March decided to leave like a lamb today, and I got to work on this blog post while sitting outside on my deck—in a warm sweater. The hydro corridor and all the backyards that I can see are still covered in a thick layer of snow, but the sky is blue and there is some real warmth in the sun.
We have a narrow flower bed along the sidewalk that leads to our front door. For the first time yesterday, I could see daffodil leaves peeking out through the snow. The daffodils had actually been growing while they were still covered. Now that’s determination—and a reminder to me to be more persistent in finding ways to pursue my writing goals when I’m snowed under by life and its craziness. I find it far too easy to put the writing aside when things get hectic. I’m sure that while my daffodils were covered in two feet of snow, they weren’t surging ahead an inch at a time. They were growing incrementally, a millimetre at a time. That’s what I need to learn to do. If I can’t write a lot, I need to write for just a little bit (even if it’s just a couple of sentences or a paragraph), look something up, do some clustering or brainstorming around one of the topics or characters–but do something!
One part of life’s craziness will be ending soon, when my school year comes to a close in a few weeks. It’s time to start getting my writing life back in order, instead of (unsuccessfully) trying to balance school, freelancing, writing, and family. I’m hoping that with one thing less on my plate, the writing will get back to being the priority it should be and that the energy to get creative will come back, too. I’ll be very glad to get rid of the guilt and pay proper attention to the two books that have been on hold for the last little while.
Time for a personal writing challenge again to get me back on track. I have two books-in-progress. I have completed the first draft of one and need to do the editing and revisions. The other is in the first draft stage with several chapters finished, but lots to write yet. For the month of April, I will work on one of my books every day. It’s time to make time to get the work done. I’ll keep you posted.
To put a little spring in your writing, here are some writing prompts for April.
1. Use one, some, or all of these words in a story or poem:
- Ice, fence, ribbon, branch, sky, warning
- Tower, pierce, call, shadow, lonely, spare
2. Try one of these opening sentences and see where it leads:
- Finally, the road was clear and we had our chance.
- Lily was always so careful.
- I had never seen Henry that angry.
- I should have listened to my mother.
- I knew it would be a mistake if we stayed here too long.
- “Do you think we’ve dug it deep enough?”
3. What scene can you invent to go with these lines of dialogue?
- I don’t think you’re giving him a fair chance.
- I gave him a chance.
- I said ‘a fair chance.’
- I thought you were bringing Lucy.
- I did. She’s right behind me.
- No. She’s not.
- Parker said to be there by six o’clock.
- So what if we’re a few minutes late.
- You don’t know Parker.
- You can’t leave yet. We haven’t made a decision.
- You’re right. We haven’t made a decision—but I have.
- I can’t find Jacob anywhere.
- Jacob can be pretty hard to find.
- I don’t know where else to look.
- I know one place you haven’t tried.
4. Here are some titles. Can you think of a story to go with one of them? Voices in the Wind, The Motel Mystery, Rocky Roads, Bonds of Blood, The Last House, Third Chances, To Sleep Perchance to Dream.
5. If you’ve experienced some severe weather this winter or have read about severe weather in other parts of your country or the world, imagine your characters dealing with these conditions. Think of all the things that you could do to test them—no power, no heat, no food, no way to communicate, etc. How do your characters deal with hardship? What do they learn about themselves and others? Is there a place in your story where you can use this new knowledge or add some adverse weather conditions to move your plot along?