Mission Semi-Impossible: Day Ten: I'm Running Out of Titles

Much Needed Yet Completely Off Topic Pop Culture Rant: As much as I hate myself for it, I can’t stop (won’t stop?) watching “The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman”. I just can’t. Now is this because I believe that Bevin might actually be the first contestant to commit a felony assault on network television? Or because I could actually physically feel the awkwardness that Andy (the Bachelor who, it should be pointed out, does not move his facial muscles or open his mouth when speaking) felt when he realized that one of his top four contestants (Amber) was basically a 23 year old drama seeking sorority chick without parental approval to be on the show? Or that the most normal girl left doesn’t even like him and seems freaked out by the entire premise of the show? Or that people still believe that maybe, maybe someone will actually get married at the end of a reality show contest taking place over six weeks? Or that the girls that go on it still express surprise and anger at the fact that he’s also dating other women, even though they were the ones who tried out for the show knowing full well what it entails?? Or that I’ve actually spent time thinking about these things when I could have been doing other, important things like thinking up solutions to global warming or, I dunno, writing something?

Whew. Sorry. I needed to get that out.

Words: 1216
Feelings: Renewed Curiosity in Unimportant Details

Fears: Mental Facilities Failing, Getting Overwhelmed with Changes I Need to Make Early in the Book, Not Eating Enough Protein, Women named Bevin

Thoughts: Like most people born in the 80s, I have undiagnosed problems paying attention to things for long periods of time. Whether you blame it on the Internet, or the proliferation of Text Messaging or the Rain, the point remains: I have trouble remaining occupied by one thing for more than a 20 minute block.

Some of this is productive. I come up with my best stuff wandering around a room, mumbling to myself, which–i’ve come to find out–is generally frowned upon in country club dining rooms. But other times, it’s just that I feel this all-powerful urge to find out What Other Cooler Things Are Happening Elsewhere. I’ve touched on this before and I don’t necessarily mean it in a physical sense, but more in the sense that I have all of the power of the Internet and my Cell phone and everything else in front of me. And so, you know, maybe I want to check and see if there is anything in the news on the NYTimes website or Boston.com or any one of the other news sites I convince myself I need to read, or on Slate, or on any of the blogs that I check out, or maybe I want to see what the stock market is doing, or the latest publishing news, or check out what profiles have been updated on Facebook, or Google myself, and then do it again using a different set of words, and then again.

And knowing this about myself just means that I have to change up the way that I write, especially when I’m going on a two week binge to try and finish a novel. So my solution usually involves locking myself in a public place without free access to the Internet (read: Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, well-lit movie theatre lobbies) where other people will be working, which encourages me to work, and keeps me off the ‘Net so I can’t go browsing Zappos for the latest in mens footwear, or make hypothetical trades on stocks I just heard about in the boo-yah free zone on Jim Cramer’s Mad Money.

And even after taking all of this time and all of these pre-cautions I sometimes can’t stop (won’t stop?) going  back in my book, looking at the pages of drivel from early in the book when my character outlines consisted of one sentence bio’s (example: Tristan: cool guy, but not totally a cool guy?) and feeling this overwhelming sense that I need to go back and fix everything right away.

So, friends, my point in all of this is that: writing is f-ing tough for me, and writing a novel if even more f-ing tough than all of the other stuff that I imagined I’d do, and writing a novel that doubles as your thesis that you want to be proud of and that you hope that your friends will eventually steal from their local public library is the toughest, most mentally demanding thing that I’ve done since I got braces. But, hopefully, like those same metallic, socially crippling attachments of my middle school years, I will look back on this not as a time of ridicule and  pain, but as a process that will ultimately make something beautiful. Like my smile, post braces, pre-me not wearing my retainer.

Question to Ponder: Is it normal that I can only remember sex scenes in any of the five or so Ken Follett novels I’ve read?

Every Rose Has It’s Thorn,

Poison

PS- pictured below: a typical Orthodontical funfest, googles included.

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8 thoughts on “Mission Semi-Impossible: Day Ten: I'm Running Out of Titles

  1. Lisa

    Only here could I, would I, admit to having watched *any* episodes of The Bachelor! I’ve wondered who else was watching as I rolled my eyes at the drama and teary-eyed girls who don’t get a rose! It’s pure curiosity about who will win that keeps me coming back — even though I hold no illusions that a 6-wk group courtship could result in a successful marriage.

    Now, as far as your dilemma with a short attention span, I’d like to share something I learned from a creativity coach friend. It’s called The Egg. Before sitting down to write, gather together an egg, a bowl, and a fork, and set them next to your computer. Crack the egg open and pour it into the bowl. Every time a distracting, potentially procrastination-producing thought teases you, give the egg a stir with the fork. Every time. You are not allowed to get up until you have written for the self-allotted period of time. … It works!

  2. Kevin Alexander

    Lynne,
    Your totally write. I an embarrassed to say that their have been a pear of times that I have used the word climatic when I mint to use climactic. You sea, spell check only picks up words I spell wrong not words that I don’t use write. And yes, I am of a generation that feels good entirely blaming this mistake on spell check:)

    Seriously though, thanks for reading. I’m glad you’re enjoying my descent into madness.

    I had a bad,
    tornado experience

    KA

  3. Pat Marin

    Okay, Kevin, I relate to the attention thing. Yes, I’m older, but that doesn’t necessary make it easier. E-mail, the Internet, and Spider Solitaire are my computer distractions. To solve them, I take my AlphaSmart—a lightweight, indestructible, battery-operated word processor—to the dock, Borders, B&N, the library, the backyard—anywhere I can write. That solves that problem.

    The Bachelor thing is another story. Being a Dance with the Stars fanatic (the only reality TV I watch or use to watch), I too became addicted to The Bachelor: Officer and Gentlemen. The uniform, its a female thing. I need to know which girl wins. So I guess that’s my distraction for the next couple of weeks too.

    Advice: Just write the darn draft. It’s just that—a draft. You can fix the problems later. You can fill out the character bios later. You can perfect the novel, later.

    Now keep me laughing and work on the novel too.

  4. Lynne Agno

    I just discovered you today by following the crumb (not crummy) path from Writer’s Digest. God, you’re funny! So I cruised through a few entries, laughing to myself, or even, a couple of times, OL, and wanted to tell you so. One question, though…in some earlier entries, when you talk about avoiding writing the "climatic scene" do you mean climatic as in of or pertaining to climate, or do you mean climactic as in the great big hoo-hah part of the story? And if it’s the former, I’m wondering if you had a weather-related trauma early in life (I’m a shrink and I think of these things). Or is it more like you’re a member of the generation that was taught that self-esteem is waaaay more important than some priggish little trifle like, say, spelling? And if not, why not?
    You’re a,
    hoot

  5. Morgan Barnhart

    I’m curious, is ‘google’ supposed to be ‘goggle’?

    Also, I’m just like you, born in the 80s, no attention span, writer, blah blah blah. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, there are WAY too many distractions to keep entertained by one thing for more than 20 minutes. MAYBE 30 minutes…maybe.

    However, I look at it as a great inspiration break. I get up, go wander around, and just like you, talk to myself. Eventually I do get inspired. It’s a refresher too. There’s nothing wrong with it, you just gotta be disciplined enough to be able to know when you’ve been distracted for long enough. 😉

    One more thing, have you heard about word wars? They can do wonders to boost your word count, especially if you’ve got a competitive spirit. If you don’t know what it is, e-mail me (when you’re not writing and don’t plan to write, of course). You may be able to to google it, but I don’t know…

  6. Lisa Bakewell

    Man, I thought you’d never write today! There are only a couple of blogs that are "legal" when I have deadlines and yours is one of them. It’ll really be tough when you go back to writing once a week or so.

    I’m somewhat older than you are…OK I could be your mom…but I can relate to your attention span problem. Though I’m not sure that yours (or mine) can totally be blamed on electronics, having access to "instant" information can make it tough to stay on task. Granted you (and everyone younger than you) are much more adept at doing 10 things at one time, but technology, specifically the Internet, has definitely given me excuses to daydream and get off task too–but I can only do five things at once.

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