31 October 2012

The Trouble with Finishing

For Halloween, I was hoping to write a short story about a serial killer to post here. But seeing as I have written only half a page and work is fast approaching, I don’t see it happening. This leads me to think about a big issue with writing, which is simply getting it done.

When you start writing something, isn’t the ultimate goal to finish it? You plan out the entire thing, see every scene and detail clearly in your mind—so why should completing your work ever be difficult?

Time would be the most obvious answer. Most writers who are just starting out probably also have a full time job, one that might have absolutely nothing to do with writing. Maybe you have a routine 9-5 sort of job, but if you’re like me, you have no set schedule and don’t even have the same days off every week. And when you do have free time, there’s still laundry, cleaning, cooking, running errands. There’s also time spent with your significant other, family, friends, cat. And of course the most important thing of all—sleep. It doesn’t leave a lot of free time.

But you’re a writer, so you must write. So you sit down in front of your computer, or with a notebook in your hand, and you end up staring at the blank page. And you know it’s not writer’s block—you want to write! The problem is that you’re actually overthinking it. I do this all the time. I refuse to write even a sentence before it is perfectly crafted in my mind. So I don’t get anywhere. You can’t really make anything perfect on the first try. If you refuse to write anything less than perfect, you probably won’t write anything at all.

But there’s a third factor in this, and it may be the most important one. Odds are you wouldn’t even realize it. Because deep down, somewhere in your subconscious, you don’t want to finish. You’re afraid of the “Now what?” that happens once you’ve finally crafted your masterpiece. That first rush of creative energy that made you write in the first place won’t be there anymore. You’re afraid of editing, of slaughtering your work. You’re afraid of rejection once you try to send it out into the world. But maybe part of you doesn’t want to finish because you don’t want it to be over. There was something that drew you to this particular story, some love of characters or plot, or just an idea. Finishing your work means letting that feeling go.

I’m not sure how to sum this up, how to wrap it up in a nice little bow. I don’t feel I’m in the same place as when I started. But we all know we have to finish, because what else is the goal? What is all the time and energy and passion for? I guess that’s why we keep trudging along. 

29 October 2012

Muse Mondays: The Takeover

A Guest Blog
by Jordan M. Palmer

I don’t get the whole middle initial thing. Maybe it’s because Mason is the stupidest name ever. But anyway…

I guess I’m supposed to apologize first, which I’m not going to do. There’s a difference between accepting responsibility and being sorry. I’m not fucking sorry. She should know better. Was I sorry for seducing an older man? Well, maybe, we’re still working on that I guess.

I’m sorry, I get distracted easily. What were we talking about? Oh, I hadn't even begun to make a point yet. Well then. You may have noticed that there hasn't been anything posted here in months (I like to italicize. It’s good for emphasis). And I guess it’s all my fault, because I’m a selfish asshole. Blah blah blah, what else is new?

So she works, like a lot. It’s really boring. I usually find something else to do, except when there’s inappropriate conversation between coworkers, which is a lot, actually. You’d be surprised. I can help with that sort of thing. Actually, I managed to crack her up while she was on the phone with a customer once. But anyway, so that takes up a lot of time and so if there’s time to write, well then it has to be about me. Sorry, it just does. So once we ran out of blog ideas I wasn't really putting in the effort for new ones.

Do you know what a muse really is? I mean, weren't they like some imaginary bitches in Ancient Greece or something that helped you write poems? (Oh Christ—don’t even get me started, she’s on this Ancient Greece kick right now, like reading all this shit. Because everyone was a fucking pederast back then. And something about math. Pythagoras  I dunno. I stop paying attention when symbolism comes up.) When did teenage boys become muses? I don’t know how I got this gig, really. 

You probably don’t understand how hard it is to be a muse. I mean, it’s like, 24/7. Sometimes I have to hijack her dreams, but mostly that’s just for exploiting memories. But I've got all the responsibility here—my book, obviously, but the blogs, and poems, and whatever else she comes up with. Sometimes I have to tweet, too. It’s like I’m freakin' in charge of everything. I can only focus so much attention on each thing. Maybe I’m a little biased but whatever. I’m running the show.

Do you have any idea how exhausting it is? I have to exist, simultaneously, in every important moment of my life. The character version of myself will always be fifteen, no matter how much time goes by. But if she wants to work on the sequel thingy? Well, then I have to be twenty. We've even gone so far as twenty-nine. You try to be fourteen different ages all at once. And if we’re talking real time? Well then I’m sixteen, almost seventeen. I’m a junior in high school, so I've got a lot of shit to do. Plus I've got the band with my friend Eric (I’m an amazing singer—she didn't tell you? Geez). And I've got like three boyfriends and maybe a girlfriend, too. THEN I’m supposed to help this chick write my life story? Does that sound fair to you?

But anyway, this post is called “The Takeover,” not “Jordan Bitches All Night.” We’re at a turning point. We’re gonna pump some life back into this dead and rotting blog. And I guess the first step is getting my permission. So fine, I guess I won’t hog all of the attention (even though she’s more in love with me than her boyfriend…cough cough…but you didn't hear it from me). We’re even gonna work on a play that has absolutely nothing to do with me.

So we’re gonna try blogging three times a week. Mondays will often be called “Muse Mondays,” usually about inspiration, what sorts of things help with her writing, or just about me in general *grin*. Fridays will also have some fun posts, but I’m not gonna give everything away right now. And then Wednesdays, too. We’re gonna wing it for now and hopefully we won’t run out of steam too quickly. Neither of us is very organized, but we’ll find a way to plan ahead.

So look forward to some action around here. And you never know, I might pop back in now and then. Be afraid!

I’m just kidding. You love me. It’s a gift I have.