Monday, July 30, 2007

Writing well, expectations, and why I write.

The spousal-unit wants me to become the next J. K. Rowling or Stephen King, that is to say, write lots of books and make tons of money.

Honestly, I don't care too much about the making lots of money part and though I do wish to be published, I won't be devastated if it never happens.

What do I want? I want to write well.

You can have the worst story ever in the history of story-telling but if you write it well, it will still be better than a fantastic story written badly.


In one of the on-line writing groups I'm a member of, the topics of the term "artist" being a creative blocker and how expectations can be damaging were addressed. Both topics struck nerves with me.

It's been a long time since I've seriously written. The truth is that I'm just now clawing my way out of a six year writing freeze brought on by various expectations and their results. In fact, I've not even been able to maintain a blog or a hand-written journal over the past six years thanks to a careless off-hand comment of "You're so creative. Why is your blog so boring?" from someone with access to my personal blog. That innocent comment still haunts me every time I start to type or pick up a pen. Even with this, my writing blog, I have difficulties with entries. I still keep trying with both blogs, though, because I've realized in the last year that writing is part of me.

The last six years have been, well, an overall mess. I don't blame the lack of writing, but I can see now that without the writing outlet it was a much harsher strain on me emotionally. The last year has been a slow climb up during which I've reevaluated a great many things in my life. I never had that many expectations in life, but the few I had were fairly big. Even so, expectations have been something I've been trying to rid myself of, both in myself and in others.

Part of the whole dropping expectations thing is getting past what others have expected of me in the past and currently expect of me as a writer, not to mention the train wreck those expectations have caused and continue to cause inside my head. It's hard to write when I'm worried about disappointing someone by writing badly or not telling the story they think I should be telling. More than once I've had well-meaning people tell me I'm telling the story wrong or that the events I've written are all wrong. I'm learning to say the words "I'm writing for me, and no one else. If someone likes what I write, I'm glad to have brought them some pleasure, otherwise they can go write their own story." and truly mean them with all my heart.

And it's working. I'm writing again. Not on a daily basis, but I'm getting there.

As for the label "artist"... I hate being labeled in any way and I'll leave it at that, except to say that I do find myself creatively blocked by the majority of labels. I'm learning not to let that stop me, though.


The question "Why do you write?" always seems to come up from somewhere. I've never been able to answer that question... until now.

I write because I love to write. Writing is the natural progression in the evolution of my life. And truthfully, there's just more room outside my skull than inside. Besides, my mother taught me to share. I shouldn't be the only person in the world entertained by the characters living inside my head. ;)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July 11

I could write short stories galore on what the characters do for fun inside my head.

Assuming I could get people to leave me alone so I could write in peace.

I’m one of those that needs peace or, at least, no distractions.

What goes on inside my head is as impressive and scary as the twenty-some-odd characters living there! (And I wonder why I get headaches so often. Sheesh.)

We have assassins. We have bodyguards. We have a billionaire. We have… strange things happening inside my head.

I wonder, not for the first time, if I should seek therapy.

July 10

I swear I can hear her greeting new characters in my head each night.

“Now just you never mind about that there person bangin’ their head against that there keyboard. You just run along and do whatever you like.”

And they do. Almost every single character runs off all willy-nilly. No aim. No purpose. No goal. No story. Just off having a good old time on their own until I interrupt them to work for me.

The roll call for the characters I have in my head is both impressive and scary. Ophelia. Max. Gabriel. Michael. Holly. Sarra. Sam. Stalker.

July 9

I know it’s possible to write a book without a plot outline, but at the very least I should have a sketchy guide of what I to happen in the story, shouldn’t I?

Not that the characters ever listen to me. They run about all willy-nilly doing whatever they want, whenever they want.


I swear there’s some hefty, aging southern black woman living inside my head that greets all the characters as they arrive. “Now just you never mind about that there person banging their head against that there keyboard. You just run along and do whatever you like.”

Sunday, July 8, 2007

July 8

It’s confession time.

I haven't got the first clue how to plot out a book. I never learned how.

I know there MUST be conflict, and a hero/heroine, and a bad guy type, but I don't know how to set up that guide rope that keeps me from tumbling off the edge of the cliff and wandering off into nowheresville. I don't know how to outline the plot. And so I sit, with characters standing by inside my head. Oh, I can write excerpts but I don't know how to string them together because I don't have a plot outline.

July 7

His hand slid gently over the marking on her upper thigh. Slowly he traced the darker of the reddish-brown lines with his fingertip and whispered quietly, as if talking to himself rather than to her. “So beautiful…” Moving his hand outward to trace the fainter lines, he watched his fingertip gliding over her smooth skin with a nearly captivated gaze. He loved the way her skin felt so soft and after a moment allowed his lips to curve into a small smile of satisfaction. She belonged to him, and the mark he traced on her thigh was evidence of that.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

July 6

One man stood at the end of the bar, his presence unnoticed by most of those in the club.

With his back against the wall, he watched the pathetic excuses for men swaggering into the club and the women wearing fewer clothes than any self-respecting whore on the street would wear prissing about on display. Dear God, he needed a drink if he was going to make it through the night.

He made a gesture to the bartender and tossed several folded bills to the top of the bar, then tossed more down when his regular order arrived within minutes.

July 5

Slowly he crawled onto the bed. Using his hands, Maximillian gently spread the girl’s slender legs, his lips twitching with the hint of a smile when he felt her tremble. He looked down at her and positioned himself between her legs, then looked into her eyes.

“It’s alright, kitten. I won’t hurt you.”

The girl whimpered and Max smiled reassuringly.

“I know, kitten. You’re afraid. It’s going to be alright. Everything will be just fine. I won’t hurt you.” He stretched out on the bed between her trembling legs and turned his head to nuzzle at her creamy bare thigh.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

July 4

A cold mist formed suddenly and swallowed the forest, but the pair pressed on. They walked hand in hand with fingers entwined, each drawing from the other the strength and courage to go on. Both man and woman harbored deep fears but neither gave voice to what was in their minds as they moved carefully through the chilling mist. Voicing those fears aloud would make them come to life and nobody wanted that.


I’ve got nothing more on that scene. I saw a picture and this sprang to mind. I’ve poked at it many times recently but little changes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

July 3

Her blood ran like ice through her veins and she stood perfectly still, barely daring to even breathe. Even the slightest move from her and Alex would be gutted like a fish on the docks.

Ophelia’s gaze shifted slowly and she studied what little of the darkened stone room she could still see. Finally she released a slow sigh. She didn’t see anything that she could use. That crazy bastard thought of everything, she thought to herself.

Hearing something to her left, she turned her head slightly and narrowed her gaze intently… and then smiled a wicked smile. “Almost everything…”

July 2

The withered old man sat on the park bench, huddled against the whipping wind. He watched the world passing by with squinted eyes. His vision had faded years ago but his vanity kept him from seeing a doctor about glasses. Even so, he could still see things other failed to see. Or refused to see.

The autumn wind turned bitter as the sun sank on the horizon, and the old man could smell snow on the biting wind. Squinted eyes shifted back and forth, searching for one person in particular. Pulling his jackets tighter around him, the old man shivered.

July 1

Almost a year ago someone recommended the book Walking On Alligators A Book of Meditation for Writers by Susan Shaughnessy to me. I was told it was motivating.

It took a while for me to order the book. After it finally arrived it sat on my desk near the bottom of the tower of books that is my “to read” stack.

Last week my desk attacked me. During the chaos and cleaning that followed, I found the above mentioned book. Since then, I’ve been reading a page a day. I have to say, I am glad I have said book.