WFMAD Day 6 – When The Words Don’t Come

We all have days when the words don’t come.

I hate them.

It’s like all my creativity is frozen in a country that has never been drawn on a map. Write? Me? Ha!

::bangs head on table::

Where do these days come from?

Sometimes you can pinpoint the spot: you are worried about someone you love, another rejection letter arrived or your royalty check was for less money than the postage stamp it took to mail it. Maybe you’re coming down with a virus. Or you ate both pizza AND hot wings for dinner and you woke up to find your body has decided to slide into a semi-coma, complete with depression and headache, to make you suffer for eating such crap.

And then there are the days that mystify you. Everything is fine. You ate chicken and steamed broccoli for dinner. You’ve been flossing. You children help elderly people cross the street and then rescue kittens from storm drains. Your writing is even going well.

But you have one of those days anyway. You wake up sad or irritated with the world and when you set your timer to fifteen minutes and you sit down to write, you get absolutely……… nothing.

Your creativity is frozen.

I have a new way for you to look at those days. I think they are a natural part of the creative rhythm. Everything in nature cycles between fullness and fallow, between wax and wane. Why should your soul be any different?

The trick is to learn to recognize when you’ve stumbled onto a fallow time and to be prepared for it. You don’t want to stop writing – dear heavens, anything but that! Because it’s my experience that these mired, frozen times usually come right before a burst of creativity, and you want to be all limbered up and prepared for when that day dawns.


“You must do the things that you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt.

Set… turn off the phone, disconnect the Internet

Today’s prompt: Write about what it feels like to not be able to write. Curse vehemently. Describe your entombed creativity ten different ways. Give it a color, a sound, a song, a name. Describe what it would look like if it were a dog. A zombie. A banker.

Once you are done, take the paper that you wrote on to a safe place. Set it on fire. When the ashes are safely disposed of, go for a walk. Be sure to listen to lots of music for the rest of the day. Things will be better tomorrow.



Doc says I have the flu.

I suspect he’s right. I also suspect I have a touch of bubonic plague and more than a little yellow fever as well. I’m taking the medicine he ordered and trying hard not to groan too loudly.

More good news about TWISTED came in, but it hurts to type so I will tell you tomorrow. Assuming tomorrow comes.

Tell me something funny. Please. I’m begging.


Most of the day so far was spent doing doctorish stuff (boring tests, nothing scary) and getting back to our house in the boondocks from the big city, Syracuse.

I came across mention of the Institution for the Sick and Drooping Poor in a series of essays written by Sir Walter Scott. This was established by Dr. Thomas Beddoes, one of those horribly energetic fellows of the late 1700s who prove to us that we are all lazy slugs. He did a little of everything, including opening the aforementioned Institution, researching cures for consumption and scrofula, and experimenting with laughing gas. What a guy. His formative childhood experience was watching his grandfather die when the old fellow broke his ribs. The ribs punctured his lungs and led, in quick order, to his death. It made young Thomas think about lungs a lot.

Anyway. I wish his Institution was still open. I feel droopy today.

And I must revise my book.

dramatic eeyore sigh

The difference between being a “Writer” & an “Author”

The writing has gone well this week. And that’s all I want to say about that because I am getting superstitious.

The other stuff I’ve been doing made me think about the differences between being a writer and being a published author. So, a list. maybe this is my Friday Five.

1. A writer writes stories and poetry.

1a. An author writes email to the kind people who ask her to visit their school, their library, the monthly meeting of their historical society, their book club, and explain that while she actually likes those kinds of visits, she cannot attend because she doesn’t have enough writing time as it is.

2. A writer writes stories and poetry.

2a. An author writes email to conference organizers with details about airplanes and questions about hotel rooms, and more email declining to read a self-published novel about the “pain and torment of (fill in the blank) and one soul’s journey to rise above it”, and more email declining to share her agent’s name, and more email with questions about publication dates, galley dates, revision dates, and more email inquiring of experts some profoundly obscure facts.

3. A writer writes stories and poetry and reads stories and poetry.

3a. An author writes blogs and reads blogs and comments about blogs and posts pictures to blogs. She writes to her web guy and beats herself up for not writing more content for the website overhaul.

4. A writer wakes up in the morning and eats and moves into her story without pause.

4a. An author wakes up in the morning and eats and moves into the phone call list: to the accountant and the kids and the mother and the mother’s doctor, then she rearranges her Netflix queue, and finally sits down to write …. speeches because she has a bunch of them coming. This reminds her to chase down a couple of hotel reservations.

5. A writer writes.

5a. An author wishes she could write more.

And now you now how the non-writing part of my week went.

In other news…

Thanks to everyone in Bishop who came out to hear me at SUNY Cortland last night. I hope Thursday wasn’t too thirsty.

I am not familiar with the graphic novel, Eightball #22, by Daniel Clowes (though I did like Ghost World). If any of you are, would you care to comment about how the book led to the resignation of an English teacher?

Lunch today: hard-boiled eggs and fresh acorn squash with honey.

I have to fire the Eagles defense and special teams from my fantasy football team. This is killing me, but the boys are not coming through. Sigh.

Book Tour Day 8 Report, In Which The Author’s Hand Complains

What is a stock signing?
A. An opportunity for author to quickly drop by a bookstore and sign all of her books.
B. The above plus a chance for the author to run around the store and find all her books.
C. Both of the above plus the chance to meet all of the booksellers in the store who have joined the Game of Find-The-Books-I-Know-We-Ordered-Extra-Because-She-Was-Coming.
D. All of the above plus drinking a large cup of complimentary coffee at each stop.
E. And using the bathroom.
F. And enjoying a store-wide celebration when the books are found.
G. Then a record-setting speed-signing because 90% of the time allotted was spent in the Game.
OR H. A common feature on a book tour which frequently causes the Author to discover each and every ligament and tendon in her right hand and wrist.

We did four stores in two and a half hours. I don’t know how many books I signed. But I got my exercise, which was good because in my fantasy version of the book tour, I was working out in the hotel gym every morning and so far that has not happened, not even once.

My last day in Michigan went by on fast forward (or at 78 rpm, for those born before 1963).