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No Boot Straps on Wuss-out Wednesday

I am having the damnedest time writing and have for the longest time.  I think to myself, “I love to write!”  But all I want to do is puzzles, primarily cryptograms with a few others thrown in.  I thought to myself today, this is a symptom of depression:  you like to do something, you know it will help you to do it, and you don’t do it. What the hell, me?

The thought came into my mind, “People who have not experienced it cannot understand the mind-numbing, paralyzing, utter inability…”  I don’t remember how the thought ended, but I immediately felt I could not put such a thought into a blog post.  Nobody would buy it, I thought.  They will tell me to stop being such a whiny baby, and maybe they are right.

I am going through a few things, but let’s face it: We all have problems and many people have far worse ones than mine.  As I have mentioned before, I suffer from depression.  I don’t like to write it or say it, because it sounds like I am asking for sympathy or making an excuse.  And it feels as if I have exposed something private and secret I would really, really rather not talk about.  Some people do not “believe in” depression.  They feel it is a made-up problem and I need to just stop whining and pull myself up by those boot straps they’re always talking about.

Only I rarely wear boots and the ones I have don’t have straps.

Then again, not whining is not a bad start.  I cannot pull myself up by my bootstraps (and what a hoary cliche that is, anyways), but there are things I can do to make myself feel better.  I will try to do some of them.  For example, starting on a better blog post for tomorrow.  We’ll call this one a Wuss-out Wednesday and drive on.


Is It a Saying or a Cliche?

Another common saying revisited:   Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

I once heard somebody say it was a good way to land on your ass.  Ain’t that the truth!

I’m not saying you will inevitably land on your ass.  However, it seems to me you’d better have strong bootstraps, killer abs, and a completely non-stick surface.  Of course you might have these things and you may, indeed, make the bootstrap thing work.

Yes, I know it is just an expression.  It means, if I am not mistaken, that rather than wallow in your problems you can use your own power to overcome them or, to return to the metaphor, rise above them.  However (still in the metaphor), I’m thinking there are easier ways to rise.

For example, you might push yourself up, maybe even rolling over onto your front side to get more power from your arms.  Tis would work best if you are on a clean, dry surface rather than a muddy, mucky one. In other words, it depends on the problem.  Maybe sometimes it is better to not worry about presenting the tough, I-got-this-covered persona and just get up the best way you can.

You could also pull yourself up.  This, of course, requires something sturdy and firmly fastened to pull on, for example, a strong rope tied by a square knot to a solid wall.  How did the rope get there, you may ask?  Well, maybe you put it there earlier, in case of just such an emergency.  Maybe it just happened to be there.  Maybe a friend put it there.

Ah yes, my favorite aid to rising above our problems:  the hand of a friend.

Some may argue that this is not necessarily reliable, or that it is far better to depend only on one’s self, or that it is foolish to spend so much time and energy dissecting an old metaphor that few people use any more anyways.

There may be merit to these arguments.  I don’t know; I’m no genius.  I’m just a silly blogger enjoying Lame Post Friday.  Have a marvelous weekend, everyone.


Novel Problem Solving

This is not going to be the usual Why I Can’t Write a Blog Post Today post. Oh, I did not write a blog post and I’m not exactly going to write one now. I’m going to tell you what I did instead.

I wrote.

I don’t know if I mentioned that my novel has hit another snag. It’s been doing that a lot lately. Then I think of something else to write and I limp along for a few more pages. And then I hit another snag. Oh dear.

I’ve read that when you run into a snag, sometimes it means there is an inherent problem in the work. Bulling your way through is not the best thing to do. Pausing and figuring out the problem is. As long as it does not become an excuse for just not writing the damn thing. Which, for many projects, is actually the right thing to do.

But I digress.

I think my problem with this novel is a problem that often plagues works of fiction: namely, there is no problem. To put that more clearly, the problem WITH the novel is that there are not enough problems IN the novel. I need some more conflict, more obstacles for my characters to overcome. I need a few other things, too, but to get into those would be to tell entirely too much of my plot, so, sorry, let’s stick with the no problem thing.

Knowing what the issue is is unfortunately only half the battle. Now I have to figure out how to solve it. I decided to (1) not beat myself up and (2) not worry if I did not write on the novel for the rest of the week as long as I thought about the novel and what it needed. A rationalization for a mental vacation? Well, who cares if it was, just listen to what happened today.

I sat at my machine at work, thinking (working too; I believe I’ve mentioned I have that sort of a job). I came up with some ideas. I thought some more. I thought I’d better write some notes on a few of these ideas. Of course, writing notes is not the same thing as writing a novel, but sometimes you do what you have to do.

And here is the amazing thing: I sat down and did NOT write notes, I wrote NOVEL! Suddenly, I was deep into an exciting scene that I hadn’t even thought about writing. I was in a character’s head I had not thought I would get into. Ooh, what would come next? Dammit, a fifteen minute break is short!

I couldn’t wait for lunch, when I wrote some more. I am aware, of course, that some of the things we feel most pleased about as we write and immediately after we have written turn out not to be as wonderful as we thought. I don’t care. I wrote on my novel. I can’t wait to see what I write tomorrow.

Although I do hope to get back to writing good blog posts eventually. As always, I hope you’ll stay tuned.