Monday, October 16, 2006

Time Wasters and Other Amusements


It would appear - from comments and questions on various industry websites - that, newbie, wannabe, gonnabe, hopetobe, and neverwillbe writers all have something in common: an agile capacity to cross bridges before they come to them.
This imaginative tour is not entirely a result of a silly amateur tendency to put carts before horses.
Society solemnly warns us - with Kali- esque overtones - that forewarned is forearmed. And then there's that Baden-Powell guy.
Established writers are equally complicit: they strive to benefit an eager and attentive audience with their experience in the potholes, pitfalls, and toll booths that appear on the high road, on how to recognize drawbridges and swing bridges, and how to avoid being dumped into the moat under a rain of arrows.
Besides, can you really complain if the writers aforementioned exhibit that essential compound of curiousity and "what if?"
After all, such exercises in visualization are marginally more beneficial than clicking on the in-box every 38.3 seconds.
Self- indulgent distractions and future dreams provide relief from the negative conviction that one's work sucks.
Here are a few perambulations:
1. Decide how you will handle the hate mail.
2. Choose actors to play roles in the film version.
3. List all the people who will get a nyah nyah notification.
4. Practise an elegant inscription for your book signings.
5. Plan the image that will appear at the back of the book.
6. Write up bios of the famous people whom you will be rubbing shoulders with, buying drinks for, etc. so you won't be lost for small talk.
7. Think up smartass answers to stupid questions, such as "where do you get your ideas?"
8,9, 10...

But...beware the Bridge Too Far.
Better to burn all of the above and get back to writing the next book.

27 comments:

Ric said...

Does this mean I should cancel the contractors? I have the new study all designed, over looking the river, with an onion dome and glass all around. Just waiting on that fat advance check to get them started....

jason evans said...

I think I'll work on answering hate mail. Or wait, maybe that's my problem. I'm not supposed to answer it.

The what if's are fuel. They give us a light to steer by.

kmfrontain said...

No photo on the back covers. Never ever ever.

Yep. I thought about that one.

MissWrite said...

I am laughing so hard. Girl, I just love your way with language. Reading your posts is always such a joy.

December Quinn said...

So am I not allowed to picture how great I'll look in my little Jag convertible as I head up the winding, tree-lined path to my manor house by the sea? And I actually have to--*gasp*--do the work of writing, polishing, and selling the novel first?

Damn you, Bernita! Here I thought if I dreamed enough, it would just come into being. You know, like I'd wake up one day and the faeries would have written it for me, just like the cobbler's elves.

This is such a great post. We all do that, don't we?

My favorite is picturing my People magazine spread, I think.

Robyn said...

Except for #3, right? You gotta have a neener list.

Bernita said...

I wouldn't hire the contractors, Ric, but I highly approve of your blueprints. What is heaven for?

You're just not supposed to send it , Jason!
No harm in writing it.Might be fun!

Ever thought of a sillouette, Karen? Or just a body part? Some people do nice things with legs...

Glad of that, Tami.

Yup, so we do, December. Geese, I like your picture dream.
Nothing less than a two-page spread for you.

Bernita said...

Maybe, Robyn, categorized in sub-sections...
(1) those you may smile sweetly upon.
(2) those to whom you will say "I know you will be absolutely delighted to learn...

Kell said...

I love this post - how funny. In answer to the perambulations about the novel I've yet to write (never really wanted to be a novelist - just an essayist...) -

My agent will handle all my hate mail as she sees fit... unless it's from Garrison or Dominick Dunne (or my mom), in which I will have to deal with it myself.

I don't care who they cast in the movie, as long as it's not Keanu or Kevin...

I think I shall use a baby photo of myself on the back cover of the book.

That's as far as I've come so far. I'll give the rest some thought.

Jaye Wells said...

Bernita, your posts are always so great. I, too, am guilty of this type of thinking. The pitfall, I've found is I psyche myself out. The what ifs keep me in a perpetual state of worrying about a miss-step. I've recently realized that those thoughts are the product of an idle mind. When I'm bored I create drama. Not a good thing. Back to writing for me.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Ha! #7 is me, all the way! Even I am prone to wtf moments! And no back cover pictures...ever, unless they have me behind my fan!

EA Monroe said...

Oh boy! More fun ways for me to goof off, besides Miss Write's Movie Maker business! Thanks, Bernita!

Daisy Dexter Dobbs said...

“3. List all the people who will get a nyah nyah notification”

Ahahahahahaha!

Love this, Bernita!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Kell!

"...worrying about a miss-step..."
You've nailed it, Jaye. That's the biggest down-side - that and wasting time on "jam tomorrow." Thank you.

I dearly love that fan picture, Bonnie.It would be a perfect back cover photo!

Bernita said...

Don't run with chisels, EA!

Fun to indulge our dark side, Daisy, even if in reality we never would.

SassyJill said...

Great post. And I do battle the "my writing sucks" everyday. But the biggest problem I'm having is with my fiance, who is convinced that once I finish this book he'll be able to retire.

HE'S the one who talks of fancy cars and movies being made out of my books. And while I'd find that encouraging if he had ever read ONE word or what I'm writing, instead I feel nothing but pressure from him (even if he's only joking.) Maybe that's why I can't write around him.

Oh, BTW I put a link to your blog on mine, I just love your style ^_^*

Rhea said...

Great list, especially 2. Choose actors to play roles in the film version. I do that all the time, as I write screenplays. Gave up on novel writing a while ago. Am a journalist by profession.

normiekins said...

this is a great post bernita! #3...i would actually send the na na notes....hahahaha.

Bernita said...

Do I ever hate that, Sassy!
My husband is also a big one for jokes - so he doesn't often see my stuff, and certainly never a WIP.
Thank you for the linking. That is so nice.

You're obviously versatile, Rhea!

It's a fun, idle moment thingy for writers, but it's sad to see beginning novelists anxious about film rights.

Thank you, Normiekins!
Though I never would, I can understand the temptation to indulge must be strong in some cases!

anna said...

ahh but who can resist #2?
Not I that's for sure. I had them chosen before a word was ever written. As always informative
and entertaining Bernita

Bernita said...

Thank you, Anna, the pre-planner!

kmfrontain said...

LOL. A body part. Yeeees. I may take up that idea, Bernita. It's sufficiently odd that I really like it. ;-)

Gabriele C. said...

List of people to write nyah, nyah letters to - my aunt.

I love casting my characters - it's such a fine excuse to post pics of hot men in my blog. Those Roman remains and Mediaeval cathedrals get a bit old in the long run. :)

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Bernita...I love your new picture!

Marie said...

I love casting my characters and visualizing what my novel will look like on the big screen.

Bernita said...

The face-front is sooo over-done, Karen. Why not?
~intrigue, intrigue~

Think family members are clear exceptions to the general rule, Gabriele - especially aunts.

Thank you, Bonnie!

Marie, video writing is a useful, but very different thing!

Steve G said...

Your advice is most appropriate. Writing is what I shall do.