On Embracing My Inner Suck

There’s something nasty living in my head–something besides my brain, I mean. I know it’s there because I hear it almost every time I sit down to write, its raspy little voice telling me how much I suck. I’ve got some theories on what it is–head gremlins is at the top of the list for now–but I’d need a CAT scan to test them, and I don’t know if my health insurance would be cool with that.

I’ve talked to a lot of writers and found out that I’m not the only one with a case of the head gremlins. In fact, some pretty big names in the industry battle with their own. During an interview I heard with Charlaine Harris she talked about how the fear of failure has never gone away even after all her success. Let me tell you, that blew my mind right off the hinges. I mean, come on! This is a lady who has killed it when it comes to best-sellers. And, hello? Ever heard of True Blood? With all she’s done, Bill Gates has probably got a better chance of bouncing a check than she has of failing as a writer.

The fact is that those head gremlins won’t ever close up shop. No, sir. Those little suckers are going to be whispering sweet nasties in my ear even if HBO buys the TV rights to my steamy vampire series. So then what do I do? Quit writing because I’m scared? No way, duder. Not a fricken option.

But alas! I’ve found a simple fix for the problem. See, whenever those voices start squawking I always ask myself which is scarier: trying to write and then falling on my face or lifelong regret because I never tried? When I think about it like that it’s totally easy. The thought of growing old with a brain full of regret is more terrifying than anything those gremlins have to say.


The Black Swan is My New Writing Jam

I don’t know about you, but I love me some writing music. My newest example of jamtastic craziness: The Black Swan soundtrack.

Not exactly Queen Amidala, is she?

For those not in the know, The Black Swan is about a total nutjob ballerina who does a bunch of crazy stuff before stabbing herself in the stomach with a piece of glass during a fight with her alter-ego self. After that she sprouts imaginary feathers, dances in front of a bunch of people, and then dies. Horray for happy endings.

Even though the weirdness of this movie is totally off the charts, it did produce a killer soundtrack from Mr. Clint Mansel, the same guy who did the soundtrack for Requiem For A Dream. I couldn’t manage to get the whole thing streaming on here but I did find a version of my favorite track on a YouTube video. Check it out. Hopefully you’ll like it.

So what about you? Got any favorites that you pump up the volume on while you’re tapping out a new tale?

[image found here] [song found here]

Surgery In the Army: My Chance to Rediscover Writing

In 2007, after jacking my back up in an Army related incident, I was prescribed a round of surgery that’s usually reserved for middle-aged asphalt workers. Keeping in mind the wonderful track record of the military medical system, you can imagine how excited I was to have my back chopped open by an Army doc. But as it turns out, crippling back pain is a fairly good motivator so I elected to let them have at me with the hope that I’d wake up with all my appendages.

The surgery went as well as it could, but I was left with thirty days of convalescent leave to spend splayed out on the couch. That might not sound like such a bad deal to you, but when you’re used to working nearly twelve hours a day it can be a little difficult to adjust to doing that much nothing. My wife suggested that I read a few books on my off time, and seeing as I hadn’t read a book for fun in way too long I decided to follow her advice. So on the first day of my leave, before she went to work, she left me the first two books in a series by some British lady that chronicled the adventures of a kid named Harry Potter.

I cannot tell you how incredibly awesome my wife is for doing that.

I was hooked from chapter one and blew through the first two books in two days. By the end of the week I was almost through the entire series, but more importantly I started to remember how much I loved reading and writing. I spent my college years reading nothing but accounting standards and business textbooks then after graduation I went straight into the military. Go ahead and take a guess at how much creativity is emphasized in the United States Army.

After I finished Harry Potter I started writing again–one of my favorite things to do as a kid. The stories I wrote were horrible–some of the worst in the history of bad stories, I’d guess–but they did lead to some good ones later on that have since been published. It’s strange to say, but that month was probably one of the best time of my entire life despite being unable to dress or bathe on my own. I think about it like this: without getting my back cut open by doctors with questionable credentials I might never have started writing again. And honestly, I can’t think of anything more sad than that.

You Can’t Take The Sky From Me

And I’m back!

Now I know I said I’d be back yesterday, but it turns out that I am a liar. I big fat horrible liar.

But I have a good excuse.

As you may have noticed I’ve been spending some time working on the appearance of this blog thingy. See, I’m the kind of guy who waits and waits for something to drive me nuts before I get around to changing it. Perfect example: the cleanliness of my house. Things have to be looking pretty sketchy around here before I’m willing to do something about it.

*Here is a brief pause for you to get all the “Ewwwww!” out of your system.*

I know, I know. It’s a bad habit. But I feel that if I’m comfortable being that way then I’m just going to do it. Why change it if it works for me, right?

Now, back to what I was saying about the appearance of this here Bloggity Blog. The time came for change. Drastic change. The fresh-out-of-the-box look just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I needed it to be something cool but also had elements of what I like. I needed a color scheme, a header, and few other little doodads that showed the things I’m into. After thinking real hard about the stuff I like, I came up with a few heavy hitters:

1. Aliens

2. Spaceships

3. Americana

4. Made-up words

What do you get when you put them together? A cross-stitched header with grey alien heads, flying saucers, and a totally made-up word (Guess which one. It rhymes with “sloggity.”). I hope you like it!

Now, down to the real point of this entry: the giggly tale of my fanboy encounter with the author of Cinder, Marissa Meyer.

Let me start off by saying how fricken nice she was. Don’t get me wrong, I know that it was a publicity event and she was probably trying to be extra nice, but I did not get a single vibe of fake niceness that one might expect from someone in her position. Plus, if my face was half as red as it felt then there’s a decent chance she thought I had some sort of contagious skin condition. If that was the case, then she deserves extra points for keeping it together in the face of perceived bodily danger.

The whole thing kicked off with her giving the crowd a little background on how she got started writing (did somebody say Sailor Moon fanfic?), and then followed it up with a reading from her book. After all that she got into a Q & A session with the audience where she shared her thoughts about everything from Joss Whedon’s world building in Firefly, to the impact Sailor Moon had on her. She even shared her story about how one exhausting NaNoWriMo saw her hammer out full manuscripts for what would become the first two books of the Lunar Chronicles (all for a walk-on spot on Star Trek, no less).

Not too long ago I read an interview with Marissa where she said that at times she wanted to be a writer so badly that she felt like she could cry. Man, I can empathize with that. It’s that exact sentiment that pushes me to work harder–to dedicate months worth of time to become a master of the craft and succeed as a writer. That’s why seeing her in front of all those people–people who were there because of her work–was definitely my favorite part of the day. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate someone who is willing to sacrifice their mental well-being to get on Star Trek. I’d be the first to champion that noble cause! But the feeling that I got from seeing someone who has put in the work and seen the results had to be the best part of the deal for me.

Well that, and the picture Marissa took with my wife and I.

Who is Marissa's fav Sailor Scout? Sailor Venus, of course!