“Howdy Rebecca Glaessner! Pal, look, it’s Rebecca Glaessner!”
“Thanks for having me here, Kid and Pal.”
“Well we sure ‘preciate yer comin’ all the way ta the Saddle Up from down under.”
“It weren’t sech a long haul fer her Kid. Rebecca’s been aroun’ the Ranch fer a long time.”
“It’s an absolute honour to be featured at the Saloon after all Charli and her Ranch-hands have done for my writing life, Kid. You’re both right, I’ve been around but I did fall off the radar for a while in recent years. It’s a bit of a windy story so get comfortable, a lot has happened over those six years. I’ll try to be concise.”
“We’re all ‘bout storyin’. The stage is yers, Rebecca.”
“I started up a website in 2015 where I now post all my flash fiction responses to the Ranch’s weekly prompts. Those prompts inspired me to begin writing online in the first place.
I was a young parent back then, only 22, with three toddlers and an infinitely supportive partner who worked long hours so I could be home with them.
I established a daily routine around the kids where I found myself with free time each day, and redeveloped that lifelong itch to write.”
“Reckon thet’s a itch jist has ta be scratched. Lifelong ya had it?”
“Yes, Pal. You see, I started reading very young. As soon as I knew those little symbols on paper could create whole worlds, I found a home inside books as often as I could. Then naturally, I started writing as a young teen – you know those carbon-copy stories of our favourite novels? Mine was Eragon by Christopher Paolini (who, to my delight, has also moved from writing Fantasy to Sci-Fi, much like my own journey).
As a young mother the soul-deep writing itch returned in full force.
One story-world concept I daydreamed as a teen grew and evolved alongside me in parenting and life, finding depth, new themes and alternate paths to travel down over the years. Though I’m still working on it, it’s undergone several rewrites/restarts since, with some drafts reaching over 100k words long. Yet this final version looks almost nothing like its original form, as is the way with life and growth.
It’s been a long road of self-discovery over those years since, ups and downs and 360’s, and I’ve learned so much. The Carrot Ranch has been one supportive constant in my writing life as I found myself returning to the Ranch often, despite having stopped writing temporarily.”
“See, I was aroun’ a course, I’ve always been aroun’, but the Kid here showed up later. When I weren’t seein’ ya aroun’ so much, Rebecca, I jist figgered it was ‘cause the Kid is so dang annoyin’.
“No Pal, with three kids of my own I was busy! And, during that time, all five of us – our three kids, myself, and my now husband – were diagnosed with either Autism, ADHD, or both. And though the diagnoses helped each of us find our own place in the world, it wasn’t a fix-all; it didn’t give me all of life’s magical answers.
My life revolved around supporting our kids so they wouldn’t have to fight their way through childhood like my husband and I did, and in doing so, I gradually sacrificed more and more of my own bandwidth, leaving myself with no space or energy for writing.
Being Autistic, meant I was constantly exhausted from all the expected social interaction with other parents, hoping to strengthen our children’s school experience through the support network of other families. But having ADHD also, meant I fought with myself daily to remember to keep the house organised, all their lunches sorted, school notes and homework and activities in order, while always feeling like I was forgetting things and not doing enough as a stay-at-home parent.”
“Well dang, Rebecca, that seems like a tough steer ta corral.”
“Kid, it was a recipe for disaster. Too much all at once, with no space for self care, and a constant guilt that I wasn’t living up to my own expectations for my writing life also. I believed my diagnosis meant I knew what was holding me back, and that I could just try harder to get past it. But I was wrong.
This inevitably led to burn-out, where I had my first – and, luckily, only – panic attack, ending up in hospital, feeling like my heart was struggling and about to give out, and I took time off everything. My husband picked up the bit for me, cleaning, school runs, bedtime routines, everything, while still working full time. He offered me time to recover, however long I needed.”
“He soun’s like a keeper all right.”
“I can’t thank him enough.”
“Even with his s’port, musta been a rough time.”
“Yes. And that time enabled me to build brand new foundations, starting from scratch. Through all of it, I never lost that itch to write.
That is where you found me in 2017, dabbling in the Ranch’s flash fiction prompts again, trying to get back on the same wild horse I started with. That was also the year I tried NaNoWriMo for the first time where I achieved my goal of 50k words in a month.
2017 was also the year my father passed away and when my partner and I got married.”
“Them’s two big events.”
I remembered dad in a flash piece called Boots, one of my first sci-fi pieces, first published in 2017 as a response to a Ranch prompt, and then republished in 2020.
I first— properly— discovered sci-fi after reading Dune and it’s prequels as a teen (my dad recommended them, one of his gifts I treasure the most now), and like writing, sci-fi became a core foundation in my creative life.
After NaNoWriMo in 2017 —a mess of a story, hiding away in a secret drawer— and another failed novel draft in the months following, I took yet another writing hiatus. I knew I still didn’t have all the tools needed to craft a strong story. Feeling doubtful about my abilities, I fell away from flash fiction and the Ranch again too.
Over all those years, I devoured countless articles, craft novels, podcasts, writing classes, blog posts, you name it! I’ve tried and failed over and over to get a rhythm going successfully enough to complete this novel.”
“You jist hang in there Rebecca, you’ll git it done.”
“I will, but having ADHD also means it’s a challenge to keep my mind focused on mentally demanding tasks for more than 10 minutes at a time, so I’m constantly fighting myself to do the one thing in the world that is utterly fulfilling for me. This challenge, before my diagnosis, offered no end of self-doubt through lack of consistency, and never knowing why I couldn’t just write.
I love our kids, of course, I love how they’ve grown, how strong they are in their sense of self now, but writing is… me.You know?”
“Reckon ya gotta make time ta scratch thet itch, no matter.”
“For sure. In 2020, the infamous lockdown year, I wrote another 75k words of another novel draft around home-schooling three primary school aged kids, and once again discovered the plot just didn’t have the legs to stand on.
Or was it my ADHD telling me the story wasn’t interesting enough anymore? Was I also telling myself it needed more work than I could give it?
I’m still working on self-trust.
I discovered my ADHD very recently in 2021. This discovery now means I can knuckle down on the parts of my writing process where I need to harness discipline above interest, recognising what work is needed, and challenging myself to push past my perceived limitations.
This writing thing is harder than usual for me, but I’m determined.That’s when the Carrot Ranch’s weekly prompts once again returned to the forefront of my writing career.”
“The kids returned to school late in 2020. With the extra time and space back at hand, I put aside another struggling draft of 75k words, revamped my website and vowed to write a piece for each weekly prompt from then on— whether submitted to the Ranch or not.
I’ve only missed one prompt so far since January 2021. That prompt was “a year later”. It was too deep a concept to tackle that weekend so I gave myself a brief break and forgave myself for not having the bandwidth for it.”
“Reckon ever’one misses now an’ agin. I ‘member that was a tough prompt.”
“That forgiveness and space was key, and I was back on the horse the following week with renewed energy —though this time, a slower, steadier, wiser horse.
Now I use my novel’s characters and concepts to inspire each week’s flash response, as opposed to plucking bits and pieces from life. This new strategy keeps me rooted in my novel’s worlds which I’m working on diligently. It helps maintain momentum toward my ultimate goal, and it’s growing ever closer.”
“Thinkin’ thet’ll make ol’ Shorty smile!”
“I hope so. I’m thankful for Charli’s own persistence and determination in life, she’s been a huge inspiration for me. I wouldn’t be where I am now without her and the Ranch!
After diving headfirst into writing, then falling away completely, I’ve arrived at a place where I can challenge myself in healthy ways; by taking small steps, and crafting manageable expectations, I’m gradually building the self-trust and consistency vital to success in all parts of life.”
“Well, it’s somethin’, how ya never let go a yer writin’.”
“An’ how Carrot Ranch’s been a part a yer writin’, an’ vice versa. Rebecca, where else’ve ya got hep or inspiration fer yer writin’ itch?”
“Well, Kid, alongside the Ranch, author Holly Lisle has been another cherished resource in learning the craft. I’ve purchased all of her clinics (World, Culture, Language, Plot and Character Building) and use them regularly with huge success. Her methods of commanding the muse when and where you need it, is empowering.
Also an inspiration, podcaster Sarah Rhea Werner teaches self-care and managing expectations as a creative, challenging how we perceive the craft, and how we view ourselves as both writers and flawed humans. Sarah hosts free twice-weekly, live-stream ‘Create-Alongs’, where she offers two hours of her own time to bring the writing community together in a space of acceptance and inspiration.”
“Thanks fer sharin’ them inspirin’ folk, Rebecca. An’, before ya go back ta thet beautiful fam’ly a yers, ya got anythin’ else ta share or promote?”
“I’m yet to publish outside the free flash pieces on my website, however the novel I’ve spoken of, and am working on now is a sci-fi mystery, involving missing people, hidden aliens, AI controlled wormholes and strange nightmares of other worlds. My flash fiction offers hints of these worlds, so come visit me over at my website; have a read and leave me your thoughts. I respond to each and every comment and love to hear from readers.”
“That sounds like a right fun place ta visit. Thank ya so much Rebecca Glaessner. Sure was good ta have ya by.”
“Yep. We ‘preciate yer open an’ honest story tellin’.”
“Thanks again Pal and Kid for having me here! I cherish the opportunity to share my story, and I hope it helps other creatives on their own journey.”
Australian Author, Rebecca Glaessner, writes Science Fiction with a focus on future tech, the human condition and our connection to worlds beyond.
Over on her site she publishes weekly flash fiction in response to the Carrot Ranch’s 99-word story prompts, and inspired by her up and coming debut novel, a sci-fi mystery.
Besides writing, Rebecca reads widely and often, enjoys strength-training and video gaming while running a household of three human kids, six fur kids and her better half.
Stick around while she discovers her voice, you might be surprised.
If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via firstname.lastname@example.org.