Burnout and Bad Habits

I started off 2021 really well with respect to my creative writing goals. I took two short story workshops and a novel revision workshop, and I made a ton of progress for the first seven months. Especially when I was living in Northern California, there was something about the place I was staying in or the weather or my weekend hikes that was super motivating. I was up typing away before 7 AM every day.

And then…nothing. I completely stopped. I lost all interest in writing and spent a lot of time reading, crafting, and watching garbage on YouTube. I even went through a month long period where I didn’t read anything. Total brain burnout. It’s hard to write all day for a living and then write again at night. Blogging was the most I could manage.

My company is closed winter break from Christmas Eve through New Year’s, and part of that I spent in the Galápagos Islands where the internet connectivity was so bad it might well have not existed. So in between kayaking and cycling and hiking and snorkeling, I had a good old fashioned pen and paper on my hotel balcony playing around with new ideas for some special calls for submissions I had found on Duotrope. It was revitalizing.

I started January with a bang, reviewing, polishing, revising, and submitting five pieces in the first week, and I got my first acceptance of 2022 on January 7th. It’s a fun, 50-word microfiction piece I submitted to Blink Ink for their “Bad Habits” issue. Blink Ink is a print only journal, so you’ll have to buy an issue to read it (and you should!), or better yet, get a one-year subscription. My published piece is called Even Though They Lick the Floor.

I submitted four pieces total and after Blink Ink accepted one, I submitted my others to a few additional places. But I haven’t gotten any more acceptances on these, and since they were only for fun anyway, I’ll print them here now and focus on submitting my longer pieces instead.

Again, the theme was “Bad Habits” and, as always with my short works, these were all inspired by situations from my life, the life of people I know, or something I read about. Each story is exactly 50 words.

Never Leave Home Without It

“Beer’s not allowed in this house,” Margaret told the sallow-faced man, pointing to his lunch cooler.
Her husband rushed to the door. “This is Greg. He’s teaching me guitar.”
“All the same, no beer.”
Greg smiled at her, revealing two missing front teeth. “It ain’t beer, ma’am, just Dr. Pepper.”


Games Played: 1,348,277
Wins: 849,414
Current Win Streak: 18
The monitor flickers, bolts of rainbow colors flash, then fade. A streak of white. A void.
Charles presses the power button on the Gateway 2000 several times. He pounds the metal casing.
He stares, then sighs, and finally, Charles walks away.

What You Learn After Moving In

Maura placed a box of tissues on her partner’s nightstand.
She pulled the top tissue up.
She moved the box closer to the bed.
Still, on the next laundry day when she removed the fitted sheet from his side, she found a track of yellowish, crusted snot along the edge.  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s