Sunday, February 15, 2015

Overcoming Writer’s Block, This Week’s Procrastination Techniques, and 50 Shades of Karaoke

On Monday, I decided to write a 2,000-word piece of fiction.  I didn’t have any story ideas floating around in this noggin of mine, but I was determined to bang out a mini masterpiece.  I found a list of writing prompts, and one thing led to another, and by Friday, I had completed, edited, and submitted Quittin' Time to The New England Review.

I’m not sure how I accomplished this, as I spent the majority of the week galavanting around Paris.



But if I may say so, it’s one of my better short stories.  You know why?  Two reasons.  1.  I used my Dad as the character model for my protagonist, which was kinda fun, and 2. The more I write, the better my writing.

Duh.

We discussed this during the Writer’s Workshop I attend on Wednesday nights.  Quality improves as a result of quantity.  This is universally accepted, and an interesting topic, although not as interesting as the topic of erotic literature, which was discussed as well.  No one dared to mention Fifty Shades of Grey, however, and thank God for that.  That brings me back to size quantity.  I announced to the group my goal of 52 short stories in 2015, which sparked others to reveal their motivation tactics, and somehow all that banter inspired me to finish Quittin' Time over the next couple of days.

Yay for me.  Productive, right?  Now let’s talk about my novel.

I was on quite the roll with a new plot (an epic tale!), a new viewpoint (straight up first person), and renewed self-interest in my well-developed characters who have become as much a part of my life over the past thirteen months as baguettes and foie gras.  But ever since I returned from Cannes last Sunday night, well, writing even five or six words of this piece of merde can take several hours.

Yesterday, I decided to start another short story, and although it couldn’t add verbiage to my novel, the task of writing anything at all could have universally awakened my creative senses.  I sat at my keyboard (with various interruptions… including a lovely walk through Neuilly-sur-Siene… in the rain… at 8:30 AM) for a total of eight hours.  And what did I write?

Zilch.

No, wait.  I added 211 absolutely atrocious words to my novel.  It’s forward motion, people.  Stick with me.  My point is:

I have Writer’s Block.  And, fuck.

I’ve been here before, of course.  Oh, how many times I have been here before!  I usually await divine intervention, but the beauty of having publicly announced my writing goals - within the pages of this blog and now to my Writer’s Workshop - is the expectation and the promise that I must keep going.

So, I’m taking a brief reprieve.  It’s Valentine’s Day Weekend after all.  I’m sure you’re dying to know what amazingly romantic event I cooked up for the world’s most repulsive holiday, but first let’s review last week’s Procrastination Techniques:

- An eight hour cooking class (aka: eight hours of eating and drinking)
- A day meandering the maze of Paris with three of my girlfriends, which included leisurely conversation at a café, a tour of the French Blind People’s Association (don’t ask), my first ever authentically Greek lunch, and a walk along the Seine
- An afternoon of cutlery shopping at the BHV

I should mention the cutlery was bestowed upon The Hubs as his Valentine’s Day present.  Both he and my youngest son found my gift choice not only strange but also morbid and perhaps a bit psychotic.  I never thought of it that way, but after they mentioned it, well.  It was a pretty cool idea, though, so give me props.

I also managed to procure two copies of Charlie Hebdo - one for me and one for The Bestie - and navigate La Poste so The Bestie could have her copy in her American hands and on her office wall faster than you can say “Je Suis Charlie” six-hundred-and-five-thousand times in a row.



As for my Valentine’s date, I did not request tickets to the opening of Cinquante Nuances de Grey.  (Try to hide your disappointment).  Instead, I arranged for The Hubs and I to have dinner with friends - seven other couples - on the Champs Elysees, where we devoured Korean delicacies, drank too many bottles of Bordeaux, and displayed world-class Karaoke skills by belting out 80s hits such as Gloria and Lucky Star with a real Japanese person who sang her selections in actual Japanese.  Tres tres tres magnifique!

I’m somewhat thankful The Hubs didn’t murder me in my sleep with his new cutlery for subjecting him to the least romantic date ever.  Although, I’m curious just how sharp those French cooking knives really are.

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