I Carry My Manuscripts Around With Me

I do this weird thing when I’m working on a book. I carry the manuscript around with me everywhere I go. Or, in the case of my fiction collection Crushes, I carry the paperback proof copy around with me everywhere I go. I can’t remember who gave this advice to me initially, or if I read about it somewhere, but I heard it and realized that I was doing it and so I just sort of kept on doing it.

Why I Carry My Manuscripts Everywhere

I like carrying my manuscripts and books around with me for a few reasons. Firstly, it helps me at least to think about the book while I’m doing other things. I’m very busy. I’m in grad school, I work full time at an office in Downtown Louisville, I’m editing a literary magazine again, and I blog on my personal website (this thing you’re reading right now) every day. Now there’s also this book that I’m working on, not to mention the other fiction I’m writing now as well.

If I just leave this book that I need to finish proofing on my desk, I might get to it one day. However, if I carry it with me throughout the day to the coffee shop or to the office, I’ll at least be thinking about it some. And, usually, I’ll open it up and look at it at least once a day, which is better than once a week or once a month. This also works with early drafts my manuscripts, before they are in book form.

The other reason I carry my manuscripts around with me is to initiate conversation. Yes, it’s fun to brag that I’m writing a book. In addition to it being fun, it’s also useful for me when people ask me about my work. When people ask me a question like “what’s your book about?” I usually have to answer them. And, when it’s a fiction collection, the answer can be tricky. I didn’t actually have a good title for the book at first. I didn’t until I realized through a conversation with someone that my short stories were all about sexuality and relationships. By the end of the conversation, I was saying, “So actually I guess it’s about crushes.” It also helped me with the description on the back of the book.

It Might Look Funny

I carried my manuscripts around with me in college during my undergrad years a lot, too. People looked at me funny, but it helped me stay creative and productive. I think people thought I was a little stuck-up or snobby because of it. Maybe I was, I don’t know. I was also a very strict workshopper in writing workshop groups. Not sorry. The point is, it worked. I ended up with enough short stories to publish a fiction collection.

I’m definitely not a pro at this book thing yet, but I do enjoy it and I’m learning a lot about it as I go. If you’re a writer, do you carry your manuscripts around with you everywhere? Do you think it’s embarrassing? Comment below. Does this also work with other forms of art? For instance, if you had a giant painting that you were working on and you wanted to carry it with you to coffee shop, would it help? If anyone tries it, let me know. If you’re not in a creative mood at the moment, what are you up to today?

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I carry my manuscripts and book-proofs around with me everywhere so that I increase the odds of opening them up and looking at them every day.
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Is There A Novel In Me?

Is there a novel in me? The answer might not exactly be yes, but I have been writing about the same characters for a hot minute. It makes me wonder how far I can take them. I’m at novellete length with them now. If I can cross over into novella length, maybe we’ll start talking novel.

As I’ve mentioned, I mostly stick with writing short stories instead of writing novels. I like writing about moments, and in that process, I explore characters. Usually, after I’ve worked on one story for a while and I get it good enough, I move on to other characters and start a new story. But, I never really considered what would happen if I kept writing short stories with the same characters in them. It seems that may be a good way to trick my brain into writing a novel. I guess that’s what’s going on now. This is all theoretical, and hasn’t been proven yet. Only time will tell.

I’m getting further along in edits for the paperback version of Crushes. It’s almost done, I promise.

Just a short blog post again today. Busy. Follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

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There Are Like Three CBD Oil Stores On My Way To Work

Every morning when I go to work, I I notice the increase in CBD and Hemp Oil stores. Just an observation. I know nothing about CBD Oil. Does it reduce stress? Mondays are pretty awful. It could be a Sunday night thing.

I’m definitely not a Monday kind of guy. If things were perfect and I was living the happiest life I could image: I was a successful freelance writer and blogger, I wrote books and made my money doing creative things, I lived in a cream colored brick house with a small front yard and an only slightly larger back yard, had a private driver on staff, a house manager, a husband who had big arms and Japanese anime hair, a home gym, and I lived just out of Manhattan, close enough to get to The Met if I wanted but not so far as to be inconvenient, and plenty of coffee shops around, I would still absolutely one hundred precedent hate Mondays. So, for this reason alone, I’m super curious about CBD and Hemp oil. Or maybe I’m just not that curious about it and am just generally okay with the idea.

What I think I’m trying to say is, someone teach me about CBD Oil because I don’t know anything about it and there ware way too many stores around selling it in this city for me to not know what it is or how it works.

Just a short blog post today, sorry. Mondays are awful. Would CBD oil make Mondays less awful? Would it not really help that much? Comment below. Follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

Eric Shay Howard Selfie
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I’m Still Trying To Finish The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

They say if you’re a writer, you should read a lot. I understand why people say that, and it’s good advice, but I think it’s important to also remember that you can’t read everything. Well, I can’t. There are also lots of dry periods where I don’t read anything. My reading habits are not consistent.

I read a lot as an undergrad.

When I was an undergrad, I read SO MUCH. It wasn’t that I was assigned a lot of reading (I mean, I was assigned a lot of reading) but I also wanted to read everything I could get my hands on. I even read further in texts than assigned if I found something interesting. I mostly focused on short fiction collections. I read a few novels but didn’t go crazy. Then I started a literary magazine and now I read a lot of poetry and short fiction submissions on a weekly basis.

However, I haven’t read a novel in a very long time. I don’t hate novels, but since I’m a minimalist writer and a short fiction lover, I find that most novels are way too long for me. I’ve tried to write a novel a few times and it hasn’t worked out because I can’t allow myself to linger too much. I have the same problem when I read. If I get bored, I stop. I’m not sorry about it.

But, that’s a “me” problem, I know. Novels are supposed to linger, I guess. If they didn’t they wouldn’t ever get anywhere. I mean, people linger. We linger a lot sometimes. If we didn’t we wouldn’t ever end up anywhere or have done much of anything. So, I’m working on my novel reading. What I need to try to remember when I get tired of lingering is that it’s a novel and it’s going something. If I really can’t stand it, maybe I can try skipping sections instead of stopping the book altogether.

I’m going to start with a book that I’ve been trying to finish since like 2016 or something like that. It’s The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

The Goldfinch Is A Long Book

I know there are shorter books to try to read, but I’ve been at this one for so long, you guys. I’m on page 230 and there are 771 pages. I’m not sure which chapter it is. Anyway, I figure if it took Donna Tartt ten years to write it, I can take a while to read it. Especially since I’m busy.

I know that there’s a movie or something on Amazon Prime now, but I’m not going to watch it because I want to finish the book first. Here’s the book on Amazon, even though I’m sure most everyone else has already read it because it’s a Pulitzer winner and those tend to get circulated quite a bit. Here is the book on Amazon. Just so you know, I’m a member of the Amazon Associates Program and I earn money from qualifying purchases with the ad below.

But, I mean, you all can watch it if you want. Here’s the movie on Amazon. For now, it’s included with Amazon Prime so if you’re a prime member you can watch it for free. Again, the below link is an ad and I’m a member of the Amazon Associates Program. I earn money from qualifying purchases from the ad below.

Have you read The Goldfinch yet? Seen the movie?

Obviously I haven’t finished The Goldfinch yet or seen the movie, so not spoilers please. But, definitely let me know if you liked the book or the movie in the comments below.

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Eric Shay Howard selfie reading The The Goldfinch

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I Kind Of Want A Nespresso Machine

I wanted to buy a Nespresso machine when our old coffee maker quit, but my roommate bought a new Ninja instead. Either way, we have a lot of leftover K-Cups and I’m dunno what to do with them.

What happened was, my roommate bought all these Keurig pods a while back. I don’t really use Keurig pods, but they were here and we had this coffee maker that used them. He kept buying Keurig pods for some reason. Then, a few weeks ago, I tried to put a Keurig pod into the coffee maker and it wouldn’t, um, go down into it? I told him I guess the Keurig machine broke. He was like, “Okay”, because that’s what he says most of the time when I break things.

So, yesterday, he bought this new Ninja coffee maker. Here’s what it looks like.

But, this coffee machine doesn’t have a K-Cup thingy, so we are just breaking open the K-Cups and using the single serve brewing option until we are out of these. I can’t wait to be done with them because I have some coffee beans from the local coffee shop that I really want to brew.

It took me forever to find an exact match for the Ninja on Amazon. I think it’s out of stock until November or something. I found it though. I’ll link to it below with an affiliate ad. Just so you know, I’m a member of the Amazon Associates Program and I earn from qualifying purchases with the ad below.

Should I get a Nespresso machine instead?

I’m also really contemplating getting a Nespresso machine, because a lot of people I follow on Twitter got one, and I’m SUPER gullible. Plus I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be in a real cult. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the Nespresso machines. Please comment at the bottom of the post.

Here’s the Nespresso machine I think I want. Again, I’m a member of the Amazon Associates Program and earn money from qualifying purchases from the ad below.

I am a coffee snob. I go to coffee shops every day, and I have an espresso machine at home. For my black coffee, I use a French press. One day, I will get a REAL espresso machine, but for now I just have this one below. And, again, I’m a member of the Amazon Associates Program and I earn from qualifying purchases with the ad below.

So yeah, that’s what I’m doing this weekend. Things that I can drink a lot of coffee while doing. What are you doing this weekend? Let me know in the comments below!

You can also follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

Me getting my latte yesterday on my lunch break.
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On My Twitter This Week I Took Selfies And Tried Hot Cocoa Bombs

I love Twitter. It went down yesterday evening and I had to go almost a whole evening without it. ON A THURSDAY! If it was a weekend I’d have done something interesting, but is there ever anything interesting to do on a Thursday? When Twitter is working I can post selfies, complain about things, and share thoughts in a super quick and easy way, without having to go through the trouble of making a whole blog post. Here are some of my tweets from this week. I’ve been on Twitter a long time, but I’m still learning it because it’s hard. Are tweets about hot cocoa bombs and wanting to be married my 35 still cool?

Hot Cocoa Bombs

My roommate bought these hot cocoa bombs. I thought they were cupcakes, so I was going to bite into one after dinner because I love my chocolate. I have a sweet tooth and I’m not ashamed. Anyway, he corrected me. I also read the instructions on top of the box. They directed me to heat up milk, drop the bomb in, and to watch the magic. I did what it said. It was pretty cool looking. I should’ve recorded it, but I didn’t. I’ll use another one eventually. They were really expensive so I didn’t want to waste them. Most importantly, my sweet tooth was super satisfied.

Selfies

I post a lot of selfies on Twitter. I mean, you know, selfies that don’t have my hot cocoa bombs or whatever in them. Posting selfies is probably better than complaining on Twitter all the time. The selfies get used for my blog posts, too. Firstly, I need to post a picture of something with each post. Secondly, I need to get married by the time I turn 35. I’m trying to kill (actually, just startle-and-make-fly-away, not kill, because I mean really who does that?) two birds with one stone.

Twitter Questions

Sometimes I ask the void questions. I try not to ask people really annoying questions, but I’m alone and too lazy to google things and what else am I to do?

The answer was yes, “country-fried” in country-fried steak is hyphenated, even though there’s no reason for it because unless Country is a person and they fried steak, it’s pretty clear what’s going on there.

Unless I’ve already met the love of my life and don’t know it yet. Either way, they better get the ball rolling. I’m not going to marry someone after only dating for a month.

Twitter Thoughts

Similarly to the above tweets, I also tweet random thoughts. Sometimes tweets come back to haunt people so, maybe looking at them like this is a good way for me to think about some of the tweets I’ve tweeted and assess what I think about them after a few days. Here are some of those from this week.

I’m not against sex or body positivity. I just want you to pretend for five minutes that you want something more than getting into my pants. My preference would be to crush on you for about 2 years and THEN confess my undying love for you and get rejected, like always. But hey, I’m open to meeting in the middle.

I don’t like it when people challenge other people’s rights and abilities to participate in an art.

Thanks for reading about my hot cocoa bombs.

Hopefully blogging about my tweets was okay. I’ll probably do it again because I’m busy and this is an easy weekend post. In other words, I hope it’s okay that I’m a little lazy with one of my posts every week. Maybe someday soon I’ll get really good at integrating my social media stuff on my blog and we can have a social media blogging comment party.

What did you do this week? Did you tweet about any of it? Would you rather blog instead? Do you have a blog?

I could definitely keep going with questions but I’m going to get off of here and try to get some other writing done. Leave me a comment and let me know what’s on your mind.

Also, you can follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

Eric Shay Howard Selfie In Garden Louisville Belvedere

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How My Blog Works

The other day, I wrote a blog post about how my routine got interrupted and it made me question my blog posting schedule. I’ve been thinking about how my blog works. I’ve also been trying to figure out how it WILL work. I’m afraid to specify too detailed of a specific blog schedule. I’m always trying new things and tinkering with this and that. One day I’m complaining about my Grindr profile and the next day I’m mister literary give-me-a-break. However, I have ALMOST successfully written on my blog every day for 30 days in a row. I’ve decided that blogging every day is good for me. It keeps me writing and it gives me something to do. So, I will be posting every day, unless, you know, a hole to hell opens nearby or something. And even then, I dunno, I might have something to say.

How will my blog work in the future?

The question remains: what IS my blog about? What type of content should I really focus on? Me, of course, but, I should be a little more specific, right? Or maybe not? Let’s see.

I’m probably going to post some of my short stories and creative writing a little every week, because I’ve loved doing that! But, I think I’ve also bombarded you all with my short stories a little too back-to-back, so maybe I’ll take them down to one or two a week.

I suppose at least one day a week will end up being a life update post of some sort. I can share what’s been going on with my books, with my writing, with my dating life, with my friends, or whatever.

That leaves four more days to figure out. Hmmm. I mean, maybe I can come up with four interesting blog posts about SOMETHING every week? That doesn’t sound too hard. It probably is though. I’m sure I’ll have problems sometimes: bad dates, life frustrations, et cetera.

I’ll continue figuring it out as I go along, I suppose. Again, this needs to continue being a little loosey-goosey, or it will probably implode into itself.

How will my short story posts work?

I do kinda have this part figured out. When I post new short fiction or creative writing on my blog, they are usually early drafts. They’re stories that I’ve decided to not submit to literary journals and just keep here on my blog. Most literary journals require that submissions be previously unpublished, which means they also can’t be on a blog somewhere.

I don’t have a detailed or serious process for deciding which stories to post on my blog or save to submit to literary journals. It’s usually as simple as “I’m familiar with some literary journals that this MIGHT fit into and I’m going to save it to submit to them.” If I don’t feel that way, I’ll post it. I know, groundbreaking.

I should note that, as of the date of this post, I’ve not had any pieces actually accepted anywhere. But, I still hold onto the pieces and keep submitting them for a while. If I’ve collected enough stories that haven’t been posted on my blog that keep getting rejected from journals, I will just self-publish them in a book after a year or two. (Or three. Again, very loosey-goosey.)

As for the stories that I post on my blog, again, they are usually first or second drafts. I usually edit them over time, and probably rewrite them a few times down the road. Eventually, maybe some of the stories included in my daily blog will get polished enough to graduate up into my “Free Stories” section of my blog. It definitely won’t be all the stories. It probably won’t even be three a year. I’m just guessing.

As for the speed in which it takes me to get things “polished”, which in my opinion means “done enough”, It took me three years to write and rewrite and polish the nine short stories that make up my first fiction collection, Crushes.

I think this is a good plan.

For the most part, this a good, doable, loosey-goosey enough plan for me. What do you all think? Are you into it? The goal of this blog is to mainly keep me writing. I don’t want to make too many self-imposed rules or anything. Maybe something cool will come out it one day. I’m sure there will be kinks to work out, bumps in the road, and blah-blah-blah. I suppose there’s also the fact that I’m paying money to have this domain name and web hosting, so I might as well put stuff on here.

To recap, I’ll post a few short stories, life updates, and random stuff every week. Eventually I might stop posting on the weekends? If it gets to be too much, I suppose. Or I could just post selfies on the weekends. Works for me. Hey, a blog post is a blog post.

Let me know what you think about this “plan” in the comments. I’m all for post ideas, too.

You can also follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

Eric Shay Howard in sun flare
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