Thursday, September 28, 2006

Are you having a bad day?

Do you feel a little uninspired? sluggish between the ears? Having trouble releasing the genius within? Feeling creatively constipated?

Are you "stuck"?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Patron Saint of Writers Block:

Don Music!

No matter how discouraged you get, be grateful that at least you weren't created for the sole purpose of banging your head against a keyboard.

I do this in honor of National Novel Writing Month, which is hot on our heels, beginning on Wednesday, November 1.

Last year I managed, by the skin of my teeth and on a crazy-ass technicality and with more help than I ever deserved, to actually come up with 50,000 words loosely arranged in what could be called, more or less, a novel, if you really stretch the definition. I mean, the rules were 50,000 words. that's all. Not 50,000 good words, or 50,000 correct words, or 50,000 beautiful words, or 50,000 finely-wrought words of staggering genius elucidating the human condition with an innovative grace and artistry - nope. Just 50,000 plain old words.

So by hook and by crook, so to speak, I made it all the way to 50,000 words. And I'm not much of a finisher, so it felt like something of an accomplishment.

But I haven't actually looked at it since Nov. 30, 2005. It was a lot of work, but I haven't even peeked at so much as one lousy word out of the 50,000 I wrote.

Because of course it sucks. Because it's a festering heap of garbage. Because it's a great majestic soaring tower of shit, only barely disguised as a novel through the sheerest of pretenses. Because if I look at it again my eyes will explode from the sheer thermonuclear craptacularity of it.

Because, of course, I'll never get it! Never! Never! (ke-bannnnnggggg!)

But, even though all I was able to do with it was create a reliable and efficient Random Garbage Generator last time, hope springs eternal, doesn't it. It's a whole new year, a whole new experience. Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away...

So, go light a candle, pray to St. Don Music, dig that letter "Q" out of your eye, and get going!

Be! Creative! B-E Creative! Whoo!

Dude, you managed to finish a NaNoWriMo? That's huge, I don't care if it's craptacular. I rarely get more than 10,000 craptacular words out.
I dirged my inability to write for hours over the phone. I said it all. Every fear and failure was itemized and scientifically proven with anecdotal footnotes. Twice. My friend let me go on until I really was lost for words, looking around for something to further my argument. When he finally spoke he said, "You're right. You're a terrible writer. But you're the best con artist of all time. You have everyone fooled." I had to recognize all the people who'd said my writing was good - or at least that I had some aptitude for it. These were smart people, people whose opinions I respected and judgment was to be trusted. I couldn't hear them over the roar of my own self-negating literary agent of doom. Even if it makes me admit that I do crappy things to myself - like defeatism - I still use his words. "I'm the best con artist of all time." It exploits the shabby excuses I come up with to excuse myself from WORK and ACCOUNTABILITY.

Why do we think we can only write or write well if the Muses are smiling in a very specific set of circumstances? All my headbanging and marinating in my own boohoo has never put a single pixel on the page. The encouragement to be creatively juicy is necesary and appreciated. But I think a good kick in the ass is often in order, too. So pray for nothing. Go write!
eh- there's finish and there's finish.

technically, I generated 50,000 words. but only technically.
o stop that. you kicked ass.

i've never done the NaNo thing. never even been inspired to try my hand at any sort of novel mebbe i should give it a go.
Belle~ You of all people should give it a shot. You're excellent. Let us know how it goes if you do.
"I'm the best con artist of all time."

I will tattoo this on my eyeballs.
In saner moments I realize that probably only 40 or 50% is crap. the rest is pretty decent and probably deserves a second look.

The coolest thing about NaNo was that I got this great sense of freedom in the creative process. I mean, for me, the point was not to whomp out War and Peace but just to see if I could actually finish something - anything - I started. And the very fact that it did not have to be perfectly executed and carved in stone, but could stay loose and sloppy and malleable, meant that I could just say what I had to say without being crippled by least during the month of November.
"meant that I could just say what I had to say without being crippled by least during the month of November."

You could use that in a screenplay. Give this line to William Hurt and don't forget how I love to travel when you're famous.
needs some violins...some dramatic music swellling in the background, and a sensitive, rueful >sigh<...
The funny thing about Don Music - when I was a tiny tot, my dad was a composer, and taught music theory at the University of Hartford, and was working hard to wriggle himself between the covers of Pretentious Serious Music Monthly, so he spent a lot of time at the piano, doing his thing. And once I asked him if he banged his head on the piano like Don Music when he couldn't "get it", and he looked at me like I told him to eat a filet-of-weasel sandwich - "of course not!" he said. "That would hurt the piano."
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