Writer’s Rape

Let the bashing over the title begin…

Let’s be honest, you either “get” something or you don’t. You find what you want in each and every aspect of living this life and you cling to it like a toddler to plague. Some people even bring out the industrial strength backhoe and dig industriously in each moment of their life for what probably wasn’t there in the first place. These people I’ll call “The Bristly“. This next statement is for them:

Hey The Bristly, don’t get your thorns in a bunch over the use of the word “rape”. Just know that it’s often used to over-sensationalize something bland to get your attention. In other words, take the imaginary gun that’s making you read this away from your temples and go champion some other online cause.

Moving on.

Last year, my good friend Katie over at Domestiphobia got me motivated to start writing again. Her blog is fun, insightful, adventurous and funny. She recently had an excellent article on choosing to be childless published at the Huffington Post. You really should go check it out here: Katie’s Article. While our styles differ somewhat, she really knows how to capture a moment and make it engaging, even when she references girly-girl shows that interest me like a bath full of live scorpions. When she and my sister, another talented writer, began blogging together, I did everything but beg to guest-post.

Here’s a tip for the men: we often complain bitterly that we can’t read womens’ minds, but they can’t read ours either, apparently. Unless we’ve done something wrong.

Katie and my sister embarked on a 3-month working adventure to Costa Rica, and my jealousy started a war on two new fronts (in addition to the writing one): they quit their day jobs, and were working off the grid in COSTA-FREAKING-RICA! I stewed for a month at least. But then it dawned on me, nobody was stopping me from doing my own thing. Writing that is. I mean, I’m sure there are at least a few people that would stop me from moving into their billion-dollar mansion, eating all the snacks and clogging all the plumbing.

When my sister and Katie returned, they had all sorts of stories and memories and mental stuff to weave into brain catching tales. I badgered them both for a while, asking all sorts of questions about their travels and the writing…always the writing. My sister returned to a more scholarly bent and went back to school to advance her degree (not because of my badgering…hopefully), so she opted out of the team-blogging deal. I contemplated petitioning Katie for a chance to step in as her gender-opposite new partner in literary shenanigans. Several email exchanges later, that idea fizzled. I could tell she was doing fine on her own and didn’t need me to muddy the waters for her readership. Pestering her about starting a blog would continue, however.

Katie gave me some pointers, offered some advice on hosting, page layout and content, but essentially let me know that this had to be mine. Between her, and Chris Hardwick’s book, The Nerdist Way, I was feeling more motivated than ever. The Awesome was simply gushing out of my brain. I promised myself that I would write at least one article a week, intially, to get my bearings and smooth out my style. The thing is, sometimes it doesn’t feel right.

Anyone who’s read here from the start can probably tell when I’m writing to fill the weekly objective, when the inspiration simply isn’t there, but I go through the motions to keep my ego happy. Those articles don’t grab you by the junk and make you giggle, gasp or groan. They probably make you wonder if you left the stove on, or if those darn kids are on your lawn again. Believe me, I feel your pain.

Any time I sit down without an idea burning in my mind, it feels like I’m forcing myself to jam something into this space, and that’s not fair, to me or to you (because really, who writes in a blog just for their own benefit?). All of the experts will tell you that you should keep writing, no matter what: write, blog, jot, scribble one-liner notes to yourself about that guy air-drumming his heart out in the car next to you, anything. Just write.

What I’m finding is that you can’t force it. When you do, it serves as an example of how you could have simply gone back to mining digital asteroids on your day off from work, or whatever distraction keeps you from creating. Holding yourself to a self-imposed deadline can take the fun out of this process, and that’s not just The Lazy talking. Sometimes focusing on meeting a contrived deadline can make you miss that tiny blip on your creative radar, external or internal. So while theΒ experts say to write no matter what, an upstart like me would say to write when it’s right, and let your mind be clear and receptive to new ideas the rest of the time. Observe, soak everything in, and keep an eye out for the quirkier moments in your life, because those make for excellent (embellished) stories.

And to the lady in the car next to me who looked ready to call the nearest mental-mobile, it was a long stoplight and you can’t pass up the chance to pretend to play drums with Jack White…unless you’re The Bristly.


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6 Comments on “Writer’s Rape”

  1. Meg Says:

    My advice? Make sure the windows are wide open if youre going to sing along… πŸ™‚

    • renpiti Says:

      Oh, they are. I also sing directly to anyone staring at me as if it’s their own personal concert. Gives THEM something to write about later.

  2. gwynna Says:

    Writers write, even when the muse is MIA, because it’s important to keep the habit. It can spur ideas, not necessarily publishable ones, and it’s a means of moving past writer’s block, even if it doesn’t produce a feature article. Keeping one’s routine, is a good thing. It means that, when that mood strikes, you have the time set aside in your day to pursue it (and if the mood doesn’t strike, there’s always ROO). Your “write only when you feel it” approach is also valid. However, for the reasons given above, and many more, I caution you to not simply wait for the feeling, but to give it a nudge. Repeatedly. Because waiting ofttimes catches us missing the moment while RL gets in the way.

    • renpiti Says:

      And I get that, I do; hence the comment about keeping mind and eyes open. For me, it becomes painfully obvious when I’m simply writing to write, and it bugs me incessantly until the Muse strikes again. “Writing when it’s right” isn’t for everyone, but it IS for people like me who don’t want to go into an apoplectic fit trying to find something to write simply to have something chiseled in digital stone for that day or week. I find that when I relax, stop worrying about writing and take a look around my world, ideas start spawning.

  3. Katie Says:

    So obviously I’ve been behind on your blog, because I’m just seeing this.

    First, I feel awful. I had no idea – NONE – that’s what you were hinting at! Like, wow. I have never felt this immensely dense in my entire life, and that’s saying something. I honestly thought you were just trying to figure out how to do your own thing! That said though, I’m glad you are doing your own thing because – and here’s the honest truth – my blog is random and sporadic enough without TWO all-over-the-place writers. You are an AWESOME writer whose voice would be a welcome addition, but at this point I’ve been told over and over by the “experts” that I have to either reign it in or figure out some kind of consistent randomness (is that even possible?) to keep people sticking around. So… if you figure out how I can do that, would you please let me know? πŸ™‚

    I fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to holding off when the Muse isn’t around. I’ve made that mistake (many times) of publishing something on my blog when the inspiration just wasn’t there, and I’ve regretted it. At the same time, there have been several times during the last three years when I know that if I’d waited, I never would’ve started writing again. So. Who’s to know what’s right?

    Just keep writing! And if you have a guest post you’re interested in doing on Domestiphobia, pitch it. πŸ˜‰

    • renpiti Says:

      Dude, no worries at all. It was my way of trying to wuss out on forging my own path. Thankfully, I was too intimidated to do more than vaguely hint at the underlying issue, and you were able to nudge me this way without either of us feeling bad about it. πŸ™‚

      Oh, and I do have an idea, but I’ll need to beef it up some and run it by you.

      Thanks for being a good inspiration, my friend.

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