Things have been less than productive lately on the writing circuit. My tricks have failed me. I imagine I will have numerous future posts on this subject, but for right now, I’d like to focus on a small phobia of mine:
I’ve been stuck for months, now. Not a lot of writing going on. A lot of angst building up to a fevered pitch as time passes, but not a lot of writing. This is quite… irritating. I know where I want to go, I know roughly how to get there… but it isn’t going. I’m stuck.
My husband thinks it may be the increased travel he had to take on at the beginning of the school year until just before the holidays. To be fair, I don’t like his travel, but I think it has more to do with something in my head is just plain broke or with the various stories in general (No! They’re not broken! They’re not!).
I’ve tried most of my usual methods, but none of them have bailed me out this time.
In desperation, I ordered a self-help book.
Well, you would call it a “craft book about outlining.” I call it a self-help book. They all kinda sound the same to me, and I’ve read quite a few of both. Most likely because of all my negative feelings in the past regarding outlining, I felt like an idiot failure for buying this thing, even if it is well-rated.
And sadly, I wish I could say what followed is an exaggeration of my reactions to it, but it isn’t.
When it came in the mail, I still felt stupid. I pulled it out of its packaging and promptly found something else to do. Which made me angry – I bought the damn thing, therefore I must read it or I am being a wasteful jerk.
Just looking at the cover makes my ears ring and my chest feel tight. I got the nervous jitters just touching it.
“Seriously, Katty? You look at $4-digit$ week long cadaver dissection conferences with undisguised greed and jealousy, but you can’t handle a little craft book?”
Shut up. We all have our weak points – for you, it’s probably going cold turkey from technology or soda for a week (both of which I can do quite easily). For me it’s this.
I read the intro, then put it face down on the table. Just looking at the cover makes me flinch. I need to take a breath and work on something else for a few minutes.
I read chapter 1 – the author does their best to not pooh-pooh pantsers while still promoting outlining and keeping the reader engaged, ending on a high note that sounds like one of those “you can do it!” seminars.
Ugh. I hate those seminars.
I put the book face down on the table again. I take my time scratching up a pen and a pad of paper, since I should take notes now that the author has promised we’ll get into the actual method of her outline process soon.
Then I decide I have to make dinner for the family. Then I decide I can’t really focus with the kids making noise, so I work on the dance props for Sara’s studio instead.
Jesus, Ishtar and Buddha, I am such a chickenshit. C’mon, woman! Pull on your big girl panties and friggin’ read! You’ve got a calendar and you need to be able to write and sell and keep your ledgers friggin’ balanced as you do it. You’re stuck spinning your wheels and the self-pub industry standards don’t accept that. Now sit down, pick up the damn book and TRY to learn something instead of whinging like a 7 year old confronted with Brussels sprouts.
I get back into reading. I can only take it a few sections at a time, because I keep having to get up and find something else to do or I’ll hyperventilate. Thankfully it is a quick read, even with my constant note-taking. I get through the whole thing in a day and a half.
I go through the model with one of my characters (this author promotes a character based outline) and while I manage to refine one or two things about him, I don’t get much more. I’m going exactly where I knew I was.
I spend another day away from the book. I know I need to draw up 2 more characters, but I just can’t do it until the kids are back in school.
I sit down to draw up the other two characters like a good girl doing her homework.
It irritates me. The whole idea of it irritates me. And isn’t very enlightening. My characters are as I envisioned them, the outline that I say they should do is logical and therefore they should/could/would do it, so I’m not violating the law of consistency.
And yet, the words mock me.
I don’t think this post has much of a point. I could make it spin and dance and spew something positive about being willing to try new things or some such, but right now, it just ain’t happenin’.
I think I read somewhere that big girls also eat chocolate, so I think I’ll try that next.