5. possessing a flawless sense of direction (literal and literary)
6. able to wear six-inch platforms without paying for it later
7. completely disinterested in that bottle of pinot grigio
(you know, that one at the store that hasn’t been purchased yet)
8. not eating this cheese stick
9. leaning in
The Plot Whisperer, she understands me:
“Writing uplifts you and connects you to a higher truth. Temporary feelings of euphoria sweep over you. You are at peace…until suddenly, for no apparent reason, you feel lost, abandoned, alone, and stretched beyond your limits. Your goal of writing suddenly seems unattainable. You become angry, frustrated, disappointed, and ashamed. You have no place to hide, and so, rather than face the blank page and failure, you find other things to do and put off the most important task: your writing.”
The other things I did:
1) ran away to Sebastopol
2) bought a house
3) found out the house was broken
4) was sad
5) worked lots and lots to pay for aforementioned house and its aforementioned brokenness
6) got a husband (!!)
But the novel, she will not let you avoid her forever.
And so, like a baby sloth partaking of her weekly poop, I clutched the tree of fiction anew this morning.
And much like the sloth, it felt better than one might expect.
It’s still crap, but hey, it’s something.
I promised myself no Tumblrizing until I actually got back to the goddamn plot. So here I am, several months later, with 341 new words. They’re too terrible to share, of course. I’m several months rusty. But I wrote them.
It feels good to be back on the road to redemption. And not in a Mario Van Peebles sort of way. Or well, now that I’ve actually watched the trailer, maybe it is in a Mario Van Peebles sort of way. I certainly hope my road includes Luke Perry in a wife beater…
Sorry, Tess. I hope this extended plot freeze doesn’t fuck up your hair. I’ll try to figure out a way to write in a Brazilian Blowout.
I’ve looked everywhere, and I can’t find it.
This is deeply worrying. It’s been my constant companion since toddlerhood, when I first set out to out-think and out-dress my preschool brethren.
educating Mom on the emerging ankle socks trend (see Top, ZZ)
All the work, the bravado, the bossing, it was all leading up to this, the crowning achievement, the ultimate dream. Did pretty good there for awhile, got halfway through. Then summer arrived and POOFTY!
My ambition ran out on me.
I think I can hear her sometimes, late at night, knocking around the back of my skull. I predict (assume? hope?) it’s only a matter of time before she digs her stilettos into the back of my cerebrum and I get back to work. But in the meantime, this pretirement has given me a sense of the pace at which life could be lived. When you only work 15 hours a week, there is time, sweet time, for everything there’s never time for. Sleep! Love! Exercise! Baking!
Very much enjoyment! Very little rushing!
This must be why the French are so smug.
1) write every goddamn day at the same goddamn time
2) do breathing exercises every goddamn day
3) post to blog only when inspiration strikes
4) ignore social media ‘best practices’
5) limit facebook to 5 minutes per day
6) go ahead, continue to try to care about Twitter
(est. time suck: 0 minutes)
7) limit gossip blog consumption to weekends
8) rewrite personal mantra
(current: life ain’t nothing but bitches and money)
Things You Should Know, Week 37
Oh heyyyy, nice to see you! What you been up to the last 30 days? Me, I’ve become a blogger with mixed feelings about the internet!
Do I contradict myself? Very well then yada yada Walt Whitman.
ALSO OMFG speaking of wasted time, I’ve just spent an hour trying to sync up these f’d up video and audio tracks, to no avail. Consider this video confirmation that I am in fact a very large, very photorealistic puppet.
BRB on August 1…
It was either this or $500+ for a class.
Or several thousand for rehab.
PS I try to buy my fiction at indie book stores, but novel-writing self-help in front of a discerning cashier would RUIN my street cred.
Things You Should Know, Week 33
Officially announcing my summer vacation. 30 days off social media starting July 1, inspired by this guy and my lazy lima bean lack of novelizing lately. You might see a post here from time to time throughout July, but otherwise…
SEE YOU AUGUST 1st!
Hopefully tanner, smarter and with a higher word count.
Minister Sung here, reporting from the secret underground headquarters of the Ministry of Unreliable Gadgetry. Wait — did I say “secret underground headquarters”? Lies. We’re in an undersea base at the edge of the continental shelf 200mi off the southern coast of Ireland. Wait, no — I’m writing this from the observation deck of a mobile lab slung underneath a stealthed dirigible 20,000 feet somewhere above middle America. Listen, it’s a secret and you’ll never find us. Sorry to disappoint you in advance.
I’ve gotten off track here. Let’s talk about spy gadgets. You know: those things that spies carry that help them do their jobs and (hopefully) look cool at the same time. Cars with ejector seats. Pens that conceal cameras.
Umbrellas that become swords.
Armor-plated dinner jackets.
You know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout.
There are two basic places that spy gadgetry can be concealed: on your person, or in your car. Your vehicle. Your spymobile, as it were. I break these things down further into three major categories: espionage, defensive, and offensive.
Espionage gadgets help spies do spy things: take pictures, record conversations, break into places they shouldn’t be, track people, etc.
Defensive gadgets help spies defend themselves from attack or death: armor, medical devices, threat radar, etc.
Offensive gadgets help spies do the attacking: concealed guns, knives, bombs, poisons, etc.
Make sense? The reasons for these classifications will become clear later, but right now, I’d just like to hear from you:
What’s your favorite spy gadget?
If you need a little jumpstart for your brain parts, good ol’ Wikipedia’s got your back where James Bond is concerned. Get out your invisible ink pen and let’s see some write-ins! Add yours to the comments section right here. ⬇⬇⬇
Things You Should Know, Week 31
Having trouble with work-life-novel balance at the mo’. Which, wouldn’t ya know it, seems to happen every time I hit a writing snag. Which came first, the writer’s block or the escape to Sonoma?
Have a full writing afternoon stretched out ahead of me. Willing myself to make good use of it.
I’ve completed the BART almost-getaway and the cat-and-mouse through the airport.
But the cab/towncar chase? So far it sounds like an Eddie Izzard non sequitor:
“(mimes reading from book) He looked up in the mirror. Behind him, the man was driving. He looked in the mirror and then he was driving. Oh, they drove faster, faster, driving fast and looking in the mirror. The other guy was pulling a face and driving fast, and then there was a terrible crash.”
So I paused last night for some inspiration. My favorite kind of inspiration. Ryan Gosling inspiration.
What’s that? You don’t know what a Stump is? Allow me to educate you.
You’ve probably seen this Ira Glass quote floating around the social medias. It’s hardly an overstatement when I say it’s become my emotional life raft in the rough seas of fiction writing.
But I think it’s worth talking about how truly diarrhea-inducing it is to take his advice. I’ve been a copywriter in the branding world for nearly a decade now. I don’t wanna toot my own tagline here, but I’m kinda good at it. I’ve earned my 10,000+ hours as a wordsmith and as a reader. I know great prose when I see it.
Which is how I know just exactly how bad I suck at this.
My fiction is a baby doe in headlights.
It’s wobbly, ill-paced, occasionally confused, and above all, amateur.
And it’s the best I can do right now. Which is so much less than I aspire to.
I am a sphincter-clenching perfectionist. I’m also one of those people who tends to be pretty good at most things without trying so very hard (so long as those things don’t involve the spherical objects people throw back and forth to each other). Thirdly, I am allergic to help. Asking for it gives me hives. (I am also a hypochondriac. Perhaps you’ve noticed?)
I guess I expected at least some of my copywriting cred to transfer to a different genre. Instead, I’ve just gotten used to feeling like an idiot. Every 7 am at my desk, I’m all: Good morning, Idiot. Get to work.
My friend Mark informed me that what I’m experiencing is Conscious Incompetence. This is basically the psychologist nerd’s version of Ira Glass’s advice, but better, because it has ACHIEVEMENT LEVELS.
unconscious incompetence - ignorance is bliss
conscious incompetence - good morning idiot, get to work
conscious competence - heyyy not bad (bummer about that hemorrhoid)
unconscious competence - Salman Rushdie!
So the theory goes, if I don’t give up, I will eventually get the hang of it. And some time after that, I might even get good.
As for why I insist on putting said baby doe prose on the internet for all the world to see, maybe I’m like those people I just learned about on kink.com who get off on being disgraced in public. I don’t know. But this Rube Goldberg of a website not only forces me to practice writing; it forces me to confront those two other pesky personality traits: that I’m not perfect. And that I need help.
So thanks for sticking with me, and for encouraging, supporting and truly, TRULY! helping me with your views and votes and comments. You really are writing this thing, because without you, it probably wouldn’t get written at all.
As a rule, I hate heartfelt, heartwarming endings to things (SPOILER ALERT), so I leave you with this. It’s entirely unrelated (and very NSFW), but filled with universal truths.