Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dis-missing the Dis-connect

There's this delightfully depressing Ingrid Michaelson song in my head. The lyric currently floating around my spaghetti-noodle brain is "I want to change the world, instead I sleep."

I can relate.

Now that I'm writing a book [starting this week, eek] for my novel class, I feel this strange sort of empowerment. My fingertips hold such potential. Like a fluttering bird trapped in cage, waiting to be released into the wild. That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.

With each keystroke,
I begin to wonder whose life is going to be changed by reading
my oh-so-engaging thoughts.

And then I realize, I'm getting just a tinsy bit [like miles and miles]
ahead of myself.

You see, there's this disconnect.
And I'm not really sure why or when exactly it happens, but we all say that we
want to do big, big things with our lives. [Ingrid Michaelson wants to change the world,
I want to create great books.]

Yet, we find ourselves unable to make this happen.
This aspiration of ours suddenly melts like pink cotton candy in our mouths.

We say we want something. We have a dream, but
we can't seem to go about actually DOING it.
We are too lazy, or unmotivated, or something.

Even in making the outline of this novel, I feel drained.
I yawn at my computer screen just thinking about all the late nights
I'm going to be spending trying to create a brilliant plot.
I feel overwhelmed at my goal, and I haven't even started.

So my question, Ingrid, is if we all want to change the world,
[in whatever sort of way] why can't we?
I think the only one stopping us, is us.


  1. I've always heard that the first few pages are the hardest and once you get past them, the middle starts flowing nicely. : )

    Good luck!

  2. Well, I've never written an entire novel, although I did take a similar course, and I've certainly written enough pages in my writing career to encompass a novel, I can tell you that the planning is one of the most difficult and least rewarding (at least for me) stages. Once you get started, a strange thing happens: the characters come alive. Sure, you have plans for them and where they'll go and what they'll do. But, surprisingly, they begin taking you places you did not anticipate.

    I had read that before when studying other writers' processes, and, while it sounded sort of romantic and mysterious, I figured it was more or less bunk. But, when I wrote all three of the plays, and when I wrote the chapters of my yet unfinished novel, I found it to be true. Once you find each character's voice, you'll be amazed. Really. It's not mumbo-jumbo. (Well, okay, it is a little mumbo-jumbo, but it's true.)

    So let your characters tell their story and give yourself time to help them do it, for the story is the thing. BTW, I hope you'll share some of what you work on here, as I intend to check back regularly. Enjoy!


  3. I loved this post. I have often heard that many people start to write and then give up- so if you KEEP going then you are already ahead of the game. :) I started a novel as well...8,000 words and still....holding....Ha. I keep saying to myself, "Okay, 10,000 words by next Friday. Okay not this friday but NEXT friday....Okay...." Heehee. Chin up, we'll get there.

  4. Great post, Jena!! I hope that inspired, empowered feeling you've got is there to stay!

    P.S. I like to think that even when I'm sleeping I'm changing the world... my cranky, tired self wouldn't be much of a gift to the world. ;)

  5. My problem is that the begining is a breeze, and once it's time to creat the middle and end, that's where I get stuck. Then I just procrastinate until I'm bored with it all and start on something new. I suck. Haha.

  6. Well, I usually use simple everyday characters in my stories. Like the student living on her own, or the independent woman with a stable career and unstable love life. Or the mother/daughter scenario. I like to reflect on all the random fights/arguments my mother and I got ourselves into and write about it in my own twist. I tend to write about things I know the most about. Usually real life experiences. Try that. It helps to know exactly what you're writing about by experience.

  7. There is a disconnect and it stinks. I had dreams of graduating from a 4 year college, taking a year off from school and then going back to grad school. Its been a year and I still have not taken any sort of GRE or standardized test. I haven’t looked at grad schools and quite frankly my lack of motivation causes me not to even want to go anymore. It sucks but I am comfortable now and unmotivated and I just don’t tthink I will have the time, energy, and money to accomplish my dreams. Good luck on your novel though. You are a terrific writer!! I know this because I follow your blog obv haha. I wish I had the writing skills you do, but my mind is just a hodge podge of random thoughts that refuse to come together in a reasonable fashion haha.

  8. Writing a novel seems like a humongous undertaking- it would definitely take a lot of self motivation to get it done.

  9. How true. I really am my own worst enemy when it comes to changing the world. That, and there's too much I want to do and so little time. Wow -- writing a novel?! That's amazing! I would have no idea where to begin!

  10. Oh man, I'd LOVE to take a novel writing class. I know it would haunt me all semester long, but at least it would be motivation enough for me to DO it instead of just talking about it all the time. (I tend to think about it most when I'm slightly drunk. I get really inspired, but then realize, well, I'm drunk. And tired. So I'll do it tomorrow.) That's really really awesome you're doing it. I hope you'll update on your progress every now and then, because I'd be very interested to see how it works out for you. Good luck!