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Tag Archives: writing advice

In Fact, Most Advice Is Lame

Late Lame Post Friday posts are just going to be a thing. I offer no excuse. For one reason, all the writing advice givers say there is no excuse. Write Just Write, they say. I believe it is good advice, but like all advice, caveats apply. However, since for “caveats” some people read “excuses,” I will offer none of those either.

What will I offer? My favorite Lame Post Friday elements: random observations and half-baked philosophy! Perhaps I should go sit on my front porch so I can actually observe something other than my messy living room or the local news.

Is this an azalea?

Full Disclosure: I did not observe this bush just now. I am still sitting on my couch. I don’t have shoes on, and my husband, Steve, tells me it is chilly outside. This is a picture I took of a neighbor’s lawn sometime last month. I had deleted some pictures from my Media Library in hopes of freeing enough space for an illustrated Pedestrian Post, but WordPress only allowed me to download one new picture. It was rather a sore spot for me.

Another Full Disclosure: my depression is really kicking my butt these days. I always cringe a little when I admit that. I worry that I should just suck it up and not bother others with my problems which are in fact much fewer and smaller that those suffered by others. Then again, depression is a problem for many. If anybody told me they were suffering from depression, I would not, in fact, advise them to suck it up.

Now that I think about it, I am not sure I would offer any advice at all. For one reason, any advice I might give would come with caveats, and that just seems like a lot of trouble. I will give myself a little advice, however. I advise myself to take a walk. Exercise is a potent anti-depressant. It might also make a good blog post.

An Idea for a Blog Post?

I did it again.  I went a day without posting so want to make two posts today.  I considered getting up at four, so that one could argue it was still the middle of the night (even though we all know damn well it is not; thus we kid ourselves into believing what we like). However, I felt I needed the rest more than I needed to meet my own arbitrary goals.  So here I sit at 7 a.m. trying to remember what I composed in my head at four before deciding to just go back to sleep.  It probably wasn’t very good anyways.

That raises a subject I may or may not have blogged about before:  writers are often given the advice to keep a notebook and pencil by the bed, because you will wake up in the middle of the night with a truly brilliant idea that you will NOT remember.  Can any of you writers out there confirm to me that you have actually had such an idea, written it down in the night, AND (and here’s the kicker) still thought it was brilliant the next morning?  I never have.  And now I find sleep so necessary and yet so elusive, I don’t even want to wake myself up enough to write it down.

I know, I know, you will argue (you know who you are) that if I DON’T write it down, how will I know if it was or was not brilliant?  Can I really be so profligate with my ideas that I am willing to just throw away all these inspirations?  What do I think I am, some perpetual idea machine?

I must admit, that is a point.  For example, one reason I did not make my blog post when I had time yesterday is that I could not for the life of me think of anything to write.  In my defense, it was not the only reason.  I also wanted to finish knitting a prayer shawl so I can get it blessed after church this morning (the reason sleep was so necessary at four).

So tonight when I go to bed, it will be with a notebook and pen at my side (maybe this will at least inspire me to clean off my bedside table; it needs it).  Eventually perhaps I can write a blog post about the results.

 

Just Another Bog Post

I did some writing at work today (YES, boss, on a BREAK!)  (oh, yeah, like my boss reads my blog, dream on, Cindy!), but the thing I finished wasn’t good for the blog and the thing that was good for the blog isn’t finished (ooh, here’s a Freudian typo: I put “bog” instead of “blog”).  Actually, the thing I finished could use some revision and addendums, but let’s not worry about that now.  I have a blog post to make.

Lately I have been having the problem of feeling unable to write.  I am obsessed with puzzles: anacrostics, crosswords, cryptograms, anything with a pencil and clue (cue jokes about how I may have a pencil, but I certainly do not have a clue).  I cut cryptograms and crosswords out of the daily paper, and I have puzzle books as well.  Some days I purposely leave all puzzles at home, so I will have to write.  Sometimes that does not work very well.  I sit there looking at the blank page and feel actual physical discomfort from not having a puzzle to work on, or I write something so bad, stupid or ridiculous that I still feel physical discomfort.

Once in a while, however, I surprise myself.  I try to write one sentence and suddenly find myself scribbling paragraph after paragraph.  It’s great!  How do I make that happen all the time?  As I sit here, I realize I can offer myself a number of suggestions.   I’ll mention a few of them and you can tell me if they sound good or if I’m full of beans (always a possibility).

  1.  Have a project going.  Today I met with success because the two things I worked on were things I had started previously.  That is, I wasn’t starting from a dead stop.  However, this does not always work.  Sometimes the project I was working on is bogging down for one reason or another.  This leads me to my second suggestion.
  2.  Start a new project.  It is really easy for me to start making notes on  new novel or murder mystery. Actually, given my track record of unfinished projects, this may not be the best advice for me to follow, although in a pinch, it may get the pencil moving.
  3.  Here is my real takeaway from today’s little bit of success:  KEEP TRYING!  I never know when I am going to be stuck with the blank page and pen that doesn’t move or when I’m going to write and keep going.  But if I right away get buried in an anacrostic, I for sure won’t get anything written.

Hmm… I thought I was going to have more suggestions.  Still, I said “a number” and 3 is a number.  I’m going to call that OK for Non-Sequitur Thursday.  I think I’ll go stare at a blank page for a while and see if anything happens.