The Self-Punisher

If I had a nickel each time someone told me how hard I am on myself, I could probably go on tour as a self-punisher.

Last week was bad enough with two stories falling apart.  I tried reigniting my desire to write an alien invasion story, something I’ve wanted to do for about fifteen years, but it felt like my brain was clogged up.  And when that happens, one think never changes: you feel like shit, and question even your own literacy.

What’s the hardest part of writing?  Finishing the first draft.

What’s harder?  Getting the damn idea!

It’s great when an idea pops into your head, something so cool you get chills thinking about how enthusiastic you are over it.  That’s how I felt when I started tinkering with my screenplay idea, which, in a nutshell, is 2001: A Space Odyssey meets The Thing.  I thought, Wow!  This is awesome.  I have no idea how to make the science of it work, but who cares?  It feels right.

But sometimes the right idea isn’t doesn’t click as well.  One of my collapsed stories from last week was called Rock Is Undead about a group of vampire friends who reunite for a concert.  Sounded pretty cool.  People like music (at least, I like music) and vampires are in these days.  Except the story just didn’t click for me.  As I wrote, I thought, Okay, these guys are going to a concert.  They’re vampires.  So what?  What’s so special about this concert, and what do I care about vampires?

And with twenty pages of meandering nonsense and no direction, I gave up on it.  I just didn’t know what to do, Peggy Sue.

I’m mostly venting frustrations here, but I think it’s a universal problem with writers.  We all want to be special little butterflies, creative juggernauts with an all-access backstage pass to the Muse (no, not the British band).  And it might be even more frustrating when you don’t have other writers on hand to bounce ideas off of.  On average, I get to see my writer friends about once a month, and when I do, I’d rather not selfishly pick their brains over my work.  I’m much more interested in how they’ve been and how the holidays are treating them.

What’s harder than getting the idea?  How about getting over your own self-loathing?

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