Evening Relief

Late-afternoon rays bake the desert floor.

Saguaros stand, arms raised in surrender to relentless heat.

I, sealed in my air conditioned car, refuse to bow down to the conspiring sun.

To the east, I glimpse the outline of the slivered moon, poised-

I’m thankful for the daily reprieve.

06-03 Sunset Saguaro

With temperatures expected to be around 110 degrees in Phoenix this week, I’m glad I only have to visit there one day 😆

I took this photo a couple weeks ago on my drive home from work.  On this day, everything seemed to be glowing yellow.  I’m not a fan of the desert, but I can’t seem to resist taking saguaro-on-the-horizon photos!

On Monday when I committed to going prompt-less this week, I got this fearful/panicked feeling that I wouldn’t be able to come up with any writing ideas.  Doubting myself is a habit of mine.  It happens every time I write something halfway decent as well- I figure it will be my last ‘good’ writing.

Well, in spite of doubt, I’ve been writing anyway.  I’ve realized balance isn’t a strong suit of mine, so I’m working on two longer stories.  A couple years ago, I started writing flash fiction to practice brevity.  While trying my hand at micro-fiction, I pretty much abandoned novel writing.  The problem is, I’ve gotten lazy in developing plot and details.  Now, I just have to prove to myself I still can write something more than a character sketch, vignette or a scene.

Does your attention becomes focused on one thing? Or do you find yourself expressing creativity in multiple ways?

I hope you have a beautiful Wednesday!

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44 thoughts on “Evening Relief

  1. Imelda June 4, 2014 / 6:12 AM

    Your photo is beautiful. I’ve never seen a desert, but from what I see, it has its own magic. Of course,you can write long stories. We have seen and read some here and enjoyed them thoroughly. Enjoy the writing and don’t worry. 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2014 / 10:26 PM

      Thanks, Imelda. My photos aren’t as good as yours, but I’m glad you liked it anyway! I’m trying my hand at even longer stories. I’d like to have some that are long enough to submit as Amazon Kindle singles.

  2. philosophermouseofthehedge June 4, 2014 / 6:54 AM

    “I, sealed in my air conditioned car,” it’s that time of year.
    You will always have an idea show up to write about – never fear. ….now that paragraph “Well, in spite of doubt”….has me looking at myself.(Oh, squirming)

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2014 / 10:27 PM

      Thank goodness for air conditioning, Phil! Uh-oh, if you have doubts, I hope you overcome them 🙂

  3. Debbie June 4, 2014 / 8:29 AM

    Even the hot desert has its beauty, as evidenced from your photo, Janna. I’m not sure I’d handle heat that extreme, though.
    Yes, you CAN still write longer pieces. You’re just out of practice, and what we don’t use, we lose. Don’t stress — it’s like riding a bicycle. (Golly, don’t you just love how many cliches I’ve written here?!?)

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2014 / 10:29 PM

      Thanks for the encouragement, Debbie. I think it is coming back to me. I’m working on a story now that is already 3400 words. I know it has weak spots, but I think it will be pretty good after I get through the edits. Oh, and the heat is painful.

  4. suzicate June 4, 2014 / 8:33 AM

    I’m an ADD Creative…can’t focus solely on one project; must have multiples!

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2014 / 10:29 PM

      You have many creative talents, Suzicate!

  5. Jen June 4, 2014 / 9:50 AM

    I love that picture! And I love the energy out there but the heat scares me! That’s like egg frying on the pavement hot. Crazy! I’m pretty ADD when it comes to creativity but lately I’ve just been blank. I like your commitment to promptless writing, what a great exercise to stretch your mind!

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2014 / 10:31 PM

      Thanks, Jen! The heat is bearable (if you stay inside, haha!) I’ve been going through a weird creative phase too, Jen. Maybe there’s something going around 🙂

  6. Kathy Combs (@Kathy29156) June 4, 2014 / 10:38 AM

    You are one fabulous writer! I think anyone who is truly creative doubts their abilities. I know I do. I doubt almost every single story I put up. I even go through periodic spells when I just want to quit…because it seems pointless to waste so much time and energy to something I am probably not any good at anyways. I feel that way every single week when I submit a story to the speak easy, feeling it is one of my best, and then realizing when it comes in at the bottom of the heap it probably wasn’t that great since it didn’t get votes. Still I love their inspiring prompts, so I continue. It is a roller coaster of emotion but one I can’t seem to get off of. I love when a story just flows from my fingertips effortlessly, and many times that is the way of it for me. I was ready to throw in the towel last week, but then I answered my comments and they bolstered my resolve. The encouragement I always find there fuels my drive to try again and keep at it. Sorry to ramble. 😀 Like you, I can’t go that long without feeling the itch to write…again. ♥

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2014 / 10:35 PM

      I like your rambling comment, Kathy. I have felt the exact same rollercoaster of emotions that you describe. It drives me nuts because the sane part of me reminds myself I shouldn’t take responses so personally. I guess doubt is part of the game. I’d just prefer to be so awesome that I just knew I wrote a masterpiece each time 😛 Since I’m not, I’ll just write, doubt and repeat! Thanks so much for reading and sharing your experience. It actually does encourage me to stifle the “you suck” voice that likes to whisper in my ear from time to time.

  7. vishalbheeroo June 4, 2014 / 12:29 PM

    It’s so true and I’ve been stuck with a short story, I need to get back on track:)

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2014 / 10:37 PM

      I hope you are able to get it worked out, Vishal. Sometimes the pauses are good for us, though!

  8. Tessa June 4, 2014 / 2:39 PM

    I tend to hyper-focus on one thing and then I stop and hyper-focus on another. As far as writing goes I got so used to writing these short prompts – a story in 33 or 100 words – that it is hard to flesh a regular short story out. I can’t imagine writing a novel right now LOL!!

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2014 / 10:39 PM

      Yes – that’s what happened to me, Tessa. I’ve got brief down pretty well, now I need to plump my stories up a little 🙂

      • Tessa June 5, 2014 / 2:42 PM

        I write some stories that do not make it onto the blog and a friend was reading and asked why I was writing different. .I explained that I got used to writing brief short stories and was having trouble fleshing them out. Right now I am doing stories for Light and Shade Challenge and they are 200 to 500 words so have to work on both kinds now LOL!

        • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:25 AM

          It is hard to write various lengths, Tessa. I can pretty well do 33 to 750 words but seem to stumble around the 1,000 word point. This means I’ll be writing more longer stuff that probably won’t see the light of day. I’ll still do the shorter challenges though because they are fun!

        • Tessa June 6, 2014 / 3:26 PM

          When I first start a story I write a few paragraphs and check the word count. Then I have an idea how much more or less I need to meet the word count required. Making a story in 33 words was quite a challenge, but fun to see what I could do. Now the smallest is 100 words. A little easier but still difficult. I keep rethinking how I can write the same thing in smaller sentences without all the extra fluff. I think it is all good practice though. 🙂 Haikus are also quite a challenge.

        • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 4:29 PM

          I do think it’s good to rethink how we write things. Invariably, I find out how wordy I am when I do edits and re-reading. It doesn’t matter how many times I re-read it, I always find something to change… eventually I get tired of it and let it go 😛

          Oh, haiku can be a challenge with the syllable restriction. Fun, but sometimes frustrating!

  9. diannegray June 4, 2014 / 2:56 PM

    It sounds like it’s very hot in your neck of the woods, Janna! Yikes.

    I love that picture of the cactus and the words ‘conspiring sun’ in your poem.

    Doubt is part of a writer’s lot – unfortuantely I feel it all the time xxx

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2014 / 10:43 PM

      Well, if even you have doubt, maybe it’s just normal! (Over the weekend, I read some of your stories from Manslaughter and Other Tears… my favorite so far is the one where the inmates broke into the house and ended up taking the fall for killing the teens parents. What a spoiled brat though…I kind of wish they would have finished her off, haha!)

      • diannegray June 4, 2014 / 11:39 PM

        That story was my first attempt at short story writing and won me my first writing award 😀 My father-in-law hated it! He kept saying, ‘but it’s not fair – there’s no justice.’ And I would say, ‘sometimes there is no justice in life.’ – but he just never got the point of it all 😉

        I remember seeing an interview with a famous children’s book author and he said – ‘I always wanted to write serious crime novels, but every time I put pen to paper a 12 year old boy would jump out at me and I’d have to write about him.’ I’m saying this because I have the same problem. I always wanted to write comedy in my short stories, but every time I put pen to paper a mad woman would jump onto the page (lol). My short short stories can be very dark indeed. 😀

        • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 7:46 AM

          I can see why it won an award! I get the ‘no justice’ point. Kind of goes with the saying that life isn’t fair…

          Haha, the madwoman made me laugh. Interesting quote from the children’s book author… we write, but sometimes what ends up on paper (or the screen) isn’t what we had in our head. That happens to me all the time. Part of my problem is that I’m not consistent in what I write… sometimes it’s creepy, sometimes depressing, other times funny and still other times there are paranormal elements. Whenever you submit something, they want to know genre and there I get stuck…

        • diannegray June 6, 2014 / 1:16 PM

          I have a very difficult time with ‘genre’ because I cross the boundaries so often. That’s a hard one….

        • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 4:27 PM

          I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  10. nrhatch June 4, 2014 / 5:40 PM

    You are a FANTASTIC writer, Janna. Doubt what you will, but don’t doubt that. That’s not to say that I love the subject matter of everything you write ~ but I love HOW you write. Always.

    Glad you only have to spend one day in Phoenix. That sounds pretty darn hot . . . even if it is a dry heat.

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2014 / 10:45 PM

      I’m glad you read even the stuff that isn’t really your cup of tea, Nancy. (I appreciate your feedback!) Yeah, it’s pretty hot. Glad I don’t have to live in it every day now 🙂

  11. Eric Alagan June 5, 2014 / 1:15 AM

    I see a cactus plant sticking its middle at – the sun?

    I see a cactus plant surrendering itself (as you mentioned)

    I see a cactus waving away intruders, because a cotton mouth has taken refuge in its shade

    I see a cactus waving, come over, no cotton mouth here – I just wanna eat you 👿

    I see a cactus, airing its arm pits – whew! the smell!

    I see a crazy guy posting this comment – 😦

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 7:48 AM

      Haha, you crack me up, Eric. I don’t know if you’re crazy but your interpretation of the cactus’ stance is amusing 🙂

  12. Widdershins June 5, 2014 / 1:54 PM

    That cactus is giving the finger to … someone or something. 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:23 AM

      Does kind of look that way, Widdershins 🙂

  13. agjorgenson June 8, 2014 / 5:16 PM

    In terms of the writing I do in my work a day world, I find writing easiest when responding to some prompt by a committee or a conference or something. But I think my more interesting writing happens when I follow intuition etc. But this is often harder to write.

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 3:36 PM

      It’s always an interesting journey to follow something that just occurs as needing to be written. Thanks for sharing your views, Allen!

  14. GodGirl June 8, 2014 / 10:30 PM

    The idea of writing a novel (or extended piece) scares me – what if I lose the plot (literally) mid-way? All that wasted time… I feel much more comfortable with short pieces that I have control over. Once they’re done, they’re done.

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 3:46 PM

      Haha, true, GodGirl… but I tend to think of it more as a dropped stitch (as I learned from my son’s knitting) – you find the wrong turn and go back and fix it 🙂 Still, I know the idea of it is a bit daunting (which is my my progress is sooooo slooooow!

  15. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) June 9, 2014 / 11:57 AM

    I lived in the desert many years ago.. I loved the open horizons and the harshness… but indeed sometimes I was just waiting for the relentless sun to vane…

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 3:47 PM

      The heat is the worst. During the summer in Phoenix, overnight lows are still 90 degrees. Glad you stopped by, Bjorn 🙂

  16. pattyabr June 10, 2014 / 8:20 PM

    Boy I can’t focus when I am panicked, let alone write anything of substance. Good luck with mixing your creativity with a little free form writing.

    • jannatwrites June 10, 2014 / 10:56 PM

      I enjoyed the free writing. It is a little reassuring to know I can come up with ideas without a prompt 🙂 Thanks for visiting, Patty!

  17. Sarah Ann June 18, 2014 / 8:00 AM

    Coming to this very late as life has got in the way of reading and writing. I find short stories, and all the editing they require to get them to work, takes a lot of time and effort that doesn’t always leave room for writing longer works. Let me know when you find the secret of balancing 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 18, 2014 / 10:06 AM

      Life has a way of doing that, Sarah Ann! I’m barely keeping up with the necessities right now, so I wouldn’t hold your breath on me finding the key to balance, haha 😛

  18. pattisj July 14, 2014 / 6:02 PM

    I prefer to express my creativity in various ways. There just isn’t enough time in the day/week/month to do all I would like. I believe you can write anything, Janna. Don’t listen to that voice that says otherwise.

    • jannatwrites July 15, 2014 / 5:41 PM

      Variety is always good, Patti. I seem to go all-in on something, until I move on to the next thing. I know exactly what you mean about not enough time (it took me four weeks to get a pair of my husband’s pants mended 🙂 )

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