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November 30: Flash Fiction Challenge

A black-cap chickadee flutters to the bare bush ahead of me. My bird dog trains her nose to the trail and misses the bird. Neither of us is a prime hiker, but we are both elated to be outdoors. Swedetown Trail spans uphill into the leafless woods of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The air crisps in my nostrils, and I puff steam like an old ore wagon, steadily moving upward.

Another chickadee flits and I wonder if they are living in this brush. Migrators fled south months ago. Like me, these are the birds holding out through winter, curious to see what Lake Superior drives our way next. She’s blustered, but not sent us any more snow. I’ve driven to her shores in hopes of one more rock hunt, but waves slam in a relentless line.

Writers can be relentless, too. I march my fingers to the page and write until my shoulder aches. Either I push through like a wave and hit the keys again and again, or I pause to stretch. All the words, all the stories, all the imaginative ideas won’t ever fully punch the page the way I see it in my mind’s eye. The wonder of it all drives me, though.

And yet, I’ve come up short, once again. Why is it that I count my progress as shortcomings rather than short gains? It’s a beach stone I’m tumbling in my thoughts these days. I resist formal measurement, recognizing its pitfalls, that numbers are not always the full picture. And yet we need to measure progress: pages, words, hours. What we want to see are big results: chapters, books, posts. We want completion.

NaNoWriMo offers both the push and the results. I can now say I appreciate it most for drafting new material and revising when writing is the focus. For my NaNo Rebelling, I did great with my opening rewrite of the first three chapters. But then it was following threads, and nipping material and replacing locations. My progress bogged.

And then I received a gig with a professional author (when you publish more than ten books and can afford editors and designers by merit of your book sales, you’ve made a career). It was one of those chance happenings, both the editor and back-up editor were unavailable. Yet, I doubted my ability. I accepted and plunged into editing two novellas instead of editing my own.

Okay, here’s where even I think I’m weird. I edited the same number of words for someone else that I had waiting for my pen. Hers was slicing pie; mine was ripping copper ore from basalt. Perspective. In the end, the project taught me how to focus during developmental edits. I bombed NaNoWriMo, but I aced the gig. I’m making my edits harder than they need to be. And watching a pro’s process, I know I need to just dive in and not feel so angsty about my writing.

Because I love writing.

Do you ever feel like an imposter? It’s a real thing called imposter syndrome. While my daughter was at work, she sent me this article where I was working from my home office in her dining room: Does Remote Work Increase Imposter Syndrome Risk? It’s worth a read for all writers because we rarely feel confident stating, “I’m a writer,” and even professional authors balk at feeling like they really are.

Which brings me to self-care.

We can’t push relentlessly like Lake Superior on a blustery day. Nor can we beat ourselves up over our percieved short-comings. We can’t let life constantly drive our reactions. At some point, we need to make deliberate choices for a balanced life. What does that look like? It’s a good question and one we’ll each answer differently.

For me, it’s taking breaks for my back to stretch gently, and yet also having focused times to work. I use the Pomodoro Technique to organize my tasks, focus and move my body. However, I found it disruptive for tasks I know take longer focus, like writing and editing. So I also use 50/20/50 minute increments with an allowance for 50/50 tasks. I plug into focus (or study) music to tune out distractions.

Balance means to me, allowing time to process. My brain is like a BriteLite panel with lots of colorful pegs. I know the pattern, but each pegs lights up one at a time. I’m working on lighting up sections instead of lighting random pegs. I make sure I write every day. Every. Day. After a year of homelessness and writing every day, I no longer give power to disruptions. Every day, I battle the resistance to creating (read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield).

That means I’m choosing to fill my mind with what is good and useful. Those nagging self-doubts I mentioned earlier? I will always have them. But I choose not to believe them. It’s a small shift in perspective that leads to huge impact. I’m not a writer, you say inner critic? Too bad, I’m writing anyways. I’m listening to audiobooks that open my mind. Figure out what expands you, what you’re passionate about (rocks, anyone?) and give over to seeking it, learning about it, incorporating it into what you write.

That picture for the post? That’s what a balanced meal looks like to me. Instead of hunkering over my keys eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I unplug, drink water, prepare a simple, healthful and tasty meal (because good food should taste good). Once a day, I play Bananagrams. It’s a word anagram game that stimulates vocabulary. I also read and walk daily. And no, I’m not perfect. Life happens, moods rise and fall, and word counts and walks get missed.

In August, I hired a life coach for three months and it was the best decision for self-care I could have made. My coach, Alexis Donkin, is offering tips on how to create a holiday self-care plan. If the holidays feel like a stressful time, consider creating your own plan or working with someone, even a mentor or partner. A life coach can help you take action in the areas of your life that need attention.

So how might this translate into fiction?

November 30, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes self-care. Does the character need it? What does the character do? Think about how you can use this action to deepen a character or move a story. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by December 5, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published December 6). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!


Socks for Self-Care (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills

“Dr. Danni Gordon! Good to see you!”

Danni unloaded her ruck sack and hugged Carly. “Thank you for making homeless vets your beneficiary this year.”

“Anything to help our military.”

Danni had sent Carly a list to broadcast: socks, toothbrushes, blankets. Spread out on a long table, women organized the items before packing into backpacks for the homeless in Spokane. Danni added Army surplus socks to the pile.

“What an ugly green,” said one woman.

Danni explained. “It’s a familiar color and texture to these men. Sometimes familiarity is the path to self-care for those who’ve lost their way.”



  1. When I was nursing I had a rule that at the end of a shift (at least once each day) I would do something purely for myself. It was my recovery time and I lasted longer than most in intensive care. I don’t do it anymore now I am a writer (and all you have written blasts a chord in me) and perhaps it is something we all need to take time out to take care of ourselves. I’ll be back in a flash with a flash.

  2. Reblogged this on ladyleemanila and commented:
    Charli’s challenge 🙂

  3. […] Flash Fiction Challenge – November 30 […]

  4. Ritu says:

    I’m gonna chew over this one… no rushing it over a quick breakfast cuppa Charli!
    But oh yes is self-care important!!!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Breakfast is good self-care, Ritu!

      • Ritu says:

        And it is something I have been very bad at partaking of the last couple of weeks… Been so busy at work it has been the last thing on my list of things to do every morning, and oft forgotten, or I’ve just grabbed a banana! Need to sort that out!

      • Charli Mills says:

        Bananas are a life-saver. Quick to grab, easy to peel and freeze (for smoothies or baking), and “emergency” breakfast. Oatmeal with dried cranberries, sliced almonds and cinnamon is my go-to. But alas, some busy days and it’s lunch!

  5. In order to get the boys interested in reading, we played a similar game where each chose 2 9 letter word out of the newspaper and the idea was to get as many words of 3 letters or more out of it. They got a point for each word, two points if they got one that someone else didn’t and three points if they got a word either of us adults didn’t have. Prize was a lollipop or a packet of crisps, but it seemed to work (they were 6 and 8 at the time).

    • Charli Mills says:

      What a clever game, Di! It reminds me of another we used to play called Scattergories with a letter dice and a timed naming of items that begin with the letter rolled. I still enjoy playing games with my grown kids.

      • I remember Scattergories and Boggle too. We had the card games Kan U Go and Lexicon. I love word games.

      • Charli Mills says:

        That led me down a rabbit hole! I hadn’t heard of those letter card games before. Evidently, someone has an Etsy shop in the UK and sells the vintage cards from the 1930s. Neat!

      • Balderdash was my favourite. We used to play it at school but we called it dictionary then as we picked a word out of the dictionary. The other players had to write the meaning of the word. The person who picked the word had to write either its true meaning or make one up. The other players chose whether T or F and got additional points for knowing the meaning of the word.

      • Charli Mills says:

        Balderdash! I remember playing that in school!

  6. […] November 30: Flash Fiction Challenge […]

  7. julespaige says:

    Charli – familiarity can bring comfort. I like how even though someone else isn’t impressed with the color of the socks… that they will bring comfort.

    Off to run some errands but I’ve got this …so far:
    Inkless Blots

    Inkless Blots

    “Life” used to be captured with a pen in a notebook. The
    daily writing routine morphed; using a keyboard, unlocking
    keys of alphabet letters and sentencing them to sensible
    words scripting daily insights into blog; feeding an electronic
    community where static electricity was controlled, by the
    bribery of imagination and miscellaneous musings.

    Cheaper than paying a therapist or a life coach – getting
    encouraged by other writers who walked the same crooked
    path. June marched, occasionally dancing when someone
    liked or showed the slightest interest in her inkless blots.
    Slowly gaining confidence that she actually could call herself…
    a writer.


  8. I had never heard of Imposter Syndrome until an American blogger wrote an article about it, someone who no longer blogs sadly. We had quite the discussion about it, I found it liberating as I realised that it described exactly how I felt about saying, thinking, believing, ‘I am a writer’. I’ve bookmarked the article to read later, finding it doubly intriguing that it ties in with remote work. As for self care, it’s scary how fast that can slip away… and how green socks bring their own brand of healing. Thank you for the links Charli…and so glad you got your gig 🙂 Will be back to flash! <3

    • Charli Mills says:

      The first time I heard of Imposter Syndrome was from a college professor. I kept it in mind for when it did hit. I wondered if it was an American phrase. I hope this blogger moved on for the right reasons and not because she felt the sting of doubt. It’s a good article. Thanks, Sherri! I look forward to your flash!

      • I can’t remember if I replied to this or not Charli…this is from my feed so I’m not actually on your blog, but I wanted to say it was written by a guy who, it turned out, lived in LA the same time I did back in the early 80’s. He was/is very involved with his musical career and is also a psychologist, but I’ve been so out of the loop for so long, I’ve lost track of him. Thinking I need to try to find him again when I’m up and running! Thanks again Charli for keeping me writing 🙂 <3

    • “Imposter syndrome” exists everywhere that you feel you don’t fit into the group you find yourself because you either don’t think you are as good as them or they seem to be on a totally different wavelength. And yet you are there. Supposedly doing the same thing as them and you feel as though you are an imposter. It is a big thing in universities and they have done a lot of research on it. I too was relieved when I came across it as all my time at uni I felt I was an imposter and also most of my writing life I have felt it also.

    • julespaige says:

      There were many times I felt the impostor. Until I realized that I didn’t need to be in certain groups that dealt with things in which I had no real interest. Some of those group naturally fading out. But others still exist and I have no regrets about going in a different direction.

  9. I have to say, that a as a Michigander myself, I love that you share what life is like in the Keweenaw. It has been over 30 years since I was at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge and enjoying Copper Harbor. You bring it all back to me and more <3

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ah! I fellow Michigander, though I may yet be in the “imposter” stage. The Keweenaw is amazing and Copper Harbor its crown jewel. Next summer I want to make my RV available as a writer’s retreat for any writer who would like to spend some downtime on the Keweenaw. I’m glad this resonates with you!

  10. jordancorley says:

    Charli, I have just posted my first 99 word story thanks to your prompt and I must say it was quite a learning experience. But I had a blast writing it!

  11. denmaniacs4 says:

    Hi Rough Writers. I, of course, take self-care quite seriously. Don’t be fooled by this take.

    There’s No Writer Wrong

    “He’s been at it for days. I’m getting quite worried.”

    “He’s an adult Joanie. Its his decision.”

    “But…he’s a writer, for heaven sakes. He doesn’t live in the real world. He spends most of his time in a messy little nook in his head. He’s always going off on a tangent.”

    “And now he trying to take care of himself. Look at him. He’s become a scrunched-up pretzel of a man, hunched over in a writing frenzy.”

    “That’s what I mean. I don’t think solo Kama Sutra Yoga and a forty-ounce jug of red wine ought to be mixed.”

    • Liz H says:

      Oh this brings me back!
      Hang in there (I used ear plugs).

    • Charli Mills says:

      Sleep is delicious to a mother, but her newborn diet doesn’t make allowances!

    • julespaige says:

      It gets better. But yes I remember thinking that I hadn’t slept the night through until after my birds had flown the nest…
      Once a parent… always a parent. 😉

      Some options I had were Mother’s Day out programs. What you did with your time wasn’t questioned. Sleep happened most of the time! My one had night terrors twice a night for a while, never woke. I did though. When my second started with that instead of going into the room with lights out and just cooing and comforting – I flipped on the lights and said ‘Wake up, you were dreaming.” Then got ’em back to sleep. The night terrors instead of lasting what seemed like years ended after a few days.

  12. Juliet Nubel says:

    Hi Charli and the Gang,

    Here’s my take on yesterday’s challenge. My own scruffiness was the inspiration behind this one…

    Blue Moon

    She never knew which one to choose. She owned dozens, all lined up in neat, colourful rows inside a shiny, purple box.

    Their names were so extravagant – Mayfair Lane, Undercover Show, Pussycat was Here.

    She settled for Misty Jade, a colour from the depths of the Caribbean sea.

    Slowly stroking the brush onto her short, brittle nails, she dreamt of an island, with warmer climes, where she wouldn’t have to work so hard.

    A place where she could paint her nails, lie back and idly watch them dry, every single day. Not just once in a pale blue moon.

  13. […] If you want to participate, go to this link: […]

    • Charli Mills says:

      A dark twisted view of self-care and yet much is implied in 99 words to show this is not a happy life. Good one, Joelle.

      • floridaborne says:

        Thanks. 🙂 I’ve seen that unhappiness too often. During my day job, I’ve met a lot of guardians for people with intellectual disabilities. Most are fine people who do an excellent job. But there’s always one who takes control to an unreasonable level.

  14. […] This story has been written for Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch Literary Community Flash Fiction Challenge. Details here: […]

  15. Hi Charli, This is where your prompt took me 🙂

  16. Annecdotist says:

    Sorry you haven’t got as far as you’d hoped with the revisions of your own novel – especially as I’m waiting to read it – but seems like you’ve learnt a lot from editing someone else’s. It can be hard to strike a balance between hard work and necessary relaxation.
    I had a post in draft about how other people can make us feel imposters, so I’ve tied my flash with that. It’s called “I made a mountain”, which applies to every one of us who responds to your call for 99-word stories
    What do friends mean when they say There must be a novel in there?

    • Juliet Nubel says:

      A fabulous post! I have commented in more detail on your site.

    • I absolutely loved the ‘I made a mountain’ story. I think it would resonate with so many people here, who dared to out, to live their dreams in any way they can, in whole or in part. So thank you so much for writing it.

    • Charli Mills says:

      I’m making better progress now. I have an immovable deadline with my two alpha-readers who leave for New Zealand on December 31. Sometimes I need to get out of the rigid perspective in my head and see how someone else does it. I enjoy comparison on a non-competitive level for the chance to see how other writers approach craft or process. I have a photo of a poster by my desk that address a “draft in there.”
      A Draft in There

  17. […] Linked to Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt and Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge with the prompt “self […]

  18. Frank Hubeny says:

    Good descriptive paragraph about tumbling beach stones in one’s thoughts. Usually my plans don’t turn out the way I thought they would either, but something happens. Best wishes on finishing those plans.

    Here is my story for “self care”. Thank you for providing the prompts.


    Mark loudly rang his own doorbell. “Thank you, Santa!” He heard Julie’s feet pitter-patter as she rushed to the door. “Have a nice day, Santa, in your snowy fairy glen at the North Pole.”

    Julie looked outside. “Where’s Santa?”

    “Sorry, Julie. Santa’s gone. He left gifts for you.”

    Eventually someone would have to tell his daughter about Santa, but Mark couldn’t do it. She’ll have to cure herself even if she breaks her own heart.

    Later that day Julie answered the door. “Santa! Back so soon?”

    “Who was that?”

    “Sorry, Dad. Santa’s gone, but he left you this present.”

  19. This came at such an opportune time for me, Charli. Thank you.

  20. Back with a flash –
    Great flash Charli. I think so often we think of the unnecessary as gifts where in reality those things which are familiar offer comfort.

  21. Socks of any color are good gifts for a population that is unable to dry and warm their feet and footwear. (

    Just heard from that dysfunpunnnal pair of Ranch Hands:

    “Hey Pal, you oughtta join my self-heppin’-advocatin’-together group- S.H.A.T.”
    “Ain’t bein’ no part a yer SHAT group. What the shat you on about anyway?”
    “What Shorty said. Self-hep.”
    “Shorty said self-care, so I reckon it’s S.C.A.T., an’ I’m hopin’ ya do.”
    “Testy… You need a stage coach.”
    “Yeah, stage coach. Ta hep ya git through all yer rough stages in life. Talk ya through the prickly patches.”
    “I swear, Kid, sometimes I’d like ta put you on a stage, send ya back where ever ya come from.”
    “All the world’s a stage, Pal, ya oughtta try’n play nice.”

    • Norah says:

      Oh my goodness. I do not know where Kid gets this stuff from. It’s hilarious. I love it, I love it, I love it, I do. It starts at the top with this: dysfunpunnnal – and then keeps building.
      (Nice story in the link too, BTW).

      • It only works because the English language is so ridiculous.
        I think I messed up that link, but that Mike Smith started his mission while in college when he met some homeless folks and learned of the importance of socks. Makes sense, it’s your prime consideration when hiking and camping. It behooves you to take care of your feet. (Got ya again)

      • Norah says:

        You did get me again! The link worked for me, or I was impressed by the story I read, anyway. I’m grateful I don’t have to walk in their shoes. And English is very ridiculous! We have to laugh at it. 🙂

      • Oh, and here’s a link to the whole Ranch Yarn collection. They were all over the place in my computer but I finally gathered up the rodeo and recent ones and stuck them in. Scroll down to the CR badge to get to the rodeo referencing ones.
        The Yarn page is stretching pretty long. I am open to ya’lls’ advice on a rehaul on that page or the site in general, though I have limited skills and won’t have time for it for a while.

      • Norah says:

        Limited skills!! I don’t think you’re short of too many. 🙂 It’s great that you’ve compiled them in one place. I’m not sure what to suggest other than put them in a book – Vol 1. Then Vol 2 comes next. Or choose your own number, I don’t mind. 🙂

      • Oh Norah, someone trailed you to your Blog…

      • Charli Mills says:

        D. has been roped and her ranch yarns branded with Vol. 2. She has a punny talent and writing skills she’s in denial about, but that’s okay. We’ll bring her along kindly. The Kid, however, might put up some kickin’ and screamin’. 😀

      • Norah says:

        Keep her roped, both her and the Kid. We can’t let them get away. We need good stock like this. The Kid could do with a chapter or two or a volume or two on her own. She’s outstanding. And I don’t mean in a field. Maybe her field. I’ve not known another like her for speed and wit. Amazing stuff. (Is it okay for us to talk about her (them) behind her back like this?) 🙂

    • Liz H says:

      (Lying on the floor, laughing)
      Love it!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Goes to show how we can underestimate the capacity of others sometimes. Indeed, all the world’s a stage and we all oughtta play nice like these cool skateboarders and ranch hands.

    • julespaige says:

      Yep the redonkulessness of the Language. Tongue in Cheek!
      Had me laughing out loud.

  22. Norah says:

    You did well with your rebellious learning, Charli. You may not have conquered what you set out to do at the beginning of the month, but you learned lots that’s going to make winning the battle even easier now. Such beautiful language and images you use in the introduction to the post. And you provide some very useful links, tips and advice. I like that you adjust the Pomodoro Technique to suit your own needs. That’s what life’s all about after all – expressing our own uniqueness.
    Your flash is powerful. Warm feet – better chance of a warm heart. Knowing someone cares too, helps even more. Thanks for a great challenge. I’ll be back with my effort tomorrow.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks, Norah. I feel about growing — that growth mindset, eh? And I think the prose might indicate the landscape is seeping into my bones. It takes some time for the newness of places to bubble up. Warm feet, warm hearts and warm smiles, too.

      • Norah says:

        I think this landscape is more to your liking than that of Mars. It seems more familiar to you, and welcoming. Your language shows it as it bubbles up and takes you places to grow.

  23. […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (11/30/2017): In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes self-care. Does the character need it? What does the character do? Think about how you can use this action to deepen a character or move a story. Go where the prompt leads. […]

  24. Liz H says:

    This popped into my head this morning, would not let me roll over and go back to sleep. So, this is where the prompt took me… 😉

    Self-care Thru Word Salad

    Impression management. Measured words. Think before you write. Intentionality, thought-FULL-ness is all. Be politically correct, especially if that’s not your usual inclination. Diagram your structure, have your measurable outcome in sight.

    (This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no party. This ain’t no foolin’ around!)

    Stop making sense. Put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard. Slop a little coffee over that mess, but avoid the hard drive.

    (Don’t stop. Believin’. Let out all those feelings.)

    Your job right now is to get your foot off the muse’s tail and let it run around the room.

    I love a morning write.

  25. […] For Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Prompt: Self-Care […]

  26. […] post is doubling as one of my “Self-care School” posts and also the entry for a Carrot Ranch 99-word flash fiction challenge–this week’s topic is […]

  27. […] Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch […]

    • You know, Charli. I tried the Pomodoro Technique back when you mentioned it in your other post. I’d heard of it but tried it then and I found it disruptive for certain tasks, as well, and I already have an extremely disruptive environment here. 😉 I’m looking forward to seeing the holiday self-care plan. Thank you for the link.

      Despite the fact I’ve been writing, teaching writing, or studying writing basically my entire life, I have imposter syndrome. I’ll take a look at that article. Very curious about it.

      • Charli Mills says:

        Great flash, Sarah! Even knowing you are the queen of flash twists, you still catch me by surprise. Yes, the imposter syndrome is often strongest in those who have achieved much — somehow our expectations grow the more we accomplish or take on responsibility for. I’ll be interested to know your take on the article.

        Pomodoro technique helps me with reminders to move and for identifying disruptions. Even though we know what disrupts us, tracking it can help resolve or find solutions. When I want to work longer periods, I use the Focus Music on my Calm App which is 60 minutes.

      • Did I miss the mention of the Focus Music on your Calm app? It’s very possible. Sorry. I’ve heard of that app. I’ll try the Pomodoro again. It might help. Can’t hurt to try.

        Would it surprise you to know I have not read the article yet? No, I don’t think it would. *sigh* I will. It looks very interesting. Hadn’t thought of our expectations growing. That’s something to ponder.

  28. […] week, Charli Mills challenged the Carrot Ranch Literary Community to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes self-care. Does the character need it? Wh… She talks about being easy on ourselves and taking time to celebrate our progress and avoid being […]

  29. […] weekly prompt at the Carrot […]

  30. Pete says:

    At home, Mom’s been busy. Swabs of cotton on the floor, the kind from a pill bottle. It looks like she shook her purse out all over the kitchen. A pungent smell leads me to a box of hair dye by the sink…scissors…chunks of hair…

    I hit the steps with stuttered breaths, my throat closing. What I’d give for just one boring, uneventful day. To come home without holding my breath. Lately I’ve been thinking about taking off, just being done with it all.
    But I can’t leave.

    Because what if she fell?

    Or worse, what if she jumped?

  31. susansleggs says:

    Control What You Can

    “In the past three weeks, we had to move into our new house before the painters and rug layers were done, there were two deaths in my wife’s family and our daughter was in a car wreck and can’t go back to work.”
    “How are you coping with such trials?”
    “I’m a patient man, but I want answers. I’m praying a lot.”
    “How about your wife?”
    “I helped her unpack the quilting room and I cut fabric for her to sew, then sent her to lunch with her friends. She felt better after accomplishing something and receiving healing hugs.”

    • Charli Mills says:

      Your flash demonstrates how we also help each other get to where we can practice self-care. It’s often a community or family effort, isn’t it? Nice flash, Susan!

  32. Why do we count shortcomings instead of short gains? That’s profound.

    Here are the 99 words inspired by your latest excellent prompt. Thank you as always for curating such a marvelous place!

    Mom’s Me Time
    Written by Kerry E.B. Black

    Moms don’t usually get “me time,” so when the opportunity presented itself, Kaylee almost did not recognize it. Her husband and her in-laws took the kids to a matinee. Kaylee stripped the beds and threw in a load of laundry before it dawned on her. She had the house to herself. She could operate the television remote control without hearing groans. A bubble bath surrounded by scented candles could be hers. When she set the kettle on, she ignored the dishes in the sink and steeped a cup of tea and enjoyed an uninterrupted date with a long-neglected book.

  33. […] wrote this in response to Charli Mills’ November 30th Flash Fiction Challenge. In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes self-care. Does the character need it? […]

  34. Kate says:

    Charli, I loved how in your post you reframed missed personal goals from November into new and exciting gains that will help you in so many ways both in writing and the setting of future goals. It’s always a matter of perspective. Your post was insightul and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    And today I’m choosing to reframe my guilt for always being so late in getting my stories out to being grateful for your large cushion in the deadline so that I may continue to participate. 🙂 For this week’s writing challenge I invited Carrie and her Granny back.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thank you, Kate! I try to remember that the moment is now, this is where I’m at. And we adjust. I’m glad you are using the cushion as it is meant to be such a buffer! I’m delighted to see Carrie and her Granny return!

  35. […] week at the Ranch, Charli Mills hosts the Rough Writers and Friends flash fiction challenge. This week’s prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes self-care. […]

  36. Deborah Lee says:

    What Kate said! Here I am again, barely under the wire. This week’s bit is inspired by the trip I’m supposed to be getting ready for, which is partly why I’m short on time this week. I’m taking several bits of your insights and will apply them to my own writing.

  37. Arrgh Charli, I realise I am over the time limit, but hope you can still maybe, pretty please squeeze me in? This is what I got this morning… ! <3

    Back Up

    The receptionist was as chirpy as Mandy remembered her.

    ‘I would like to make an appointment for a check-up please…’ Mandy heard the waver in her own voice.

    The pain from the last visit had long gone, but the fear-filled memory of it lingered for years. She had stopped going altogether after that, and then everything fell away.

    Years later, Mandy began her slow, uphill climb with a visit to the hairdresser. An office party she dreaded but could no longer avoid. It had meant a new outfit too.

    Then Mandy called the dentist for a long-overdue check up.

    • Charli Mills says:

      It’s never too late at the Ranch! I’m thrilled you are here because you know what that means? You overcame resistance! And so did Mandy, in your flash. It’s an important part of self-care. Thank you for pushing through! <3

      • Thanks Charli…you encourage me to keep pushing through, and you know what, I did didn’t I? When you put it like that, I feel pretty darn good!!! 🙂 <3

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hi Chelsea! Welcome to Carrot Ranch, and thank you for your contribution. You are always welcome to submit more than one. I mistakenly entered the wrong dates for this week’s Tues./Wed. deadline and posting.

    If I can only do one, I would like to submit this one.

  39. So…I must have read something wrong. I thought this deadline was today, 12/7, but it says 12/5. So…missed it. Boo.

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