The Downside of Setting Challenges for Yourself

The only reason I’m up right now writing a blog post is because I’m stupid. Yes, I’m whining. And yes, I’m whining about a challenge I set for myself not even a week ago. I’m complaining about the blog-a-day challenge. This whole post right here – the one you’re reading/skimming over – is written only because I said I do it and I can’t wimp out on the seventh day of the New Year.

I’m soooo sleepy at the moment. This is the first night ever where I almost fell asleep at the wheel. Really, the only thing that kept me awake was the thought: I still have to write a blog post. I’m stupid.

So, there you are. Voila! A blog post. A post about posting. It’s all very meta. Now I’m going to sleep.

Random Post of Pity Me.

Hard drive crash. Will be using Shane’s computer for the next week or so.

Which is no big deal, right? Everything was backed up and all.

But still. It’s like driving someone else’s car. Sure, every car has a turn signal and wipers and hand brakes and all. It’s just not what you’re used to. You reach on the wrong side for the wipers. You want to reach down to shift, but the car you’re driving is an automatic and everything you need is on the steering column.

It’ll get you where you’re going, but it’s not yours and you always, always, always wind up on the wrong side in the gas station.

You know?

Words, Words, Words

It’s such a shame that the word count contest only counts for one project — since the profs seemed to have teamed up and assigned terms papers all in this last week.

Blech.

Sometimes technology just isn’t as fast as I need it to be

Ah printing. It’s a blessing right? You don’t have to hand-copy everything. You don’t have to set type. You don’t have to deal with that goopy carbon copy crap. It’s wonderful…

Except when you’re on a deadline and you need to get five copies of a friggin submission printed out in like 5 minutes or you’re going to be late and there’s your happy little printer, chugging along like the Little Engine-Printer that Could but it’s still not quite fast enough and you’ll be at your desk staring at it, willing it to PRINT FASTER but it won’t listen to you, and you just know (know!) it’s doing it on purpose.

And then, because five submissions of 50 pages each is pretty long, you have to keep filling the paper, being reminded of what a horrible, horrible enviornmentalist you are.

Really what you need is a critique group in a bar.

Blog Block!

Struggling, struggling to write something that isn’t whiny on the blog.

And failing.

Now I’ll whine about how I have nothing to blog about at the moment.

I feel bereft.

Feels like a wasted day. The bulk of my morning was supposed to be dedicated to spending time with my son and writing once his dad picked him up. Only his dad couldn’t pick him up and I had to drive 45 miles to do the dropping off. While I did get to listen to a Nancy Drew Notebook book, the day was not productive. At all.

I’m posting now, risking being late for work, so that I can feel like I did something writer related….

Mentor of the Month: Toni Morrison: Work

Seeing as how I’m going back to work today, a little depressed and more than a little pissed that I have to work, I came across this from What Moves in the Margin (the collection of essays that I’m using for our Mentor of the Month sessions…):

‘One day alone in the kitchen with my father, I let drop a few whines about my job. I know I gave him some details, examples, but while he listened intently, I saw no sympathy in his eyes. No “Oh, you poor little thing.” Perhaps he understood I wanted a solution to work, not an escape from it. In any case, he put down his cup of coffee finally and said, “Listen. You don’t live there. You live here. At home, with your people. Just got to work; get your money and come on home.”
That is what he said. This is what I heard:
1. Whatever the work, do it well, not for the boss but for yourself.
2. You make the job; it doesn’t make you.
3. Your real life is with us, your family
4. You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.’
–Toni Morrison, “She and Me” from What Moves in the Margin

I may as well have been sitting in the kitchen whining away when I found this passage.

Sometimes what you need to hear comes around when you need to hear it.

But I still don’t wanna go.

All right, dammit: New Plan.

Didn’t get all of the revisions done–forgot to factor in the fact that you actually have to do some new writing when you revise. Banged through a few chapters okay, but had to change stuff I wasn’t expecting, who knew there were so many little tidbits throughout that you’ve gotta catch?

Okay, new plan:
1. Finish revisions by end of the month…even if I have to stay up all night on the 28th.
2. Finish UGWP submission for Sunday.

And that’s all she wrote for February. I have to get these outta the way because my CWC submission is coming up again and I have I worked on anything new? Not nearly 50 pages worth.

I guess I was just so excited about having the time to work on the book that I underestimated how much work it was. I did get more than halfway through…which is much more than I would’ve gotten otherwise. And it is so much better, too. Even I, who have been so close to it for so long and was growing tired of it, saw it get better as I worked. Yay team!

That is not to say that I haven’t been despairing at points. Recently I’ve taken to reading the agent blogs and have been surrounded by bad news on the publishing front–so there’s been a part of me that goes, dammit, how am I supposed to make a career out of this? Especially when I read posts about the number of submissions that agents are getting. They’re gonna have to read through that much more crap to get to my stuff and then they may be too tired to recognize it-or perhaps breathe a sigh of relief because something good finally crossed their desk. (I believe that such is the case for American Idol judges as well, after a while your ears ring with badness, so you want to kiss the good ones. I don’t even sit through all the auditions and feel that way.)

Another depressing point is that today is my last day on ‘vacation’. Tomorrow, I have to wade through the same ol’-same ol’ after having a taste of what my real life could be like. That’s really bittersweet. Yes, it makes me want to work harder, but I’ll admit, it’s really, really depressing.

Use it or lose it

It’s been a while since I’ve flexed my short story muscles. They seem very out of shape. Flabby even. I seem to keep wanting to add arcs and characters and whatnot. Admittedly, I’m planning a rather longer short story but I still feel that itch to add “Chapter One” to the top of the page.

However, I know it’s a short story. There is not enough material for a novel and it’s a short story that I intend to use for my future collection.

Originally, I chose to do this because I need to do something besides the novel. I’ve been looking at the same characters and rearranging the same situations. I just needed something new, ya know? Is that so wrong? So difficult to understand!?

Okay, I’m fine now.

So, I should have it done by Sunday. Hopefully before. Hopefully it won’t suck.

Argh, Ergh, and other various things I can’t say out loud

What. Did the whole of the magazine world get together and say “It’s rejection season! Form letters to all writers!”

At least that’s what it feels like. Just got two smackers in the mail and am having a hard time not feeling the world is against me. Bastards just don’t recognize my genius.

That’s all.