Ugh

My problem with writing, it seems, is that I tend to get stuck on the mistakes that I can see myself making. I’ve got three or four drafts of short stories saved on this damn blog, but I can’t see past the glaring mistakes I continue to make. I know that that’s what editing is for. I know that. That’s how every story I’ve ever written has worked. I write it out, and then edit it until it is good.

Good luck telling me that now though. Perhaps it’s a trait I’ve simply lost, and need to regain. Maybe these writing challenges are actually HAMPERING me right now, because someone is forcing me to write something for THEM. And I’m just not there yet. I just can’t get the hang of writing something because someone told me to. I got back into writing because I wanted to write god dammit. Not because someone told me to. (Winky emoticon.)

So perhaps, before I write words that do not yet belong to me, before I tell stories that did not originate from me, before I share secrets not entrusted with me… Maybe I need to make my own stories first. So that’s an idea. I beat my figurative head against the computer for two hours trying to come up with three paragraphs that I don’t hate THAT much; yet in about three minutes I wrote three paragraphs on what was already on my mind.

Maybe that’s a sign.

Maybe I should learn how to jog again before I run a marathon.

There’s a thought. Start training. There are some writing competitions coming up kinda sorta soon that I’d like to submit work to, but I’ve forgotten what it’s like to come up with ideas. That’s kind of a scary thought too. I used to have so many ideas because I read and wrote all the time. Now it’s all smartphones and twitter and the like. Pushing the ideas out. Filling it with nonsense or national outrage against the latest whatevers. (Not that I have a problem with outrage against injustices, POLICE.)

But it still pushes the ideas out. I haven’t even read much over the last few years. This last month, after the passing of the late great Terry Pratchett, I got back into reading actual books and found that it was quite refreshing. I was astounded at how CLEAN it all felt! I didn’t check twitter more than a handful of times over the course of about a week, and my tension bled out of me terrifyingly quickly. I’m all about the news. I’m all about staying informed and passionate and all that. But… I need to take a break every once in a while. Just put the damn phone down and pick up a book.

*raspberry noise* Anyway. I am working on a few things. Still writing mostly every day. But I gotta get past that hump. So as much as I love the guy, I may put Chuck Wendig’s writing challenges off for a while until I can find my voice again.

I can’t be heard until I find my voice.

Also, boom. 520 words in 10 minutes. A story I wasn’t prepared to tell took me two hours to get to 300 words. That tells me something.

Ugh

Overwhelmed

I don’t know what love is, any more than the next bloke. But I know what it means to me.
  
Love is a lifestyle. Love is a series of decisions you make to bring yourself closer to someone you connect with. Love is a sacrifice. It is a struggle and a hardship and a release and a comfort and a death and a life. It is life. It should not be easy. It doesn’t have to be hard though. Love is a give and take. It is anger and peace and happiness and sadness and grief and hope.
  
But it is never violent. There should be no rage. Hate does not belong in love. Love should be a scary thing. It should never terrify. If that should happen to you… I am so… So so so sorry.
  
It will not be that way for long.
  
These last few nights I’ve written some short stories based on some writing challenges I found. They were hard. This week’s challenge was, instead of 1000 words, write a complete story in 100. That… is daunting.
  
All three challenges I have written a story for. I have only posted one. But they all contain dark elements that have given me pause. All three pieces I wrote in one sitting with very little editing done to them.
  
Going back over them and reading them for what they are, I have to wonder…
  
What is this dark thing that has grown inside of me that wants to get out? What did it grow from?
  
Help me get it out.

Overwhelmed

I’m writing again

I haven’t written in years. That changed last night. Tonight I wrote a submission to Chuck Wendig‘s writing challenge. The stipulations were that it could not be more than 1000 words, I had to click a link to a random drink recipe generator, and the name of that drink was to become the name of my short story. Those were the only two guidelines. Here is that submission.

Green Cookie Monster

“Did you check the cables?”
An irritated look crossed Matt’s face. He was pretty sure this was the third time his wife had asked that in as many minutes. “Yes. Yes, I checked the cables. They’re fine.” He said, staring at the remote.
Their television had been on the blink for the last month or so. At first it wasn’t that big a deal, just an occasional moment of blue where there should be red, or red where there should be green. But tonight was the first night in some time he and Jen had off together, and he’d be damned if they weren’t going to take advantage of that. Cartoons for the kids, some alone time for the adults… It was supposed to be perfect.
It wouldn’t have mattered if this had been the shitty Olevia in the back room the kids usually watched. That piece of crap could go die in a fire as far as Matt was concerned. But he had paid two thousand dollars for this piece of shit, and he wasn’t letting it go without a fight.
He glanced into the den surreptitiously to make sure Jen wasn’t looking, then swiveled the TV around to take another look at the back. “Yeah, uh huh. Check the cables my ass. She asks that one more time she’s the one getting spanked later.” he thought as he wiggled them. Yeah, fuck that. Still red.
“Okay, let’s see… Menu, then system, then picture, then… Okay, no, go back. Okay, Display, THEN picture, then what, tint? No, apparently not tint. Okay, go back. Guide? Jesus, no. Okay, okay. Aspect, then… Nope. Go back. Fuck. Okay. Fuck. Uh… Lighting then NOPE go back. Fuck. Jesus shit come on. Go back to menu, then…”
Out of the corner of his eye he saw Jen standing there, amusement playing across her face. Matt sighed, lowered the remote and said, “What.” She laughed. “Matt, come on. Just call someone. Call those Best Buy guys, Nerd Squad or whatever. You’ve been at this for two hours.”
“Jen, this thing cost me more than that damn dog of yours cost and I don’t see you trading THAT in when it breaks.”
She walked towards him, still chuckling. “Honey, it’s okay. It’s just a TV. TV’s break. We can get a new one.” She wrapped her arms around him, pulling him towards her. “Besides, you seem to have forgotten why we put a show on for them in the first place…” she whispered in his ear.
Matt took a breath. “Okay. Okay. I’m fine. It’s fine. It’s just a TV.” He untangled himself from her arms and set the remote down on the stand. Turning towards their kids, he tried to reassure them.
“All right guys, don’t worry. You can watch your Sesame Street or whatever very soon, okay? I’m gonna go get a new- No, Jeremy, it’s okay, it’s- No, what? Don’t cry dude, seriously, are you- No, hey, you guys. YOU GUYS. HEY. Hey. Seriously, I will be back in like, ten fucking minutes, it’s- *Sigh* Yes, Sarah, that was a bad word, I’m sorry I used it. I’m just frustrated right now. No! Sarah, not with you two, I- Oh, shit, don’t you start crying. Okay, yes, I know. I’m sorry for that one too, I’m- Jesus! Jen, can you just…”
“Matt, just go, it’s fine. They will be okay!” She said, shooing the kids away. “Just hurry back, I’m not sure how much longer I’LL be okay.” She gave him a look to let him know she was teasing him and led the kids towards the kitchen table. “Alright kiddos, why don’t we work on our coloring books while we wait for Dada to get back?”
Matt hopped into his car, started it up, and pulled away. He was grateful for Jen and her ability to distract the kids. She had always been better at that than he was. Now that he had a moment to himself he took some deep breaths and tried to calm down. The TV really wasn’t all that important, he told himself. He shouldn’t have let himself get so worked up over it. He had just been impatient. There was this new thing Jen had wanted to try in the bedroom, and…
He finally pulled up. This was never a very fun experience for Matt. The salespeople here all seemed to have an agenda, like… He couldn’t just go in and get one thing and go. They all seemed to want to ping pong him around to different departments to try to sell him as much as they could. That wasn’t what really upset him though. It’s that it usually worked. He looked around for someone apathetic enough to just sell him a TV so he could get back to Jen.
“Hey, I was looking at that TV and I- Oh, no, this one. Yeah, this one. No, this one. No I know. But I don’t care about the extra six inches. Ha. Yes, that’s very funny. Six inches. I get it. But could you just help me get it- *Sigh* No, look, the sound will be fine without- No I don’t need that. Uh huh. No I get it. No I have my own cables. No. No really, I don’t need $200 Monster whatever, I…”
Two hours and three grand later, Matt closed the door to their bedroom. Jen lay there, covers up to her neck. “I’m glad to see you made it. I’ve been waiting for you…” Her voice was full of suggestion, and Matt started removing his clothes as fast as he could. He hopped on one foot, removing his pants. “I don’t know where you got this idea, babe, but this is gonna make that whole fucking ordeal worth it.”
He climbed under the covers, moving in close. As he pressed his lips against hers, he heard a knock on their door.
“Dada! The cookie monster is green!”

I’m writing again