Persevering

Persevering

Greetings, dear pond readers! I’m writing to you with a general update on things in my corner of the midwest. This winter was rough with illness and spring has continued in this vein. I’m declaring a win over my latest bout with infectious disease but with the quietest of voices so that the germs don’t hear me and change their plans.

2021 Blueberries on the Wee Bairn’s Blueberry Shrub by E.A. Schneider

Bulbs are coming up. Grass is beginning to green. The soil looks invitingly black and rich. My inner terrier wants to dig and root and inhale deeply of the rich scent of earth. I keep eyeing the garden centers in my area looking for signs of stocked greenhouses. Already I have read and reread my seed packets to sketch my 2022 Good News Garden alongside my Wee Bairn. My spouse laughs lovingly at us for being a pair of Mr. McGregors scolding the naughty bunnies who have eaten the Wee Bairn’s blueberry shrub to a lone, resilient stick and bisected multiple bulbs we planted with their incisors.

Mr. McGregor is not the only literary character on my mind. I keep thinking of Frog and Toad looking for Spring around every corner together in Frog and Toad All Year. That story is one of my very favorites and I love that I can share it with the Wee Bairn. Side by side we hurry to every plot we dug in 2021 to check for green shoots launching upward to the sky or remains rejected by naughty bunnies with picky palettes. It has smote my sore chest every time the Wee Bairn wants to linger outside to plant flowers and fruits only to be told again for the 47th time not today, not yet.

Watching Wildlife Through the Window 2021 by E.A. Schneider

Nevertheless, spring is coming. Seeds will go in the ground. Some will germinate and thrive and some will not. No matter what, it will be an adventure and I’m glad that I can share it with my Wee Bairn. In keeping with the Good News Gardens principles of plant, pray, and proclaim, I’m keen to chronicle our 2022 adventures here again. I’m having fun coming up with ideas to plant seeds and head start them effectively using up-cycled things like milk jugs, drink trays, and cardboard. We’ll see how successful I am in this but it will be fun.

First Bulb Sighting in the Wee Bairn’s Bulb Garden by E.A. Schneider

Speaking of fun, I’m happy to report that this is a big week for my E.A. Lawrence writing journey. I submitted a story to a lovely place this weekend, another story is still under consideration at another lovely place, and last night I found out my status in the NYCMidnight short story contest. Like so much this season, the news is bittersweet. The lovely place didn’t buy my story and the judges didn’t advance me to the next round of judging in the NYCMidnight short story contest. C’est la vie. The sweet part? The lovely place’s reply was encouraging and the NYCMidgnight judges gave me some helpful, constructive feedback on my story. I am heartened that I have some quality stories that just need to find the right home and I’m energized to look.

Frozen Dewdrop on Broccoli 2021 by E.A. Schneider

I’ve also been doggedly plugging away at another short story project that is due in May. Sometimes I write 10 words and reread what I wrote. Other times I write 250. Every time, I text one of my writing friends with a progress update to keep me accountable. I’m writing in my pandemic log and am on volume three. My area is littered with empty pen cartridges. Every time I think I’ve picked them all up, I or the Wee Bairn finds another. Even for as ill as I’ve been and I’ve been scary ill, I’m continuing to write even if it is only a little bit. The effort is a healing exercise. Getting the feedback I’ve gotten on my stories makes me want to seize my fountain pen and dive as deeply into the page as I can. I made a list of my drafts in progress and am cross referencing it with a table of upcoming publishing calls that look promising. I’m trying my absolute best to live up to my writing spirit animal. I sincerely doubt that I will finish all of these stories, at least to my satisfaction, but pondering the possibility gives my arrector pili¬†muscles the good kind of electric boost.

Lake Michigan Spring Snow by E.A. Schneider

The Wee Bairn has also been helping me cut out fabric and started their first hand sewing project this weekend. While sharing certain fabrics from my stash with others was met with protest, the magic of seeing shapes of fabric emerge from the Accuquilt Go was a thrill declared to be the most fun thing ever by my preschooler. I always appreciate this accolade. Of particular interest was the sight of the fabric we used to make a scarf together for the Wee Bairn. The idea that a single fabric could be in both the scarf and be cut into squares for something else for someone else was a fascinating notion to my preschooler. I’m glad. That concept has always been poetic to me. Rattling around in my heart I think there is a fairy tale on the subject but it’s still growing.

I might post these pictures again when I do my post about all my recent sewing projects but here are pictures of the scarf that the Wee Bairn helped me sew. Not only was my Presser Foot Operator on the case, we collaborated on feeding the flannel and minky fabric through the machine. Turning the scarf right-side out was also a source of great excitement and interest. The scarf has become something to cuddle and use as a lasso on the parents more than something warm to wear but that’s okay; we had fun making it together. I pray that someday my child and my future in-laws will be the happier for these early experiments in creativity and making useful, lovely things.

Spring is around the corner. It’s up to us to persevere and get there. Hopefully, this finds you well and healthy and dreaming of pleasant adventures. Are you creating? Writing? Taking pictures?

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

Victory with 3 words and 30 minutes to spare

Greetings, dear pond readers! I write tonight with an ecstatic heart and one mucus smeared face. As I wrote in a recent blog post, I decided to start 2022 with a new writing challenge offered by NYCmidnight. The entire point was to stretch my creative muscles with a writing prompt that would challenge me. Without detailing the full assignment, the prompt I was given involved the romance genre which is definitely outside of my comfort zone. After I got my brief, I found myself pondering different options with a befuddled mind for three of my precious eight days. I noodled out a bunch of different notions in my journal with my new favorite fountain pen before falling asleep every night.

Thankfully, I am a determined sort with both a very supportive spouse and an encouraging friend who checked in on my progress daily to help me brainstorm and cheer me on. I finally started drafting in earnest on day five during my lunch break and managed less than 500 words. It was a start. The next day I wrote only 10 words. Another day I only picked the names for my characters. Yesterday, I wrote nothing. In fact, I woke up with both a runny nose and a sore throat. Yipes. Luckily, I tested negative for COVID-19 with an at-home test and was able to get through the day albeit without draft progress. I have a busy schedule and with the barest of bare bones ideas barely begun, I placed all my hopes in finishing a draft on Saturday. Would it be good?

Nope. But then, first drafts are supposed to be lousy. It’s okay if I don’t get through to the second round. My attitude is that I have paid for the opportunity to try something new and get editorial feedback on my draft. I won’t win this contest but with perseverance, I think I can edit this story into something I can place elsewhere. More importantly, writing this draft was fun. I feel ecstatic and indomitable even though I’m sneezing constantly and dripping mucus like a leaky faucet. Thanks to the support of my amazing spouse who took the Wee Bairn on some strategically timed outings today, I was able to turn a 500 word barely legible start into 10 double-spaced pages of beginning, middle, and end with three words and 30 minutes to spare before the deadline. Cue the heroic music.

VICTORY SCREENSHOT by E.A. Lawrence

It’s nice to know that I can rise to a baffling challenge. I feel more fired up than ever to conquer some of my unfinished works in progress and submit some finished pieces to new places.

What challenges are you rising to lately, dear pond reader? Any big creative plans for 2022?

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

New Year, New Challenges

Sunshine on Frozen Lake Michigan by E.A. Schneider


Happy 2022, dear pond readers! It has been a busy start to the new year for this pond dweller with some exciting developments. As usual, I have big plans for blogging here about a lot of things and I have no idea how far I will get. I’m also surrounded by a motley assortment of well-begun craft projects, partially read library books, and enticing journals. The weather here in the Midwest might be blisteringly cold but it is cozy fun in my hobbit hole. Slowly but steadily progressing on all my fun pursuits without losing sight of my relationships continues to be my aim for the new year. Continuing on in the spirit of my fall writing challenge fun , I am starting 2022 off with a writing contest that I’ve never done before: The 2022 Short Story Challenge from NYC Midnight . My beloved biology teacher suggested this contest to me and I thought it sounded like fun. I love challenging myself to write new styles using prompts and have written some stories I love after being inspired by a contest. Drafting a great, publishable story in eight days with no prep and a busy full-time life is my kind of ridiculous and I’m incredibly curious to read whatever I manage to invent. Will it be a piece of flash fiction? Something squeaked under the max word count? Or perhaps a rational 1500 word narrative? We’ll find out together, dear pond reader.

Snowbound peacock by E.A. schneider

What kind of creative challenges are you looking forward to in 2022, dear pond reader? Trying something new or re-committing to something you used to love?

Breather by E.A. Schneider

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

Pumpkin Flavored Victory

Pumpkin Flavored Victory

Greetings, dear pond readers! Earlier this summer I posted about my experiment writing through the crud of life. Good news, that experiment helped jumpstart some great writing productivity. Thanks to a super awesome friend of mine, I found out about an exciting writing contest with a final submission deadline of August 31st. I’ve always thought that deadlines were useful tools even though I frequently watch in horror as they fly over my head. This time, this golden happy time, I managed to turn the headlong rush of the deadline into useful momentum. The project that I was stuck on how to re-write? I persevered through where I was stuck and successfully finished what I hope is the final draft of the next E.A. Lawrence publication. Not only did I finish, I finished two days ahead of deadline and 10 words under the max word count. There was happy dancing.

High Stepping Rhino by E.A. Schneider

This wasn’t easy. I chiseled away at my revisions in the morning, on my lunch break, and late into the night; oftentimes all three on multiple days in a week. My friends helped me stay honest. I tend to be secretive about what I’m working on and don’t share specifics but when people asked me how I was, I said working on a deadline. It felt good to say that and know that I was making progress. I like drafting new stories but I actually find revising to be more elementally satisfying. Like editing a photo, working on a revision feels like artistry to make the small tweaks that make a beautiful, unified whole.

Bumblebee in my Good News Garden by E.A. Schneider

Because one of my writer/D&D friends is also a talented baker, they gave me a giant loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread to celebrate my victory last week. Today I finished the last bite and while I’m always up for more pumpkin flavored everything, I find myself hungry for another writing challenge. For as excited as I am about the draft I turned in to the contest, I’m more excited about the rush of making the deadline. Win, lose, or draw on this specific contest, I have a marketable draft that I can place with a publishing home. Now, I just want to repeat this writing achievement. I have a handful of short fiction projects in various stages of drafting and editing as well as a long line of new ideas for stories twinkling across my mind. Can I find momentum to reach a new deadline? God-willing and coffee pouring, yes. Tonight I spent time organizing my calendar alerts with deadlines for submission for seven different publishing opportunities. Will I make all of these deadlines? Probably not. Will I polish up more stories that make me smile and get submitted for some of these? Yeah, I think I will.

Swimming River Otter by E.A. Schneider

How are you doing creatively, dear pond readers? Any big projects you’re working on this Fall?

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

Write Through It

Write Through It

Hello, dear pond readers! I tried an experiment: I attempted to take some very good advice that I have often given. As Alice sang in the movie, I am very good at giving very good advice but seldom good at taking it. C’est la vie. Specifically, I often suggest trying to write regardless of one’s feelings because if you wait for inspiration or the “perfect” mood, you’re going to write less often. Writing is a discipline that must be cultivated specifically for those times when it is the hardest thing to do.

Do I always follow this advice? Nope. I frequently don’t. The needs of parenthood, family life, professional life, and general adulting with MS often limit my capacity to write. My creative whims also lead me to other artistic pursuits like painting, quilting, and gardening. Following the creative whim is important, too. Still, to paraphrase the classic musical number, “Gotta Write!” is the backbeat of my character. Even when I couldn’t use my hands or see properly with MS, I still found a way to write.

Lately, my brain chemistry and life have been keeping me away from my pens and it has not felt great. After getting a super exciting rejection from a publisher, I struggled to re-write a story and now I’m stuck. That is also not a great feeling. In response, I tried my experiment. I used the bathroom, made my tea, got my music, wrapped myself in warm, knitted attire, and donned my motivational jewelry. I sat down with a timer to write for at least 31 minutes.

How did it go? Pretty well. Over two days of this, I wound up writing for over an hour each day. I wrote over 500 words on a new project and cut over 1200 words from an earlier project that I’m endeavoring to polish. Rather than engage in any more revenge bedtime procrastination and risk more bouts of Lhermitte’s sign, I’m pausing on a high note. I do feel accomplished. Even if I spent a lot of time researching random things like plants from the Devonian period, quadrants of the Milky Way, and the scientific names of sundry invertebrates, I actually did write and it feels elementally good. It is possible to write through the crud. I’ve done it two days in a row and I can do it more again.

Poetry in motion by E.A. Schneider

Are you getting to write or create, dear pond readers? How do you push through motivational blocks when times are cruddy?

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

Wingspan by E.A. Schneider