I’m Mad As Hell And I’m Not Going To Take It Anymore

It is impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write.  ~Sinclair Lewis

 

By: Stacey Purcell

 

Well, that’s not exactly true.

Now that I’ve got your attention, I want to share something with you and I want to issue a challenge.

It’s six o’clock in the morning on the day that I need to post my blog. Normally, I spend at least an afternoon prior to “going live” working on my article, researching, polishing and re-writing bits that I think are lame. (Trust me when I say there are usually many lame bits.) This week is different!

This week I was a writer. Shocking I know!

I’ve been so immersed in learning about all it takes to be a writer with a career, I forgot the first part…you have to write stuff to be a writer. Let me explain.

I’m a perpetual student. If I hear about something, I’m compelled to study it until the cows come home. I know- a total geek. Anyway, I’ve spent a massive amount of time learning about marketing, publishing, contracts etc. and avoided sitting down with my computer to create. Even at the National  RWA Conference in NYC, I chose a lot of workshops around those topics. I did exactly what Jenn was talking about in her article yesterday. I lost my balance.

Life bombards us with grenades of trouble, responsibilities, worries etc. Those are hard enough to combat without adding my little problem to the mix. I know I’m not unique, there are a lot of you that aren’t writing for many different reasons. I used my love of learning to run away from myself.

I am mad. I got so far away from my stories, I thought about giving it all up. It was much easier to write blogs and go to workshops, right? The teacher in me would like to lay out neat little steps for all of us to take to get back to writing. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Everyone is different and all I can do is share with you what I did.

The hardest part was the first step. I finally understood that I needed to put my first manuscript away. I’d been mired in it for so long and it spanned through some very difficult years for me personally. It was like telling a child, you no longer believe in them. It broke my heart. I know I will go back to her one day, just not today.

I pulled out the second novel in the series that I began this last NaNo season. I had written about 55 pages so it wasn’t overwhelming. I edited the prologue and was hooked. This week, I participated in a progressive story with three other authors. We each took a thousand words and the story line changed with each person! Fun! I also called an old critique partners and asked for help. (This part is key.) It made me accountable. I’m meeting with one of them in about two hours so I had to prepare twenty pages for her to go over last night.

Am I perfect now? Am I all cured from the crap that runs around in my head? That’s a resounding, no. But for this week, and I am determined for many more weeks, I am a writer.

Well, that was the sharing part, now comes the challenge part. I’m going to give you a writing spark and I want you to create a paragraph around it. Just a few sentences- come on you can do it!  Do it just for the fun of it, do it just to create.

1)      An orange cat out in a stormy night

2)      A lonely woman in her house

 

23 Responses to I’m Mad As Hell And I’m Not Going To Take It Anymore

  1. GOOD for you, Stacey! Welcome back….:)

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  2. “Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible.” – T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)

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  3. Some times, all we need is just a little nudge. After all, you don’t want to be thought of as just a lonley woman in her house, THINKING about being a writer. You ARE a writer. (I tell myself this every morning.)

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  4. Ruth Kenjura says:

    I commend you. I know about putting the baby away, working on something else, and then get pulled back to the crying baby ( the first wip) that says “don’tforsake me, here’s a new character, idea,twist,etc) But I’m glad you are making your way back to writing, sometimes we have to clean the mind and let the clear thoughts come through. Now take that anger and pour it into the emotions of your characters- they don’t have to feel angry- just get the energy.

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  5. Diane Holmes says:

    Challenge accepted. My paragraph…

    * * *
    Here is how I know today you will die. I saw an orange cat standing on my front porch last night, standing in the halo of carriage light. Wet. Storm wild. Lightning strikes and driving rain threatening to follow him to my door. And he pled with me as I stood frozen at the door with it swung out half open, offering him a chance to come inside. Frozen. Because he held your ring finger in his mouth, blood on his whiskers. And he dropped the flesh and heavy bone like a bird dead for display. Your wedding ring stayed on the finger, because you wanted me to know. Today you will die.

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  6. Jeanie Bread says:

    Challenge accepted – Sometimes I feel like a lonely old woman. I sit here in my nice neat house staring at my notepad, thinking what will I do next? So many ideas are flying around in my head. I could write a letter to a grandson. I could write my grocery list. I could do my budget…or I could settle down and finish that story I started 20 years ago. If I don’t finish it, all that I did will be in vain. Wait, I thought of another great story. Oh how I miss my old friends who cheered me on. Whatever I did, they encouraged me. I do miss them. I guess I am really a lonely old woman.

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  7. Ruth Kenjura says:

    Old woman challenge
    The creaks in the house don’t mean the same anymore. No longer are there tiny feet padding down the stairs hitting that one loose board. The silence is deafening, and only the whisper of laughter floats through the rooms. She sits in the rocker, moving to and fro, and hums. Just waiting. He’s coming. First it will be just a shiver that creeps up her spine, and then she’ll feel the evil as it approaches the house. And still she’ll wait.

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  8. Melissa says:

    Great post, Stacey! I’m so excited for you!! 🙂 I tell myself daily, “Just keep moving forward.” 🙂

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  9. Tess says:

    Stacey, I think I was lucky not to have found any writing groups or writing friends until I’d written five books. They were a mess, but it gave me the right to be creative and taught me how to be creative before I joined the writing world and learned too much and started doubting my ability to write. I think workshops are wonderful, but for new writers, sometimes it’s too much and they can’t get to the creativity because they get stuck on the rules and everything they’ve learned! I hope that makes sense.

    And Ruth, I agree…those mss come back yelling at time.

    Carly pulled the comforter up to her chin and rolled into the fetal position trying to get warm. Since Bo left, the bed was entirely too cold. She hadn’t realized how much heat the man radiated. (Rephrase that, she hadn’t realized how much heat the man put off while he slept…awake in bed she knew exactly how much heat he created). And his pillow usually smelled of his delicious aftershave, but now only the scent of Downy surrounded her. She rose from the bed, grabbed her chenille robe, and opened the french doors to the terrace. The night wind bit at her as she stared over the crashing waves. Would Bo ever make it back to her?

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  10. Lillian Martin flinched as another thunderclap echoed. She tightly clutched the only man she had ever been to bed with, Alex Cross, as a lightning flash illuminated the night. She gasped when she saw the orange tabby perched on the window-sill, put down her book, and opened the window. The feline sauntered in with a juvenile delinquent strut, shook water off all four paws, and looked up at her. “Thanks, Shweetheart,” the cat said, sounding remarkably like Bogart in one of his signature tough guy roles. “It’sh not fit for man or beasht out there, much lessh me. I owe ya one, doll.”

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  11. Nancy says:

    Balance? What? You mean we need balance on top of motivation, writing skill and wit???

    Love your post, Stacey. And you are right. I am smiling (okay, lol, really.) YOU KNOW I am the writer who can not stop writing. At least, thanks to computer keyboards, the ugly proof of my addiction has faded. My writing callous is almost gone!

    I am very sorry, but I refuse to take your challenge! What, you want me to get distracted and write an entire novella? Sheesh. Instead, I will make corrections and use excellent suggestions offered by one very clever “old” critique partner! OLD??? Really??? Thanks a bunch! :))))

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  12. Loretta says:

    Stacey…good prompt…it took me down a path I seldom travel, but one I love when I go. Life through the eyes of a fur-person:)

    Orange sat outside, curled beneath the bushes at the front door. He knew who he was, he’d been called Orange so many times he answered to it, no matter who spoke or spat it out. He shook his fur, rain-drops flying off him like tiny airborn crystals as he waited.

    The old woman (The Upright..that’s what Orange called people in his mind) had spotted him yesterday, and left him some food at the side of the house. His street sense told him that was a good sign. He always watched for signs, it was how he knew who to approach–or not.

    A bolt of lightning seared the air, making his fur stand on end, and his ears flatten, but he stayed where he was. Orange didn’t know the word “hope”, but he knew about hanging on, winning through sheer will.

    The porchlight flicked on, as if flashing an answer to the lightning, and made a small pool of light on the steps. Orange put on his best cheshire cat smile, let the rain from the roof pound his head to help with his bedraggled look, and bounded up the stairs. The front door swung open, and the old lady shuffled to the side, making room for Orange on the tangerine colored rug in the hall. Orange’s tail crooked into an “S” and his ears pricked forward, water trailing down them, drizzling onto his whiskers. He paused, glanced up at the old lady, and meowed. Twice. He wanted to make sure she saw the same thing he did. It would be nice to have someone other than him see this sign, because it was truly astounding…and it would be even more astounding if an Upright saw it too.

    The old lady laughed, the sound merry, filled with delight, and she bent down and patted Orange’s head. ” Well now, just look at this. If I was a person who believed in signs, I’d be tempted to say it looks like you’ve found your way home wouldn’t I?”

    Orange’s tail waved back and forth slowly. He’d understood what she said. He’d seen it in his mind. Picture words.

    A drop of rain wound its way down his nose and perched there like a teardrop. The old lady laughed again. ” You better wipe that off with your paw, or you’re going to start sneezing.”

    She turned and ambled down the hall in front of him, her last comment thrown over her shoulder like an after thought. “This’ll all get more and more familiar to you as we go along, you’ll see. It’s because that’s what you are, you know. You’re my familiar.” She waggled her hand in the air, motioning him forward. “Lordy, I was beginning to wonder if you were ever going to show up, Orange. I thought we were going to have to go through every one of those nine lives of yours.”

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  13. jbrayweber says:

    Remember the movie Finding Nemo? Dory always kept saying “Just keep swimming.” That’s what we’ve got to do. Keep swimming.

    Great post, Stacey!

    Jenn!

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  14. Challenge Accepted-

    I pulled into the driveway and killed the engine. I couldn’t get out, not yet. Once I saw her, it would be a final reality. I couldn’t pretend it didn’t exist. Instead I sat in my car and looked at the paradise she created. Palm trees lined the front like centurions guarding against intruders. Bougainvillea, Hibiscus, and Roses peeked through an ocean of swaying green as the breeze blew past. She created an oasis of beauty and I felt her presence in this garden.
    The door to her house opened and I was motioned to come in by her husband. The time had come. I stood inside her bedroom and studied the woman lying in front of me. She looked so small, the cancer already clawing away at her once strong body. Our eyes locked and sadness engulfed us. We talked about things that didn’t really matter, but it seemed the right thing to do. I held her hand as she wandered away into her thoughts. Dying is a lonely thing to do. I felt the cavern it made between us. There was no way to join her in her grief, no way to be a part of her pain. I continued to sit by her bed, in the end, it was all I could do.

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  15. Hey Will-
    Thanks! And it’s good to be back. Like I mentioned in the article, I was a writer this week and plan to make it through next week as well!
    Love the quote from Lawrence of Arabia!!
    Thanks for taking the challenge, very funny, very cool approach…just like all of your writing.

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  16. I’m just like many many writers out there that swim around in my own self doubt so when you offer the advice of saying to yourself every morning, “I AM a writer”, it’s terrific, Jeanne!
    I have a friend who even made me a beautiful wall hanging that says Novelist Me- I get to look at that every time I’m at the computer.

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  17. I knew you could relate to this post today, Ruth! Now, I’m going to issue you the challenge of finishing this one and then moving on. You can do it, I know you can. Keep me posted!

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  18. There’s no doubt you’re moving forward, Missy! 1 book, 1 short story and another book about to come out…I’d say that’s moving forward. I’m so proud of how hard you’ve worked!!

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  19. YAY DIANE!!!!!! You’re the first to actually take the challenge. Now I’m going to make you a wall hanging that says BRAVE YOU. 🙂

    I love to see how one idea can spawn so many different responses. Your gave me the shivers. Thanks for playing.

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  20. Hi Tess- I also agree with you and Ruth! Even though I’ve left my first manuscript, new ideas keep popping into my head while I’m in the middle of the other one!! That’s OK because I’m so thankful, the ideas are coming…I’ll take them whenever, wherever!!

    Now, I want to know if Bo will ever make it home. Great paragraph.

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  21. I don’t care if you take my challenge today- I know you’re writing and moving in the right direction, Nancy! That’s what today was all about. I wanted to remember how much fun it could be to simply play with the words.

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  22. Loretta! Wow!
    Please tell me this is the beginning of a book or at least a short story. What a great idea to play with. I hope you had as much fun writing it as I did reading it. Thanks for playing today!

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  23. Hey Jenn- That’s a really great analogy. I think I heard someone else use it. Heh heh heh!!!

    Thanks for always being there with your support and friendship.

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