Orange Juice & Windmills

Mooch-in-the-MorningI’ve just returned home from work.  The house is quiet and cool, my bed is down the hall and beckoning me to join it, but here I am attempting to force my tired brain to spit out a blog post.

Last night I had a few ideas about what I would write about. However, now that I sit here in front of my computer I am drawing a blank.  Such is often the way of writing.  I guess it doesn’t matter if it is a blog post or a book, the pit falls can still be the same.

There is a commercial, I think it is for orange juice, where this person comes to their ojbreakfast table and sits down with a bunch of other people. Then they all have a run down of how the woman’s day is going to go.  Something like:  You are going to be late to work because you are going to get stuck in traffic, the new boss will be there early, your son will forget to tell you he needs a ride to soccer practice…ect. 

doomAll in all it sums up a pretty rough day, but the woman just smiles and says “Great. Good thing I drank my orange juice.”  Or something like that.

I know everyone has rough days. We could all benefit from a business meeting to let us know ahead of time when stuff is going to hit the rotating propeller, but imagine if we at least had that with writing.

You sit down at your computer with your chosen beverage and all the characters from your book join you before you even open a document.  You look them in the eye and ask “So f scott fitzgeraldhow is it going to go?”  And they respond:  you are going to get off to a great start but on the third chapter you are going to leave a plot hole that will really trip up your readers and you won’t notice it.  Half way through you will get writers block and sink down in the muddle in the middle, before having an epiphany about the main character’s brother that makes you have to go back and write him in….

On second thought maybe that wouldn’t help.  Would we tilt at this windmill if we knew exactly how difficult it was going to be?

Actually, yes.  We already do.  Because writer’s are crazy like that.  We know what is going to happen, yet still we come back for more.don-quixote-tilting-at-windmills-rob-davis

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Cloudy days

I am not feeling well today. My face feels swollen from a budding sinus infection and my shoulder hurts from sleeping wrong.  This is the first time in a couple of days I have been on line.  All I’ve done for the past week was work, sleep, take care of kids.  Yes, I did get a little writing squeezed in here and there, but it was more frantically scribbled notes than anything else.

The reason I am posting today is because I don’t feel well…and apparently most of the people I know aren’t having spectacular days either.  The weather has some down, others theshiresamandfrodohave lost loved ones.   Whatever the issue, it seems as if everyone is facing challenges today.  There is a quote spoken by Samwise from the Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien that came to mind and really this post is just a way to share it. If you are struggling today too, just try to keep moving forward.

samwise

Hitting The Wall

Some people say Writer’s Block doesn’t exist. I think it all depends on your point of view.  Writer’s Block is where something, often ourselves, gets in the way of whatever we are working on.  You come face to face with some sort of wall that seems next to impossible to get around.

I am currently starring at such a wall right now.wall

I know that it is my own doubt that is keeping me motionless and my own fear of completing this work in progress.  I fear that it will suck even after I’ve put so much effort into it.  I worry about what I will work on after this story is finished.  I fear that my creativity will dry up. These are all unfounded fears of course, but they still seem to keep me frozen in place.

So, I give myself permission to suck.  I give myself permission to write past this wall even if they words I put down are the most awful ever written.  There will be stories after this one, and everything else can be fixed in the edit.

Muddling around in the middle

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullThe muddle in the middle can stop a writer flat.   You know how you wanted the story to go.  Maybe you are even one of those organized people who did an outline. (Something I very rarely do.  Though I am trying this thing with note cards and a cork board…)  Eventually though you are going to come to the sinking quicksand, energy sucking, enthusiasm crushing, muddle.

Usually this happens about half way through a story.  Sometimes it isn’t until 3/4 of the Quicksand_9977way through.  (If it happens after the first paragraph you may want to sit and think about your story some more before you try to write it.  Chances are you may have some great characters but no story to go with them…or the reverse problem, story but no characters.)

The point is you will eventually be doing the writing equivalent of slugging through two feet of mud uphill.   (If you have never experienced the muddle then you either haven’t written enough or you are one lucky…person, and should probably keep it to yourself,  least other writers feel the need to pelt you with their ditchmanuscripts.)   The secret to getting past the muddle is just to keep going.  If you stop and stand still you are going to sink or be lured away by the sirens call of a fresh tale.  Either way, it means the death of your current work in progress.

Just keep going.  The ground will eventually solidify underneath your writing feet and you will find the going easier.  Honest. I just made it out of the muddle myself.  250559-quicksand

 

Manuscripts and Funerals

My Uncle died and I recently finished the second draft of my fantasy novel. (Then sent it out to my beta readers.)  These two things seem to have nothing in common but that is not true.   Both left me in the ditch of depression. treat-cat-depression-200X200

I should be elated that I finished my second draft and I was…for about 15minutes.  Then the realization set in that now I have to wait an unknown number of weeks for my readers to get around to reading my book and give me feed back.  Then I have to write the same story all over again for the third time and maybe a fourth.Mooch-in-the-Morning

My Uncle died.  I should be sad because I will never get to see him again on this side of the pearly gates.  I cried. I hurt. I loved my uncle and I will miss him.  He was diagnosed with lung cancer in January and passed away on Valentine’s Day.  But the first thing I thought when I got the news was, what a perfect day it was for him to die.

705222_10200181674694881_1743337557_oYou see my Aunt and Uncle were married for many, many years.  They had three children together.  The oldest two provided them with grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Their youngest, my cousin Samantha, was my best friend growing up.  She died in 2000 from Cystic Fibrosis.   Then a year few years after Sam died their house burned down and they lost everything.  Pictures, clothes, pets. Everything but each other.   Neighbors, family, and their community helped them out and they rebuilt their lives.  Then they found out my Aunt was dieing from lung cancer.  She lived a couple of years before she finally passed away.  (Her sister died a month late from the same thing.)      So my Uncle lost his youngest daughter, his home, and his wife and still continued on.

Do to a learning disability, he never learned to read.  If anyone sent him a letter or a card nic and dannyhe had to take it to a neighbor to get them to read it to him. His eldest daughter made him his own phone book with pictures of the people he knew next to their telephone numbers.  He lived alone with a little dog for company.  So when he passed away on Valentine’s Day, I thought it was fitting, kind of like he was going to be with my Aunt.

Anyway the depression ditch is not a fun place to be.  I haven’t wanted to do anything and I really haven’t felt like writing.   I finally sat down and started working on stuff today, after over a week of inactivity.  (It wasn’t only this blog I’ve ignored but all writing.)

Pirate_Captain_by_AdoCThe reason I started working today is because I got tired of dreaming about pirates.  Yeah you read that right, pirates.  Before I hit my downward slump I was beginning to piece together the second book in my fantasy series. (There will eventually be three books….or one really long book with three parts…)  The first quarter of the second book is supposed to take place on a pirate ship.

The first two or three days I had no problems….well the depression, but no problems that make me think of writing as a sort of mental illness.  After about day three pirates started 1upsshowing up in my dreams and nightmares.  After I dreamed of fighting off pirates from the back of a UPS truck, and then last night in a movie theater, I decided my brain was trying to tell me to get back to work.   So I did.

I am really tired right now. It is surprising how worn out you can get from sitting in one place and putting words on a page.  It has been slow going.  Trudging down one word after the other.  I feel a little out of shape.  I did manage a fair amount of work though.  Tomorrow I will get up and do it again. And again the next day, and the next.  Because even though sometimes in life you end up in the ditch, it doesn’t mean you have to stay there.267710_515834385094643_1564799925_n

Daydreaming

The importance of daydreams has once again come to my attention.  With everything being so busy lately, daydreaming is something I’ve not done much of and my writing has suffered for it. 

I don’t usually write out lines for my books or stories.  I have done it before, but it is usually the exception rather than the rule.  My plotting and planning usually all take place in my head with out me having to make much of an effort.  Daydreams are where my ideas usually take shape.  Those random moments of staring off into space thinking “What if…” are where my stories take their first breath.

No daydreaming means very few new ideas.  Imagine a bleak landscape charred and blacken by fire.  The ground cracked and dry from lack of moisture.  Heavy clouds darken the sky and thunder threatens but no rain falls to quench the very palatable thirst that hangs in the air.  That is how my creativity has felt lately. (Obviously I have made that first step toward hydration, otherwise I could not have just described how I’ve been feeling.)

Last night I sat on the steps and stared at the stars. (As you have probably deduced, this is a favorite past time of mine whenever I get the chance.)  It always seems to refresh that inner well that I reach for when I write.  Mostly because the night sky has always inspired a since of awe in me.  Clear nights are wide open possibilities.  Hundreds of thousands of stars that are out of my reach but still within my sight.  I look up and I dream.
And eventually those dreams fall like shooting stars onto paper, in words that others can (hopefully) understand, so that they may dream too.

Update on Yesterday

So I managed to finish the ending after all.  It meant that I only got to sleep thirty minutes, but I got it done before work.  My problem was I was looking at the entire wall fresco instead of just the little corner of the picture I was trying to write.

You see there is still a whole lot of story left to tell but I am only trying to tell a small portion of it right now.  I’ll get to the rest later.

I will expand more on my epiphany (common sense to others) eventually.  However, right now I’ve slept maybe a half an hour in the past 36 (brain refuses to even think about math at the moment) or something hours and my pillows demand my presence.

Book done. Sleep now.