Tagwriter’s block

The Fragile, Fallible Writing Ego

Have you ever hit a block–one that isn’t exactly a writer’s block, but more of a confidence block? That’s where I’m sitting right now. I’ve been binging on media lately, which means I’m watching a lot of TV.

One of my favorite shows [with the worst airing schedule in the universe–pun status is: “unintended, but not unwelcome”] is premiering a new episode daily until mid-August, and it is consuming my brain currently. I just came out of season 3 of Sailor Moon Crystal, binged all of Gravity Falls, and ReLIFE; but this show destroying what is left of me. There are so few well-written shows nowadays, and the ones that are done right are just… explosively right. And despite the fact that a novel is a completely different medium from a TV show, I still sit here and think, “I will never be that good. I will never write anything remotely that good. Dammit.

After that, moving my cursor across the blank page becomes the most arduous task in the world. Even if I want to write–even if I’ve been excited to work on a scene–it’s beyond me. I don’t know if all authors have this issue, or if they just push through it until it’s gone. If I try to work through it, all that comes out is drivel. Letting Future Me “clean it up in editing” results in Future Me having to rewrite all of Past Me’s crap.

Meanwhile, my chronic illness is getting worse and some days I can’t even think well enough to handle staring at a wall much less write. So when I have a good day, and I want to write but can’t, I just make it worse by berating myself for not being able to take the opportunity. Thus, I watch TV, and… it’s a horrible cycle that just keeps going.

What stops it? A perfect storm–a good day health-wise where something within a show, book, or game stands out and sets off a spark of creativity inside of me; something that whispers that maybe everything I write isn’t trash, and that I can do this because I am the only one who can tell my story the way it needs to be told.

 

Life Imitating Art

Have you heard about YInMn pigment in the news recently? It was discovered back in 2009, but a company is going to start producing a paint based on it so it’s recently become a hot story. Look at it–it’s beautiful, isn’t it?

Well, the Atlantians think so too, because it’s the royal color there. It’s on tapestries, banners, tabards–even the shingles on the roof of Castle Atlantis are painted in this color! [Which is funny because the pigment can be used to help with energy efficiency, especially when used on roofing.]

Based on the science behind it, it’s feasible that Atlantian alchemists could have come up with the same pigment. I wasn’t thinking of that when I was worldbuilding though. It just happens to be a nice coincidence. It also happens to be topical to volume 3, as that is where we get a closer look at alchemy in Atlantis. Prior to this volume, any references to alchemy have been rooted in medicine–potions, elixirs, topical remedies–that kind of thing. Soon, we get to see alchemy used in a functional sense, and as a weapon. This is especially fun [for me] because I get to write about an item I’ve thought about for years, and now it’s finally being used in the story!

Despite being at a point in my story I’m excited for, I’m finding it a bit difficult to write due to my illness, so I’m not writing as much as I would like. I keep hoping this particular flare will pass, and I won’t feel like a dirty sock lying in a gutter because it’s difficult to write when all you want to do is drag yourself toward the nearest soft object and lay there quietly. This unfortunately never happens because: three year-old. If I take my eye off her for a second, I am fishing a whole roll of toilet paper slurry out of the sink, or removing toys from the garbage disposal because she sits there and throws them at that side of the sink like she’s shooting hoops. I didn’t get a child that sits quietly and colors, or plays with toys–that’s for sure! [She gets that from her dad; I was the sit quietly child and he was… not, ha ha!] So most of my free energy is spent watching/interacting with her. By the time my husband gets home and I’ve cooked dinner, then washed the dishes, I feel like this clock:

Don’t get me wrong–I adore her. I just wish this disease didn’t rob me of so much energy. Sometimes my husband brings home take out, which is expensive but worth the sanity it provides me. Because I didn’t have to cook/do dishes tonight, I was able to catch up on laundry and write this post. How awful is that? I never imagined I’d be at a point in my life where I’d have to choose between cooking and doing laundry because I’d be too exhausted physically and mentally to do both in the same day.

I compromise by trying to be active on social media when I don’t feel up to writing. This way I at least feel like I’m doing something productive while waiting to feel better. So if this blog is quiet for too long, you can catch up with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I don’t bite–I swear!

Beaches and Daydreams

My mother, my aunt, and I took my daughter and my nephew to the lake on Saturday. I’ve been stuck for a while on a particular scene in volume #2, so while my mom and I were bobbing out by the swim boundary of the cove I decided to see if she had any ideas for me. I gave her a quick run down of the scene, what was supposed to happen, what I was stuck on [I needed a consequence for an action] and why it needed a cost. Here were her top suggestions:

  • Destroy the current world timeline even though time travel isn’t involved and the rest of the series is about fixing it.
  • Everyone dies. Just… everyone. Dies. End series.
  • Kill the current main character, and change a side character to a main character.
  • Time skip to a thousand years in the future after the incident. [Everyone is dead]

I love my mom, but WTF? Apparently she likes death and screwing up timelines. I thought she liked whodunnit mysteries but apparently she leans Sci-Fi and has no clue.

I never suspected my mom was secretly Mallory Archer…

Anyway, while I was busy going “WTF” it did give me a solution to not only the current problem of a consequence, but also facilitated a future story piece I had planned but was sketchy on how I would pull it off. Consequence is that something is now easier for the antagonists to do. It all fits nicely, but still…

WTF Mom?

A while after that, while sitting in the water by myself, a small brown fish started nibbling my hand. For whatever reason I wished I had my camera so I could take a picture, but then my mind jumped a million miles away to a “what if” scenario where my books had a huge following and actually were pop-culturally relevant and there were articles online about them. I don’t write for fame or fortune, but it would be nice to know that I’m not the only one who likes my stories. Maybe some day…

Plot Twist!

There are scenes in my story that I often can’t wait to get to. I will mull over these scenes while I’m cooking, showering, failing to sleep; re-writing and defining them in my head until it’s finally time for one of them in the story. I’ll be excited, nervous, eager–fingers flying over the keys as words spill from my head onto the previously blank page.

At least, that’s what typically happens.

Sometimes instead, I’ll decide to stop the previous day’s writing just before one of these scenes. I might do it to prolong the excitement and anticipation, to make me eager to dive right in the next day, or maybe I want a night to go over it one more time in Brainspace, before it goes from images to words. In this instance, it was the latter; I wanted to let it percolate overnight as I was tired, and writing tired [for me] results in some strange prose.

Unfortunately, in that small window of time, something drastic can happen, and everything will come screeching to a halt– like the combination of a writer, a full laundry basket, and a piece of paper that combines to form… a sprained wrist.

So I get to have my arm stuck in a brace for two weeks, and I can assure you that it is not conducive to typing in the slightest. In fact, this post was a test to see if typing one-handed would be in any way feasible. I can assure you that it is not. Also, I have nerve damage in my right arm, so this was my good arm. It seems that I get to play Life on Hard difficulty for the next fourteen days!

Maybe I can take this time to finally nail down some character designs for the new characters in Volume #2. If not then I can always catch up on my reading. I remember seeing a few things on sale on Amazon that piqued my interest…

[or I could lurk the fantasy writing forums on Reddit, but that is what I normally do…]

*nods*

Electronic Brain Pancake Fail

As soon as I wrote the last entry, I got over my block and finished a whole chapter.

Thanks for undermining me, brain pancake

Unfortunately when I became ‘unstuck’, I was supposed to be sleeping. You win some, and you lose some, I guess. [I’m used to not sleeping anyway.]

Continue Reading“Electronic Brain Pancake Fail”

Internalizing…

I’ve given myself writer’s block.

Well, maybe not an actual block. More of a… writer’s insecurity?

I’m already working on volume #2 of Atlantis: TVC, but all the research I did for editing volume #1 has done something to my brain. Everything I write looks wrong. I seriously re-wrote the same scene eight times, and deleted a whole scene outright–only to regret the decision and revert the chapter to get it back. I seem to be tripping over the same thing, and I can’t figure out why. I’ve never second guessed myself like this, and I can’t tell if it’s a good thing or not. All I know is that it is annoying. [I also haven’t been getting much sleep lately on account of having bronchitis, so there’s that. Yeah, that’s it. I’ll blame that.]

Instead of continuing to beat my head against this wall, I decided to beat it against a different one and practice using a tablet. I have always drawn on the computer with a mouse, and there has always been a disconnect between myself and tablets, no matter how hard I’ve tried to use one. But now I have one, and I’ve made it a personal goal to fiddle with it every so often in the hopes that through sheer force of will, I’ll someday be able to use it. Because I can’t leave well enough alone–even when I give up–I decided to draw the characters from the scene I couldn’t write.

Don’t ask me why the bald guy is larger than everyone else, because I have no clue…

It’s getting a bit easier, but I keep wanting to turn the damn thing like you would a real piece of paper, and half of my errors are from subconsciously tilting it about ten degrees.

The funny thing is that I have a Galaxy Note 3, and I can use the S Pen to draw just fine on it. Here’s a sketch I did last night of birds [and the tail of a species of Atlantian bird] based off my brother-in-law’s pet bird.

I don’t know what makes them so different for me. In a way, it feels like volume #1 was the S Pen, and volume #2 is now the tablet. I really want to work on #2, but I wonder if I’m simply not far enough removed from the editing process of #1. Maybe it’s the cough syrup clouding my brain. [Which is funny, because things that addle your mind are supposed to make you more creative, right?]

I’ve also been putting off working on the e-book conversion of volume #1, so maybe this ‘block’ isn’t even a block at all, and is guilt from me knowing there is something that I am leaving undone. I’ve been avoiding it for the past week because everyone has been sick with the plague, but now that we’re all feeling better [or in my case, not outright dying] I know there is no excuse and I’m stalling in the face of tediousness.

Of course, there is also the fact that I’m releasing some of the chapters here [leaning towards all of them, eventually. Trying to decide on a schedule…] so I know I have some extra time I didn’t have before that decision.

I work best putting things off until the last minute. Isn’t that ridiculous?