March was a wonderful, terrible kind of month, which means more writing material than I could put in one post. While I’m glad to be back, taking the month of March off from blogging was a good plan. I’ve refilled my mental reservoir, wrangled with some writing demons, and have reoriented to continue my mission.
On the Domestic Front
I am celebrating 18 years of wedded bliss today. We’ve survived each other’s foibles and families and now we’re just watching each other deteriorate. But we’re still laughing and that’s not nothing. In a few years, when our daughter sets off on her own, we’ll be shuttling each other to doctor’s appointments and not speaking for hours on end because we’ve already said it fifty times before. We just need to wait a little longer until we’re more forgetful and it will all seem new again. Ah, the ties that bind.
We’ve had another busy month with our in-house band. In addition to playing viola, violin, and piano, my daughter has decided to pick up saxophone. We should get a bulk discount for rental instruments and I should get some parenting points for letting sax happen. When I was 14, I was listening to Rick Springfield and playing Baroque music on my flute. My kid is playing Ellington and Dvorák and songs from Hamilton. I love how the internet has enabled us to experience a wider slice of the world.
Winter returned with a vengeance after a couple of false springs. We’re in for sub-freezing temps for the next week with a chance of middling depression.
In this episode of “free isn’t free”, I closed my Facebook account. I wasn’t using it, didn’t find it interesting, and finally stopped lying to myself about what professional tools I needed. I wasn’t much help to Cambridge Analytica. To make up for it, I just mailed all my critical data to the RNC and the Kremlin. Привет, Господин Путин.
When The Atlantic hired Kevin Williamson last month, I cancelled my subscription. I’ve finally hit a wall with media entities that give platforms to every wingnut on the spectrum lest someone accuse them of being biased or they lose a market share. The defense for the hire is that his writing is great – if great means deliberately provocative. There are a lot of great writers and most of them don’t advocate that women who have abortions be hanged. Skill does not excuse malevolence.
I started digging into Twitter, trying to decide if I need that account out there, collecting dust. What I learned is that people feel very strongly about Roseanne Barr and like to pick on high school kids. I’m not sure that this is useful for me to know. I don’t watch evening television, nor do I care for celebrity fealty, a concept that baffles me on many levels. I’m still not sure if Twitter is particularly useful as anything but a distraction. I dusted it off, took a look, and put it back on the shelf until the next time.
I wrote more in the last month than I have in the last year. I also forced myself to submit an essay for a contest, only to be overtaken by the worst panic attack I’ve had in years. It led to a lot of soul-searching and I’ve gotten fierce about how I approach writing and my work process.
I finally finished Hillary Rettig’s The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer’s Block, spurred on by my disastrous attempt to submit work. There were moments in the book where I was gut-punched, as she accurately described my experiences as a writer. She also gave a lecture worth looking at, if any of these issues are yours. I don’t get writer’s block, but I do drive myself crazy with perfectionism and procrastination (which are blocks of my own design). She provided some very helpful insight.
While I’ve learned that every writer and their process is different, the key word is “process”. What is really happening with the writing? What are the habits and thought patterns that serve as obstacles? And holy shit, lady, can you please just write without editing for once? These are the tough questions I’ve been wrangling with in the quest to be more productive, creative, and successful.
Coming to a Blog Near You
After my futile search for a book club aimed at writers, I’ve decided to set up one of my own online. I’ve been doing a lot of research on what might work and have put together a website, so look for a blog post announcement in the next week or so for the TGS Writers’ Book Club.