Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

October 22, 2011

Got done doing nothing

Filed under: family,fitter/happier,joey,wombat,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 12:27 pm

A day spent in the company of two small children left me too tired and emotional to write anything last night. I stared at a blank page for the better part of an hour before conceding that I was just not going to do a thing. I say ‘stared’ – but what I mean is: got up and checked out the action in a rugby match in which I had zero investment; checked Twitter obsessively; researched play advice for a game I own but haven’t started yet (Just Cause 2); and, drank a couple of beers.

Note to self: any alcohol whatsoever is not conducive to writing. Stick to tea, dumbarse.

The kids trashed me. The Joey is the elder, nearly four. He was disobedient and rebellious all day. It was only *after* hours of him being sent to his room every five minutes that it occurred to me that the problem might not be that he was ignoring everything I said but that he couldn’t hear me. Sure enough, his ears were completely blocked. (Side note: Cerumol, the ear wax solvent gunk, is probably the foulest smelling substance in human medicine). Hopefully to day will be a little less dramatic.

The younger, aka the Wombat, has a touch of cold. She’s grumpy and clingy. She would literally scream at the top of her lungs if I moved more that two metres away from her. I actually measured that, by the way. One step this way, no noise. Two steps the other way, timpanic rupture time. It was like playing a live-action theremin. She seems much improved and not coincidentally about one million times more delightful today.

So after much shouting – and a picnic at the park to try to run down their batteries a bit – I hit the wall at the end of the day something fierce. I should have figured out a lot earlier that doing a couple of hours of the novel was never going to happen. If I had, I could have devoted that time to reading, watching one of those movies I’ve rented or doing some exercise. Unproductive as doing nothing was, I will make a guarded mark in the ‘pro’ column that I was determined to write rather than do something more fun, even if I didn’t quite manage it. There is, of course, another step to take in that progression towards the required discipline levels.

Tonight won’t help. I’ll be at a Mouse Guard game tonight, playing my dangerously-inquisitive scientist mouse on an treacherous expedition into weasel territory. Stirring stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. I’m so far behind my planned word count that I’ll get home at about 11 and try to write. Hopefully the game will inspire some creativity.

I *am* gonna make this end of year deadline. I just don’t quite know how yet.


  1. If this novel is giving you pain, why don’t you novelise that “Burning Wheel” campaign you told us about? You will be assured of at least as many readers as there were players, plus me, since it sounded like a lot of fun. Or is the bet with Ev about a specific novel?

    Comment by The Once and Future Dr Clam — October 22, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

  2. Nah, I’m sticking to the principle of picking one project and seeing it through. Besides that the trouble with novelising a campaign is that there’s nothing you can do with it afterwards – three quarters of the content doesn’t belong to you. Or at least I would not feel comfortable using the characters and passing them off as my own.

    The current project is at least all mine*. It might in the end only have a (theoretical) audience of a dozen people, but I would like it if at least a few of them were not people who already knew me before I wrote it. Hopefully it will also be fun, once I’ve clawed all the angst out of it 🙂

    * Come to think of it that’s not true either, since I am reusing a couple of references from The Sounds of Lightning Sawl lexicon game. I’m okay with that, which I guess might be a weird double standard that doesn’t mak any sense outside my own head.

    Comment by lexifab — October 23, 2011 @ 8:28 am

  3. I should clarify another point, which is that I cannot imagine writing *anything* longer than a blog post that would not give me trouble. I continue to be locked in the eternal struggle with my own elevated self-expectation and dissatisfaction with everything I do. It wouldn’t matter what novel I work on, it’ll be agony…

    Comment by lexifab — October 23, 2011 @ 8:38 am

  4. “three quarters of the content doesn’t belong to you” … Of course, you could ask for clearance from your collaborators. I don’t see it as really any different from something like VALIS, where you novelise your life and put in real people. (Tim Powers, author of “The Anubis Gates” is in there, did you know that?)

    This cult of the auteur where everything has to emerge from one brain like Athena from the head of Zeus is a step backward from the more collaborative working environment of the Middle Ages. IMHO. Though I think you had to start as an apprentice in the Guild and just fill in words like “the” and “it” in the texts of Master Writers for about seven years.

    “I cannot imagine writing *anything* longer than a blog post that would not give me trouble” … but that one about the DC reboot was what, 140,000 words? You can do it!

    Comment by The Once and Future Dr Clam — October 24, 2011 @ 10:02 am

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