A Writer’s Guide to Impending Holiday Interruptions

Well, ladies and gents, I cannot believe it’s December! Honestly, I wish life would move slower–it seems to have picked up pace and left little time for my writing, again. That, and we here in Wooster have yet to see snowfall cover the ground, which adds to the citywide disbelief that the Christmas season is upon us.

Yet time keeps racing forward. I know I feel bogged down when the iconic Willy Wonka quote repeats in my head:

“So much time, so little to do–wait–

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It’s even worse when it’s on automatic replay. Then I know my mind is trying to calm the impending stress-out: “It’s the Christmas season,” It says. “It’s going to be busy. Do your best and regroup in January.”

So I try to take it one day at a time this December; get as much done as I can, try to keep promises.

One of the most common pieces of writing advice I come across goes something like this:

“You will get interrupted. The key is to write every day; whether it’s 100 words or 3,000.”

However, the unexpected events seem to throw that plan out the window.

Leading up to Thanksgiving, we at the Mortimer household were thrown into another jumble; emotions included. I’m not talking about the holiday or dad’s birthday, but our love of the household, Vito. Vito passed on from this world on November 28th, two days after Thanksgiving. For me, his passing was bittersweet: it was a sadness to say goodbye to a loving friend and yet also a kind of relief. He had suffered from diabetes for the majority of his seven years. To see him be at peace from the vet appointments and twice-daily injections, to hold a strong belief that he’s romping around Heaven’s meadows with Choy, gave me hope…

… but I still couldn’t concentrate on my writing. While my outward facade consisted of peace and prayer, inwardly, my thoughts couldn’t gather. Every time I sat at the computer last weekend, my mind would not settle, my concentration: static awareness. So, instead, I sat working on my Christmas presents.

Now I’m progressing smoothly through my crafts, determined to give homemade gifts this year rather than store bought. It saves on money and is a great meditative tool. Maybe I’ll make a stock of scarves, gloves, dish towels and washcloths and put them on Etsy for you all to buy? We shall see!

In any case, the goal of this Christmas season is to not stress about the interruptions it might bring; to continue to write, as much as possible, with the time I have. Oh, and also, not to overthink my future goals.

Just take it one day at a time.

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Writing Updates, Crimson Peak — HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

First off, let me say, I have been listening to “Valse Sur Une Berceuse Anglaise” ON FREAKING REPEAT since I saw Crimson Peak last Monday. The music plays in the background as Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) woos Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) into demonstrating the Viennese waltz. The following ensues:

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Yes. A highly romantic scene, a dance between two meant-to-be lovers, spouses caught in a horrible plot.

(THEY ARE MEANT TO BE. I WILL ACCEPT NO OTHER ANSWERS. FIGHT ME.)

Honestly, if Thomas Sharpe and Edith Cushing had been in a Jane Austen novel–especially if Tom Hiddleston played a male love interest–GOD. I think feminine hormones would take over the world and kill us all. Seriously. Go check Tumblr right now. I guarentee within the first page you’ll find someone gushing over Tom.

(I’m one of them.)

I swear, I SWEAR I was over gushing over Tom Hiddleston. And then the Victorian Gothic Romance fangirl in me reared her head. Doomed, I say! Doomed!

Others are making a big deal of the sex scene in Crimson Peak. Me? The waltz was my downfall.

“There are two kinds of people” as Tumblr likes to say.

Speaking of big deals, I found out that they announced Museum of Words last Friday when I was sick. I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t win. I was hoping I would, but I didn’t expect it, like I do with most things. It was a slim shot for anyone, at best. 35,000 stories were entered; the chances were slim at best for anyone. Furthermore, I think most contests look for literature-type, “real world” submissions anymore (unless they specifically look for fantasy, sci-fi, or speculative fiction). My style is more in line with pop culture. A fangirl through and through.

Honestly, I read the submission that won. Brava. She definitely deserved it, I will say that.

As JackSepticEye says in GTA V with Markiplier, Bob, and Wade, “I ain’t even mad, bro.”

(Maybe a little disheartened, but not mad.)

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Anyways, so here’s the hopeful optimist in me coming out. I have a theory: maybe I’m not winning contests or getting selected for journal submissions because my “big win” is going to be Angel’s novel being published. Maybe, just maybe, God is saving that moment, a “winning” moment, for when I will truly enjoy it. Isn’t that how he always works? Gives us what we need, not what we want?

I have confidence that you guys and gals will enjoy Angel’s story. And I’m excited for you to read it. Personally, I’m just happy the Museum of Words loss didn’t cripple me like I feared it would.

I also think Crimson Peak had excellent timing. Due to my obsession with the waltz (yes, obsession), I’ve been distracted in a moment where, in another time, I would’ve been depressed for longer. Points for you, God. Points for you. Funny how that all works out.

Hope you guys and gals have a happy and safe HALLOWEEN!! (Still have no idea what I’m dressing as. Instagram will surely reveal my decision!)

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From Gettysburg to Fall; Time to Create!

Sitting at my laptop.
Apple cider by my side.
Long sleeves.
Typing away.


GOOD LORD did the weather turn! Last week I was in 70 degree Gettysburg, this week: FALL!

Yes. YES, ladies and gents! Fall is back in Ohio! That wondrous time of year! Time for spooky! For a midnight walk in the woods! Leaf crunching! Hot drink of choice! Long sleeves! Cuddles! Halloween!

Yes… this is the time of year I enjoy most.

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I only wish it had felt like this in Gettysburg. Something about tromping through the battlefields in a light jacket, browsing the historic downtown, crunching the occasional leaf. Well, I mean, some of that I did. However, even though the first day of Fall was last week, it didn’t feel like it until this week. Isn’t that what always happens?

Ah. C’est la vie. I still enjoyed being there. And I got some nifty vibes.

After all, Tolkien himself said:

“… always I had the sense of recording what was already ‘there’, somewhere: not of ‘inventing’.”

The purpose of this Gettysburg trip was to get away, by myself, and explore a new location. Whether it be haunted or not. I wanted to have one last exploration before I settled in for the latter part of the year. The time where I really love to be home and write. Plain and simple. Fall brings forward ceaseless inspiration. Honestly, if I didn’t need to sleep or eat, I could probably churn out multiple books in this three month period.

So, now I settle in for the “cold months”, hard at work on my novel’s completion. It will be circulating to agents soon. I can’t wait for you guys to read it!

Coping with Loss; Impermanence at its Best.

Let’s see. It’s been:

  • 3.5 months since leaving Dollar Tree
  • 1.5 months since New Orleans
  • 1 month since the work on the property commenced
  • And… one week since my kitty died.

This summer has been a flurry of emotions. Some excitement, some sorrow. Eventful, to say the least.

Last Monday, my bathroom’s remodel was completed… and arborists started to cut down our Blue Spruce trees.

However, the big shocker came with this beautiful boy:

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I still… I can’t believe he’s gone. He was seven years old and full of vibrancy. By 11:30 that night, he had passed on.

The first 24 hours were brutal. I slept, only from sheer exhaustion. I had been hysterical for almost four hours. He was my boy, I was planning on grooming him later that week, taking him to the vet to get a lump checked, cuddling with him every night, seeing him the next morning, and just like that… GONE. No signs. Just a groan and then, like that, he was with God.

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The act of change, of death, brings into question my own mortality. Sure, I’ve lost family members (some also canine, rabbit, and feline). However, never has one hit me this hard. Usually, and not out of disrespect, I say “I know they’re happy. So I’m going to continue. I will one day see them again.” Because I believe that.

Choy was different, though. He was an unexpected blessing to my life, and left so suddenly. He was, in no truer words than my brother’s, “A gentle giant.” He was such a force to my own heart that sometimes I now think “But I don’t want to wait to see him again. I want him back!”

I always understood death. A friend of mine complimented me, when I talked about death in a college lecture, that I “had a maturity about death.” I still believe this is true… but I also believe that there’s that one death that knocks us down — derails us — and we have to fight, for a long time, maybe even every day for the rest of our lives, to keep going.

I still look to the positive.

That helps. It always will. It’s my method of coping.

  • I know Choy is happy. So I will be happy for him and continue on. However, I will never forget him.
  • I loved my old bathroom. However, I’m excited to experience this new one.
  • The Blue Spruces were a tragedy. However, a beautiful Oak was discovered in the middle of the decay. She now has a chance at life… and will soon have a few brothers, sisters, and cousins surrounding her.

Within the last couple days, mom and I sat down and watched a beautiful 1993 film called “Little Buddha” with Keanu Reeves and Bridget Fonda. Basically a movie where this American boy and two Indian children are thought to be reincarnated souls of Lama Norbu’s teacher, Lama Dorje. The plot is woven around the origin story of Siddharta, who later becomes The Buddha himself.

Through this movie, I learned the concept of Impermanence. Wikipedia explains it as such:

“Impermanence is one of the essential doctrines or three marks of existence in Buddhism. The term expresses the Buddhist notion that all of conditioned existence, without exception, is transient, or in a constant state of flux.

More can be read about it here, via Urban Dharma: “The Buddhist Concept of Impermanence”

Death is imminent. Loss is a given. Change is constant. And, for some strange reason, that gives me comfort. Maybe because I know that, in this world, we are always in movement. Even when we try not to be. The world beyond, the afterlife, Heaven, is what awaits. Peace. Adventure. Freedom from life’s restrictions.

Choy, I will always miss you, always remember. I’m glad you’re happy. That you’re playing with loved ones over there. And I am glad you are without pain. Check in on us from time to time, ok? I know I’ll be checking in on you.

HELLO FALL!! (+ Scary Drabble)

So… this past month has been absolutely grueling. I’m not even sure how it got to be September. But, yep. My computer is telling me it’s September 16th.

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It’s honestly been one of those hectic months where nothing seemed to go right. Especially these last two weeks. On top of that, time seemed to speed up. So the moments that I could jump on my computer and get to my writing were significantly shortened.

I’m also wanting to sell things online. To get the store (Allison and I are planning) up and running. And I currently have those items stuffed into a corner next to my desk.

NOW, FINALLY, I CAN GET TO ALL OF THAT.

Sweet Lord!! To top it off, the weather is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS. For those who may not know: I love Fall.

Fall is me. I am Fall.

Okay, not literally. But I love this season! What other time of the year brings you the comfort of wrapping in a sweater, drinking a hot drink, and watching a good horror movie?

You thought I was going to say “Reading a good book” didn’t you, dear Reader?

Sure. Sure you did.

*grins*

Honestly, Fall is the best of both worlds. Crisp and cool weather. Great for a good walk in the woods.

But wait… oh, then… then the sun is starting to set. And you’re not entirely sure you’re alone in those woods. A branch breaks. Was that a squirrel? Or maybe a bear? Or… something else? Or maybe someone else? Your imagination travels faster than your feet can carry you. You can’t catch it. You start running to the exit. Wait. Which way did you come again?

Another branch breaks. It came from right behind you. Your eyes have to strain… to see in the darkened twilight. A cool wind drifts through the forest. Your skin prickles. You swear you heard your name, whispered, behind you. Your feet trip over themselves as you try to escape the claustrophobic woods.

You start listing the names of all the monsters you know: Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Lucifer… and you start to ask yourself…

Which one is breathing on your neck?

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Post-Midwest Writers

Honest to God, I loved this conference. Man, it’s been SO LONG since I was in a writer’s workshop. Literally, I haven’t gone to one since college. Three years ago. And I discovered that I was really out of practice with some writing techniques. So I re-learned some new and old pointers (for example: passive vs active sentences and avoiding “to be” words) and I got to socialize + network with some very talented people. Writers, agents, and otherwise.

Aaaand…. I pitched to an agent. Haaaahhhh… I was so nervous. But she was SO ATTENTIVE AND KIND. Annnd… yeah. I’m working really hard to finish my book. Because. Things happened.

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I also decided that I’m going to build an official website and send out a… bi-monthly newsletter. I believe. Still planning.

All of this will come to fruition after Nashville next weekend. *pinches nose*

If there are any writers out there looking for a warm, welcoming, helpful, affordable, and FUN conference… CHECK OUT MIDWEST WRITERS. I really suggest it. It’s… just amazing.
Click here for more information: Midwest Writers
Tomorrow I begin my loooooong four hour trek home.
I will catch you all back in Wooster!
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