Friday, November 21, 2014

If writing is my job, how do I file for workman's comp?

I love the brilliant humor of Douglas Adams. He immortalized deadlines, took us to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe and showed us the importance of towels.  He also nailed it when it comes to writing.

Yes, I'm staring at my screen, and have been for quite some time now. In fact, I might require transfusions shortly, since I'm not sure how much blood I have left. (Please tell the EMT's I'm A+ blood type.)

There is no avoiding it, no masking it or pretending it's something else. I've prevaricated, euphemized it to pieces, and ignored it as much as possible. I've told myself it's the time of year, the encroaching darkness, the need to make a Christmas list, and the absolute necessity of teaching my cats Latin.

Nothing can effectively conceal the truth. I have WRITER'S BLOCK!!

There are lots of lighthearted and amusing relevant graphics, some of which you'll see scattered willy-nilly on this post. But when you get down past the humor to the nuts and bolts, this is NOT f**king funny. If you write, you will understand.

I'm about a quarter of the way into the fourth book in my latest series of Gothic Horror tales, set in the Asylum for the Mechanically Insane.  I might be joining those poor souls soon, occupying my own cell. At least I don't have to beg for a pencil to scribble my opus on those bleak damp walls, because I don't have a damned word anywhere in this completely frozen brain!!!  I think about the story. I like where I'm at and I like where I'm going. Sadly, it seems the bus that would have taken me to my destination has departed without me and I have NO FREAKIN' CLUE WHY!!!!  AAAAARGH.

I have a hard time describing it to "laypeople" (anyone who doesn't write), since it's more of a state of mind than an actual physical issue. I have a comfy office chair, a relatively clean desk (with cat hair accessories), and my nails are perfect typing length - not so long as to scrape on the brushed aluminum of my cordless keyboard. That gives me the shudders.  My computer is clean and tidy, I have Gigaflops of storage and I back up EVERYTHING. Twice. In addition to a third time to my own personal server. I am so redundant I am vital! And yet, with all this fabulous technology massaging my inner geek, there's still something missing.


Apparently there are many, MANY people with solutions to this problem. Just Google it, folks. Happy reading and I'll see you in a few months.  But the "just let your fingers roam the keyboard" technique produced something that looked like a drunken Orangutan had been trying to Google hangover remedies. Not much help. Letting the cats walk over the keyboard produced much more aesthetically pleasing verbiage, and even a screen shot or two. (How DO they always find the function keys?)

Then there's the "free your mind" technique. So I did. I tried prunes and oatmeal. My mind was freed, along with the rest of me actually.  I walked in the sunshine (got a bit of sun on my nose) and the rain (wet feet).  I went to the Mall. After that one, hubby stepped in and said that writer's block was one thing, our credit limit was another, thankyou. Please not to confuse the two. On the plus side, I think I finished most of my Christmas shopping in one fell swoop.

But those elusive critters have yet to return. I still haven't managed to recapture the joy of falling into my own story and living it along with my characters. I have Baron Gerolf Von Landau already enmeshed in the villainy of Lord Randall Harbury, and Lady Alwynne is about to emerge from her terrible torturous ordeal. What kind of mark it will have left on her soul is to be revealed soon. But...there's always that but...

I know it'll eventually wane. I've been through this before. And I also know I should listen to my own advice during the discussions I have with friends on this topic. The market is so saturated everyone is up to their necks in eBooks. Amazon has shown itself to be the wide-open-spaces of digital literature and the buffalo novels have stampeded in without a check. Every book is in competition with ten thousand other books, and success is, as it has always been, a certified, absolute CRAP SHOOT!!!

I know this. I believe this. And I will overcome this. But right now? In the middle of it? Well there is no elegant or ladylike way to express it. It just SUCKS.  So forgive me if I indulge in my favorite single malt liquid tranquilizer, curl my lip in disgust at author rankings and binge watch something mindless. (No, not the Walking Dead. That's just...nope. Can't do it.)  Please remember I'm having a crisis here, so give me a bit of leeway, bear in mind I haven't actually harmed anyone (yet), and I WILL triumph over this, emerging a bit beaten up, but wiser and with the urge to get back to Harbury Hall and my horror novels.

I don't even want to think about the alternative. Neither does hubby. It seems he's not really enthusiastic about moving to a small Caribbean island and living off the grid. He'd miss his double oven and Cuisinart appliances, not to mention pining for Alton Brown and the Food Channel.

The holidays are approaching, so I do have a legitimate excuse to procrastinate. Let's hope I don't need to use it. Maybe the turkey-with-all-the-trimmings will revive my waning muse. If not, I swear I'm letting the cats loose on the keyboard. Wanna bet they'll come up with a new plot line?  LOL

Wishing everyone a very happy holiday season,


Now available -

  • The Don't Look Away series - Books 1-3; Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Coming at some point before the end of time (I hope) -

  • COMPULSION (Book 4; Asylum for the Mechanically Insane - Gothic Horror)