Good Enough

While on vacation, I bought a little leather-bound notebook. The leather was soft, the colour was rich, but it was the inscription on the cover that made the sale. It made me smile.

Book 4

Seriously? Incredible thoughts, brilliant mind? What can you possibly write in a journal with a title like that? Do people really go around thinking themselves brilliant? Not in my house, not if you want anyone to talk to you.

At first, I thought I’d leave the pages blank. You know, you open the book expecting brilliant and — nothing. Get it? No? Ah, well, seemed funny to me.

Then I thought I’d pop in a bunch of snarky quotes by Oscar Wilde, but these rough cut pages deserve calligraphy. My handwriting is not an art form.

Eventually as days, then weeks, went by and the journal sat there empty, it occurred to me that I was letting myself be intimidated by a bit of leather and a few embossed words. Ridiculous.

And yet … is that the reason why so few of us write. Do we intimidate ourselves out of even trying? Do we think that if we can’t write something brilliant that we shouldn’t write at all?

What’s wrong with just spilling out the thought in our head, getting it down on paper, seeing where it goes? Does it have to be brilliant?

Whatever we write, however well we write it, it’s ours. Shouldn’t that be good enough?

Book

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Mind of Their Own

You’re the author, you’re in charge, right?  Uh … Not so much.

Yesterday, I sat down at my laptop. I knew exactly what I was going to write. Hotel room, two guys and a bed — yeah, you got it.

I get everyone naked, write in a toy or two and — Without even the courtesy of discussing it with me first, my characters totally change the scene. I’m typing, but they’re in charge. They’re taking the narrative to a place I’d never thought to go and it works. It more than works, it’s better than what I had planned for them.

My characters developed a mind of their own.

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, what a rush!

I’m an amateur, but it seems to me that for a writer this is the zenith, the gold at the end of the rainbow — your creations writing their own story.

Of course, now I’ve got rewrites ahead of me because they’ve mucked things up a bit, but so totally worth it 🙂

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Attention Deficit

I am in awe of writers who can churn out a thousand words a day. Writers who set a goal and consistently reach it, day after day after …

I’m not one of those writers.

I’m the kind of writer who says, Starting tomorrow, every day, 9 AM at my laptop.” Invariably, however, what I say I’m going to do and what I actually do are vastly different animals.

9 AM finds me drinking coffee and playing games on my phone, 10 AM and I’m going through emails and reading blog posts, 11 AM and I’m finishing the book I started reading the day before and or catching just one more episode of some Netflix series.

Even on the days I actually get to my laptop, I can’t seem to stay there. I’m popping up to load or unload the dishwasher, washing machine, drier. Any or all of which, of course, I could do after I write.

I’m thinking there is a form of ADD that only affects writers — and I’m freaking affected. Because somehow when my laptop screen should look like this:

Screenshot (10)

It looks like this:

Screenshot (11)

Screenshot (11)

Writer’s ADD, a perfectly sound medical explanation of why my current book is still a WIP … and not progressing all that quickly 🙂

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A Love/Hate Thing

I hate writing, I love having written.” – Dorothy Parker 

I came across the above quote in a post by Whitney Carter and thought, Yes. Exactly!

Writing is torture. It’s staring at a blank screen and a keyboard full of letters until your brain melts and you head into the kitchen for sugar and caffeine. It’s squeezing those little grey cells until a word pops out … and then another and another. It’s checking your word count and wanting to cry.  It’s masochistic.

That’s writing, the process is excruciating, but … the product?

Yes, it can be total crap, but it’s your total crap. You did this. You wrestled the words into a thought. You agonized over character, plot, voice, point of view, and freaking punctuation.  You hit Google so many times your mouse needs a new battery, but you did it. You’re DiCaprio on the Titanic, arms spread shouting, “I Am The King of The World.”

King (2)

Writers are schizophrenic. It’s a love/hate thing 🙂

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Real – ish

I’m a spectacular wimp when it comes to roller coaster rides. Not for me, hurtling down mountains of steel track, defying gravity and sanity. Nope, can’t do it. I’ll take my terror in a virtual format, please.

This past week, I climbed aboard my very own banshee and flew. 

banshee

 

Pandora spread out below me, friends flying beside me. A breath-stealing experience.

Was it real? No.

Does virtual reality count? Uh … did you hear the part about flying?

Every animal on the planet can do real: perceive the world around them as it actually is. As far as we know, only humans can do real-ish: perceive the world around them as it actually isn’t.

Real-ish — it’s the basis of everything we are. Everything we’ve become since that long ago kid in a cave picked up a stick and drew in the dirt.

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Attitude

I’m not a fan of inspirational quotes. Way too rah, rah, cheerleader for me.

Truth be told, I find most of these tiny slices of wisdom annoying.

I read quotes like the ones below and think:

success2“So … this is my fault?”

 

success1 (2)    “Right, like it’s that easy.”

 

success3 (2)“You’ve heard of depression, right?”

I’m skeptical as to whether these facile bromides help anyone, but the Can Do This attitude they tout … to borrow from Martha Stewart, “It’s a good thing.”

As a writer, before you ever open a Word document some part of you has to believe I can do this. In my case, it was more like a maybe I can do this … baby steps 🙂

If  you tell yourself you can’t, you won’t.

Attitude is everything.

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Blog to the Rescue

I’m slow. Depressingly slow. Not when I’m sprinting for the nearest caramel latte, but as a writer — hair grows faster than I write.

Needless to say, I don’t plan anything out. Yeah, I know 🙂

Because I write about as fast as paint dries, my enthusiasm inevitably crashes and sitting down at my laptop becomes the last thing I want to do. I fall into the My Writing Sucks Blues and it’s not a pretty song.

It seems counterintuitive, but I’ve discovered that writing this blog makes me happier with and more excited about my WIP. It turns out, the more I write, the more I write 🙂

I’d been neglecting my blog for months because I thought I should be disciplined and mature and concentrate on my book. It seemed to me that any time taken for my blog was time taken away from my book.

But writing isn’t math, it’s not a plus or minus kind of thing. It’s more like biology, cells multiplying in a petri dish when you’re not looking.  The thought and energy I put into my blog generates more thought and energy for my WIP. Who knew?

who knew

Uh … everyone. What seemed like a revelation to me is actually a fairly common trick writers pass among themselves — when you’re stuck, write something else.

I may even have heard this advice before, but stubborn ass that I am, I had to discover the truth for myself 🙂

I’d like to thank everyone who reads my posts. Your views, likes, and comments are the life preserver that saves me from the My Writing Sucks Blues 🙂

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Censorship: A Time Honoured Tradition

The ancient Greeks appreciated the human body for the gift that it is. The body was both natural and holy, a concept that didn’t translate well to the Christian world in the dark times of the Middle Ages. A succession of Popes, starting with Pope Paul IV felt that while man was an expression of God’s creation, there was no need for that expression to be anatomically correct.

Welcome to a period of prolific art desecration, a centuries long brutal and clumsy attempt at censorship. Goodbye genitalia and hello fig leaves.

Still today, the line between art and pornography is a blurry, wavy thing dictated by taste and culture. While the ethics of depicting the phallus itself change with the tides of time, phallic images have managed to escape the scourge of the censor. They pop out everywhere, impulsive and indiscrete, and often amusing. Freud was particularly fond of them but that’s a whole other post.

With phallic images, it’s not so much what you see but what you think you see.

Phallic images, like the phallus they represent, come in all shapes, sizes, and flavours.

From traditional
penis1

to whimsical
penis5

to artistic

penis3

 

Personally, I’ve always found that the space ship, Andromeda Ascendant from the television show Andromeda bears more than a vague resemblance to parts unmentionable …

penis4

or maybe that’s just me 🙂

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Google

Google is an amazing tool, everything you will ever need right there at the click of a mouse. Also everything you don’t need, will never need, and shouldn’t be wasting your time with.

Case in point: There are only so many ways to describe the human body in motion. In motion in private. In motion in private behind closed doors. Body parts in particular are a bit of a toil. If you don’t want to get into ridiculous euphemisms, and I don’t, you find yourself writing the same words over and over… and how exciting is that?

My solution is Google and its lovely gateway to synonym heaven. Google rarely fails me, but she does lead me astray. I wish I could blame Google, but the fault is mine. When faced with the siren call of her lovely connected links, I have no self-control. I wander in her never ending forest and lose myself.

It’s shameful, but I have been known to wander Google’s paths for hours. Hours spent researching a detail that I may or may not end up using in my book. What can I say? I’m a weak, weak person.

Google’s rather like the universe’s largest department store, you go in looking for one thing and come out with something else. Sometimes that something else is pretty damn funny …

penis waving

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In Defense of Drivel

I read and write M/M Romance novels, what I call Bubble Bath books because — never mind. These books have zero angst and a happy ending. No child molestation, no sexual assault, no creepy serial killers; nothing that’s going to keep me up at night trying to erase an image I wish I’d never read.

No, they’re not literature. No, they won’t help me heal the ozone layer or tell me how to get that next promotion. No, they are not kernels of wisdom from the great minds of our time — and that’s the point. They are an escape from the aggravations of real life. They are a mini-vacation. They are an opportunity to turn my mind off. They keep me sane.

Is it a waste of time to sit in a hot tub, to get a massage, to go camping, or sit by a lake and torture poor unsuspecting fish? No? Oh, it’s relaxing… exactly.

It is not a waste of time to read drivel.

Gena Showalter, author of The Darkest Night, refers to romance novels as fairy tales for grown-ups.  Who needs Disney?  🙂

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