Boundbytheword Blog

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Blah…Blah…Blah March 22, 2011

Confession time. For weeks now I haven’t been writing. What do I mean by writing? I mean working on my second novel, Life as a Teenage Mutant. I’ve been applying for grants, and putting together course outlines, and editing two other writer’s fabulous novels, but my own novel has been left stranded.

I won’t let Abby – Mutant’s protagonist – speak to me or bring her to life on the page. No giving her a chance to count, a turn to shine. I’ve been keeping her silent, shoving her down a little further, making her just small enough that she won’t stamp her feet and demand to be heard. It’s not that I don’t want to listen, but I’ve distracted myself with other things that I make matter more.

Mutant is gritty, and this story is taking me to a place more vulnerable than I’ve been in a while, so I’m avoiding getting in the mud with her, getting my hands dirty. I’ve been too busy doing things for other people, or sitting on my ass in protest.

What do I mean by ass? I mean this never-seems-to-be-shrinking, too old for my age, swinging low sweet chariot that keeps me in the chair, but still not writing what I should be. Oddly, I’ve also been avoiding the sunshine on my face and the stretch in my legs that will feed my body and my mind with what it craves. I guess my February blues dragged into March.

I finally got my butt outside yesterday and did my regular hour walk with Maalik. Since we’ve been doing cheater walks for two weeks, the effort just to get out there was taxing. More of an effort though was doing it again today. Funny how when you get away from doing something, no matter how good it is for you, it’s hard as hell to start up again. UGH.

I’m not great with consistency; I just resist any type of routine. But I started the week hopeful – pounded the pavement to fuel my body, and I wrote several new chapters to fuel my mind. Here’s hoping it sticks.

How about you, dear readers and other writers? Have you leap into action with spring fever yet, or are you still feeling the ho-hums of winter blahs?

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17 Responses to “Blah…Blah…Blah”

  1. John Says:

    Not sure if you meant it or not, but your analogy between writing and exercise fits me perfectly. Everything works better for me if I get my daily bike ride to work (and back). And if I miss one day, it is easier to miss the next, and the next — you get the idea. Writing is the same. It is better if I keep some measure of regular pace — I wouldn’t use the word “consistent” but “regular” — not like clock work, more like the rest of my day — I eat three meals but not the same thing every day. I go to sleep evert day but not for the same length of time.

    Having said that, sometimes I am just not in the right mental state to write. Yes I could go to the keyboard and force myself — and certainly sometimes this is the right thing to do. On those days I feel it as quickly as 15 minutes in. My eagerness will return. But other days, I am just not there. For me it takes ENERGY to create. On the days I just don’t have the right energy, I don’t fight it.

    • LOL…I did mean you John!

      I remember walking with you and Laurie at Humber and you both were so dedicated to the wellness of your bodies – inpirational really. Not inspiring enough for me to take up running or biking apparently, but still impressive all the same…lol.

      I’m learning not to fight it when the energy to write isn’t there. It’s hard when the pressure for me is that I am home to write. Nobody said this was an easy journey though, did they?

      • John Says:

        Hey — editing two books, applying for grants, and putting together a course ism’t just laying around watching reruns of sit coms ((-:

        Big smile from the wet coast.

  2. Cryssa Says:

    I’ve missed my walks over the winter. I hate cold and although we have a very effective tool against the cold – a coat- I still hate that first hit of icy air on my face. So I don’t go out unless I have to. This has made me less productive in writing. I find that if I’m stuck on a scene, a good walk with my iPod seems to do the trick. By the end of it, while my rational and overthinking mind has been properly distracted with the passing scenery, my creative mind has finally had the elbow room to work out the problem. The alternative is to scream at the computer and tear out my hair in frustration at the words that don’t come.
    I am so looking forward to the spring.

  3. Nicole Says:

    Hi Noelle!

    I know exactly what you mean. The February blahs definitely aren’t letting go of me either! haven’t been on the treadmill, been letting my paperwork slide, just putting in time at work. Its funny how the more blah life gets, the more we resist doing anything that will make it less so, like even reaching out to friends!

    It’s got ahold of a lot of us baby, so don’t sweat it. You’ll spring into action very soon I predict!

    Nicole

    • So true. Even reaching for a freind seems exaustive when the blahs are in effect.

      That being said – it would be great to see you at the next writers breakfast meeting. It’s on April 9th at the Ajax Convention Centre. You have to RSVP and pay by the 5th though since it is a sit down meal service they need to prepare for. Let me know if you are up for it!

  4. Kevin Says:

    Noelle, I go through this EVERY year. There comes a point where the winter just hunches you down. I call it CULTIVATION TIME. Don’t worry…when you’re NOT writing, you’re still WRITING. Your mind is cultivating while your fingers are resting. A writer always writes. When I did Trafalgar24 a couple of weeks ago, it was the first time I wrote since November. All winter I worried I would not be able to get into it…because I wasn’t doing my ‘stretching exercises’…ie WRITING. But when I sat down to write, I realized that my mind was ‘writing’ the whole time. Don’t feel guilty when you take a break…because somewhere inside of you that writer is still very much alive and kicking and working diligently.

    Enjoy the spring! The time when writers get it all out!

    • Hi Kevin!

      The fact that you hadn’t wrote since November, then jumped into writing a screenplay that we watched 12 hours afterwards is shocking and so impressive. I bow to you Mr. Craig. It’s no wonder the play was so damn funny – you were probably half mad writing it!

      I can’t wait to feel the words pulsing through my fingers again. It’s the one form of exercise I do miss. Hope to see you soon.

  5. Ruth Walker Says:

    Hey Noelle,
    Welcome to my world. With some considerable experience of your current state, I can offer a glimmer of hope…namely, when you are not writing you are still writing. Yeah. Sounds odd, I know.

    Writing is a vulnerable act and sometimes we are just not in the space to go there. Sometimes what needs to happen is the kind of writing work that involves stewing stuff around in our minds: our characters, our structure, our settings, our time lines…it all swirls around like a vortex. And that can look scary. I mean, it’s a vortex after all.

    But truly, it’s okay. You’ll be okay. And Mutant will be just fine too. You and the novel probably just need some time to find the jumping back in spot — emotionally and sometimes physically. And when it appears, all the swirling and vortexing and angsting will not be for nothing. Instead, it will congeal into something that you’ve instinctively known all along is where you need to go but just weren’t ready to go there.

    On the other hand, if you find a year from now you are still vortexing over this particular novel…time for a serious writers’ intervention. Your writer friends and colleagues will pile into a white, unmarked van, pull up in front of your house, grab you and pull you on board for a journey to a secret writers’ location for a mega injection of inspiration before locking you into a room with nothing but writing materials (and no Internet connection) until you produce the finished product.

    Either arriving back on the page naturally or being abducted and intervened with…well, you’ll know you’re not alone. We may be crazy to be in the business but god damn it, our imaginations get a darn good workout.

    May the muse be generous and the editing sublime,
    Ruth

    • Your world is scary! You never warned me!

      It’s okay, I’ll put on my big girl panties and get through it. It sure helps though to know that I have a community to help guide, encourage, or kidnap me. Soon enough I’ll dive in and the water will be fine.

      xo

  6. Dale Long Says:

    I hear you Noelle. I feel like I haven’t been using the time I now have, creatively. I haven’t written any large pieces in a long time and getting out of the house feels like a chore.
    But Ruth hit the nail on the head. My story swirls around in my head and when it gets to a point that the scenery doesn’t change and becomes vivid and insistant, I write it down.
    It is a scary vortex, an overwheming vortex, but the fact that you are thinking about Mutants, means it’s not far away. Consider it like jumping into a pool for the first time. To quote Chevy Chase “This is crazy, this is crazy.” Splash.

    • You have double guilt (I live it) becuase you are taking time right now to “get it done”. The pressure of that sucks the big one. It doesn’t help that coupled with that we are agent hunting, eagar for someone to love us, or at least like us, or at least give a second glance.

      It is scary, but if Chevy can skinny dip, so can I.

  7. Lisa Llamrei Says:

    I’m with you. Winter Blah’s still here. I did finally force myself out of them this week by volunteering to submit for the next Write Brains meeting. I had nothing ready when I volunteered and, consequently, have been writing like a mad fool ever since. I will have those 20 pages ready by Monday evening, goddammit! I hope they’re coherent.

    Seriously hoping this week will be the kick in the pants I need to resume more regular writing habits.

    • The blahs really are….well, blah. Maybe we Write Brains should think about a writing day together? Sounds like we all are begging for the kick in the seat. I know we’d be happy to oblige each other…lol.

  8. Rhonda Says:

    I thought I would offer a NON-writer perspective on this extension of the Feb blahs… Frankly, I think it starts with the extension of winter into Spring, there is snow outside my window right now and spring was supposed to have started 4 days ago! ugh.
    I LOVE Dale’s analogy of preparing to jump into the pool. That definitely applies to me, writer or not. Every Spring, the warm weather hits and I start making plans. Plans that are similar to Jan and Sept plans. You know, fresh start plans. It takes a few weeks to put it into action (or rather to get up the gumption to jump in the pool) but then the energy hits! I think that is where the term “Spring Cleaning” comes from? I am sure that you and the mutant will be scrubbing cupboards in no time!

    • You are my inspiration to get my legs in motion. I think of you running in this weather, or stopping and starting again, and wanting to lace those runners and bolt out onto the pavement – and I think to myself – get up! Get your shoes on, and take your poor dog for a proper long walk. So, Maalik thank you for that!

      I love the reference to “the mutant” and I think I’ll keep referring to it that way!


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