The dangers of repetition leading to babbling

I feel 100% better about writing this post now, as I’m doing so with a glass of rye whiskey. If anything is t be written about degenerating into babbling, it should be done with the company of a good spirit. I’m half-joking, and I must once again clarify that I only occasionally indulge in drinking alcohol as I have apparently caused people to believe I have alcoholic tendencies. Good god. Pardon the slightly grumpy tone, as I spent a good portion of my day cleaning, yet I feel there’s still infinitely more to do somehow.

Fun, well-known fact: if you repeat a word enough times it eventually loses its meaning and degenerates into nonsense. Babble. Or, if you’re stupid enough to prove this point to yourself by repeating the word repetition, as I did earlier, it becomes a tongue-twister. It makes sense, really, because you’re essentially reiterating the same piece of data over and over to the point where it stops holding a meaning and just becomes noise.

I would argue that the same could be said about approaching a task the same way. The act of repeating one thing over and over again, such as writing, eventually causes it to become noise. Babbling. However you want to put it. What if, however, there was just a little bit of a change to the repetition so it’s not quite repetition but a variation on the same thing? Take, for instance, the verb forms of to be. It’s not quite repeating, but it’s still the same thing in essence, and so instead of saying “I am” ad nauseam I would be going down a list of permutations (I am, you are, we are, they are, he is, she is, and so on and so on). The point is that changing things up, in probability, helps prevent from reaching that babble point.

This was actually going to be two separate topics, but I felt it might work better to combine the two. Topic one was about repetition, its impact on regular tasks, and how to potentially avoid that.

The other half is how I’m going to try switching things up in a big way next month, hopefully to the benefit of my focus as a writer. One of the biggest problems I have, and one that I’ve not really addressed any way, is my frequent use of social media as a distraction. To put it bluntly: I spend too much time dicking around on Facebook, Twitter, and other web sites when I could be writing, proofreading, editing, coming up with ideas, and so on. April showers bring May flowers, and for me they will also somehow bring a self-imposed month-long ban from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. The one exception I will be making to this is Instagram, as I don’t follow a tremendous number of people and it’s far less of a time-sink than the others. I only make this small concession as I will be going on vacation at the end of May, and I know myself well enough to know if I ban myself from EVERYTHING I’ll manage to shit it up. This, of course, also means I’ll need to uninstall the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone at the start of May, so that should be interesting.

Admittedly, I still need to hash out details like if I’ll allow myself to use Messenger or not, as what few social interactions I have take place on there and via text message, but those are details that can wait. There’s still plenty of April left.

I’m curious to see how a lack of Facebook and Twitter will impact my time management, my writing process, and how I handle my computer time.

Stumbling ineffectively towards goals

Life as a writer and day-to-day life typically intersect in ways that could be considered overlapping, more or less. I add “more or less” to that sentiment because there are times when those two things feel like they exist instead in parallel dimensions. I’m offered glimpses of one or the other in fleeting moments, but the two lifestyles never quite line up in the ways I hope they would. Or in the ways my delusions wish they would. I’m fully aware that I’m only 27 years old, and that great things have been accomplished later in life than that, but I’m frustrated and so I’m bemoaning my–and a common enough–fate. Deal with it.

The novel-project better known as A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders is at an unfortunate stalling point, as I have reached one of a small handful of segments of story that aren’t particularly fleshed out yet. This wouldn’t be so bad on its own, but the deeper regions of my brain feel like some sort of fictional waiting room where a number of very impatient characters are sitting around doing a whole lot of nothing while I try to resolve my combination of misplaced motivation and uncertain destinations. I’m looking at you, Tick and Tock from Joshua’s Nightmares. Only compounding upon this problem is that I have an editorial I haven’t even started yet (for shame, me) and a few short stories that keep poofing in and out of existence at odd intervals.

Not helping: this One Hundred Days of Blogging and the various other changes I’ve got going on (my tattoo not included; that was a great idea, damn it). And I keep piling on projects, which then don’t get proper attention until later. Whoops?

Mostly, when I get in moods like this one, I go from dwelling on how great it would be to write for a living–how it would be nice to do what I love as my career, and so on–to thinking it would be shocking if I could even manage to do this as part-time work. It’s not a cheerful place in my brain, to be sure, but it’s one I’ve come to terms with because that’s better than just failing to acknowledge it.

Alternatively, this and the chocolate donut I’m eating seemed to have gotten me where I need to be mentally to at least write my damn editorial, so that counts for something. Right?

I write versus I am a writer

Today served as an unfortunate foil to yesterday in that I let myself succumb to shitty moods and so forth. As such, this post’s chosen title is particularly relevant, so instead of talking about what made my day shitty we’ll just get to that instead. You people, thank the stars or the Gods or whatever (Xenu? Praising Xenu is an option, I guess), aren’t my therapist. Moving on.

I find myself contemplating the difference between saying “I write” and “I’m a writer” (I shy away from contraction in titles whenever possible; don’t judge). It’s a very small difference in phrasing that holds a substantial meaning, to be sure. I’d like to be able to say I’m a writer, for example, but lately I feel it’s more appropriate to say I write. It’s something I do because I can’t envision life without writing, but I also don’t write for a living. I’m willing, of course, to say I’m probably splitting hairs in terms of writing versus being a writer. Continue reading

Winter: nature’s freeze on creativity

I wanted so badly to call this “The Season of the Nap”, but I’d be lying to myself because I take naps regardless of what season it is.

There’s something about single digit temperatures and exceedingly bad weeks at work (the details of which I cannot, and wouldn’t want to, go into here) that come together and make me want to hibernate forever. Take today as a strong example. Work happened in the most glorious, horrible, unfortunate way any work-day could. Lousy, near-but-not-quite white-out conditions started up before my drive home, during which I slid down most of the one bridge-hill that makes up part of 17th Street (who thought this was a good idea, because it was the opposite of a good idea), and my nap that I shouldn’t have taken (I admit this) left me feeling worse than before I went to sleep. However, I’m still writing words on my blog so I feel validated in my decision to go forward with this Hundred Days of Blogging 2.0, before I start work on a new short story idea.

I actually considered updating my LinkedIn account because that’s how unmotivated I am to focus on creating stories right now. I have a novel-in-progress, multiple novels on hold, and several short story ideas that deserve attention. The litter boxes also require my attention, but there has never been a point when I sprang from the comfort of my chair to take care of such a chore. Anyway, here we are. With me not giving a single damn about tonight. Harrumph grumble complain.

How do you folks deal with nights like this one? Or do you just accept that the Winter infects all it touches with the bitterness of its icy tendrils, wrap yourselves in blankets, and refuse to emerge until the warmth of Spring?

Equal parts determination and madness

Or “I’m hitting all of the walls today so I’m going to rant a bit while still being positive about writing”.

Writing, on some days, is a completely magical experience. Those are the days I get completely lost in the words, not focusing on time or making sure I’m eating or anything else. Since becoming the joint-owner of three cats, I’ve gotten used to ignoring the occasional glimpse of cat anus as one of the two cats who don’t hate me will wander between my laptop and my line-of-sight. I lead a magical life.

Other days–days like today, for instance–are less productive. I have an idea of where I want to go with my writing, and then I proceed to flop around without any real progress. It feels like the cartoon depiction of falling down an up escalator, complete with irate people-as-obstacles and all. Days like this make me have serious doubts I could ever become a proper writing-for-a-living sort of writer. They’re not particularly enjoyable days, and I could probably chalk a lot of it up to the hilarious constellation of neuroses I have.

Fortunately for me, I happen to have a tremendous support system of friends and family, a spectacular girlfriend who tolerates my particular brand of crazy that shows up from time-to-time (don’t ask her, though, or she’ll say it’s around all of the time). I acknowledge that goals like being able to write for a living or becoming a best-selling author are lofty, and that’s putting it mildly, but I can also say I will never stop writing. Even on my worst days, I still add at least a couple words to something, or I tweak and adjust something I’ve worked on, because I need to keep at it. I am far from perfect at what I do, as evidenced by the proofread-and-commented copies I get back, but I have my strong points and my weak points. The ultimate goal, above all else, is to continue improving upon the weak points while refining the strong ones.

This post started off as feeling down and out, but I feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the entire world again. I’d throw together a shitty metaphor about feeling victorious, but I’m going to focus on fixing up Cordelia’s as much as I can so it can be that much closer to being publication-ready.

Happy Sunday, folks. I hope you all have a kickass week, devoid of doubts and frustration.

Slowly, somewhat unsurely, recovering

There are plenty of ways I could talk about how this week has been off to a bit of a tumultuous start, which would be putting things in fairly mild terms to say the least, but I’m choosing to now focus on that. I’m instead choosing to focus on victories.

Here’s a big for-instance regarding victories:

Seen above: not the best track record, but it's still something

Seen above: not the best track record, but it’s still something

I’ve not done a lot of writing lately, and I know there’s still a very deep, ingrained fear of failure and rejection playing a decent-sized role in my stagnation. I logged onto Submittable to remind myself of a couple key things regarding creative writing. Continue reading

Writerly woes: the frustration of stagnating

WordPress didn’t feel like cooperating with me tonight, and I had a few other issues to hash out so I’m not about to penalize myself for this one being a bit late. Yes, that might be cheating a little and I would feel terribly guilty if I hadn’t posted something every day for nearly the past hundred days.

One of the key reasons I’ve bowed out of the yearly torture-disguised-as-working-on-my-craft known as NaNoWriMo is because I seem to have hit a brick wall. A quick about-face and I discovered another wall. The short of it is I, through some weirdness that happens to comprise part of my creative whims, have found myself quite thoroughly stuck. It’s not for lack of ideas or lack of motivation so much as it is a complete lack of want to write while still wanting to write.

It’s just as annoying as it sounds, and it should be something I can push past…but no luck. So each day I try again with renewed resolve. For now, it’s time to get some sleep. I need to actually post something of substance tomorrow or I’ll be damning myself up and down.