Friday, July 12, 2013

In Which I Drop Some Honesty, With Gifs

This is going to be one of those "honest" posts.  I'll inter-cut it with gifs to keep you reading.
it's feelings singing time.
I'm sure this comes as absolutely no surprise to the scores of people who read this blog (Hi Amber!), but I've been feeling very uninspired lately.  Call it a rut, though it's been lasting a long, long time.  I've even started a few posts-- one about the amazing Postal Service concert I went to last month that I accidentally referred to as a Rilo Kiley concert because I was so into seeing Jenny Lewis, one about books I've read that I was excited about, one about Book Expo America 2013 where there were no star penises but there were tons of laughs and excellent books-- but I've finished exactly none of them.  With the Postal Service one, I was mentally writing it the entire way back home from Merriwether Post Pavilion, thinking about how excited I was to get it all down and how it would be fun to blog again, and then I came home, opened the laptop, and... nothing.  The excitement, the words, the fire-- they all drained out of me in an instant.
much like Dean's coffee
This rutful feeling doesn't just cover my personal blog life.  I haven't written a review for WPP in about a month, despite the fact that I have read some books worth reviewing (in case you're curious, Winger by Andrew Smith and the upcoming Fire With Fire by Richmond native and general awesome lady Jenny Han and her bestie and general awesome lady Siobhan Vivian).  I didn't notice it until I went to update my spreadsheet of Books Read in 2013 yesterday (yes I have a spreadsheet you shut your mouth), and this is the first time I've finished a book since June 19 (thank you, audiobook for Outlander).  I've started a bunch, but they're all in limbo.  That's very rare for me, especially the me of the past few years.
this is how i usually feel about books
Part of it, I know, is burnout.  Writing reviews is hard, y'all.  Especially now, because I know what I like, and I'm growing increasingly tired of reading books that don't compel me.  Being a reviewer means that sometimes you have to slog through a story that you do not care about in the slightest.  I could mark it as DNF (that's Did Not Finish for you folks playing at home), but I really, really hate doing that.  I don't judge someone for it, but I want to finish what I start.  So, when I start a new YA book, and I'm immediately smacked in the face by 14 of the same tropes I've seen in the last 50 books I've read, I just can't imagine going on any further.  I don't want to.
presented w/o comment
There are exceptions to the above.  I've been "reading" this one book since I took the train home from BEA.  It's a short book, and I could've easily finished it on the train, but I reached a certain point where I knew the story was going to break me up inside, so I put it down to finish at a later date.  Now, it sits on my dresser, staring at me, willing me to finish, and I'm too scared and/or sad to find out what happens.  What even is that about?
what IS up,
I've also been trying to write more since I got back from BEA.  Hanging with the authorly types (especially the talented, passionate, creative authorly types who happen to be my friends) showed me that this is what I want to do.  I want to tell the stories I've carried around for so, so long.  I want to get them out of me and on paper and into the world.  But it's the same as the blog thing.  In fact, just yesterday as I walked home from the metro, I started hearing snippets of conversation in my head, and I knew which characters were speaking.  I couldn't wait to get home and get this out, let these two characters share this nonsensical conversation and reconnect.  However, I get home, complete my Getting Home routine, and when I finally sit down, I actually fall asleep.  I could have picked the story up at any point in the evening, with more than enough happy wishes from Hubs (and begrudging shrugs from the Mutt Who Really Just Wants Belly-Rubs), but instead?  I watch super mindless TV and then catch up on other less mindless TV.  Granted, I was spending time with Hubs and Mutt, which is always a blessing and happy-making time for me, but then I start thinking... How badly do I actually want this?  Not bad enough to look away from Exes Wipeout, apparently.

Okay, so this is a lot more honest than I intended, but it's already out so it's staying.
ugh, the accuracy.
My point is, I'm in a rut.  I'm doing my best to break out of it, but it's like my brain is floating in molasses.  It's like I'm caught in suspension, but not in the good way that it sounds like in the Mae song.  I'm just here.  And I don't know how to do anything more than exist right now.  It's got to be me that breaks out of this cycle, but I don't know how to do it.
I'm not asking for your sympathy, and, unless the advice is something magical, I'm not asking for that either. I'm simply stating my facts right now as I see them.  Frankly, it feels kinda good to get them out of me.  Maybe this is what I needed all along, to get these negative nellie vibes out of my brain so that space can be taken up by, like, more song lyrics or, you know, PLOT FOR A BOOK I SHOULD BE WRITING.  I know what I need to do to break free of this, but (and this will be the dumbest thing I've ever said) it's hard to do the hard thing.  But that's what I need to do.  Here's hoping I stop being scared and just freaking DO IT already.
asking life's important question
Anyway, thanks for reading, if you're all the way here.  You right there?  You're my favorite.


  1. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 I can so relate to this feeling, and to the frustration of KNOWING what you need to do but for some reason just not being able to get going. The good news is, at least in my experience, once you START, the effort kind of snowballs and becomes something good and fun pretty fast. <3 <3 <3

  2. JESS. You are in my head. Or rather, my head is where your head is right now.

    I was so glad to read this because I've been in a wordless rut for a while now. It is a very odd and lonely place - all of my writer friends seem to have no problem writing books, and articles, and poetry, and memoirs and can't understand why I'm stuck and I can't quite seem to grasp where my words went. I thought for a while it was because I write advertising for a living and that the short form + being forced to write when not in the mood was causing it - but I don't think that's it. I still think about what to write, and take notes on plot points, and have a running list of ideas. But somewhere along the line, I stopped putting them down on paper.

    I have no answer. And even if I did, I suspect that it would be too personal to apply to anyone but me. But I hope it changes and the need to write comes back. Here's to hoping it comes back to us both, soon.

    Also, you are not alone. (insert michael jackson gif here)

  3. The whole how to use GIFs thing still eludes me. It's like a slippery fish. (Although now that I'm vegetarian, I won't actually be fishing anymore, not that I did it all that much before, so really there won't be any slippery fishies in my hand. Forget that.) Maybe an elusive slippery jar top that taunts me because I see it but can't do anything about it. And maybe I need to refresh my memory on how to use a metaphor properly.

    I think you write real good :)

    1. And if you keep insisting on calling me your favorite, it's really going to go to my head!

  4. Gahhhhh, JessTwin, we are once again mindlinked. I have not written anything "real" in... ohhhhh, hey, we're approaching 6 months, whee. And my reading has really fallen off as well. I'm trying trying trying not to beat myself up about it, because I do think that there's this myth about creativity, that it should just be ON all the time, and that there's something wrong with us if we can't (or don't want to) access it. It is okay not to want to do the thing for a while, because your brain is tired of doing the thing, even though in the long run you still really want to do the thing. (We are large, we contain multitudes.) There is no one right way of doing things, and the bottom line is that there is a difference between pushing ourselves because we really want to write but we're just feeling afraid/lazy/whatever, and pushing ourselves when we actually need a break because writing is draining and we are human beings who require down time and self-care. (For me, this 6 months has been very much about getting the world of publishing out of my head, because I personally find that to be a completely unfulfilling lens through which to come at writing.) SO, anyway, rambleramble, but basically: I know that the place where you are feels bad, because I'm there too, but I'm trying to let it not feel bad for a while, and see where that goes. Will report back. :) xo