Presents of Mind

On good days the Muse brings me "presents" for my writer's mind to play with. But those days are rare.

On a Long Enough Timeline, Optimism Drops to Zero.

After writing yesterday’s post I find myself moving more rapidly along a scale of anxiety which writers know well, that scale which increases the desire for alcoholic beverages (implied in the post I wrote day before yesterday) as you move up its ranks. As I’ve written elsewhere, I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, like writers are sometimes known to do. I’m not sure why. Maybe we’ve looked beneath the surface a little too much. I can say the submerged engine behind this entire blog is bio-fueled by anxiety.

All that enthusiasm about my characters and my sadistic plans for them has begun to move somewhere between uneasiness and apprehension. If it moves into the final state, mortification, it will probably lead to catalepsy and that’s when you need someone satanic like Richard Bandler to come and stomp on your mortified face to bring you out of it. I hope I don’t reach that level.

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 1.17.35 PM

Rising up the scale of anxiety

I keep changing the circumstances and chewing on the possibility that the whole concept of my novel is too safe, too already-been-done-before. You know all the claptrap that eats away at your head and eventually paralyzes you.  But. This is actually a good thing. If anxiety doesn’t kill you, it will force you to stop pretending. It will force you to write about things that seem impossible to write about. (I don’t know about you, but I’ve always run as fast and far away from cheerful optimists as I could. There’s something there that feels counterfeit.)

One thing about writing a novel is it gets me thinking even more about death and Keats’ poem, the one that goes, “When I have fears that I may cease to be/before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain.”

But luckily we have a Stephen King to remind us

Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard either emotionally or imaginatively is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing to do is shovel shit from a sitting position.

Gee, thanks, Steve.

Now that I’ve released that uncomfortable bit of flatulence and settled onto my rear cheeks again, it’s time to get back to shoveling shit…


5 comments on “On a Long Enough Timeline, Optimism Drops to Zero.

  1. susanddhavle
    April 22, 2014

    I’ve nominated your blog for the Liebster award, And if you are interested, please find details at I enjoy your writing, very honest.

    • inkandpages
      April 24, 2014

      Thank you for the nomination, Susan, and for the kind words. I’m flattered that you would include Presents of Mind on your list. The original Liebster Award website tells us that the award is meant to give new bloggers exposure and for others to discover new blogs. I think that’s wonderful. Apparently it was once meant for blogs with less that 3000 followers. But the rules have changed. Now it’s given to bloggers with 200 or fewer followers. Since Presents of Mind has as of this writing 900 followers, I don’t think it would qualify for the award. Therefore, I’m going to have to respectfully decline. I hope you can find another blogger with 200 or fewer followers to present the award to instead. Cheers.

  2. Margaret Grant
    April 21, 2014

    I just love you. You are so freakin’ brave and real. And you quote Keats off the top of your head on your blog. I wanna be you.

    • inkandpages
      April 21, 2014

      Oh kiss kiss..mwah! No one’s ever said that to me, not even anyone. But seriously, no. You don’t wanna be me, dear Margaret.

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This entry was posted on April 21, 2014 by in Writing and tagged , .
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