I’m back in the saddle after another week off. Wow, time flies when you are….well, doing nothing. And an extra special thank you to my dearest faithful blog reading friends AND my devoted sister, who always seem to know just the right time to call me and inquire about the um…”the missing blogs” which then I quickly justify the long list of all of the “other” things I have been doing (or actually not doing, clearly writing being one of them) but I promise to get right back on the ol’ blog wagon ASAP. Yes, when the universe talks, I listen. Or was that E.F. Hutton?
So here I am. Which for the record, I’m not really sure where that is. Well, figuratively, not literally. Because I’m sitting on my couch although I can assure you I haven’t been here for long. Last weekend I went to a writing workshop because I officially decided while I was on vacation a few weeks back I was going to move forward and write a book. It was actually prescribed to me by a naturopathic doctor without me even mentioning the whole writing hobby thing. I was just telling her a bit about my journey over the last 4 years as she was doing this cool live blood cell analysis and she says.. “You should write a book and I’m going to put that down in my summary as a recommendation, ok?”. Well, ok then. And that was that. Because the Universe and Dr. Holmes said so.
Great. Now what? Well, I obviously better get a plan started. And there is no one more excited than the Executive because he has been chomping at the bit for a decent project for weeks, ok months. 2 1/2 months to be exact. So I decide to attend a workshop in Denver to learn “How to publish a book” because the Executive loves the operational aspect of any good project and if we are going to do this with the best chance of success, we need a little bit more information for planning purposes. So, I book a flight, hotel, rental car and I am off like a prom dress. 🙂
It was a little crowded on my trip because Herp wanted to come too, yes, he hung around for a full 2 weeks and do you want to know why? Because I was obsessed with him, not from a president of his fan club kinda way, more of a constant negative energy vibe kinda way, trying every homeopathic remedy known to mankind to rid of him of his existence. All which did a whole lot of nothing but keep him around for longer. Don’t worry, he’s gone now but left a nice tender red spot as a souvenir/”Thanks for having me” gift. I actually didn’t want to write until he left because all I would have done was bitched about him so I was trying to spare you all my serious attitude problem. And you’re welcome.
Anyway, back to the weekend, here we were, learning all about the differences between traditional publishing, self publishing, ebook publishing, building your own brand platform and I start to think..Ok, now what am I really going to write about? My career path so I can use this as a speaking platform? Or harness my 20 years of professional expertise so I can make money again someday? Hmm. Or maybe it’s more of documentation of my personal journey in discovering my spiritual path? But the Executive isn’t clear there is any money to be made along that route so we should really carefully consider the long term strategy here. And I shouldn’t write any more until I figure out how to structure this because he has also already created a deadline to have this “little project” completed in 2 months.
See, unfortunately when my accountant (the real one, not the fake one inside my head) issued my 2011 tax bill, a bunch of voices inside my head started to get a little restless about this whole time off thing and burning through my savings, so there is a new sense of urgency to figure out whatever I’m going to do this year and get it done sooner rather than later so I can get back to having money flow in, not just flow out. And speaking of flow, guess who else hitched a ride on my workshop weekend? Please don’t let me get started on that. The Executive likes to remind me that I should be careful talking about too many “inappropriate” personal things in this blog in case I decide to get an official job again some day and what will people think about reading about cold sores let alone menstrual cycles. Also, he has decided that if we do publish a book, he will assume the role as editor, for my reputation sake.
So as I am sitting in this workshop, contemplating a strategy for this writing project, when something horrible happened…the next speaker came up and said we were going to do some writing exercises. Huh? What? Writing exercises? Uh-no. This isn’t going to be good. See, I’m not here for writing exercises on how to write per se, I’m here to learn how to publish my brilliant writing material that just appears like magic from my finger tips. Nope. I don’t want to get all jammed up with “writing exercises” or “how to rules”. My writing is just fine. Like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I’m happy with my poor grammar (spelled grammer before spell check of course) and improper sentence structure. No writing exercises needed here!
Now, you know who has been patiently waiting and just realized this little workshop is going to be good for something after all. The speaker who is a published fiction writer starts out with a lot of great tips and nuggets to keep in mind when writing and also wants to remind the attendees to focus on the “creative details” that really engage the readers in the experience so she asks us to think about an event from our life that happened years ago where we don’t remember all of the details. Oh no! Oh yes, and Mr. E is absolutely loving this. He can’t believe his luck.
Brilliant. Let’s use writing to open some wounds shall we?
And guess what Mr. E pulls out of his hat, some random teenage moment when I lived with my father for a little over a year and let me tell you, nothing positive comes to mind about this time, AT ALL. The speaker asks us to “pick a color and describe this memory with a color”. I write. And, this isn’t fun. Then she advises us to “use music to describe this moment” and I write. Ok, this definitely isn’t fun. Now, “pick a meal and describe this memory as food”.
WTF? I don’t want to write about this stuff because this isn’t why I am here. And, this isn’t how I write! This feels forced, depressing and sad. Writing for me is fun, creative and free. It flows with insight, humor and a little reflection is ideal but I’m not looking to process my inner most memories in 100 painfully descriptive details. This writing is definitely not my kind of writing. No way, Jose! And in that very moment, I have no flowing conscious fun thoughts like I do when I’m at home. It’s all completely gone. Replaced by this crap. Now, I’m thinking…hard….and…..writing…reluctantly….and completely all up my head strolling down some suppressed childhood memory lane. Nope, this isn’t for me, so I stop. Enough. I’m just going to sit here and ponder what I’m even doing here in the first place. It’s break time. Excellent. I made it through with hopefully nothing more than some surface scratches and everything will be ok, right?
After we return, I’m think the worst is over. Yes, coast it clear. She continues to speak about her personal story, her writing process which she defines as a “craft” and then goes back to the damn exercises. Shit. This totally sucks and I’m stuck here in the second row. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Just me, myself and I or should I say Mr. E.
The speaker asks us to go back to that previous memory and let’s continue to pour some more salt in the wound. Ok, she didn’t officially say that but she might as well have. 3 more painful questions and with each one I write less and less. “Pick a piece of furniture to describe this memory, describe this situation in a cultural aspect and finally the grand finale, pick a feeling or emotion that describes this moment. What am I? In therapy hell with 200 other strangers? I decide this really totally sucks and I’m definitely not into the writing thing anymore. I’m mentally checking out. That night I treat myself to a really expensive dinner, alone.
The following day, we are back in business as another speaker talks all about operational aspects of writing and we watch a few personal stories from accomplished best selling authors. Now the Executive loves this and is already putting a plan into action just as quickly as the information is coming in until we hit the brick wall. The book proposal. What? For a non fiction book or memoir, I’m not supposed to actually write the book first, I just need to write a business plan (ie. Book Proposal) not just about the book but how I plan to market and sell it in addition to my credentials of course, a market analysis, competitive overview, summary of each chapter as well as a sample chapter, all in one neat 30 page draft which THEN can be submitted for consideration to an agent for them to pitch to a publisher, pending they are even interested of course. Every cell in my body is in resistance. See, this is what I used to do for a living. Sell stuff. And now I have to sell myself? No way. And then do you know who rides in to save the day? The Writer.
“We don’t have to have this all figured out now and the journey might just be in the writing part not the publishing or business part. So, let’s just keep writing every day and go with the flow. Everything will happen as it is meant to be.”
A voice of reason. Thank gosh! While all of the information has been fascinating, it has kinda been ruining the whole writing thing for me so I think we should just take all of this information “under advisement” and go home to do whatever it was before we came here.
“Oh, you mean nothing?”
Alright already. I get it. We’ve got some bigger issues to discuss tomorrow. Until then..