Today’s improvisational creative writing challenge for me! Don’t forget, I plan to use all of the details I collect in November in a short story I will post on my blog.

Tell me about something in your life you have trouble dealing with. Go ahead, this is your chance to vent!

As for me, I have trouble dealing with paper. This is strange but true. I have a love-hate relationship with paper. Obviously, I am a writer so paper is a huge part of my craft. While I work mostly on my lap top, there are always points in every story that I just need to print it out and feel the pages, see the whole story at once, remap scenes by physically arranging the pages all over the dining room table. No big surprise, I love books and reading, too.

In fact, when asked, “If you could be anywhere in the world, where would you be?”

I blurted the first thing that popped into my head. “Alone on the beach with a book.”

Unfortunately, this hurt my husband’s feelings a little. Perhaps I should have thought more before answering and said, “Alone WITH MY HUSBAND on the beach . . .”

Live and learn. He knows I still love him!

However, I hate paper, too. It buries me every week. Sometimes I feel completely overwhelmed by it and part of me is embarrassed—ashamed even—to admit it. Paper threatens to swallow me whole.

I take in the mail. It contains coupons, catalogues, magazines and umpteen bills. Oh and of course, the mail holds stacks of self addressed stamped envelopes coming back to me from literary magazines and agents. The paper keeps on coming. I sort through the piles. Most of the catalogues and coupons go right in the trash. I track the responses from agents and magazines then trash the rejections. I save the envelopes because my mother uses the stamps in her artwork. The bills go in a “to be paid” stack on my desk. The rest goes in a pile in case I might need it someday.

But there is more: I am buried in print outs of my own manuscripts-in-progress, scraps of paper and notebooks with story ideas, to do lists, others’ stories to critique, flyers advertising my writing group at the local library, and receipts for writing-related expenses I hope to be able to deduct.

I don’t want you to think I’m the only contributor to my paper mess. My three sons’ homework assignments, tests, report cards, newsletters, book order forms, field trip permission slips, contracts for musical instrument rentals, and art projects galore.

So if there is ever a time you don’t hear from me for a few days, please come dig me out from under the mountain of paper in my house!

Come on post your gripe here! Challenge me to give the characters in my next short story the same problems and annoyances and see how they handle it.

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  1. Ello says:

    Hey your post didn’t show up in my google reader! Eating gives me lots of trouble. Cause All I want to do is eat eat eat!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Smittenly Written says:

    Ummm…I am a bit late to this one…but I have trouble with totes, purses, bags, oh my!!! I have a “slight” addiction to Vera Bradley which causes one to have way too many purses, bags, and all the accessories that go along with said purses and bags.

    But…it is not just Vera Bradley. It could be any bag at all. Seriously…if I am at a craft store…I will look at all the cute little totes they have for crafting supplies. 🙂

  3. madcapmaggie says:

    I have trouble keeping track of things, and left to my own devices I can be very disorganized. A friend of mine likened the inside of my head to an attic with boxes heaped everywhere, the contents of which were random.

    My actual attic would look like that too, if it were not for my partner, who is fortunately well organized and keeps track of things.

    I have lists of everything — a chore sheet of things I need to do in the morning (eat breakfast; make lunch; wipe kitchen counter …). I have a planner. I keep lists of things on my computer.

  4. Carolyn...Online says:

    You sound absolutely flammable. All that paper.

    I can’t think of a trouble right now. Not that I don’t have one – it’s just so hard to narrow down and pick only one.

  5. Kosmos says:

    What gives me trouble can be summed up in one four letter word. CATS.
    Cats see me at a distance and read the word “sucker” on my forehead. I am sure it is written there in invisible ink.
    I have 3 indoor cats, and recently bought a house. I now have 5 cats, as we were adopted by a beautiful male stray when we moved in, and since he approves of our feeding and patting schedule he’s now brought his girlfriend around to join us. We have named her ‘Dyson’ (a vacuum cleaner brand) as she cleans up all the food in sight. I am now expecting her to present us with kittens…. More trouble on four legs ! !

  6. jayda says:


    Unfortunately, I have the same problem. Not only do I have this at home, I also suffer at the office. I sometimes feel inadequate when I think about the amount of time I spend looking for papers, files, post it notes. It’s an exercise in frustration.

    Should I mention the second bag I carry along with my handbag that’s chock full of books and paper?

    ~~wordsmith from tnbw.

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