Conversations with myself – do other writers have these?

Hello again dear readers/writers!

I’ve been a way for a while. Actually, I’ve moved. From Sackville to Rothesay. Bought a bungalow. It was the longest closing date in history (almost a year), so that’s what I’m using as my excuse for not blogging. And since we’re talking about excuses I thought I’d share some with you – in case you ever run out of your own. Here goes:

1. That’s the most boring sentence I’ve ever read. Seriously.

2. I will never be able to write like Ernest Hemmingway. I should give up now.

3. I would rather work in a restaurant. Again.

4. If I could write one good sentence I would feel better.

5. I should quit the narrative and work on the plot.

6. My feet are cold and this is boring. My hands are cold, too, by the way.

7. If my dog would stop sighing I could get more done. I can hear him blinking and it’s really annoying.

8. I should write non-fiction. I should write about my dog.

9. I’ve written more words in this conversation with myself than in my novel. (Can I include that in my word count?)

10. I can hear water rustling in some inner chamber of my ear. Especially if I pull on my ear lobe. My ear lobe hurts.

11. I should start over and write this all in the present tense. Past tense. First person. Whatev.

12.I’m too old for this; I should have started writing in my twenties.

13. This is a complete waste of time. Maybe I need an outline. Or a cup of tea. Or a walk with my dog.

You may have some to add to this. I’d love to hear them. And if you need a laugh, even if you’re not a writer, check out Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It’s from 1994 but it’s still hilarious, just like her.

In an upcoming post I’ll have helpful tips from Louise de Salvo’s book, The Art of Slow Writing. I’ve read dozens of good books on writing – from Stephen King to Natalie Goldberg and beyond. But De Salvo covers the territory deeply, gently and patiently, just as she advocates approaching writing. I learned that other writers do, indeed, have weird conversations with themselves. But I’d still like to hear yours.

Write on!

11 Responses to “Conversations with myself – do other writers have these?”

  1. Some of my equivalent rationalizations for not drawing or painting:

    * I have nothing to say
    * Anything I might have to say has already been said
    * Anything I might have to say has been said better by others
    * Who do I think I’m kidding?

    What broke me free from this line of thinking? The book SKETCH! by France Belleville-Van Stone (!/id877155153?mt=11). It reconnected me with the joy of the act of drawing. Forget about the result and focus on enjoying the process. It lightens the burden of the result, and places attention where it belongs — on enjoying the process. The result is stronger results! Paradoxical, but insightful.

    The next book anyone looking to do anything creative should read is Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. Seriously great: helpful, insightfull, free of BS, and a quick, easy read (!/id763126887?mt=11).

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for the references, Chris. They sound great – so many books, so little time! I’ve passed them on to some artist friends of mine.

  2. Mary says:

    It is so helpful to read how “real” writers struggle to get words on a page. I often wonder if I’ll ever really feel like a writer. Having been and felt like a teacher for many years I wonder how someone reaches that level of feeling as a writer. Is it enough for one stranger to say I love your story? Or does that feeling only come from millions saying it?

    • Cathy says:

      You are a writer. I can say it a million times if that carries more weight. Or how about this from Ray Bradbury: Remember, with writing, what you’re looking for is just one person to come up and tell you, “I love you for what you do.” Or, failing that, you’re looking for someone to come up and tell you, “You’re not nuts like people say.” K, Mary: I love you for what you do. And you’re not nuts. Though I’ve never heard anyone say you were ;)
      Thanks for commenting!

  3. Pat says:

    Ok, favorite topic here. I think differently about writing after five years with the paper and its deadline-driven, get-to-the-point imperative. I’ve learned that I can write through writers’ block, bronchitis, house-cleaning, community controversy and inward doubt. This is the greatest gift the paper could ever give me. Now I don’t fret about creating prose destined to live beyond the grave or look sideways at the genius of Katherine Mansfield or Mavis Gallant or Ondaatje or the writers of my lit degree. I am me and this is what I think, or observed, or the world I created. That’s enough. It can always be improved and should always run the gamut of external scrutiny but it already has value and voice. Speak! Write! Live!

  4. Alanna says:

    #3 and #13 are my favorite – made me chuckle!! great read – glad to see you blogging again!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Alanna! I’m slow to get back to my blog – don’t know why. I love writing it and sharing it :)

  5. Jake Ward says:

    Conversations with yourself? Hmmm, I think that sounds familiar Cathy!

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, seems to be a habit of mine – talking to people in my head. A bit too much of living on the inside :).

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