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Jesus, I'm not fit for company right now. - Then You Get Up And Have Breakfast [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Whole lotta labia.

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Jesus, I'm not fit for company right now. [Sep. 28th, 2004|11:16 am]
Whole lotta labia.
oh em gee. So f-ing sleepy.

I didn't make it to the gym yesterday and I ate like a fucking pig so there's no healthy shit to discuss. I didn't go this morning either, electing instead to roll over and try to get back to that dream where some hot guy was leading me through a museum in Berlin. Huh.

I did, however, bring my gym clothes to work. And today you all have my permission to look up at 12:30 and go "Are you at the gym yet?" And then crack the whip. (metaphorically speaking) Because I brought my stuff in yesterday but instead of the gym I spent the afternoon reading smut and doing cindyjade proud. Which is fun, and necessary on occasion, but does nothing for my calorie intake/outgo ratio.

I hate to make this a healthy-centric post right out here in public with no redeeming comic or fandom value but.. yeah. Anyone got any notions for how to jumpstart myself again? Because I'm experiencing what project managers call "scope creep."


I think I'm probably falling near her notion of "divine" inspiration but not exactly on it.. Once I've started a project I can yank and pull and beat it into submission. If I can get the first 100 words I can make the other 49,900 come with whatever amount of effort is required. But the notion.. the idea.. I can't make those come. I just can't. I never have been able to despite years of one teacher (or forensics coach, or theater director) or another putting us through brainstorming sessions and creativity drills and anything else to generate ideas. It's not like I haven't tried, and don't still try every day. Every day I look at Jack's journal and think "What's in his head, what's he thinking, what's on his mind.." Sometimes stuff comes. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I can nudge smoke into concrete. But I can't ever make smoke out of thin air. And it's not for lack of trying.

I don't generate them. And when I try (as I have with Jack over the past year) too hard it leaves me a teary frustrated mess who never wants to try again. I didn't write a word for three months because the harder I tried the farther it got from me. When I wrote "Deconstruction" I had the last line from the very beginning and just wrote myself there. Parts of that story were like pulling fucking teeth, but when they came they were glorious. When I wrote my second novel I had one line from an NPR special. I don't need much but I know enough about me to know that I need something. Otherwise I end up in something that goes past frustration and straight into kicking screaming avoidance. I'm not joking. I cry, I feel miserable, I feel like a failure for not being able to come up with an idea out of sheer will. I feel like a lesser person and less deserving to write than those who are able to think on that level. And I hate making myself feel that way. I do it enough as it is and I needed permission to not feel that way on this issue. Because the only thing I hate more than not coming up with an idea is the kind of writing I create when I try to force one.

I am not a naturally creative person. I know such people exist, my brother is one. My mother isn't. She's capable of taking inspiration from somewhere else and giving it marvelous execution, but both of us stand in awe of Greg who hears music in his head. It's taken me years to not feel guilty about this. Years to get to the point where I can say to myself "And now you back away for a while. Now you don't sew tonight." or "Now you wait a little bit and see what words come next." And when I'm calm, sometimes the mind quiets and a little voice says "I wonder what his sheets smell like.." and I'm off. Sometimes it doesn't and I'm just left calm. And to my mind either of those is better than sitting here with some part of me digging around my surroundings or my brain or everything I've read, touched, looked at, learned in the last year and trying to beat it into a story while my throat closes and my eyes well up like they are now.

Wow. Sorry about that Steph. Clearly I need a Diet Coke. And a muffin long walk.
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Comments:
From: magickalmolly
2004-09-28 08:52 am (UTC)
Everything you said up there about inspiration? Me too. I've re-read some of my writings and thought to myself "wow, this is exactly like what I wrote over there". I feel like a one-trick pony at times. But, I think inspiration is just a fickle mistress, and sometimes she comes to you, and sometimes she doesn't, and there's not a whole hell of a lot you can do about it. Some people are just more naturally creative.

And god, don't even get me started on the moods and the crying. When I first started to write, I wrote anything I could, just because it was all new and exciting and I wanted to get it out. But when I started reading more, and, more importantly, paying attention to what was good vs. what was drivvle, I found my writing slowing down considerably. I wanted to be as good as those authors whom I looked up to. I suffered a lot of stress, and a lot of angst, and no small amount of tears over it all.

I've hit the point now where I've just put my writing aside, because I was so unhappy trying. Quality over quantity is what I try for now. And if that means I don't write anything for 3 months, then fine. But at least I'm not making myself a weeping mess in the interumn.

I have no idea if any of that helps, or makes sense even, as I'm a little feverish and really should go back to bed. But, I just wanted to say that you are one of those authors I look up to, and I've always found your writing to be lovely and witty and insightful. Rather like yourself.

Now go have that Diet Coke. And that long walk. And get your ass to the gym. The wedding's over; no more excuses for stress-eating.

*hugkisslovecuddlesmooch* ♥
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[User Picture]From: mellyflori
2004-09-28 09:00 am (UTC)
I absolutely adore you. I'd get more introspective with you but introspection and fevers don't mix. So I'll just put a cool cloth on your forehead and put you in bed. Thank you Molly my love. :)
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[User Picture]From: protoainsley
2004-09-28 09:21 am (UTC)
12.20...are you ready to leave for the gym?

*cracks whip*
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[User Picture]From: kiltsandlollies
2004-09-28 09:59 am (UTC)
I wish creating came while staring at a blank journal entry page. I do it a lot myself with Tom, and it hardly ever works. Even when something does come, it's never what I want, and so I hide it away to be found months later, when I'm desperate feeling better about it.

I often try to force creativity (gimme drabble prompts, etc.) and sometimes that works, or at least soothes my block a little bit. A prompt (like you say with the smell of his sheets) is often the greatest gift. But like you, I have trouble with the original idea.

What does work for me is music. Always have music playing while I'm writing ... and I'm constantly surprised where a lyric or a melody might take me. I have soundtracks in my head for all my stories befoer they're even close to finished.

Another thing that helps me is channeling internal frustration through the writing. In a strict fanfic sense, I let my angst live most often in Billy's head, because he's the easiest character for me to write. And there are occasions when I have to write him happy, because that's where the story is going, and afterward I feel better myself. I know that I'm not nearly as good of a writer when I'm in a good mood—I'm often at my most blocked when I'm happy, strangely enough—but I'm content to let my characters push me in the direction of happiness. ;)

I try very hard not to force any writing, but there are times when it just happens. I beat myself down into pulp over it. But like you, I find that the writing is better, clearer, when I stay calm and don't force it. I walked away from a piece I had begun and was enjoying because another author had begun to write and post the exact same thing. I was so angry, Melly. So angry. But I had to let it go, and even to the extent that I deleted the file and kept no hard copies. It was really freeing. I'm glad I didn't try and twist the story and force it to go elsewhere just because someone else was writing something similar.

That situation eventually boiled down for me to an issue of comparison, and I'd been compared to that author too much. I've learned—am still learning—that I can't compare myself too anyone else, and even when I'm reading something amazing and beautiful, I don't feel anymore like the author is "better" than I am (you do know what I mean here, right? It's not a conceit thing—it's an acceptance thing). So many people bring so many different touches to what we all write that comparison shouldn't be any issue anymore. I know it is, but ... I wish it wasn't.

This is not making any sense! *facepalm*

What I'm trying to say is that I think creativity can be a gentle force, a nudge to your shoulder like the scent of someone's sheets ... or it can be an act of some vengeful god, rooting you to your chair until you spill your guts all over a screen or a piece of paper. No matter how or when it comes, we should welcome it and never deny it unless life absolutely demands it. If that work email can wait, but Jack can't, always, always go for Jack.

*makes you a big Diet Coke with lots of ice and a muffin.
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