Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Shut-Up Stanley!

Entry for March 21, 2007

“Why are you not a writer for… something? You have a gift!”
So says my #1 fan, in response to a thank-you not that I wrote. So I begin to ponder my few feeble attempts at starting down the path to being a professional writer and I start to wonder myself…
My ponderings remind me of something that happened just a few days ago. My wife has been sick. I don’t know how it goes at your house, but when Mommy is not 100% the entire train goes off the tracks. I do my part on a regular basis, washing dishes and straightening up the kitchen, but now I am called upon to go above and beyond “my regular part” and help keep the house from resembling something you see on Cops. The floor needs to be swept and mopped, and each time I walk past the cocoa spill next to the stove, or the trail of grass and dirt from the backyard door I feel a serious twinge of guilt.
From my reading on the nature of internal anxiety, I have learned that a phrase such as this is “weak” and implies that I am not able to do anything about the situation. This is true, my internal voice for this phrase is high-pitched and whiny and wishes he had the strength to do something about this problem. It is the same internal voice that whines about my inability to focus on a career in writing.
Same weak voice, same weak idea. Why don’t I? I have plenty of great ideas to kick it off. NANOWRIMO winner for two years running is one example. This blog, where I have committed to write 1000 words per day is another. (When was the last time I actually did?) I have the talent, I don’t seem to have the persistence.
I read stories of authors who have finally made it after years and years of submitting, editing, being rejected, revising, and above all, trying again. For some reason if I can’t hit a home run right off the bat I get discouraged and give up. I write in this little blog where I am safe. Nobody really reads any of this junk, and if they did they would most likely give up waiting in the months between entries. I try to imagine myself up against a real deadline like a professional writer would have and my stomach clenches with the stress. Ahh! What happens if I write horribly! What happens when I can’t come up with any new ideas after a month or two of writing? Where do I go for new material? I can usually crank out around 1000 words on any topic. They may not be great words, but I can come up with something. But not on a regular basis. That is hard, and above all that internal chatterbox cannot allow me to do something difficult.
Already I have run out of steam writing this. Checked the word count and I am only half way there. I suppose that I should bring in some outside material here to pad out the piece. To stretch towards the deadline. But hey! Isn’t that work? Wouldn’t that be hard? Stanley disapproves.
For some reason, I have fallen out of favor with my favorite blogger, Dave Barry. I was on a streak for a while. I submitted articles that he posted on his blog several times over the course of a few weeks. Now, the well has run dry. I have submitted several articles that should have been shoo-ins for this blog, but they are ignored. Is it possible that I have offended his Daveness or the high and mighty blogerette? Perhaps. How do I get back onto their good graces? Is it possible that they saw my blog entries bragging that I had been featured on the blog? Wow! That would mean that someone famous actually read my blog!
Unfortunately, this brings me no closer to my goal of actually earning money for my writing. Unless Dave reads this and would be kind enough to post some helpful advice to the comments section…
I guess I just go back to the basics. I need to write something every day, just to polish my abilities. (CRAP! There goes that whiny weak voice again. Let me start over…)
I WILL write something every day. I WILL finish writing and editing my novel and I WILL submit it to someone. At least I will have a real rejection letter that I can look at and say to myself: “I DID something, instead of whining about how I NEED to do something.”
I will update you, loyal reader on the status of this writing and editing. I plan to have my rejection letter before NANOWRIMO begins again. Then I can brag to my fellow part-time novelists about my off-season adventure in writing and rejection.
Or perhaps, I can brag about my new career as a writer…
Either way, Stanley had better keep his whiny mouth shut and stay in his place in the shadowy back recesses of my brain where he belongs.
What might I accomplish if I could only convince him to do so?
Yesterday, I stayed home with the kids while Emily took one of them to the dentist. Stanley REALLY wanted me to take a nap. He reminded me that I NEEDED to clean up the house to help out while Em is sick, but that I really NEED to take a nap more.
I told Stanley to shut up and I cleaned up the house.
I can do it. I can silence that chatterbox. I can get rid of the weakness of feeling powerless to improve my life.
I can be a writer. I WILL be a writer. I already know the first steps. I have already made some of them. I have the talent, I have the tools. Up til now, I have only lacked the willpower.
Shut up Stanley. I can, and I will. (See! 1026 words, just like that!)

Wednesday March 21, 2007 - 04:09pm

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