Beneath the Clearance Rack: A Tale of Unresolved Writer’s Block

Use Your WordsDid you know that every month you can be a part of something truly unique?  Karen of Baking in a Tornado regularly allows me to participate in the various writing challenges that she hosts and doesn’t tell me to hit the road.  At least she hasn’t yet.  If she’ll let me do it, by golly she’ll let anyone in. 

Use Your Words is one such challenge where participating bloggers provide four to six words or phrases.  These are then assigned to another blogger who can then tear his or her hair out trying to figure out how to use them in a coherent post.  These posts are simultaneously published at the same time so that you, the reader, can take in their amazingness like smelling apple pie right out of the oven.  I’m also tired and haven’t slept so I am using analogies very poorly.

That’s right.  It ain’t easy.  But yet I keep coming back every month…

This month my words were big ~ fast ~ ink ~ teddy bear ~Rumpelstiltskin ~ fart.  Oh that’s right.  One of my words was fart.  And I used it correctly in a sentence.

They were submitted by: http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

Can't.Write.Anything.

Can’t.Write.Anything.  Nope.  Not a thing.

Once upon a time in a land not so far away there was a problem.  Not just a big problem, but a huge, gigantic enormous problem.

No matter how fast she scribbled, no matter how fast she typed,  the writer could not get the words to come out right.

She tried different kinds of ink, she tried different kinds of paper.  She even tried drinking different kinds of alcohol. No matter what she did her writing was all in vain.

She spent her nights sobbing, clutching her teddy bear, and drinking copious amounts of caffeine, hoping and praying that the words would somehow return.

“Why, why me?  Why must I be a victim of this horrible brain constipation?  Could I at least be lucky enough to have one giant word fart to relieve myself?”

All at once there was a deafening noise and a little man appeared on her keyboard.

“Who are you, Rumplestiltskin?”

Apparently this angered the little man so much he punched her in the nose and disappeared.

Later on that same evening after a binge of pretzels and various caffeinated beverages another person appeared to her.  This time she decided to keep her mouth shut, which was fine because it was actually full of pretzels.

“Follow the light.  You know the one. The red and white light in a perfect circle.  This holds the key to all that you know or think you know.”

(And she may or may not have been watching Willow earlier that evening.)

So she got in her car and went to Target.

So yeah.  Target holds all of life's secrets.

So yeah. Target holds all of life’s secrets.

The writer may not have found the words she was looking for.  But she did find underwear for $1.74, chocolate for 30% off, and a package of brightly colored lined paper which she never did use.  But that’s ok, because it was on clearance.

The moral of the story is that you may not be able to find the words you’re looking for, but you can certainly find something that you’re not looking for.  Just go to Target.  You’ll see.

This post has been brought to you by a severe case of writer’s block brought on by severe insomnia, too many pretzels, and perhaps one too many trips to Target in one week.  But you can also read posts by people who can actually produce coherent sentences when they try to write a blog post by clicking on one of the links below.

Seriously.  You just gonna sit there or are you going to click on one or two or all of those links?  Sheesh.  And I thought I procrastinated…

http://www.BakingInATornado.com                              Baking In A Tornado

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                          Spatulas on Parade

http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                     Stacy Sews and Schools

http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/                                   Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

http://www.eviljoyspeaks.wordpress.com                       Evil Joy Speaks 

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                            Someone Else’s Genius

http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/        Confessions of a part-time working mom

http://followmehome.shellybean.com                            Follow me home . . .

http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com               The Bergham’s Life Chronicles   

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                                Battered Hope   

Touring the World One Word At A Time

If I only could write something...

If I only could write something…

Struggling to write something amusing is tough when you’ve got the blues, yo.

I’ve been dealing with a major depressive episode for months.  It’s not going away, it’s not getting better, and there are some days when I pretty much hate myself.  And blah blah blah.

But enough about me.  I got a chance to tour the world, and I think it’s pretty cool.

Marcia from Menopausal Mother tagged me in this fun little blogging game.  So maybe I DO have to tell a little more about me.  I had to answer these four simple questions and then choose three bloggers I love who will hopefully jump in and also answer the four questions and tag three bloggers they love and things of that nature.

If you’re a blogger, you know that there is no such thing as four simple questions…

1.  What am I working on?

Trying to find material that is interesting, relevant, and does not simply contain the words fart, butt, pee, poop… you see where this is going.  I live with two elementary schoolers who think that stuff is to die for.  Kids, they’re funny creatures, except when they’re not.

Currently I am working on getting to bed before 2 am most nights.  So far I am not successful.  I also might get published in something sometime soon… stay tuned for that.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I am a mom who blogs, but I don’t feel that I really fall under the mommy blogger category.  I have a child who has some special needs (ADD, sensory issues, other stuff that may never be diagnosed), but I don’t really belong in that category either.  I do believe that we geek moms who like NASCAR are a rather unique social subgroup, don’t you?

The Sadder But Wiser Girl as Tie-Dye Girl!  Saving the world from dullness, one color at a time.

Yeah I’m unique all right…

In other words, I don’t really belong anywhere, right?  Who’s with me?  Bloggers With No Niche, UNITE!

(I really like acronyms.  That’s totally a thing.)

3.  Why do I write what I do?

I originally started blogging as a way to write down my thoughts.  The thoughts weren’t so nice at first.  But as time went on I started writing with my own warped sense of humor.  And my humor is definitely not one size fits all, as I rediscover daily whenever I share something on Facebook.

Like this picture.  I was rolling, dying when I saw this.  I shared it on Facebook. Crickets. Do you get it?????

Like this picture. I was rolling, dying when I saw this. I shared it on Facebook. Crickets. Do you get it????? Source unknown

So when I actually do write, I do it because something motivated me to write, or because someone made me do it.  You know who you are.  😉  I really do hope to get to a point where I will be able to write regularly again.  Because no brains.

4.  How does your writing process work?

I get an idea.  I find my phone.  I put that idea on the notes on my phone.  I forget I have an app for that.  Then I remember I have an app for that, and I stare at something I wrote and cannot fathom for the life of me what that was.

So my process isn’t exactly yielding a lot of product right now.  Maybe someday…

sweet baboo

Who do I love?

Three bloggers that I love… This part was so hard because there are so many blogs that I love.  I wanted to choose three from that long list that are not as well known writers that I think deserve some extra attention from all of the famous people that I’m sure are going to come read this.

All The Everydays (the blog formerly known as Mama Schmama).  Jean and I share a similar sense of humor, not to mention that she is one of the nicest people on the planet.  I do really think that we are long lost sisters.  She claims that she is a stay-at-home mom and a former teacher in the about section of her blog,but I can tell you that as a mom you are also a teacher all day long every day.  She’s not fooling anyone!  🙂  Please go over and check her out!

Sarah’s Brand New Chapter The one and only Miss Sarah Balding is a fellow Sarah, librarian, and geek.  She is definitely on the list of bloggers I want to meet someday!  I love her writing and feel that if we lived closer to each other, we’d hang out regularly.  Maybe even at the library.  Stop over, say hi, and read some of her awesomeness!

The Regular Guy NYC I don’t live anywhere near NYC, but I can live vicariously through Phil.  He visits some great places to eat, and he always posts stuff that makes me giggle.  If you live in the area, or even if you don’t, he deserves a peek or two!

So that’s all she wrote.  Really, that’s all I wrote!

 

A Blog Identity Crisis: Why DO I Do This?

Who knew that a quote from a movie about a kid skipping school would turn out to be something we all need to live by?

Who knew that a quote from a movie about a kid skipping school would turn out to be something we all need to live by?

Things do happen, sometimes in a hurry.  I feel like I need to look around a little bit.  This past month has been a blur.   I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  One thing that I wonder is how people who work full-time all the time manage to have blogs.  It is work.  Not just some work, a LOT of work to maintain a blog.  Especially one like mine where I post most days of the week and insist on putting images with my stories.

I really thought that getting out of the house would breathe new life into my writing.  I figured that I would be a fountain of ideas, and that I would have more than enough material.  It has actually been quite the contrary.  Truth be told I’ve been having a hard time coming up with ideas.  I’ve also struggled to maintain the quality of the work I had been doing pre-temporary employment.  That is, if you consider quality work to feature stories about peeing your pants…

I’ve shared with several fellow bloggers the fact that I am drained.  I feel like someone has sucked the creativity out of my body.  It’s not just working 40 hours a week, commuting an hour a day, and spending every rest of your waking moments with kids and a messy house.  Things have happened that I can’t really talk about that have made the whole experience that much more challenging mentally.  I’m not complaining by any means. It has been nice to have the extra income for awhile and being able to pay off some of our outstanding debt has been wonderful.  I was looking for employment when this came up and will continue to look for something after this is done, though most likely part-time, since my son will be out of school soon.

I’ve also found that if you don’t linger around and do things like read and comment on other blogs regularly, use social media to post updates several times daily, and just BE THERE it will really cause your blog views to sink like the Titanic.  This was not from lack of trying.  I found that you can’t cut and paste your stuff into an android phone like I do on my computer.  Where I am working, well, there are RULES.  You can’t be on Facebook and Twitter on your laptop computer or phone, unless of course you’re on your break.  When you work in a childcare center with no lounge, you want to go as far away as possible when you’re not working.  This is because they can still see you.  They all go down to the bathroom and they are waving at you and yelling hi-unless I go crawl under the tables I can’t really get away.  Especially since my daughter is one of them-she still doesn’t understand why she can’t go with me on my breaks!  I’ve been going to the gym on my break time, which has been lovely.

Imagine a whole class of them...

Imagine a whole group of them…

So I figured out some stuff here.  I write the post the night before.  I get up very early in the morning and publish it.  I share it to Facebook, Google Plus, StumbleUpon, etc (Twitter is the only automatic format that actually gets my stuff seen.)  I check on a few things from the night before, then it’s time to shower, get the kids up, etc.  On my break I check my phone, write down the url of my blog post and post updates and sometimes respond to comments.  Then I go to the gym.  After work I rush to pick up my son before it’s too late, fix dinner, do dishes, laundry…  By the time I can sit down, it’s almost time for bed.  And I wonder why I am not coming up with much these days.

The irony of all this is while my views plummeted, I have had a big increase in people who are fans.  More followers, more likes.  More than ever before.  Then this past week I was feeling accomplished because I had finally got my blog views back up to where they were before I started the job.  I was back over 100 views a day.  Yet I have over 800 people who follow my blog in some way.  I may not be a math genius, and I realize that some of these people are actually the same people following me (like my fellow blogging buddies “like” my page on Facebook but also follow me on Twitter so they actually know when I do something) but that makes me think that while these people may be following me, they aren’t reading my posts.

So I have a few hypotheses:  a) There’s something I’m missing here about how they count page views.  b)  All of these people like me, they just aren’t reading me.  c)  There has been some big mistake, and no one really likes me?

I won't bore you with stats.  This is more fun.

I won’t bore you with a pie chart of stats. This is more fun.

It’s discouraging when you feel like your hard work isn’t getting the attention you want it to.  Today I lost two followers on Facebook.  I’m used to it on Twitter, on Facebook not so much.  I’m sure it was one of those “Hey I liked you, now come like me” people who then got what they wanted as soon as I liked them back.  Kind of like a girl who puts out and then the guy dumps her. Ok, not really like THAT.  You get the idea, though.

I know it shouldn’t be all about page views.  Or how many fans you have.  This did start off as nothing more than a personal thing where I vented and told some stories.  Yet that day I signed up for the social media junk was when I maybe started caring more than I should.  I realize that I’m probably over thinking all of this.  In just a couple of weeks I’ll be back to doing what I was doing, and pursuing the hope that someday I might just be paid to do this.

Tomorrow is Wordless Wednesday. Then it’s Theme Thursday-I have finally picked a controversial topic to write about and hope that I don’t offend anyone with it.

Then I’m taking a break.

No I’m not quitting.  I’m not going to stop writing.  I’m just going to take the rest of the time I’m doing this job to rest my brain.  I put out a call for help this past week, and eight epic bloggers have stepped up to each do a guest post on my blog for the next week while I air out my shriveled up brain.  Please come back to read their stuff, and go show them a little love on their own blogs.

Menopausal Mother leads the pack out of the gate on Friday.
Following close behind is Ranting Seriously on Saturday.
The Wild and Wonderful World of Gingerssnaps is not having a day of rest on Sunday.
Mom’s World shows us something positive about Monday!
Something Clever 2.0 comes over with her own unique view on Tuesday.
Go Cheap or Go Home saves us big with her post on Wednesday.
When Crazy Meets Exhaustion is the woman of the day on Thursday.
Friday is the oops day.  I realized after I put out this call for help that it’s Fly on the Wall. Technically this doesn’t count in the whole week of Guest Bloggers.
Saturday PenPaperPad helps us cross the finish line!

I’ll have two days left of work after that, then kindergarten roundup, and a flying trip to swap my broken glasses frames that will have been waiting for me for a whole six weeks.  Then I start fresh… and I’m hoping to make some changes, or not.  I’ve been debating things like whether or not to purchase my domain.  I can’t decide if I have the skills or the patience for such a thing.  I am debating whether to only post certain days of the week.  I am trying to decide which ways I can best promote my writing without drowning in all of the social media outlets that are available and perhaps focus on those.  I am also trying to change the look of my blog itself, but trying to find something that has everything I need is a process…

Fellow bloggers, have you ever gone through an identity crisis?  How did you handle it?  Do you let your page views or number of followers or things of that nature bother you?  I’d be happy to hear from you and how you handled it.

I often feel like I'm saying nothing...

I often feel like I’m saying nothing…

Oh Where Oh Where Has My Little Brain Gone?

This is me today. Except I’m not a cat.

The party you have reached is out of her brain.  Please leave a thought and she will hopefully have a thought in her head shortly.

The Sadder But Wiser Girl, that’s me, is out of ideas… just for today, I hope.  Yet I’m a little concerned about this.  What if it’s forever?  Have I reached the end of my thoughts?  My issue with this is quite simple:  I’m afraid that if I sluff off, even for a day, that I will start a vicious cycle that I as my little ADD self have repeated many times in my life-I just kind of stop doing it.  Like Yoga.  And eating right.  And cleaning my house-though I did pick that up after I figured out that I was frustrated by a)  The dog leaving a trail of trash and torn up stuff around and b) The 7,000 papers that my son brings home and I leave for my husband to look at and they pile up and c)  The 1,320,674 pieces of artwork that my daughter has drawn for me in the past month that I can’t remember to buy more stuff for to hang up.

But if I went away, people would miss me, right?  Would there be a WordPress search party organized to come find me? Would they post pictures of my Avatar on virtual telephone poles and milk cartons-“Have you seen this blogger?”

Ha ha-it’s probably best if those questions just remain unanswered for now.  I will hopefully return tomorrow with a brain full of fresh new random ideas, just for all of you.

Yup. And that’s all she wrote.