Some Kind of Writing Hell

Dante And Virgil In Hell by William-Adolphe Bo...

This is where my brain is whenever I sit down (or don't sit) to write.

I’m in Hell.

I’m being dramatic, but I swear I need to shackle my ankle to my chair just to get myself to sit and write something. Anything! Write GodDAmnIT!

I guess this is something.

It’s not enough. I can’t figure out what is wrong with me when I say this is what I want to do, when I look at Grad schools, I’m even taking a writing class (and it’s like pulling teeth for me to write for the class) I even have the gall – no – the audacity to call myself a writer.

Yes this is public self-abuse and ridicule, but come on, I spend every Monday at the writing institute sending people encouraging e-mails about being writers, not giving up, carve out a special time for yourself. I’ve spent the last seven years volunteering writing workshops for youth encouraging them to be writers, to write, just ten minutes, and I can’t even do that. No not for myself. Of course it is public ridicule because I’m pissed. Pissed at me, damn it.

What’s the block? Why? Why?!! You can picture me at this moment throwing my arms up at the sky, tears streaming down my face. A scream in my throat like in that scene from Poltergeist when the dad grabs his boss by the collar and screams, “You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies! You moved the cemetery but you left the bodies! Why? Why?!” It’s that last “why”, you know when Craig T. Nelson went from 1 to 100 in a single shot, and it’s so unbelievable, but so beautiful because there are corpses flying everywhere and the kids are screaming. That’s what my “why?” sounds like right now.

Okay. I feel better. I vented. I roasted myself. I wrote this at least.

I also did this little list or outline or whatever…I still write by hand… sometimes I just have too.

I did a little brainstorming which I posted on My Short Story Blog, then I wrote out this formula for myself just so I can create some kind of writing structure to trick myself into thinking I’m being productive.

Steps to writing a short story (catchy title I know.)

  1. Brainstorm themes and topic
  2. pick a topic
  3. brainstorm all possibilities
  4. pick one
  5. brainstorm all possibilities
  6. pick one
  7. create characters
  8. create outline/structure
  9. research
  10. first draft

I don’t number beyond the first draft because once I’ve gotten here I’m golden, I’m writing. I put research near the end because research is a writing killer. Not that I don’t like it, I love it. Too much. I start looking at the name of some French graveyard and next thing you know I’m deep into the etymology of the word research or who influenced who that wrote the thing about the thing. Really? Really. Research at the end.

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4 thoughts on “Some Kind of Writing Hell

  1. Research is maddening. Especially when you’re writing science fiction. The world I’m writing about doesn’t exist, so everything is created from scratch. And I’m one of those people who wants to know “Why?”, about everything. If this country is shaped just so, I want to know why. Creating a exhaustive “fake” world history is exhausting.

    Anyways, I sympathise on the “forcing-yourself-to-write” bit as well. Sometimes you just have to. Maybe you’d rather go fishing, or sharpen pencils, or anything else. But you must! It always feels great afterwards though. Keep it up!

    • Ooooh science fiction… That’s research la la land. Talk about a rabbit hole. It’s like you need to take a string with you, some kind of timer or a scorpion that will sting you every time you head off to chat with the flowers that have absolutely nothing to do with your research. I bet you get exhausted. One of my writing instructors told me that research can often turn into another form of procrastination, and it is a sneaky form because you think you’re writing, but you’re not.

      Here’s to proper on track research!

    • Thank you! That “why” that Mr. T. Nelson screams out in that scene just fit so perfectly the why I screamed in my head. I can hear it now.:)

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