This Year I Said ‘No’ to NaNoWriMo

Nanowrimo blogYesterday was the start of this year’s NaNoWriMo. For those of you who aren’t part of the frenetic and burgeoning underground of published or aspiring writers, this stands for “National Novel Writing Month,” when thousands (millions?) of people sign up and commit to writing 50K words before midnight on November 30th.

I signed up for NaNoWriMo last year and the year before, but didn’t bother this year. While people talk about NaNoWriMo “winners,” I’ve twice viewed the month, and the “contest,” as more of an impetus for me to conquer my procrastination and simply start writing (dammit!). Admittedly, I’m a repeat NaNoWriMo “loser,” simply because I never came close to the 50,000-word mark.

I did write 30K words that first year—a feat I was incredibly happy with and proud of—but looking back I hate everything I wrote. Seriously. Hate it. All 30,000 words. Continue reading

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The 10 Things I Learned From My First Writer’s Retreat

writers retreat blog photo2I’ve been a part of a small group of writers on Facebook for more than two years now. This “writing tribe” consists of women in four states and three countries/continents, and includes both published and unpublished authors. We write in different genres and different forms, but we’re linked by our love for the written word and our desire to tell a story, whether of ourselves or a character or idea that has grabbed us and won’t let go.

Because we’re such a small group, we’ve shared more than just writing over the years. I respect and admire each and every one of them, for the lives they’ve had, the lives they live, and the lives they aspire to in the future. More than half of us recently met in real life for a long weekend of words, interspersed with wine, food, chocolate and laughter. Oh, and vodka. Continue reading

The Writer, Unleashed

Writer UnleashedAt what point do you become a writer? Is it when you first put pencil to paper or hands to keys and write a story? Or does your writing have to be published somewhere that people, and especially your friends and family, can tangibly see and touch it? Or is it when you start getting paid for the words you write? It’s something every writer ponders, and it’s been written about by nearly all of them. Continue reading

And What a Year It’s Been

blog anniversary2Just one year ago, I started this blog. Sure, I was late to the blogging party–so late, in fact, that most bloggers were well into the dessert course, making money off of their legions of followers. But I don’t blog for any potential of pecuniary reward. After years of people asking me why I didn’t blog, I had just finally decided that I had both the time and the inclination to jump onboard. Continue reading

The Waiting Room

As the month has ended and my story didn’t get shortlisted, I’m publishing it here. Requirements: 500 words, must use 3 specific words (I’m not mentioning them so you don’t look for them).

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Rachel L. MacAulay fictionI wrap my white robe a little tighter around my body and re-knot the tie. The woman sitting across from me in the waiting room catches my eye and offers a tight smile. We’re all nervous, this quarter-full room of white-robed women, waiting for results on scans and ultrasounds. This is the more serious room—the one down the hall is for routine exams and the annual boob mush. That room has an air of joviality while we wait strained, guarded, prepared. It’s the next step closer to the “Big C” diagnosis and all that it entails. Like a jury pool, this is a time when we don’t want to be picked. Continue reading