A Certain Amount of Delusion

~ The Evening Muse #8 ~

Like most writers I constantly battle with confidence and the lack of constant validation (especially since I’m not publishing regularly anymore), but I’ve come to realize that one way to battle that is to simply adopt a certain amount of delusion — an elevated sense of self and ability as a writer — a delusion of grandeur, if you will. Essentially just have a belief in self that may not even be true, but so long as YOU believe it, that’s all that matters, right? It goes along with the old adage that “If YOU don’t believe in yourself, who’s going to?”

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Author GREG RUCKA on Writer’s Block

Guest blog from one of my favorite writers of novels and comics, the mighty GREG RUCKA, taken from his Tumblr FRONT TOWARD ENEMY.

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Writing Advice | Joseph Finder

I haven’t been able to embrace this approach in well over a decade, much to my chagrin and detriment. Since they first became intent on literary matrimony, I’ve not been able to divorce the writer in me from the editor in me. It’s time for an abrupt separation.

#Relax #CutLoose #BeFree

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Notebook 7 | The Wayward Mind

~ This is a #notebook entry on #ruckology in which Brandon L. Rucker kinda, sorta admits he’s mentally unwell ~

Last weekend I had a plotting breakthrough on Project: One Shot (formerly Project: Crime Time), the codename for my developing crime comic with my artist partner and best friend Joshua S. Hooten. Finally actual scripting had commenced. The plan was to take Monday off and resume writing on Tuesday. Tuesday became another off day. The rest of the week was compromised by family obligations and work exhaustion from the day job. But the mind stayed active with some fine-tuning of the plot happening in my subconscious.

That’s not the problem. The problem is my mind got more active on character and plot details for the romantic crime-noir novel I’m planning on finally starting in November during NaNoWriMo (codenamed Project: Dame Game, a project featuring an old character of mine in a new story I cooked up this past Spring — details in next week’s Workbook). So even if I had managed to sit at my desk and write this past week, it’s very possible I would have been writing notes for that project rather than the one I should be actively working on (which I’m doing today immediately following this missive).

By week’s end this got me thinking about how the mind is a wayward thing, wild and unbridled, doing whatever the hell it wants and not necessarily what you need it to do, when you need it to. I’ve always conceded that I have what I like to call creative ADD. As a highly active thinker I’ve always been hardwired that way, juggling an insane amount of information and ideas in one sitting than the average bear would. There are definitive pros and cons to it, no doubt. One of the cons is as I get older and more forgetful (hush, you) many ideas become like transient ghosts if I don’t get them jotted down quick, fast and in a hurry. And that’s the other rub — a notebook is not always handy, the ability to stop whatever you’re doing to jot down notes it’s not always an option. In fact, more than often it is not.

The silver lining I suppose is that I am almost always in a creative state of mind and at the end of the day I cherish this overactive gray matter of mine, no matter how wayward it may be at times.

You know that old proverbial saying that writers are slightly insane because they entertain multiple voices in their heads while also muttering to themselves when they think no one else can hear them? Yeah, it’s true.

I’m willing to bet you knew that already, didn’t you?

Daybook 7 | Writing Space

~ This is a #daybook entry on #ruckology In which Brandon L. Rucker chronicles a random event from his day ~

So today I am again writing at the local public library in my small city, a place of refuge and solitude. You may be wondering: “Well, if you’re a writer, don’t you have a study or office at home?” Why, yes, I sure do. And I do spend an inordinate amount of time in it on a daily basis. However, a home office is a very familiar and comfortable place. It’s a very crucial writing space to have, make no mistake, but it can also be a place where every so often you can become too comfortable and complacent. Not to mention there’s just something about home that lends itself to distractions and disruptions. So I’ve come to realize lately that it’s good to regularly escape one’s domicile for a writer’s refuge at a relatively quiet place of study like a public library. There are two big libraries to which I have membership, and one of them has private study rooms in which you can setup your workstation. That’s what I’ve been doing the past couple of weekends and today I actually got up early enough to make sure I got the most coveted room in the building, the one that’s always occupied by someone when I arrive, but today was not that day.

I have to say it’s amazing how fast time flies when holed up at the library writing or reading, compared to how slow time passes at the day job during the week. This is just something I need to make a regular habit of doing because at home I get a bit restless and start welcoming distractions, or conversely when I’m locked in inevitably something or someone in my home requires or outright demands my attention. Or more likely the case, absolute silence is not achievable. Still, I am very grateful for my private writing space at home, which prior to three years ago didn’t exist when our family dwelling was a mere two-bedroom apartment. I can’t imagine ever going back to a time where optimal writing space is an elusive thing.

Hopefully all you fellow scribes out there have suitable writing space as well.

The Evening Muse 7 | A Writer’s Plight

~ This is #TheEveningMuse on #ruckology ~ *Written late last week when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.

The irony, the frustration is this: when you’re young with less responsibilities and obligations taxing your free time, you’re not quite skilled enough to be the writer you will eventually become as a seasoned 30-something and beyond. But by the time you hit those 30s and 40s years, you’re consistently working a full-time job to support and maintain the family and life you’ve acquired over the years while also trying to actually live and enjoy that life.

You see, that’s the part they don’t tell you about, the fact that to write well and to write often, you have to chain yourself to your desk and do a whole lot less actual living. That’s the other irony: you should absolutely live and have experiences to enrich your writing – yet when are you going to actually have the time to do that living while working a full-time job and also writing full-time, or more realistically, part-time? I suppose we can circumvent our actually gaining life experience directly by doing a lot of reading and living vicariously through books, right? And that’s the thing about reading as well, to do that often enough you essentially have to cut yourself off from interacting with the world, while holed up hermitically on a lazy-boy in a quiet room, devoid of real-world happenings. Devoid of interpersonal relationships. Devoid of . . . people.

The way I’m wired, that’s the only way I can read and write consistently, I have to be free of all distractions and interruptions. Urges and responsibilities. I hate that my muse is easily distracted by the frequent disruptions of life. There just seems to be no co-habitable option between the two there.  I mean, how can I continue to pursue my first love of making and playing music with my band, while simultaneously continuing to purse some kind of – hell, I can’t really call it a career can I? – vocation in writing fiction?

Sure, you could probably say “Well, if you spent less time writing nonfiction/blogging, you could spend that time writing fiction,” and I suppose you’d be fairly correct in that assessment. Yet, part of being a writer is to cognitively process and express oneself through any kind of writing on a regular basis, which is why years ago I devoted myself to documenting, editorializing and journalizing my life, interests and observations via this blog (as well as actual journalism elsewhere). If I were to eliminate my periodical writing here, I don’t know that I’d alternatively be getting more creative writing done given the situation, the aspects of life I described above.

I don’t know. It’s clearly a Catch-22, my friends. And I don’t mean to share this in any way to dissuade or discourage any of my fellow writers here. I envy your abilities to rock the writing life despite whatever odds and challenges you face. You inspire me and I envy you.

I just need to find a way to filter out and turn off the extraneous things in life that present the roadblock I’m constantly encountering. Does that mean I live a little less? Cut off my social life? Eliminate my entertainment? Abandon my first love, music? Sacrifice more family time?

The struggle is real. And this is my plight.