A grumpy, crabby kind of blog post


Well, yesterday I did not run away and join the circus, but it was probably one of those days where I would have if I had viable circus-type skills and access to a travelling circus to run away with. I did not turn into the Incredible Hulk and smash things in a frenzy of anger. I did not resign from my dayjob to take up a position that would be more useful to the world at large, such as hunting werewolves or wrangling wild unicorns or, you know, going into politics.

But, oh,  I was sorely tempted.

Especially by the werewolf thing, which, really, goes to show how much I disliked certain aspects of yesterday, because I’m actually quite fond of werewolves.


We actually had a full cohort at write-club last night, which is the first time all four write-clubbers have been in the same place since other people started joining the inimitable Angela Slatter and I on a regular basis.

As predicted, I did the sensible thing and started working on the next installment of Flotsam. We all gathered and ate and ate chocolate, and 2,311 words later, I was still starting on the next installment of Flotsam, largely because it was one of those days with there irritations of the dayjob had carried through to writing.

Finally write-club was over and everyone went home, and I was again afflicted with the not-sleeping which has become so common of late, so I dragged out a pad and a pencil and took another crack at the story, and it’s possible I came out with something that may actually be a beginning.

Then I lay in bed, still not-sleeping, and pondered how much can be considered enough to satisfy the guilt of not-writing-enough, and I still have no satisfactory answers.


There is, most likely, another potential buyer walking through my flat this morning. I can’t be entirely sure, because the real estate agent no longer sends the appropriate documents. I just get cheerful text messages asking if there’s any chance of having a quick pop-around in the morning, which I’m not entirely sure means we’re coming and there’s nothing you can do about it or say no if you want, and we’ll respect it.


So, yes, it’s a grumpy and crabby kind of bloggery from me today, because it’s been a grumpy and crabby kind of week.

Ordinarily, when this happens, I tell people to pat me on the head and go write until whatever isn’t working turns around and actually starts working, and for the most part they do and the grumpy goes away and I start sleeping normally again. It may take days or weeks or, in one instance, months, but eventually it works.

And, really, I guess that’s what I should probably go do.

  4 comments for “A grumpy, crabby kind of blog post

  1. 10/03/2011 at 2:37 AM

    2300 words fills your quota for 4.6 days

    At least, it would for me.

    When I was younger and full of energy, 1500 word-days seemed reasonable.

    Now I am older, crankier, and forced to write in my non-preferred writing time of evening (oh, writing in the mornings, how I yearn for thee!), 500 is PLENTY.

    And Sundays? Sundays are for going to places one has never been before. There shall be no writing on Sundays unless forced to jot something in notebook due to sheer overwhelming inspiration.

    Why do you feel like you don't write enough? Who are you comparing yourself to?

    When you are dead, people will remember you by your one or two best works. As long as you write them some time before you die, the rest doesn't matter, except from the quitting-the-day-job perspective, and to do that, the absolute maximum a brilliant writer like you would need is two novels a year, 200 000 words/year = 548 words/day.

    So chill 😀

    Write 548 more words if you must 😀

  2. 10/03/2011 at 5:39 AM

    At the moment I'm not writing fast enough to meet deadline-type projects in deadline-type timeframes, so there's that comparison and it's a big part of why I'm irritated with myself. Even when the work *is* done on time, it's no-where near the story I wanted it to be. There's no joy in it, just plot and character and words filling space until we hit the end, 'cause I didn't have the lead-time I liked to find the thing that makes me go "Oh, yes, *that's* why I'm writing this* and make it work.

    There are reasons for this, and some of them were things outside my control, but they're still my stories and they're still going into the world with my name on them, and even when other people like them I sit there looking askance at them and wishing they were something else. Which means I need to figure out how to do them better, and faster, because not-doing-them isn't really an option.

    The rest is just looking at the list of things I want to write, which keeps getting new things put on faster than I take things off and start submitting them, coupled with the conversations where people say "would you be interested in…" and I'm forced to say, "well, I'd love to, but…", and the general kind of grumpiness that comes from having a dayjob I don't particularly like because it involves large expanses of me doing, quite literally, nothing.

    I dislike doing nothing. It gives me too much time to listen to the conversations going on in my head, and its indicative of a management style I find highly frustrating.

  3. 10/03/2011 at 6:04 PM



    Well, I don't know what deadlines you have. I do have one deadline, myself; at least, I did have. I churned out stuff in order to meet it and the churned stuff got rejected.

    On the one hand, I suppose I am lucky to be forced to do better. On the other hand, I really didn't feel like the work sucked. Sometimes a story that's agonised over for years comes good in the end and sometimes a story that pours out in crayon on ripped cereal box while I'm still half in the grip of a dream is actually better.

    The point is, I'm apparently a useless judge of my own stuff and maybe you are, too. People don't say they love a Peter M Ball story if they don't actually love it. There is nothing gained by sucking up to writers, they can't afford to buy you a drink, much less get you into an exclusive club or take you out on their yacht. If people say they something is good and you don't think so, clearly you are wrong!

    Doesn't mean you don't do the best job you can with the time that you have, I'm just saying. Plus, sometimes when a story turns out exactly as you've secretly envisioned it, other people find it too personal to relate to them.

    And I think you'll be surprised at how many seemingly different ideas on your list will fit into the same work.

    I hate doing nothing, too. Feeding, supervising and toilet-training a toddler uses such a small portion of my brain that it's practically unoccupied. I used to cut animals open, remove tumours from their insides, stitch them up and watch them live and breathe and walk as though my gloved hands had never been around their liver.

    So I completely sympethise and have no solution to the evils of doing nothing except for: This, too, shall pass.

  4. 11/03/2011 at 12:39 AM

    My deadlines are tricky this year, since one project has deadlines hitting every thirty days and there isn't really the space for editorial-rejection-and-feedback. I am, in essence, my own quality control and the safety net of editorial rejection is gone.

    This, by and large, is something equivalent to my worse nightmare.

    I like editors, I like having someone there to say "no, not good enough," or even, "good enough, but not great." Normally I'd get around this with trusted beta-readers filling in, but the deadlines are moving fast…

    …and thus we come back to the problem of not writing fast enough 🙂

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