My Dog is Constipated and I Understand…. Because I Have Writer’s Block

The older of my two dogs was very sick on Saturday. He spent the day lying on the concrete, whimpering, throwing up, and trying so hard to poop. We spent the day forcing fluids into him (via a red Solo cup, so at least he felt cool). And today he seemed to be back to normal again.

As part of my job, I do a lot of writing for other people. In fact, at the moment, I’m working with four or five clients. They depend on me to keep their content moving. Search engines like fresh content, and so frequently updated blogs/sites will tend to rank higher. I’m in no position to mess up anyone’s search engine optimization (and if I did, I’d be fired as a freelancer). So not doing my work and giving the excuse that I have writer’s block isn’t really acceptable.

Still, I sometimes sort of feel like it should be.

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NaNoWriMo 2011: Will I or Won’t I?

The other day I happened to catch a tweet about getting ready for NaNoWriMo to begin on November 1. After asking myself where October (and September) went, I realized that it is, indeed, about that time.

In 2009, NaNoWriMo is what got me back into writing. I always think about things like, “If this had or hadn’t happened, then this or that outcome would have been different.” I do that with basically everything. My head is a weird place to be. However, I think it stands to reason that if I hadn’t been craving some kind of purpose at that point in 2009, you wouldn’t be reading this blog, for better or worse.

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First Person Limited: Narrating My Life

Well, readers, I’m back — at least for now. It’s been a bumpy couple of weeks, but I’m looking forward to getting back on track and focusing my efforts on various writing projects, including dear Frankasaurus, here. It follows, then, that in this post, writing is what I want to… write about.

You know how you hear parents say things like, “I always knew she would grow up to love singing because we couldn’t get her to stop doing it when she was little,” or “We knew he’d grow up to be an athlete because he excelled at so many sports before he even got to middle school” and such? It’s easy to look at little kids and see the things they’re doing and say that they’ll have successful futures doing X work. All because they demonstrate that one characteristic or hobby that tips people off early on.

What isn’t apparent to the naked eye is what’s going on in the mind. I suppose there’s significant evidence that suggests that those thoughts manifest themselves somehow, that there’s some kind of creative outlet. People couldn’t see into my brain, so even though I was always writing, no one could see where it all was coming from or how it got started.

I narrate everything in my head.

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The State of the Novels Address

That is the absolute worst title I have ever come up with. Moving along…

I haven’t written about the novels recently, and as I did say last week that I would write about those, that’s what I’m here to do. You’ll forgive me if this isn’t the smoothest flowing and most polished writing I’ve ever done. I’ve been writing for most of the day. I can actually hear my brain fizzling. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2010: Who’s a Champ? I am!

I get it. It’s December 9th and NaNoWriMo ended over a week ago. I should have posted this then, but my immune system seems hell-bent on taking me down before Christmas. You will forgive my belated post on the matter, I hope!

When I wrote about NaNoWriMo before, I talked about how I hit the ground running. I followed that up by talking about how I survived a long weekend away and managed to write quite a bit. So here’s how it all turned out. Continue reading

Publication Anxiety

Tonight, when faced with the option to stay in or go to a Steelers bar with a group of friends to watch the pre-season game, I opted to stay home. I wasn’t feeling the bar scene, and I’m not a Steelers (or Giants) fan. Ultimately, after sitting in my room for an hour, I decided to take myself on a date to Barnes & Noble.

If you’ve ever read Truman Capote’s iconic novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (or if you’ve seen the toned down, Mancini-infused film adaptation), you know that when Holly Golightly has a case of “the mean reds” (translation: unlike having the blues, it’s when you’re feeling down but you don’t really know why), she heads to Tiffany’s to window shop. She doesn’t believe anything bad could ever happen to you there. I had a case of the mean reds tonight, and Barnes & Noble is my Tiffany’s.

When I got there, I browsed around the new fiction and nonfiction. I looked at the best sellers and the summer suggestions. I picked up and put back down a number of classics. My normal BN method is to roam up and down the fiction aisles for an extended period of time before moving on to other areas of the store. That didn’t work out for me tonight. After checking out the tables of books (does anyone else feel compelled to touch them sometimes? I could never use a Nook or a Kindle because I just love the feel of a book too much), I found myself looking at the magazine racks. In particular, I was looking for literary journals. There were too many people, and the magnet in the reference section was especially strong tonight. A few minutes later, after a brief stop to see if there were any new books on the Kennedys that might interest me, I found myself standing in front of shelves of books about writing, how to generate ideas, how to write effectively, how to find work writing, etc. Towards the bottom, I saw the magnet. It was the Writer’s Market 2011 book. If it had hands, they would have been all sassy and akimbo. It would have been raising its eyebrows at me. “You’ll never do it,” it would say. “Remember?” Continue reading

Oh, right. I’m writing.

First of all, before I get into the meat of this post, I’m proud to say that I’ve been forcing myself to edit my novel again after a relatively lengthy hiatus (call the hiatus a crisis of faith in myself). I have 50 pages left to mark up of the paper copy, and then I’ll be able to move into the computer document and start making changes there. I’m not sure which I feel is the more daunting task.

Now…

When I was in college, I took the majority of the classes I needed to satisfy my creative writing minor requirements with the same professor. He was forever going on about how he woke up early in the morning and did his writing for a few hours before getting on with his day. I thought that he was trying to encourage us to get up early in the morning and write because he was also forever trying to get us to be just like him. To this day, I’ve never once decided to wake up early in order to write.

I am, by nature, not a morning person. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how some people naturally wake up anywhere from 4:30 – 7:30 a.m. My “morning” starts somewhere between 9 and 10 generally (if I don’t have to be up for something). Part of the reason that I don’t wake up early is because I stay up so late. That’s always been more my pace. I like being awake past midnight when everyone else is asleep and it’s quiet. I can focus better. In college, this is typically when I did the majority of my homework (and even in the end of high school I could get away with staying up until 1 or 1:30 a.m., and then getting up at 6:45 for school). If I really must work during the day, I can make it happen. I just prefer working at night so much better. Continue reading

Blog Recommendations

I’m taking a break from my normal babble to do a little unsolicited blog promotion. I like reading blogs because I feel like there’s always a lot to learn from other people and often times I find that they offer ways for me to readjust my own perspective. They can be quite educational. There are a lot of great blogs – by people I know and people I don’t – that I could tell you to read. I’m only going to start with three of my personal friends’ blogs, though, because I don’t want to be overwhelming. When I go to a blog, I like to click on other links in the blog roll (a good reason to establish one), so if you haven’t checked out these blogs on mine, please do (all links in this post will open in a new window). If they don’t strike your fancy, feel free to pass them on to anyone else whose fancy they might strike. I just used the word “blog” a lot. Bad writer.

Please note, however, that I can’t do these justice in a short blurb. You’ll just have to check them out for yourself. Continue reading

In the Books: On Finishing My Novel

I know I haven’t been blogging much lately. I think you’ll understand why, though.

I was sitting here thinking about how I have trouble finishing things, but then it occurred to me that it’s not really true. I can think of fewer than five books that I’ve never finished and don’t intend to. Even when they’re really bad or boring, I try to slog my way through them. I tried to quit softball after 6th grade when I should have been moving up from pigtail to ponytail league. I was afraid that it was going to be more difficult and I’d look stupid. About a quarter of the way into that first summer, I told myself to suck it up and go back to practice, so I did, and I played until I was getting ready to leave for college. I waited a whole year of being unhappy at my first real-world job before I quit that, and I agonized so long over my decision to quit calculus in college that I missed the drop/add deadline and took a voluntary F. And when I say I agonized over that decision, I mean that I found myself in the Dean of Students’ office nearly in tears.

So I guess I don’t quit well. Continue reading

Back to the Book

Last month, as I was feeling like a fraud for not seeing National Novel Writing Month beyond the confines of November, I wrote a post where I essentially questioned my validity as a writer. I was having a problem where I wanted to finish my novel, but I just couldn’t muster up the ambition to do it. I had built up quite the momentum in November, sometimes writing as many as four thousand words a day, and when I crossed the fifty thousand word mark days before the deadline, I crashed. I was burnt out and convinced that I had no more ideas and could give no more to this story right now. I kept saying that I would go back to it, but it’s hard to say how seriously I would have taken that promise.

This obviously begs the question, “Why do all of that work for nothing?”

Point taken. Continue reading