And Writer’s block
I don’t have a nemesis. I do have writer’s block regularly and I have a whole introductory post about why I want to post regularly about getting out of writer’s block, but I had a bad case of it this week and didn’t actually finish that introductory post. But here I am, writing, so I’m out of it again (tentatively), and I need to write about having a nemesis.
There’s this person. Let’s call them Pollyanna (why I don’t agree with Pollyanna’s bad reputation is another post, completely outside the scope of this one, and let’s stick with her reputation as someone who is unwarrantedly optimistic). Pollyanna is in one of the online author groups I’m in. They post a lot (I never post). They ask for advice (I’m so bad at asking for advice in public. One on one is ok.). They are very determined, or at least appear so (my determination wavers like my short-lived experiments with playing the violin).
Today, Pollyanna posted that they had found the answer. I had already answered this question, several months ago, and read Pollyanna’s book, which was available to purchase. I gave Pollyanna some additional unsolicited feedback (sometimes I can’t help myself. I don’t know if this is righteousness or an overdeveloped need to help other people.) to the effect that the question they were asking wasn’t their problem. Their problem was they needed to work on the craft of writing. (The writing was very bad. I know I’m a snob about writing, but really, it was. Very. Bad.)
Pollyanna did not listen to my advice. That’s ok, advice is like birdseed. Some actually gets eaten by birds and that’s great. Some gets eaten by squirrels and hey, that’s ok. Some dies (sorry, birdseed) and some grows into weeds (I don’t actually know if that’s true, don’t yell at me if birdseed doesn’t become weeds, I like the idea and I like weeds. No, I don’t have a lawn, but if I did it would be weeds so insects and butterflies could live in it.). Anyway, never mind about the birdseed. Back to today.
Lots of people were helpful and supportive in the online group. It’s a great group. Pollyanna answered some follow-up questions. I read them (masochism isn’t pretty). I learned that Pollyanna had published several more books (I haven’t) and was advertising them (I’m scared of advertising and have talked myself out of it until I have more books) and SELLING 1-5 of these terribly written books per day (I am not selling that many books a day). And I realized something. The difference between me and Pollyanna was that they were still going, full steam ahead, and I had gotten stuck. I hate being stuck.
I also kind of hate Pollyanna and their unwarranted optimism and confidence all out of proportion to their ability. And competitiveness (I am very competitive) and jealousy (I swear I’m not really a terrible person but being a writer means wearing your insides as your outsides and that’s why it’s so damn hard sometimes) and comparisonitis (I CAN do what Pollyanna is doing, I’m just not doing it and that’s why more people are reading their terrible books than are reading my wonderful books, I just have to write them) kicked me in the competition organ (I think mine is at the base of my throat), so, kicked me in the throat and here I am. Writing. Thank god and Pollyanna. My nemesis. Today.
I’m giving myself until Tuesday to write fiction because post-novel funk is a real thing and I’m going to Hong Kong this weekend for Melon 2019, Aliens on the Galactic Silk Road, and how COOL is that!? It’s also my first real writer’s event since I moved to Bangkok almost four years ago.
Because accountability is also important in fighting writer’s block, here are the other things that got me to this point today and that I will write about: morning pages, cognitive behavioral therapy tools, community, whining, acknowledging post-novel funk and inspirational index cards.