Shut Up & Write! 30-Day Writing Challenge

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

So I completed this challenge yesterday. Well, I didn’t totally complete it because I skipped a few of the exercises. Only a few, though. And in some cases, I went back and did them. The challenge really helped me get my act together as far as my writing practice goes.

The e-mail announcing the day’s writing exercise arrived in my Inbox at 10:00 am every day in April. I changed my morning routine around and dedicated time for writing as soon as I got the e-mail.

The exercises took me an hour or more to do, which I thought was great. I really got into doing them. Most of it isn’t my best writing, but there are snippets that I can take advantage of and maybe put into a new story. (Note that this challenge wasn’t just for fiction, but for non-fiction and poetry, as well.)

Normally, I write on my computer. I can keep up with my thoughts better when I type. For the challenge, I did it in longhand. Maybe because it feels more organic to write on paper? Or maybe it was part of the instructions? Lol, I don’t remember.

And that’s part of the problem with writing on paper–I’d often forget an idea that came to me seconds ago, before I had a chance to write it down. It’s so frustrating and I attribute this memory loss to having ECT. Anyway, I had a great pen and journal to use!

I’m really glad I did this and hope they have more challenges coming soon. If I hear of anything I will, of course, spread the word!


Can you write for 30 days straight?

The New Bipolar Barb

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Hey, everyone! You may have noticed my blog’s new look. I’m using a different theme because I’ve reached a turning point in my journey with both bipolar and blogging. And I was getting tired of the old template lol.

As many of you know, my depression is currently in remission. My blog chronicles my battles with bipolar. But now that the depression is at bay, I don’t have to fight a battle at the moment. I’m relearning (I’ve been in remission before) how to live with bipolar disorder, without the depression.

And that’s the new direction my blog is taking. I’ve given myself permission to write anything I want besides bipolar and depression, because bipolar people live “normal” lives and do “normal” things, too. We’re really not much different from non-bipolar people. We struggle with our moods; other people struggle with other things. This decision allows me to expand my ideas of what to write about. Hopefully this will keep me from being stuck.

The blog theme I chose is a whimsical one, with drawings of Post-It notes to separate each section, and has an overall writerly feel. It’s also the template I’ve been using on my author page, barbnatividad.com. Now they  match!

Being Stuck

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Photo on VisualHunt

Please tell me I’m not the only one who hits a point in a piece I’m writing and gets stuck! Also, I can’t be the only one to revise a story (or other work) a zillion times and become tired of said story. Seriously, I have a hard time even reading, let alone finishing, my story, “Empty Nest,” because I’m stalled and sick of reading it, and I’ve been working on it for years! Well, okay, on and off I’ve been working on it, but not for 5 straight years (or how ever many years it’s been since I wrote the first draft). It’s like I take a year on; I take a year off.

What helped me to get unstuck (this time around–other times was sheer will!) was taking an online writing class. It was a generative course, in which doing the assignments and exercises help you start something new, whether it’s a poem, short story, novel, essay, memoir. Story Studio Chicago (this is NOT an ad) is the place that runs the class. They also have in-person classes, but since my anxiety won’t allow me to attend a “real life” class, online works so much better. The only thing is that writing classes aren’t cheap. They’re usually $200 or so for a 4- or 5-week class, and more ($300 or $400 for a longer class (12 weeks, maybe?). But if you can swing it, it is SO worth it.

Since taking that class, I’ve started many new stories. The problem is, I still have to finish “Empty Nest” and my other story, “Lucky Charm,” neither of which I’ve touched in months, if not a year. I’m stuck. On the other hand, I have (as I mentioned in my last post), been writing every day since the class began. I just can’t get myself to revise these stories. Maybe I’ll need to use sheer will again, but I don’t know if that’s a sustainable practice.


Do you ever get stuck in your writing? How do you become unstuck? Do you ever get tired of any of your stories/essays/poems, etc.?

Writing Goals & Writing Practice

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As I mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve been maintaining a writing practice that consists of beginning writing around 10:00 am every morning, which I’ve been doing for 3 weeks. and going for at least an hour. There are several things that I’m working on:

  • going through many stories I started 5 years ago and that I completely forgot about, in order to see if I can salvage anything;
  • tinkering with some of the writing assignments from the writing class I just took;
  • a short story called “Empty Nest,” which is close to being finished (actually it is finished but it has a “safe” ending, according to my writing coach, that doesn’t really make readers think);
  • sending said story out for publication in May/June.

There are actually 2 (that I can think of) stories that have “safe’ endings and need just a little more revision. I’ve stalled working on both. It’s not that I’m afraid to submit my work to literary journals once they’re finished; it’s…I don’t know what it is. I’ll have to think about it.

I’d also like to maintain my blog on a regular basis instead of disappearing for 3 or more months at a time! Whether this means writing every day, every week, or every month, but I’m not going to pressure myself into writing every day. I’ve run out of ideas to write about, which is part of the reason for my blogging hiatus.

I couldn’t write about depression because I wasn’t depressed. I guess you don’t have to be depressed to write about depression, but the object of my blog was to chronicle my battle with bipolar. Now I think my blog focus is living with bipolar because obviously, the disease isn’t going anywhere and I still have to manage it.


Do you have plans for your blog (if you have one)? Do you have a writing practice? What are you working on?

Flash Fiction Class

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I’ve always wanted a manual typewriter! Photo on VisualHunt.com

I signed up for a flash fiction writing class that started earlier this month. It’s online, and the lessons are presented once a week for 5 weeks. Flash fiction are stories that are very, very short, usually 1000 words or less.

When I first started writing fiction, I tried my hand at flash but was unsuccessful, because my stories weren’t stories — they were vignettes. Basically, they lacked a plot and so the action went nowhere. They were just moments in the story’s time.

Because I haven’t been writing these past months, I decided to give this a try. The online format makes it so much easier for me to read the lessons and write the assignments. I don’t have to leave my house to do it, or be around other people. However, there’s interaction between my classmates (and me) because of the nature of an online course.

So far, I’ve sat at my desk every morning and wrote. Because of this class, I now have 3 or 4 drafts for possible flash pieces. Mainly, I’m glad I’m writing every day. I’m hoping this will lead me back to blogging.

Still doing well mentally.