Friday, January 29, 2010

Freed from the Chains


Newsflash: I’ve risen from the proverbial grave, dusted off proverbial ashes and proceeded burning in proverbial flames of anew.

Real Life: The exam session has passed and I have made my momma proud in passing all the exams with a steady B, which is miraculous [Math and I are not on speaking terms] and one powerful relief. I can imagine how Atlas felt, when he tricked Hercules into carrying the world for a few. Best sensation ever. This means that I will not devote a substantial amount of my waking time to dry theory, but to succulent fiction reading/writing/reviewing, while I wait for some development on the employment frontier.

Fiction: Yes, January was a miserable writing month, but I did it to myself, because I figured that ‘1)Exams + 2)Themed Month on my Review Blog + 3)Writing Fiction = Possible’ is in the realm of reality. Because 1) is mandatory and for 2) I have made a public promise and had people in contributing, I had to do my daily quota on both, which usually reduced me to the state of a zombie [or an accountant, hiding money from the IRS] or left me with no time at all to sit down and write reasonably readable fiction.

However, now that I am with all this free time on my hands my goal is to produce 2000 words a day and catch up with the lost month in January. I have a novel to revise and a short story to finish, so I will be okay.

News from the Front: “Lunar Hues” was rejected for the anthology I submitted. The rejection letter consisted of ‘I read your story and unfortunately I am going to pass’, which didn’t bother me one tiny bit. Is it that waiting has dulled the emotional charge connected with the work submitted or is it that I might have finally gotten that publishing is an impersonal business? Who can say? Right now I am gearing for a new submission.

There is no development with “From Behind Empty Eyes” and I think that I may hear from ‘Weird Tales’ in April or possibly May, because Ann Vandermeer’s promotion to editor in chief is going to cause a certain fluctuation to the speed and process of submission approval. I am not in a hurry, just happy that Ann got promoted. I have yet to read her and Jeff’s anthologies, but I know from reputed sources that they are worth the read.


Because I am still on the Comic Book wave, I have this breathtaking cover for the new Batgirl series by Artgerm. I am not sure what in this illustration pulls me and makes me stare, but it is undeniable and overwhelming.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Quest through Reponsibilities


Slowly, but surely I am swinging my sword through the lush vegetation that has become my life. January is oh-so-close its end and with it my main time consumer [exams] will be reduced to an ugly memory. I have passed three out of four exams with moderately good grades, given that the material is all Math oriented one way or the other [me and Math never hit it off].

In the mean time I have been drastically diminishing my To Be Read pile in order to handle the upcoming reviews I have to handle. I hope to read twenty novels or so by the end of March for review purposes. I finished the book for the freelance project gig. Now I have to start the actual work. I have a week or so until the deadline comes, but I imagine that I will make it.

Starting tomorrow, I hope, I may establish a schedule here and not leave this be a barren slate floating around cyberspace. I also need a way on how to make this place get more visits, because I feel uncomfortable, talking to the empty void and all.

Back to report soon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Murdered Mojo


“Help! My mojo has been murdered,” cries the withered writer, while the rain bats down and does its best to obscure the unpleasant sight.

The scream still echoes in the writer’s head and he knows that resuscitating ain’t gonna cut it. The paramedics come, plastic silhouettes that move in the dark. ‘I am sorry…’ they say and leave their silence, trailing on to deliver the bad news. The writer stays rooted to the spot with one question: ‘What happens now’? The abyss inside, where creativity used to be, remains silent.


Overkill, perhaps, those two paragraphs above are, but I felt the necessity to dramatize and fit a common scenario in as few words as possible. Writer’s block [this mischief maker’s more popular name] is an included bonus to every writer’s starting kit. What’s worse is that it ain’t optional. Before I start spitting critical assessment and analysis, I want to share some personal motivation that explains I am tackling this topic [beyond the obvious that this pleb with mere three years of dedicated writing has experienced enough on this topic to dare discuss it].

I had a near-utopian expectation that once 2009 retires from the calendar that 2010 will bring the much needed bird song and sunny meadows [much to Disney classics’ envy]. I had a plan and I felt motivated enough to make it happen. I wanted to read, write, review and broaden my socializing with other talented people, all the while managing real life responsibilities. That actually had the potential to work out, until January third, when a rather unpleasant event took place. An author, who did not agree on a review I gave to his, decided that the gloves were off and that I had to get what I deserve. In his mind that included being stepped on and ridiculed over the Internet and on various venues, where I uploaded content.

Perhaps, I didn’t properly explain why I couldn’t finish his book and deserved his wrath, even though I hardly think it’s an appropriate reaction. But when one comes across a book that simply does not compute with you as a reader, how long can an argument be?

Either way, the ultimate weapon this person had to undo me creatively for about two weeks was my language. Yes, English is not my native language. I bet that all Americans, Brits and Assies, who are on speaking terms with grammar, can spot sentence structure issues, poor word choices or just expressions that ring the alarm that something is off. I try my best, but a person left to his own devices can only do so much.

But I’m side tracking. When that author hit home with his comments on my language issues, it was like the blue screen of death. Come January, I had planned on dusting off an old idea and write the novel that suits it best, but after that person’s three day e-mail and comment fest, I stared at the screen and on the place where my story used to be I saw failure, failure and yes, failure again. At the time this was happening, I really believed that this was it. I was undone before I came close to discovering what I enjoyed writing most, what I could write at my best and where that naughty muse of mine would take me next. It was a big bummer, having ideas and making dreams, while my mojo lay dead and my muse chalked its outline on the side of the street. That’s sad.

However, it turns out my mojo is Mister Immortal [I kid you not, there’s a Marvel hero and yes, the guy is immortal] and sprang back from the dead or crawled from his shallow grave, if you are fan of realism. What happened is that I started scribbling down sentences and phrases on a new short story [Stalker X] and the flow increased to a brook of paragraphs, then on to a stream of pages and you get the idea. My mojo was healed and I was working again, on a pure creative level. My only enemy now remains the constant lack of time.

So, what happened?

Life did. January’s off the chain as far as my schedule’s concerned. I am in exam session, so I’m usually over the books and then there are the exams as events [horror rollercoaster rides really]. I decided to host a theme month on my review month, so I need to make daily input, coordinate guest posts and monitor interviews. I’ve to read, both books for guest reviews and comics for that themed month. There is also that side project for a competition that has to do with extensive research and the deadline is looming over. I barely noticed when my day took off and when it ended, so I never had the time to repeat the unpleasant moment over and over again in my head like I usually use to. And when the insult can’t find a crack to settle in, it is unable to change your perception about your writing.

The ‘writer’s block’ is just that, a negative perception about the value of one’s own writing, a self-imposed deprecation that writers accept as valid truth. Just as the ‘mojo’ is the perception that raises value about one’s writing. Change hits a writer’s inner world harder than it does the average’s person’s world. My conclusion is to get busy fast, when the waters get rough. Yes, I know that you are losing time, turning your back to the problem. But it will take way less to bury the event that caused your mojo’s death than it would be to try and write, when you keep repeating to yourself that what you are doing is shit.

But I never said to give up. Sure, hide in reality and do something you put off doing [I say put end to rampaging house to your bookshelves or working space], but do not be afraid to get back to what you are born to do [assuming that all writers cannot go even one day without the thought to sit down and write cross their mind]. However, I’m advising to redirect your mojo to a different project all together. Having writer’s block is a trauma, which is similar to post traumatic stress. Returning to the project you were working on, when everything detonated in your inner world, will only revive the bitter taste in your mouth. That fear [that if you keep going, you’ll eventually prove that in the end you really are worth nothing, despite the blood, tears and sweat] will resurface and thrive. Clean the slate. Move on. Start small. Daydream. Brainstorm. Let your muse eclipse the bad moment with a new kernel for you care after and write. In that sense the writer’s block is not the blue screen of death that erases everything after a certain point.

To summarize, these are the three things I learned about writer block and mojo [either dead or alive]:

1) Writer’s block and the mojo are perceptions; totally subjective and not always spot on about the quality of writing.

2) Writer’s block can be barricaded outside the writer’s inner world, when the writer takes the necessary measures and sweats in other areas in his life.

3) Writer’s block is connected with a project and not with the act of writing [unless you allow it to connect with your process in its entirety], so it can be left behind, if the writer pursues a different project.

Hope it has been helpful. Comments are welcome.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Avalanche


There is one reason why I’ve come back from blogging eclipse. Nicola Morgan, this amazing Wonder Woman in the writing waters, whose wisdom is universal and can be applied to all genres in writing. So, Nicola is celebrating her very first birthday of blogging and is throwing a party at her place. Go and see.

I’m in the middle of devoting 10 hours per day for exam studying and at the same time I made the unwise decision to run a themed dedicated to celebrating comic books on my review blog [yes, come and read about the Comic Book Appreciation Month], so my load has been double or triple than my usual intake. I try to read on a freelance gig that involves intense reading and you know write and read.

I will see whether or not it will be manageable to tackle more blogging in the upcoming days here, because I’ve had a few topics to ramble about in similes, comparisons and metaphors. I am sure they are big universal and possibly something everybody has come across, but I need to have a say, even if it is for the umpteenth time.

To end in a metaphor [sorry if I am defining the term so loosely]:

So, when life gives you avalanches, spit, determine where up is and start digging.


I am on a photography wave again and have been digging through the archives and fished out this piece, which reflects the world inside my head as I am getting bolder in the exploration of the dark side of my imagination, which seems to like demented heroes with Joker-like persona and addiction to catastrophes.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Back on Track


Project: “Forged in Blood”
New Words Written: 1,087
Present Total Word Count: 1,087
Goal: 100,000 by Mid-April

Percent Reached: 1%

Things Accomplished in Fiction: I started a project that I had no idea on returning to until a conversation with a friend poked the Muse in the right place and here I am with a renewed sense about how to showcase this idea and the best part in the whole deal is that I am actually in the process of learning from my mistakes and doing research and outline prior to writing. To feel in control is liberating. The word count per day will be gravitating around 1,000 for I want to build in a habit and I am afraid that if I attempt something more it will be a failure at this stage of the game.
Things Accomplished in Real Life: I managed to chat with two friends over a hot chocolate before they headed out to catch their flights [on separate days] and I managed to call all the people I wanted to wish well on the new 2010 and the decade. Otherwise not much.


Art Spot: I was in the mood for something fantastical and well this fit in just fine. I’m saddened, but this one has been saved with numbers as title and I have no clue what the piece is called or who the wonderful creative soul is behind it. If someone does, please tell me so that I can credit accordingly.