Much Ado About Nothing

I have writer’s block today.  Yesterday I managed to crank out 3,500 words.  I was on a roll.  Writing some of my best stuff.

Until I read it over this morning.  Upon editing, my word count went from 3,500, to barely 500.  Not my best stuff after all.

And now, it’s 9 pm on a Thursday night and I have to come up with something to blog about.  Something interesting.  If I could do interesting, I’d be four chapters ahead right now instead of six chapters behind.

I could write about surviving the first week of high school.  It’s my third time, after all.  The first time was thirty-something years ago and I really don’t remember it.  The last time I went through this week was five years ago and it seemed pretty painless.  This week has me a little melancholy though.  It’s my last first week of high school.  In fact, I only have three first days of school left.  You’d think I’d be jumping for joy.  But I’m not.  Too depressing for a blog subject.

So, rather than writing, I cleaned up my office.  This way, when I’m ready to write, my space will be all neat and organized.  That is if I can actually part with the junk strewn about the place.  Do I really need to keep the name badges from all the writing conferences I’ve attended?  Probably not, but it’s hard to get rid of them.  They’re kind of like that badge of honor demonstrating I’m dedicated to honing my craft.

And the business cards from all the folks who rejected me?  Right now, they are decorating a Tree of Life sculpture on my bookshelf.  I think the sculpture was meant to hold photos, but I put the cards there to remind me this business is hard, but to keep going.  I can’t throw them away.  The poor tree would be bare.

Then there are the file folders of notes I took at the aforementioned conferences I attended.  They’re all handwritten.  In chicken scratch.  Seriously, I need to destroy this evidence because I’ve been blaming my poor penmanship on a broken wrist I suffered a few months ago and these papers from several years past will definitely out me!  Finally, something has made it into the garbage bag—woo hoo!

A rarely opened file drawer reveals a horde of brand spanking new office supplies.  Ah, really?  I should have checked this drawer out before the frantic run for school supplies last weekend.  Better send myself a note on my iPhone to remind me of this stuff next year.

Last, but not least, it’s time to cull through the multitude of craft books I’ve purchased over the years and haven’t read.  Maybe if I stick one under my pillow each night, I can hope for osmosis.  Obviously, my Strunk and White, my dictionary, the thesaurus, and my Chicago Manual of Style are keepers.  And, I’m not giving up Deb Dixon’s guide to Goals, Motivation and Conflict or Brown and King’s Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.  Or Stephen King, for that matter.  Sure, I might not read his book again, but like the name badges and the business cards, the book belongs in a writer’s office.

Well, my office is all gussied up.  Time to write.  Or maybe I’ll have a bowl of ice cream.  Those 3,500 words I wrote yesterday might look better to me again after some sugar.  And time.  Isn’t that how it goes?



About Tracy Solheim

Best-selling author of the Out of Bounds series--sexy, contemporary sports romance novels. See what she's up to at

Posted on August 17, 2012, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Um, you just did better than interesting. You did funny. Did it very well. And your office is clean.

    At least you don’t have your mother calling to find out why you’ve abandoned your children AGAIN and haven’t you finished YET??? It’s only 2 chapters left (editing the first 22 should only take about an hour, right?). Piece of cake.

    This job is difficult. It’s seems like the more you practice the harder it gets to achieve satisfactory progress. It does to me, anyway.

    I’ve redefined progress. I got some work done and didn’t eat a bag of oreos while I did it. Progress!

  2. Any time I get something written without consuming a 5 lb bag of M&M’s, I consider it a VICTORY! One step of a time, Laura. We’ll get there. 🙂

  3. I hope you didn’t permanently delete the 3000 words! I always assume everything I write is crap and then I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s just slightly better crap than I thought.

    I’m only three days into the first week of high school and I’m exhausted. Where the heck did summer go??

  4. My ninth grader texted me six minutes into his lunch period yesterday, “So Alone.” How’s that for distraction from progress?

    I agree with Christy about letting those 3000 words sit for a bit. They are likely better than you think. Get a little chocolate in you before you do anything rash.

    Have a great day, everyone!

  5. Tracy, are those Jenny Crusie and SEP book on the bookshelf beneath your Tree of Life? I recognize the bookspines because I have the exact same row on my bookshelf. lol!

    Well, it sounds to me like you needed the day to not only clean out the crap in your office but the crap in your brain. 🙂 Especially with having just sent your youngest back to school. All the busyness leading up to the first day is mentally exhausting and even though we don’t feel exhausted, it’s there. Next week, you’ll be back into your game.

    Have some more M&M’s and relax. I’ll bet 3000+ of those words turn out to be magic. 🙂

    • All SEP books are keepers on my shelf, Sheila! Lots of other authors, too. As you can see, I am running out of room. My bookshelves are also decorated with a dream catcher my daughter made for me and a plague that inspires me to Dream Big. My friend, Allison, gave it to me when I got my book deal. Most days, it’s a productive place to write.

      But you’re right, while I was counting down days to the kids getting back to college and high school so I’d have some time to write, I forgot about the mental transition I needed to make to get back to business. Next week will be better. And I won’t need M&M’s to get through it. 🙂

  6. Oh, Tracy, I feel ya’. We registered my daughter for high school yesterday and there wasn’t one single person there but us because they’ve changed things. They’re going to have an all-day orientation in a week which she will attend – alone – without parents. This is the last hurrah for me as well. My son just graduated high school and will start junior college this Monday. Change is good – I know all that. But, still, I’m feeling ever so down about my kids getting older and perhaps leaving the nest. But, hey, I thought my son would be out and he isn’t going anywhere soon. So I’m trying not to get all maxed out in “anticipatory anxiety” (they call it) and live in the here and now. My thoughts go out to you.

  7. I feel your pain. I’ve basically abandoned writing worthwhile epic tales until the kids hit the classroom floor on Monday. Take heart! You’re not alone…

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