Secret Writer Behavior

I admit it, I was a Sex in the City junkie. Although I never watched the show while it was on the air, I did start watching it when it went into syndication.  Again and again. One of my favorite episodes is when Carrie laments about losing her SSB – secret single behavior- because she was now living with her boyfriend. SSB is the stuff you love to do when you’re alone.  Whether it’s jacking up the sound system and playing air guitar with Clapton, chowing down on some Hagan Daas, or chatting on Facebook in your undies, SSB is a guilty pleasure. And I think that most of us can identify with the concept, male or female.

I won’t divulge my SSB but I wondered if SSB also extended to other things, like writing for instance. Do you have any secret writing behavior (SWB)? I know I do and it includes things like:

  • Cursing all the way through a writing project I hate. Let’s face it, not all your projects are going to be fun or interesting. Many of your projects will be tedious and for clients who are difficult to please. For me, giving in to my angry cussing side makes it easier to get through the pain. I pound on the keyboard and let the cursing rip like I’m a parrot on Thunderbird.
  • Talking to my characters. Now this may not be too weird to another writer but when your room mate is in the next room and hears you scolding, cajoling or encouraging people who only exist in your head it’s not easy to explain.
  • Acting out the scenes. Yep, that’s right. If I am trying to write a scene where the character is doing something a little weird, I literally put myself in that situation and see what it’s like. For example, a current story I’m writing involves a character who is blind, so I practiced walking up and down the hallway with my eyes closed. Another thing I wouldn’t want my room mate to see or have to give an explanation for.
  • Writing naked. Sometimes you just have to let it all hang out to get those writing juices flowing, right? Okay seriously, am I the only one?
  • Getting into character. If I am writing a character who has an accent, affliction or some other unusual characteristic, I become them. Whether it’s a southern drawl, a Midwestern twang or a bow legged stance – if I have to don a cowboy hat and do the two step to get it right, I’m game.

Now I don’t know if any of my SWB really makes me a better writer or enables me to write more effectively but I do know it’s a lot of fun and not stuff I like to do when others around. And maybe that’s why writers like to be alone when they write. They may say that it’s because they need the quiet to focus and concentrate but I’m willing to bet it’s because there is some secret writer behavior going on too.

How about you, what is your secret writer behavior? Has any non-writer caught you in the act? Tell me about it in the comments.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2012

Just do it!

Just do it!

That is the motto of a very famous footwear company which happens to make my favorite brand of shoe – but the idea isn’t new or even original. It’s basic. It’s fundamental. It’s the command we give ourselves when we have whittled things down to the simple truth of life and the pursuit thereof.

My ‘just do it” has to do with working on that novel and entering that contest and sending out that submission. I haven’t been just doing it – no, not at all. And frankly no matter what my excuse is and I’ve had plenty, I still feel like crap when I don’t just do it.

So here and now and before witnesses I promise I will just do it. I will just do the writing because it won’t do itself. I will just sit down and finish that story and enter that contest and be a writer. Instead of a working stiff, a dog mommy, a housekeeper, cook, errand runner and TV watcher.

No matter what your goals are as a writer, the only way to get where you want to go is to just do it. Make the time because life won’t make it for you. Your kids or husband or friends or family won’t excuse you so you can go write. The television will always have some movie or show you are dying to see but that’s what TiVo and recorders are for.

And while you may not reach your ultimate goal, you will get somewhere – eventually. If you just keep at it. Keep making notes and eavesdropping on interesting conversations at Starbucks and watching interesting characters at the local saloon and then rush home to write about them and it – you will get there. You will write and you will write and one day someone will read it and maybe lots of someones will read it and they will wonder where you and your stories have been all their lives.

If you don’t. If you nap instead. Or watch that rerun of Desperate Housewives or even opt for laundry, rather than that next chapter. No one will ever know what stories you had to tell.

So I hope you’ll sharpen your pencils, uncap your pencils and fire up your computers and just do it. I know I’m going to.

In fact I’m thinking I’ll be finishing another novel in the not too distant future. Fun, eh?

What about you? What is your next project? Are you putting it off or just doing it?

Writer Chick

Copyright 2012

Conspiracy theories – are they true?

From the beginning of time I imagine there have been conspiracy theories. Countless books, movies and television shows have successfully and quite convincingly shown how any type of conspiracy is not only possible but quite plausible. But have you ever noticed how they are essentially the same? They always involve some shadowy group of rich and powerful people duping the rest of the population, whether locally or globally – apparently we’re just too stupid to see it. The motivation is always power or money or both and it almost always has to do with some significant public event. Whether wars, stock market dives, plane crashes, outbreaks of strange diseases even catastrophic weather phenomenon.

And too the conspiracy is so deep and so hidden that we are helpless to stop it. Because we will never be in control. This shadow government or group in control will always have the power and we are but mere sheep being led to the slaughter.

Maybe that’s my problem with these theories – that if I chose to believe them that I would also have to believe that I have not one whit of control over my life. That no matter what I did or thought or created that it would not change one thing. That my fate is completely in the hands of strangers and my life had truly no meaning whatsoever. So that being the case, what would be the point of living? What would be the point of anything?

Even if all the conspiracy theories in the world were true, what good is there in believing them? Does it enrich anyone’s life? Does it change anything? Does it help anyone in any way? Don’t get me wrong, I most certainly believe there are groups of powerful individuals doing as much as they can to manipulate things in their favor so they can amass more power and material riches. Absolutely. I also believe there are kingmakers, people who stay in the background and use their money and power to place people in positions so they can do their bidding – but that is also known as politics and it’s as old as the planet. A conspiracy of sorts I suppose but a pretty poor excuse for one if you ask me.

Lots of people like to believe in global warming is created by man, that September 11th was an inside job and that we went to Iraq for oil. Okay, you’re free to believe what you like but I’d have to say that you believe such things because some part of you wants to. Some part of you wants to believe that you are not wholly responsible for whatever condition you find yourself in maybe even to blame a bit of your fate on someone else. As the old sentiment goes when you go looking for a boogie man, you often find one. Although it doesn’t necessarily prove that there are boogie men as much as it proves the theory of self fulfilled prophecies.

So while I completely agree that there are many more powerful people in this world than I, who are manipulating as much as they can in their favor, I don’t believe that they control my fate or my actions. I still know that one person can change the world quite literally and conversely huge groups of people can have no effect whatsoever on the world at large. That sometimes things just happen and that we are never in control of everything, nor will we ever have a complete explanation about everything that happens in this world. Some things simply are mysteries, no matter how much we crave answers for them, manufacturing an answer never satisfies.

So the next time you find yourself enthralled with a conspiracy theory you might want to ask yourself this question. If this is the truth, why are there still other theories abounding on the very same thing? Is it just that everyone else is a fool or an idiot, or it is that no one really knows? Or heaven forbid – is it just not true?

What do you think?

copyright 2010

Want to help cut spending in Washington? Here’s your chance

That’s right folks, you too can have your voice heard. Go to the YOUCUT website and have your say.

How it works:

YouCut – a first-of-its-kind project – is designed to defeat the permissive culture of runaway spending in Congress. It allows you to vote, both online and on your cell phone, on spending cuts that you want to see the House enact. Vote on this page today for your priorities and together we can begin to change Washington’s culture of spending into a culture of savings.

All of us want to be able to do something and this is about as easy as it gets. Vote on the cuts you want and make your own suggestions while you’re at it. You aren’t even required to register as a ‘member’ before you can vote. So quit your bitching about the budget – speak up and vote.

If we have any hopes of ever changing how things are done in Washington by our leaders, then we have participate too. Try it, you may like it.

Writer Chick

Here it Comes!

bamacare toon

Look you guys, this is no longer about Republican/Democrat, Libbie/Pubbie, Rightwing/Leftwing – this is about our rights and the Constitution. Our government has decided that they must force us to carry health insurance and how much health insurance and and if we are not good little boys and girls then we must be punished.

If we decide to ‘disobey’ we will be punished with the help of the IRS and the Justice Department. Oh yes and the ‘fines’ start at about $250 and go up to $250,000 (you read that right) and prison terms (yes, you could go to prison if you don’t have health insurance) are from 1 to 5 years. For not obeying this bogus ‘law’ about having health insurance. At this stage I’m kind of wondering where the ‘free’ in this free health insurance comes in. I’m thinking not so much.

If you don’t believe me, check this link and this link (especially this one – it’s a letter from the committee explaining to the IRS how punishment and fines will be adjudicated if disobedience becomes a factor) from the committee forcing this bogus and unconstitutional piece of garbage through. I didn’t make this up – it’s right there.

The House has passed this and it’s going to the Senate. And if they cave, we are going to be forced, forced to obey this enslavement to the state. They are not happy enough with the fact that they can tell us when and if we can smoke, wear seat belts, pay taxes for our own property, consume water and how much, what to drive and how often we can drive and what quantity of gas we can use and if we dare say no, then label us as whackjobs or extremists – now they have to make sure that we obey this bullshit for our own good because you see we simply aren’t bright enough to take responsibility for ourselves and figure out what we need or want, and believe me the gps chip is coming soon to a neck near you.

You can sit back and think I’m paranoid and maybe scratch your heads about why I don’t want poor uninsured children to get proper healthcare, or old people or folks who just can’t make ends meet, because after all they are just trying to help, right?

Are they? Really? Let me ask you something, when you help someone, do you threaten them with pain, penalties and imprisonment if they don’t accept your help? Does any sane individual do this? I dont’ think so.

You may also think, people must want this or Congress wouldn’t be doing this. Well think again. Let’s get outside the box and consider why Congress would be pushing this bill so hot and heavy. My theory goes something like this: For decades Congress has been robbing Peter to pay Paul – they’ve been using social security and then medicare as a slush fund to pay for things – programs, bridges, roads to nowhere, you name it. Because they are Congress, they don’t have to stay on budget like the rest of us, no they just print more money and use money earmarked for something else for whatever they please and then still run a tab.

In a nutshell, they’re out of money and places to get it from. They have bankrupted Medicare and they know that’s going to be obvious very, very soon. And that would be very very bad for them – imagine the public outrage.

So, how does one solve something like this? A problem of this magnitude? Simple, you force every citizen to participate in medicare but you call it something else. Something more warm and fuzzy, national health care. You promote it as a caring, loving, benevolent act on the part of the government. They’re just looking out for you. That’s all. Then you write a bill and several versions of it that no one could possibly understand (including and especially those who are voting on it) and push it through no matter what.

You get your PR guys out there forwarding the idea that anyone who doesn’t want this incredibly caring and benevolent thing for their fellow man is a nutjob, racist, hater and mental patient and just keep repeating the message until it’s tantamount to a hypnotic command.

And soon, god-willing-and-the-creek-don’t-rise, you’ve got it all buttoned down. Once it’s through it will take an enormous effort to undo it (income tax started out as temporary folks, and shows no sign of being recinded), years, possibly decades, if ever. And then it’s done. And so are we.

The irony in all this is of course, that the very people who made this all possible by voting in our current president are the ones who will be paying for it and in a very big way – not just in dollars and cents but in the erosion of their own personal freedoms. But maybe people just have to learn the hard way. Okay, rant over. Have a nice day.


PS: If you don’t believe me, perhaps a constitutional expert will give you some perspective.

Wind Stealers

wind stealers, writer chick talks, something to think about

I don’t know about you but I was a die-hard Friends fan for years. In fact, even after it went off the air I watched the reruns for years. I really loved that show. There was one show in particular I remember where the girls were reading this book about how women were taken for granted and how they were the wind makers but that men were the wind stealers. It was pretty ridiculous and made for a good laugh, but the truth is, there really are wind stealers out there. But gender has nothing to do with it.

Wind stealers, life suckers, leeches, glommers, users, abusers, give them whatever lable you like – they exist and in some numbers. The people who somehow infer themselves into your life and you suddenly find your life is all about them. Suddenly, you a rational, straight thinking individual are doing cartwheels, groveling, playing nursemate, hand-holder (fill in the blank) to the demise of the rest of your life, in favor of pleasing this person. Making this person happy. Making amends to this person for all the terrible things that have happened to them in their lives (even though you had nothing to do with any of it).

Often you have out of body experiences where you’re looking down at yourself all atither over this person and wondering what the hell you’re doing, yet you can’t stop yourself. You are compelled, you are obsessed, you are out of control on the issue and there seems no way to end it.

Sound familiar? My theory is that everyone has had at least one wind stealer. One inescapable con artist who has convinced them that they owe loyalty, money, resources, time, love, care (again, fill in the blank) to this person. That they just do and they can’t escape that possibility.

How does it happen? Your guess is as good as mine but usually it starts out with the wind stealer ‘helping’ you in some way. Though the help is usually marginal, they manage to get you thinking that it was was somehow life changing and huge and that you now owe them a huge debt. Once they’ve got you there, you’re pretty much sunk. They have just managed to turn your own good intentions against you. Your own sense of fairness and love of people into a weapon that can wound you continually. In some cases, it can be so bad that it can drive normal, rational people mad. I’m convinced that those stories you hear about the mild mannered fellow who was a good family man just one day went off and blew his wife’s head off, is in a situation like this. And one probably close to home.

I don’t know what the answer is to this because everyone has to deal in their own way but for me a clean break is the only answer. Once I’ve seen that I have one of these varmits in my life there is no in-between about it. Just sever all ties. It’s hard as hell and I’ve been plagued with doubts and guilt over it – but I’ll tell you one other thing, I have experienced almost instant relief when doing this. It’s almost like a magic drug. I suddenly just feel like myself again. Weird, huh?

How about you, any wind stealers in your life? What are you going to do about it?

Writer Chick

Getting What You Want

assbackwards, getting what you want, mind over matter

I think most of us can agree that the universe is screwier than Obama’s birth certificate. We’re just going along minding our own business, slogging through life as best we can, keeping our heads down and our fingers crossed – but still the universe will find some way of tripping us up. Right?

You wake up, have a great cup of coffee, the sun is shining, you have a fresh pack of smokes and traffic is light. Great. But then you get to work and discover that there is a power outtage and you failed to print out that report that was due today on Friday before you left for the weekend? Or the parking lot is under construction so you have to park on the street three blocks from the office and run back and forth all day to feed the meter? Or your co-worker just got laid off and you have double the workload with no increase in pay and you are likely going to be putting in extra hours at work just to keep up. Sound familar?

After a while too, we start to train ourselves to expect this sort of thing. The classic Murphy’s Law applies here: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” My father had his own version “Hope for the best but expect the worst” I’m sure there are hundreds of variations of this view and all of them came out of the need to be prepared for disaster when and if it strikes. To expect problems and have a backup solution handy just makes sense. Right? Maybe not.

I’ve thought about this lately – in my case I’ve been traveling the universe for months looking for a home. A place where I can truly unpack my belongings and stay there a while. This goal has eluded me and has been a game of cat and mouse and frankly it’s really sucked. I definitely felt a victim of the universe. Nightly I would implore God, “What do I have to do to find a home?” or something like that. Never feeling I got an answer.

But then I started to wonder if I was making it happen somehow. I was creating all of this temporary living stuff without meaning to. No, I’m not talking about the Secret, where my mind was putting out some weird negative thought and because I was all wrapped up in it I got it. I’m talking about something else. I’m talking about the fact that this freeking universe is bass-ackwards. I’m talking about a trick you need to know in order to somehow survive this obstacle course of life. I’m talking about the fact that the uinverse is rigged. Yup. Rigged.

Whoever created this circus ride called life thought it would be tre’s funny to just make everything go in opposites. Like, if you want something then that means you’ll never get it. The more you pray, desire, crave, covet, etc. the further away it gets from you. Like a magnet in reverse – it just won’t stick. Conversely whatever you don’t want you can get in spades. You dont’ want to be stuck in traffic, so you leave early and voila, there is an accident that sticks you in traffic for 3 hours. You don’t want the object of your affection to leave you and boom, he decides he wants to see other people. You don’t want to gain weight so you stop eating, your metabolism slows and now no matter what you eat, you gain weight. Stuff like that, yes?

So, what’s the solution? To try to trick the universe by pretending you don’t want what you want? Or by pretending you do want the things you don’t want? Wow, that seems complicated, doesn’t it? And what a lot of mental exhaustion you could incur that way. No…I don’t think that would work – at least not with any consistent results. I think the answer is indifference. Let me explain.

Have you ever noticed that when you really don’t care – how things turn out that things turn out pretty good? It’s not that you’re in apathy and don’t want things to turn out well, it’s more that you’re  kind of above it – you’ve decided what you want, how you’re going to get it, the actions you need to take to bring it about and then you just go about your business. You don’t spend two hours a day visualizing it. You don’t amass magazines, construction paper and glue to create ‘story boards’ of it. You just say, “I want this to happen” and then you forget about it. Send it out there and just go about your business. Next thing you know it happens or you get it and you’re even a little suprised by the fact that you didn’t have to ‘work’ it.

I think when things do happen this way it’s because it does trick the universe. You aren’t out there sending it messages of what you must have, must get, must accomplish – in fact, you’re sending it no messages at all. So it has no choice but to give you things. It can’t help itself. It has to give things and you won’t play its game, so you win.

Don’t know if I’m right or wrong but I do think I’m onto something here because this almost always turns out to be true for me, anyway. Why not try it? Just say, ‘oh I want this, and this and this’ and then forget about it. Go about your business. Then be surprised when it happens. Because there is nothing better than nice surprises, huh?


Sometimes lightning strikes, without warning or premonition.

It streaks the sky with an energy unique and all consuming.

And it carries you away to a world you might never have known.

A wonderful world. A beautiful world that is rare and foreign but feels like home. And you can never be the same once you’ve been there and learned the secrets of lightning.

Once it becomes part of you, your spirit, your soul. And you never want to be the same.

The lightning got me and I’m never going back.

You – Theme Fridays

She sat down at her desk, blew on the hot coffee before she took a sip and lit a cigarette…

Dear You,
As I sit here in early morning daze and drink coffee and smoke cigarettes – trying to lift the fog of bad dreams and lousy sleep, my mind grasps nothing but the thought of you.

I wonder where you are and what you are doing. If there is music or fresh air, sunshine or rain in your little corner of the world. What you ate for breakfast, if you sleep in contented suspension and dream of good or terrible things.

I wonder what you would do if your doorbell rang and it was me. Would you still know me? Would I be welcomed with embrace or slamming door? I wonder too, what would happen if my doorbell rang.

It’s funny what we wonder, isn’t it? Why people can’t get along, why they hurt each other. Why the sky is blue and the sunset takes your breath away. Why chocolate tastes so good. Why money is such a problem.

The whys and you get wrapped up in my mind like a giant ball of string – no beginning, no end. And I’m left with a mess of everything and nothing. Wondering how you are while trying to think of anything but you.


And she folded the paper in three parts and tucked it in an envelope – sealed it without addressing it. Then put it in the drawer with the others.

Jess, what about you? And how about you, Christine?

Small it Down

Small it down. Don’t take it all in. Shut out the things that scream and flap, they aren’t yours. You don’t have to have it all just because you feel it all. It ain’t all yours, no matter what you think. Most of it isn’t, actually. Most of it is just what is. What you can do nothing about. What climbs into your dreams because you leave the windows open and a never ending supply of catfood on the back porch.

Larger than life is good, but you can choke on it. Better to take the small bites and digest slowly, see if it agrees with you. Other people’s plates always look better, smell better, seem fuller and more appetising. But it’s not yours and you have to give it back sooner than later, so why poise your fork in the first place?

Small it down, thin the herd, find the tags addressed to you. Those are the things that belong in your mailbox, the correspondence you need to answer. Learn to listen better, not bigger. Think quieter, not louder. Speak thougthfully, not endlessly.

Prospect the mine on your own property, find the gold that pulses in those veins – they open for you freely and without much cost. Sell the goods from the stores of your imagination and put the faery wings on the clearance table. Inventory is only good if it’s good, not ample.

Small it down. Make it whisper, so it speaks only to you. Make it flutter slowly and catch every frame. Know it as it knows you. Is you. Small it down.