BY NANCY KAY CLARK,
THIS SUMMER, I took a break from endless doom-scrolling and obsessively checking daily infection counts to concentrate on getting out into nature, socializing safely outdoors with family and friends, and finishing up some long-haul writing projects. The first two items on my agenda went swimmingly (ah, the relief of escaping the stifling heat of the city by plunging into a cold lake up north!), but the third item is still a work in progress.
Here’s what I’ve learned from writing five days a week:
1. Writing is like a home renovation — triple how long you think it’s going to take.
2. Even on those days when I couldn’t string together 10 coherent words, it was important to put my bum in the chair because it establishes a daily schedule, as well as space and time to at least think about what I’m writing.
3. It’s okay to tell your family members to go away because you’re working. They didn’t hate me for it; they respected my seriousness of purpose.
4. I do some of my best writing while walking in the woods — the trick is to remember it long enough to jot it down.
5. I learn valuable insight from even my harshest critics. I just have to get past being pissed off and discouraged so I can listen and understand.
Kay Smith-Blum is among the finalists for the 2021 Page Turner Writing Award for her unpublished novel, The House on Desco Drive. A short story, drawn from the novel, will be published at Minerva Rising Press in its “Suffrage” issue in October 2021.
Felix Imonti’s short story “In the Details” is in the anthology Dark City Crime Magazine. He also has a short story, “Student Teaching”, in the anthology Artificial Divide.
Nancy Kay Clark’s short story, “Felt in her Bones” appears in an anthology of dragon stories, Crunchy with Ketchup.