Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dear XiXi, Remember That Time Writing Sucked?

I like writing. It makes me happy. In fact, because my summer is so boring (the kind of boredom that I will no doubt long for a year from now when I'm killing myself over law school finals), writing is probably the only thing that is keeping me at a reasonable level of sanity. For like the intermittent two minutes every twenty minutes that I actually spend writing (versus procrastinating), I am absolutely not bored. I am either exhilarated, pissed, or exhausted — depending on how the writing is going that day — but I am definitely not bored.

But sometimes, writing really fucking sucks. Sorry. It needed to be said. The other day, Steph Bowe, teen author extraordinaire, posted about her writing process. This is like probably a weird thing, but when I'm stuck or simply not wanting to write at the moment but actually have to get my shit together, I like to go look up blog posts from other writers about their neurotic quirks when they write. I don't know, it probably makes me feel better about myself inside. Mine looks something like this.

Okay, I'm sitting here staring at Microsoft Word. Why didn't I buy Scrivener? That looks so much more legit than MS Word. Also, MS Word crapped out on me once and deleted everything. I almost shot myself in the face that time. But whatever. Writing.

I write a sentence.

I check Facebook. I stalk everyone who is getting married, pregnant, or going through an ugly breakup. This is like drama-lite. I go through one person's entire photo album. It's been twenty minutes! What the hell.

I write a sentence.

I need some coffee. I go downstairs and pour myself a cup of iced coffee. This coffee is so great. This coffee makes me seem like a real writer. You know, the kind that has an agent and is (sort of) getting paid to do this. Why am I doing this to myself? It's not like other people are making me do this. I could be watching TV instead. Or baking a cake. Or cleaning the house. I could be doing an endless number of things that all seem more interesting than writing at the moment. Frankly, reorganizing my underwear drawer seems more interesting than writing at the moment.

I write half a sentence. Yes, I mean, I literally stop halfway through a sentence because I can't think of the appropriate word I want to use next.

I stalk Libba Bray's blog for old posts. I bet Libba Bray never has this problem. She seems flustered all the time when she's almost at her deadline, but I KNOW IT'S ALL FOR SHOW. I stalk Maureen Johnson's blog for old posts. I try to absorb her wisdom like a sponge. She has an MFA, after all. And she uses funny pictures. She also pretends like she has problems. I don't believe her. They are probably sitting in coffee shop in Brooklyn, laughing about their fake problems together. It's probably hilarious.

I finish the half sentence. I have written three sentences! It's like fifty words, I don't understand. I bang my head against the table. This seemed so easy during NaNoWriMo two years ago. And back then, I was in school and I worked two nights a week. I must have been so motivated back then! I was such a good person back then. I was probably prettier too. People probably liked me better. Everything was better back then. Everything is crap now. Why can't it be like back then?!

I listen to a song (either One Direction or Olly Murs, because that's how I roll right now) with the door closed and sing loudly off-key. I convince myself that this inspires better writing. I convince myself that this break is deserved.

I write a whole paragraph! I'm so awesome, this book is so awesome, everything is awesome.

I check Facebook/Yahoo news/Thought Catalog/various fashion blogs for thirty-five minutes. I have written two hundred words. Everything sucks. I stare hopelessly at the word count indicator at the bottom of the MS Word window. It's forever stuck at this number. This number is the bane of my existence.

I update my resume. Feel slightly better.

I write two more paragraphs. I go downstairs and eat half of the food in the refrigerator as a reward. This is an invitation for my Asian parents to discuss my terrible eating habits and tell me that I will be fat and diabetic one day when my metabolism finally decides to stop being freakishly high-functioning. I don't care. Rewards are necessary for writing, I tell myself.

I write a sentence.

PANIC. I can't think of what should happen in the next scene. WHY IS EVERYTHING SO COMPLICATED? I need to write a blog post.

And here we are. You see how long it takes me to get to 1,000 words every day? Now you do.


  1. Oh Xixi! I know this feeling so well, and yes, I always feel like I need coffee and that I need to check ALL THE THINGS on the internet before I can REALLY start. -__- Procrastination, it's a problem.

    On the other hand, I really wish I had spent more of my free time working hard on my writing. I mean, I was also desperately trying to find a job but let's be honest, I wasn't doing that the whole day. But now I feel like I have very little time, and I can't help but think of those long, lazy afternoons of doing nothing. *sigh*

    Anyway, good luck! Thanks for sharing your process! I'm glad I'm not the only one who eats half the contents of the fridge when she's stuck. :)

    1. Krispy, I tell myself all this free time is a blessing too, and that I should spend it on my novel, haha.

      I don't know, I think eating helps. :)