Stuck in the Mud

A man stands on a beach in front of a beached whale that has washed up on the shore

Going into 2019, I was a bit depleted creatively. I struggled with a long-form fiction project and was out of ideas. While I did not want to take any time off, I also did not feel inspired.

I remembered I had purchased a prompt book, Judy Davis’ A Writer’s Book of Days, while on vacation in Asheville, North Carolina, a few years earlier. It had sat on my shelf, unopened. I retrieved it and skimmed the intro and its basic premise: a prompt a day.

That could be a good New Year’s resolution, I thought. Daily prompt, no pressure, no editing, no time limit or word count, just the practice.

I kept at it and didn’t miss a day. I wrote longhand. By the end of the year, I had a stack of notebooks filled with potential stories.

In 2020, I used the notebooks as starting points, with a new resolution: 12 short stories from the prompts, one per month.

Time and Tide, newly published in MudRoom magazine, is April’s story, although the process was much longer than that:

  • April 2019: Original prompt
  • April 2020: First draft of the full story
  • April – December 2020: Two workshops with the SWIG writers’ group, plus additional helpful feedback from Robert Scott and Andrew Wagner
  • January 2021: Pitches, final revisions
  • February 2021: Publication

For more details, MudRoom editor Maiasia Grimes generously invited me to discuss the writing process in the magazine’s newest interview.

Thanks for reading!

Photo courtesy Sue & Danny Yee via Flickr Creative Commons

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