Midnight Writing

Holiday decorations, New York Avenue, Washington, D.C. I took this photo in 2015 with a point-and-shoot infrared camera, then applied filters for a more artistic interpretation.

Holiday decorations, New York Avenue, Washington, D.C. I took this photo in 2015 with a point-and-shoot infrared camera, then applied the Topaz Adjust cross-process III filter in post-processing for a more artistic interpretation of the scene.

I slacked off writing last week and didn’t get very much done, so I had to do some late-night writing on Sunday to keep up with my weekly word-count goals. I know it’s too easy to fall behind and then not be able to catch up, and this past year’s NaNoWriMo I found myself continually treading that path between staying on par and falling behind. It was one reason that I found this last challenge so difficult. This year I’m determined to keep up my word count on a weekly basis so projects don’t get dragged on from one week to the next.

Last week I watched a Lynda.com video on food photography. It was pretty interesting and I especially liked some of the tips that the presenter had for setting up light reflectors. He used a floral frog, which is a metal or plastic circle with a bunch of pins stuck in it, like a porcupine. Of course I went to the hobby store this weekend with the idea of buying one and was unable to find them, so I ended up buying a set of six fancy place card holders that were clearance-priced.

They’re fairly heavy and they have a coil of wire designed to hold papers or cards, so I think they’ll work for holding the reflective papers that I have as long as I don’t use a large sheet at one time. On the plus side, if I keep them with my camera gear I won’t stick my hand into the bag and get stabbed the way I would with one of those metal floral frogs, so maybe it was a good thing I couldn’t find any of them!

I’ve been getting into cocktails and I have some ideas for taking photographs of the drinks, so I bought a bunch of printed papers to use as backgrounds for the photo sessions and some metallic-coated papers that should work well as reflectors. I have tomorrow off work for the holiday, so I’m going to take the time to do some creative photography and writing. I’ll post whatever works, but I suppose I’ll have to drink the failures. Get rid of the evidence, and all that. Ah well, all creatives must suffer for their art!

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 92


I decided not to do NaNo this year because I have a novel from 2011 to revise and one from 2012 to complete, plus I’m working on various freelance articles and a research paper. This is my year for finishing some projects instead of starting new ones and leaving them half-baked and cluttering my hard drive and desk.

I am drawing on the incredible power of NaNo to fuel my writing for those other projects, however. One thing I’ve learned from doing two years of NaNo is that setting word-count goals is very, very helpful. (And it’s very, very helpful when I reach them, too!) So setting word goals has become part and parcel of all my writing these days, and I find that it powers me through the rocky patches when I really don’t feel like writing. If I can get started I can generally keep working on a project and make progress, and that’s what counts.

Do you use goal setting for your writing, or do you just jump in and start working? This isn’t the same thing as pantsers versus outliners. Take the short poll below and let the world know what motivates you to get those words written. Your Thursday Writing Prompt this week is to set yourself some goals and meet them. And if you’re doing NaNo, you already know that 1,667 is the magic number of words per day you need to write to meet that 50K mark!

But other writing projects can benefit from this approach, too. Just be sure to set realistic goals or otherwise you won’t meet them and that leads to frustration instead of inspiration. I’m finding that about 700 words for nonfiction writing that requires research is about right for me. Anything more and I just burn out, although sometimes switching to a second project I can get in another 100-200 words before I totally frazzle.