Hitting the Sweet Spot in Writing

I can be a serious weirdo sometimes, you know that? For reals, peeps, there are times when I can be Mr. Nutjob. Take, for example, when I’m writing. Sometimes when I’m on a roll with some passage or piece of writing I have a tendency to get a little spooked with the prospect of stopping. It’s like I’m afraid I’ll jinx the process–as if there’s some kind of writerly magic going down that I’m going to throw a wrench into, you know?

Perfect example: writing. When I get on one–I mean really get trucking on a good bout of storytelling–I’m always worried about breaking whatever habit I’m in at the moment that is producing that great stuff. I will get totally wacked with it too, hitting the same coffee shop at the exact same time and ordering whatever I had the last time I was on a roll. And if someone is in my chair–and by “my chair” I just mean the one I was sitting in yesterday when I hit the word count lotto–they better look out because I’m about to toss a whole box of stink eye across the room at them. Things are about to get loco up in this piece! Anything goes when I’m trying to keep writing like a boss.

So what about you? Do you get all schizo when it comes to your “special place” or are you the type who can plop your cakes in a chair and tap out some genius no matter where you are?

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Stuff For Wasting Time When You Ought To Be Writing

Who doesn’t love the feeling of being productive? Crazy people and communists, that’s who. You writers know what I mean, it’s the cat’s meow when you’re tapping away at the keys, singing “Taking Care of Business” in your head as you experience a jacked up level of inner-awesome at what a fricken machine you are when it comes to doing work.

But not every day is productive, is it? Not a chance, baby. Some days you slump down in your chair and stare at the screen, don’t you? You agonize over the details of your characters (would my MC really make a pass at that hunky lifeguard in chapter two?), or word choice (is bootylicious even a word?), or even whether your science-fantasy-dramedy-thriller is going to blow the world’s collective mind the way you’d planned.

Here’s the deal: some days are going the totally suck. Old school Hoover vacuum cleaners kind of suck, okay? Expressed mathematically that’s, like, suck2, or something.

Some days you are going to want to cast your laptop into the bottomless maw from whence bad writing doth never return. It’s okay though. They happen to all of us. When I hit those days I shut down Word and hit the interwebs for some fun. You like fun, don’t you? Of course you do. Unless you’re a communist, or course. Communists are nothing but a bunch of fun-hating bastards.

Here’s a list of my new time wasting/brain unwinding websites for those moments when I find myself in a sketchy neighborhood of Sucksville:

The Zoomable Scale of Everything — Want to know how big you are compared to one of Jupiter’s moons? Then come forward, young inquisitor, and prepare to be wowed!

Tom and Gary’s Decentralized Dance Party — Never have I seen two men who love partying so much. They have a portable FM transmitter–and by portable I mean one of them can wear it as a backpack–that they bring to a set location in some city. Everybody who shows up brings a boombox, tunes into the channel they’re broadcasting on, and then the mobile party ensues. More people, more music, more awesome–that’s exponentially fun, bro.

xkcd — The site’s title reads: “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.” I can’t say it better than that. This one is dripping with awesome.

Snorg Tees — These t-shirts are never not funny (unless you’re a commie).

Chart Porn — If you like the graphical representation of data then you’ll love this! no, really, it’s a bunch of charts about stuff. If that doesn’t sound fun, move along (communist).

Pottermore — I need to get trucking along in my Pottermore journey because I haven’t even been sorted yet, dude. Shenanigans, I know. From what I hear this site is to Potter fans what cake is to fat kids, so go get on that biatch and make yourself sick.

People of Walmart — If you’ve got a better place for looking at the crappy lower back tattoos of rural America, I’d like to know.

garfield minus garfield — This dude took a bunch of Garfield comics and got rid of that stupid obese cat so now John just looks like a nutjob. Genius!

r/funny — So many lulz in one place. Still one of favs.

Got any other suggestions for places to go on the internets? Holler back, girl (or boy, but not communists).

Guest Post by Aaron Michael Ritchey: The Horror of the B+ and the Terror of the Pretty Good

What’s good, peeps? Today I have something super dooper special–a little somethin’ somethin’ from my dude Aaron Michael Ritchey, author of The Never Prayer. Check it out, and make sure to give his book a gander.

Scott J. Clemons.  Yes.  That is his name.  However, it might be my name, too.  What’s the old song?  John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt?  I’ll stop now.  If you know the song, you are already singing it in your head, which is a sign of madness.

Scott and I hit it off because we just might be the same person.  When he offered me a chance to guest blog, I thought it would be kind of redundant.  But then we talked on the phone for an hour, and I had a flash of what I could write about.  And here I am.

I’m a complicated man.  Like Shaft, no one understands me but my woman.  And even she might be jivin’ me.

When I get done writing, I am either the most brilliant author to ever string words together, or I am a hack who should be muted and stuck in a hole.  I am either on top of the pile of writers, lording over them, or struggling underneath, looking for more mud to eat.

My wife videotaped me saying I was a good writer.  She had to.  Because when I’m in the dumps, I truly don’t remember anything good I’ve ever written, and it drives her insane.  John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt madness.  It’s a diagnosis in the DSM V.  I’m a child of a psychotherapist.  I know.

Talking with Scott, he said something similar, but I won’t out his crazy.  I’m here to talk about my own.  Yes, there are times I have wanted to throw in the towel, leave writing forever, and do something constructive with my time, like watch more baseball, or rescue puppies from burning buildings.

Because again, I’m either the best or the worst.  I should either quit my job and write full time, or I should never write again and look into a career as a puppy rescuer.

The truth is, I’m pretty good.  Not great, but definitely not in the “I should be killed for writing” camp.  Pretty good.  Which is a hard place to be for me.  In school, I either wanted an A+, or I wanted an F-.  When I got a B+, I would rage.  B+!  What the hell is a B+ good for?  Absolutely nothin’, say it again.

I’m a good enough writer to be published.  My debut novel, The Never Prayer, was shoved out into the world on March 29, 2012.  And you would think my stupid head would be satisfied.  But here is the lesson I’m learning—my stupid head will never be satisfied.

My mind is a tool.  It can help me plot my stories, it can create wacky characters, it can help me with the craft of writing, but it can’t help me with meaning.

Call it spirit, call it soul, call it what you want, but there is another part of me, not my mind, that knows the truth.  How I stack up in the grand pile of authors doesn’t much matter in the end.  I need to embrace the books I write, love them, and sing my songs to the world.  Yes, my voice might crack.  Yes, the Simon Cowell’s of the world might criticize me, but when I write, I am taking part in the sacred art of storytelling.  That transcends the stupid extremes of my thought-life.  It transcends me.  As it should.

Henry Miller said that the only reward for writing is writing.  If I’m good, I should write.  If I’m bad, I should write.  If I’m pretty good, I should write.  If I have a story to tell, I should write, no matter what.

And if you read my book, The Never Prayer, and give me a B+, well, logically speaking, that’s better than a C.  And if I touched you at all with my story?  That’s better than any grade ever.

Thanks, Scott, for letting me invade your blog.  Have you seen the other sock we wore last Saturday night?  I can’t tell if it’s in Colorado or Tacoma.  Or someplace in between.

For more about me and The Never Prayer, you can visit us both at www.aaronmritchey.com.  And of course, I’m on Facebook, as is the book at http://www.facebook.com/TheNeverPrayer.  And I tweet – @aaronmritchey.   If you are at all curious about the novel, our friends at Amazon.com would love for you to visit them!

If you are a try before you buy type of cat, hit me here for an excerpt: http://crescentmoonpress.com/books/TheNeverPrayer.html

Aaron Michael Ritchey

Writing Is On Hold For Two More Days

Yo yo yo! How’s things, peeps? There have been about a gazillion things dragging on my brain meats, the least of which is this book I’ve been threatening to write for, like, almost a year. Seriously, I’m starting to wish I could take back all the nasty things I’ve said about people who say they don’t have time to write.

Actually, that’s not true. I meant every nasty thing I said (times two).

See, I’ve had time to write–as much fricken time as the rest of you writers out there–but I’ve been choosing to do other things with my time. I’ve got a lot of irons in a lot of fires, see. I’m trying my little arse off to get enrolled in premed classes for the summer, and seeing as I haven’t taken math since I was an undergraduate way back in twenty ought-four I’ve been studying like a bucktoothed first year for the placement exam. That means my book is going to be sitting at 33K words for a hot minute. Bummer, right?

Meh, it’s all good though. The writing will get done once all this math shiznit is locked down. Writing is what I want to do, but I’ve got to have a backup plan in case some big shot editor doesn’t pick my lotto numbers and send me book contracts/briefcases full of cash/books of blank checks.

An Abundance of B00Bz: Game of Thrones, Season Two

Dooood! Are any of you keeping up on Game of Thrones this season? No? Well then you are cray-cray ba-nay-nay, man! I just watched the most recent one and it was so off the chain. Lemme drop some of the more serious shiznit that went down.

First off, I think the biggest drama bomb was when the dragons got jacked from Dany Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons. Really though, who didn’t see that coming? And did you see that tower they’re taking them to? I’m putting twenty gold pieces down that the bugger who put the Jack move on those dragon babies was that creepy ass wizard who brought his doppleganger to the party in the last episode. And man, you know Dany is about to lose her mind on somebody. That girl gets fired up like whoa, talking about how she’s going to take the Iron Throne back with steel and blood and all sorts of craziness. Yikes.

Drama bomb numero deux: that d-bag Theon Greyjoy–the dude whose dad thinks he’s the king of the Iron Islands–went and took Winterfell while Rob Stark was off fighting the Lannisters. What is that crap, right? That dude is sneakier than Gollum in the mines of Moria. But that isn’t the most wild part. In this episode the chick who played Tonks in Harry Potter gets naked and does the no-pants dance with Theon! Spew, right? Normally I’m down for the abundance of boobage in GoT but not this time. Seeing an HP character get naked and do the wild thing was like walking in on a cousin getting freaky. Not cool, man.

Are any of you following this season of Game of Thrones? If so, what are you thinking of it so far? If you’ve read the books do you think they’re better? Let me know. These are serious questions.

Guest Posts, Free Comics, and Losing Interest in Insurgent

What’s good, people? I’m hitting this bloggity blog thing around 11:50 PM because I have been wicked swamped with a million and a half things this weekend. However, I do have some super sweet shiznit to drop on here that I’m excited for!

So first, I talked to another writer friend of mine and he has agreed to do a guest post on my blog. Hooray! My first guest post! I’m kind of stoked about it–mostly just because I think it’s super cool that someone actually wants to do a guest post on here. That guest post thingy should be coming as soon as this week (hint hint, mysterious friend) but we’ll see because I know he is fricken busy hyping his book to the masses. Me, I’d love to do a guest post, but seeing as I’m haven’t really done much to warrant someone asking me I’m not really expecting the requests to start pouring in.

Second thingy to talk about is how awesome Free Comic Book Day was. Not only did I pick up a Firefly book for FREE, I also picked up the first few issues of Animal Man in trade, albeit not free. That’s okay though because everybody is talking about how this Animal Man book is dope as all get out so I’m pretty much looking forward to getting into it and seeing what’s up. Here’s a link to the covers of a couple free Dark Horse comics they were giving out. The Serenity one is there, plus a badass Star Wars book.

Third order of business, I still haven’t finished Insurgent. I don’t know what it is but I have kind of stalled out on this book. And seeing as I’m the sort of dude that doesn’t giving a flying frakk about dropping a book midway through if it starts to suck..well, you can guess where that’s going. Like I said in my post the other day, the first half of the book was pretty sweet (especially the description of Candor headquarters). I just hope something starts to happen besides the blah blah blah of Tris’ internal dialogue. Just sayin’.

And last, I have two things, which I guess means that there is one more thing and then the next thing is last. Okay, you know what I mean so stop trying to confuse me. The first (of the last) is that I want to thank a new follower to the bloggity, The Armchair Author. I’m not sure if said Author of Armchairs is a lady or a fella, but thanks a lot for the follow, you evader of gender denotative pronouns. The last of the last two things was that my book is progressing again. Finally, right? I don’t know what it was but my writing took a nose dive into a pile of bricks the other day and I’m just now getting back into the groove. Good times, right? You ever get into one of those not-sweet grooves where your creativity seems to have packed it’s handmade vintagey carpetbag and split town?

So that’s it, human people. I forgot to mention that I might lay off the quotes for a while because I feel like it’s taking away from other stuff and I don’t know if anyone really even gives a crap about them. I guess I’d be willing to keep them going if you guys like them. Otherwise it’s ix-nay on the otes-quay.

Sci-Fi Saturdays: Who Said It?

So yesterday’s quote was from The Princess Bride, a book I have been meaning to read since forever ago. My friend Chad swears by the comedic genius of the book, but i don’t know if it can match the movie. After all, the movie had a lead role by Fred Savage a.k.a. Kevin Arnold, and everybody knows how wicked tough it is to upstage that guy.

Check out this week’s sci-fi quote! (hint: it was adapted into a badass movie with Harrison Ford)

“For Mercer everything is easy, he thought, because Mercer accepts everything. Nothing is alien to him. But what I’ve done, he thought; that’s become alien to me. In fact everything has become unnatural; I’ve become an unnatural self.”