Last night, I had kind of a lightbulb moment. Of course, it felt more like a lightbulb going on in a room surrounded by people with huge spotlights shining over their heads. But I’ll take inspiration where I can.

I’ve been sort of dragging my feet for a while, now. The stuff I’m working on is definitely in the “WORK” phase. You know, where the fluffy happy plot bunny has turned out to be a high-maintenance hairless rat with a sinus infection. You can’t just let the poor thing die, because ultimately it’s a special little guy, and you do love it, you guess, and after all, you did sign on to be responsible for its well-being. But it’s no longer just a cute little pet. It’s stress and cleaning up rat feces and worrying about its skin and sneezing and whathaveyou. And you’d be the ultimate douche if you neglected it after you chose to bring it into your home.

Worse, though, every time you go to the pet store for supplies and food, or you talk to other pet owners, you inevitably catch sight of some other cute little critter. But now you know – you can’t just get another pet, because ultimately it’ll turn into a hairless rat with health issues, too, and then you’ll have TWO of them to care for and you’ll never get ahead.

No, do not listen to your friend who just discovered a litter of kittens under her back porch. That way is serious trouble!

Yes. Writing is like having a pet hairless rat.

Okay, or maybe I need to adjust my meds.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that I’ve definitely been in the less-fun phase of writing, for some time now. And it’s definitely a spirally sort of phase – the longer you’re in it, the worse it gets, until it seems like no amount of new, shiny, fluffy-sparkly plot bunnies will cure this case of blahs. Thankfully, however, the Universe seems to have a knack for sending me bits of hope and relevant advice. Or, maybe I’m just narcissistic enough to apply self-centered significance to random shit around me. Whatever works, right?

Bit the First: Twenty-Five Ways To Get Your Creative Groove Back, by Chuck Wendig. Okay, really, when is Wendig not relevant? I can always find something on his blog or in his books that will help, or at least apply to me. And that’s all that matters – me. Y/Y?

Bit the Second: This is my new desktop, courtesy of the Wordplay Blog:

(Okay and sometimes my desktop is this…)


Bit the Third: Last night, while procrastinating and staying up way too late for no good reason whatsoever, I had the TV on, and the random, late-night movie was this adorably sweet romance/chick-flick starring Reese Witherspoon and Bruce Banner Mark Ruffalo, who I seem to be developing a thing for.

Sometimes we forget that, as writers, the task of ‘reading for study’ applies to all media. Movies, TV shows, comic books, plays – all these things are written. I’m trying to absorb the writing in everything I watch, now, thinking about why it worked or didn’t work, etc. And while Just Like Heaven isn’t some brilliant masterpiece, as a romance (which is my genre), it hit ALL my buttons. I absolutely loved this movie. It made me sigh and “aww” and feel warm and fuzzy. I loved the characters, loved their histories and their banter. There was angst, but it wasn’t Nicholas Sparks angst. It was everything I love about this genre, and I had to stop and process just why, and what I can take from that, and how can I bring it back to my writing.

Of course, there’s also the sobering part where I realize that the reason I’m taking forever to revise Switch is because I don’t think my characters have that kind of magic to them. But then, it’s hardly a similar setting. My Big Damn Novel? You betcha. Oh, man, do I want to hurry up and get back to that puppy. Still, it was a lesson for me, how dialog and charm really make a romance. Maybe not all the time, but the reader needs to give at least one shit for the characters, if not two or more. See? Lightbulb. A really dim, obvious lightbulb in a sea of bright spotlights, but it works for me.

So, there it is – what’s been going on with me as a writer.

As a Creative, I’ve also been doing a lot of piano stuff. Kicking around an idea that might marry that and the writing in one weird, long-term relationship. But for now I have some Mozart, Bach, and Shubert to polish, just finished my first stab (HA! Punny!) at music for a radio-theatre stage production, and next up will be wedding music to record for one of my oldest and dearest friends. That’s good, though – it’s good to have something extra in the creative department to keep the fires burning. As long as they don’t end up setting things ON fire.

And, finally, who’s gonna do NaNoWriMo this year? I skipped it last year, but I had a couple dreams recently for a contemporary romance plot – old school Harlequin zaniness – and I might very well use November to hammer that out in a rough draft. How about you?


2 responses to “Lightbulb

  1. Oh man, I totally forgot about NaNoWriMo. I’ve been meaning to do it for years… I’m keen but also afraid that what with work and all the ‘stuff’ I fill my days with, I wont be able to do it.

    Oh, and: “Writing is like having a pet hairless rat.” You are an hilarious genius.

  2. I’ve “won” NaNo a few times, but it was always a pantster process. If I do it this year, I’m going to outline and sketch ahead of time so I can actually use the end result sometime this century.

    It’s funny – a long time ago, I was terrified of rats. Then, somehow, I wound up with a pet rat. Then I made a friend who had a naked pet rat named Winky. (Incidentally, that friend is now the animator for – I always brag about him because he’s just so quirky neat).

    Rats (and naked rats) are actually all kinds of awesome, but unexpectedly so. Maybe THAT’S a metaphor, too.

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