Saturday, October 29, 2011

Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind

Have you ever avoided places online where you might have to write? I've been there -- and am still there often enough to know how it feels. It isn't as though I have nothing to say. I have lots to say -- and write -- but, for some reason, getting lost in the words is not where I feel I can go right now, not with a new job I'm learning and a new scheduled I'm doing my best to get used to. My haven -- writing -- seems unattainable right now because I'm afraid of getting lost in the words and lose all sense of time (the way I usually do) and miss clocking in for work. That's the new way of keeping track of transcriptionists working remotely, a website to clock in and out of work. Being late is not something I am every comfortable with, not with memories of sitting in the girl's bathroom in a stall with my feet up on the door so no one will know I was late for Sunday school again

I hate being late. Comes from having a mother who was never on time for anything and will doubtless be late to her funeral. I know that is possible because my ex-husband's mother was late to her own funeral due to some mechanical failure on her coffin cart. I wrote about it once and it ended up in a Chicken Soup anthology. I've no doubt my trials and tribulations -- of the minor sort right now -- will also end up in an anthology or provide the seed that will grow into a book or screenplay. Anything is possible when a writer is involved, and everything is food for the writing mill.

Not only am I worried about clocking in late, but I'm also on my toes because my ex-boss is still trying to suck the last vestige of life, soul, and money out of me. A call from the unemployment insurance rep here in Colorado earlier this week was because she was doing her best to deny my claim. I don't need much, just the monies that are due me for the weeks I was off work before I started the new job, from which I will not be paid until the end of November. The new job pays twice a month, the 4th and the 20th, and they hold back the first pay. Lovely.

I didn't figure that into my budget because I counted on unemployment, for which I have duly filed, and yet the ex-boss is still hot to save a little money by taking it from me, as she took it from me for the past 4 years. The story is too long and sad and, yes, I stuck it out because I had so much time in and didn't want to lose what I had gained. The problem with that is that I gained nothing except lost time in servitude to a greedy and vindictive employer who is still hell bent on keeping me broke. It's why she kept hounding me for the past 2 years to resign -- so she wouldn't have to pay unemployment.

Do you really see how I could be a little gun shy and wary of clocking in late on a new job with such history behind me? I feel like someone who has been in an abusive relationship for years, finally got free, and is wary of anyone who wants to begin a new relationship. It's called baggage, and I have my fair share of it.

And yet here I sit writing when I know that if I keep going -- and I can keep on going for hours, maybe days -- I will miss clocking in on time. The clock is ticking and I'm already getting sweaty and nauseous at the thought, still the little girl sitting in the bathroom stall with my feet on the door waiting to hear the sound of Sunday school over so I can slip quietly -- and early -- into church for services so no one will notice me.

Funny how time does that, pass and still not pass. I'm 56 years old and yet I'm still 11 years old and late for Sunday school sitting in the girl's restroom with my feet up, worried someone will come in and find me. The only good part of that scenario is hearing all the things that other people hide when they're avoiding being seen.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Cure for Lack of Inspiration

There are often times when there is nothing to write about and the thought of putting down nothing or some nonsensical stream of consciousness doesn't sit right with the writer, and so they don't write, waiting for inspiration to strike or a job to come along that will foce them to write. What they should have done was just write. A writer's slogan should be the same as Nike's: Just Do It.

Inspiration may not strike. The muse must be coaxed and cajoled, forced out of hiding by the sheer weight of what may seem like nonsensical verbiage, like this. I have nothing, except for two novels to finish and a deadline on a recap of Mike & Molly, a Monday night television show I agreed to write about for The Celebrity Cafe. It's nothing special, just a retelling in words of what is seen on the screen, a sort of reverse engineering of a television show that began as words before it was filmed and is now to be rendered back into words. All writing begins with -- words. Not brain surgery that, just words and more words.

One way to Just Do It is to join NaNoWriMo and begin the quest for words that make sense, even if it means writing words that don't make sense to arrive at the end of the month with 50,000 words and a novel, a rough beginning of a novel most of the time, but a novel all the same. I've used NaNo a few times in the past to work through writer's block, writer's stasis, and writer's fear of writing stupid and it has worked. I've retooled one novel that became a sort-of romance, Past Imperfect, and worked through a few other novels that didn't quite work and need much more work to be novels, and will work through my writing balking on two more novels -- or at least one of them. I need to get them back on track and out of my head so I can move on to other works, like the sequel to Among Women, which is Among Men. (Seemed like a fitting title to the sequel to Pearl Caldwell's wrongful incarceration and journey of the soul.)

In the end, when writing isn't coming and the muse stubbornly refuses to answer the call to inspire, NaNoWriMo is a good way to put things back on track and write. Deadlines are good, and not just when they go whizzing past.