The McManual

Blogging my little heart out in poetry and prose.

Tag: writer’s block

14/30 NaBloPoMo09 Back from Vacation


Hi. It seems like more than four days since I’ve written.  I am trying like hell to start a new novel.  I did start one in January, and I might continue it.  I’m not sure.  The fact that my father in law is in critical condition in the icu seems to be taking a front seat in my thoughts.

I don’t know how it’s possible that I am so sore, so tired, and so disoriented.  I always think that summer break is going to be relaxing.  Ha.  Ha ha.  This year is different than last year, in that we had an odd vacation – up north with my Mom rather than going somewhere touristy, and we cut the vacation short to come home.  We have been at the hospital every day, hoping that my fatherinlaw pulls through his illness.

All of this takes my focus from writing, and in fact, gives me a darn good excuse not to write.  I would use that excuse, too, if it weren’t for the fact that writing is calling to me.  It’s pulling me. Even as I know I am writing with half a heart, I must write.  It’s summer.  I have a month.  I need to get a good chunk of American Girl – Lyrics to Living Life as a Modern Mythical Creature under my belt.  I need to get these characters walking around, living, breathing, talking…mostly talking, considering my other writings…

So, guess I’ll go do that.  And if you have time, please send good thoughts and wishes to my father in law.  Thanks.  Sheila

Wondering where to go with my novel.


I just got some good feedback from a good friend of mine about Someotherville, and I now feel fairly confused. I was really surprised by her feedback – she loved the parts about Joan, didn’t like the story within a story at all.
At first I was slightly defensive because I was hoping that the two stories would meld together in the end, and it would be obvious or feel inevitable that it had to happen the way it happened. But this was not how my friend felt about it.
As we were talking it through, I remembered that the part where she really didn’t like it was the same part where I didn’t know what to do next, and so I pulled something extreme out of the hat. I think that at the time of writing it, I had it in the back of my mind that I could always change things and that it would be best if I just forged ahead.
But now I am second guessing whether I could go back in and change the story within a story to either have more details about the secondary characters *which I should do because I do go on about how secondary characters are pivotal, and we often end up caring about them more than the main characters* or whether it was a poor choice for the story within a story, since it’s so weak – I mean, who really cares about a spy story? Cold war stuff is completely played out – when it was the 39 steps or whatever, it was fresh because people didn’t know what was happening or why. Now it really is a stereotype, a stock story. Alias…dollhouse… and those are just recent examples.
There’s only a certain kind of friend that can tell you that something you wrote is gimmicky. But now that it’s said, I guess it is a little. It was a quick fix for a long term problem, and it shows.
So not to be too mean to myself – that’s not what I’m trying to do – but I’m trying to convince myself that i do need to dive back into this pool – it can be better. Arwin, Cece and Katrina need to have more substance before they will ever seem real to people. I am heartened by the fact that someone thought Arwin seemed real. That makes me happy.
Now I need to tend to the rest of them. Maybe it’s a matter of pride, I really had thought I finished a book in a month, with only needing minor rewrites. Now if I go back in and make major changes, that is no longer the case. Yeah. Pride is foolish. Do I want this to be something that is read and cast aside as being mostly really good, or do I want it to be better than that?
Obvious answer. So now I know the task ahead of me – I don’t know how I’m going to do it – or whether I should do it – funny…I just had a moment of feeling exactly how Joan felt – she didn’t know if she should write her project either, but she felt compelled. And I feel compelled. So there you have it. The adventure begins again.
Ha.

Back to My Regular Blog


Hi there. So I wrote about Ivan, obviously I loved the play – going again Saturday BTW, unless they have sold out. And I got about 50 hits on my blog when I’ve never had more than 2 on any other day. And it made me feel nervous.

Never mind that they just wanted to see what people were saying about the play – it was my thoughts, my writing, and all of a sudden, writer’s block happened.

I sat down to write again last night, couldn’t get past the first sentence. Again this morning. I think it’s funny – I’m taking myself too seriously. I was considering writing about how theatre makes me feel alive, how worthwhile it is even though people seem to go to less and less of it… myself included. I go to twenty times more movies than plays. And I like plays!

Anyway, I know not everything I write will be interesting to more than a couple people, and that’s fine. I just like writing. I like how the keys feel under my fingers. I like the feel of a pen in my hand. So here’s a regular blog entry, you one or two readers…*I wouldn’t mind if you dropped a note once in a while, dear reader. 🙂

Ok, so I now have the choice of erasing this or publishing something very boring. Heck. If you’re reading this, you know what I chose!! Sheila

Sorry I Really Can’t


Sorry I really can’t.

I could try to think

of some sort of

existential excuse

my soul is in a downturn

my life is too taciturn

my energy won’t return

all your efforts my brain will spurn…

that’s why I can’t write today.

🙂  Sheila

Dash it all, I keep forgetting to write!


Hello all,

It’s time again for me to make my perennial complaint:  I forgot to write all week!

I don’t even know if anyone has been checking out my blog, but if so, I apologize to you, and thank you for your patience.  🙂  I suppose I should have something to write about right now, but I really don’t.  So I shall babble until I feel inspired to talk about something real.

Something real, like the presidential elections.  I can’t wait.  I have been eagerly anticipating it for months, and I just can’t wait.  But if Obama doesn’t win, I don’t know what I’m going to do.  Probably go into a depression deeper than the economic one we’re (theoretically) facing. Hopefully it goes our way.  Audacious.

I am working on getting the house ready for a future sale, nervous about that, enjoying my dog immensely, guess that’s about all.  So, yeah, inspiration never struck, but you can’t win them all.

Take Care,
Sheila

Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things


Good morning, all.

This will be a short entry as I only have about five minutes to write. I don’t know how it’s possible, but I completely forgot that I have a blog and that I had committed to write at least a few times a week. I think I actually said I would write every day. Ha. So I managed to forget, but I have been writing.

I wrote a novel over the summer this year. I like it, but now I have been tinkering with it a bit too much. I really think some of the changes are good, and then there are some random paragraphs that I know I need to go back and take out. I really like the first 30 pages, though, so I think that’s progress.

I am slowly letting people read it and give me feedback. At first that was giving me panic attacks – Jay could read with no anxiety on my part, but anyone else and I was in a state. Two of my friends read it, and a few students started it, but I don’t think any of them finished. Or at least they haven’t said anything.

It’s a strange thing to have a book written and not know what to do with it. I have been sending out letters to literary agents, but honestly , and this isn’t the anxiety talking, they seem swamped and I read that they typically receive hundreds of query letters a week. It seems that knowing someone, an author, agent or editor, is the way to go.

Or I could take classes at the Loft in Minneapolis. Problem with that is time. I don’t seem to have any to spare. So maybe that will have to wait until summer, and who knows? By then I’ll have forgotten that I wrote a novel at all, but you can bet I’ll still be writing on my blog! (I hope!)

See ya, thanks for reading!

Sheila

PS if you want to see the first little section of SOMEOTHERVILLE, my novel, you can check it out at http://www.sheilamcmahon.com

🙂 Sheila

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