The Funny Thing About Writing

You know what’s interesting about writing? When you are writing and you suddenly start thinking about how to motivate yourself. That leads you to searching google for ways to motivate you to write. Time passes and then you realize you’ve been spending all of your time looking at ways to motivate yourself rather than actually writing.

Things will always get in the way of writing. Whether it’s something silly like that or life things getting in the way, they will always get in your way. You might convince yourself that there is no way you’ll be able to write because of what is going on. The thing is, it’s important that you write anyway. You need to prove to yourself that you can write through anything, even the worst times of your life. Setting aside that twenty minutes a day to write is the one reprieve you have from the world and everything it throws at you.

It doesn’t matter how little the time is that you give yourself to write: every second counts. When you write things that you hate and know won’t be in the final draft, at least you wrote something down. Editing is there for a reason.

That leads me to the itching desire to go back and fix things that you know need to be fixed. Maybe you were having an off day and the writing is lackluster. Maybe there is a glaring plot hole that completely messes up everything with your story. As long as you know where these mistakes are, you can easily fix them after the story is complete. For plot holes, you’ll know what it is and be able to have a fix that you can use for the rest of the story. Fixing it in that moment isn’t completely necessary. Instead, jot it down on that page or in a notebook where you keep all of your notes. Whatever you use to plan out your story (no matter how little is planned) is where those fixes would be listed.

I have found that writing about this actually helps me focus on what I want to do with writing and motivates me to write. They may just be my thoughts about writing in general, but they still help me get that extra drive to write. Whatever your vice is to keep writing, do it. For me, it’s writing about my thoughts that are keeping me from writing. Find what motivates you to write and go for it.

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Camp NaNoWriMo 2017!

This year marks my first year participating in Camp NaNoWriMo! I’ve attempted the regular NaNoWriMo the past two years, but haven’t met the goal of 50,000 words either time. For this April, I plan on adding at least 10,000 words to the novel I started in November, which I think is a reasonable goal. I wrote almost 18,000 words in November, so 28,000 is a lot better than where I started. If I meet my original goal early on in April, then I’ll add 5 to 10 thousand more words on my goal.

The biggest motivation I have to do the best I can this April is the fact that I want to finish my novel. I’ve had this idea for nearly four years and I just want to get it written down, even if I really hate certain parts.

For more motivation, I printed out the first ten pages of what I have so far, but I’m not allowed to touch them. Instead, I have to wait until I complete my novel. Then, I can go in and edit them. I already know of some of the stuff I want to cut out, but I won’t do it until I actually finish the novel.

Every week, if I feel as though I’ve written enough, I’ll print some more pages out and put them somewhere to wait. For some reason, I had such a huge motivation after printing the first ten pages, so I know I’ll keep writing this until I actually finish.

This April will be a huge help in getting me back into the swing of writing daily. Even though I’m working crew on a theatre production throughout April, I will find time every day to write at least a page, if not more. The great thing is that I’ve already written four pages today. Motivation is a wonderful thing.

Being a Freelance Writer

There’s the word that a lot of people seem to not like: Freelance. It means someone thinks highly enough of their skills that they will be willing to do that skill for you. Sometimes, they turn out to not be as great as they make themselves out to be.

I consider myself a freelance writer. I’ve done some work in the past and plan to do more in the future. Am I the most talented writer out there? No. Am I quick to get the job done? Yes.

Freelance writing is more than just getting some extra, supplemental money. It’s making sure you deliver on your promise to your client and write to the best of your ability, even if you know nothing about the content you’ll be writing about. I’ve had to research for a lot of subjects I know little to nothing about. Some of it was dry and some of it was interesting.

There’s one thing that needs to be clear: not all freelance work is easy and not all freelance work is impossible. You know what your skills are. Don’t try to make yourself out to be a fantastic writer in order to get clients. That will likely just make no clients come to you. They want someone genuine, not fake.

If freelance work sounds like something you want to do, make sure your ready. Take some classes, research what goes into it, and look at other freelancers. See what they do that makes them successful. If you want, you can better your skills before you start the work. Your potential clients will thank you for being the best you can be.

Flash Fiction – Don’t Move

By: Samantha Keeney

It was uncomfortable. My hip dug into the middle of the two seats and my leg had fallen asleep. Mark’s arm pushed into my back, his shaking hand resting on mine.

Mark’s hand suddenly gripped mine. The silence around us was broken only by the undeniable rasps coming from behind the car. They were far away, but we both knew where they were headed. Time was up.

The door rattled. A man was trying to get in. His hair was matted to his face, dried blood cracking on his cheek. I couldn’t help but stare at him. The wild, barbaric look pierced through me.

Mark shook his head violently and looked away. I stared at the man, who pulled out a gun and tapped the glass with it. His other hand came into view, three fingers up.

His ring finger went down.

My hand was white. Mark wouldn’t, or couldn’t, let go. I tried to soothe him, but there wasn’t enough room.

His middle finger went down.

I wanted to close my eyes. Everything would fade away and it would be okay. I wouldn’t have to see Mark’s pained face. I could let my imagination do everything for me.

His index finger went down.

The man disappeared below the window. The gun was useless as they piled on top of him. One of them looked in the window.

Mark and I held each other as the world around us was covered in shadows.

Writing is Hard

Everyone in the professional writing world says to make yourself write every day. It helps keep your creativity running and helps you get into a zone where you will write when you need to. It’s just so hard to do.

First, I’m a college student, so when I get done with classes, I don’t want to think about doing more writing. Usually, I want to do something like play video games or watch TV, anything to get my mind off of school. Plus, I’m a creative writing minor, so I get lots of writing in anyway.

Second, when I sit down to write, I usually write a lot if I’m in the mood. Other times, I’ll sit down and literally nothing will come out. The funny thing is that if I’m writing something for school that has a deadline, I tend to write it with little to no problem. Maybe I just need a deadline to make me write.

Third, I’m honestly just lazy. The amount of times I’ve started a new story is astonishing. I tend to get bored with the story I’m writing or I find that it’s not going anywhere, so I start again with something new. There are a couple of stories I always seem to come back to, but I never finish them. Also, there’s one story that I started a sequel on when I haven’t even finished the first story. I know how it ends, it’s just the getting there that’s difficult. I really want to finish it, but it’s on my laptop which isn’t currently with me. I think that’s preventing me from writing more to the sequel, which I started the other day.

I guess I really answered my own question while writing this. I need to set goals for myself and stick with them. For now, it will just be writing a certain amount every day. I’m going to start off small, say like 500 words or so. I think I’m also going to set long-term goals, like finishing a certain amount of my novel by a certain time. I could even say that I want the other novel done by the new year, which gives me a couple of months. Then, I won’t touch it for a little while before editing, which will be tons of fun. Since I haven’t actually finished a novel like that, it’s going to be an adventure.

For anyone out there who has the same issues as me, I hope we can both push past them and make this work. Writing has always been a huge part of my life and I don’t want to let it waste away.

Bedtime Ritual – Story by Samantha Keeney

Everyone had rituals. All of these rituals were different, yet all of them were important. Some were purposeful while others were accidental. Some happened without a person’s consent.

Bedtime had a new meaning for her. She closed her laptop after a full day of surfing the web and watching Netflix. She found her phone charger in the abrupt darkness of her room and plugged in her nearly drained phone. With a smile, she found her bed and hopped up onto it. The soft, velvety feel of the blanket beneath her newly shaven legs brought an even wider smile to her face. It was one of the best feelings in the world, to rub cleanly shaven legs on blankets. There was nothing stopping the elegant slide of the blanket.

Suddenly, her mind took a completely different path and pulled her toward her ritual. She felt the story flood into her body and transform her to a completely different time and place. She closed her eyes and when she opened them, she was in a school. Her best friend was walking up to her, a smile full of teeth on her face. But before her best friend could come up to her completely, her boyfriend stepped in front of her, locking her lips in a longing embrace.

When he pulled away, she saw the red-rimmed eyes. They became that way recently, too recently for her liking.
“Are you okay?” she asked, concern lacing her voice. Her boyfriend made to nod, but changed his mind and told the truth.

“No. Can we talk?”

To say the least, she was surprised by this. He always hid his emotions in a box in the back of his mind. He lightly grabbed her hand and pulled her towards an empty room. From her peripheral vision, she saw her best friend looking at her, obvious anger in her face. She never liked being second to the boyfriend, but she would have to deal. The boyfriend was much more important in this instance.

“What happened?” she asked, worry spinning in her stomach. There was another emotion too, but she wasn’t yet sure what it was.

After taking a deep breath, her boyfriend looked her square in the eyes and said –

The world dissipated and the girl on her bed felt another world being knitted together like a blanket. This time, she found herself in the woods with two boys and two other girls. They had been walking for a while, looking for something.

“We have been walking forever, Scott. Can’t we take a break?” the boy named Erik asked. He was holding Karen’s hand. She had a nervous look on her face, but the other girl, Mindy, looked excited. Scott, who seemed to be leading the group, stopped abruptly and turned around.

“Erik, we have to find the body before dark. Unless, of course, you’d rather spend the night in the woods tonight. By the looks of it, your girlfriend would have a pretty big problem with that.” Scott said, annoyance dripping from every word he said. Erik gritted his teeth, but said nothing. Mindy, however, stepped in.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I would be down for spending the night here. It would be pretty cool to see if any of the legends are true.” Mindy smirked at Karen’s wide eyes. Erik was about to step in, but the girl, Madison, stepped in instead.
“You’re the only one crazy enough to spend the night in the middle of these woods without any gear. We hardly brought enough water and snacks for this journey. I say, if we don’t find the body within the next twenty minutes, we head back.” Madison declared. Karen smiled at her, but Scott got angry.

“No one asked your opinion. We will keep searching until we find the body.” With that, Scott turned around and continued walking. Madison felt anger spark in her body. Just because they once dated didn’t mean Scott needed to act like a dick towards her. He was the one in the wrong with their breakup, so he needed to own up to himself. Of course, that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. Especially not while on the hunt for a dead body.

Scott saw on the news that a limb from a dead body was found. He made the assumption that it was in the local wildlife preserve, since it was the largest forest around. It would be an easy spot to hide a body. Also an easy place to kill said body. After he saw this, he enlisted them to help him find the body. Madison was really beginning to regret her decision to go along with it. What if the killer was still around? Who knows how they killed the person, whether it was a gun, a knife, their hands, or some other weapon. Maybe the killer was seriously addled and made some elaborate and sick way to kill them.

“I think I see something up ahead. Come on!” Scott took off on a jog before the rest could comprehend what was going on. They followed with a faster walk.

Before they reached him, an arrow came out of nowhere and shot into Scott’s back. They stood rooted to the ground as he fell forward. Karen let out a scream, Mindy and Erik ran to Scott, but Madison looked up, fear etched onto her face.
Up on a branch above her was a person, mud caking their body, bow in hands, quiver on back. They were too far away for Madison to get a good look at them, but she watched as they slowly looked down at her.

Madison tore her eyes away, grabbed Karen’s arm, and ran towards the others. Karen was starting to completely lose it, but Madison pulled her along.

“We need to stop the bleeding. Erik, take off your shirt, we can use that as a towel.” Erik struggled to take off his shirt, but eventually got it off and threw it to Mindy, who wrapped it around the base of the arrow and put pressure on it.

“They’re up in the tree, we need to get out of here!” Madison yelled, still pulling Karen. Erik and Mindy looked up at her, then up in the tree. She watched their faces contorted with fear as she felt Karen stagger and fall beside her. Madison looked beside her and felt her heart jump to her throat. Three arrows stuck out of Karen, one penetrating her neck. The gargling noises she was making made Madison’s stomach flip.

“NO!” Erik ran to her side, tears welling in his eyes. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know how to help her. It was evident by his shaking body. Madison felt a hand grip her wrist and felt herself being pulled away. Mindy was running full speed in the opposite direction from the bloodshed. They ran past Scott, whose blood was beginning to seep into the ground around him. Madison pushed the tears as far back as she could. She made her mind become a one track mind: survive.

Like a snap of the fingers, this world also disappeared as another world filled into the girl’s mind. She smiled at the familiarity of the world she was stepping into. She always loved continuing the story of Ciara and her world.

This time, it picked up with Ciara just leaving the graveyard. The fight against the hordes of monsters had taken her best friend, whom she had just buried. She felt like her body was slowly dissolving. She didn’t have any fight left in her. There had been too many people she had to bury, yet she was still somehow alive. Even after being shot and nearly bleeding to death waiting to be found, she was still alive.

“Ciara, could you please look at me?” Not even the sound of Mark’s voice could bring an emotion into her body. She let hand caress the blade that was newly attached to her belt, which had been her best friend’s weapon. Ciara turned and faced Mark, who looked as bad as she felt. It had been such a long battle already. They both just wanted to be done with all of it.
“She fought. She went against what Aaron said and managed to go down like a hero. If it wasn’t for her…” Mark trailed off, but he didn’t have to say any of it. Ciara knew that if her best friend hadn’t done what she did, it would be likely that none of them would have survived. She took the attention off the rest of them and placed it on herself, allowing the rest to kill their way to her, but she was already gone.

“I know, Mark. You don’t have to tell me that. I know that she saved us. That doesn’t make her or any of the others we’ve lost any less dead.” Ciara hadn’t meant to sound as morbid as she did, but she didn’t have any reason to care. It was the truth. Nothing would be able to bring any of them back.

Mark was at a loss for words, so Ciara took that as a sign to go back to camp. She didn’t want to be in the graveyard any longer than she had to be.

The short walk back to camp was going to be slightly longer this time, as three of those monsters were milling around in front of Ciara. Anger flared inside of her as she pulled out the long knife from her belt. She rushed forward and tripped the flesh-eating monster in front of her, stabbing the knife in its eye socket. She felt the movement cease and stood, watching as the other two turned towards the noise.

Before they could move, each got a slice to the neck from behind. As the bodies fell, Ciara felt her anger flare yet again at the sight of the twins, Marcus and Alissa. They had matching engraved katanas that they ‘found’ in a museum near the beginning of the invasion. Ciara was not a fan of the twins. She was convinced they would kill anyone who got in their way, alive or undead.

The twins smirked at her, Marcus saying, “You’re welcome.”

Ciara ignored him and sheathed the knife, beginning the walk to camp again. Mark caught up with her, asking her if she was alright. She nodded as they entered camp, which was a warehouse that was abandoned about a year before everything went down with the world. It was surprisingly well fortified with only a few improvements being made. There were two people to a room, and since there were only eighteen of us, it was pretty easy to divide up. The main room was where they gathered for meals and to relax when they weren’t on duty.

Now that Ciara’s best friend was gone, she was sharing with Mark. His old room partner was also killed just the other day in the same fight that her best friend was killed in.

Mark was the only person left who she had any feelings towards other than professional feelings. She had known him since the first day of the undead. He saved her from a very brutal end. Though no one would believe it now, Ciara was once a complete and utter mess. She couldn’t stop crying until she realized she needed to conserve her water, as it began to get harder and harder to find clean water. She didn’t know how to fight or have any defense at all for at least a few months. By then, she could take one down. It wasn’t until a year in that she could take one down with a single blow and without remorse.
Now, after losing so many people, her life felt empty. Everything was simply survival, which Ciara wasn’t even sure she wanted to keep fighting for.

“Want some food?” Mark asked. Ciara shook her head, causing a frown to come onto Mark’s face. He knew that she hadn’t eaten in at least a day, but he didn’t push her to eat. He left to the stash of food, leaving Ciara to herself. She sighed and decided to refill her water. As she walked towards the well, she heard a scream from beyond the gate, but she wasn’t sure where it was coming from.

Everyone’s heads turned in the various directions they believed it to come from. Suddenly, someone from the gate yelled, “Horde!”

The camp became a flurry of motion as everyone got their weapons and ran to their stations. It was then that someone yelled, “Back gate broken!”

Ciara fled her station and ran to the back, along with Mark and the twins. She stared uneasily at them, but they were too preoccupied with the sick pleasure they got from battle. Mark looked visibly paler than normal. The thought of two hordes in a matter of days was not something he was looking forward to.

As they rounded the corner, they noticed a handful of the undead coming through the gate. There were only two people defending the gate. One looked to the group of incoming help just as a mouth latched onto his face and tore the skin off. He raised his gun to his temple and pulled the trigger.

The group instantly launched into battle. The twins worked like a well-oiled machine, easily backing each other up without words. Mark went into a bit of a frenzy and shot every monster he could find in the head, at least until his clip ran out. He pulled out his machete and started violently decapitating them. Ciara pulled out her own pistol and emptied her clip into the brains of at eight of them before switching to her primary weapon, which was also a machete.

They fought hard, pushing the horde back as much as they could. Eventually, they killed off the stragglers and started to pull the bodies outside of the gate.

From the rest of the camp, they could hear some crying and grunting, probably from pulling the bodies out of camp. When they managed to completely clear their side, they found the two bodies of the people from their camp. Neither survived the fight.

The group pulled them aside from the rest and started to try and fix the gate to the best of their ability. In the end, they decided to close the bars as far as they would go and stack some boxes in front of it. They made the walk back to the rest of camp in silence.

Sorrow filled the air for the rest of the day. They lost six people, so they were down to twelve. Two people had lost their significant others, one lost a sister. The rest were simply a part of their group and would be missed.

“You’ve been bitten.”

Ciara looked up from her dinner, which she had simply been pushing around with her fork to see Aaron, the unofficial leader of their group. She looked at him in confusion. He pointed down at her ankle, where her pant leg was ripped and red with blood. The others at the table who heard him quickly got up from where they were sitting. Mark looked at her in terror.

“Get up.”

Ciara stood and backed away from the table. The whole room was silent as Aaron took out his gun and unclicked the safety, raising it to point at her forehead. Vaguely in the back of her mind, Ciara was wondering when he had time to reload his gun when he had been busy outside all day.

“Aaron, please, you can’t do this. Haven’t we lost enough people today?” Mark spoke up. No one else in the room had the same idea. “What if she isn’t bitten? What if she got hurt by something else?”

“We can’t take that risk. As you said, we’ve already lost enough people today. Would you rather it be just one or the rest of the camp?” Aaron put his finger on the trigger. Ciara looked at Mark and gave him a small smile, trying to reassure him that everything would be alright. She looked back to the gun and closed her eyes. She heard the shot. Then, there was darkness.
The girl fell back on her bed, imitating being shot in the head, but opened her eyes to look at the glowing stars on her ceiling. She may be nearly in her twenties, but her room still had glowing stars.

“The end of a saga,” she said to no one in particular. She might revisit the world again, stepping into someone else’s shoes, but she was glad to have given Ciara a proper send off.

She smiled at the ceiling and turned to look at her phone. She clicked the button and saw that it was nearing two in the morning after the initial shock of the brightness went away. With a smirk at the thought of getting up in five hours for class, she pulled the covers over her and rolled to her side, closing her eyes and wondering if any of her dreams would be as interesting as her awake imagination was.