I’m Plagued Out, Man.

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Photo by Kuma Kum on Unsplash

It’s been a while since we talked.

How are you? Seriously, how are you?

Are you working?

Are you safe?

Healthy?

How are your friends and family?

I’ve been damn lucky.

My wife and I are working and have everything we need to get through this crass, banal dystopia we are all struggling to get through. Something I have tried to do, and to a relative level of success, is remember that there are so many out there trapped in dangerous situations and that I have nothing to complain about. So, if you are out there and things are painfully bad, terrifying, or you have lost someone this year, my heart goes out to you.

Not prayers though.

I donate money to organizations that ACTUALLY help.

With this being said, this is a processing post. It’s a light word salad of writer whines, a brief yet rambling shuffle of thoughts that may sound familiar, or might feel a bit, ehhh…trivial.

It’s fine if you just move on, especially if you are dealing with real problems.

But, if you are a fellow writer and you have had a tough time of dialing in and getting some writing done during the hell carnival of pain that 2020 has turned out to be (and we are only halfway through – what a fun thought), then you might enjoy some asynchronous commiserating.

AN EFFING STRUGGLE.

That’s what writing has been for me this year. I haven’t had a win for a good stretch now – no new publishing credits, a novella that can’t seem to find a home, and my current manuscript is currently somewhere in the long middle. I can’t see the end, I have my doubts about the beginning, and I am lost in the deep weeds. It’s been so long since that writing-sparked dopamine hit. No rush, no thrills, just the grind of it all. Feeling very flat indeed.

My professional writing hustle, the script writing (marketing stuff) has slowed but is still going strong enough to remind me that I make money writing. It’s not a hobby. It’s paid, real work.

This helps.

Barely.

I’m not a fast writer. If I am working with a set deadline, I can lean in and get about 1500 words a day. 2000 if I am willing to accept that half of them will totally suck. Since the plague fell on our collective houses, I am able to get about 300-500 in a day before…

I. JUST. CAN’T.

I’m slowly crawling forward, but at least I am moving. About two weeks ago, I broke 50k on my current novel project. I had hoped to be into a second draft by now. Sigh. I feel like I have been writing this for YEARS. It’s more like a year but time is passing so strangely now, right?

Stuck at home for thirteen weeks. Haven’t been published in two years or so. Fighting a war of inches with the creative writing. Disturbed more by each passing day, the spiritual cost of this year immeasurable. Not sleeping that great. Bored beyond all known levels. Looking for hope lurking in the shadows that only grow longer as the hot, punishing sun blasts us from above. Stuck in my head, desperately fighting a stalling passion engine before I smash into the ground…

Not the best headspace to be stuck in. I hope it’s better for you but it’s just such a strip mall of a hellscape out there. Not even good enough for straight to video. The worst science fiction movie I’ve ever seen.

I dunno, I just thought the apocalypse would look so much cooler.

And here I am (and maybe you too), hitting this keyboard. A one man army of a 10,000 chimpanzees pounding on keyboards hoping something comes out of it that makes sense.

And gets published.

Man. Ugh. All right enough of this.

I’ll leave you with this promise. If you keep trying, I will too. After all, this blog post is almost 700 words. That’s at least 200 more words than I thought I would write today.

How about that?

Later, skaters.

11 thoughts on “I’m Plagued Out, Man.

  1. HI Tom! Sorry to hear lockdown has been tough and writing hasn’t been easy for you right now. Its a wacky world right now with the pandemic. I’m lucky, I write and do everything from home already anyway, so it hasn’t stopped me in that respect as I cover such a wide range of subjects. It give me lots of choice. I’ve even been using the extra time to write creatively again, just some short stories, but its been nice to do. Most importantly lockdown has given me more time with my family which I cherish. I’m sure things will pick up for you soon, you have to work together, and try and find the positives from all the negative this pandemic has thrown our way. Inspiration will come like a bolt from the blue, it always does. Take care, stay safe my friend. 🙂

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  2. Hi Paul,

    Always good to hear from you and it makes me happy to know that you are doing well and that you are getting to enjoy time with your family — that’s one of those things you can just never get back.

    Maybe I’ll get to read one of your stories in the future? I think that would be rad.

    T

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  3. “I dunno, I just thought the apocalypse would look so much cooler.”

    Yes! Although the other day I was sitting with my friend in our patio rocking chairs, looking out over her really gorgeous garden, and I said I was quite enjoying our apocalypse. That’s only true as long as I stay away from the news, though. And I’m not writing much at all, because it’s been so hard to kick my imagination into gear. It’s not just the words that are the problem, it’s finding the story. All my stories keep slipping away from me. But good blog post and you have my writerly sympathies!

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    1. It’s good to hear that you are in a safe and calm place. I try to watch as little news as possible as well, it’s so toxic. It was so good to hear from you, it’s been a long time!

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  4. Well, you definitely hit the nail on the head with this one. I’ve been feeling bad, actually really disgusted with myself and somewhat guilty for not getting in more writing. We are supposed to have all this time on our hands to do all this stuff we never have time for and I am at a creative standstill. I think I am in the least creative mindset I have ever been in in my life. Judging from the number of blogs popping into my feed I am not alone in this. Hopefully, this too shall pass. It was a nice surprise to see you in my feed, thanks.

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    1. Good to see you as well! Perhaps it’s because we didn’t choose this time “off” but were rather mandated. Add the current toxicity levels of the environment (physical, mental, spiritual), the tremors of change, the stress, the seemingly quickening of life-changing events — it can be hard, so hard, to focus. Only once we have pushed through do I think my brain will be able to find a level of ease from which I can enjoy my creativity. I hope you can get it back as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry for the invasion, Tom, but I spent some time reading you and I’m genuinely a quick-fan. You seem to be the kind one could have a marvelous jocose conversation and not be taken to the gallows for every letter and every coda. Not that we don’t necessitate a bit of pressure these days, but woosh, too much is still too much no matter the era.
    I was surprisingly prolific during lockdown, which is curious, because I was immensely indolent before the virus. I’m pinning it to the fact that I was anxious, overwrought mess before all of this, and then, suddenly, the entire world became an anxious overwrought mess, and now everyone was on my frequency, which scares me, because I appreciate the fabrication of a semblance of exceptionalism, and I thus became hyperproductive and stolid while the world collapsed. My father always called me a contrarian, but hell if I’m ever giving him the pleasure of admitting to that.
    Anyways, Tom, I’m glad I found you, and I’m glad you didn’t ask!

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    1. Very cool to meet you and thank you for your kind words! I’ve taken a quick peek at your website, and I look forward to digging into your writing.

      It’s awesome that you have been able to be so prolific during these stressful times. It’s always interesting to me to see where people place their energies when under duress. I’ve been writing plenty, but it’s been all for work — not much art these days. But hearing your experience makes me feel the great need to carve out some more time for my creative work.

      Your suspicions are correct — I can talk all night, regardless of the topic. You are also correct in that I give people the opportunity to make some mistakes as they work things out. I believe that living correctly is about always learning, keeping an open mind, actively listening to others (but I won’t tolerate intolerance), and EVOLVING.

      Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We should never tolerate intolerance, and that’s why I included that “we all need a bit of pressure”, and that pressure is precisely to be informed of our transgressions when we ignorantly transgress.
        I realise my writing is rather… specific. I’m very accustomed to my lack of brilliancy, which is good, since it means I get to know the dull space I inhabit rather intimately. But it also means that I don’t expect everyone to see anything in it, and that being said, do not feel obligated or compelled to read me simply because I read you.
        Anyways, sorry for the maundering, Tom! Have a nice week!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s the great thing about art — we can pull whatever we want from it regardless of intent. I felt no obligation other than to my own curiosities. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

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