Monday, January 16, 2012


Crazy Hair Day
by Hilde Garcia

I have been busy for months and have not a written. What am I waiting for? An invitation? “Hey lady, I liked your first story, write another!” Or maybe my manuscript will be a one hit wonder- my one true novel- and I will never finish anything else. I think that’s bologna. You want to know the truth? 

I’m scared. 

I’m scared that this is all I’ve got, that I don’t have any other ideas. I thought about writing something about the WW II era, but guess what, everyone’s been there, done a million times over, so what would be special about mine? “Nothing,” I tell myself, so I don’t write. “Let me go and wash some dishes.” 

Hey, what about teens who are falling apart and contemplating suicide? I think. Nah, Jay Asher knocked that one out of the park, so how could I do it better? “Well, let me go and grade 170 school papers instead.” 

“SO, uh, Hilde, you ever plan on writing a blog post again?” My critique group chimes in unison, no surprise there.

“In December, promise. Three posts by the 26th.” Well, my house company didn’t leave all month, the kids had their birthday party, and Hanukah ruled for eight days, and then I got terrible news on the 26th. See, I can’t catch a break it seems. So, no writing.

Happy New Year! Here we are. Finally, this morning, I find at bottom of my desk a piece of paper with five ideas for blog posts. I had written them in November and promised my group I would complete them in December. I really want to sit down and write, but I couldn’t because the kids had to go to the dentist. Yep, I should have taken the kids in October, but remember, my life was crazy, so thank goodness, they had no cavities.

But today is the day. Carpe Diem. I get home, unloaded groceries, feed kids, plop them in front of a movie like everybody else does, and tell them not to talk to me, even if the movie is over. Dinner and bedtime are early today. Group is coming over and I aim to have me a post.

Fear. It kills you cold. I didn’t start another project because I wanted an editor, The Editor, to tell me, “Your novel rocks, it’s amazing, let’s get to work.” If I have time to watch TV, I have time to write. If I have time to go on Facebook, I have time to write. Well, in my defense, I haven’t posted on Facebook since August 2011.

“Mommy, the movie is over,” my daughter says.

“GO play, I’m busy.” I keep typing, ignoring my monkey.

“It’s dark outside,” says my son.

Fielding the Ball
“So stay inside then.” If I don’t look up they will go away. Now back to my blog rant.

And for those of you that know me… I’m not silent, by any measure, but no one has heard from me, not even a peep on my group’s blog. That’s pretty lousy. But seriously, I would read Going Bovine or Flygirl and then think, “Forget it; I have nothing to add that’s better.”

I think a change is in order.

“Mommy, the garage door is open.”

“Not my problem.”

“DO we feed Buddy?”

“YES. You do every day twice a day. I don’t need to be involved in that process. This is MY quiet time. Go entertain yourselves.” I shut the door of my den and sit at the computer. Movies need to be three hours long for the twelve and under crowd.

I dust off some old picture books that have collected cobwebs in my drawer. I decide I’m going to post often, at least once or twice a month, on our blog. I’m not waiting by the phone for The Big Call. I never used to when I was an actor, so why am I waiting now?

Sam Punts
I know, it makes no sense, but now you know why the most talkative person in our group has been the least vocal when it comes to posting on line. You’d think I would have been all over the site chiming in to every conversation.

My advice to myself: Don’t let fear or preconceptions make me feel like I don’t have a new twist on an old tale. I am not the editor (nor agent), someone else is. My job is to write, write it all down, and whatever comes out is good. Who am I to assume it won’t be good? Well, alright, it will be good, once I revise.

My promise to myself: To write every day for thirty minutes. I plan to have a post on our Pen N. InkBlog Facebook site so you all can see if I’m writing. If not, someone kick me, please. I can email you my address or you can poke me on FB, nothing like a virtual slap to get the creative juices going. I’m going to find my quiet thirty minutes every day to write or breathe deeply, which will lead to writing because I’m out of excuses.

Like our Blog T-Shirts say: “Stay the F**k and Write!”


  1. Susan, I enjoyed your blog on fear. Think we all feel that at times. And thank you for telling me about yourr first lines. Looked over some of your offerings -- some I've read and many others I haven't. Always appreciate hearing about a good book.

  2. Hilde, I feel your fear! I think it's pretty common amongst the writing crowd - certainly I feel it all the time. But a friend of mine said to me last week, "Just keep writing." So simple, but so true. The more you write, the better (overall :)) you get, and if you don't write, you have nothing to show. The law of averages should at least be in our favor, right? For every 20 things we right, 1 of them should be pretty good :) Good luck with your writing and remember, you're not alone! :)

  3. Hilde,
    I've been where you are. (And at those times, in addition to not writing, I consume large amounts of sugar and carbs, as if I can stuff down the fear.) Just last week, I shared a video clip on how comparing our writing to that of others leaves us stuck. You're not alone. Perhaps watching the clip will help.
    Hurray for having the courage to move forward!

  4. Madeline L'Engle wrote about her fear that what she'd written had all been written before. Once I read that, I let go of that particular fear. Oh, I've got plenty of other neuroses, but that one's over.

  5. I hear my case it's my writer's notebook. I loved this line in particular:
    My advice to myself: Don’t let fear or preconceptions make me feel like I don’t have a new twist on an old tale.
    This is advice I take to heart. Thanks!!!

  6. I have been without sugar for 16 days. No chocolate, no junk food, no candy. If you know me, you know that this is impossible, but I have witnesses. I have lost five pounds and gotten more productive, got to the bottom of my to do list and am actually writing and posting, twice in one day. Oh, but how I miss my chocolate. I just felt like I needed to do a little cleanse to start the year off right and get ready for all that Valentines Day chocolate coming my way. But thank you ladies, the words of encouragement are awesome. Part 2 of my blog coming later this week.\Hilde

  7. I love this post, Hilde and I feel your fear. I keep telling myself "you are a unique individual and only you can tell your stories." But sometimes that's hard to believe. KEEP WRITING!!!

  8. Enjoyed reading the post, I have similar issues as well. Currently, I have a love/hate relationship with my writing. For the last day or so its been more positive, I am sure it will quickly turn to "uhh, nobody is going to like this, when I don't" by next week. Just how I roll.

  9. Every word of it is true. I think we can all agree. Wonderful post Hilde!

  10. "Oh, but how I miss my chocolate."
    There's always room for chocolate chip cookies.
    Toll House Kook

  11. Best of luck writing. If I shun email and stay offline, I can get in an hour before Kiddo wakes up. So far, I'm doing OK with this schedule.

  12. Welcome back to the writing life, Hilde. I, too, took a too-long vacation (and my excuses were not nearly as legitimate as yours) - but returned last night like you. Sorry to hear about your terrible news. Keep fighting the good fighting!

  13. Oh, I feel your fear, Hilde. I find it helps to start with something small, maybe smaller even than a blog post.

    I hope this blog post is the jump start you need.

  14. I so feel that fear too, Hilde (and the yearning for chocolate)... I had a great writing year last year and feel completely frozen since Jan first. I guess I need to schedule that daily writing like you suggest!

  15. Yep, I know it Joanna. I wrote for 1 hour yesterday and 30 minutes last Friday. It's a start. I am writing now, working on a new idea, that finally hit me in the head last night. Happy new year indeed. Thanks everyone for awesome comments and tips. Happy writing. Hilde

  16. Hilde,

    It's your brotherhood football/Flintridge bookstore friend! Thank you for this post, this has been a very non-writey season for me too. I really have nothing to attribute it too, except the crazy holidays and weird new year doldrums. I am getting back on the horse, and wish you all the luck in the world. It's not easy, but the world needs your special voice.
    Fight the good fight and press on, girlfriend!

  17. Thank you, Hilde. It's been almost a week since I sat down and wrote the next chapter of my WIP but until I read this, I couldn't quite name the reason why. Or, at least, I didn't dare to.

    I've reached that stretch that I think all writers go through when we've written past the exciting beginning and now we think, "Who's going to read this drivel? Better stop now before I waste any more time on it." But it's just the fear talking.

    Going to go apply butt to chair now. Thanks.

  18. Love what you said to your kids. SOOO realistic. :) I have trouble managing all the writing for money stuff I do with the creative writing and then taking care of 14-month-old daughter, being a wife/friend, etc, etc, etc.

    One of these days i plan to get it all figured out. . .

  19. I make it up as I go along, lol. I finally think I figured some part of it out. Happy writing and when in doubt, hide, eat chocolate and watch Life Time TV. Hilde

  20. Can so relate! Seems we writers love to sabatoge ourselves. When I was in deep writing mode, and my kids were younger, I used to have a sign on my door that read, "Do not interrupt unless their is fire or blood involved." Seemed to work :)

  21. in the Comment Challenge I've been tapping into lots of new-to-me blogs (not you, of course) that came to the challenge through SCBWI and I getting a collection of getting past the fear/inertia/distractions and just WRITING. It is exactly what I need to hear right now, and am so happy to have your perspective. Thanks for sharing!

  22. May I just say that you hit that blog post out of the park! You guilted me, motivated me, and made me laugh. I'm off to write ...

  23. @ Annie- Not only did I love the baseball analogy, but I can't believe I guilted anyone into anything. How cool. I think I feel like a total mom now, lol. I wrote yesterday... and I posted 3 times and read 3 of our older blogs. I hadn't done that all year. I am off to plan a tea for our principal before I teach. Have a fabulous day you, and everyone. HildeD

  24. *here, via MotherReader's blog post mentioning you

    Well, yeah. It took me a long time to realize that a lot of the crap IS fear. The anger at getting a critique I just "don't get." The exhaustion and whining in trying to broach a new genre, "Why did I try writing mystery? I don't know what happens next! All I know is the ending!" The avoiding my computer, the need for a nap: all fear.

    Thanks for the kick in the butt.

  25. Came here via another link and so delighted to see that you're part of the Comment Challenge too Hlde. Had not realized what a fraidy cat I was before this. Just thought I was always too busy ROFL

  26. Beautifully said, and so true! Writing is as much discipline and perseverance as it is inspiration and creativity. We need to focus and write everyday, even when it feels so tedious to do so. You are motivating us with posts like this -- kudos!

  27. Great post. Thanks! It's reassuring to read that someone else out there is going through the same weird combination of fear/guilt/procrastination although I'm focusing on drawing for now. Gotta set goals I guess and just do the work. I find blogging helps me to commit to my personal goals for the most part...

    "If you wait for inspiration, you'll never accomplish a thing. You just have to roll up your sleeves and get to work." - Lars Jansson (took over his sister's Moomin comic creation and had an even more prolific career)

  28. I can completely relate - though I tend to post on my blogs and not write my stories or things that aren't going online!!

    All the best with your writing goals this year. You can do it :)

  29. How do we get so busy? Thanks for the fabulous details of why & how & when & where, even who & what. You've shown it all perfectly. And ended my day with a chuckle, but sympathy for your busy life.

  30. Oh, this is every writer's struggle, isn't it? I like to quote Jane Yolen on this (and remind myself to do it)...BIC (Butt in Chair)!

  31. My critique group meets every two weeks, If I don't write...I have nothing to send, so it gets me writing. I posted on a similar topic about achieving your goal with a goal buddy.

  32. Sending words of encouragement your way. Yes, lots of good stuff has already been written, but don't let that stop you. Read it. Use it as inspiration. But then write the book only you can write.


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