There’s always comes a time when the celebrating is over and it is time to clean up all of the wrapping paper and the empty beer bottles and the cheese rinds and that funny-colored stain that looks a little bit like pre-World-War-1 Manchuria that Uncle Walter left upon the fabric of the ottoman that he was hunkered down upon.
If any of you want to make some kind of witticism about the “Ottoman Empire” well go right on ahead. I won’t stop you. However, I refuse to stoop to such low-brow pun-ridden humor.
Too bad Uncle Walter refused to stoop.
In some provinces they refer to this state – (I know, I know, make up your mind Vernon – is it a state or a province) – as the hangover.
It can be the worst or the best part of any sort of situation – depending on how you look at it.
We writers know this feeling. There is nothing worse that getting to that “wrapping-up” part of the manuscript.
For example – I’ve been attempting to “wrap up” a Bigfoot novel for about six months now and I keep beating my head against a stone wall.
I’m not going to use the “block” word.
Let’s just say that I am a little momentumously-challenged right about now.
So what does a writer do when they find themselves in the realm of negative-momentum?
Well, for starters I like to puddle about. Then I fart around for a brief spell. When farting around gets too much to handle I put off and procrastinate and occasionally redudanticize a phrase or two.
Up here in the snowy regions of Canada we refer to this stage as “spinning one’s tires”.
Suffice it to say that it doesn’t accomplish all that much.
But sometimes a fellow just needs to buy himself a little time.
And other times he just needs to spend a little time doing sweet diddly-squat.
I wanted to write about this today because sometimes some folks might think me glib while others think of me as some sort of a “writing god”.
“Well, Steve,” they’ll say. “You’ve got about thirty self-published e-books and seven regionally released trade paperbacks and a about a hundred or so published short stories and maybe another hundred published poems – some of which EVEN made money. You’ve written umpteen thousand reviews and a large handful of interviews and over four hundred blog entries – not counting your old blog. Surely you MUST know what you are doing by now.”
Well – bullshit.
The truth is we writers are in a constant state of perpetual adlib.
(or would that be a province?)
We are ALWAYS making things up as we go along.
This last month or so I have found solace and shelter in the more practical aspects of farting around. I’ve released a couple of new e-books and have just recently commissioned a brand new cover for my e-novella HAMMURABI ROAD.
I’ll show you that cover in a week or two – suffice it to say it is awesome.
I have also written over 7000 words in a brand-new Biblically-oriented piece of literature that I have been REALLY excited about.
In short – I keep busy.
Sometimes that is ALL a fella can do to keep the fire burning.
So – the next time you find yourself faced with that big old “block” word – pause for just a little while to fart around.
That’s step one.
Go fishing or fix that leaky faucet or replace every light bulb in your house whether it needs or not.
Then – proceed to step 2 and pause again and begin to futz about creatively. Find a new market for your old work. Repackage it or re-promote it. Write a blog entry or two.
Then if you are still stuck – find something NEW to get excited about and go forth and write the hell out of it. Main thing is to finish this second thing through – which I anticipate I will do with this new Biblical project.
The main thing to remember is to NEVER give up.
I will get back to Bigfoot – just shortly after I finish up with this Biblical project – which ought to take another two or three weeks.
Meanwhile – I am giving that Bigfoot project time to percolate without all of that static electricity of needless worry and fret.
The fact is there are TWO Bigfoot e-book projects on my plate – and one of them is ALREADY written – so I just have to finish the other one – and then I’ll release them both.
So take heart if you are faced by that big bad old “block” word. Don’t panic and don’t flounder around. Regroup and find your footing – even if you are waist-deep in the mud.
♥ ♥ ♥
Meanwhile, let me tell you about Valentine’s Day.
The morning was given over to work for both Belinda and I.
She had to go to her classes at Community College. They were having a fund-raising cake sale to raise money for QEII BONE MARROW COMFORT FUND. This is a fund set up by Halifax’s QEII Hospital to raise money for folks who have to face a bone marrow transplant. The Nova Scotia Community College has been supporting this particular fund for several years now. On Valentine’s Day this year the culinary department – (that’s chefs in training) – get together and bake some magnificent cakes which are then sold to the students to raise funds for the program.
Now I am supposed to be watching my weight – so Belinda did not bring home a whole cake. Instead, she brought along some plates and forks and a cake cutter and bought a whole cake herself and gave each of her classmates a slice of cake. She did bring some home herself and it was a chocolate raspberry cream cake that tasted like plated-up temptation.
Meanwhile I was visiting a local school – telling my stories and talking about how to write and tell a good story to several classes of Grade 8 and Grade 9 students at the Dartmouth Bicentennial School. I had a great time and met a lot of great kids and luckily happened to show up in time for a big Chinese dinner Valentine’s lunch party that the teachers were having. I had a couple of egg rolls and some chicken balls and some broccoli and beef and fried rice and Soo Guy and what was that I was saying about watching my weight???
So I got home and Belinda had set up an amazing buffet assortment of Valentine’s Day treats.
Let me see if I can get all this right.
We’ve got – moving from left to right – pickled onions, olives, gherkins and Branston Pickle. Above that is a bottle of Toasted Head Cabernet Sauvignon and a tower of pear slices, blood oranges in brandy, grapes and apple. There is a tray full of fancy black pepper crackers and sweet and savory jellies hidden behind the candles – apricot reisling, cabernet fig, and spicy peach chutney. Then a tray full of cheese – toffee cheese which tastes like dessert, mango cheese, Stilton and a Borsin and a dark black Guinness-infused Stilton which I love to eat but makes my tailpipe exhaust smell a little like an arthritic nine hundred year old dying moose.
Not to mention that bottle of locally brewed Martello Stout which likewise contributes to that whole dying moose effect.
Then in front we had a modest cheese fondue with freshly baked white bread and some somewhat over-proofed olive bread – which I adore.
My contribution to the feast was the wine, the beer and the appetite.
I also contributed the evening entertainment as we sat down and watched our new DVD set of VIKINGS season one. We are eagerly awaiting the second season and I thought it was high-time we sat down and rewatched the first season without any of those irritating History channel commercials – HAVE YOU WATCHED PAWN STARS MEETS AMERICAN RESTORATION WHILE AMERICAN PICKERS AND CANADIAN PICKERS DUKE IT OUT IN A STORAGE GARAGE SPECIAL?
(note – I actually really enjoy watching Canadian Pickers and Pawn Stars occasionally – but I get tired of the commercials)
Today we are going to carry on watching the rest of the season – after I get done a bit more writing, the dishes, my laundry and maybe some groceries and cooking. While Belinda is in college I pick up as much of the housework duties as I can manage to.
Today we are also going to make time to go through our Bag of Hearts.
This was Belinda’s idea originally. Many years ago on a February when we were REALLY tight on extra money – she decided to sit down and cut out three hundred and sixty-five reasons why we’re in love with each other.
Just yesterday I pulled the bag down off of my keepsake shelf and she could not believe that I had actually hung onto the homemade gift – but the way I see it, homemade gifts are the best kind – unless you count beer.
In fact I’ve ALSO got every Christmas, Valentine’s and Birthday card she ever got me wedged into a shelf here on my writing desk. I take them out every now and then and look through a few of them.
It always makes me smile.
That’s what love is, folks. Love is a three hundred and sixty five day a year adventure.
Don’t waste your time aiming for one or two days out of the year. Bring home a flower or a donut or a greeting card – just because it’s Tuesday.
Listen to the old moose, eh?
♥ ♥ ♥
Funny thing about entertainment – but sooner or later there is ALWAYS a commercial.
If you enjoyed this blog entry why not pick up a copy of my brand-new collection of six twisted love stories – BAD VALENTINES 2?
You can buy it on Kindle and Kobo for only 99 cents this week.
(regularly priced $2.99)
AND REMEMBER – be sure to check out the two dozen OTHER authors taking part in the BLOODY VALENTINE’S DAY 2014 BLOG HOP!
yours in storytelling,
Thank you so much for that bit about the b word. I’m mom mom momentumously challenged with the last book (so big it’s going to be two) in my trilogy right now. It’s come back from the editor with feed back that’s made me go “oh shit”.
Then again, it’s half term, the munchkin off school, I won’t get to do anything with it for a week or so and who knows, at the end of that. I could have sorted it out.
That’s the thing about writing. Life always seems to get in the way. But if it wasn’t for the munchkin and the bills and the work around the house you probably wouldn’t have ANYTHING left to write about.
That is true. You have to put the experiences of every day life in if you want to get writing out. 😉
Wow, you kept all those cards? I’m such a goon. Barely a romantic bone in my body. I’ve never been fond of cards — they have other people’s words in them. I got one for my wife anyway, because she likes them. I wrote, “Thank you for taking the offer on the table.” Because when I was younger, dating her, I was a younger goon and had told her than in a few months, “I’d have an offer on the table.” So that’s romance… At least I didn’t put money in the card 🙂
Losing weight: I struggle too. My wife just lost 100 lbs following the principles outlined in Gary Taubes’ book “Why we get fat”. I hate to “plug” her blog here (I never, ever do this), but I think she’s helping folks and maybe you’re interested? dot2trot.com.
Happy Feb 15! 🙂
I’m either a hopeless romantic or a diehard hoarder – I haven’t decided yet.
The best editing I’ve ever done is after hitting “send.” ….Because when I was younger, dating her, I was a younger goon and had told her THAT in a few months…..
It’s all right John. Nobody is marking you on this. 🙂
I’ve been farting around for two years but found you can’t regroup with just one of you.
Glad you stuck to the diet for St. Valentine’s Day Steve.Just like me. I’m a big believer in ‘Just ‘cos’ days throughout the year bit I was always happy with the dedicated day as well.
Let’s hear it for the “just cos days”!
Steve, you made me lol! …900 year old moose smell. You made my day. I enjoyed reading all of it. I am in a farting around state of mind, stuck on editing one chapter for about two months now, there is a hint of boredom about it. I can feel it so I know the reader will see it outright. I want it to be close to perfect when I send it to my editor, who will find many things to edit. Will this state of mind change? I hope so. Thanks for all the good tips.
Many thanks. Good luck getting going.