Category Archives: Writers Right

Book or bust

These days if I don’t write something I feel itchy.

You know that feeling when you need to exercise or eat or pay a bill or call a sick friend or take your dog for a walk or watch the finale of Downton Abbey?

I’ve got that feeling.

Yet, there’s no time today. I’ve got a short morning before heading into the city, and I’m eating over my keyboard. Need to exercise, walk my buddy Aw’gy, pay a bill, shower. There is ALWAYS something to keep me from spending 2 or 3 hours with a book that is ITCHING to come out.

It’s not horrible. Not bad enough, I guess.

I suppose I could have set my alarm for 5 a.m. Maybe I’m not that committed yet.

I rationalize – reminding myself there are a few chapters written that just need to be dumped into the computer. YES! I start with pen and paper, and have for years. Even in my corporate days. If it was worth writing, I’d grab a white pad with blue lines – no yellow pads for me – and craft a good lead and maybe a second graph, until I began to feel the rhythm. Then, I’d dump it into the computer and watch the work take on a life of its own.

Writing a book can’t be that hard. Geez, there are millions of them!

Who said, “So many books, so little time”?

What’s hard is sitting down. And I find, I have to get up. Right now! And so, I feel a bit itchy.

 

Blog Clog

There are so many reasons not to sit and write. Ask me, I know all of them.

It’s been more than I year since I posted on WordScarab. Funny, when I first started I was posting every Friday and that lasted three years. Then I moved, bought a house to renovate, met a guy, moved again, got married, more house renovation. I’m tired of it. Tired of not writing.

But blogging isn’t as easy as it looks. Sure, the mechanics are simple enough once you get the hang of it. WordPress makes it easy for anyone to throw something out on the Internet. But once it’s out there, geez, you open yourself up to something worse than critics – scammers. People, or worse – people with computer programs – from godknowswhereintheworld who want nothing more than to send mud back to your computer. Or they have a scam to sell and hope you’ll bite. It’s too bad. It’s a conundrum.

Why?

Because writers have to write, and writers like me – sort of journalists – like readers. We want audiences. We want to make connections. We want to effect emotions.

I was so naive when I started blogging in May 2011. At first I used photos of myself and then pictures of my family. Imagine my horror a year later when, ok – I’ll say it, Googled myself and saw their faces under my name!

That’s when I wrote, “They Don’t Call It the World Wide Web for Nothing.”

So naive.

But here I am. Posting again. Can’t help myself. Want to connect with you again. Who cares if I don’t have a niche? I’m not selling ads here. I’m just writing, writing, writing …

Dear Universe: Thanks for the notes!

Long live Nelson Mandela. A crusader, a peacemaker.

It was my intention last week to write about gratitude. That post never made it off the yellow pad. Not that I’m not grateful – I am – but I wanted to express gratitude for things unseen – accidents missed, germs that flew past my nose, all the millions of things I take for granted.

thanks-7.05.57-PMBut how to write about things unseen? I’m not that talented. Then Sunday morning, it dawned on me – I am grateful, so grateful to have music in my life.

Not JUST music, which is so incredibly magical, mystical and mathematical that this writer can not begin to conjure the words – but HARMONY!

Harmony makes me cry. There. I said it.

Perhaps it began in 4th grade when the then Mrs. T. taught us the Mass of the Angels. Children harmonizing. The love of music and singing and harmonizing grew over the years thanks to choir directors and recording artists from the Beach Boys to the Blenders.

Thanks to Pandora radio, I dialed in a Manhattan Transfer Holiday-genre station, which is right up there with other favorite “stations” including  The Mills Brothers and the HiLos.

If you’re a fan of harmony, you gotta hear the HiLos’ rendition of Bali Hi, (Bali Hi – it’s amazing!)

Perhaps you’re grateful for new babies, soft snowfalls, seeing green leaves against a bright blue sky. Think for a moment about things you  might be taking for granted. Let me know and we will populate WordScarab with some of your favorite things.

In the meantime, harmony and me are perfect company thanks to Elton John. And I think in music, run-on sentences are acceptable. I know Simon and Garfunkel raised the dangling participle to a whole new level. I wonder if they meant to? (Couldn’t help myself!)

 

Don’t let the turkeys stop your bloggin’

images Don’t let the turkeys get you down. How many times do I need to be reminded of this simple truth, I wonder.

They lured me in, those cyber gobblers. Boosted my ego with new subscribers. Like being told you can eat all the pumpkin pie you want without gaining weight. False hope.

At first, I was delighted of course. After more than two years of Friday posts, my subscriber list grew to more than 100. I’d get an email. “New Subscriber,” then another. Since blogging started with the idea of a “web log” – communication between writer and reader – I’d write my newcomers.

“Thanks for joining WordScarab. What other blogs are you following? Can you recommend them?”

No response. I’d let that one go and try to connect with the next. Nada.

I never tried to build a blog network. WordScarab is an outlet for writing and many friends tell me they have enjoyed it. But with new subscribers and unrecognizable names, I thought I was gaining ground.

In fact, I was the unwitting victim of a witless cyber-bot.

The subscribers’ names looked real but I began to notice their strange email addresses. “Ellen” appeared to be a new subscriber but her email address included buycoolsunglasses or reallygreatcars.

A registration bot had taken over the system. Continue reading

Car kills writer’s ambition

I can’t write with that racket.

If my creative setting isn’t just so, my brain goes numb. Unwanted noise stifles my fingers like a pair of boiled wool mittens.

Here I’ve gone to the trouble to call the front desk about turning on the fireplace, filled a glass measuring cup with water for Via – Columbian Roast – found my notepad and a pen, actually turned the chair toward the window. This cozy little corner of the living-dining room was going to be my writer’s den.

What do you do? YOU nonchalantly pad into my writing space and pick up the remote. Poof. Writing ideas gone. Happy writing moments gone. images

It’s 7:30 in the morning, for cryin’ out loud. Who needs the TV at this hour? And is it breaking news? When someone stops to stand in front of a TV, I expect to hear something akin to a lunar landing. What? What’s that I hear? Some nameless person rattles about car parts or car speed or car art and I’m getting more irritated by the minute.

But do I speak? No. Why not? Because this should not bother me.

We’re sharing a lovely apartment with a pretty view. I’ve got my laptop, an overstuffed chair by the window AND the fireplace. Coffee is but seconds away.

Besides, what’s a little TV chatter to a writer like me? I’ve been doing this my whole life. Second nature like, ummm, drat. Metaphors escape me. Car-man is asking some garage guys the top speed of juiced-up El Camino.

How am I supposed to turn a phrase with this TV trash turning my stomach?

I can do this. Thoughts should flow effortlessly to fingertips. There’s was a time I could write copy on a crowded bus. One morning, years ago, I wrote a mission statement with one hand and dried my hair with the other.

Not today.

Get over yourself, I say to my head. Fix the coffees, take your notepaper and sit, write. Block out the auto babble.

I can’t write. Too distracted. The flat, rectangular elephant in the room is making me crazy. The microwave beeps three times – a sound I’ve been anticipating.

Get over yourself, my head says back to me. Be thoughtful here. Not upset. I walk over to the TV watcher. Manage to pry open my gritted teeth.

“Would you like some coffee?”

“Yes, thanks.”

Polite too. That makes it worse. How am I supposed to write when the TV-watching living-room-taker-over is polite?

Taking my irritation-flavored coffee to the bedroom, I prop up pillows and nestle in for practice with pen and paper.

“Home is where the heart is,” the pen writes. After boring myself with home and heart, the pen moves on its own – like the moving-thingy (“planchette”) on a Quija board – forming other words.

“My apologies … but I write to the rhythm of my pen …” Words get crossed out; parenthesis embrace the writer’s distractions.

I gaze out the window for inspiration. Nothing. Snow falls over Santa Fe. Television murmurs through closed doors. I can’t write. I got nothin’.Photo: news.com.au