Sunday, July 1, 2012

What's a Writer Without a Few Issues? by D.C. McMillen


The fabulous D.C. McMillen:

Thanks for letting me take up a bunch of space on your blog today, Kelly! I am so happy to be here. The change of scenery suits me, I think.  ;)

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on my sofa willing my boyfriend to shut the television off so he’ll stop distracting me with inane questions like, “Did he just say RPM’s? What’s rotating on that machine? NOTHING, that’s what! How big of an idiot is this narrator?” Of course I assume the question is rhetorical and so I don’t bother answering. Instead I offer sort of a murmur that will likely be construed as agreement.

What’s that? Why don’t I bother to move my ass off the sofa and go write in another room, you ask? Well, the boyfriend and I live in a 630 sq ft unit. Short of forcing the dog and cat to share the prime real estate that is our bed or locking myself in the washroom, there is not really anywhere for me to hide away inside this apartment. Yes, I’m aware I could go to the coffee shop downstairs and partake in their free internet but that would involve showering and running a brush through my hair. Besides, the boyfriend will leave for work, sooner rather than later if my Jedi mind tricks work their magic.

Okay, it’s time to fess up. Life’s distractions that often hit me in the form of an angry boyfriend yelling at Myth Busters or How It’s Made, an hour long conversation with my mother about whether or not going together for Botox injections could be considered a good bonding experience or just a fun night out, and my as of yet incurable Twitter addiction are only part of my writing problems. I’m in a mood for baring my soul, people, so now I am going to confess my real issue:

I am not an efficient writer.

Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself a talented writer (I say with only a hint of egotism). I simply go through phases that involve an extreme lack of discipline.

My stories usually start with a spark. I see a man on the subway, a picture in a magazine, or perhaps overhear a ludicrous conversation at the dog park and my creative mind cranks into overdrive. I reach for my laptop and the fingers start flying across the keyboard. After a thousand words or so, I look back over what I’ve written and begin formulating a plot, notes, and developments. Or not. Sometimes I dismiss the writing as pure rubbish. Sometimes I genuinely like the beginnings of my story but I am distracted by another prompt that turns me in a new direction. And then another. By the end of, say, a month I may have half a dozen stories saved on my computer that are nowhere near completion.

Obviously, this lack of follow through can make one feel a little discouraged. Now, if I was writing this confession even just a year ago, I might have replaced discouraged with utterly fucking hopeless. Thankfully I have learned a thing or two since I first started down this road. I may start several stories that go nowhere, yes. But then I write something that somehow grips me to the point that the characters will not let go until I have finished their story. I launch into a writing frenzy, barely popping up for air, and I don’t stop until I’ve typed the words The End. And then I delete the words The End because who really ends a story with that these days?

Luckily my lack of discipline does not extend to the editing phase. I’m not sure why this is but my current theory is that my brain does not consider the story truly complete until it’s out of my hands and sitting in the inbox of a publisher.

So, dear viewers, now that I’ve revealed my serious issues with writing, why not reveal a couple of your hurdles? Come on...we’re friends now, right?


D.C. McMillen lives in Toronto, Canada. She enjoys writing about dirty sex in questionable places but has been known to write about other subjects, on special occasions. D.C. is featured in MuseItHot’s Short & Spicy line up with The Rental and the upcoming story A Decent December. Her debut novella, The Rusty Nail, was recently published through Rebel Ink Press, and she is featured in several sexy anthologies.
D.C. is obsessed with Twitter and invites you to look her up at @mcmillendc, her blog, or on Facebook, where she goes sometimes.

22 comments:

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Thank you, D.C.! I definitely can relate to this. I also tend to get several projects going at once which makes it difficult to reach 'The End'.

JustinBog said...

Very fun and true to life, DC. Although, I still love writing The End after a short story LOL Old school here. And I would love to join you for coffee in your shop :-)

Ciara Ballintyne said...

I'm a completer-finisher personality type, so I rarely have problems finishing tasks, but I can be put off by the overwhelming task of starting a new big project, and then I'll procrastinate.

If you need to send something away in Standard Manuscript Format then you have to type THE END. Bizarrely I had NEVER done this and then the first short story I sent out for consideration had to be in this format so I had to add them.

VampWriterGRRL said...

I can't stop revising. But I've never typed "The End". Maybe if I did that, I could move on and finish the next project.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

I always type THE END. In big letters, one finger at a time, and then I do a "The End happy dance". (And then I start at the beginning again. :)

Anonymous said...

LMAO ROF, How Funny ! This girl has talent, I can certainly relate over and over through everything she said, and I am not even a writer ! LOVE IT ! Bring her back Kelly :)

Jenifer Badamo said...

I can also relate to everything you mentioned in this blog,D.C. The funny part is, my biggest problem is actually starting something. I hardly ever have a problem with the middle or the end, but I agonize over the beginning and the topic. Sometimes I sit with my mother (a writer for many years) and ask her, "Just give me a few lines for the opening and I'll take it from there." Once I can get past the hurdle of the first few lines, I'm good. Also, I agree 100%--the revisions never, ever, end. Grrr....

Lorca Damon said...

WE have an old defunct desktop computer downstairs in the closet. I am seriously setting it up in my office to force myself to finish my latest book BECAUSE IT DOESN'T HAVE INTERNET. See? I'm supposed to be writing RIGHT NOW but instead I'm writing witty comments on really cool blogs where authors share their writing dilemmas! Wait, this is kind of like research, right? RIGHT?

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Everything is research.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

She is a funny lady. I know, I can relate this to a lot more than just writing.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

The first few never bother me, because I know they are going to change about a zillion times down the line. lol

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Come over to the dark side. Type "The End". Just once. Then have a drink. :)

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

I love, love, love to start. But, I'm a bit like DC, I have a lot of half finished projects going at once.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

I think it would be worth a trip to Canada to join in that coffee club.

D.C. said...

Oh good! I'm glad I'm not the only one. :)

D.C. said...

YES! If you both come to Canada, we can have, like, twelve coffees. We'll go coffee crazy!

D.C. said...

Pro-cras-tin...? I've never heard of this word. Surely I can't be guilty of it.

D.C. said...

It doesn't work too well for me but I'm a hopeless case so you should give it a go...

D.C. said...

I should do a happy dance! I wonder how many things I could knock over in my apartment...

D.C. said...

Do you see how Anonymous wrote this? It could have been me calling myself talented and pushing for an invite back. No one here would even know!

Thank you Anonymous, for the kind words.

D.C. said...

Sometimes random writing prompts help with that. You can even find free word generators online.

D.C. said...

Totally research.