Let’s list all the things I was going to do in October and didn’t:
- Advertise When the Lights Go Out, a Halloween-themed anthology of short stories that came out FOR FREE on October 1st. Why the need to advertise? Besides it being a kickass collection of spooky tales, my story, Behind the Door, is in it.
2. Rewrite, have it beta-read and then submit my sort-of-paranormal story for the IWSG anthology, due November 1st. Never rewrote it. Never had it beta-read. You know the rest.
3. Assist in the marketing/advertising of Rajveer the Vampire by Barbara Tarn, who has been wonderful enough to feature me as a guest author on her blog. So not only am I inefficient, but a terrible human being that doesn’t return back scratches until a solid month after it was needed. Great karma, Caitlin.
4. Submit to any of the fiction competitions on Writer’s Digest (due October 16th) or ANY RECENT COMPETITION I’VE SEEN ALL OVER THE WEB ALL THE FREAKING TIME.
I did get a haircut.
So there’s that.
I’m dropping the ball, man. I don’t know if it’s laziness or if I’m trying to keep the house actually clean or what. Damn I meant for October to be a stellar month. With writing and actually submitting and all. I guess the good news is I’m chugging away at the forth book in my series and making it not as first-drafty as it sounds right now. I get points for that. Right? Guys? Points for some dedication?
As bad as that is, I had Goodreads remind me that I’m only 60% through my challenge of reading THIRTY books this year. That’s it. Thanks, GR. Really needed that boost of confidence. Not only have I been not writing and submitting enough, I’m also sadly delusional in my yearly reading goals. Fantastic.
I’ve done it. I’ve dropped the ball. I guess that’s my insecurity this month. Ball-dropping. And the sucky truth is that there’s no good reason for it. So I want to finally live in a clean house *mother will be so proud* and go to bed at a descent hour and like, talk to human beings once in a while and maybe catch the Walking Dead every Sunday at nine–is that too much to ask? Apparently it is, because it’s that or writing and I made my choices.
IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) posts the first Wednesdays of the month and is pretty much a virtual hug for crazies by crazies. Interested in joining the writing blog hop started by Alex Cavanaugh? You can find more information here.
I’m going to do this now, since I’m already here… and you’re already here. I’m going to post a very short story I wrote for the Writer’s Digest Annual Short Story Competition due by NOVEMBER 16th. You all are my beta-readers (if you so choose to undergo this enormous task). It’s less than 1,500 words. Read it. Tell me if it sucks. Tell me how it wouldn’t suck. Tell me TO SUMBIT THIS ONE DAMNIT OR I WILL BE FOREVER CURSED BY THE GHOST OF THE SNAKE THAT BATMAN SLAUGHTERED IN THE LIVING ROOM.
The spring celebration was upon them—the Daffodils of Evergreen Field.
Each year, the flowers competed for their chance to be selected by Farmer Rick’s daughter as the March Goddess –the honor of being the first flower picked. Everyone in Evergreen Field knew that the March Goddess was not only the most beautiful flower in bloom, but the tallest-standing and sweetest-smelling—all important traits to the Daffodils. And every one of them, from seedling to fully-grown, longed for this desired achievement.
“You’re barely six inches tall,” Debbie sneered as she fluffed her long, yellow petals. “I’m the clear choice.”
“You?” Darla hissed. “Those are more orange than yellow and you know the girl prefers yellow. Look at the previous years,” she laughed with arrogance. “If anyone, it’ll be me.”
“Nonsense,” Donna sighed, as if tired of having to explain the obvious all over again. “I’m over eight inches and my aroma is the sweetest around. Everyone’s been saying it. I’m the clear choice, so you can all forget about it. There’s no use even hoping.”
Dorothy didn’t want to admit Donna was right. She was the tallest and sweetest-smelling among them, and although she didn’t mention the color of her petals, Donna’s were the sharpest shade of yellow Dorothy had ever seen. Beautiful, Donna was. And sure to be picked.
The other Daffodils spent their days soaking up the warm morning sun and preening and fluffing themselves into the late afternoon. It only helped their odds. The girl was still young and desired beautiful things, but Dorothy had no time for perfection. Only protection for her little seedling, whom she loved more than anything.
One day, the sky turned black. The winds blew harder and then a heavy gush of water fell on the Daffodils of Evergreen Field. Most curled into themselves, fearful of the hard rain breaking their smooth and perfect petals. All the time preening and fluffing wasted—how could they recover from something like this? Donna, Darla and Debbie were among the first to cower from the rain, fearful of the guaranteed damage, but Dorothy stood tall and opened her petals as wide as she could. Her seedling needed protection.
The next afternoon, much to the flowers’ dismay, the neighbor’s heavy-set Rottweiler got loose from the chain-linked fence and ran free through the yellow field. Again, the Daffodils curled into themselves, fearful of the impending damage, as the dog continually kicked up the grass and dirt with his jagged claws. Farmer Rick ran out with his shotgun but only after the Rottweiler had made a few laps. Dorothy, acting on instinct alone, stood tall and opened her petals as wide as she could—a flimsy shield, but a shield nevertheless. If she could bear the hurt, she would. And she did so willingly.
By the third day, when the Daffodils of Evergreen Field didn’t think they could take anymore, a swarm of bees descended, hungry from their travels. The greedy buzzing sent the flowers back to the ground, selfishly hiding their prized nutrients. Any other time and the Daffodils would’ve gladly accepted the visitors, but they needed time to rest and recoup. Farmer Rick’s daughter was returning home the following afternoon and they couldn’t be bothered with any more issues.
By this point, Dorothy had lost half her petals. The ones that remained were bruised, scratched, swollen, ripped and torn. Barely able to remain upright, she knew the bees would take what her little seedling didn’t have to offer, so Dorothy presented herself as the only option in the area. The bees gladly took from her and left without bothering the smaller one at her stem.
Worn, exhausted and totally defeated, Dorothy knew she had no chance at earning the title of March Goddess. She’d lost half her petals. She looked nothing like the ones that curled up and hid, protecting themselves to ensure a reining victory. No, Dorothy looked bad. The culmination of the last three days reflected in her battered appearance and fatigued existence. She wished she didn’t look like that. She’d never be selected first and she wanted to make her seedling proud. Because all seedlings were proud of their mothers when they got selected as the March Goddess. And Dorothy knew that just wasn’t her.
The following day, a welcomed sight arrived in the shape of a familiar car pulling into the driveway. It was her—the farmer’s daughter—home for a break from school. Donna, Debbie and Darla, along with the rest of the Daffodils, stretched out, preening and fluffing their perfect yellow petals. Dorothy wished she could do the same. But it was too late. With everything thrown at her, the best she could do was not fall to the ground. The best she could do was not embarrass her seedling too, too much. And when Farmer Rick’s daughter skipped out onto Evergreen Field, she paused for a moment and surveyed the beautiful yellow flowers surrounding her.
Every Daffodil held her breath, hoping and praying that they were the most beautiful—and therefore best—flower in the field. After a quiet moment of consideration, the girl scooped down and plucked Donna from the earth. Skipping back inside, the Daffodils exhaled a sad sigh. The spring celebration was over. Donna was this year’s March Goddess.
“I’m sorry,” Dorothy apologized. “I’m sorry I couldn’t make you proud.”
“But you did. You’re still standing, mommy,” DJ, her seedling said, “and you never stopped.”
****Still here? Know what would make you the BIGGEST BESTEST MOST FAVORITED PERSON OF MINE EVER? Beta read this story here. It’s a little longer (not by much) and I just found out Writer’s Digest extended their deadline until November 6th! So like, I need to make sure this doesn’t suck donkey dick before I send it in. You’re awesome. I love you. And all that other mushy stuff.
17 thoughts on “Dropping the Ball like a Boss IWSG”
Sorry October wasn’t productive for you. We all dropped the ball some times. I even missed a poetry submission to a literary magazine and dropped the ball on my current WIP rewrites, beta reading and edits that have to push back querying it to next year, which goes against my 2015 writing plans. Most we can do is not to let it get us down too much. Reorganize goals and priorities. Write and read as much as able. And hope for the best.
Exactly! All the stuff happened yesterday. It’s today. Time to start new 🙂
Oh my goodness! You made me tear up with your daffodil story! Maybe it’s the parent in me, but I loved it.
I think we all have unproductive months. I know I’ve been there. Consider it a time to recharge.
I’ll read your other story before the end of the day. My husband has a job interview today, so my schedule is screwy, cutting into the time I can be online. But I’m looking forward to reading it!
Hey, it’s too late now to say good luck so I’m crossing my fingers that your husband gets the job!
Thanks 🙂 I wrote it for my sister who is a single mother. Sometimes I don’t think she realizes how strong she is. But she read it so, maybe she has a clue now.
We all drop the ball sometimes, and beating ourselves doesn’t help anything. Make a plan to pick it back up and get moving!
Congrats on the story in the anthology! I have one in a scary anthology, too, and I say mention/market the fact that it’s not just good for Halloween but for the dark, cold, creepy months of winter…. 🙂
This is true. Halloween is not the only time for creepy stories. What’s the name of the anthology?
It’s called HORRORS: REAL, IMAGINED AND DEADLY edited by Matt Sinclair. I had a post about it a week or so ago, but I need to put it on my blog’s sidebar. Now look who’s dropping the ball? Me! 🙂
Thanks for reminding me, I so desperately need a hair cut 🙂
That was an adorable story. I don’t say this often, but it is perfect as written. Submit it immediately and don’t miss the deadline.
I too missed the IWSG anthology deadline. Ah well, there will be other opportunities. I read creepy and horror stories all year long – when I have time to read – and not just in October. If its not specific to Halloween, it doesn’t matter when its read.
This is true. But I meant to do a lot of advertising for it and I just never did 🙁 At least I am now. And thank you! I am submitting… probably next pay day.
And yes – get a haircut! I forgot how refreshing they feel 🙂
I thought “When the Lights Go Out” looks pretty cool, I picked up a copy (though now I have the Chris Jericho/Fozzy song “Lights Go Out” stuck in my head). You should have told us about it before Halloween!
I emailed you a few thoughts about the Mystery on Sanderson Street story. It was really fun!
Ball-dropper, remember? I hope you like the collection 🙂
I’ve had more than a few times of dropping the ball myself – usually when I set my aspirations ridiculously high or think I’m somehow magically going to stop being lazy on weekend mornings. >_< High aspirations are generally good, but there has to be some realism there. But the best way to deal with it, I think, is to keep going. Accept that you didn't do all you wanted to this past month, set new goals, and work toward those. Trying again beats the hell out of giving up.
Perfectly stated, Mason!
Congrats on your free anthology! I’ll have to check it out. 😀
Your daffodil story was wonderful. I hope you did submit it. It needs to be published. 🙂
Thank you so much!
I started dropping the ball over the summer. I’m used to just remembering to do things, but I over-committed and too many things just slipped out of the old brain pan. So I write lists now and put red stars on things in my in-box. I’m still behind, but things get done eventually. Good luck with writing, revising, and trying to pick up that ball again! 🙂
I haven’t even gotten my hair cut yet. You’re ahead of me :p