No post today…

…I just wanted to share a photo I took during a day when I found myself going in a direction I did not consciously choose for myself. The unexpected image, I decided, was pleasing to my eye. I even came around to admitting that the situation that led me to being able to take this picture was worth being in, after all.

There’s obviously more to this story, but I already said I wasn’t going to post anything, just a photo that I enjoyed taking.

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Crawling Back Into My Own Mind

The sub-title of my blog, “Crawling into the Writing Mind of Steve Husk,” was inspired by a quote made by a former co-worker.

Back when my short story “Exhaust” first came out, the Senior VP of the company I was working for asked one of the business managers if he had read my latest literary offering; the manager showed a laughing grin and said: “No…I can’t crawl into Steve’s mind.”

I recognized the statement for what it was: a polite way of saying he had no intention of reading my story.

Here’s the tripped part: if I felt any feelings of disappointment or rejection after hearing that, I didn’t notice; I suspect they were overrun and otherwise unnoticed by my celebratory realization that his words weren’t too dissimilar from comments I’ve heard positively attributed to me several times before. I’ve actually had people tell me they checked out my works because they were intrigued by the challenge of crawling inside my mind to see what was going on in there. That sort of thing makes me smile.

Along those lines…I don’t know how many people will catch the difference between “writing what’s on my mind” and “writing what’s inside my mind.”

In my recent past, I feel as if I’ve been doing too much of the former. Reacting to what I see and what I experience with words that reflect. Most of those efforts delved no farther or deeper than where I already was. Not many of those efforts meant much to me once that brief wave subsided.

I have since challenged myself to get back to the latter. Expanding on my evolving beliefs and experiences with words marinating in passion and conviction. Even months after penning those thoughts, their flavor is just as mouth-watering to my soul.

To make this happen on a more habitual basis, I’ve been studying certain topics that demand self-evaluation.

Honest self-evaluation.

Not many people are up for that kind of a challenge.

An essay I stumbled across dealing with the fear of failure tasked me to pick up a pen and write about how that type of fear relates to me. I discovered a few tidbits about my personality and my tendencies that I never really paid attention to before…which is probably true because, whenever I saw a dark corridor in my mind bearing a “Fear of Failure” sign, I went the other way. This time, I’m glad I crawled those few extra yards inside my own mind. Now, with my hands filled with acknowledgement and wisdom, I can stand back up and share something previously unknown or unconsidered with those who wish to take the challenge of crawling in here with me.

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Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 – WINNER!

Yep! All hail to what I just did! I completed my first Camp NaNoWriMo challenge yesterday with a total word count of 50,098!

But, that’s not even half of what I’m excited about. Consider this: I was over 6,800 words behind schedule just fifteen days to go. Part of me said there was no way I was going to make up that deficit in such a short time, especially not with my job and personal schedule battling my writing pursuits for my attention. But, the part of me I actually listen to reminded me that I don’t like to be defeated by opponents that really have no business defeating me, so I reconnected with my writing spirit for inspiration. That’s when the avalanche of words came out of me. And, those were some damned good words, too.

Kinda cool, huh? And, yet…that’s still not the best part of my experience. During this time of reconnection, I discovered a few things about my writing self that I truly believe will make a huge difference going forward. Of course, the best way for me to find out how right I am about such a belief is to keep writing. So, if you will excuse me…

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Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 – What’s Going On So Far

I suppose I should update what I’m doing.

Considering I started this spring’s Camp NaNoWriMo escapades with no true focus on what kind of a story I wanted to write, I chose at the last second to work on short pieces instead of one specific story. After eleven days, this is where I’m at:

  • I’ve started a new short story that takes place in a paranormal-esque setting. It’s my first time delving into this sub-genre, so there have been some odd thoughts running through my mind these past eleven days. I kinda like that sensation.
  • I’ve come up with a new story to add to the Metzgerhund Retreat…which is a series I temporarily lost interest in. This new idea might have brought back the interest.
  • I’m penning a few thoughts and scenarios for an alien species I plan to use in a few upcoming stories.
  • I’ve also come up with some freestyle material. What I will ultimately do with it is anybody’s guess.

That’s what’s going on so far. Of course, this time, next week, I might be working on something entirely different. Thus is the randomness in my life.

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Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 – An Invitation To Write

I’m apprehensive about committing to this spring’s edition of Camp NaNoWriMo, mainly because I’m not even certain I’ll have the kind of time necessary to reach the 50K word mark.

Part of this apprehension, I’m thinking, comes from my horrible performance during last November’s NaNoWriMo run. We were short-handed at work during the first half of the month, and I signed up to cover many of the resulting empty shifts. I took my NaNoWriMo notebook to work and wrote as much as I could during the few minutes of break time I had, but I was falling behind my target word count at an embarrassing pace, to the point where I was more than 10,000 words behind schedule.

And that’s about the time where I was ‘promoted’ to a new position.

And that’s about the time I stopped participating in NaNoWriMo completely.

I wasn’t really that bummed about how things turned out; reading through what few words I did write down, I realized my supposed story was going absolutely nowhere, anyway. Each page was essentially a different topic. Instead, I went back to working on my other works in progress.

Just the other day—and for the first time since last November—I cracked open that NaNoWriMo notebook with fresh eyes. I still couldn’t find a discernible direction, but the overall result gave me an idea of what I can do this time around: I will create a series of short stories.

Keep this in mind, though: I reserve the right to change my mind a few dozen times before April 1.

Also keep this in mind: I’m still at that job I was ‘promoted’ to last November, so I still run the risk of having the same lack of hours to write as I did back then.

But, keep this other point in mind: this is an invitation to write, so I’m taking it.

As if I really need an invitation.

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Writing-esque Randomations

For about the past month and a half, I have been studying more than I have been writing. I’ll probably share what I’ve been learning and discovering in a future Bloggathah post; for now, suffice it to say that these studying exploits have led to me writing a lot more. Don’t look so surprised.

Earlier this week, I acquired a roll top desk. It’s not very big or all that extravagant, but it used to belong to my dad, and that makes it a highly treasured addition to my writing studio. Now…where in my writing studio I’m going to position it is TBD.

With me finally getting the hang of my (relatively) new job and (somewhat) settling into my new (less than a year) neighborhood, I’m thinking it’s time for me to go back to taking walks with a digital audio recorder. I’m surprised—almost disappointed—that I somehow lost track of how much fun of an activity that was for me. I’ve still got dozens of hours worth of digital files where I ran my mouth about story ideas; most of those ramblings will never lead to the written word, but playing them back and hearing the wound up joy in my voice has now officially motivated me to record a few dozen more hours worth of (potential) ideas.

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Stephen King made a profound proclamation to all those who want to be writers:

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

If it were possible for me to agree with Mr. King’s statement more than 100%, I would. Reading opens the mind to other knowledge and other perspectives…which, for a writer, offers more options. And I very much like options. Especially when I write.

My issue is that I’ve almost always let my dyslexia convince me that reading was too uncomfortable and unnerving—and, by extension, too unnecessary—to become a habitual part of my everyday life. And, although I never gave it much thought until a few years ago, I’m sure ADD also played a part in keeping the book from in front of my face.

But, when it came to deciding how important a writing career was to me, I made a proclamation to myself:

“I want this.”

Ergo, I began making the time to read.

Dyslexia and ADD still piss me off to this day, so I don’t read as fast or as often as I’d like, but I am determined to maintain the proper tool box that will assist me in attaining my writing desires…and the options that go with it.

So, I pose this to my fellow writers: what are you reading right now?

To my non-writing friends: same question.

Answering “Your blog, Steve!” will, of course, score you some points.

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