Tuesday, July 15, 2008


As you can probably gather from the subject line, I'm extremely frustrated. I got up at 4:30 this morning, and went over to my desk to work on the book. Then the dog woke up and whined to be let out. I let her out, brewed some coffee, and brought her back in. I'd just sat back down at the computer when the dog jumped on Emma's bed and woke her up. So after about 45 minutes of distractions and shananigans, I was finally able to get back to the book...and stare at the screen for twenty minutes.

I can complain all I want about family obligations, and responsibilities other than working on the book, but the truth is that my main opponent when it comes to finishing this damn thing is me. I freeze up wondering if what I'm writing is moving the book along or if it's going into a crazy direction that will leave an editor looking perplexed and saying (as a literary agent who was confused about the middle of the book said), "Huh? What the hell is all this about?" Ok, the agent didn't say that second part but she did write "Huh?" right before she told me that my book would never sell without the help of a professional editor. I know that that's only one person's opinion and everything, but it only feeds my nagging doubts.

This is a sampling of the dialogue in my head:
positive me: "Yay! I have time to write."

hellish me: "What are you going to write about? Do you have any idea where the plot is going now?"

positive me: "No, but I can feel it out. I've written books before, I know I can do it."

hellish me: "Sure, you've written books that didn't sell."

positive me (weakening): "Well...yeah. But that's not necessarily an indicator that they weren't any good. And I've learned a lot from writing them."

hellish me: "Who the hell are you trying to convince? What are you, like a motivational speaker? This is crap that you would tell another blocked writer."

positive me, growing less positive: "I am a blocked writer and I need to hear - wait no, I mean I'm not. I am not a blocked writer, I'm writing right now."

hellish me: "Yeah, you're writing about feelings. This is real original of you, to write about how you feel."

defensive me: "I write about how the characters feel. Not me."

hellish me: "Oh come on, look at them. They're all just enormous megaphones screaming about how you feel. You just write about the same things and the same kinds of characters over and over again because they're all you."

defensive me: "That's not...well, sometimes it's true, I guess...I...Shut up."

hellish me: "What's the matter? Did I hurt your feelings? Why don't you go write about it, Feelings Girl? Oh wait, you can't. Because you're blocked! Ha, ha!"

defeated me: "God, I can really be a tool."

So I'm having a rough morning. And while I'm blogging about it I could be writing. I think what I have to work on more so than the book, is that asshole voice that gives me a daily beating. Deep down I know that I'm creative enough to fix the manuscript. The beginning and the end are right, it's just the road in between that needs polishing. I can't write it with black eyes and knuckles that are swollen from exchanging blows with the hellish voice. I need a Stuart Smiley pep talk. I can do it because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, people dig me. Or something to that effect.

Back to the fray.


biggearhead said...

I like the Fray pretty okay, at least a couple of their songs...oh, wait, you didn't mean it like that.

Anyway, I...feel...your...pain. The Spectre of Self-Doubt is always waiting at the edge of the stage, beckoning, beguiling. It feeds on the part of the soul where hope and personal satisfaction reside. Since this is the only way Self-Doubt can grow, it will look for any crack where a wedge can be driven.

On occasion when I've been really stuck, I've started writing my literal thoughts on the page, i.e. "This story sucks so bad, and I can't write anything that's making any sense, because I want the character to do X and they're not doing X and it just keeps going on in this one direction, and I really want to get HERE, and not stay over THERE..." and sooner or later this sort of trickles into real writing, or ideas that get me unstuck.

Not that you were asking for help, just sayin'.

Continued support your way,

Genevieve said...

Oh dude, the help and support is always welcomed. I'm not good at asking for help so unsolicited donations are appreciated.

I've done that too sometimes, writing stuff like "this story sucks. Where am I going with this? Who do I think I am and where do I get off wearing this shirt with these pants? I am a fashion and literary disaster." Spectre of Self Doubt indeed.

There was something you said in Kevin's cooments that was funny but I can't remember what it was...it's 2:00 in the morning and the memory's a little fuzzy. Oh, it was the song reference! "If 6 was 9" is one of my favorite Hendrix songs, man!

Have you had any luck finding a local writer's group?

biggearhead said...

Wow - it's really weird you should ask about the writer's group suddenly, because I just went to my first meeting last night! It was both what I'd hoped for and what I'd not expected. There will be bloggage about this, though not on the biggearhead blog. My brother has helped me by setting up a new blog that I've decided will be used chiefly for my non-bgh-related pursuits. I'll sendy the linky when I get another moment.

"If Six was Nine." I'm not the world's biggest Hendrix fan, but I do like that song. The chords sound huge in it. I think it was in a movie that I first heard it, but I'll be darned if I can recall what movie it was in. I keep wanting to say Easy Rider, but I'm pretty sure that's not it...but maybe it is? "If all the HIP-ies...cut off all their hair..."

Genevieve said...

Oh cool! I'm glad you found a group. What are they like? I'd been meaning to ask you about that. The timing is indeed bizarre.

Definately let me know about the blog, man. Oh, and you will be happy to know that we got my 9 year old a guitar and music lessons for her birthday. She's ecstatic.