Thursday, March 24, 2011

Inspiration is a Fickle Mistress

I have been wondering lately if I'm a writer at all. Sure, I can put words together and tell a story, but so can anyone if they have the time and imagination. There's often debate about what makes a writer an author, or when we can call ourselves one of either. I think it's up to us. You know you. No one knows you better than you do (not even that stuffed animal you still have on the shelf from childhood).

I'm not a writer. I don't have the drive and ambition to turn what I do into a brand. There's a whole lot in this world to be inspired by. My voice is just one small vibration in a crowd.

I'm a storyteller. I write what entertains me. This week I've partnered with someone I've been writing with for about six years. Since Sunday, we've written about 35,000 words. Not a single bit of it will ever be seen outside my inbox, and I don't care. It's simply fun to write. I look at my last two projects, and the words of a reader keep ringing in my ears. "You're shooting yourself in the foot." Why? Because my stories are journeys into the bizarre. I laugh as I write, and a lot of it I make up as I go.

And I'm okay with that. I'll keep plodding on, and I'll submit each thing I finish in the hope that some agent out there will 'get' me. But I can't be anything other than I am. Maybe someday I will evolve. In the meantime, I'll sit here and laugh along with the various voices in my head.

I'm not a writer. I'm a storyteller.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Some Random Observations

This week I've managed to plow through 12K of new words on my WIP. It's like some kind of miracle. My mojo has returned.

Various things have caught my attention lately, and I am going to mention them today.

My youngest daughter asked me if my car was a girl or a boy. I said she is, of course, a girl. She then informed me my car is a lesbian because it hates when I let guys drive it.

People who own skunks swear they are smarter than cats and make better pets. So why do I pass half a dozen skunk carcasses in the forty mile trip to my parents' house, but not a single dead cat?

Why are they called refried beans and not reboiled beans?

Why is it the Trojan Horse when it was the Greeks who built it?

These are the sorts of questions that pop into my head as I write.

What I've been reading about lately is the horror in Japan. It breaks my heart to see so much destruction and loss, but at the same time... I'm me. I see images and most of them sadden me, but at the same time a couple catch my eye and ever so slightly amuse me.

No offense is meant in the following images, but I just had to share these two pictures that prove something unexpected: Japan has excellent building codes that keep the buildings from toppling and no doubt saved thousands of lives, but Japan also has magic earthquake paint that tells it where to crack.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

So Much Good News

I've been taking a kind of hiatus from blogging while I deal with other things that take me away from my computer, but I've been slowing stepping back into my blogging ways. Everywhere I look these days there is good news. Tahereh Mafi has a three book deal, Emily White is being published by an indie, Roland Yeomans is in the midst of a blog tour for his book, and it seems like things are turning rosie for my friends. I'm so happy for all of them.

As for my writing, I'm finally back on the horse and managed to finish two chapters this week. You can see my status bars on the side. For my two WIPs, I set the bar low so it doesn't intimidate me so much, but I know the one is going to be far longer than 50K. It's a sort of psychology thing.

Granted, my second was only 45K when it was done, but that was because I tried so hard to keep it concise, it wound up being too concise. I had several agents ask for partials and fulls and I guess I thought they'd tell me what to expand on if needed. But I had no takers in the end, and there's no reason I can't revisit it later.

My current WIP is unlike anything I've ever tried to do, and I hit a point where it intimidated me. But the scenes have been coming faster than I can write them down, so I think I'm over my long slump.

I hope everyone is doing well.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Questions We Ask Ourselves

We all spend a bit of time on this sort of thing, don't we? We ask why we persist in doing something so difficult with little or no reward. We ask ourselves what we want out of life, our entertainment, our employment, our friends and families. Do we really know what we want? Maybe some of you do. Or maybe, like me, some of you think you know the whats and whys, but have trouble with the hows and whens. Some of you more unfortunate ones that are exactly like me change your mind constantly and are easily distracted by anything remotely distract-worthy.

I would like to officially blame Simon C. Larter for Tweeting about on January 15th. I cannot drag myself away from the place. When I was a kid, I collected Cracked magazine. I'd spent the last couple of decades certain the mag went tits up, and was thrilled to find it reinvented online. I've read through pretty much every article they've posted since 2006 in the last several weeks, and participate in contests and volunteer to write articles now. They've yet to accept my work. Oh, those familiar feelings...

Which leads us to rejection. Not just of our work, but of us as individuals. I don't handle it well. I don't mind when people don't 'get' my writing. I understand it's a bit left of left field. But since being strongarmed into joining Facebook, I've been able to rekindle those feelings of high school rejection. Mostly because of those I knew 20 years ago in high school. All in all, I've joined Twitter (not posted since January), Facebook (posted once, commented twice), and have accounts at other places on the spiderwebs, and I am sure of only one thing in my life: I totally suck at this social media thing.

I think it's the lingering fear that it's sort of an eternal Miranda Rights. EVERYTHING YOU SAY OR DO WILL BE HELD AGAINST YOU UNTIL THE END OF TIME. Feels pretty permanent, doesn't it? Sort of like commitment. I kinda fail at commitment, too. Perhaps this is the problem. Or, more likely, I'm musing to the world instead of keeping it in my head where it belongs, and as with all conversations with myself, I don't actually have a point.

It is with a mixed bag of bravery to beat my own drum and certainty I definitely come across unprofessional that I will post this. Believe it or not, I'm giggling.

P.S. Speaking of giggling; Lenny my man, you're the sweetest kid under the sun.