4 Questions & an update

Two Blargs in one day?  Shenanigans.

Actually I wrote 90% of the one about my feet last night so I can’t really claim it as today’s work.

SO: today’s blarg.

It’s Day 2 of Spring Break (the weekend doesn’t count – that was a day off anyway!) and it’s been pretty productive so far.  I had feared that it would be difficult to maintain momentum with my daily routine getting bashed up (write for thirty minutes or so on my lunch break, finish it up and blarg in an hour or so at home), but it’s been okay.  I got my Project writing done last night thanks to a bit of time granted to me by my dear wife, and today’s words came out courtesy of the sprout’s solid 2-hour nap.  And I’ll get some more blarging in besides.


A favorite passage from today’s writing!  I fell off the ball with these, partially because it’s hard fargoing work carving out time for all the writing I’m trying to fit in, and partially because a lot of what I’ve been pushing out lately hasn’t been particularly … what’s the word… artful?  It’s good but it needs polish.  Not done cooking.

This bit, I think, is fairly sound.

Accidentally Inspired was, when I wrote it as a stageplay, a bit autobiographical, and now expanding it as a novel, yeah, it’s still autobiographical.  I think this bit was me pulling right from the heart today.

     “Sooner or later, you dig deep enough, you’ll hit the Bottom.” The capital B was evident – again, the gods’ phones have no difficulty translating intricacies of inflection and emphasis. It just sounds like static or wind noise on human phones. “And when you hit the Bottom, one of two things will happen. One: he’ll figure out that he doesn’t really want to be in that hole — not really — and then you can start to climb out again. Or two: the Bottom will cave in, and you will find yourself somewhere else entirely.”
“What do we do if that happens?”
Exasperation crackled through the ethereal wireless connection. “You figure it out, Thalia. Gods, are you a grown woman or not?”


WordPress has me at almost 40 followers now.  Pretty cool.  Part of that is community, and thanks to the content of what I’m posting here, many of the people seeing my brain-droppings (RIP George Carlin) are a part of a pretty significant writer’s community.  Collaboration is always a good thing, so I thought I’d acknowledge that some of those writing blogs out there have helped me and inspired me and given me some ideas along the way when I’ve been stuck.  So thanks.

In poking around on the WordPress reader, I came across this little tidbit posted by one of the first members to check out my blog and give me a follow, Jodie Llewelyn.  It made me think for a minute, and what I think about I usually end up writing about, so here you are.  Four little questions to tickle a writer’s brain.

1. Why did you start writing?
2. What do you love the most about writing?
3. What goals are you working towards, right now?
4. What advice do you have for other writers who may be struggling with a lack of inspiration, right now?

Here, then, is how I answer.

1. Why did you start writing?
I wrote my first creative stuff, real genuine doing-this-for-my-own-dark-and-slimy-writer’s-heart after playing a video game, of all things. It had such a great (to me, at the time) story that I felt compelled to write a similar story without the video game construct. God, it was awful.  (The game, if you’re curious and go way back, was Final Fantasy 2.  I wish I could say it was the much better and much more widely acclaimed Final Fantasy 3, but that one wasn’t out yet.  I’m sure it played a role, too.)

So my little story (I think ultimately it came out to be 100 pages of chicken scratch, or maybe about twenty thousand words or so were I to really do anything serious with it, like type it out, which I never did, because what do you want from me, I was a teenager, and a dumb one at that) was crap, but it showed me that anybody — but anybody — even dumb ol’ me, could write a story.  It wouldn’t necessarily be good, but it could be done.  By that rationale, I mean, they’ll let anybody drive.  But I noticed, after I wrote it, that there were bits of it that I didn’t like.  That didn’t work.  So I edited it, by hand, in that crappy little spiral notebook, and continued to do nothing with it.  I just retooled it a little here and a little there, until I got tired of it and forgot about it.  I think of it fondly now, not because it was good or because I may return to it (not ever going to happen in this world or the next), but because it’s a pinpoint of cosmic get-your-head-on-straight guidance.  A beacon in the dark of doubt and misgivings that swallow up, I think, many a writer, not least of all me.  If a dumbANTZ (I really have to get some better gouda for the a- word) fourteen year old can punch out a twenty-thousand word little fantasy story, how can my thirty-something-year-old self, with his nearly infinitely grander life experience, measurelessly improved vocabulary, and unfathomably deeper ability to overstate and belabor a point FAIL at writing a complete novel?  It’d be an insult to that pimply-faced fourteen year old.  And I won’t do that to you, Past Me.  You had it rough, back then.

2. What do you love the most about writing?
The raw, maker-and-breaker-of-universes feeling. And the release of psychic tension. I said psychic when I meant to say intellectual, but I’m sticking to it, because I am the maker-and-breaker-of-universes and surely the maker-and-breaker-of-universes says what he means and means what he says.

But honestly, I’m not an Alpha guy.  I don’t know if Alpha guys (or gals) even have the inclination to be writers.  I could be wrong.  But there it is.  I’m not afraid of people – far from it.  I just prefer to let other folks take the lead most of the time.


Give me some fake people?  Let me tell a story, let me decide the conflicts, the combats, the pitfalls and the possibilities?  Ooh, brother, it’s on like Donkey Kong.

So yeah, then there’s the intellectual tension.  In the last month, I’ve found that I feel clearer of mind, quicker of tongue, and in general a little happier.  Given the fact that my running is in the ditch and I have no other physiological cause to chalk all this up to, I can only imagine that the writing is playing the primary role.  I think the main project is great for focusing my mind and keeping me lasered in on what I’m trying to do, and my blarg is doing a bloody brilliant job of siphoning off the ancillary thoughts, clearing out the clogged mental pipes and generally just burning out the gunk that the average day’s crap pumps into my brainholes.

3. What goals are you working towards, right now?
Finishing — really finishing — like, for serious, really and truly nail-in-the-coffin finishing — my first novel. Also, developing some ideas for future novels so that I won’t have what happened last time I finished a creative project — I stood around for a while, thinking “what now”, couldn’t think of anything, and quit — happen again. The construction of that sentence is correct, and again, maker-and-breaker-I-do-what-I-want.

I’m not sure I ever felt better in my life about myself as a human than after I finished, really finished, the stage play of Accidentally Inspired and saw it to a full production.  Except maybe for the birth of my son.  Yeah, usually sappiness has no place here but I’m a relatively new dad and about to be one again, what can you do.  (Obligatory – my wedding day was pretty great, too, but heck, anybody can get married.)  It slipped away from me then because I lacked direction and didn’t know what to do next, once that was finished.  A mistake I don’t plan to run into again.  Between the blarg (where I vent what’s in my brain on the regular, and which is quickly becoming a repository of little novel seedlings vis-a-vis my growing collection of flash fictions) and the spin-off ideas that creep in there when I overhear snippets of conversation or just, I don’t know, where do ideas come from?  They come, and I write them down now (something that, again, I have neglected for far too long), and I’m saving them until they’re ready.  I’m not actively thinking about them, but even when I’m working on AI, I can feel them back there, bubbling away in the dark.

4. What advice do you have for other writers who may be struggling with a lack of inspiration, right now?

This is one I really feel entirely unqualified to answer, because I’m just bouncing back onto the horse myself after getting thrown off it, what, seven or eight years ago?  (God, kill me.)  But in my short experience at capital-W Writing, here’s what’s working so far:

Write off topic or read. Writing about something unrelated to your focal project has, for me, a way of unstopping the pipes and burning out the gunk. Reading — whether it’s good lit or bad — fills my head with all kinds of ideas — new storylines, phrases, voices, characters, conflict structures, paces, artful misspellings, the list goes on — that, after a while, I can’t wait to bring back and experiment with over in my shallow end of the pool.





So there you have it.  A few thoughts on writing from your resident Pav.  Maybe it’ll help you out, maybe not.  At any rate, it helped me, and that’s the point of all this, so consider me selfish, and turn the lights out when you leave.  I do my best thinking in the dark.

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