Monday, March 24, 2014

Warning Label for Writers: Side Effects of Writing

Thinking of becoming a writer?  It's fantastic and fulfilling.  It's introspective and inspiring.  It's awesome.  Writing can broaden your mind and free your spirit, but it also has...well...side-effects. If I were to create a warning label for writers, it would look like this:

Writing makes you fat. Unless you have a mega-metabolism, it's almost inevitable.  All that sitting in front of a computer. Better buy bigger jeans right now, because one morning you won't be able to pour yourself into your regular ones.  Know a skinny writer?  Hmmm.  My guess is she is going at it all too quickly.  Her writing could be much better.  Stay at that computer longer and rewrite, babe.  And have some M & M's while you're at it.

Writing gives you insomnia.  Think you can just slide into bed and drift off to dreamland when you are a writer?  Think again.  That moment between falling asleep and being asleep is when the best ideas come, and if you don't write them down, you lose them.  Be prepared to get super comfy then think of something and force yourself up to jot thoughts down several times a night.  There's a reason writers like coffee.

Writing makes you appear insane.  Sitting in a Starbucks trying to get things right in that next scene?  Does an explosion sound like Ka-Boom or Pa-Pow or Grumble-Rumble?  You'll be saying it out loud, unconsciously making gestures to go with it in order to figure it out.  Next you're pulling a face and watching your reflection in the shiny handle of a spoon to find the right expression for your character's feelings. A female writer may even go as far as stuffing a pork loin in her pants to see what it is for a man to sit with something between his legs. A male writer might try on lipstick or study dress sizes.  It's normal if no one ever wants to be within five feet of you.

Writing gives you manic mood swings.  You finish a story or novel or essay and send it off for publication.  You feel on top of the freaking world.  It's awesome. It's unique.  It's the best piece of writing ever...and then you get the rejection form.  You realize the piece was drivel. Tripe. Unbelievably unworthy.  That is, until someone else reads it and likes it.  Then you see it's pretty damn good.  You write something else.  It gets rejected. You hate yourself and think you have no talent.  But you push on and rework it. Publish it.  You get fan letters and feel on top of the world. This up and down emotional yo-yo is now your life.

Writing  makes you mad. And confused.  And stubborn.  You know that piece-of-crap novel out there?  The one that has the shallow characters, a thin plot and in which the writing is way closer to lousy than lyrical?  Well, it's a bestseller.  And the novel you worked on for years to make meaningful and beautiful is dying a slow death on virtual bookshelves.  It's not right, you rant.  It's not fair, you rave.  Don't people know what good writing is anymore? Why are they buying such slop? You will be ticked off and resentful and confounded.  But you will use these emotions to spur you on.  You will continue to write, continue to submit, continue to publish.  Because you know this is something you can do.  You will do, dammit.  You'll do it if you have to die trying. 

And you just may.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lazy Post

I've finished a new novel, am working on the prequel, and am getting caught up in the it's not quite perfect phase. It's that brain-killing moment of writing.  Soon gray matter will be sliding out my ears.

So, I've decided to put up a lazy post today.  Something cute.  For no other reason than to make you (and me) smile.  Oreo and Noodles:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ten Things (I've experienced) That are Less Painful than Writing a Novel Synopsis

Of all the social media platforms that exist, Twitter is by far my favorite; it is where I've made some of the most fantastic friends.  Pretty wild, what with a 140 character restriction and all.  But I've met other writers who've knocked my socks off, helped me put them back on and even gave me a foot rub in between -- all figuratively, of course.

One of those writers is Shanah Wooldrage.  Check out her blog Sisu Diaries.  Her generosity and strength and humor come through in her posts.  But, she's a little delusional, too, since she nominated me for the Awesome Blog Content Award.  Forget the awesome, I've got to at least come up with some content before she realizes her mistake!  Since I've been working on writing a synopsis of my latest novel, I thought I'd go in that direction:

Ten Things (I've experienced) That are Less Painful than Writing a Novel Synopsis

1.  Slamming your thumb in the car door.  Did this when I was eight and still remember the agony.  But I'd do it again in order to avoid writing a synopsis.

2.  DIY bikini wax on a veritable jungle. I don't know what the hell I was thinking.  But I cried and never, ever tried it on myself again.

3. Trigonometry.  Geometry.  Algebra.  Calculus.

4.  Childbirth. Too late for an epidural. And with a baby the size of a freaking watermelon.  Where labor lasts 13 hours.  Begging for death...just not a synopsis.

5.  Getting cavities filled when the local anesthetic is too weak.  Feels like the drill goes from your tooth straight to your brain.

6.  Listening to Rush Limbaugh.  Hmmm.  Hesitating on this.  It might actually be less painful to write a synopsis.

7.  Whiplash from being rammed from behind in the car.  Then chasing the damn guy all over to catch his license plate...only to discover he's not insured and can't pay for your medical bills.

8.  Walking face first into a telephone pole.  Yeah, I know. Duh.

9.  Taxes.

10. Writing an entire novel.  Ripping it to pieces.  Rewriting it. Rewriting it. Rewriting it. Rewriting it again.  Yeah, even that is less torturous.

Well, now it's time to nominate other for the Awesome Blog Content Award, and if they want to continue on the blog hopping thing, all the better.  I choose:  The wonderful Wendy Storer, super Sutton Shields, and the magnificent Margo Bond Collins.