July 26, 2010

Writing Like Crazy: More Heatstroke than Pen Strokes

I've been on a bit of a tear writing-wise, though it's unclear how it will manifest itself in terms of publication. Can't be bothered with fretting over what will make the cut and what won't, so it's best just to keep hammering away at the keyboard. But, man oh man, this heat has been crazy. To be more precise, the humidity is what's killin' me. There have been days so hot this month that my brain has shorted out. By two in the afternoon, my thought processes would become mired down, it's as if my brain got caught in a tar pit.

Any writer who minds the heat will probably know what I mean when I say that I've tried writing in the blistering heat and wound up staring at the page in a stupor. I thought the winter had given me seasonal effective disorder. This summer has been chipping away at me without mercy. Now I know how those polar bears in the zoos must feel.

One trick that's helped me has been writing rather than typing. My jalopy of a computer is set up in the hottest room in the house--my bedroom. Heat rises from the first floor to my room, plus the desktop PC throws out its own heat, and since I don't have air conditioning my little oscillating fan has been working overtime. So, while writing I've been retreating to cooler areas of the house with a pen and writing pad to get my stories down. It's a slower process, and a messier one too. The stories are very disjointed from page to page with me writing down whatever pops into my head at that moment. Then, when I can bear an extended session at the computer at night, I hammer out a more coherent version of the story on Open Office.

Writers always talk about routines, finding a rhythm in their writing process, but I wonder if the seasons and the temperature mess with them too. How about you? If you write, do you find the heat and humidity act as a speed bump? Or, are you one of those freaks of nature who thrives during a heatwave?

Side-notes: I thought I was going to have to wait a year for my latest short story acceptance, "The Stand-Ins," to be published. As it turns out, Pill Hill Press is wasting no time in preparing Zero Gravity: Adventures in Deep Space for publication. I've given the story another going over, which I guess you call copy editing--the lingo is something I'm still unfamiliar with--and the anthology should be available for purchase in the not-too-distant future. You can get a peak at the cover and table of contents by clicking HERE.

I have a piece of flash fiction entered in the latest Shock Totem contest, called Whipflash. The writing prompt was a very strange, very macabre song. I didn't much care for the song personally, but it did act as a decent prompt to spark the imagination. And judging from the other entries in the contest, my fellow writers took some very inventive turns with their creative license. Results for the contest should be announced in another week or so, I think, so fingers crossed.

Clarity of Night has a new flash fiction contest open right now, titled Uncovered. The last time they hosted a writing contest I managed to walk away with an honorable mention for my story. I wonder if I can match or better that result. Given the prizes up for grabs, I sure hope so.

I'm also putting the finishing touches on three short stories to submit to different anthologies, all due around the end of the month. There is a short story contest hosted by Pill Hill Press, designed for their anthology, Flesh & Bone: Rise of the Necromancers. Then there's an anthology called Specters in Coal Dust by Woodland Press, involving coal mine ghost stories. And finally, I have a story in mind for Blood Bound Books and their anthology, Rock and Roll is Dead: Dark Tales Inspired by Music. No telling if any of my submissions will make the cut, but the themes for all three anthologies drew me and I had a fun time cooking up each short story.


  1. Goodness you are busy. The cover for Zero Gravity looks cool. :D