Why I Can't Write

So, my sister is awesome. I think I’ve stated that in a post before. I’d link to it, but I’m lazy this morning. Just search my blog for the word “sister” and you’ll find it. Anyway, she posted this recently on her blog: 5 Reasons For My Crappy Golf Game. I really like her 5 reasons. Well, no, I hate that she has a shoulder injury that was preventing her golf game. But I do like the reasons she gives as to how they apply to my writing. Here are her reasons that I’m going to steal use for me today. (Note: I really love the strikethrough feature lately. It’s fun.)

1. I don’t practice enough: Nope, I don’t practice writing enough. I really don’t. If it was just my wife and I at home, it’d be easier to write. But when my children were added to our family, somehow I lost all that writing time. How Dan Wells found time to write, I’ll never know. The same goes for his brother Robison.

2. More flexibility: As in, I need more flexibility. I need to look at my writing and ask “Is this working for me?” If not, scrap it. For my second revision of Eli I dropped one side storyline in favor of another. For this current revision, I’ve dropped the other and brought back the dropped one. Still, I need to be more flexible in my stubbornness when I see my writing as “poor”.

3. I lose patience: I’d gladly skip this one solely because of its truthfulness. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that out of the four children in my family, I’m the least patient. My sister and my older brother may tie for second. Well, my three siblings can easily have their bad day when they’re less patient than the other two. But none of them beat me and my impatient entitlement attitude that I’ve fought hard to overcome in the past 7 or 8 years. Honestly, this has probably been my biggest downfall and is definitely the most important aspect for an aspiring author. (I love the alliteration there in the last 5 words.) I’m going to dwell on this a moment. I am impatient (as is Mary, so it doesn’t help me sometimes.) I want to be published, yesterday. Well, not yesterday. I want to be published now and going to be published again. But I’m not. I sent out poor query letters, inf0-dumped 3rd drafts, horrible synopses, etc. If I can be more patient in myself and my writing, I may have a contract right now. But I don’t. So I need to be less Veruca Salt-like (please tell me you’ve seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder) and be more Charlie Bucket-like (again, see the parenthesis after Veruca). Veruca and Charlie are true opposites in this movie. Veruca wants “it” now and is a major brat about it.  Charlie is ok not worrying about anything. He has a bratty moment when he didn’t get a golden ticket, but at the same time, everyone is allowed a moment of impatience, it reminds them of their patience (or some crappy useless saying like that.)

4. Sometimes I get psyched out: I call this writer’s block. I get myself all ready to sit and write and I end up staring at my screen and wondering if anyone cool has written anything awesome on twitter lately or if anyone replied to my dumb comment on so-and-so’s blog. Why is this? Hmm….I don’t know. But I think tonight when I get my chance to write at home, I’m going to tell myself that I can have Oreos if I write 1,000 words. (And yes, I’ve had my doughnut and my cheeseburger. Now it’s time for the Oreo. Mary bought the box at Costco yesterday and I thought: how awesome is my wife?)

5. I just need to relax when it comes out badly: And all my writing comes out badly. Just ask the person who gave me an 8 out of 40 for one of my first chapter submissions. You know, I honestly think I am my biggest critic sometimes. But then I think about it and realize: nope, I’m not. There are plenty of people out there that have given me harsh critiques that make me want to quit writing or jump through a window. One such critic was from my new writing friend Tamara that I met at LDS Storymakers. Well, it was harsh. Didn’t make me want to quit and commit suicide. She stated that there was too much info dump in my writing. And I looked at it and said: yes, she’s right. Then there was Graham who stated that he wanted to put my main character out of his misery. And I looked at it and said, yes, he’s right. Deirdre and Julie offered good words of advice. But the best words I got were from Kirk Shaw, senior editor at Covenant (I do not know why name dropping is this fun.) Kirk maybe offered me the best words that got me to look at my story in such a way that got me to achieve the outline that leads to the ending that I’ve always wanted to do for my book. Kirk told me to be bold for my beginning. He gave me suggestions that I had to shoot down because they didn’t quite fit. But, all day after he stated that, I thought about my beginning and tried to find a way to make it more bold. The only way to do that was to rewrite it with a different concept, which I did. And you know what, he liked its boldness and its show-ness. Both are things that I needed and it was awesome to have that affirmation of show over tell.

Well, I guess that’s enough for this blog today. A special thank you goes to my awesome sister who gave me the right inspiration for today’s blog. And remember…

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

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One Response

  1. Well thanks for the props, awesome brother! I didn’t realize that my five issues could be applied to other things. Now that I revisit them, I could apply them to a few things.

    Good luck getting past writer’s block. I never seem to have a “block”. I just write what I feel that day. I don’t force a particular subject. When I do, I get really poor results. Write what you feel that day. Don’t be afraid to “ship” your product and just let it flow!

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