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August 21, 2013

M.R. Cornelius: Writing Sucks!

I admire authors who can sit at their computer for 8 hours a day, writing fabulous prose that . . . well, I guess it’s really more like envy that their efforts seem . . . oh, let’s be honest. I hate writers like that.

I can’t keep my butt in a chair for an hour without getting up to put out the cat or grab some vanilla wafers.

I’m like that kid in the Family Circus comic. He goes out the back door, slides down the slide, scuffs through his sandbox, throws a stick with the dog, rides his bike into the garage, hopscotches down the driveway, does somersaults through the front yard, goes in the front door, and tells his dad dinner is ready.

Whew! That was exhausting. I’ve got to go check my e-mail.

You see? It’s like ADHD on steroids. I can’t stay on task long enough to write the Great American Novel.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I have managed to get three books published, the fourth is in the works, and a couple more are pinballing around in my head.

But that’s the problem. The jumble of ideas. The monkeys in my brain. The distractions. Particularly when the ideas aren’t flowing. I just don’t have the discipline.
Hang on a sec. I’ve got to go get another cup of tea.

Okay, I’m back. So let’s talk for a minute about getting inspired to write. You’ve got to come up with an idea, which for me, is the easy part. What if Bruce Willis and his team fail to blow up the asteroid, and Earth is doomed? Now I have to come up with at least 80,000 words to flesh out how citizens of Earth spend their final days. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? IT’S NOT!

Sorry, I had to go find some of the chocolate. Publix had M & Ms peanuts and almonds on sale last week so I got both kinds, mixed them up, and put some in a jar. I made sure the jar had a small mouth so I can’t pull out a big honkin’ handful . . .

Anyway, here’s the rub about writing. Some days I sit at my computer staring at the screen, and my mind is literally catatonic. Call it what you will: writers’ block, an absent muse, lack of inspiration. Whatever it is, some days I can’t snag a good idea with a net. I take long walks, I wander through the house, talking to myself, but nothing comes to me.

These are the days when I’d rather clean out my attic than write.

Then the next day, I’ll wake up at 5:30 with an idea in my head, and nearly trip on the stairs as I rush to get it written before it fades. Yes, I know about keeping a notebook beside the bed. I’ve dashed into the bathroom on more than one occasion, turned on the light—I’m blind! I’m blind!—and hastily dashed down my thoughts. But then I can’t get back to sleep, so I head for the computer and type it all out. So what’s the point of the scribbling?

On days when the writing is flowing, I truly feel like a writer. I watch the scene develop as I type, and I’m in awe.

‘That’s brilliant!’

‘And then she realizes he’s been living just two blocks over all this time! Where does this inspiration come from?!’

I’m sure there are authors who hammer out pages of gold that never warrant a second look. Their masterpiece is ready for print. But that’s not what happens with me.

Half the time, I sit down later to read what I’ve written, and most of it is absolute crap. ‘He’s been living two blocks over all this time. So why hasn’t she seen him at the grocery store?’

Delete. Delete. Delete.

Ah, that’s better. Just took a walk and stopped to chat with my neighbor Cleve about getting his onions planted.

Here’s another really annoying thing about being a writer. You can’t just write books. Oh, nooooo. You have to market your books.

That means spending way too much time networking socially. (Yeah, that’s bullshit for wasting hours on Twitter reading funny tweets, and watching YouTube videos on Facebook. Although, have you see the one where one guy is a cat person and the other guy is a dog person? Hilarious!)

I e-mail reviewers, asking them to review my books, then wait months to get a lousy 3-star review because she didn’t like the language or he wanted more explosions. I write interviews and I blog about my life in short essays, like ‘Why I’m Writing about Myself Instead of Working on my Book.’

Oh, hell. I’ve lost my train-of-thought again. I’m going to go take a shower.

Dang! Glad I did that. When I pulled my shirt over my head I got a good whiff of . . . never mind.

The point I’m trying to make is, some authors are more prolific than others. (They’re damn lucky is what they are.) Stephen King can fart a good book. (Well, sure, but he’s got a staff . . .)

Aw, forget it. I’m not sure what the point is . . . except writing sucks! Now I’m going to go steam the wallpaper off my kids’ bathroom wall.

Buy H10N1 by M. R. Cornelius at Amazon

About the Author:
After working for fifteen years as a cafeteria manager in an elementary school, Marsha Cornelius turned in her apron and non-skid shoes for a bathrobe and slippers. She now works at home, writing novels, acting out scenes with her cats, and occasionally running a Swiffer across dusty surfaces.
Her first novel, H10N1, is a thriller about a flu pandemic gone awry, and survivors who must deal with the aftermath. Next up for Cornelius was The Ups and Downs of Being Dead, which tells the story of a man who chooses to have his body cryonically-frozen rather than face death.
Her latest novel, Losing It all, is a romantic drama about a homeless man who helps and woman and her two small children get off the streets.
Cornelius resides in the countryside north of Atlanta with her husband. Her two grown sons occasionally visit for clean laundry and a hot cooked meal.
Twitter  *  website  *  Goodreads

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  1. Oh I know what you mean. I have many great ideas but they seem to never land on the paper. And I always distract myself from writing. Not cool at all!