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Writing

I should be writing. I want to write. I have the desire to write. But I’m having a hard time forcing myself to write. And it really is ‘forcing’ myself to write. I find myself avoiding the work, doing everything but write. I get lost on the internet daily when I know there is work to do. Then, after hours of this, I get angry with myself for not working, not accomplishing ANYTHING!

It is SO frustrating. I’m stuck in this circle of avoidance and self-disgust. I’m the worst employee, I swear. It’s sad.

However, I am honest with myself and can analyze my own actions. I’ve done this sort of thing before for ‘other’ issues. It’s time to use some psychoanalysis on this issue.

I’m in the rewrite stage of my novel, and, to be perfectly honest, this is the first project I’ve ever taken this far. I usually get to a ‘Final’ draft that has been polished to the best of my abilities and call it complete. However, this time I am working with an editor. She is a personal friend, and I trust her opinions and experience.

A scene in need of raking.

She marked up my novel and was not kind about it. Kindness is not something you look for in an editor. They are meant to be mean, cut with broad strokes, and eviscerate our beloved words to produce a leaner, meaner, and more readable product.

Overall, I agree with most of her edits and suggestions. Yet, that doesn’t mean it isn’t painful or easy.

I need to rewrite a side character into a main character sidekick; she is essential to the story and needs to be more involved. To facilitate the fix, entire scenes need to not only be changed but COMPLETELY CUT! This is what my subconscious is balking at and why I am avoiding my work. Because I like those words, and I’m attached to those scenes. Hours and hours were spent writing and polishing them until they shone. How can I just DELETE them? But that is what I must do. 

All those beautiful words!!

I have read in a hundred different places that “writing is rewriting.” Yet, I could never fathom how true and incredibly hard it is. The sentence I struggled for days to get just right, to invoke the perfect emotion, the ideal atmosphere, now has to be sacrificed to strengthen the remaining words. Knowing how necessary the task is, doesn’t make it any less painful. Those are my words, my work, and it’s got to burn.

I know myself pretty well, and I tend to avoid the most difficult tasks, sometimes to the point where they get forgotten and are no longer necessary. Success! But… If I want to be a writer – a well-paid writer – I need to get past this particular hang-up and move the f*ck on and do the work.

Realizing the issue is often half the battle. Fixing or working around the issue is the other half. So, I’ve learned some psychological games I can use to ‘trick’ myself into doing something I don’t want to do.

Example: I used to hate eating my vegetables when I was little. I also knew my parents would make me eat them, so I forced myself to eat the vegs first and as fast as possible. That way, they were gone, and I could cover their yucky taste with the good stuff. I’m now in my fifties and love vegetables, but I still eat them first every time!

Question: What is the psychological trick I will use to avoid the pain of cutting all my beautiful words from the book?

Answer: I archived my highly polished turd of a final draft and started working on a new version as a NEW file. I deleted all the scenes that needed to go and most of the material that needed to be changed. Now I am essentially working with a clean slate. I’m no longer editing ‘that’ book; I’m working on a new book with someone else’s input. It may not be as good as the first or may fail to live up to our expectations. It doesn’t matter. The scenes and words I had such passion for but was unwilling to let go of are preserved. I can go reread them anytime I want.

Now I can get back to work with a clear conscience and a more compliant subconscious mind.

Writing is rewriting, and it sucks!!

Raked, bagged, deleted…

I’m going to take a break from Twitter and F***book for a while. I’ve been so distracted by the BS and stupidity that my fellow Americans are burying themselves in that I couldn’t tear my eyes away. It is much like a car accident and we’re craning our neck to see the gore.

I discovered that you can mute people on that F***book thing. I mute my step-daughter for a month, she’s an anti-masker, pro-Trumper, bigot, so we really didn’t have anything in common anyway. I’ll see her at Thanksgiving. That’ll be fun.

But the end of 2020 can’t come fast enough. I expect Trump to be out on his ass and maybe some kind of progress on the virus. If anything maybe we can at least agree that masks are a good idea. If America votes Trump in for a second term, we deserve to be sold to Russia. There is no excuse for hoodwinked two elections in a row.

Now, to move on to other more calming and enjoyable topics:

  1. I will be posting here more often. I find that I like the quiet in here much better the social media blast I’ve been hanging out in. This is relaxing.
  2. I really, really, really need to finish this damn book. The book is done. I’m now stuck in an editing loop. So, I’ve decided this is the last go-through. I have some specific things to iron out and then I’m going to submit it. I have other things to write.
  3. I’m working on some short fiction that I’ve previously written but never submitted. I really need to get something published.
  4. I’m outlining my next book – ergo, I need to finish the current book!

I’m also really looking forward to some Football. I really don’t want to jinx it, but I don’t hold out much hope on having a season. In my mind, it would be rash and irresponsible to try and play sports in this environment. Go Pack Go!!

Prologue

I’ve never killed anyone. I’ve thought about it, of course, we all have. But the thrill is not what I expected. As I worked out the details and fleshed out the plan, my excitement built. Now, standing over my victim with a baseball bat, I feel it much more than I could have imagined. I’m almost giddy.

Once I had the planning complete, Devin made the rest so easy for me. Sicily described him as a sloppy drunk, and she wasn’t kidding. He was at his usual spot on the beach and in extra special form today. Drunk off his ass and not even noon. Hell, it might be a continuation of yesterday’s drunk. Who knows? I imagine he thought of himself as a beach bum, he did live in Florida after all, but he looked more bum than beach.

After a friendly hello, all I had to do was offer him a fresh beer, and he downed it without hesitation. What a douche! There was enough drug in it to put him down for hours.

“We’re going to need more beer,” I said and lead him to the car; like luring kids with candy. I should be arrested.

In her discussions, Sicily spent a lot of time on how to find the perfect location. It is the most critical part of a plan, she said. But it turns out that Google does know everything, making it easy. Online satellite images helped me locate the perfect cabin.

Requirement #1 – Old shack built out over the swamp. Check!

Requirement #2 – On rarely used back road of another back road. Check!

She couldn’t have described it better; this place has been unused for years. Even the discarded beer cans and trash are old. Once I finish with Devin, I only have to push the body off into the water and walk away.

Honestly, the hardest part was getting him out of the damn car. He’s a big boy, and dragging his unconscious body into the shack was harder than I expected. I really should have rented the SUV and backed it right up to the door. Lesson learned.

The main room of the cabin is bare except for Devin, inert in the middle of the floor. His hands are tied behind his back, but legs free, as per the plan. A chair to prop him in would have been handy, but watching him writhe on the floor will be just as good.

I’m shaking and sweating in rivers. My heart pounding in my chest. And yet I’m smiling and fearless. The nervousness and fear I expected have vanished. The swamp air is hot and moist, but it seems fitting.

I’m about to kill someone! Holy Shit!

I pace while I wait for Devin to wake, breathing deep to calm my heart. I hope I didn’t give him too much of the drug. An overdose is not the death this ditwad deserves. The bugs circle and buzz in a growing cloud. The message must have gotten out. Fresh meat! I swat at them angrily as they start to get vicious. I’m getting impatient.

Finally, my victim groans and begins to squirm. I take another shaky breath and heft the baseball bat to poke at him. He had to be awake for this part.

It’s time to start.

[Let me know what you think in the comments.]

 

 

Uncertainty is a terrible catalyst for creativity. When the Coronovirus transformed into a pandemic and we began to see social distancing and stay at home orders, I was excited. Wait, that may not be the best word. I was encouraged and expected to get some alone-at-home time to complete my book and even had some new ideas for other material. The reality of the situation has proved to be far different.

I have had zero alone time at home. My work schedule hasn’t changed an iota and my wife thought this would be a great time to landscape the yard. So I have had far less time to write than I did before the virus, not more.

I have made daily attempts to write, but it comes in fits and starts and rarely flows like it did or needs to. The uncertainty of our current situation is weighing on me, I think. I expected the United States to be able to handle this situation better than most.  Irregardless of our incompetent President and his lackeys, I expected there to be enough quality adults in charge to offset them and get us through this smoothly. I was sadly mistaken.

A month into a weak national lockdown and we’ve got more cases of the virus in this country than all the rest of the world combined. We as a nation have failed and as a people are continuing to fail. I have little confidence that we will be out of this crisis soon or undamaged. Our economy, our world standing, our healthcare system and our self-confidence will be damaged and changed.

I’m just trying to complete my novel. I made the conscious decision to not address the virus in my writing, but it has definitely affected my work-mind. I need to be in the correct frame of mind and emotion to produce quality work and the uncertainty of today is not making that easy. Most days I get little accomplished and end up getting lost in the pity/bitch party that is Facebook/Twitter.

I hope everyone is safe and taking this seriously. The only way through this a concerted effort to stop it. And that can only be accomplished by social distancing.

See Ya!!

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