Phil’s Official Writing Challenge Guidelines

I would have titled this “How to Write In Ways That Will Make You Feel Like Your Soul is Dying”, but I realized that might be a hair melodramatic. Special thanks go to my college pal Andrew Webb for texting me last night with the following texts, as he was inadvertently responsible for this topic.

Phil, I have done a terrible job with writing since I stared working full time, how do you do it?”

I responded by saying I force myself to find time every day to write, even if it’s just a little. If I get stuck working on one thing, I focus on something else. Above all else, it’s important to find time for writing. That resulted in this response:

Do you force yourself to a genre or anything goes including journaling?

My phone had conveniently been switched to Do Not Disturb mode by that point, however, because I had to be awake at 6a.m. and those texts first arrived after 12:30 last night. Feeling somewhat guilty for not answering, and finding this to be a good blogging opportunity, I decided to give a long-form answer in the form of a proper writing challenge anyone can hold themselves to (for the sake of self-destruction, really). Keep in mind that I may be a subject matter expert of sorts, but I am by no means a be-all, end-all source of wisdom on writing and so this is mostly just issuing a challenge to help writing in the same way I’ve been keeping up with my writing. Feel free to adjust it in ways, and let me know what works best for you in the comments below. It can be a sort of note-comparing among creative folks who also like finding their limits and then using those limits to inflict torment upon themselves. I’m joking, mostly.

Also, I really should note how much of a gigantic ego-boost it is to have people asking me advice on writing. Holy shit, folks, that is awesome. Right. Moving on… Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Seven

It’s my day off, and I’m currently spending it waiting, quite anxiously, for my car to be inspected. My default mindset is that the mechanic will no doubt find at least ten somethings wrong with my little black Toyota Corolla. At least five of those things will be problems of a cataclysmic order, which will require special parts to be shipped in from overseas or across galaxies, and they will be very expensive and time-consuming to fix.

Maybe I’m being a little ridiculous. Only a little.

The walk back from the garage was nice. Here are some fun observations I made, and general thoughts I had, between dropping my car off and getting home.

  1. Hm. Was it supposed to rain today? Shit. I should’ve checked the weather.
  2. The buildings in Hollidaysburg are really charming.
  3. I hope I didn’t forget anything important for the inspection. Did I tell them I’m going on a trip in August? Yeah, I think so.
  4. Shit. It’s starting to rain.
  5. When did my house get so damn far away?
  6. The obvious joke to make is how I’m perfectly in shape, except that the shape in question is a pear. Or a hippopotamus, if they can be considered a shape.
  7. Thanks, guy who parked right on the crosswalk. Very helpful of you.
  8. Better call Brianne, because someone made me leave my house key on my car keys. What an asshole.

There were other thoughts and observations, too, but my trip back home from dropping my car off isn’t t0day’s focus (though it might as well be with how much time I devoted to it). Continue reading

The Maskmaker’s Apprentice

This short story popped into my head a couple nights ago, and demanded attention when I was too tired to provide such thought-requiring things. I started working on it last night, and continued on it most of today. I’m very happy with the end product. I considered sending it out for publication consideration, but I’m instead opting to be a story-dragon and keep it in my hoard. That is to say that I wanted to share it with those of you who misadventure alongside me at Misadventures in Fiction. I really hope you all enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Without further rambling, I present “The Maskmaker’s Apprentice”.

Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Three

Let me start this by saying how much I love my days off of my day job (like almost every other person alive, save for those detestable ones who do something they love). While I’m not particularly fond of my internal clock having deemed 8a.m. the point at which I’ve slept in, I’m glad to say it’s not even 10a.m. and I’ve already been semi-productive.

No need to sugar-coat it: I’m a slow-starter, and I’m okay with that. However, being awake this early and meandering through my morning, complete with moments of being hooked up to my iPod, also provided ample inspiration, between half-sleepy yawns, for today’s Day of Blogging. Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Two

Day Two – Creating Stories from the Chaos of Ideas

It only seemed appropriate to focus on the topic of creating stories from the chaos of my ideas, which are all over the place, for the second day. Mostly because I’m still convinced my Hundred Days of Blogging will be more chaotic than ordered.

My process isn’t new or revolutionary, and I’m pretty sure I’ve covered as much before. I’d like to say I sit down with a concept. Some sort of message I want to get across, maybe, or an image so powerful that won’t leave my mind until I share it. Deep stuff, right? Continue reading

100 Days of blogging – The Misadventures in Fiction edition

Or “Phil had an idea for a short story, but its quite stuck in his head” with strong notes of “If this week were a person, I’d set that bastard on fire and throw him off a goddamn cliff”.

I’ve seen One Hundred Days of all sorts of things. One Hundred Happy Days. One Hundred Days of Self-Improvement. One Hundred Days of Exercise (which I admittedly misread as One Hundred Days of Exorcise, which left me wondering who is going to the trouble of finding so many possessed people). And so on, and so on, ad infinitum. I also know that this Hundred Days of Blogging has been done before, and so I want to set up some basic guidelines for myself. Guidelines that are being made up as I type this, because I am the antithesis to planning and organization. With all of that in mind, let’s kick this off. Continue reading

An unusually sentimental post

Or “Sometimes my little, frozen black heart does things that require being broadcast, especially since I write about ending the world a whole lot”.

A writer, I think, can only be as good as their support system. Like any other art-form, it’s a grueling, time-consuming labor of love, and there are days when I, like many, many others, would be all right with saying “Fuck it, I’m done,” (special apologies to my mother, grandmother, and any other relatives who maintain the belief I don’t use that word and its various conjugations) and closing up the proverbial shop for good. Staring at a blank document, an idea in my mind, and being unable to produce anything of substance is extremely stressful.

Thank god for my iPod in those situations, or I’d probably have gone mad by now. Continue reading