Day 108 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Building

I’m building a “Stories I Like” post. Each time I read a short story or a novel I read, I open up the draft post and write my thoughts on it. Because this is something new I’m doing, I can’t tell you when I’ll post it. Right now, I’m thinking that it might be every month. It could be more recent than that, though. As I’m looking to April – June, I want to increase the number of books I read.

Now, anyone who knows anything about goal setting will tell you that, that’s a horrible goal. I should have a number so that it can be tracked. And to be honest, knowing where I am in reaching a goal would make me feel better. I have been in a reading slump for so long, I don’t even know how much I can read.

I can tell you, however, that I like to read short stories during lunch since I can finish them. Getting really into a novel, just to have to set it down is aggravating.

I use this same method for building out places I’d like to visit. If I see recommendations either in a Facebook group or on another piece of social media about a place I’d like to visit, I open up a section in my OneNote projects notebook, start a section on the place and add a page. Typical pages are things like – museums, restaurants, and hotels.

If I find a good airfare, I already have a basic itinerary.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Tracking

As of Day 108, – 4/17/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

185,998 / 218,592/ 740,784

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Day 107 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Missed A Day

I missed my first day of posting to this blog, y’all. And the unfortunate part about it is that I had a blog post ready to go that now I’ll repurpose to something else. It just slipped my mind even though I did get In some words.

I’ll have to be careful in the future about weekends especially when there’s a change in my typical schedule. It’s easy to forget things. Maybe on Saturdays, I’ll finish my writing session with posting to the blog. I typically don’t do that. I write new words in the morning and then later on in the day (when it’s Monday through Friday, it’s after I log off work) I’ll post my blog post along with updating my numbers.

One thing that I’ve written before that is holding true, is that when I’m off, I’m off. As in, it’s not oh I wrote, but I didn’t exercise, or I exercised but didn’t remember to eat a piece or fruit or vegetable with each meal. It’s oh, I didn’t write and didn’t walk and didn’t eat anything with a lick of fiber.

Maybe I need to bring back the just-enough day. When my schedule changes like it’s a holiday or I’m going on a day trip or something happens, the just enough to write a page of fiction, small movements, and as I mentioned above – eat a piece of fruit or vegetable with each meal.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Tracking

As of Day 107, – 4/16/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

184,896 /216,568 / 740,784

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Weekly Short Story – Being Real

Cover Art Copyright. –  © Arenacreative | Dreamstime.com

MICHELLE SPREAD THE CONTRACT on the mesh table for review. She held it down with one hand while sipping her liquid lunch of a cappuccino with the other. In her mind, the cappuccino was both appropriate (caffeine, because it was how she had survived the early morning writing sessions for the past year) and celebratory (no using skim milk today, please Ms. Barista, gimme the whole enchilada). She resisted the smell of the grilled chicken somewhere floating in probably from one of the food trucks further down on High Street.

She needed to focus. Caffeine and the cutting wind should do the trick.

What she was about to read wasn’t a publishing contract that could change her life. No. It was just another High Street Casualty insurance claim. Just another piece of paper to process with the cool detachment of knowing that the caffeine would kick in any moment now. She could read it with the air of a professional.

She sat outside in the courtyard of the glass-and-steel high-rise, working at a table of black-and-silver meshed crisscrossed patterns. The table and chair sets were there to comfort your butt but yet easy to clean off. Perfectly functional and interchangeable, which she guessed is how most corporations viewed their employees.

The courtyard itself was an extension of the gray stone flooring from the lobby. A couple of restaurants faced the courtyard on the high rise’s main floor in the square for workers, since the building did not have a cafeteria.

She figured that because she was still in a business frame of mind on her lunch hour, sitting out here would help her view the contract—no, paperwork—with detachment. To play the same mind games she had played with herself in order to finish the novel in the first place.

She checked the first paragraph. That seemed right. Yep. Yep. Her name, address, Social Security Number, and the title of the work along with the word count and what they were publishing it for. Then she skimmed down to Rights.

She looked and blinked.

And then blinked again.

All rights? It would be basically a work for hire, but that didn’t sound right. One flat payment, no royalties, and she would and could have nothing to do with it ever again.

If she signed, it would be the same as writing procedures of how to enter information in High Street Casualty’s new customer database.

But those were not the terms the Perfectly Purple Prose’s online writers’ guidelines had said.

She scrolled through her phone contact list. Editor Chickie had said that she could call her at any time.

Chickie?

Well, that whole detachment thing went down the tubes pretty quickly now, didn’t it?

Michelle stood up and started to pace to think. She worked better, she thought better when she was in motion. She could go up to her cubicle and pace the floor. Most everyone ate lunch during the noon hour so no one would see her, and even if there were some people still around, just walking back up to the eighth floor would help her sort things out as to her next step.

But as she turned around to go toward the door to the high rise, she spotted her boss, a man with a middle-aged paunch, balding hairline, and thick glasses. He was like the nosy neighbor from a fifties television show stuffed inside a divorced man who found pleasure in his job since it was his only life. He’d gleefully showed her her house on Google Maps after she’d bought the place. Which was…creepy.

She turned back around to avoid him. He would see that she was concerned and say something, because that was the kind of thing that he did. She didn’t have the energy for him.

She turned back around to face the street. High Street was one of the main streets in town; that and Main cut the city into four equal quadrants. High was the financial district filled with skyscrapers. Main—shopping. Make your money on High and spend it on Main, was what folks said. Food trucks dotted the corners on High and on the side streets spinning from it, the silver trailers selling hot dogs, Chinese food, Mediterranean, smoothies, and just about anything else you could think of. Her nose picked up the grilled chicken smell wafting to her. It reminded her of her grandfather in North Carolina grilling during the summer.

And she needed something familiar. So, she started walking toward the smell.

Because what was she going to say about the contract if it was true about the terms? It could be a mistake. But if it wasn’t, was she really going to turn it down?

This was her dream. Her writer’s group, Romancing the Stone, gave out red roses for first sales. She’d sat there month after month, sipping watery iced tea from which the ice had melted, in a crowded Holiday Inn ballroom, smiling and clapping as the names were called.

The women, many who had joined the group after her, had stepped to the front, next to the podium, in their sundresses and cardigans, accepted a red rose, and smiled as the group’s historian snapped the picture for the email newsletter.

Michelle wanted to be in the club.

After all, when you told people that you were a writer, the next question that came was, Are you published? It was a badge, it was a sign that said, Yes, I am a real writer.

She dodged a man in a bright purple polo and khakis with a plastic bag that looked as if it contained a Styrofoam container.

She wanted to be an artist. She wanted to be real. She wanted to walk into the same Walmart where she had picked out her phone and go to the book section and see her name there. To tell someone that no, they didn’t have to go to this website that her mother was not too comfortable with or to this random magazine, but to say hey, this? This book is who I am.

You don’t go into negotiations without a game plan. And you know that “All Rights” was not something that was just a mistake. You don’t mistakenly make a grab for the whole pie instead of a piece. It was good information about the publisher that she could share with her writing group.

But if she didn’t accept the contract, she would be back to being nothing.

To being a wannabe.

The walking signal flashed from a red X to a white walking figure, signaling it was safe to walk.

She needed to think about this.

Was she willing to walk away?

If she was good enough to be published, then that meant that she was good enough to be published somewhere else.

It wasn’t just about that, though. The contract was validation that she hadn’t been wasting her time.

Michelle crossed the street, following her nose. Liquid lunch? Bump that. She needed something to fortify her. There was a line in front of the food truck; the standard khaki–and-polo crew. A couple of guys in suits—she figured the food had to be healthy because if it wasn’t, they wouldn’t be able to button their jackets because they were so tight—and the older-man T-shirt-and-jeans crowd, which said working guys probably at the construction site over on the next block.

The group’s diversity indicated quality, but it was more than that. Food brought people together, and nowhere was that more evident than at the truck it seemed. She looked closer. The truck was decorated with flowers—mums, maroon with a yellow button center and cheery in a pot—and there were no pictures or signs. No prices.

That was strange. Usually pictures of the menu offerings were posted on the side of the food truck facing the main street to draw in customers. She could smell the chicken. So, she knew that chicken was part of it. That was it, though.

Huh. There was probably a menu at the front of the truck.

She went around. No one was standing directly in front of the man there. Olive skin, spiked, black hair, and a red chef’s jacket that buttoned to the side, but that wasn’t what surprised her. It was a food truck—she could hear the sizzling of the chicken being cooked along with the honks of busy High Street. Potted mini-roses were on either side of the truck’s service opening and at the bottom, where there was usually ice for drinks to be sold, there were happy, Gerbera daisies in the same pretty maroon color as the mums that were to the side of the truck.

The man inside gave a curt nod. A ginger khaki-polo stepped up from the line to the front of the truck. He exchanged money for a plastic bag containing a Styrofoam container. The next person stepped up in line.

Red Chef Jacket Dude was not making eye contact.

She looked at the line and stepped up to the first people who looked like they were in a group. They looked like the first-job type. In five years, they would be married with one child on their way and in middle management. For now, they spent their free time at bars, with half their calories for the day probably coming from happy-hour menus.

“Excuse me,” Michelle said. “What’s the deal here?”

The shortest man in the group, who also interestingly enough was the cutest one, said, “It’s a cult.”

“A cult?”

He stuck his head out and looked up and down the street, then faced her dead-on. “Yeah. Here’s the deal. You pay ten dollars and he gives you whatever he’s cooking for the day.”

“Are you serious?” Michelle looked at his buddies in their various colors of polos plus khakis, and they grinned along. She needed clarity. “You’re telling me that you hand this man a ten-dollar bill and then he just gives you whatever he wants to give you and you do not know what it is? You’re buying lunch sight unseen?”

“Yes,” he said. “And you can’t look at him. Or talk to him. First Rule: Do Not Engage Chef.”

Now this was just going a bit too far.

He kept going, “Because he won’t like that. You give him ten dollars and he gives you a plate of food.”

She wanted to make sure that she got this right. “You give him ten dollars and he gives you a plate of food?”

He gave a quick nod. “Yep.”

It sounded silly. It sounded squirrelly, to tell the truth. She looked behind him, though, and the line just kept growing. This time it was a man wearing one of those neon green construction vests. If she wanted a plate, she better get to it. And then the wind changed and the breeze brought grilled chicken right to her nose, putting her back in North Carolina. It wasn’t hard to make the decision after that.

“Thanks,” she said, and took her place in line.

Waiting.

It would be a better diversion than reading the contract, and she always thought better when she had some protein in her stomach, coffee be damned. This would be good. She could spend her lunch hour listing the pros and cons of the contract, but now she had something silly to concentrate on, a distraction. A man with a nondescript food truck, which made it more special that way because it was blank of any decorations or menus. Just decorative pots of plants, and the scent of grilled chicken and the hint of garlic that ran underneath it.

With each step, she paid attention to the process. True to what her new friend had told to her, the line did not go directly up to the man. It stopped just a few steps off to the right. To give him respect, she supposed. You would step up after the last person was served and you would wait to be called. Red Chef would fill the Styrofoam container, shove it into the plastic bag to his right, and then he would motion you with a quick hand gesture to pick up the food.

You may now approach the throne.

Her stomach began to grumble. It was that time, and with her nervousness of looking over the contract—or, in her case, not looking over the contract—her stomach had started to make its presence known.

It was nice to just be here. The sky above was blue and clear like the perfect day that made her wish she actually felt comfortable riding a bike on a city street. The breeze was just enough to let her know that it was there to circulate the air. Sometimes she liked heading down to the river trail for lunch. Just to stretch her legs and look out over the water. There was something calming about that, about the river. It probably called back to a primal part of her. There was movement in the water, if she could overlook the sewage and the pollution and the warning signs not to take more than so many ounces of fish from the river because it could be contaminated.

When the sun hit the water just right, though, you couldn’t see the bad stuff. You couldn’t tell that the river was polluted or was the favorite burial ground for mobsters dumping bodies. It looked pretty.

She took one more step up, and then another.

The man seemed to be taking his time. No, she corrected herself. Chef. Someone who took this much pride in his work must be a chef. He was just one that happened to work in a food truck.

She stood at the front of the line now. She waited, and then came the gesture.

She stepped up. Jazz from what sounded like a radio station floated out. And it was real jazz. Not the sanitized version that would and could be heard in elevators. This was off-key and wonky, but somehow came together to be all right.

He handed her the container captured in the plastic bag. “It’s chicken,” he said. He must have heard her ask about what the heck she was buying. “Hold it from the bottom,” he said, “so it won’t spill.”

She nodded and grasped it from him, and then she walked away. It felt heavy in her hand, but she held it from the bottom because she wasn’t going to argue with the person who had put the thing together in the first place.

She stood on the street corner waiting for the light to change. Obviously Chef knew what he was doing or he wouldn’t have such a fan base, and a happy one at that. The people leaving that truck had happy grins on their faces, and looking back over at the line, she saw it was still as long as when she’d first joined it.

The light flashed to green and the white fellow signaled it was time to walk.

She crossed the street back to the building. As she made it safely across, she looked back at the truck from the gray stones signaling the start of the courtyard, the entranceway to the high-rise where she worked.

It struck her suddenly. He was an artist. That wasn’t a food truck; that was his restaurant. He called the shots. He decided what he was going to cook. For whom. And for how long. He decided the price. And he was good at it—no, not good, excellent, based on the line out the door, um, down the street.

She sat down at one of the mesh silver-black tables.

She pulled out the Styrofoam container from the plastic bag and opened it for her surprise meal. The one that she made a leap of faith to buy. Yellow rice. Grilled chicken, deep fried something, and there was an apple on the edge that she figured was her dessert.

The prongs of the white plastic fork that came with her meal sank right through the chicken breast. She pulled it out and was able to cut the chicken with the side of her fork. It was that tender.

She brought it to her lips and closed her eyes, the juice dribbling out from pores of the chicken.

This was why he was able to demand what he demanded. He was damned good at what he did.

“You went to that place?” came the whiney voice, familiar. She looked up into watery blue eyes of her boss.

“Yeah,” she said. “It seemed interesting.”

“You know I went over there and I told him I didn’t want any guacamole and he just kept piling in on.”

Michelle shook her head. “That’s rule number one. You do not engage Chef,” she said.

“He’s no chef. He runs a food truck. You would think that he would pay more attention to his customers.”

She picked up the fork and took another bite of the chicken. “It’s some good eating though, I have to tell you that.”

He wagged his finger at her. “Just watch. He won’t last long, treating people that way.” He gave a quick nod. He left without waiting for her response. He had said his piece and he was moving on.

The food truck operator didn’t bend to her boss like he was used to. Chef got to dictate terms, too. And when he held to them, he got exactly what he wanted, and exactly the customers that he wanted in the process.

He had weeded out the ones who wouldn’t adhere to what he wanted and he was fine with that.

Food trucks were big business, serious business, and there were competitors, but he held out by being clear about what he was going to offer and what he wasn’t.

She set the fork down, the white prongs against the yellow rice, dug in her purse for the contract and a pen, and spread out the contract on the black wire table.

She skimmed the language until she found what she was looking for. All Rights. It was there big as day in the contract on page 1. But she what did she want? Was she going to settle?

There were plenty of reasons to sign the contract.

Plenty of reasons to go along, to get along…

But could it be that the contract was just like the river, the light was hitting it just right, making it look beautiful, and she couldn’t see the pollution that would poison her eventually?

Did she want to be like Chef or her boss?

What did she want?

She breathed in the cool air as the cabs honked for fares along High Street, waiting as the answer came to her.

She wanted to be a real writer. And just like you didn’t have to have a restaurant to be a chef, you don’t need a publishing contract to be a real writer.

Before she called up the editor, she had to know what she wanted, and to do that, she would need to know this contract inside and out. Michelle uncapped her pen to start making notes. She already knew what she wouldn’t settle for. That, she figured, was the biggest decision. After all, she was a real writer and that’s what real writers do.

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Day 106 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Random Thoughts

Every Black person in South Carolina knew that Strom Thurmond had a Black daughter and it’s because of segregation.

His daughter attended South Carolina State University, South Carolina’s HBCU. He regularly visited her there. And paid her tuition. And she looked just like him.

My parents attended SCSU as did so many first-generation college Black students because, uh, where else were they going to go? So, you’ve got all these Black students concentrated in one school. They graduate and they go back home. In my case, my dad was a math teacher for a split second in time.

So, it was his daughter was an open secret among the SC Black community. When it “came out” after Thurmond passed, I was surprised it wasn’t common knowledge. I mean, if I knew, didn’t that mean everyone knew?

I’m thinking about this because I don’t know if this kind of aspect is explored in racial allegories in speculative fiction. Like, what happens when you

1. Do not allow a path of escaping oppression – like the one drop rule. It meant that no matter what, you couldn’t escape being Black and everything surrounding that without passing so the other option was to fight. The one drop rule meant there was less of a divide and conquer. Other places? There were levels and terms. In the U.S.? Not so much.
2. Segregation concentrated Black students in a few universities so they knew each other or could find each other.

Visiting the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was sad because there was nothing around the area. What had once been a vibrant Black Community was just a street of empty lots of weeds. And it was intentional. Going there, Twin and I had to store our purses in a locker outside the Civil Rights Institute. We could only carry our wallets and cell phones in.

Twin didn’t clock it, but I immediately thought – these folks are still getting threats.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Tracking

As of Day 106, – 4/15/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

182,803 / 214,544 / 740,784

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Day 105 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Small actions

Yesterday, I mentioned that any time I’ve succeeded it has been due to small actions taken consistently over time. No where is that more evident than on the days I reach the 2024-word goal. I don’t do it with one piece or at one sitting. Below is what it looked like on my highest word count day this week:

2,694 words =265+331+404+1358+336

And now you know why I’m a fan of writing a page or 250 words. I’ve proven to myself that I rarely only write 250 words in one session or on one piece. The 1,358 is from fiction writing. I think the 336 words is on a fiction project, too.

Some days, I’ll wake up and think there’s no time to write because I overslept. Yet, unless the circumstances are unusual and by unusual that means unusual, I can always get to the page and if I can get to the page, I can write 250 words.

The page is to build up momentum. Oh, and also to get me a sticker for my Done calendar. The stickers are where it’s at.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Tracking

As of Day 105, – 4/14/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

179,970 / 212,520 / 740,784

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Day 104 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Overslept

I overslept this morning. No worries. If my body needs more sleep, then my body needs more sleep. I’ll just shift into a truncated version of my day emphasizing my priority items – writing and exercise. Earlier, I wrote that if I write, move, and make money it’s been a good day. Now it’s easy to see writing and moving as something I can do everyday, but what about making money? I argue that that’s a yes.

I’m writing this post on a Friday morning where I’m logging on to work in an hour so that takes care of the money bit. On the weekends, I’ll look to actively submit stories to reach that goal. After all, I gotta send out ships if I want any of them to come in.

For example, I was thinking of letting one short story sit after getting a critique in a personal rejection. Instead, I sent it out and now it’s shortlisted at another magazine. It proves that the story works in some form.

After I finish sending the story out to the short story magazines I like, if it’s still not accepted, I’ll move it over into the queue to be self-published. It still, however, needs an introduction and marketing copy. So, I can work on that and get some practice in marketing.

Making money can also be in the form of canceling subscriptions I don’t use. I pay for the streaming subscriptions for the household so canceling one of those is a no-go. But my subscription apps are fair game. I review them and cancel the ones that I don’t use.

I have a couple of items I’ve been meaning to list on eBay but haven’t gotten around to it. Listing those items would also count at making money.

Increasing the prices of my short stories available on line is making money.

Making my short stories and short story collections available in more places counts as making money.

Self-publishing short stories counts as making money.

If you haven’t been able to tell so far, any success I’ve achieved has been through small actions taken consistently over time. When I lose sight of that, I fall behind.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Tracking

As of Day 104, – 4/13/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

179,013 /210,496 / 740,784

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Day 103 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Inventory

I’m working on updating the inventory of my work. I have a couple of women’s fiction pieces that I’ve only self-published so it’s easy to forget about them. And I haven’t updated the covers on the eBooks I have on Amazon since they were published in 2015. Like, Yikes!

There’s a lot of work to be done on that side on my career without adding the longer works I’m currently writing and the short stories that just could not find a home.

At least I’ve finally realized that doing things bit-by-bit is all right. I didn’t tell myself I was going to sit down and get it all done in one day. I told myself I’d devote 25 minutes a day to the project until it was done. Well. Turns out that in the past, I got most of it done so it didn’t take more than one session to flesh things out. Next step is to put updating/reviewing inventory on some sort of schedule.

From just reviewing what I’ve already written, I added two columns – Genre and Series. It will make it easier for me to pull collections from the stories. I am comfortable with having this spreadsheet turn into a monster, if necessary.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Tracking

As of Day 103, – 4/12/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

177,763 / 208,472 / 740,784

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Day 102 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Handbags, Rodin and Me

The mid-range luxury brand Coach is currently having a moment. When I was growing up, Coach was the it bag. They were known for the quality of its leather and classic styles. The purveyors of fashion in my world, the ladies at church whose hats matched their kitten heels, all carried Coach bags including my mother. Coach was our luxury.

Then, there were the dark days. Fans kept their vintage bags, but the brand was considered old and stale. Another problem was that Coach may have been the victim of their own success. The women who bought Coach bags bought them for the quality. Which meant that, at most, they bought bags once a year in neutral colors. Typically, though, they’d buy a bag, condition it and when it finally fell apart, they’d buy another one rinse and repeat.

Well. Enter Stuart Vevers who was tapped to head up Coach in 2013. I need to repeat that he became Creative Director of Coach in 2013. The resurgence of the brand took over 10 years.  

He steered the brand toward a younger demographic while still keeping the old guard. How? Coach has the trendy bags that are splashed on the company’s landing page including an AI influencer, puffy bags and bright colors.

And then, for women like me who grew up seeing the church ladies carrying their Coach bag filled with a never ending amount of peppermint candies, they have a Coach Originals line. The Coach Originals line is made from the glove tanned leather that I grew up on and are the classic bags to cater for the loyal, older Coach customer. True to original Coach form, these have no logos, not even the C clasp which might be too showy for a certain demographic.

This is the point – Coach basically went into the archives and reprinted their old designs. I even saw a YouTube video from a woman who owned an original Hamptons bag in black and bought the newer version in white. Mind you, the original Hamptons bag was issued 20 years ago. That’s what I mean by quality.

Not only that, you can now “turn in” your old Coach bags for credit. What is Coach doing? They’re restoring these old bags and selling them. They must have seen the resale market and decided to get a piece of the pie.

What has this got to do with me as an artist? I think a lot. Stories, like bag designs, don’t expire. I can always go back to an old idea and put a new twist on it. I can use a short story for the weekly short story I’m doing again, or I can bundle the short stories in collections.

The sculptor Rodin re-used molds all the time. I found that out by visiting The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia. It stuck with me. I don’t always have to start from zero. I can always go back into my own personal archive.

And while Coach is having a moment, the brand’s most ardent supporters and fans are the old guard I mentioned. They will fight it out in the comments over any disparaging comments regarding the brand.

And that’s how to keep and respect all of your customers – the old and the new. Also, righting a ship takes time. Now, Coach is reaping the benefits.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Tracking

As of Day 102, – 4/11/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

177,763 /204,424 / 740,784

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Day 100 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Total Praise

I’ve never heard a bad rendition of the choral anthem Total Praise in its original form. I’m not talking about when the choir is used as back up. I’m talking full on mass choir, practice in the church basement/fellowship hall on Wednesday nights, taking cues from the choral director because at any time something could change, choral anthem.

One reason for that is that it’s hard. It’s a difficult piece to sing. The choral anthems I’ve sung usually started with everyone singing in unison and then the parts split from there. But no. That’s not how Total Praise starts. Every part starts on a different note, and they stay there.

It was written by Richard Smallwood, and it’s sung as the benediction every Sunday at my parent’s church.

I do not care what church choir sings that song. Black Church in robes with the initials of the church embroidered on the robes, Evangelical church, where they still had the triangle-bib collar robes, Non-Denominational where the choir wore street clothes or agreed on the old stand by color scheme of white shirt and black bottoms. It don’t matter. By the end of that song, someone in the audience is crying. Usually, everyone is standing. Arms have been outstretched to heaven.

And to repeat, I’m not talking about the Black Church where that’s normal. It’s the culture to interact with the music. I’m talking every single time and last night I found myself going through a rabbit hole of videos on YouTube.

There’s something about the music, the message, that all comes together that is absolutely beautiful and powerful.

I wanted to write since I was a kid in elementary school and we read the poem “Nobody” by Emily Dickinson and it made me feel something. They were just words on paper, marks, really but they pulled emotions from me.

As I look back to what my published work has in common, it’s a feeling that I had when I was writing it. I do not know how it transmutes to the page, but it does.

And that’s real magic.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Tracking

As of Day 100, – 4/9/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

176,492/202,400 / 740,784

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Day 99 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Superstars

After one stint in a leadership development program at a job, I’ve avoided leadership positions. Yes, I served as ancillary officers in organizations, mainly secretary, but I avoided an official leadership title.

This means that if I want to reach the goals I have for my writing, I get to develop an entire new skill set – leading and managing people because I won’t be able to do this alone. Eventually, I’ll need a team even if that team comprises of a list of editors and cover artists for my books and an assistant to handle administrative tasks so I can concentrate on writing. Writing and telling my stories, after all, are the things that no one can do better than me.

Because I’m on LinkedIn, I see all the advice given to managers and they all hinge on assuming the manager is competent. One of the things I keep hearing is to hire people who excel at the things that you don’t. I’ve been that hire. And I’ve also left those jobs.

What I haven’t seen is the question – why would a superstar who is on the top of their game, who can work for anyone…why would they work for you? They’re good. They have options. What are you, the manager, the leader, giving them? Is it work-life balance? Is it that you pay on time? Is it that you let them take vacation anytime they want? Do you have a compelling mission?

As a manager, you’ve seen what sets them apart, but when they’re choosing who to put on their schedule, what makes them want to work for you?

Something to think about as I move forward.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

If you enjoyed this blog post, you’ll probably like my weekly newsletter. You can sign up here:

Tracking

As of Day 99, – 4/8/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

174,317/ 200,376 / 740,784

Posted in 2,024 Words A Day, Blog | Tagged | Leave a comment