Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Fri, Feb 12 2016

Bad blog entry, good dog

The dog ate my blog entry yesterday, but we don't actually have a dog, so I'm using an excuse we've all heard at one time or another. The truth is that I struggled to write a blog entry and couldn't seem to pull my thoughts together well enough to build coherent sentences. I took a break and did some other tasks and then tried again. UPS brought an order. I made a beverage using the Keurig machine. After forgetting to place a requisite mug beneath the machine spout and nearly wasting my efforts, I grabbed the rescued drink and returned to my task of blog writing, but was interrupted by the inevitable call of nature. And so it went.

By the time I got around to finishing yesterday's entry, it was late. It's good to write in a frothy stream, but it's good to let such work simmer before actually doing a final edit. I rose this morning to find the blog entry in such ill health that it was best to put it out of its misery and begin anew. I reached for my trusty keyboard. In a blaze of writer-like metaphor, I became the dog.

posted at: 07:56 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Wed, Feb 03 2016

You might be a writer in a restaurant if...

You might be a writer in a restaurant if you tear off portions of the white table paper and scribble notes on the torn portion.

You might be a writer in a restaurant if you stare intently at one or more fellow diners the way one might examine bugs under a microscope, imagining them as characters.

You might be a writer in a restaurant if you jot down the wine bottle label names for future inspiration.

You might be a writer in a restaurant if you look at duos dining nearby and find yourself inventing stories of how they met or how they could be torn apart later.

You might be a writer in a restaurant if you are not a local, but you eavesdrop on the gossip to get leads on local issues.

You might be a writer in a restaurant if you notice every menu typo.

You might be a writer in a restaurant if you try to see the titles of the books that lone diners are reading.

You might be a writer in a restaurant if you pay attention to how often lone diners put down that book they're reading to actually eat their food, which could be an indication of how engaging the book is (or, to be fair, how hungry they are).

You might be a writer in a restaurant if you would have described the "fish and chips" as "lightly-battered Alaskan sea cod paired with hearty hand-cut russet wedges, fried to golden perfection in lemon-infused oil, served on citrus-mustard swirls, accompanied by dainty seaweed crackers and all finally kissed with a dusting of kosher sea salt".

posted at: 10:55 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Mon, Jan 25 2016

Flogging will (not) continue.

2016 is proving to be the year of creative bursts when it comes to writing. I don't plan 8,000 words a day, every day, come rain or shine, health or food poisoning. That's too degrading, much like teachers resorting to assigning minimum-word reports so that students don't turn in four fluffy sentences with genuine expectation of a high grade. The teachers don't like making it a number-of-words goal and neither do the students. And when the school year is over, both sides come away with a negative attitude toward the beautiful craft of writing.

This year is the year of firm, short-term writing goals. My long-range plan may be out there somewhere, but I'd rather get there in bursts of genuine creativity than through long sessions where I plough through resently and end up compromising on quality. The goals I set for a day will be attainable amd reasonable. Rather than looking unsurmountable from the beginning, they'll be brief, measurable, enervating and even exciting. If I continue beyond that day's goal I'll at least stop before I feel bogged down, so that the next day's writing session will be one where I'm drawn in immediately and fully engaged in fun.

I learned from putting away money in savings that the deposits are not the marathon. And the marathon is not attained by constant pounding that wears down joints and connective tissue, at least in my case. The daily choices to put cheerfully and mindfully into the bank are what help me to stay excited. I put in a bit more than I think is comfortable, but not so much that I lose the excitement of it all. I don't push to the point of burning out and losing sight of attaining the long-term goal.

posted at: 11:16 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Tue, Jan 12 2016

Truth may be stranger than fiction, but both lend balance to life

Pressure or no pressure? Fiction writing is both a challenge and a release. It mimics the tension of regular life, but with a little more control over the pacing and flow of events. When things come at us out of left field, we often feel blindsided. When things come at our characters out of left field in fiction, we know they're a natural outgrowth of the story process. Writing fiction helps us expect, and accept, the unexpected in regular life.

posted at: 09:23 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Fri, Jan 08 2016

Violence in the workplace, writer-style

Staring at a blank page isn't working. Writing any old word at all isn't working. I'm going to find an old pillow and tape a paper with the working title of the offending work-in-progress to it. Then I'm going to repeatedly bash the pillow with a baseball bat. This will continue until either I'm too exhausted to lift my arms or the title has been obliterated.

posted at: 10:08 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Mon, Dec 28 2015

Writing at year's end

This is a test post after making some recent changes to ye olde desktop computer. It's the last Monday of 2015, so here's a wish for great words to come to all of you who might stop by as you wind up your writing year. What can we say about writing that hasn't already been said? I'm not sure, but we'll see next year.

posted at: 09:59 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Tue, Dec 22 2015

It's the most wonderful time of the year, except for some of us

Many writers tend to be introverts in nature and can have difficulty with the party mentality that seems to grip the populace this time of year. Life becomes a swirl of shopping, traveling, decorating, gathering for drinks or food, making music, entertaining relative and traveling. Introverts can only handle a certain amount of this frenzy before we flip out and look for For a quiet place to reflect on the art of remaining human.

One of the things I've found over the years is that adding a brand new, lengthy writing project this time of year is not a good thing to do. Short-term works are more easily handled. Edit something or rework an old piece into something for a new market. Flesh out a character sketch. Organize notes or files. Choose things you can put down and pick up later without loss of concentration.

When you can't bear the thought of one more alcohol-fueled gathering full of cocktail weenies (and I don't mean the food), have some things ready to balance out the madness. If you are a Christ-follower, seek out the quieter side of worship. Seek contact one-on-one with people whose company you genuinely enjoy. Donate time and/or money to those having a struggle of their own, maybe by taking groceries to a local food bank or by shoveling an elderly neighbor's porch and sidewalk. Make it personal, meaningful.

If the year has been particularly difficult for you in terms of health, finances or family conflict, make a list, not of New Year Resolutions, but of things you plan to do or enjoy right after the holidays. Set money aside for a weekend getaway and jot down some specific places to go. Sit down and figure out where your budget has brought you in the past year. Make a list of books you want to read or films you want to view. Spend a whole afternoon at a library, art museum or zoo. Go through your home office, craft, hobby, or kitchen supplies and organize them to suit your needs. Sit down and listen to all the old songs you love best. Plan to take a walk or bike/roll through a park you've never visited as spring warms things after the holidays.

It doesn't matter what you choose to concentrate on, as long as it's your choice and not society's pressure that guides you. Introverts are the real stars of the universe, as long as we work with who we are instead of who other humans think we should be.

posted at: 12:43 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!