You Know You’re A Writer When…Frustration

YNYAWW - Frustration

Disaster Strikes – Round 2 – NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2014

Well, it finally happened, everyone. The worst case scenario struck this weekend. I received political satire as my genre for the 2nd round of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2014.

As usual, I went to bed on Friday night without looking at my assignment–the last thing I needed was to be kept up half the night with swirling ideas. Around 4:30 a.m., my nerves woke me up. Unable to stand it, I turned on my tablet to find out what my new prompts were:

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 8.38.53 AM

Blank.

My mind went blank.

Then it quickly screamed:
Ugh, I had so been hoping for comedy or sci-fi. Or, heck, even romance. ANYTHING but political satire, because 1) I don’t know jack about politics, and 2) I’ve never tried writing satire.

I ended up throwing myself back into bed, curling up in the fetal position, and battling between despair and anger for a solid hour. It. Was. A. Disaster! In fact, for a serious moment, I even considered throwing in the towel and giving up…

But, darn it, I’m competitive. And I wasn’t willing to just roll over and die. So I got over myself, and I went to work.

Thankfully, I happened to overhear a rant about a current event the day before, so I had a topic to use as my story’s inspiration. I pulled up Google and began educating myself on it. I spent most of Saturday morning reading articles and watching a Congress hearing on C-SPAN.

I know, it sounds borrrring, but surprisingly, everything I read and heard was fascinating. Better yet, it was mockable. There was one particular quote that inspired my story’s entire theme. Hint:

After a wicked case of Distractionitis (Facebook, Twitter, chores, etc.), I battened down the hatches and whipped out a first draft.

Now, normally I will revise a first draft at least a couple of times before I send it to my mom, AKA, Mrs. Harsh Beta Reader. This time, however, I broke tradition and asked her if she’d come over to my house to read it/help me revise it. I didn’t want to waste time revising a story I had zero confidence in.

To my complete shock, she loved the first draft. In fact, she was crying she was laughing so hard at some of my jokes. I cried with her, but I think that was more out of relief than humor 😉 We edited the story to a semi-solid draft and I sent it off to a couple of other beta readers, one of whom had way more experience in political satire than me.

Their critiques came back positive, but the one who had political satire know-how said my story was too funny. Satire is supposed to suggest, not slap the reader in the face with comedy.

So, I revised it and tried to tone things down.

Tried.

Honestly, I would’ve needed to start completely over to make my story more “satire” funny than “HAHA!” funny, and I wasn’t going to do that. It was late and I was exhausted. Plus, I liked my story–for what it was–and I figured the chances of getting any points for it in the competition were slim-to-none. So why not write a story I liked–even if it didn’t meet the traditional standards of satire?

On Sunday morning, I sent my beta readers a polished version. One of them still thought the humor needed to be toned down and a specific aspect needed to be deleted, while the other thought the story wasn’t as funny anymore and thought that specific aspect needed to be emphasized.

So, I decided to leave the story as is. HA! I ran through it once more and submitted it. Done and done!

Now, is this the best story I’ve ever written? NOOOOO! Will it get me points? NOOOOO! Am I proud I sucked it up and wrote a political satire? YES!

One of the main reasons I do this competition is to push my boundaries and experiment with various genres. And although political satire wasn’t one of the genres I wanted to experiment with, I’m glad I did. It challenged me in ways I’ve never been challenged before. Plus, I learned a lot about a current event I wouldn’t have known much about otherwise.

Hopefully people will read my story and enjoy it, even if it doesn’t fit the traditional political satire standards. I plan to post it here in a few days. For now, here is the title and synopsis:

“OPERATION DISNEY”

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: It’s the 21st century and time for a new, inviting strategy for the Secret Service. But Director Peterson’s plan might be too Disney for special agent Prouty.

***

Okay, normally, I don’t offer explanations for my stories. But since this is a political satire and not all of us are on the up-and-up of various current events, I wanted to give you one to–hopefully–improve your reading experience.

Operation Disney is based off of Julia Pierson, the recently resigned Director of the Secret Service.

APTOPIX-Secret-ServiceSince she was hired back in 2013, there have been multiple security breaches. Some of these include: An armed man hopping the White House fence, running across the lawn, and entering the property through an unlocked door. A construction worker/felon being allowed to share the same elevator as the President (and snap photos of him with his phone). And, finally, a series of gunshots echoing outside the White House that were blamed for a car backfiring (five days later, a maid found a window in the President’s private residence damaged from bullets).

On top of all of that, Pierson made this comment (and it’s this comment I based the tone of my story off of):

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 11.49.17 AMHopefully that explanation helps some of you enjoy Operation Disney more! Thanks in advanced for reading and providing feedback. I appreciate it.

Photo credits:

http://www.omgfacts.com/lists/7722/A-man-survived-the-Hindenburg-disaster-by-bailing-out-the-window

http://www.studentbeans.com/mag/en/campus/the-25-stages-of-writing-an-essay

http://gifsb.in/will-ferrell/

http://torimac.tumblr.com/

http://dailycaller.com/2014/10/02/julia-pierson-on-secret-service-we-need-to-be-more-like-disney-world/

http://www.i-am-bored.com/forums.asp?page_num=1&action=read&q_id=71067&ct=10

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/10/02/fired-secret-service-directors-strategy-for-the-agency-we-need-to-be-more-like-disney-world/

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/nation/2014/10/01/APress-Secret-Service-chief-Julia-Pierson-resigns-after-security-lapses/stories/201410010204

Friday Funny with a Side of Wonky and Flash Fiction

Attention, everyone! Attention, attention: It’s Friday!

So, to be perfectly honest, I spent the majority of my week doing this:

Daydreaming. Pondering. Staring off into La-La Land…

I’m not quite sure if I’m so tired I couldn’t focus on anything, or if I’m so focused on everything, I couldn’t focus on anything. Wait, that didn’t make sense. Let’s go with the first thing I said…

Yeah, yeah. I know. I need a vacation. But that isn’t happening, so let’s move on, shall we?

On a positive note, my life was much calmer than last week, and I no longer feel like I’m on the verge of a royal meltdown.

I spent all last weekend hermit-ing it up to regain my footing and get back on track with my manuscript–which I did. Phew! Better yet, I sent my beta reader new chapters, and her feedback was positive. Her exact words were: “All I can say is WOW!!!!!!!!”

I’m hoping to send her one more chapter before tonight, when the 2nd round of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge begins.

Dun, dun, dun…

Yes, yes. It’s time for another round of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. Buckle your seat belts!

So, yesterday I received my results for round 1. I don’t want to bore you with the details of the competition’s point system, so I’ll just say my story, Inevitable, took 11th out of the 40+ writers in my heat. Yeah, not too shabby, though I’d kinda hoped to crack the top ten. But whatever. For me, it’s not really about winning. It’s about challenging myself, improving my writing, and connecting with other writers.

Plus, I have to admit, Inevitable isn’t one of my favorite pieces I’ve produced. I’m proud of it and everything, but I wish I’d dug deeper and pushed myself harder. Suspense is one of my favorite genres to write, so I’m disappointed I didn’t try to take things to the next level.

Oh well, oh well. Onwards and upwards!

Round 2 begins tonight. At midnight, I’ll receive a new assignment (genre, location, object) and have 48-hours to write a 1,000 word story. Since I received suspense in round one, I’m betting I’ll receive comedy, romance, or–God forbid–political satire as my next genre.

Seriously, if I get political satire, I’m doooomed.

Anyway, in honor of my…hmm…I don’t know how to categorize this week. Wonky? Ha! Yeah, let’s go with that. In honor of my wonky week, here are a few random Friday Funnies. Enjoy!

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10257893_288674234658465_2390867437885549490_nHow was your week? Anyone have fun plans for the weekend? If I finish my writing contest early, I might crack out the Halloween decorations and gloom up my house a little. Of course, that means I’ll need to enter the dreaded Crawl Space of Spiders…Nope. Forget it. I’m not decorating this year 😉

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Set Fire to the Rain – Adele

You Know You’re a Writer When…Dishes

10 Questions Your Readers Shouldn’t Have to Ask

Photo credits:

http://partyofoneblog.com/2013/07/finally-friday-is-funny.html

http://www.rowdychicken.com/media/19-dilemmas-every-book-lover-has-faced-at-least-once/

http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/86751220.html?page=2

http://reactiongif.org/gifs/gif-cry-crying-lose-meltdown-sad-wine-work-gif/

http://www.urbansmoothie.com/2013/10/the-devils-reprise-devils-2-by-karina.html

http://hollygrass.blogspot.com/2014/05/hallelujah-its-friday.html

http://graphitedoll.tumblr.com/post/30306748060/everything-i-do-this-is-no-different

http://www.pinterest.com/slynnk94/i-want-to-be-a-writer/

http://thepeopleproject.com/writers/wine%20quotes

You Know You’re a Writer When…Dishes

YNYAW Dishes - Resized

Friday Funny with Ugh and a Side of Monster

Drop what you’re doing and dance it up. Cause it’s FRIDAY!

Seriously, TGIF! I haven’t needed a weekend this bad since…Well, I can’t remember. In one word, this week was rotten. Things started off great. I had tons of momentum and motivation with my manuscript, I was in a happy mood, and everything seemed perfect in the world.

And then it slooooowly collapsed.

Both work and my personal life were crazy busy. Plus, I hit a couple of emotional speed bumps along the way that transformed me into one giant hot mess.

On top of all that, it seemed everyone and anyone who had their own problems or needed help contacted me: “Hey, Jenna, can you…?”, “Jenna, do you think I should…?”, “SOS! I need you…” I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being there for my friends and family. They are the number one priority in my life. However, when they all strike at once, I start to feel like this:

What makes it all the worse is when my brain is screaming, “WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!” along with all the other chaos, and I can’t–literally. Every spare moment I had this week was interrupted by life.

*deep–deeeep–breath*

I’ve been trying not to have an anxiety attack since Wednesday, but it’s a losing battle. By this point, I feel like there’s a monster inside of me shredding me apart. My stomach is in constant knots and my throat hurts from holding back my tears of frustration.

I’m sure some of you have felt this way before. Or, at least, you can understand how it might feel. Most of the people in my life don’t. They assume writing is something you can turn on and off.

It’s not.

Writing is with you everywhere you go, and the more you ignore it, the more it hurts.

Thank God the weekend is here and I have no plans but to write. I’ll be locking my doors and telling anyone who calls or texts me:

Yeah, I’m ice cold like that.

Okay, not really. But I’m going to try!

Anyway, in honor of my “ugh” week, here are today’s Friday Funnies. Okay, they’re not “ha-ha” funny, but this wasn’t exactly a “ha-ha” post, so I figure they fit. 😉 Plus the second one is great advice for those of us who have a problem saying “No!” to others.

franz-kafka-quotes-sayings-non-writing-writer-insanity

tumblr_mvnvnpw9KI1r5lxuvo2_1280How was your week? I hope not nearly as stressful as mine. Have any fun plans for the weekend? Or will you be hermit-ing it up like me?

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Back in Black – AC/DC

My Writing: The What, How, and Why

7 Methods for Handling Point-of-View Changes

Photo credits:

http://whenatcamp.tumblr.com/post/37048966204/public-speaking

http://www.reactiongifs.us/building-collapse/

http://fymodernfamily.tumblr.com/post/42058845490

http://prairielights.tumblr.com/post/95112350191/ba-in-bs-click-through-to-awesome-photo-array

http://booksaredelicious.com/

http://www.allgeektome.net/2013/10/28/hope-is-stronger-than-fear-check-out-the-final-catching-fire-trailer/

http://intothewormshole.blogspot.com/2014_05_01_archive.html

http://www.jamspreader.com/2013/05/07/best-looks-of-the-2013-the-met-gala/

Friday Funny with Paint, Chocolate, and Wallow

There isn’t much to say except:

Well everyone, this week was a doozy on the writing front. In a nutshell, I felt like this:

So, last weekend I sent my beta reader my latest two chapters. She liked them, but she wasn’t crazy about their setting. “I wasn’t wowed,” she explained. “This is a big moment, and you nailed the emotions and the action, but the actual location wasn’t thrilling. I wanted…more.”

Always more, Mrs. Beta Reader. That’s all you ever want. More, more, more

Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re all thinking: “It’s good your beta reader pushes you to do better–to give a reader more. That’s their job.” I know, I know. But, still. Grrrrr.

The problem is–and I know you’ll find this bizarre considering I’m passionate about novel writing–I’m not a fan of painting a setting. The sky, the clouds, the house, the trees…blah, blah, blah. If I could, I’d literally say, “There’s an old house that’s creepy and scary. Get it? Got it? Good. Let’s move on.”

Horrible, I know. But, unfortunately, true.

And these chapters my beta reader wanted “more” from are all about painting a setting. So, rewriting them this week has. Been. Pure. Torture! Compared to writing dialogue and action sequences, describing a location is hell for me. Going from blank page to vivid scene is a rough and frustrating process. There’s lots of writing, deleting, crying, screaming, writing, deleting, groaning, kicking, writing, deleting…

…punching my computer in the face. Apologizing to my computer for punching it in the face. Punching it again. Apologizing again…

Seriously, by the time I finished revising these chapters last night, I felt like this:

Okay, Okay, I wasn’t that bad. But I really wanted to curl up with a big bag of peanut M&M’s and wallow. Maybe chow down on some cookie dough ice cream, a slab of fudge, and an entire chocolate cake.

What? Every writer is allowed to gorge on chocolate once in awhile, right?

Right?

Fingers crossed my beta reader gives me the thumbs up on the new location I painted for her. If she doesn’t, then I will be buying a GIANT bag of peanut M&M’s and I will be wallowing….And then, after my pity-poor-me party, I will roll up my sleeves, gnash my teeth, and try again. Because, as the saying goes, “You fail only if you stop writing”.

Right?

Anyway, in honor of my rough writing week, here is today’s Friday Funny. Enjoy!

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How was your week? Wallow worthy? Or full of rainbows and glitter and blah blah blah? 😉

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Love The Way You Lie – Eminem and Rihanna

You Know You’re a Writer When…Alter Ego

8 Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing

Photo credits:

http://stevencee.com/author/stevencee/

http://giphy.com/gifs/b55x0VFpFKm7S

http://www.gifwave.com/3kSL/reaction-cameron-diaz-the-holiday-grrrr-gif

http://giphy.com/gifs/obG1fKl754GZ2

http://fivefootattack.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/the-five-foots-top-five-christmas-movies/

http://itsbetterblonde.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/hey-guys-learn-your-manners/

http://rebloggy.com/post/funny-humor-book-write-epic-fail-writting-distractions-to-write-writing-humor-st/32599840340

You Know You’re a Writer When…Alter Ego

Ego4-1

Friday Funny with Snow and Awkwardness

Happy Friday! Well, sorta. I woke up to an unwelcoming sight this morning: SNOW!

Grrrrr…It’s still summer, darn it. I’m not ready for this. I’m not, I’m not, I’m not! Okay, moving on…

*big, deep breath*

So, it’s probably a good thing the majority of you don’t interact with me in real life, because I lost the ability to speak properly this week. All of my words came out jumbled, stilted, and just plain lame. I was walking-talking Awkwardness. For example:

Me: Hi, Mr. Coworker, how was your vacation?
Mr. Coworker: Good, thanks for asking.
Me: Where’d you go again?
Mr. Coworker: Oregon.
Me: Why? For fun?
Mr. Coworker: A football game.
Me: So, for fun?
Mr. Coworker: Uh, no, for a football game.
Me: Yeah, but that’s for fun, right?
Mr. Coworker: Yeah… [Stares at me like I’m crazy]
Me: Cool. [Awkward pause] Sounds…fun.

By yesterday, I finally gave up and shut my trap to save myself and others from uncomfortable, confusing, and embarrassing chit-chat.

I’m going to go ahead and blame my manuscript for my lack of eloquence this week. I poured all of my words and articulation into it…which, I suppose, isn’t a horrible thing, right? Better to get a lot of work done than look/sound cool…Right? Well, I’m gonna go with it. And I’m going to pray this week of gibberish will be forgotten, and the words I wrote will live on and on…Or, ya know, be chopped up and used for firewood in this absurd weather!

Okay, sorry. Early winter rage is still boiling over here 😉

Besides the snow and the charming words I uttered, my week was low key. There was a ridiculous spider incident I’ll skip over, and I thoroughly embarrassed myself while filming footage for my friend’s next film for round 2 of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. This time, I had to use my prompts from round one as inspiration (truck stop, diamond ring). I decided to dress up like a trucker, slap a diamond ring on, and dance around to Beyonce’s “Put a Ring On It”.

Yeah, I totally looked like Justin Timberlake while attempting to mimic Beyonce’s dance moves. I’m soooo cool 😉

Anyway, in honor of my bumbling, idiotic-filled week, here is today’s Friday Funny. Enjoy!

10696284_283107871881768_4706964337960351450_nHow was your week? Did you stutter through it, like me? Or was it smooth sailing?

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – I’m Shipping Up To Boston – Dropkick Murphys

You Know You’re A Writer When…Empty Fridge

Into Paradise – Never Forget

I Will Never Forget – My September 11th Story

Photo credits:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/tonykennick/7-things-you-only-know-if-you-are-jon-snow-toi8

http://twixx13.tumblr.com/post/54369542119/face-palm-disney-level

http://ididntdoit.wikia.com/wiki/User:Perfectdisasters

http://gif-giz.tumblr.com/page/2

http://milesdeplumasgastadas.blogspot.com/2014_01_01_archive.html

You Know You’re A Writer When…Empty Fridge

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Friday Funny and a Return to Crazy Writer Status

Happy Friday, everyone! Wait, it is Friday, right? Hold on…

Okay, I double checked. It is. Phew!

Well, besides being totally out of whack since the long Labor Day Weekend, my week went well. It started off on a high note with a trip to Aspen for the JAS music festival, and it has ended on a high note with a revival of my manuscript. It appears I’ve finally broken free of the swarm of butterflies that have been distracting me since round one of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge.

Woot-woot!

I can always tell when I’m back on a roll when I turn into a “crazy writer”. Basically, I get irritated, impatient, and grumpy. All I want to do is write. Write, write, write! I don’t want to exercise, or do chores, or eat food, or watch TV, or hang out with friends…In a nutshell, if it doesn’t revolve around my story, I just don’t want to deal with it.
Yeah, I’m total a wackadoodle when my creative engine starts running at full steam…But don’t worry, I don’t ever succumb to complete hermit-ville. I do my best to find a balance between reality and la-la land. Try 😉

I know part of my “crazy” resurgence comes from the knowledge that my schedule for September is going to be–overall–calm. There are no imminent threats of butterfly swarms on the horizon. Which means I’ll be able to put all of my focus into my book. Which means I’ve got no excuses not to get a lot of work done. Which means I should probably stop rambling here and get to writing, huh?

So, in honor of my return to “crazy writer” status, here is today’s Friday Funny. Enjoy!
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How was your week? Anyone else thrown off after the long Labor Day Weekend? How about your manuscript? Is it on track? Or are you still being swarmed by the evil butterflies?

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Somethin’ Bad – Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert

Book of the Month – The Maze Runner – James Dashner

How to Intensify Conflict & Deepen Characters—The Wound

Photo Credits: 

http://www.reactiongifs.com/crazy/

http://www.teen.com/2013/12/11/celebrities/emma-stone-wingwoman-funny-gifs/

http://www.teen.com/2014/08/12/random-stuff/skinny-girl-problems/attachment/gossip-girl-blair-stop-talking/

http://www.yourtango.com/2014207592/tv-love-23-things-make-no-sense-pretty-little-liars-episodes-season-4-finale