Thursday, October 29, 2015

You Kids and your Internet. In my Day…

So here’s the fear. That I don’t actually have anything else to say. That I’ve run out of feelings and imagination. Or that unless I save it up I’ll use it all up and then have nothing later.

Which of course is total crap. There’s always something eventually, some inspiration to follow through on. I just hate the dry times, they make me worry. And I have way too many other worries right now to add anything else to the pile. Especially where work is concerned.

The thing is, I just always want things to work out before the credits roll. Like all those eighties movies and television shows I grew up with. And it makes me a little jealous of millennials. Since their birth, things have been more real in the visual entertainment sphere.

Now don’t get me wrong. It isn’t like I think everything we see on reality TV is real. Or that the gritty “truth” style movies aren’t an imaginative exaggeration of a real-life type of situation. I’m not an idiot.

But, when compared to what my generation grew up watching, I get a little pang of envy for how much more raw and honest dialogue has become. Situations. Lack of force-fed sugary goodness. That, sometimes, there isn’t an answer after 30 minutes, or 2 hours, a whole season, or even a trilogy of movies.

See, my generation had shows like Family Ties. Where democrats and republicans may not always agree but can live in harmony under the same roof. Or the classic Growing Pains where it only takes a laugh and a smile to deal with how much of a screw up your son is.

And let’s not forget movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where we never have to see the repercussions of what happens when your so-called best friend forces you to skip school, take your dad’s pristine collector car out and, after getting home safe and un-caught, you decide your best course of action is to trash the car. But it’ll all be okay because the script says so.

Don’t forget, after all, Ferris didn’t get caught. He was pretty much the only one who didn’t.

My generation of pop culture fiends were shown that the kids were always smarter than the bumbling idiot grownups.

Well now I’m the age of all those bumbling idiot grownups and have come to realize that in this age of technology and world connectedness, the kids are smarter than me now. And do you know how fucking irritating that is?

The younger generation has found a way to take what’s available, AKA: everything, and use it to become these clued-in, whip-smart people. The people my generation wanted to be when we were their age.

But the reality of my generation’s half-hour comedy is that nothing in life can be solved in 30 minutes. The dork sophomore never ends up with the hottest, coolest, richest senior in school.

Which really doesn’t matter anymore because the Ducky’s of the world know so much better how to take care of their ladies.

But I digress.

Because that’s a post for another day.

For now I’m going to spend my time working on my own mash-up. My own ability to read, research and extrapolate the info available to me to craft some cooler, whip-smart characters.

And if I get bored, writer’s block, or a total lack of inspiration, maybe I’ll write my own eighties-esque story. The one where the sophomore obsesses over the senior and they don’t end up together.

But it all still ends up okay.

• • • • • • • • • • • EDITOR's NOTE: As of November 2015, shit is gonna get real. I'll no longer focus on my pitifully visited blog for new writers, every freaking blogger has a blog for new writers and I'm tired of trying to muscle my way into a club where the snacks already ran out. Because, what's the point? Instead, I'll be back here and focused on bringing you the most random of the inner workings of my head as well as sharing short fiction pieces in my newsletter. Sign up, read them, bookmark this site...or whatever other call to action I'm supposed to use in this situation.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Coffee Shop Blues

Earlier today I got together with a friend and by the end of the meeting there I was. Crying in a coffee shop.

She put a lot of things into perspective for me, relating my current nervous breakdown about my career to that of a butterfly coming out of the cocoon. Only she wasn't talking about my career, she was talking about me. Jenn, the person. And she was so right.

Since I got home I've been going over all of it - all the stuff I posted here a few days ago, the business she & I had started molding, our conversation - and I realized the problem is that I'm personally so invested into what I do for a living because who I am and what I do are essentially one in the same. And as soon as that hit me the tears stopped.

I am a writer. As in, its not what I do but who I am. I can't not write. There's something inside me that needs to put everything down on the page. From the voices that tell me what to say about their fictional lives to this kind of journaling bullshit. I never stopped stringing words together once I started.

But somewhere in my head I got it into my head that this was all supposed to be some way or another. I convinced myself that working hard would produce x result at y time.

Well I should've known better. I sucked at algebra when I was younger so trying to find an answer in variables now isn't my best course of action.

My career choice is one of lots of solitude but within the mindset of having lots of people respond to the product that comes from that solitude. The writing.

When I work and work and finally publish it for the world, damn it, I want the world to read it! I want all this time alone, hours spent, keys clicked, to mean something. To the world I mean, because it already means the world to me. I just feel like it's time for it to live in worlds outside of my computer and my family's bookshelves.

AKA: The comfortable little cocoon I'm still living in right now.

So my friend & I put our project on hold so I could work my way out of this chrysalis. I've been kicking at the sides for what feels like forever but apparently I still needed time to germinate. Even if I didn't realize it until I had 6 snotty tissues sitting next to me on the pleather booth at a busy coffee shop, tears cresting my eyelids in front of the world.

Maybe that was exactly what I needed. Because if I really want the world to see, maybe it's time to let them. Flaws & all.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Insert Catchy Title Here

Yet again, I'm coming back to my old trusty friend after a freaking recoculously long break. Seriously, my last post here was in May? No wonder I'm so irritated. This used to be my therapy.

Sort of.

But now I don't even know where to begin. Maybe the start is a decent option. But if you've ever read my words on this blog then you already know how many times I've "apologized" for slacking off on writing here because I spend all day, every day, writing.

Well, I'm over it.

I'm done with following convention. The concept never sat comfortably with me before, and after trying to fit my square head into a round hole in the brick wall for the past 5 years, I'm done with the banging.

My forehead hurts.

Matt & I sat around the other night talking about my business, career, work life and how/why things are so stagnated. In the end he was right, it's time to break some fucking rules.


He said something that really hit home. To him, it didn’t appear that I was having as much fun with my work and writing life as I used to. That maybe I’m not doing what I “love” for a living.

At first I denied it saying, no babe, I love my job!

But I spent the whole day yesterday working on my business plan for Writesy Press, frustrated that I wasn’t doing as well as I wanted to be doing at this point in my career and it all just suddenly hit me.

I fucking hate doing the writing I’ve been doing for the past 3 years. It just isn’t me.

I mean, I want to sell my books of course but struggling for 3 days a month to come up with, essentially, 350 headlines/hashtags/clever ways to make people read my articles and then miraculously decide to spend their money on my books is a giant waste of my time.

Let me just say that I understand in today’s market there’s no way to sell without marketing. I also get that most writers would rather slit their monitor than try to sell to people.

I’m a shameless self-promoter. That’s my voice. I don’t tease you with clickbait only to under-deliver and have you click away before even thinking of buying my stuff. Though I’ve been pretending that’s me for a few years now.

Instead of
“Will Shaw get away and find love? *|URL|* #whothehellcares”

I’d much rather just rant about losing my passion for the past 3 years and say you can get my books here if you want to know what that passion is.

But for far too long now I somehow thought it was smarter to write to force advice and tips down the throats of other writers. And sure there are a lot of new writers who need help. But I finally realized yesterday that I can’t actually help any of them.

Every writer has to do it their own way. Every writer has to get over fear of releasing their words in their own time. I can’t help them find their voice either. Hell, I couldn’t hold onto my own for close to half a decade so why would they even listen to me anyway?

No matter how many times I pick up the pom-poms to try to encourage someone it just won’t matter, because I’m no cheerleader.

I tried and quit cheerleading in the same week when I was about 12 years old because I realized I just don’t have that much spirit. Cynical advice isn’t really a thing.

I’m over it. I’m over trying to encourage people to do the very thing I can’t seem to figure out how to do – sell their books with countless, useless words that fall on deaf ears. And I’m over trying to tell people the best practices for anything just so my blog gets a few extra notches in the search engines.

It feels fake, and fake makes me squirm.

If I’m going to advise anyone of anything it’s going to come out like this – in snarky little bits of random babble that eventually have some kind of meaning. Maybe. Even if it’s just to see how fucked up my life is so it will act as a warning to others.

But I can’t tell anyone what to do with their own words. That’s just tacky.

So I’m over it. And instead, I’m back over here.

And in case you wondered, here’s some other things I'm also over (that all the top marketing people would have a heart attack if they read):

- Giving a crap what platform my blog lives on. Blogger has been good to me since 2007, it's free and I understand how it works. I’m sure Wordpress is great for marketing but, see above rant for why I just don’t care about any of that.

- Caring if I'm optimized for SE-whatever. I'm not a marketing god so I just don't have time (or mental capacity) to care about any of that. If it hits Google well yippie-do. If it doesn’t then I guess nobody is going to read it outside my family anyway.

- Length and layout of my posts. Sometimes it'll be 4 words and an image. Sometimes 4,000 words and no sub-headers. If you can't handle it, don't read it. The thing is called Randomness and Lunacy for a reason.

- Posting consistently on some rigid schedule. Blech. This blog thing may have morphed over the years but they started out as online journals and I’m old so I like things the way they used to be. And I can’t guarantee that I’ll have some perfect post to share every Friday at 7:02 AM because someone once said that’s the best time for a blog to go out.

- Grammar. Yeah, I know I’m getting tossed out of the writer’s club for even admitting that one out loud but I write this blog like I talk – stream of consciousness – so sometimes my sentences will be fractured, or (much more likely) run-ons, and sometimes I’m ending a sentence in a pronoun. Anyone who cares about that can suck it.

- Being perfect. Ah yes, I saved the biggie for last but I’m sure you knew it was coming. I will curse like a sailor. I will write and blog crap just to write (case in point: you’re reading it right now). I’ll ignore family, friends, laundry, personal hygiene and eating just to get words out at times. I’ll be lost in my own head and character development at least 50% of the time you spend time with me. Okay, it’s probably closer to 98%. I will study you and your demeanor so I can use it in a book. I will be awkward all the time, way too intense and serious and say shit that makes the average person uncomfortable. You're welcome.

I won’t be everyone’s taste but I just don’t care because, like Matt reminded me of last night:

“Well-behaved woman seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
and I’m still of the belief that I’m going to do just that.

• • • • • • • • • • •
EDITOR's NOTE: As of November 2015, shit is gonna get real. I'll no longer focus on my pitifully visited blog for new writers, every freaking blogger has a blog for new writers and I'm tired of trying to muscle my way into a club where the snacks already ran out. Because, what's the point if there's no food, right? Instead, I'll be back here and focused on bringing you the most random of the inner workings of my head as well as sharing short fiction pieces in my newsletter. Sign up, read them, bookmark this site...or whatever other call to action I'm supposed to use in this situation.