancy J. Miller suggests in Fire up your Profile For LifeWork Success. Think of your resume or profile as your personal story. Tackle it like an artist about to create a masterpiece. Line up the tools, read the advice, then just do it. This is necessary work in the digital age, but it doesn't have to be boring. Nancy J. Miller can help you ensure that your profile is ready for work and life.” - Ray Simmons, Readers' Favorite.
When fear, anxiety, loneliness, or uncertainty creep into your life, you can put your emotion into your art. The best part of any artistic endeavor is to express strong emotions in your work. A sudden illness, job loss, of life change pricks your emotions. What can you do with those feelings? Write, paint draw, or create a drama. Funnel your emotions into your art.
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Nancy Miller, M.S. is a Career Counselor, Life Coach, and writer. Nancy will assist you with story ideas, organizing your book whether fiction or nonfiction, and choosing a method for publishing and printing.