write who you are

Write who you are. Crack open your breastbone, grab your heart from its visceral mooring, and smash it into the page. Give it a few bloody twists just to make sure your heart print is firmly and forever smashed onto the page.

Your stories are you, and you are your stories.

– Chuck Wendig, Damn Fine Story

haven’t a clue

Anyway. Just to wrap up–I don’t know what I’m doing. Haven’t a clue, really. There’s no trick. There’s nothing I do that’s special. I just write. Stuff happens. Stuff fails to happen and I stare out the window and go “What happens next?” until stuff happens again or I write in a ninja attack.

However you get the thing written is fine. There is no trick that Real Writers know and are withholding. There is no amazing plotting system that will make the boring bits easy (and this is the other great truth, that writing, like everything else, is unbelievably boring work a lot of the time, and if you are bored and restless and would rather do anything else on earth than write, it is not because you are Doing It Wrong.)

There is no solution, no quick fix, no moment of grace whereupon you can be a Real Writer forever and ever, world without end.

There’s just sitting down and writing.

– Ursula Vernon, blog on March 1, 2010

repeat repeat repeat

You write. That’s the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

– Neil Gaiman, NaNoWriMo author pep talk


You get your confidence and intuition back by trusting yourself, by being militantly on your own side. You need to trust yourself, especially on a first draft, where amid the anxiety and self-doubt, there should be a real sense of your imagination and your memories walking and woolgathering, tramping the hills, romping all over the place. Trust them. Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

perfection sucks

This is a very special time. The beginning of the beginning.
It’s just you and the manuscript.
Your full mind and the empty page. Tip the cup to spill part of you all over it.
This is fundamental and formative.
This is volcanic and pyroclastic.
This is pure.
The empty page is perfection.

And perfection sucks.

– Chuck Wendig, 30 Days in the Word Mines

writing recap 2018: w43

Started this week out pretty strong and then petered out towards the end when my face was overwhelmed by allergies. Spent Friday holed up on the couch sneezing repeatedly until my abs hurt. But! I regained control of all four Divine Beasts in BotW, so there’s that at least.

Stayed with the flash fiction thing still. Had at least two more pieces that I really like that will need some rewriting and polishing. I still have to figure out exactly what I’m going to do with all of these things and work out a timeline for, well, work.

I was telling Adam about some of the pieces that I liked (particularly from prompts numbers 23 and 24 this week) and found that many of them ended with either everyone dying or the world being destroyed or some kind of psychological horror. Not sure why that’s where my subconscious goes for these shorter pieces, but I’m rolling with it. (Some of it seems to be deeply rooted in women’s anger. Can’t imagine why…)

I still didn’t do as much NaNoPrep as needed to happen this week. It’s one of those things that I know that I need to do but that I’m dragging my feet on. Each day’s morning pages were a variation on cajoling, exhorting, or wheedling myself into just. doing. it. but even still. I even gave myself a pretty decent pep talk on Thursday, all to no avail. I know where the Resistance comes from. I know that it’s a marker of something that I should do.

Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.

– Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

A little heavy, but you get the point.

I know that it’s fueled by fear. In this case, some kind of fear of things being imperfect. Like if I try or care or let myself feel passionate about this project AND it doesn’t come exactly the way I want it to, then I will be so disappointed and also a failure and I should just go get lost in the woods. WHICH IS SO DUMB. DO YOU HEAR ME, JERKBRAIN? YOU ARE SO DUMB.

Because of course, it won’t come out exactly the way I want to. Hell, I don’t even know what that means or looks like because I haven’t done it yet. So how would I? But even more so, the first draft is going to be a bit of magic and a bit of garbage all rolled together. And I know that I’m going to have to rewrite and pick through the refuse to figure out which little gems to hoard. And the extra idiot thing is that if I JUST DO THIS PRE-WRITING STUFF, the first draft might have a little less garbage to get through to obtain the treasure.

But obviously, I HAVE TO DO THE THING IN THE FIRST PLACE. It’s a well-constructed ouroboros* of inaction (begrudging respect, jerkbrain, for your wily loops) — I’m afraid to do the thing that I need to do because it won’t be good enough (for what, who the fuck knows) so then I don’t do the thing. But I want to do the thing. But I’m afraid. And while I’m wallowing in the bog of ill defined fear and minor despair, Resistance is laughing all the way to the bank (how he makes money off of this, I’m not sure, but somehow he’s getting rich).

This is one of those times when I am totally self aware enough to see myself being counter-productive and I’m just slow-motion screaming in my head. Sometimes I just want to poke myself with a sharp stick.

Fucking jerkbrain.

*My computer wants to correct this to Borobudur, which led me down a brief, distracting Wikipedia hole.