Inherent BS #1: Writers Part 3: Being “Rational”

A lot of how we approach our profession as writers is mental. In fact, except for the movement of our fingers as we write or type the things coming from that mind, everything is mental. But as we approach it we tend to have some problems with being able to sort out the emotional end of things and the logical side. Frankly, we’re often subject to some judgment from the people around us, either as an under appreciated person often dismissed or someone who is too caught up in our own issues. But understanding that is a key part of being a good writer. After all, if you’re going to get beyond the bullshit in your life, you need to know it’s coming.

Having gotten over my own inherent bullshit, I’ve come back to this, the third and final part of my attempt to explore…other people’s bullshit (and my own) about the writing profession. And what’s left for me to cover? Well, I’ve already hit the people who are way too casual about the job and the people who are just a wee bit too intense about it. So really all that’s left to cover is…well… being rational and finding a middle ground in it all.

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Can’t sleep, clowns’ll eat me…

One of my favorite songs, for reasons I can rarely understand, is “Be Human”. It’s a little tune from the soundtrack of Ghost in the Shell that often drifts to mind whenever I find myself worrying too much about whatever may be. I guess it’s strange that, from time to time, I relate better to the mechanical people that the song represents. But one section of the song, more than any other, sticks with me almost constantly.

I analyze and I verify and I quantify enough
100 percentile no errors no miss
I synchronize and I specialize and I classify so much
Don’t worry ’bout dreaming because I don’t sleep —

It’s the part that always springs to my mind first, which is good, because it’s the first part of the song. But I’ve always felt it represents me and my near lifelong battle with insomnia. Sometimes I wish I could shut it off, just, turn it off and make it stop. I try to sleep and I end up face down in a pillow for over an hour while worrying about things that shouldn’t be a problem. I know everyone has problems sleeping when they worry, but not as many people keep the hours I do…

I can’t help it, I just can’t sleep.

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Paper Cranes

So, I was going to update on the next step of BS with writers, and I still will, but in the meantime, I have a personal update that I figured was amusing and required attention.

Today I got a rejection letter.

Now this in itself isn’t uncommon and I’m totally cool with the concept of it. Aside from bad timing, it was almost expected and I’m happy to send this story that was rejected somewhere else. But as I stared at the form letter they sent me, I came to wonder one thing: What do I do with it?

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“Writers are Unstable”

Another opinion I’ve found in the world when listening to people talk about writers is that a lot of us are on the brink or just plain eccentric. It’s not even strictly outside the writing community – writers buy into this one too from time to time. And really, who can blame them? There’s been enough history of big names going out of whack and enough experiences in personal chaos to make anyone start to believe it. As many a wannabe writer has said to me (including when I talk to myself), “I start to understand why so many writers drink”.

Still, this issue has two polar opposite positions with equal levels of BS to them.

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“Writing Is Easy”

So, after what I think was a successful stint of regular posting, I came to realize I should always fall back on my strengths. You see, I have long been and always will be a student of the art of bullshit. Not just laying it out in works of fiction, but also identifying it. It’s a useful skill to have: being able to tell people something completely fabricated with such conviction that they’ll believe it and still being able to identify when someone else is doing the exact same thing. I could have been a politician if I didn’t have a soul. But, instead, I’m simply a guy with a moral code and enough time on my hands to point out other people’s bullshit.

Ironically, after a statement like that, I was inspired to start this post because of being unable to bullshit about myself..

I was asked to submit a bio of myself to the anthology I got into. The instructions were simple: keep it under 100 words and tell us about yourself. Wow, they managed to find my kryptonite so effectively. I’ll admit, I’ve been putting it off because I really don’t know what to say about myself in short form since, as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing interesting about me. Really, all I’ve got is:

“I’m a writer!”

But just that in itself got me thinking about the inherent BS we as writers wade through regularly. In one way or another, we all have a touch of BS in our lives. In fact, for the unsuccessful or rookie writers, there’s three clean cut categories of our bullshit. We all face them and have few opportunities to escape them, and frankly, a lot of it starts with a mentality that what we do is easy. And, sadly, that’s because most people go on thinking…

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