Writer’s Clog

I’ve been sitting here for hours, trying to write.

It’s not that I don’t have ideas. It’s that I have too many. I have a growing list of ideas that I’ve been toting around, and frankly I’m in love with them all. I have characters and plots climbing all over each other in my brain, and it’s like I’ve gone into creative overload and just shut down.

I can’t seem to focus on one single idea, so my brain has decided to strike and not create anything.

I’ve been staring at a blank screen since dinnertime, and all I’ve managed so far is six open tabs with snippets of six different stories.

The popular notion of writer’s block is that the writer is blank, unable to come up with anything to write. So what is it called when you have so many competing ideas that they get jammed on their way to your fingers? Writer’s clog?

I know, I should be thankful for the ideas I have. I am. But in its own way, writer’s clog is just as frustrating as writer’s block. I want to do everything, but instead I’m producing nothing.

Ever had this happen?

Book Review: Your Money or Your Life

I’m going to preface this by stating the obvious: the first edition of this book (the one I have) was published twenty years ago. The internet was nothing like it is today. E-books were far fewer, and there sure as hell was no such thing as a Kindle. Even so, I’m using it as part of my Five Year Plan, to further my career as an indie ebook writer, which at first glance seems counter intuitive.

Stay with me.

This book is important, for anyone, but especially for people wanting to get away from a day job. It offers the standard advice, like making your own coffee* and packing a lunch. But where this one differs significantly from those other finance guides is in the perspective. The book’s goal is getting you to financial independence, and it may be closer than you thought.

But, you say, I need a million-billion dollars to support myself/my family, so I can’t ever leave my day job! “Your Money or Your Life” points out all the unseen costs associated with going to the day job itself. Do you spend money on special work clothes? On parking? On social lunches? These extra costs would disappear along with your 9-5.

And what about extra time? Do you commute? Do you spend a lot longer getting ready in the morning, so you can meet a certain office standard? What about after work–do you need mindless “unwind” time to get over your miserable day? Wouldn’t that time be better spent, y’know…doing something?

You may be working more hours for less money than you thought. And the more money and time your day job eats, the less of both you have to put towards working for yourself.

Pick this one up, from the bookstore, the library, or get it in ebook form. Sit down (when you actually get a minute) and read the entire thing. Even if something specific doesn’t seem to apply to you, read it anyway. It’s the overall mindset that’s important here. It’s about re-learning how to prioritize your money and your time.

As far as career goals go, I’d say that’s pretty damned important.

*pleasant side effect: since I make coffee in much larger volumes than I’d buy at the drive-through, my caffeine consumption is much, much higher and I am much, much happier. Caffeine is my happy drug.

On Copyright and Concept

So, yesterday I had a sudden flash of inspiration. A concept for a story that was so crisp and detailed and visual that I started to worry I’d seen it somewhere before.

Like, literally seen. Like maybe it was in a movie I’d watched and then forgotten.

I don’t talk about stories I’m working on, so no, I won’t be talking about the concept itself here. (Superstitious? Maybe. But I come from a home where putting shoes, even brand new ones, on a table is inviting misfortune and bad mojo to rain down upon you. Hi Mom!) Anyway, because I don’t talk about works in progress, that also means I can’t ask around to see if the concept seems familiar to anyone else. I Googled, which turned up nothing. I wracked my brain. I finally caved and reluctantly told my idea to C, something I very rarely do, and he assured me he’s never heard of it.

Still, the worry nags at me. It’s not that I think there’s anything new under the sun (hell, I even have a super-trendy zombie story under my belt). It’s just that the details of this concept feel reasonably fresh, and frankly I’d hate to find out later that someone beat me to it.

It’s the idea that writing a story about a hotel is fine, but writing about a haunted hotel where a snowed-in writer loses his mind has been done, and even barring legal issues, to write the same story would be stale and redundant.

I asked for advice in an online writing community and was reassured that I should write it anyway: that ideas can’t be copyrighted and that shy of actual plagiarism I should be safe from getting my ass sued off.

It’s a new feeling. I’ve never been so hesitant to write before, and it’s bumming me out.

Disappointing Monsters

You like horror.

You like comics.

You’ll like Disappointing Monsters. Why? Because it’s fucking awesome.

Created by my buddy Owen Mackinder and my new pal Daniel Bradford, this comic has everything your dark little heart could want. Cthulhu. Pennywise the Dancing Clown. A snow fort with murder holes.

As my husband says, it’s a lot like Calvin and Hobbes…if Hobbes was a zombie.


(click for big)

New comics on Mondays, click here to read from the start.

Horror in Porcelain: the Dolls of Jessica Harrison

This ain’t your Grandma’s knickknack. Unless your Grandma’s awesome.

Artist Jessica Harrison buys old porcelain figures and repurposes them: adds some guts here, slices a throat there. The result? Not something you’re gonna see on the Shopping Network anytime soon.

More butchered beauties at JessicaHarrison.co.uk.

(via Bored Panda)