Friday, October 21, 2011


…I am not that strong.
I’ve been struggling. Struggling again.
How often does this happen to you, if ever?
I’ve been spending a lot of time alone in this office.
Years ago, I used to pray for alone time because, back then, I was always surrounded by people, having to engage with them, stay on point, carry the conversation, have answers or ask questions if the conversation ever dipped, which it would, which it did if someone wasn’t steering. The only time I was ever beside myself was in a hotel room and I used to relish those moments. They felt almost sacred.
Now I have lots of time by myself.
Yes, the old adage is true: Be careful what you wish for.
Sure, a writer has to have alone time in order to compose, but sometimes the sheer emptiness of a day can weigh on your psyche in unexpected ways. It can weaken one’s will.
For instance, I talk myself out of things and into other things.
For instance, I’ve sort of flat-lined with my novel. Right there, smack dap in the middle of it, I’ve stopped writing and I’ve reverted to short form writing.
Why is that?
I think I tend to talk myself out of the story, out of thinking it’s readable enough or important enough or even interesting enough. I know I should be writing for myself—not for an agent or editor or audience—but still doubts set in.
Does that ever happen to you with your work? I mean, even if you’re not a writer, do you ever struggle in this way?
For me, I guess it’s about fear, dumb as that sounds. Maybe I’m afraid I’ll finish another novel and then have to try to get it published, living with the pressure of that wearing on my shoulders. Maybe it’s that or maybe it’s something else.
What do you think?
It’s 11 am and I’ve already written 1,200 words, but that was for two short stories, one of which was planned, one of which just came out of sitting here reading Brandi Wells’ collection, “Please Don’t Be Upset.”
One story is about a barren, overweight wife who, in taking her life back by finding a sperm donor and assassin to kill her husband, is suddenly hit with a stroke.
The other is about a man who comes home and can’t find his wife anywhere. Eventually, he does locate her, though, inside their washing machine, alive, having put herself there in order to cleanse her past sins. It’s called, “The Spin Cycle.”
So, are these stories interesting or important or readable enough? Are they more so than the novel? No, I don’t think so. I think they’re quirky but intriguing and easy—for the author and reader alike—to bite off and chew without investing a whole lot. One can get in and out easily.
So, yeah, I guess I’m just mind-fucking myself.
Do you ever do that? Please don’t tell me I’m the only one, but please don’t lie just to make me feel better.
Okay, here I go now, back to the novel. Yep, here I go…


  1. Oh, I struggle like that with every line I write. I'd write half a line and go, "Oh no..." and talk myself out of it, as you would put it, then walk back there then the whole process repeats itself...That explains why I'm such a slow writer and I can never write anything long, at least at this point in time. There's only so much doubt and wrestling with oneself a writer can bear. You're way more productive than I am and almost anybody else for that matter already!

    And being the solitary girl who spends way too much time on her own & not knowing what the next days hold, I hear you about the weakening of will. The other day I found myself lying in bed staring at the ceiling, just sort of mumbling to myself: "Oh no, I don't know what I'm doing, I can't do it." Then I'd just jump up from the bed: "Damn how self-defeating and pointless was that! No no no!" But how much does it take to not fall over to that dark side? That effort alone distracts one from writing and it goes on and on...

  2. Oh Len,

    you are not the only one. I have talked myself out of two novels. I was determined to finish one this summer. And then lots happened. Yes, many valid excuses. Much crisis. But did I have to stop? No. Could I have continued? Of course. So we all struggle on. I hope to return to it soon. In the meantime I am writing short pieces. Your piece about the overweight barren wife, that sounds good. Maybe it could be part of a series or something. Perhaps a novel? LOL

    Hang in there, my friend.

  3. nicolette, we track pretty much the same way. i have to meet you! thanks for your thoughts.
    andrew, that story is the companion piece to yours! i think we both go up friday at "pure slush." thanks for thinking of me.