Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Sunday, August 31, 2008


I hate everything I'm writing. Every friggin' word. I'd burn it all, but it's on my hard drive and it seems like such a pain to print it all just to burn it. (And I'd have to get permission from the city to burn anything anyway.)

I'm trying to work. Damn it. I'm trying to put the words in my head onto paper. But it's all coming out crap. That's why I had Flaubert's quote posted. "I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within." I figure if Flaubert went through it, it's not fatal.

It feels like it, though.

I've sat down numerous times over the past few days (weeks, months) to try and make the words come out. I've tried it here at the keyboard. I've tried it sitting on the couch with my trusty notepad. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Zip.


Every time I think I have it in my head, it disappears like so much dandelion fluff caught on a stiff breeze. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the words in my head.

It's fucking pissing me off. Seriously.

I thought if I took my meters down, and stopped thinking about how badly I needed to get x-number of words done, the words would come back. I thought maybe I was putting too much pressure on myself, so if I laid off, it'd come back. Ummm....


I thought maybe I was pushing too hard to write for the market. (I even theorized as much in an earlier post.) I went back to a weird ass book I was trying to write a couple years ago. It's weird-ass, but I still think the story deserves to be told. So I thought if I went back to the 'book of my heart', the words would flow like they used to. Again....


I even tried just sitting down with one of my unedited pieces and through reworking one of those, it would get the juices flowing again. I hate to repeat myself, but that was also a big fat No.

I'm really starting to tear my hair out here. I want to write. I need to write. I'm fucking jones'n to write. This may even qualify as the DTs soon.

Last time this happened, it was 9 months before I could write again. NINE MONTHS!!!??? Not going to happen. Someone or something will have to die before I make it through three-quarters of a year without writing again.

So I keep trying.

Stephen King is quoted as saying: "Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position." Yeah. Right. I tried that. The shit just kept getting deeper, and I can't hold my breath that long.

And it's not even that I don't feel like writing. There's nothing else I'd rather be doing right now that churning out some fiction. I want to write, that's not the problem. The problem is I feel like everything I write is pure crap, and I hate that I can't put together a coherent sentence to save my ass. Every character is BORING. Every scene feels trite. I want it to flow out like RTL or Spectacle or Caldera or Manhunter or Blink. I don't want it to drag out of me like Justice did.

Maybe I'm just not feeling it. But I can't figure out why. I love the ideas I'm working on. I love the characters and the scenes and the premises. I want to finish Nano, but I'm terrified that if I work on it again, I'll just screw it up. (And I really like what I've written so far.)

Perhaps it's a lack of self confidence. Yeah.... That's a definite possibility.

Not that I don't have justification for it. I mean it's not like it was four years ago when I finished Spectacle and I was so certain it would be published immediately. (Like three years ago, at least.) When it didn't draw interest, I thought maybe it was because the premise was a little out there for the world at large. I set it aside and went after the world with Caldera. (After I got over that nine months stretch of writer's block, that is.) I thought for sure it would get published...

Are you seeing a theme here?

After the absolute certainty that I would get published, and the years since those early days without even getting an agent, it's no wonder my self confidence sucks. I mean, christ-almighty-whitey. It's been four damn years. :POUNDS HEAD REPEATEDLY ON DESK:

You know that irritating little voice in the back of your head? It's the same one that told you you'd never get that cute boy to ask you out, and you'd never get that job, and you'd never amount to anything. That's the one that's been whispering into my ear that the reason I haven't gotten published is because I suck. I suck, my writing sucks, my submission materials suck.

"Don't quit your dayjob."

Little too late for that. This IS my dayjob. And my nightjob.

Remember how it's okay to suck? Remember how I've been a big proponent of giving yourself permission to suck? Well, I did that tonight. I gave myself permission to write crap, and that's exactly what I got. Crap. Sometimes that's okay. Sometimes writing crap leads to a break in the log jam, and good stuff comes out. Not this time. Crap crap crap crappity crap.

I just keep telling myself: "This too shall pass."

I just wonder how sane I'll be when it does.



JenWriter said...

This will pass. I'm certain of it. I've got two opposing pieces of advice. I'd say just take a complete break to rest your brain OR just sit down every night as usual and write crap until the creative juices get flowing again.

I don't know if you've noticed but the little progress meter for my latest WIP is at a complete standstill and has been for all of August. I know how you're feeling.

I do think you're going to get past this. I'm hoping for you that it's soon.

Leatherdykeuk said...

I'm having a month of that, too. I'm sure yours will pass as well.

Travis Erwin said...

Hang in there and force yourself to keep writing. I think that is the only way to work through these kind of funks. At least that is the only way I've ever managed to do it.