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My Blurry World…




After an almost month long hiatus from blogging, due to my first horrendous case of eye strain, I encountered what happens in the life of a writer without eyes.  I learned that eyes do have a shelf life and that writing 10-12 hours a day in front of a computer screen weeks on end isn’t the smartest contribution I can make to my writing career.  Thankfully, after rushing to the ophthalmologist, I found out that I wasn’t going blind, nor did I need glasses.  She did tell me however that I needed to take a serious break from such long writing stints in front of the computer screen. I made a deal with my ophthalmologist that I would faithfully use the eye drops she offered me and invest in a digital typewriter.  Yes, that means not being eco-friendly and using more paper.  But I will shred & recycle while preserving the organs that contribute to my livelihood.  I also decided it was time to embrace my former ritual of hand writing first drafts which evolved from the days when I would actually just take a notebook and cool pen with me to the coffeeshop to write instead of my laptop. 

During the first few weeks of my computer hiatus, as my burning/blurry eyes healed, I found myself falling into a depression of sorts not being able to embrace my natural manic writing mode.  I tried the shorter writing stints, but for me, two hours in and I’m just getting started.  There’s no such thing as setting a timer that goes ding and I can joyfully stop after two hours.  For me, that’s like tossing an apple into the opera singer’s mouth mid-aria. Or pulling out a lung mid-breath. Ok, that’s a little drastic, but once the dance starts with the muse, I’m blissfully unaware of time and space. And I can finish only when the words stop, whether it’s two hours or six. Yes, my writing style is most likely an unhealthy Van Gogh approach, but  I’m on backlog of at least 5 novels, so I have a lot that needs to come forth. 

To keep myself from completely falling into an emotional hole, I filled my extra time with other things. I went to a couple of movies.  I recycled the clothes in my closet vis a vis the local consignment store. More meditation practice.  And I decided to catch up on the latest season of my favorite HBO show, True Blood, which has been quite delightful (Sookie Stackhouse attracts more handsome men than any character I’ve ever seen, albeit these men are vampires, shapeshifters, and bloody werewolves!).

It wasn’t until last week when I finally realized the words on the page were no longer blurry.  I could read the fine print on the trial size of my shampoo bottle this morning that states this product is not tested on animals.  While studying the bottle, enjoying this major miracle, dread crept up one final time as I realized how finite time is and I wondered when the day would come when my eyes wouldn’t recover and I would need bifocals.  Fortunately, that time is not now. 






Writing Rules that Work for Me…


Some of the writing rules I live by:

There’s no such thing as no. Keep going until I get my ‘yes’.
If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything.
Don’t workshop any part of your novel until the novel is finished.
Time to write, leave the house..
Have a social life.
You can’t do it alone.

There’s no such thing as no. Keep going until I get my ‘yes’.
-It is my belief that if you’re driven and passionate to do something, you will have your day. Visualize it, feel it, work hard for it, own it, and you will achieve it. If one person says no, there is someone that will say yes. I don’t stop until I get my ‘yes’. There are so many stories I could tell when there was something that seemed absolutely impossible to get, but I didn’t give up, and I got what I wanted. Steadfastness can produce magic, the elixir of life.

If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything.
-Give the writing a break. I don’t believe in ‘writer’s block’. Everything needs to breathe. I’m not gonna die if I miss a day of writing. If its not there, its not there. I trust I will make the deadline.

Don’t workshop any part of your novel (or poetry or short story) until its finished.
-A painter doesn’t need the committee while in progress on a work, so why writers do I haven’t quite understood. I’ve seen too many writers workshop their story right into a black hole i.e. handing over what they started with only for the original magic to get sucked away to never return. You begin to write your story based on every comment rather than fidelity to your own voice.

Time to write, leave the house.
-Writing at home all of the time can lead to getting no writing done at all. The distraction of home can lead my mind to drift at times on everything I need to do in the house, the fact that I need a bigger house, the black lint ball on the rug that reminds me the vacuum cleaner is broken and where can I get a good cheap vacuum cleaner? Then I get up from my desk to pick up the black lint ball only to find myself 10 minutes later on my hands and knees in another room picking up lint balls, and discovering that sock that I couldn’t find on my way to work out earlier that morning.  And of course that leads me to pairing it with the other sock at the bottom of the laundry basket, and oh, I have to do this laundry, which I can do while I’m writing this next chapter that I haven’t started, but I don’t have enough quarters, and when I realize that, I look up at the television only to see that the episode of Deadliest Catch that I missed is coming on, and its the new season…
Thus, I’ve chosen a few gems in town where I go to do most of my writing. Each place has comfortable seating, an outlet to plug in my laptop, soft background music in case I forget my headphones, and a sandwich if I need one when I get hungry. One place has no wifi so that I am not tempted to go on the internet and watch clips of Deadliest Catch. I am forced to get the work done without the temptation of watching a hot sea captain catch Alaskan blue crab. An alternate writing atmosphere breaks up the monotony so that the cold, dark rainy days when I don’t want to go out makes staying home a cozy writing event & not a lazy, distracted grind.

I can’t do this alone.
-I do not espouse to the Virginia Woolfe school of writing. Depression & struggle are sometimes partners in living a creative life, but they don’t have to be permanent visitors. I realize I need to be fed by others along the way. I make it a point to meet other artists, musicians, writers. The presence of others, as well as having a little bit of a social life outside of writing, stimulates the endorphins, and adds energy to my writing.

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