Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Prompt: Potential is a great word…

A little late night ramble here, bear with me.

A well-known, rather salty football coach of one of my hometown high schools was once famously quoted responding to an interviewer’s comment that his team seemed to have a lot of potential. He deadpanned, “Potential’s a great word that means you ain’t worth sh*t yet.”

I feel like I have a lot of potential as a writer.

[Editorial note: that use of “feel” is a personal pet peeve, also learned in high school (not by that coach). I believe it was Mrs. Good, my 8th grade English teacher, who used to say, "We think thoughts and feel feelings."]

I *think* I have a lot of potential as a writer.

Here’s my fear: To the extent that this blog has served several truly great purposes in my writing life, it is also a distraction and perhaps a crutch from atruggling through the end of my novel. Novels. Short stories.

You see, it’s pretty easy for me to start things. Not so easy to finish, sometimes. I just brought a new 5,000 word….something…to my writers’ group today. It’s from a handful of blog posts that have all been in the same story, which keeps cropping back up in my mind.

Probably time to sit down and outline an actual story around these few characters and a handful of vignettes I think are pretty darn cool.

*Palm out* Get in line, buster! I have the novel and two deadline submissions to complete, two finished shorts to revise and get back out for publication, and another story to prep for a writers’ retreat this summer. Plus the angels/demons battle that wants to be told (they’ve been patient lately, thankfully).

Another personal favorite quote is Ed Schubert’s rather exasperated, “Finish the damn book.” Which at least one friend has adopted as her greeting to me, having replaced “Hello” with “Have you finished the damn book yet?” Which I clearly need, so feel free to adopt for yourself!

Plus, and I’m gonna whine for just a moment here, it’s damn hard to come up a new story each and every night! And even harder when you’re sick, which I am not often, thankfully, but have been in particular this past week.

And yet….

I don’t want permission to ease up, back off, step down. Among my contradictory characteristics are delicious laziness and deeply entrenched stubbornness. 

So go ahead, tell me it’s okay if I don’t get a blog post done every day. It’s like double-dog daring me not to do it.

Actually, even better, invite me not to finish the book.

Dogs in House
Houdini, Brindle

Time writing
~20 minutes

April word count


  1. Writing report:
    Novel editing, Ch28

    Time: ~30 min

  2. Oh, I completely hear you on the starting things... I just went and counted and it's better than I thought. About half the folders in my 'stories' folder actually contain stories of which I reached the end. However, only only slightly over 10% have ever been polished up to submission standard. It looks like I tended to finish, start revising, but then never actually finish revising.

    I guess that means I had best make sure I keep going with this novel!

    Sorry to hear you've been feeling poorly, and I hope you're well again soon. Following your progress and seeing your blog have been a real inspiration to me. So you had better keep going, otherwise what will I have to aspire to?

    1. Thanks Anne! Your participation here has made a huge difference for me! I'm glad you're finding value in it, too. :)

  3. Submit stuff, girl. (To pro-paying markets. I can give you the Jim Macdonald speech Tuesday if you want.) You've got some great story kernels; they just need to be finished and polished and sent out.

    1. Thanks, Conni! Yes, working on that :)
      Suddenly there are several anthology options I am submitting for. I've let my short stories take the back seat to my efforts with Mira, however flailing they might seem. Hope to get a few more things out this year.
      Always value your insights! And your own stories. Thank you!