I was very honored when PJ asked me to contribute to The Romance Dish. I immediately went out and wrote something on my writing journey. Then I wrote something else. I wrote two more different pieces. Then I wrote nothing.
Here is the problem with me. Here’s the problem with some writers. I am my own worst enemy.
5 Things Writers Shouldn’t Do, but Do Anyway
|Nicki & Meg Cabot|
I am afraid of failure. That whole you are afraid you will succeed thing is a load of crap. I dream of succeeding. I’m afraid of failing. Quite honestly, I sometimes avoid the steps to be successful because I’m tired and lazy and procrastinate. I’m distracted. I eat cookies. I am not afraid of success, but I now accept failure. That is very different from being afraid of it. I just made failure my b!tch.
I say “Yes” to everything. I volunteer for stuff when I should be writing. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for a good book festival. I am rather amused by a good beer festival. I love writing organizations and conference. I don’t mind being the room mom. But then I exchange 16 emails explaining to another mother the type of plain white shirt our kids need for the Christmas pageant, and I remember the virtue of “No.”
I stay in my writing comfort zone. My characters like drinking warm milk and looking pensively out the window. Even if they want to have sex. Or fight zombies. Or disagree on which episode of Star Trek The Next Generation is the best one (I, Borg). Conflict is ugly. Controversy is dangerous. We must write things that make you feel uncomfortable. If you’re too embarrassed to show it to your mom or your pastor, maybe you’ve done something right.
|2012 Golden Heart finalists Nicki Harris Salcedo, Jean Willett and Laurie Green|
I have an unusually long commute to work. I write at night. Even though I get up at 7 o’clock in the morning, I usually don’t start writing until 10 o’clock at night. That means I get dressed, get four kids to school, go to work, skip lunch, do laundry, avoid cooking dinner, exchange precisely three words with my spouse, read some funny picture books to my kids, accidentally send two more work emails that turns into another hour of work, and then at 9:47 p.m. think, “I should write a few pages before bed.” Then it’s 1:15 a.m., and I don’t drink coffee. I finally go to sleep. In the morning, I have another 15 hour commute in front of me until my next writing time. Or I could wake up at 5 a.m. and boom: Commute zero, writing time two hours.
I’m self-conscious about my imagination. For goodness sake, my mother and my pastor are reading this. Maybe even my boss. What will happen if they find out that I write about S-E-X or Z-O-M-B-I-E-S? The world should only know that I drink warm cups of milk. They shouldn’t know the crazy inner workings of my mind. Or those people, my mom and my pastor, have known that the inner workings of my mind have been a little off since birth. All that worry for nothing.
The good news is that when I’m doing things wrong, I know it. I know I can adjust my bad behavior. I am not a cyborg yet. Thank you to The Romance Dish for letting me exercise my demons on the page, curse, and reference Flavor Flav. Happy reading and happy writing! Next time, I’ll have 5 things writers do right!
Do you have a bad habit? Do you have tips for staying focused when life gets the best of you?
It turns out Flavor Flav is still Public Enemy Number One. Nicki Salcedo has resigned herself to being Public Enemy Number Two. After the hobby of self-sabotage, Nicki likes being a mom. Her kids are 8, 7, 5, and almost 2. Her husband is a time lord. She gives people books whenever she has the chance. Her debut novel “All Beautiful Things” will be published by Bell Bridge Books in 2013. You can find Nicki on facebook, twitter, It’s Only A Novel, and 8headedhydra.com.