Naked Trees

My newest publication by Maria L. Berg 2022

Thank you readers!

Experience Writing has over 1,000 Followers!

During my break, Experience Writing reached an exciting milestone. Over a thousand people have chosen to experience writing with me. Thank you. I’m so glad you are here. Please let me know how I can bring value to the time you spend here.

Also during my blogging hiatus, I got my copy of 2021’s Writer’s Games winners anthology 72 Hours of Insanity Volume 10. My story “To Know Her Inside” placed third in the third event. My mom read it and said it’s “creepy” and “very well-written,” so high praise.

I’ve made some small changes to Experience Writing, including adding a publications page where you can find links to my stories and poems that have been published, and are upcoming.

My break lasted a little longer than anticipated, but it was just what I needed. After looking at January journal entries from previous years, I noticed that I had the same goals and ideas I’ve had every year, and though I make a little progress every year, I appear to get derailed and distracted from my main goal which is finishing and publishing my novels. So this year will be different!

I spent the last three weeks evaluating where I get derailed and making small changes in my mind-set, environment, and behavior that are already showing results! I’m so excited to share what’s working, but I also want to continue the things I enjoy about blogging so . . .

A Winter Toupee by Maria L. Berg 2022

Haibun Monday

Today is Haibun Monday at dVerse Poet’s Pub, and the theme is Winter.

Naked Trees

It is quiet. The trees must not threaten when naked, for there is no whine of chainsaws, even though it is not raining. Winter is when I forget the battle of man and nature while I watch the birds, and the lake is only a mirror for the mountain when it brushes back its cloud toupee.

Robins in the yard
peck, then stand at attention
while seagulls gather

Winter Robins by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Year of Finishing

Though I really enjoyed the daily photography and poetry posts I did last fall, I didn’t reach my main goal which was, and has been, to finish my novels. I’m not willing to face another January with the same exact goals, so I have to make some real changes. I hope you will join me for this year’s exciting writing experience of finding the grit and drive to follow-through to the finish.

The first step that was very important for me, was to look back through my journals and notebooks and critically look for where I get derailed. Lucky for me, I write dated morning pages, and have for many years, so I read from January first where I would be writing about all the great goals I had with all my hope and enthusiasm and then read until it fell apart. What did I find? Cramps, erratic sleep, and the next new distraction.

I readily found three areas I could work on: Better sleep, hormonal imbalance, and priorities. I have a wonderful local library system that lets me check out twenty-five e-books at a time, so once I had defined the areas where I want to make change, I filled up on every book I could find. As I finished one, I found another, and I have many on hold, that will trickle in as I learn. I will be adding a resources page to Experience Writing with links to the best books, websites, and other resources that I am using and finding valuable. If you have similar issues to mine, or are interested where I started, these are the three books I would start with:

Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success by Shawn Stevenson : This is where I started and it quickly became clear that all of my efforts would intertwine and work together. The small, actionable steps in this book were a great place to start.

In the FLO: Unlock Your Hormonal Advantage and Revolutionize Your Life by Alisa Vitti: I wish I had found this book a long time ago. I was diagnosed with endometriosis as a teenager. The doctor delayed the laparoscopy until after his vacation as if my pain was nothing, and then after burning the external tissue off said the only treatment was the pill and my mother refused. As an adult, when I did try the pill, I ended up having my period twice a month and couldn’t afford it anyway. Because of shame and bad doctors, I have ignored my hormonal health (and possible condition) and suffered my whole life. Now, I am taking the small step of color-coding a calendar with the possible dates of my cycle so I can explore how my hormonal changes affect my productivity. And the best part is the book talks about every aspect of respect for your cycle like diet, exercise, mind-set, etc.

Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals by Michael Hyatt this helped me look at the whys of my goals and breaking them down into actionable steps.

Soon after I found the areas I wanted to work on, I stumbled across The Best Year of Your Life Summit, which was a free series of videos put together as a ten day online Summit. A majority of the presentations were about meditation and mindfulness. It was fun for me to watch Sharon Salzberg’s presentation because a friend gave me her meditation CDs a very long time ago and I enjoyed them. It also reminded me that I had Madhu Bazaz Wangu’s Meditations for Mindful Writers , which has been a great anchor habit to create my daily writing habit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

If you would like to join me on my journey to finishing my novels, and I hope you will, the first step is reflection. You may have another goal, it can be anything, that you haven’t been able to finish because it overwhelms; because you don’t feel good enough; because even though you love it, you can’t seem to finish. Please join me.

The first step is to evaluate why. Why the goal is important to you. Really dig deep and be specific and honest with yourself. Then, look at why you aren’t finishing: define your fears real and imagined, define your time limits, your self-perception. All of it. Why is this goal not happening so far? Then go back to specifically defining why you want it, really want it.

I’ll talk more about what I discovered exploring my whys and some useful resources in my next post.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Welcome to Experience Writing 2021

Where There Are Tiny Dinosaurs In Trees (2020) bokeh photograph by Maria L. Berg

Attempt at Focus

This year has one main writing focus and that is revision. I will be revising my novels one after the other. I will be revising my short stories and my poems. I will find ways to stay motivated during revision. I will explore revision tools, workbooks and worksheets and find what works and doesn’t work for my process along the way.

There will be events like National Poetry Month in April, OctPoWriMo (October Poetry Writing Month) in October and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November, but other than that, this site is about revision this year.

If you are an author or poet (or both) who would like to share your revision process, or tips and tricks let me know in the comments, or send an email. We can schedule a guest-post or an interview.

The Revision Experience Begins

Planner Pages

I thought I had given up on my planner pages, but then I wanted to start setting up my revision goals. I took a look at the revised pages I made for December 2019 and thought they would work nicely. After some quick revision, I offer what I’ll be using this month. If you are interested in looking back at my planner for writers project, it started back in February of 2019. Just click on the month in the archives (column to the right).

The file is set up to be used in OpenOffice. I decided to leave the deadlines blank this time, so you can focus on the deadlines that most interest you.

Here are the sites I usually look at when I’m researching deadlines:

I liked the prompts and the format of these planner pages. I also like the more achievable goal of three submissions a week. I look forward to your feedback on the pages and hope you find them useful.

To start my short story revisions, I chose twenty-one of my short stories and put them in one PDF without titles. My goal is to attempt to read through them on my tablet as if it is someone else’s collection and choose my ten favorites for revision.

I purchased Cat Rambo’s short story revision class and look forward to taking the ten stories I choose through her paces.

I’ll talk more about organization and preparation tomorrow. I wanted to get the planner pages out today, so you can start using them.

Writer In Motion: A five week writing and revising challenge

Levi at work

Summer is here. The weather is gorgeous, but sweaty-hot. Levi and I are adjusting though motivationally-challenged. He gets away with napping and bathing all day, but my stories won’t write themselves. So, I found a challenge to keep me working through August.

For the next five weeks, starting August 1st, I will be participating in the Writer In Motion blog project. I’m excited to give it a try.

The Challenge

I will receive a prompt on August 1st and write a first draft of a story. Then I will revise it to a piece of flash (up to 1000 words) and read and provide feedback with other participants.

I will be posting each version here as I revise and talk about my revision process, so you can join in the experience.

By the end of the five weeks, I hope we’ll have learned how to turn a draft into an amazing story and be able to apply what we learn to our other work.

Anyone and everyone can participate. I hope you’ll join me.

 

100 Million Mask Challenge Update

First, I have some bad news and some good news. The bad news is, I will not be doing a cool unboxing of the 100 million mask challenge sewing kit because they didn’t need me to sew masks. The good news is local businesses stepped up, so they didn’t need individuals to sew. Here’s the note I received:

Screenshot_2020-03-22 (6,373 unread) - mariaberg512 yahoo com - Yahoo Mail

Second, my internet is hit or miss on a good day and now that everyone in the area is home and streaming, it’s even worse. I will keep trying to post, but when I tried to post on Saturday, I couldn’t even load a picture. I’ll post when I can.

Here’s to your health!

#Poetry out in the world

Cover of Washington's Best Emerging Poets 2019

Today’s the day! Two of my poems have escaped Experience Writing and are out exploring the world. I hope you will pick up a copy of Washington’s Best Emerging Poets 2019 and read all the great poetry by Washington State poets. It will also make a great gift for the lovers of words in your life.

I want to thank all the poets of OctPoWriMo, NaPoWriMo, dVerse Poets Pub, and PAD Chapbook Challenge for keeping me motivated and inspired over the last few years.

 

Are You Ready for #Writober?

colorful skulls.jpg

photo by Maria L. Berg

October is almost here and I’m excited. I enjoy many fun writing events in October. And this year I’ve added the planning pages and submissions, and The Writer’s Games. It’s going to be a very busy month here at Experience Writing.

Writing Challenges

Short Stories

The Writer’s Games‘ second session is half over. I just submitted my story for the third event. I recommend joining in when the next session starts in April if you haven’t tried it yet. It is free to participate and you receive feedback from three separate judges on each entry. Each event provides a writing prompt on Friday evening and you have to send in a new story by end of day Monday. Each challenge has stretched my creativity and the feedback is encouraging and thought provoking.

Flash Fiction

I didn’t have time to do #Writober last year, so I’ll go back through the images I collected and choose the best ones to add to this year’s collection #Writober4. For those of you who don’t know, #Writober is a fun writing challenge that was originally organized by J.S. Nagy a.k.a. @BrassGoblin over on Wattpad. The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction (he wrote 101 word stories, I wrote stories under 1000 words) each day of October inspired by a spooky, creepy image. I enjoyed it so much that first year, I decided to keep it going. I created a collection of images on Pinterest. This year’s collection is #Writober4. I’ve numbered each image for the days of the month. I hope you will join me.

Poetry

It’s also time for #OctPoWriMo,  fall’s event for those who enjoy National Poetry Writing Month. There are great writing prompts every day. This year I’ve taken my participation a step further and volunteered to take on three of the days. I’ll be your host on October 10th for the theme “Touch”, October 20th for the theme “Mountains or Oceans”, and October 27th for the theme “How Did I Get Here?” The overall theme for this year is “Diving into the shadows to mine for gold.” If you haven’t participated before, head over to OctPoWriMo.com and learn all about it.

Reading Challenge

Until I took a look at my post from #Writober2, I had forgotten about Readers Imbibing Peril. It’s a fun reading challenge to get readers in the autumnal mood.

Planning

And as if that’s not enough fun for October, it’s also the beginning of the fourth quarter of the year and I need to catch up if I’m going to meet my goal of 100 rejections this year. During my hiatus, I reformatted the pages in an attempt to use up most of the white space when printing it out as a brochure. I also decided not to use images of the journals, but to add my own photography and art as visual writing prompts instead. These next couple of months will be my final push to finalize my design. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

If you’re ready to send out stories right now, there are Oct. 1st deadlines at:

See you tomorrow

And so it begins. I hope you’ll join me throughout the month. There will be new posts here every day of October with poetry, micro-fiction, prompts and so much more.

The Planner Experiment: The last days of April

April final pages

Here we are at the final days of April. Since the month ends on a Tuesday, I went ahead and added the last couple days. For these pages, I decided to take a look at Submittable and look at journals with deadlines at the end of April and beginning of May that do not charge reading fees.

The pages

Since this month was National/Global poetry writing month, I feel inspired to add an equal focus toward poetry submission. Though I did not manage two poems a day (one for publication here and one to submit), I did write a few poems to start submitting. This equal focus idea may only change the pages on the monthly overview pages. I’m not sure yet.

I’m also taking another look at contests. I just got the May/June issue of Poets & Writers and the cover story is about submitting to Writing Contests. I came in sixth overall in the Writer’s Games and the work I produced was exciting for me. I think I may be ready to explore contests more thoroughly. As with reading periods, I will attempt to focus on when contests open and not on the deadlines to avoid procrastination.

2019 April Week Four to end

What other issues are coming up for you? What would you like me to change in the daily planner pages? What parts are you using and which aren’t useful? Do you like filling out the pages in your word processor, or do you like to print them out and fill them out by hand?

Thanks for playing along. I look forward to hearing your suggestions!

New Book: America’s Emerging Writers Anthology

 

Hi all and happy holiday season. I apologize for disappearing for a bit, but the transition from my time in New Orleans to home in the midst of NaNoWriMo kicked by butt. It was all I could do to get my 50,000 word win, YAY. I still haven’t gotten back into the swing of things.

However, in all the craziness, I received an exciting email from Z Publishing House stating that out of more than 2,000 stories, they selected my story Almost Paradise to be part of their National Anthology.

I am so glad they were able to fix my typo that my friend, and awesome drummer for The Rubber Maids, Xiomara, caught in the Washington’s Emerging Writers anthology (floatilla, with an a, instead of flotilla had slipped past so many sets of eyes). Now the perfected version will see the light of day in America’s Emerging Writers Volume 2.

The cover of America's Emerging Writers Volume Two

Treat yourself to a wonderful collection of enthralling quick reads by talented authors from all across the USA.

I’m honored that my work was selected for placement amid such exciting work.

If you enjoy enthralling quick reads, I highly recommend treating yourself and the readers on your gift list to a copy.

Here’s the description of the anthology from Z Publishing House:

In America’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction, 127 of our favorite up-and-coming writers (representing all 50 states) join together to share their words. Covering a wide array of genres ranging from satire, mystery, comedy, literary fiction and more, these young talents will amaze you.

I hope you’ll treat yourself and/or someone you love to a copy today.

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

#OctPoWriMo Day 4: The Guilty Man and other animals

The Guilty Man and other animals

Trapped
Cornered
Wild eyes darting
All claws and fangs
Each hair erect
Sprouting from goose flesh
Jaw tight
Muscles twitching
Blood rushing from core to extremities
Flush and frothing
Fight or flight
The uncontrolled response
Is the same

OctPoWriMo Day 3: In Security

dancing in the rain sToday’s OctPoWriMo theme is Insecurity. It is a very fitting theme for my day.

In Security

A crushing blow of insecurity
Why again? The shock. My love wants free
I hope I feel the joy and release
“The single life,” he said with such ease

I see his view. Now I don’t have to care.
The next time he breaks, someone else can be there
The beginning’s the good part, no need to fall
I like the learning, not knowing it all.

But what if there’s no one, no match for me?
Doubt creeps into an obscured destiny
But I don’t have time for tears of self-pity
Not a second for his future self-loathing misery

I can embrace a bramble to feel secure upon a thorn, but
I’d rather dance in the pouring rain with a future freshly shorn.