3.6.20

Estoy Triste #IWSG

I knew that if I was here for the June Insecure Writer's Support Group, I'd be sad. Don't take it personally. If I have to be sitting here, I'm glad it's with you. But I wish I wasn't sitting here.

You see, I was supposed to be jetting to Peru today (and by jetting, I mean crammed into the cheapest economy seat).

A few months ago, when we were daydreaming, I posted a picture of some ruins in the Andes Mountains surrounding Ollantaytambo. I WAS GOING TO CLIMB TO THOSE RUINS and spend a day with local women, learning how to weave and do a hundred other super cool things.

But it's not just the heartbreak of a cancelled trip that has me so down. I'm concerned for all the wonderful people I'd hoped to meet and spend my soles with: the independent hostel owners and staff, the restaurateurs, the street vendors, the craftswomen, the waiters, the cab drivers, the colectivo drivers, the boot polishers, the tour guides.

In an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19, the Peruvian government acted swiftly and aggressively to shut down the country's borders and put its people on lockdown—now one of the longest lockdowns in the world, even longer than in Italy, Spain, and China. The hardships we feel during shutdown in developed nations is nothing compared to the toll it takes on people in countries lacking our infrastructure and resources. I'm not saying aggressive measures aren't necessary to combat the aggressive virus. I'm simply saying, this sucks.

And hey, in the spirit of 2020, how about some sudden death for my darling pet rabbit. Sure, why not?
Frolic in peace, sweet angel Gamgee girl.
But here's why I chose to title this post en españolthe Spanish language has two forms of the verb meaning "to be." One is used for states of being that are more permanent: Yo soy americana—I am American. The other is typically used for states of being that are temporary: Yo estoy aquí y estoy tristeI am here, and I am sad. Temporary states of being. I know I won't stay sad. And I know I won't stay herePeru 2021, baby!

Until then, I'll visit the gorgeous Andean Condor I adopted at Brookfield Zoo (once it freaking reopens), enjoy a purse woven by amazing Awamaki craftswomen near Ollantaytambo, donate to hard-hit organizations in Peru that are close to my heart, drink Inca Kola, and attempt to make a traditional Peruvian dish. And I will pray, pray, pray that when I return to that beautiful country, I'll find its beautiful people thriving.

Ohhhh golly, this didn't have much to do with writing, did it? Wait a minuteyes, it totally did. Writing this post helped me work out some of my angst and redirect it toward better places. It's a classic example of writing as therapy. Thanks for reading. :)

This post is part of the:


Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.


This month's awesome co-hosts are:
 Pat Garcia
J.Q. Rose
Natalie Aguirre

6.5.20

Get in the Zone #IWSG

Hi guys! I hope May is finding you all a bit more combobulated than we were at the beginning of April 2020. Not that the future's looking any more certain or anything, but at least we've all had another month to adjust to...er, the weirdness of it all, right?

During April, I received edits back from my amazing expat editor who's quarantining across the pond in London. Working my day job for only limited hours these days allowed me time to make the recommended changes and format the manuscript for eBooks. Soooo...I'm targeting a release date or August 4, 2020 for MOLLY UNPLANNED.

Now to get my butt in gear for promo. Step One: get the ARC into reviewers' hands. If you're interested in reading a free eBook copy of this Chick Lit/Romance (About 90K words. Heat level: hot), in exchange for posting a review at Goodreads and/or Amazon, please send an email to author@nickielson.com and let me know if you'd prefer EPUB, MOBI, or PDF. You can read this post to see if the book is for you. Muchas gracias.

I also painted my bathroom last month. A while ago, in answer to an IWSG question, I said that my treat to myself for completing a manuscript is doing some sort of home project. Here's what Molly got me: 



Now it's time to tackle this month's optional question:

Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE?

Care to share?

Turn off the internet, set a minimum writing time of at least ninety minutes, give myself a stern talking to, and pound out words for ninety minutes or more, no matter how terrible, no matter how many times I delete and rewrite. At some point before the end of my slated time, I usually find myself in the groove. But sometimes it takes repeating the ritual a few days in a row to get there. That's really it for me, no secret sauce.

I look forward to learning your zone-achieving tips! 

This post is part of the:


Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.


This month's awesome co-hosts are:

1.4.20

S'up, Insecure Writers? #IWSG

So, heeey, This is weird, right? All of us, no matter what part of the world we're in, living in fear of the same exact enemy? If that's not uniting, I don't know if anything ever will be.

I believe we writers are uniquely equipped to deal with the quarantine portion of this pandemic. I mean, we sort of live for shutting out the rest of the world so we can be alone with our characters, right? I have zero fear of getting bored if this thing goes on for several weeks...or more.

The financial part's a bit different. I'm among those whose employment status is in the darkest of gray areas. Oh well, it's not like I made much money, anyway, and my husband, who works for a big telecommunications company, is busier than ever keeping people connected, so it could be worse.

I'm going to enjoy my time of "disconnecting" from daily duties to refocus on things I want to do. I've come up w/ a list of 10 Clever Things to Do from Home - for FREE, and these are some of the things I'll be doing (in addition to getting caught up with my writer life).

So, how the heck are you?

This post is part of the:



Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.
This month's awesome co-hosts:

5.2.20

A Picture Inspires Two Thousand Words #IWSG

Happy February, everyone! Where the flip did January go? It's a little bit scary to me that we're already a full month into the new decade. But then, sometimes it's difficult for me to accept that we ever left the 1980s in the first place, so perhaps the passage of time has always been a problem for me.

ANYWHO! Let's get onto this month's optional question:

Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story?

Yes!

What was it and did you finish it?

It was my short story "Impressionism 101". And yes, I finished it, but it's only 2,000 words, so that's not a huge brag. BUT I am very proud of it. The way it came about was that I took a shower. Okay, there's a little bit more to the story than that...

I was active on a fanfiction site that was holding original fiction contests. I'd recently competed in one and didn't get so much as a stinking Honorable Mention. So I was a tad bitter when the next contest theme was announced: Silly, Sexy, and Supernatural.

After seeing the new contest announcement, I promptly decided, "Well, that's a stupid theme," and then I took that shower. Under the warm stream of water, free from mental distractions, my wheels started turning. For some reason, a very specific Renoir painting was in my mind, one of a young woman and her baby sister (at least, that's who I assumed the little girl was), and from there, a story was woven---one that ended up incorporating many paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago's Impressionist collection.

And guess what? I wrote the story, submitted it to the contest, and won! So don't ever, ever, ever let a failure or rejection keep you down. Every single story you write is a fresh opportunity.


Winning the contest was very cool. It was the first time I honestly believed that maybe I didn't suck at this writing thing that I loved so much. But do you want to know what was even cooler? When I visited the newly renovated Impressionist wing at the Art Institute years later and saw that my lead was hanging right next to her silly, sexy & supernatural boyfriend! 


They found each other!!!

I've made copies of this short, fanciful tale (rated PG-13) available to download for free at Prolific Works, so if you're curious, please click here or on either of the pictures above to download a PDF. 




This post is part of the:

Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.

This month's awesome Co-Hosts:

8.1.20

"Holy Hell" - This is Why I Write #IWSG

Optional Question:
What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?

I love that this question came right now. I was just reminded of the very first novel-length story I ever wrote and why I wrote it. But first---how did I come to write it? My journey to writerhood was the result of 3 major factors:

1. I've always been a daydreamer. As a small child I'd spend hours rocking in the La-Z-Boy with my parents' easy-listening radio station playing in the background, just thinking and imagining to the likes of Olivia Newton-John and Barry Manilow. The clouds are still my favorite place to put my head...but I listen to better music now.

2. I dig words. I'd always thought of myself as more of a numbers person, but as I forged a career as an investment analyst and my (tor)mentor beat me down until I finally mastered the written portion of our quarterly reports, I realized that writing had become my favorite part of the job.

3. The Harry Potter series ended. I'd been a bit obsessed (when I say obsessed, I mean OBSESSED), and I couldn't stand how it all ended for one of the characters. So, I daydreamed a story for him. That daydream had more teeth than all those previous and wouldn't leave me alone until I started writing it out. By the time the story was complete, I was prisoner of a new obsession---writing fiction.

The other day, when the review below came in on Fanfiction(dot)net for that vert first story I ever wrote, I was thrilled (still am): 



Isn't that why we all keep writing and putting our work out there? To give someone the story they've been looking for for a LONG time?




This post is part of the:

Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This wonderful group for writers was begun by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavannaugh.

This month's awesome Co-Hosts