De-Evolution of a Writer

I restarted this blog with good intentions. Really, I did. I planned to post a story every week and write articles of such philosophical deliciousness that your brain would get fat from consuming all the heavy facts and symbolic richness that are my thoughts. I was going to put my butt in the chair and churn out content like 10,000 monkeys pounding on typewriters. Except I’m human. And I use a computer. And the random letters I typed would form real words that may or may not make sense when put together.

© Doug Savage

But the economy stubbornly refuses to improve. Feel free to thank our government representatives for that. Since I’m a self-employed freelance writer, I have to focus on doing the writing that pays the bills which leaves very little time for my personal stuff. I wouldn’t have to do this if people didn’t insist on getting money from me.

Take, for example, my landlord. Things would be so much easier for me if they accepted my proposal to pay them with exposure. I was all like, “I have this totes awesome blog that gets 50 hits a week! I will promote you like crazy to my 6 readers and my 103 Twitter followers and all I want in return is a free place to stay.” I even threw in some free articles but she kept saying they can only take cash. I don’t know why they didn’t go for such a sweet deal.

So until bartering makes a comeback, I’m stuck ghostwriting for cash. Unfortunately, by the time I have an hour or two for my own projects I have no creativity left to write blog posts or fiction stories. This makes me sad. If I am to become the J.K. Rowling of erotica, then I need to, you know, actually write stories.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have a ton of stuff in the first draft stage. First drafts are no problem for me because my first drafts consist of stream of consciousness writing. I turn off my internal editor and type. Sometimes an actual story with a plot and fully developed characters results from this. Usually, though, I get a few pages of story notes, e.g. ‘The protagonist goes into the room and finds his fiancé having sex with his father. Surprise!’

Where I start having problems is when I have to take that mess and turn it into a coherent thought. At that point my brain tells me it’s done all the thinking it’s going to do for the day and clocks out. Instead of writing, I end up doing things that don’t require thinking like play Spider Solitaire. I’ve gotten so good at this game that my win percentage is 78% right now.

My life is so full of win right now.

This weekend, though, I had some extra time which I spent sifting through all of the articles I’ve written. As you know, I’ve been having some trouble with Google since their “F**k you” update otherwise known as Panda. I suspect duplicate content may be part of the issue.

My blog archives currently contains content from three websites I used to own. When I took a break from the internet, I moved all of those posts to my WordPress.com blog. When I created this blog, I transferred all of those posts over here. I think Google considers this blog to be a copy of all those other sites I used to own. Even though there is some unique content on this blog, it is not nearly enough to counteract all of the duplicate posts. As I’m sorting through the posts deciding what’s going to stay, what’s going to go, what’s going to be rewritten, I discovered something very disturbing.

My writing has gotten boring.

As a ghostwriter, I must write in a neutral tone devoid of personality so the client can claim the article as their own. I’ve been writing that way for so long, it’s carried over into my personal projects. I was reading an article I recently wrote to submit to content directories and the difference between the way I write now and my previous articles is enormous. It’s so bad, you would think I had a split personality disorder. What’s worse is the writing is boring. Even I started fading in and out while reading the article. How crazy is that?

This made me realize I have to make time to write. I have to use my voice or I’m going to lose it. There are tons of wanna be Rowlings out there. Tons. The only thing distinguishing me from them is my voice. Without that, I’m just another monkey banging on a typewriter. And unfortunately for me, the typing monkeys have already published a novel called Atlanta Nightsso I can’t even go for the novelty effect.

*Sigh*

So how are you developing or preserving your writing voice? Talk to me in the comment section.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I haven’t left my apartment for a week. It would probably be a week and a day if I hadn’t run out of food last night. Once I started dipping into my emergency supply of Ramen Noodles, I knew it was time for me to rejoin the world of the living.

It’s not that I’ve been anti-social. Sure there are days when I’m like, “Fark the world!” But I didn’t have any of those days this week. I actually wanted to be outside enjoying the good weather. I’ve been working to earn some extra money for a toy I want to buy. Oh and for rent and stuff.

As I was leaving my apartment, I noticed some of my neighbors having picnicking on the grass. At first I thought they were crazy. It was hot as hell when I went outside. The moment the heat hit my face I was ready to turn around and go back into my apartment, food or no food. But then I noticed that the some of the trees are starting to turn colors. That could only mean one thing.

Fall is here!

Officially, the first day of fall isn’t until September 23 but I’m excited anyway. While some people are clinging to the last little bit of summer like my neighbors, I’m Jonesing for fall to start.

I love fall. I love the changing leaves and cooler weather. This is the time of year where I get to wear awesome turtleneck sweaters and jeans. It’s also the time of year for caramel apples, pumpkin pie, and copious amounts of calorie laden candy. Halloween is just around the corner and I can’t wait to put up the pumpkin lights and watch horror movies all month long.

I’m not sure exactly what it is about fall that I like so much. It may be that it leads into winter which I passionately love because of the snow. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, fall is associated with melancholy. Apparently, spring and summer are thought of as the seasons of possibilities. Their passing as well as the coming of winter, which is associated with barrenness and death, makes people feel sad.

As a person who struggled with depression, and still sometimes do, I can get with that idea. After all, if you love summer and sunshine, then the switch to grey skies, long nights, and snow would make you depressed. Well, unless you are a football fan. Then you would probably be ecstatic.

Fall and winter are also associated with introspection which, as a thinker, I’m totally into that. My mind is constantly chewing on something. Today, while trying to decide between bacon and sausages, I noticed how busy the store was because of Labor Day. I started wondering what would happen if a giant robot suddenly came storming through the grocery store parking lot. What if I was the only customer unfazed by it and went about my shopping as if it was normal to have giant robots kicking around luxury cars and vaporizing people with its laser eyes?

This, my friends, is why I am a writer.

Anyway, I am excited for fall. What’s your favorite season? Talk to me in the comment section.

And It’s 2014

It’s been 2013 for about 2 days now and, so far, the new year is going along pretty good. In all honesty, I was happy to see 2013 leave. It wasn’t exactly my best year. I had a lot of personal drama going on that would make great stories but wasn’t fun to experience in real life. But whatever doesn’t kill you and all that.

Although you can’t tell, I chopped off the 400+ words that came after this opening paragraph. When I stopped to reread my writing, I realized it was one long bitchfest about everything that is wrong in my life. I don’t think that is a good way to start 2014.

What am I going to talk about instead? I don’t know. How about New Year’s goals since that seems to be popular at the moment. Did you know that 99% of all resolutions are broken within the first week? Okay maybe I kinda made that up, but I heard somewhere that the statistic for broken resolutions in the January is high. I’ve decided not to make any resolutions, but I do have some things that I want to accomplish this year.

I want to read more books. I’ve noticed a decidedly lack of book reading in my life over the past few years. I read short stories online, but I can’t remember the last actual fiction book I’ve read. Mostly it’s been non-fiction stuff about writing and, of course, my own stories. I really think I need to start reading more books and definitely stuff outside of the erotica genre.

My goal this year, then, is to get one of those new-fangled eReaders. I’m not sure which one, though. What are my options? There’s the Kindle, Nook, iPad…I’m sure there are others but these are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head. Hooray for mass marketing. If you have any of these, please help me figure out what to get by sharing your experience. Also share some recommendations of great books I should read this year.

Another goal, of course, is to quit procrastinating and write more. My problem is I lack focus. I jump from project to project, so nothing really gets “finished”. I have so many ideas but not enough attention or discipline to see them through to completion.

For instance, I started a blog fiction series a few months ago and have yet to write the second episode. Well, that’s not right. I wrote the second episode and the third, but I realized it’s mostly fluff that can be told in a paragraph or two, so I need to rewrite them. Instead of focusing on that project, I get an idea for a new story and spend time chewing on that. Brain, why must you be so ADD?!

Anyway, what have you got planned for 2014? Hopefully something exciting and fun. Talk to me in the comments.