Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Looking Backward, Looking Forward & Prompt: On vacation for the first time in years | the world’s tallest woman | refuses to leave the bathtub

I started this blog on December 31, 2012, and have posted every single day since. This is a fairly remarkable accomplishment, many people have told me. It’s especially remarkable for me, because I do not have the best track record of sticking with things over the long haul. It gets too hard, too inconvenient, life gets in the way, whatever, and before you know it, I have set that other project aside for a day, then a week, then…

But not this. Hey, you know what? I am a writer. I write. Every day. Not as much as I would like – all too often – but I have proven that I can, and am, doing this. So yeah. I’m pretty proud of this accomplishment.

And what did I accomplish, exactly? Well, it looks like this:
  • 309 short stories: some starts, some longer, some finished
  • 5 poems
  • 4 convention reports
  • 2 essays
  • over 244,000 words written!
So, who read all this? Well, I am probably the only one who read every word *grin*
But so many people have commented over the course of the year that they enjoy checking in now and then, or following more closely. One friend in particular took the challenge to write to the prompts – while teaching and caring for her young child no less!

In April, I started using Google Analytics to try to get a sense of the numbers of people reading the blog. Here’s what it says (and I trust it only slightly farther than I can throw it) as an aggregate for the 3/4 year:

Google Analytics site statistics April 1 - December 1, 2013
I’d like to see if I can boost those numbers more, so blog promotion will be one of my goals in 2014.

Meanwhile, I have this little book. Unfinished. Well, two books, actually. One is clocking in at about 65,000 words, the other right about 50,000. I need to finish them up! Another goal for 2014: definitely to finish the first, my YA SF novel, Mira’s Children.

And I have a couple of finished short stories I have been shopping around for publication, and a few more in process. I would really like to get at least one of them into print in 2014!

So what, exactly, are my plans for the blog?

I’m glad you asked! *grin*

I have debated whether to continue posting daily. I really thought about cutting back, and I’ve received excellent advice that I should take that writing time and apply it to the book(s). But, I’m a writer. I should be writing more. Not less.

So I intend to continue posting a blog every day in 2014. What you may see is the return to many of the story starts in 2013 – either revisioning or continuing. Some of them I know I want to complete for publication. There’s at least one that is probably going to insist on being my 3rd book.

One thing I found was that I spent more time each day choosing a prompt than actually writing to it. So my family graciously provided me with some prompt-generating tools as Christmas gifts, which I’ve already started to use, including today's rather bizarre prompt.

I also really enjoy the wonderful community, and I appreciate the willingness of so many talented artists to let me share their beautiful artwork with you! I always specifically ask for permission before I use an image on this blog (with only one or two exceptions from very early in 2013, when I could not find the source). There has been only one of dozens of artists I have asked who said no, as was certainly her right. A few have given me carte blanche to use any of their images, though I try not to abuse the privilege. I also try to give comments on much the art I view, and it surprises me how genuinely appreciative the artists are these. If you’re not familiar with deviantart, check it out – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. If you don’t know where to start, check out my favorites and let me know what you think!

And what’s *your* role in all this?

Comments, people!

As much as I have appreciated the comments I have received through the year, I often feel like I’m writing in a vacuum, sending my creations out into the void of cyberspace. If you do take time to read a post, will you *please* comment below? You don’t have to login to anything, though it provides you that option – feel free to post as Anonymous if you prefer.

Tell me what you like. Tell me what you don’t like. If you’ll tell me *why*, that really helps me improve. But while I love praise, of course, even “Meh” is helpful, in its way ;)

I really do appreciate the comments I’ve received!

Also, if you're willing to help boost my signal, would you follow me on Twitter, and retweet any post that particularly like? Include me in your Google circles and do the same there? Or on Facebook, or Linked In. (I only post about once a week on Linked In.)

So if you’ve stuck with me this far today, you definitely deserve a story! Here’s my first one for 2014.

Prompt: On vacation for the first time in years | the world’s tallest woman | refuses to leave the bathtub

I don’t go out much. Well, that’s not true. I love to go out – outside and walk in the park. The sky is so far above my head, I can stretch and stretch and never bump against it. Trees are interesting, but hard to walk under.

No, it’s traveling. Cars, buses, planes – they’re pretty much torture for me. At eight feet tall – eight feet, three inches, to be exact – I’m the world’s tallest living woman, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. As a consultant, I work from home, which is custom designed to accommodate my height. I use video for all of my meetings, or invite people here, which they seem to find intimidating, so that often works to my advantage, especially with otherwise difficult clients.

But my darling husband, so preciously petite at six feet, six inches, was inspired by our tenth anniversary. “How about a cruise?” He asked with such enthusiasm, I held back my habitual demurral. He brought his laptop in to my two-story office and propped his hip on my desk to show me the pictures.

“Look, this stateroom is two stories! And it’s on the top deck, so you can walk around and never have to go through a hallway or elevator or anything! We’ll eat in our room, or under the stars. It will be wonderful, my love!”

It was hard to concentrate with him nibbling my neck, but I had to admit the cruise ship did look very nice. And tall. Open. A new design. I said yes. Although I dreaded the journey in between – getting there and returning home.

I survived the travel – I won’t bore you with the tedious details. The ship is every bit as open and tall as it appeared in the photos. And when we arrived in our stateroom, he was as excited as a child on Christmas morning to show me the one feature he had so carefully kept from my attention. In our bathroom was the most enormous tub I had ever seen. It was long and narrow, and you could generate a current to swim against, or run the hot tub jets. And I could lie all the way down inside it.

Which I did. And stayed. Oh, not for the entire time. I mean, I’m not sleeping in it, or anything. But it is the most wonderful experience I think I’ve ever had, to stretch all the way out in a tub! Such luxury! Frankly, there’s little entertainment on the cruise ship that can beat that.

I even passed up the first stop of tourist shopping in Aruba. My husband is a little perturbed with me, actually. He offered to setup dinner by the tub the first night, but he’s become less enthusiastic about my desire to be in this wonderful tub with each passing day. And I really do want to swim with the turtles in Curacao. But that’s not until tomorrow. Plenty of time to heat up the hot water in the tub again…

Dogs in house
Houdini, Maize, Malachi

Time writing (story)
40 minutes, interrupted

January word count


  1. I'm not nearly that tall, but I can definitely relate. That would be an awesome tub :)

    1. Glad you appreciate the concept! Finding a large-enough tub is a true luxury! :)

  2. Oh, and good job with the blog. I can tell it's been a heck of a lot of work. I've been reading solidly since last year and this year, I'll de-lurk more

    1. Glad to hear you've been enjoying it, Ken! Thanks - hope to bring a lot more, and better, stories in 2014! :)

  3. Congratulations on all the work you've put into your blog this year. I just started mine on Dec. 23rd, and I'm already starting to realize how much time posting on the regular can take.

    Thanks for staying prolific, and I'm looking forward to reading your novels when you publish them.

    1. Thanks, Johnathan! You're right, blogging takes a lot more time than I first imagined! I'm trying to make it more efficient...we can trade notes on the whole experience, perhaps at ConCarolinas1

  4. Happy New Year to you, Margaret! And Happy (belated) Anniversary to Dog Daze! :-) If I stumble across anything this year that me think "that would be a good writing prompt for Margaret," I'll let you know.

    1. Thanks, Jay! Sometimes prompts have to percolate a while, but I always appreciate them!

  5. Thanks for doing this, Margaret! And I am so impressed that you posted every single day (as you could see, even when I in a writing-with-you mode I managed to miss the occasional day). And I'm chuffed you mentioned me above, too :)

    As with my last internet holiday, I managed to turn my attention to my novel again and thus I am going to try to keep going on that for a while, although I may dip in and out of prompt-writing with you. I'll see if I can manage to actually check in with my writing activity on your blog, even if I'm not prompt-writing, and make it more social.

    And fun prompt above! I've actually bathed in a bathtub that would hold the MC of your story, which I thought of immediately as I started reading. (It was at a place in the Highlands that groups around here use a lot for 'retreats'. It is an old manor house, and I really enjoy seeing the pieces of a completely different kind of life that used to exist - servants stairs, so, so many rooms, and such).