Avoiding the rage trap

no spoiled dogs here
Nope, no one spoiling dogs here. Nothing to see … move along …

“People love to be enraged about something, no matter what it is.”

Those words sprang out at me in the middle of an Amazon product review, as a person defended the device’s features against what he saw as unfair trashing. So I’ve taken the comment totally out of context.

But ain’t it the truth? Continue reading “Avoiding the rage trap”

NaNoWriMo: Update 1

Willow - NaNoWriMo 1

Longtime readers of this blog and my other writings (all three of you) know how frustrating my journey has been for all of us. I’m the classic big-idea guy who never quite gets around to following through.

My personal frustration led me to yet another re-prioritization and a first-time resolution to complete the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge – write the first draft of a 50,000-word novel during the month of November.

After three days, I’m pleased to say I’m on track. I averaged about 1,700 words each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, just enough to reach the 1,667-per-day average output for 50,000 words in 30 days. With Chapter 1 already done before I started, I had a 3,762-word head start (although I’m therefore aiming to complete a 53,762-word novel by Nov. 30), and I start today at 9,141 and looking forward to cracking five digits. Continue reading “NaNoWriMo: Update 1”

OK. I’m in.

the office

After writing one chapter of Comfort & Joy in the summer of 2018 and then freezing in place for more than a year, I have decided to force myself into action by publicly declaring my participation in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, when thousands of longtime procrastinators like me declare our intention to write a 50,000-word novel by the end of November.

As of now, six hours before November starts, I haven’t decided whether to start over or use Chapter One as a “head start.” But as I typed that sentence, I realized the point of the exercise is to move forward and write new stuff, not edit the old, so Chapter Two it is.

I have given the novel the working title of “No Chance to Dream” and described it as a fantasy mystery, being as it is The Thin Man meets Harvey. I plan to track my progress at the NaNoWriMo site (here is my page) and will probably update this post to provide word counts for you, my half-dozen readers.

See you in the funny papers!


Stay in the game and keep swinging

dejah - keep swinging.jpg

There’s a moment when your consciousness detaches from the writing and starts to read and recognize – “Oh, that’s good, that’s sweet, that’s meaningful” – and that’s the moment of truth.

Either you pause and celebrate what you’ve just written or you double down – you say to yourself, “Shut up, Self, we’re writing here and nobody cares what you think at this moment.”

Maybe you do shut back up and keep writing, or maybe you start trying to outdo yourself and it turns out sounding like self-conscious slop, or maybe you stop and say, “Well, there it is, that’s the best I’m going to do today so I may as well stop.” Only one of those three choices is likely to produce more brilliance, but you have a chance of batting .333, which is mighty good baseball.

Sports make pretty good analogies. Babe Ruth’s strikeouts and Brett Favre’s interceptions are part of their stories of brilliant success. Ted Williams set a record by failing six out of 10 times – because the best hitters have always failed seven or eight of 10.

And the point being: You don’t get a hit every time you swing. You just keep swinging.

Make your life a page-turner

page turner

This is the dawn. This is the turning of the page. This is the new beginning, halfway through or three-quarters through or one-third through or re-doing after a false start.

Don’t worry if you have turned the page before and here we go again. Do you know how many pages are in a book?

A compelling book is called a page-turner, right? Keep turning the page until the story has hooked you, until your story is so compelling we can’t put it down, and you can’t put it down.

Turn the page! Let’s see what happens next!!

It’s all in the attitude

3244 fearless love endures

Oh, bother. Oh, woe. Will inspiration ever strike? It’s so ha-ard to sit here and try to write. How am I going to get my characters out of this mess? It takes so long to work it all out. I don’t want to sit at this desk and try to concentrate on all this.

“Isn’t this great?!”

What? No. Are you crazy?

“Only crazy about how much fun I’m having. It’s so great to take a little time for inspiration to strike.”

You call this fun?

“Yes! Yes! Yes! It’s so much fun to just sit and try to write. How am I going to get my characters out of this mess? I can take my time to work it all out. I just love to sit at this desk and concentrate on all this. I’m living the creative! Wheeeeeee!!!”

(Guess which attitude is more fun – and more productive.)

Gently down the stream

gently down the stream

Author’s note: The other day, after neglecting my journal for a day, I picked it up and entered a “zone” and didn’t set it back down until I had filled 16 pages. At several points I became aware that I was writing without thinking and enjoying the stream of consciousness, so I’d tuck my brain away again and keep going. Afterward, reviewing where my mind had wandered, I got the idea to share the whole 16 pages, almost exactly as they’d come out, with only one addition: the word Trope.

Why would you want to read this? Why would anyone care what I write when I’m just riding a stream of consciousness to nowhere or somewhere or wherever this goes? I don’t know. Maybe I’m the only one who finds this writing exercise interesting, but that’s OK. It would not be the first time, or the last. Continue reading “Gently down the stream”

Attic musings: Linda Perhacs rediscovered

Linda Perhacs rediscovered

During college hanging-around-the-student-radio-station days, I would often sit with headphones on and listen to the new album releases, usually from someone I never heard of but they must be good because someone recorded their album, right?

Sometimes an album would blow me so far out of the water that I had to tell everyone I knew, “Holy cow, you gotta hear this album.” If there was a turntable nearby, I would sit them down and make them listen. If you knew me then, you probably remember that about me, and often you would nod patronizingly and say, “Sure, Warren, very nice, thank you.”

But a handful of albums really sank in. One of them was Parallelograms by Linda Perhacs. I think several of my friends actually went out and bought the album after hearing it. Continue reading “Attic musings: Linda Perhacs rediscovered”