Saturday, September 5, 2015

Adulting Strike, Writing Downhill, Publishing News, Caught on Camera: Buddy Edition

I decided on impulse to take some extra days off this week, so I’m currently in the middle of a five-day weekend. I’m on strike from adulting right now. I’m sleeping in late, binge-watching “Workaholics” on my tablet, playing mindless video games, and ignoring anything that smacks of responsibility. I’m done. After brief consideration this morning, I decided I’m not going to the gym either. Screw it. It’s noon, I’m in my robe eating cheese, and the world can shove it.

That having been said, I did get my grant materials in yesterday, including an imperfect but “it’ll do” essay, and I started a new flash fiction/short story piece that so far, I’m not thrilled with. It occurred to me as I was working on it that I’ve been avoiding starting a new writing project because of the sheer amount of mental energy/brain fuel it takes to write. My brain doesn’t seem to have any charge left in it right now. It’s literally as though I need a drip line of sugar or glucose or something. I feel completely spent mentally.

Then again, I heard author Simon Rich on The Gist podcast a few weeks ago talking about the concept of “writing downhill”, which I really liked. He said that writing shouldn’t be hard, and if it is, your approach is wrong, and you need to keep trying new tactics until it feels effortless and fun. I love that. It’s such a non-judgmental, unpretentious concept. I’ve always disliked the prevailing myth that writing should be difficult. When I do my best writing, it feels effortless. Maybe it’s not writing itself that’s hard, but rather getting to that point of effortlessness. Right now, it feels quite effort-full, but I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to produce due to my own insecurities. Maybe writing is another thing I’ll put off for a while longer. After all, I just got an epic-level bow for my Wood Elf hunter, and those gnolls in Azeroth aren’t going to kill themselves.

I do have a bit of good news on the publishing front—after a long bout of e-mails not going through, I finally heard from the new publisher of “The Acme Employee Handbook”, and it looks like publication is pending—print copies should be available sometime in January! In the meantime, I’m working on a query letter for my novel. I never did post it to “Query Letter Hell” like I said I would, but once I’m off strike, I’m going to be brave and plunge in. I’ll post links to the results here so you can enjoy my inevitable humiliation at the hands of ruthlessly frank agents.

I’ve never been completely thrilled with the name “Buddy” for our cat. I’ve considered renaming him "Breeebreebeebreeeblebeebleereee!" for the high-pitched,  full-body, gurgling squeal he makes when he's excited about something and tears across the living room at top speed and crashes into the blinds. But that's a little impractical and hard to spell, so I guess we'll stick with Buddy. He’s grown a lot over the last six weeks. He can barely fit his haunches into the Coke case anymore. I promised video, and here’s a sea-sick-inducing “shaky cam” clip of Buddy chasing what’s left of this fourth feather toy. And in one shot you can see the adorable little tea-stain just under his nose. Enjoy!

--Kristen McHenry

P.S. This is literally the first time I have ever shot a video on my cell phone, and it's vertical because did't know you could turn the phone to shoot horizontally until Mr. Typist called me a newb and a grandma. Future videos will be horizontal, but only because I want them to be, not because he made fun of me. Hmmph. 

1 comment:

Frank Moraes said...

I'm exhausted, so I'm not going to ask about all the things you mentioned that I didn't understand. But I tend to see writing -- a lot of the time at least -- to be like breaking through a wall. You write and write and write. It's all crap, but the writing is part of the process of getting to that place where it becomes, well, not effortless, but easy and fun. If there is a better way to get there, I'd love to hear it. I just don't think it is true. But I also think it is often better to leave minor flaws than to fix them. Next year this time, we'll just be disappointed with it anyway. Or at least, I think we should be disappointed because we are always improving. But now I'm sounding like someone at Boundless Horizons (?) in your novel!

Buddy looks charming! He reminds me of my last cat, Deadline. He was a wonderful cat and a constant reminder to get back to work.