Posts Tagged ‘grousing is not writing’

You may have noticed that I have been posting a lot more regularly in the past few weeks. This is because my novel is…

…going horribly.

HORRIBLY. I hate it and everything about it. Every sentence I write is excruciating to craft. Every word is the wrong word. Every character is selfish and one-dimensional and stupid. My metaphors are overwrought. The plot is boring. I know exactly what needs to happen and when and why but it’s NOT HAPPENING and it’s making me mad. I feel like I have zero control over my characters and their whims and their actions and interactions. I feel like new characters pop up out of nowhere and make no sense. I feel like I’d rather sit on needles than open my manuscript. Every time I read something I’ve already written, I roll my eyes. If I try to write fresh, without reading previous pages, I write something I’ve already written. Is it better than what I’d already written? Hard to tell, when they’re both CRAP.

You’re supposed to just WRITE, even when things are bad. So I am pretending that blogging counts as writing, and I am blogging like it’s 2009 all over again. And it’s working! I am getting TONS of ideas and inspiration and desire to write!

But, um, for the blog, not for the novel.


People always ask me these two things about my writing, so I will tell you:

How much do you have left to write? I would estimate that I am about 75% of the way done with the novel. Plot-wise, that is. I have about a quarter of the way to go in explaining the plot. But I would also estimate that there’s a LOT more than that: backstory and build up and detail and blahblah that has to go in as well. And I don’t know how to estimate THAT.

How many pages have you written so far? My best guess is that I have around 250 pages. The program I use to draft the novel (Scrivener) lists word count, so that’s how I think about my output: in words. Not necessarily pages.

It sounds like a decent amount, right? Well, it SHOULD BE, after TWO YEARS. But let’s also keep in mind that a lot of the existing words/pages will get cut. And then more will need to be written. And more cutting. So it’s hard for me to say with great confidence WHERE I stand, exactly.

A friend asked me recently how I was doing, and I told him how horrible it was, and how much I hated the stupid novel and everything about it, and he said something along the lines of, “Well, you gave it a shot. Are you going to find a job now?” And I got really mad. (Not really at him; it was a reasonable question.)

No way in HELL am I giving up. So what if the book is shitty? Plenty of books are shitty. So what if no one ever reads a word of it? Plenty of books never see the light of day. So what if I hate every minute of it? That’s not true always. Sometimes I am quite pleased with what I’ve written. Sometimes I can write for hours and it feels like minutes. I am trying to treat the writing of this novel like a job (although, let’s be honest, if my boss weren’t so understanding, I would have been fired LONG ago) and sometimes jobs suck. You go through rough patches. You have projects and tasks you can’t stand. And you do them because it’s your job. This is just a rough patch.

To violently switch metaphors, I am going to see this motherfucker through to the bitter end. It may not be a happy ending, with flowers and beautiful piano music and lots of people standing around saying wistful, loving things, and angels holding out their welcoming hands in a swath of holy light. No. It might not even be a gruesome, bloody end, with stab wounds and a heaving chest and the buzz of adrenaline over ohmygod what did I just do. It might just be me standing over this stupid novel, choking the life out of it, and getting tired, and listening to its weak gasping, and then squeezing the breath out of it again, slowly, painfully, both of us in agony and just wanting it to be over already my GOD. But it will end, dammit! It will end, and when it does I will be there, standing over it, breathless and kind of grossed out, but victorious!


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Do you know the difference between these two bottles?


The righthand bottle is plain old saline solution. It’s for rinsing and storing your contact lenses. The lefthand bottle is a special enzyme-cleaning solution for your contacts. You put it in a special case with your contacts and the case contains a neutralizing material that does the crucial neutralizing over many (six, I think) hours. You can see right up on the top of the bottle in big, bold letters that you should NOT put it in your eyes. If you are a contact-lenses wearer, you probably already know that. I have been wearing contacts since fourth grade so I DEFINITELY know that.

And yet, the other day, I removed my contacts from the case, put one lens on the tip of my finger, and instead of filling the lens with normal saline as I have EVERY DAY OF MY ADULT LIFE AND MUCH OF MY CHILDHOOD, I filled it with the enzyme cleaner instead. And, not noticing my HEINOUS ERROR, I put the enzyme-solution-filled lens in my eye. And then I died.

No, I didn’t die. But I was felled by immediate, searing pain. I literally collapsed to my knees, on my bathroom floor, in a very dramatic fashion.

I like to think this act of unfathomable stupidity was a test of my emergency-handling skills. Okay, I will admit that my immediate reaction was to crumple to the floor and screech loudly and wonder who in the hell was going to call 911 for me (I was alone in the house), which doesn’t bode well for fires or murderers.

But then my logical brain took over, and I started flushing my eye with lots of cold water. My eye refused to open because the last time it did, I tried to murder it. So I soaked a washcloth in water and pushed that up against my eye until it finally did let me open it a crack. Then more flushing until I was finally able to pry to contact out of my eye. More flushing still. Then I was able to google what a person was to do if she was so ridiculous as to put enzyme solution directly in her eye. Flush with water, is the answer. Contact your eye doctor if the pain and irritation remains after several hours.


Let us now look at a soothing hibiscus bush.


Yesterday, there was a single blossom… today, many! Just like popcorn, where you wait and wait and wait, and then all of a sudden your bush is full! But of hibiscus, not popcorn! Which I don’t put on shrubbery anyway! This metaphor has gone awry!

Before and since the Solution Incident of ’18, my eyes have been bothering me for a different reason. I am going to guess “allergies,” given the fact that I also sneeze a lot.

Whatever the case, my eye are constantly red and itchy and uncomfortable. I am constantly rubbing them and trying not to rub them and wiping them with washcloths. In the morning, they are encrusted by… well, crust. It’s really delightful.

I have been self-medicating with over-the-counter antihistamines and allergy eyedrops. They work a teensy bit. The great and all-knowing internet suggests that my best recourse is to stop wearing makeup and contacts. Blah. I like wearing makeup. My face looks naked without at least mascara. And I like wearing contacts. It’s almost a necessity, in summer, because I need to wear sunglasses to protect my eyes against the solar glare. And I don’t have prescription sunglasses, so I can’t wear them unless I am wearing contacts.

Well, I will give up both. If I have to. But the goal here is to have eyes that a) can see and b) can do so without redness, itching, or total nakedness.

Nothing I am doing on my own (eyedrops, antihistamines, rubbing) is working. I think I need either a) a diagnosis and an actual treatment plan or b) an updated glasses prescription so I can get some sunglasses with prescription lenses. In either case, I need to find a new eye doctor.

You may choose to skip this ranty/boring part:

The last time we discussed my eye doctor, I was frustrated by insurance issues. (Which we ended up paying; to make a long story still unfortunately long, my husband and I both got a bill from our eye doctor for the exact same service. Our insurance was covering part of my visit, but not part of my husband’s. Our insurance claimed that my eye doctor was no longer a preferred provider, so they wouldn’t be covering charges. Turns out he WAS a preferred provider, but only became one a month or so after my husband’s visit [and a few weeks before MY visit, which means the insurance company covered part of my visit out of the kindness of their hearts] [he’d just joined a new practice; previous to that he was a preferred provider according to our insurance].) Anyway, we thought we got the insurance issues sorted out. But recently, my husband made an appointment to see the eye doctor and once he was there, in the waiting room, for his appointment, they informed him that our eye doctor is no longer a preferred provider under our insurance plan. SIGH. So we paid in full for covered services for my husband two years in a row. And now we all need to find a new eye doctor anyway.


I do not WANT to find a new eye doctor. I want my OLD eye doctor. And I want him to be covered by our insurance. Yes, yes, I know I am very fortunate to have eyes and a selection of eye doctors in the area AND insurance that covers eye stuff. I can still be grumpy about having to find an eye doctor.

You know what this means, right? Research, and then calls to the doctor to see if s/he is taking new patients. And then calls to my insurance provider to see if the doctor is covered. And then calls to the doctor to make an appointment. It sounds like only three calls, which I acknowledge is manageable if mentally TRYING, but let’s agree that it will actually require many, many more than three.

Let us now look at a charming and probably hypoallergenic baby deer that would totally be a preferred provider lookit his little spotties awwwwww.

Fawn 2

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