Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Even in summer, life goes on. Unless you are a frog.

I feel scattered these days, running one child to music camp and another to dance team practice and reading and writing and revising and synopsizing and attacking school work due on Monday in the middle of fixing meals and carpooling and laundry (will the laundry NEVER stop????) and cleaning hair from the pooch who is shedding like a mad dog in this hundred plus heat.

If I didn't have ADD before, I have it now. I can't concentrate on any one thing long enough to get it accomplished.

This bad for writing. I've read a lot of blogs lately about how writers are struggling with writing. It's the heat. The summer with kids home. The waiting on hearing about queries and submissions. The just plain feeling that their writing is not what it should be.

I just go from blog to blog writing, "YEAH! ME TOO!"

It's more than just activities, though. It's become a fear of opening my project and realizing I have nothing worthwhile to write. I can't write poetically like Marisa de los Santos. (Oh how I wish I could!!) I can't write imaginatively like J.K. Rowling. I can't write break-neck-paced adventures or mysteries or love stories. I find myself comparing myself constantly and coming up short.

And the one thing that makes me put that fear and depression aside is the fact that, at residency, nearly all of the faculty admitted to the same thing. Best-sellers, critically acclaimed and highly awarded authors all feel this way. Well, not all of them, but many of them.

So I just do it. Like Nike says. I just put my butt in the chair and open the document and stop worrying about how good the words are and just write.

I love this quote by Tom Wolfe:

Sometimes, if things are going badly, I will force myself to write a page in half an hour. I find that can be done. I find that what I write when I force myself is generally just as good as what I write when I'm feeling inspired.

So stop lollygagging around on my blog and go write.


First I'll show you why I'm coming to call my home Marlin Perkin's Wild Kingdom.

In the past two months I have caught, in the house, a lizard, a frog, and six mice. Caught in the door frame of the basement I have found two copperhead snakeskins. One was mostly outside with the head of the skin in the frame. The other was found inside the basement, caught by the tail in the frame. I killed one copperhead hiding by the doghouse, but that was before the snakeskins appeared. I have stepped on too many frogs to count on my way out with the puppy. The cicadas are so loud at night I can't hear my own whistle, and the owls wake me up at three in the morning.

But this beats them all.

Yes, that is a snake eating a frog. And yes, there was much screaming and wailing and panicking about how to save the frog, and then we just settled on the idea that it was the circle of life and the snake needed to eat, and so we stood around taking pictures.

That's just how we roll here in the wild kingdom.


  1. Ahhh I love this post! And you're so right. As I'm sitting here thinking about how badly my writing is going lately, how talentless I feel, how unreasonably overwhelmed I feel, I need to stop Lollygagging around and just DO IT. Thanks :)

  2. I think it is the heat, wait, it hasn't been that warm up here, so what I can I blame a lack of writing on - the kids being home and a crazy schedule.

    Like your quote said, I do find that if I force myself to sit down and write, I usually can come up with two pages. It's just a matter of doing it. (Kind of like exercise)

    Crazy photo - btw.

  3. Yes, I agree with that quote. I've done it and gotten great feedback from the scenes I've written while uninspired; the scenes I made myself write.

    Your picture is fantastic! I imagine my girls would be screaming too though. ;)

  4. Wow. Cool.

    I wrote a post for ANWA not long ago on this same topic, and I'll probably re-post it on my blog. As soon as we start comparing out writing to someone else's we're sunk. We need to compare it to our own, and make sure that we're putting ourselves into it the way we want to.

  5. Yes, this summer has been full of doldrums, mostly related to query rejections and the feeling that my work is crap. But you can't get better if you stop writing.

  6. Oh. My. GOSH. Snakes in the house? ACK! I couldn't sleep at night.

    I'm glad you're just deciding to "just do it" with your writing. I think it's an endless cycle - we feel great about our writing, then not so much, then we hate it, then it just circles around again. I sometimes think it will get better but having gone through this a gazillion times now, I've come to the conclusion that this is just the way it is. :-)

  7. Oh my gosh! The picture is crazy! I can just see my boys coming across that. lol

    I love the quote...and I desperately needed to hear it. I was just telling my husband today how if I read another blog that said something along the lines of

    'you know that point in your novel where you can't stop writing...your up all night, not eating, not showering...' blah, blah. you get the picture.

    Ummmmmm......NO!?! I don't know that point. I WISH I knew that point. Then I ask myself..."Does that make me less of a writer?" And for a minute I feel like it does. Then I have to get the heck over it! Why are we so hard on ourselves? Sometimes I just need to stop looking at what everyone else is doing.

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  9. "I can't concentrate on any one thing long enough to get it accomplished."

    This is me. However, I've been feeling a bit of a writing rush. I'm just having a problem coming up with what I want to write about. I'm in search of an idea for a Novel.

  10. You're not Marisa de los Santos, you're not J.K. Rowlings - you're you! And no other author on this planet, at any point in time, can bring to a story the same unique offerings you bring. I think it's easy for us (and I'm definitely talking to myself here as much as anyone) to lose sight of that. We read something brilliant, think, Oh, I could never do that, and sink to artistic depression. But the truth is no one else in the world can do what we do.

  11. Oh that is so funny! I love that last one, screaming and just settling for the circle of life and taking pictures. Poor frog. And copperheads!? Actually, to be honest, I think I'd be just as freaked out by the mice, which makes no sense. I love that quote. I'd do it now, but I need to pack. Why am I blogging? And no, the laundry never stops. Never.

  12. This has been me. I was struggling and not writing much at all this summer. I recently found my stride and it feels great!

  13. K.M. - You are wise! It is hard sometimes to remember that I have a voice that is mine alone, and that this is a good thing.

  14. Whoa...! You are living in the wild kingdom! Our wild kingdom contains mosquitos and dragon flies, in that order unfortunately!! I loved reading about your basement and backyard adventures. And only YOU could write that 'cause-well-you are YOU and I'm grateful for that. And hope you always keep writing like YOU do.

  15. Ok, I'm just going to say it - Yeah, me too!! I know how you feel, Heidi. Can we just get about 12 more hours added to the day? I'm glad you are just doing it though! I find the less I think about it, the more I get out. Keep writing, and editing, and revising, and killing the snakes :) Wow! I'm impressed by that photo!