A Friend in Need

I don’t know if you’re aware how terrifying it is to have a friend tell you that they’re suicidal.

I heard as such from a friend today. I’m so afraid for them. It leaves me floundering, searching for words to beg them not to think like that. I don’t want to lose them.

I think–I hope–that my most beloved and esteemed friend is okay. I dropped everything, even work, because they were hurting and needed someone to talk to immediately. I should be thankful that they are at that point, of talking, and not of possibly ending their life without ever having spoken to someone close to them. But I am still afraid.

I cherish my friends.

If you’re out there, and you feel like you don’t want to go on, I want you to know that I cherish you too. The world is a harsh place, sometimes, but for all its pain it’s still a wonderful and fascinating place. Please stay a while longer. Please talk to someone.

Please forgive me for not knowing the right words.

I wrote 1014 words today. I’ll write more tomorrow, just for you.

//shay

Punching Down

I’ve been following a particular fight in the YA writing community lately. It turns out that a few books have been published that deal with eating disorders, and the authors in question do not suffer from them and have no personal experience of them. Reviewers who have experienced ED have slammed those books as being outright dangerous to sufferers.

I’m not getting into it much because it’s simply outside my area of expertise, but again I’m reminded that you should never punch down.

The fight is not an equal one. A reviewer with almost no followers and very little power cannot hope to make much of an impact on a traditionally published book, and yet authors take notice. A reviewer who posted negatively about one book received a threat of legal action from the author, ostensibly for libel, but anyone can recognize that this is a power play in order to shut that reviewer up, to erase criticism.

That’s punching down. The powerful aiming an attack at the much less powerful. That is a cruel thing to do, and it belies an evil streak–not to mention a complete lack of self-reflection and humility–that should not be present in any good person. We should never punch down, not even if we think we have been wronged. We gain nothing from it.

I have no time for authors who punch down because someone called them out for writing a harmful narrative. I expect better than that from the people I associate with.

Today I wrote 1,023 words.

//shay

The world sparkles

I… I wrote a thousand words in less than an hour. How did I do that? How did my fingers move so fast?

I felt like I do during Nanowrimo, like I just needed to get it all out as fast as I could. As if nothing mattered except having the narrative exist outside of my brain. Like lightning in my hands, like the keyboard couldn’t respond fast enough.

The world sparkles when that happens. Everything fades but the screen and the keys and the sound of tapping and the feeling of the letters springing into life at the cursor. Almost religious, really. I’ve always said that writing doesn’t make me happy, per se; it’s hard to explain how I feel, but it doesn’t make me happy the way that breathing doesn’t make me happy. It’s just something that I have to do. I’m compelled to write, in order to exist.

What does make me happy is when I read over something I wrote and realize that yes, it is good. That it can make me cry, or bring me joy, or evoke all the feelings that I felt as I relive the scene in my imagination. I like to know that I can do this, that my work has merit and quality beyond myself. I want it to sparkle for other people, not just for me.

Yes, even knowing that not everyone will like it and all that. It’s just a thing. I live in the hope, possibly the vain hope, that more than ten people will read my work and honestly like it.

//shay

Procrastination still creeps up on me

I didn’t use the Pomodoro timer, and it was surprising how fast I managed to get to a thousand words. But I did it, dear friends. I wrote almost twelve hundred words yesterday, not including my blog post.

Something tells me my typing speeds will get much faster if I continue in this fashion.

I’ve decided that I should be held accountable in some way. I will continue to report my word count here, as long as I am blogging. I expect that I will fail sometimes. Procrastination still creeps up on me, and then I look at the clock and realize how late it is, and I panic at the thought that I still have work to do before I sleep.

I persevere. I have more narrative in me than I know; I think we all do, if we truly want to write. It’s just a matter of letting it all out. Fact is, writing is perhaps 10% innate talent, and 90% practicing and learning and analyzing and improving and practicing again.

Keyboards at the ready… let us never be defeated by ourselves.

//shay

1000 words

Sometimes I forget: as fast as I get sick, I can bounce back just as fast. I had to miss a day of work, but hours of sleep and watching Netflix have helped me immensely. I’m starting to mend.

So I have decided that I will attempt to write a thousand words a day. I need to get my head in the game somehow, and I think I need to be forced. Words here don’t count, of course; the words have to be in the service of actual writing, whether it’s another short story or a book or whatever.

I’m wondering what’s the best way to go about it, other than simply opening up Scrivener and letting loose. I suspect there is no particular best way. There is just the page, and the keyboard in front of me, and I have ten working fingers and a brain that itches with narrative. But for the sake of timekeeping, I may stick to the Pomodoro method, so at least I can measure my words per minute.

//shay

The cold has gotten worse

Much as I don’t want to blog about being sick all the time, here I am. The cold is threatening to turn into another bad sinus infection. Nothing seems to help. I’ve been woken up at 2am, coughing because I can’t breathe properly. It makes me feel so fuzzy and tired.

I have things to write. But being sick makes it so hard to get my head in the right space, to access the creative sphere and just let it flow. On top of everything else I need to do to just exist, from day to day, I should still write. I hurt too much.

Cold medicine doesn’t seem to work. I may have to try painkillers, and hope that that will be enough to let me sleep. The headache in my sinuses bothers me the most.

Perhaps I just need to push myself. Just write, even if it’s terrible, even if it’s utterly incoherent. A thousand words a day? Could I do that much? It only takes a week or two of constant repetitions to make something a habit.

//shay

Competition

I’m in a pensive mood tonight.

The RITAs are the annual awards given out by the RWA (Romance Writers of America). That’s kind of a big deal, all around; there’s a lot of prestige attached to winning a Golden Heart. Romance being the genre that it is, I have just as much of a chance as a self-published writer as any other traditionally published writer.

I’m aware that this is not really usual, in other genres. Consider the Hugos, or the Nebulas; the corresponding awards of the SFWA (Science-fiction and Fantasy Writers of America). I’ve never actually heard of any self-published author winning either, and the SFWA only started accepting self-published writers as members in 2015. It’s all very… political, I guess, is the best word.

I question whether I would even want to win an award for my writing, sometimes. I wonder whether I want to take part in that kind of competition. I’ve never desired any approval from my peers; I accepted, as a consequence of taking up this pen name, that I would always be divided and distant from them. I accept that the price of unfettered narrative is true anonymity.

Knowledge of the author makes things complicated. It changes how a piece of writing is read. Knowledge that a work has won awards changes how it’s read as well. I would rather my work be read as it is, with no bias or assumptions. I want it to be read freely, for pleasure.

I’d also prefer if people liked it and wanted to read more, but I don’t mind if it’s not liked.

//shay