IG Writers December Challenge

IG Writers December Challenge

Happy Sunday!

I just have to share this Instagram (IG) Writers December Challenge that I came across at midnight, created by  @normalchey on IG

It’s a great way to look at your writing life by posting everyday of December for the challenge listed.  It’s also a great way to get into posting on a regular basis so that you can connect with other writers.

Check me out on Instagram  @hbnorell on IG

Have fun with this, it’s a joyous month to celebrate you as a writer!

NaNoWriMo Goal Trackers

NaNoWriMo Goal Trackers

Are you on a writing roll and you don’t want to stop because it’s built into your daily life? The problem is you need a way to keep track of your word count just like on Nano.  This  helps to keep you accountable as you see the stats of your daily word count progress. Hold onto your keyboards – problem solved!  NaNoWriMo has just introduced Goal Trackers!  I’m totally jumping up and down for this! Keep track of your goals just like we do during November Novel Month on NaNoWriMo.  Go to ‘My NaNoWriMo’, then click on ‘Goal Trackers’.  Create your title, timeline and word count goal.  I have already started mine for December, it may be a lesser goal but still a goal of writing everyday.

Happy Writing!





Day of the Dead: a Poem

Day of the Dead: a Poem

It’s become a regular thing for us to free-write at our semi-weekly meetings. We often choose several words randomly out of books, usually just by pointing at a page. The words for this poem were [machine, skeleton, breakfast, accident, engine]. Where do poems come from? Who knows, but I’m particularly proud of this one. I did a little bit of editing after the meeting: took out a lot of gerunds (-ing nouns), replacing some adjectives, tidying up some of my punctuation, but overall, the feel and the theme of the poem are the same as when I wrote it. I hope you enjoy it. Please leave your thoughts in the comments!

Day of the Dead

Gears grind

Smoke fills the air

The people scatter

And the fire glows

The coals burn hot

The bellows bow in and out

The man digs his shoulders

The shovel scrapes the earth

Moving amongst the belts and wires

Shadows melt and reappear

While the heat builds, wavers.

Windows high above

Show the night sky, its blue-black

Scrubbed and grey, a few stars peek from behind the smoke

The constellations are skeletons of their former selves

Swirling in the sky and nearly collapsing

Sugar skulls for Day of the Dead,

They lick the ash from the moon as they travel by

On their way west

They will eat a breakfast feast:

Brunch with the saints.

The stars depart as the sun struggles over the cloud-choked horizon

Dragging itself home like an old, accident-prone alley cat

Who can’t quite find its feet—instead takes a tumble before slinking across the sky

And we, the night shift, the machine,

the parts of the machine, the engine and its pistons,

The cogs and the coal,

Stumble to the nearest bar for steak and eggs and a cold High Life beer;

Sold on the dream that we won’t hold, the machine that runs us instead.

Wednesday Night Prompt

Wednesday Night Prompt

The Skirts Up Writers get together every other Wednesday to write together and support one another in our writing and editing pursuits.

Lately we have been doing the following: each of us writes down a word or two on slips of paper. All the slips go into a hat, and are drawn out one at a time. We take 2-3 minutes to write, incorporating the words into our writing. It’s simple and works to jog our creativity.

Here’s my attempt from last week. It’s a little dark, but thoughtful. Enjoy!

She had many habits. She considered herself a collector of habits, some were good and some were bad. The good habits, like running, kept her going. The bad habits, like smoking, were just remnants of past days. There were also the little rituals that you could call habits as well: brushing her teeth starting from the same side of the mouth every time, or putting on her lotion in the same order every morning: upper then lower back, belly, breasts, right leg, left leg, left arm, right arm, hands, face.

Habits were what made her day happen. She began and ended her day with them. They were good in the morning: starting off with a cup of coffee and three pages of her journal. Two or more sun salutations, depending on how sore she was, and a little meditation. Towards evening, it all started to unravel, maybe because she had made so many decisions in her day, or maybe, like a new baby, she just had no self-control.

She really wanted to pull it all together. She wanted to make good decisions and encourage good habits: running, eating well, writing her fictions in the evening. But the beer called, and the porch awaited. There were books to read and stories to watch on TV. So much sloth to endulge in. So much avoidance to be done.

Is it really avoidance if you know you’re doing it? If it’s conscious and purposeful? Or at that point is it just procrastination? When we, as consenting adults, look at the beautiful things we could do with our lives and put our hands out toward them saying, “No. I’d rather fill this coffee cup with whiskey and ice and sit on the porch. I’d rather smoke this pack of cigarettes and watch the fireflies. I would rather surf Twitter and Facebook and some tabloid websites. I would rather consume this beautiful world, break it down and spit it out again, breathe it out of my black lungs with the tar of the cigarette smoke, than actually create something new and beautiful.”

So, once again, she opens the cupboard and pulls the white coffee cup down off the shelf. The one with the handle that’s cracked right where it joins at the top. She moves quietly to the freezer, even though she knows that pulling ice from the bin will make noise and alert him to her movements. She looks again at the box of girl scout cookies sitting in the freezer. What if she ate those instead? Would she feel better? Probably not, and it would interfere with the taste of the whiskey anyway. She closes the door, making sure that the old seal takes.

Pouring, she is less than careful, because the more it slops the less she can blame herself for the over-pour. It’s going to make her sick, this last drink of the night. She can already feel her stomach churning at the sugar, but she can also smell the burn in her nostrils, and that feels good.

Picking up her cigarettes, she walks by him. “You going outside?” He says. He tries to sound non-judgemental, but it’s hard to do that when you’ve made yourself so tough for so long.