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Monday, April 14, 2014

Emergency Mid-Month IWSG post


Hi, I’m Mark and I’m a Writer’s Blockee.

It’s been three months since my last written pages.

I’ve tried many remedies, including cutting back on blog posts and return comments (sincere apologies to all who made the much appreciated effort to comment) but nothing has worked.

Unimproved graffiti will be removed by Wed., May 7
Therefore, I am invoking the oft-pondered, rarely used, but terribly needed Mid-Month Emergency Insecure Writers Support Group post.

I’m a Writer (with the big “W”) these past eleven years, but always for someone else.

Now, I’m writing for myself, but Muse is taking a whupping from another voice, my Lose.

Lose encourages me to check (and recheck) email, do the laundry, read the news, catch up on the Angels, (fall asleep in front of the computer) and do everything but WIP during my nightly two-hour writing window.

A lot of this sounds familiar to some and folks may want to leave a supportive comment (which again, I *do* appreciate, but remember, I suck at the returns – unless it’s on Twitter… you can't beat 140 characters with a stick.)

And here, hidden in the middle of my humor, is the problem.
Actually, I know what the bloody problem is: I’m too damn scared to write for ME.
(There. I feel better already... really needed to share that with you!)

So, I have a problem... now to find a solution...
Write 1,000 words a day.
Oh, that was easy - who said that?
Hold the therapy.

Like most writers reading this, there is nothing more I want to do (professionally) than know people enjoy my words – and when I am writing, there is nothing I enjoy more than melting into The Zone.

So, what’s the problem, you writerly wimp?

By the way, Lose, the anti-muse (we’re related on my mother’s side) is a former U.S. Marine Corps drill instructor I’ve never met, but his heart is in the right place.)

Aloha, Lose... Er, I’m scared that I suck worse than a giant gobstopper.

Bollix, blogger. You can do it.

Can I quickly check see how many people unfollowed me in the last seventeen minutes?

NO! Drop down and give me 1,000. You wussy writers are all the same. No SPAM in the can.

What does that even mean?

I don’t know. You just made it up.

I did?

You’re so insecure that my Grammar could kick your arse.

Okay, I can do this. I can, and I will.

Good, because I don’t like that I’m hanging from a cliff like a dangling modifier.

The happy.



Okay, then. Good luck.

Ahh, thanks, Lose... you're not so bad after all.

I’m welcome.

[Bursts through mental barrier…] I look at Muse as if we were one...

Then, some upbeat music starts and I free the Muse (using a yard blower to dust him off) before offering up a CliffsNotes energy bar.

Later that week, the former Lose was offered the chance to be a contestant on Dancing with the Stats. As he left, he offered the brain one final thought:
“Let’s. Write. This. People!"

(To Be Continued...)



Melissa said...

LOL This is a great post.

Write for you, Mark, even if it's bad (and it won't be... How could it be, coming from someone as smart and talented and funny as you?). :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

So you're frozen because you're worried the writing sucks?

Well, it probably does. It's a first draft, right? First drafts suck. That's their thing! Embrace the suckiness and carry on.

I realize this is easier said than done. I spent the first two months of this year complaining on my blog about how much my first draft sucked. But while I was slogging my way through to the end, I accidentally stumbled across the thing that was going to make it better. I plopped it into the last few chapters, and one of my CPs said, "Why didn't you tell us this part earlier?"

Well, duh. I only just thought of it at the very end!

Needless to say, I went back and incorporated that idea into the second draft from the beginning of the story -- and there was an immediate drop in the suck factor of the story.

I don't know if this helps at all, but I hope it does. It's okay if garbage words go down on the page. Forgive them and pile some more on!

Frankie Miller said...

You can do it, Mark. We all have similar worries. Get back to it and don't worry. Let it rest for a while before the first edit.
Don't forget that if someone thinks it sucks there's always someone else who'll think it's the coolest, snazziest, best prose ever to be written.
Keep going, Dude.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Let him go do Dancing with the Stats! You write. Now. Are you writing?

Al Diaz said...

You know one of the reasons why two months had passed from the last installment of Lord of the Clones was the same problem you have with your writing? I procrastinated and did many other things instead talking to the muse. I even started gardening for the first time in centuries. Truth is I was scared to. What if this sucks? What if no one cares to see it anymore? Then I thought, what the heck, I do it for me... Hmmmm, look! Tumbleweed made of dwarf hair! I am going to count them instead of making my brain work. Thinking I do things just to please me sometimes give me the permission to delay such things and be lazy.
Ao what kicked my dragon butt back to create? Purpose. Alex asked and I promised I would get it done this month. I gave my word and dragon never gives his word lightly. This gave me the sense of a mission (purpose) and I got to it. I've sketched and scratched but the more I did, the more ideas came. The brain cells started to sparkle again and it was all because someone I hold in high esteem asked this of me and was waiting for it, and I promised. Don't know if it works for you but maybe it woukd be worth trying.

Lara Schiffbauer said...

I totally get it. After publishing Finding Meara it has been a long, hard road to get writing again. Even now, I still waste quit a bit of time. I don't know what my problem is, but what I have figured out is that it's not the end of the world if I don't write everyday, as long as I write some on a regular basis. It's frustrating to me to say "I'm going to do this amount of work today" and then totally blow it off. Beating myself up doesn't help, only makes me feel worse. So, I'm trying something new. My goal is to continue to write, but not yell at myself for not doing it, or only writing a little. I do want to do a little each day, but even if it's just a sentence, well, that's good enough. Writing is supposed to be fun, and as long as there is forward movement each day(even if it's just five words or resolving a plot hole), then it's gotta be good. Otherwise the guilt ends up beating up the Muse and then she doesn't want to play!

Sorry it's kind of a rambling comment. It's before work so I can't edit and make it pretty. :)

Robin said...

I like Al's idea: Accountability. Make a deal with someone that you will get them so many pages by a certain day. And like Dianne says, "Allow them to suck." It is okay. First drafts are the fleshing out of an idea. Don't expect greatness. Just write. You can do this!!!

M.J. Fifield said...

I'm in the middle of a first draft right now, and I am constantly cringing at how poor the prose is. But it's something upon which I will build in the second draft.

At least that's what I keep telling myself. But I'm slowly but surely adding to that word count, so I guess that's something.

Keep going!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I get ya cyber-bro. I never experienced writer's block until after I published my first book. As I sat looking at a blank screen trying to do book two, it hit me- I'm not just writing for myself. People will read and judge. They assume I am my characters and sometimes that's embarrassing. Sharing our words is like sharing our souls.

But you're talented and CAN do this!!! Duct tape the muse and get to work! If it helps, promise to send pages to a friend (or cyber sister)...someone who is bossy and ready to tell you to get cracking- these stories won't write themselves.

Just do it. Start by writing crap if necessary...just start writing. Habits are made by doing.

Elephant's Child said...

Become the little red Mark who thinks he can - because we know you can.

Morgan said...

I will never know how you can mix humor and heart so nicely. It's a gift. Truly. I certainly don't have that talent!!!

And I'm LOVING that you've invoked the Mid-Month Emergency IWSG. Perfect!!!!

You know that Lose wants you to lose, right? You CAN'T LET HIM WIN. But I get it. I soooo get it. But I also have no doubt in you, Mark. None. I've read your writing and it is phenomenal. You have a magic that is so YOU--and only you. No one else can be you. That is why you HAVE to push Lose aside and show him who's boss. :)

This week. You are going to do it this week. Even if it's only 1000 words this week, it's still breaking the barrier and making SOMETHING happen! :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Your blog is so humorous I think you must have lots to write. Perhaps you're trying to make the first draft too perfect. Sometimes when I feel stuck, I visit a bookstore and hang out. Seeing all those readers makes me love being one.

dolorah said...

one thousand words a day? I can't do that in a week - unless I'm writing for blogfests or answering e-mails.

Hey, when I can't write for me, I join a blogfest - yeah yeah - or try a writing prompt. You never know what kind of story a flash fiction piece will spark. Try http://www.threewordwednesday.com/
for some writing fun that doesn't matter if you suck or not. Eventually, you'll do some editing, maybe develop a character plot, eventually have to add some world building . .

Or, just have fun meeting a self-imposed word count.

You should be PROUD of your sucky writing; it means you have so much going on it isn't easily articulated!

Ugh; I just remembered my blog has been mostly abandoned and I'm in need of Charlies Scribes. Hang on while I go find you something to do.


Kirsten said...

Slogging over here from the A to Z Challenge to tell you that as long as you keep sending hilarious posts like this into my Inbox I will NEVER unsubscribe. :)

Lots of good advice here!
I just want to add that writing for you instead of for others is a special kind of joy, and I know you'll find that again. Sometimes I think once we have some nice feedback (and I know you have lots of it, deservedly so) we want more of that, and start writing for others instead of from the place that we got the story--inside ourselves. I think getting back to writing for you is harder once that happens, but it can be done!

I hope to read good news of your progress at the regular IWSG meeting a few weeks from now!

Michael Di Gesu said...

MARK... BREATHE.... Stop with the comedy and rambling and BREATHE... Take another DEEP BREATHE. And another.

Good. Now continue to do so for the next twenty minutes.

I'm counting and will return then to check on you.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Okay... I;m back,

Feel better. GOOD!

Now let's begin to DE-STRESS. When was the last time you did any workout routine.

NO... I'm not joking! Exercise is a GREAT way to relieve tension and OPEN your MIND. Sweep out those cobwebs and let your mind free from the daily stresses and DON'T think about writing!


I just took a deep cleansing breathe. Now back to you...

Do a forty-five minute power walk each day. Even if you have to drag the boys with you, it's WONDERFUL exercise for the MIND! Your muse will LOVE you for it!

KEEP BREATHING and one all those amazing ideas flood your brain. DON'T PANIC! Pluck one and concentrate on it. Write the scene in your head. THEN and ONLY WHEN you get back to your computer ... SLOWLY and I MEAN IT! SLOWLY write it down. Remain calm and KEEP BREATHING!

I'm sure you've got the idea by now... Please take this as a subtle and friendly gesture.



Good afternoon to you.

Tammy Theriault said...

dude, just hit me up. I have some exercises that the drill sergeant would cry over!

klahanie said...

Aha and I thought I might find you here, Sir Mazza.

We both know that there is no such thing as writer's block, blogger's block or even, around the block. For you can write about having such things and by writing about such things you prove you aint got such things.

With that, I shall now go back to wherever I came from........

Gary :)

Kristin Smith said...

Aw, Mark, I always know I'll get a good laugh when I read your post. Hang in there and keep writing! It's okay if it sucks, that's where revising comes in! And don't forget, you are your own worst critic!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark .. I'm worried you haven't taken those coconut cups off yet - that might release some heaviness and let the words flow right out ..

As the others .. it'll happen - just when it wants to come around ..

3 kids and talking?! Have fun - Happy Easter chasing lots of chocolate eggs and gungy fingers .. cheers Hilary

LD Masterson said...

Are you reading this comment? You'd better not be reading this comment if you haven't finished your 1000 words today. Get back to it. Now!

David P. King said...

You can do it, Mark. Even if I have to fly to Hawaii and grill you with a loudspeaker. Now get to that keyboard and stroke! ... Stroke! ... Stroke! ... :)

Misha Gerrick said...

Yeah it's three months since I really wrote too.

Hoping to get into it next week. This weekend's for taking stock.

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